Mr Wenger’s 800th game and Birmingham Preview

Jumping Jehovahsphat, it’s back, the familiar Saturday morning frisson, that tingling in the lower extremeties that signify game day. And for you lucky chaps going to the game, the resumption of years old pre-match traditions.

A two week break at this time of the season is ridiculous, almost as ridiculous as our injury problems. How can it be that with so few games played in the past 2 months we have lost so many players to injury? Koscielny is the latest to enjoy the warm sensitive hands of the medical team. Not having the spine of our team is finishing our season before it starts, I believe that had TV, Cesc, RvP and TW started at the Bridge, we would have come away with at least a point – but we will never know. What we do know is that we have taken 1 point out of a possible 9 and are 7 points off Chelsea.

We need to get back to winning ways, however Birmingham are no easy 3 points, they are a team in the image of their manager, hardworking, energetic and pragmatic. Inspiration and flair will be supplied by the fresh air loving Alex Hleb who is accompanied in midfield by another ex-Gooner, Seb Larsson. I watched Larsson play for Sweden v Holland on Weds and he looks in fine form.

Birmingham have yet to beat us in 25 PL games, and we have never lost two consecutive PL games at the Emirates (I think). We have conceded in all but two games this season and Birmingham have scored only once in their last 4 PL games. It should add up to an easy victory for the Gunners, but we just do not know how this team will perform if pressured, and we can be sure this is a point that McLeish will be pummelling into his team – “close them down, harry them, defend from the front and pack the 12 yard line, look for the breakaway”. And we must beware of a late Kevin Phillips goal should he play, he may be as old as Methusaleh but he remains a threat

The team almost picks itself assuming Bendtner and Theo are on the bench

I would be tempted to give JW a rest and play Rosicky, but Mozart played twice for his nation during the break whereas Jack only played once and as such should be fresher. With so many games coming up we have to pray that our CB’s remain unscathed –  heaven forbid another injury to Djourou who desperately needs a few games to return to top form.

And here is this weeks strange City fact  – The curry known as the “Balti” was invented in Birmingham, and exported to India! Such is the magnificence of the Second city’s Curry culture (and of course Lee Dixon owns a curry house chain based in B’ham). Plus B’ham is the birthplace of two of rock’s finest acts Black Sabbath and Judas Priest.

Today is Mr. Wenger’s 800th game in charge. Where have the years gone? I was at his first game and there when the press were saying Arsene Who?  They know him well now, and I wish him an easy and relaxed afternoon with us 2 up at half-time, and 4 up after 90 minutes (we can but hope!)

As a postscript I must mention the sad passing of Malcolm Allison. A tremendous character and the manager of one of the finest teams of my youth. The cigars, the hats, the posturing – he was a one off . There is no-one in football like him anymore – a true maverick  RIP.

Can we win today? Of course we can.



56 Responses to Mr Wenger’s 800th game and Birmingham Preview

  1. kelsey says:

    Nice post BR but the thought of Djorou and Eboue in defence scares me a bit.On paper we should win, but we said the same thing against WBA.Have you noticed we have the very same referee as when Eduardo’s leg was ripped off him.The ref may well be the key as to how the game pans out.

  2. barumgooner says:

    Good post BR. We need an early goal to settle the nerves and for the midfield to remain focused which is why i think I would prefer Denilson to Diaby in the middle at least until we have a 2 goal lead. My monies on an AA hat-trick today. Come on you gooners.

  3. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Great post BR,
    It must be all that oily fish you get through. I bet you wear a magnificent size 7 hat!
    I did make a feeble match day prediction earlier, however I am withdrawing it, as I want to see the line up. Lets face it, Arsene does move in mysterious ways his wonders to perform!

  4. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    I must admit I’m struggling to get excited about The Arsenal @ present. But a good series of wins can turn that around hopefully.

    26th of May

    No worries. No one down here gives a toss about the indian tour. Infact why should we have even gone when the cricket starts in November.

  5. steve palmer says:

    Many congratulations Mr Wenger, a very fine acheivment, i must admit when he was first appointed all those years ago, i wasn’t he’s greatest admirer, and the day he fielded a team of foreign players in the English premier league without one English player i was mortified,also moveing from Highbury to The Emerates also done my head in,having said all that, i have to admit, what do i know about managing, in my eyes the greatest football club in the world, a few more trophys perhaps more english players and another ten years of wenger should see me out.Mr Wenger you are a fantastic manager,i personaly beleive that with all the other clubs buying foreign players has left an option to find the best of British talent and instill it at the Emerates, which one day i hope will change its name to the Mighty Arsenal. changes yes, but i wouldnt change you!

  6. Morning all

    This comment went into ‘Be Our Guest’, its from a blues site and I promised I would include it today.

    Kevin Ball says:
    October 15, 2010 at 9:10 am (Edit)

    Hi Guys

    I run the Blues blog “Joys and Sorrows.” I’ve just published an article where I interviewed an Arsenal fan ahead of this weekends game. Baz is a twitter follower of me.

    Anyway I hope you don’t mind me posting the link as I thought you might find it interesting.


  7. gnarley – where have you been? We’ve had bloggers for you to chat to in the middle of our night and you disappeared. Rocky is in the states now so he’s around at your kind of time.

  8. Sorry, thanks Raddy for the post, I’m getting to love the chilled way we’re rolling into our games now 😉

    Rasp and I will be joining other gooners and site-owners at The Tavern on Blackstock Road for road beers before the game – hope its not raining.

    This team is gong to be another hotchpotch unfortunately but maybe someday soon we’ll field at least 9 of our preferred 11 😉 Last seasons home game against B’ham was a scary affair I remember – and Irish was in London catching a game before her trip to Oz. Her man Rosexy missed a hatfull of chances in the opening few minutes, Diaby was dire and then scored.

    If we keep the ball and score a couple early I won’t have Rasp telling me how he’s never going to come to football again. Arshavin to score a couple for Rasp 😉

  9. London says:

    Superb post BR.

  10. Rasp says:

    Great post Raddy,

    I cannot believe Martin Atkinson is still allowed to referee Premiership matches.

    Please let’s not have Djourou as CB, I’d much rather Song, we have many other options in midfield.

  11. Red Arse says:

    Excellent stuff, Radders, another Post up to your usual standard! 🙂

    Can’t stay, but hope to be back later. Scrounged a ticket, at last! 🙂

  12. ShakinSwedens says:

    Excellent post- has got me right in the mood! Really hope Theo comes back in the same form as he left- that’ll get the crowd roaring! Come you you Reds!

  13. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    G’Day peaches

    I’ve been about. Hope things get better on the injury front, & some consistancy on the pitch.

  14. Big Raddy says:

    Typically the Danish TV are going with MU and Chelsea which means a dodgy stream.

    If anyone is around I will around for a bit of banter ,,,,

  15. Big Raddy says:

    Just seen the team ….. and it is the First time I have ever correctly predicted the full 11.

    Must be a good omen. Off to buy a Lottery ticket.

  16. rockylives says:

    Great post BR. A real shame about Big Mal – when you compare him to the likes of Fat Sam you just want to weep.

    Right, off to watch it on the box.

    COME ON YOU GUNNERS!!!!!!!!!

  17. Big Raddy says:

    Soft goal. Nasri should have closed down the cross and JD should have been closer to the giant.

    Tough from here, epsecially as we appear to have no cut upfront

  18. Big Raddy says:

    I am lstening to some of the most biased commentating I have ever heard. Why have an ex-Brum manager & player as the co-commentator,

    Francis is pants. With the benefit of slo-mo we can see that Chamakh was definitely clipped and at the pace Atkinson saw it, he made the correct decision.

    Think I might move to the Spanish channel for a more even handed commentary

  19. Big Raddy says:

    At least the Spanish don’t appear to be biased!

    AA off and he had one of his anonymous games. Perhaps he needs a rest

  20. Big Raddy says:

    How many times is Diaby going to turn back when he is bearing down on goal??

    Grow a pair and burst into the box … maybe try a shot

  21. Big Raddy says:

    JW best player on the pitch and then does something as stupid as that!

    I can only imagine he was tired, but really there is no excuse.

    Well 3 points made tougher than necessary thanks to pussy footing around in the final third. We had loads of 3 on 3’s and failed to convert a single one.

    Great to see that after Sunderland showed MU it wasn’t a fluke against us, WBA followed suit.

    Come on Villa

  22. kelsey says:


    I only saw the last 15 minutes.What were we like.By all accounts Chamakh dived and whose fault was it for the Brum goal.

    What did I say about shoot on sight,yesterday.doesn’t sound like we played that well,but got the points.I saw jack’s tackle, and it was a red.

  23. Big Raddy says:

    Kelsey. I guess if their goal was anyone’s falt, it was JD, but being outjumped by a lad of over 2 metres is understandable.Though the cross came from deep and perhaps it could have been stopped at source.

    I thought we played OK, lacked confidence in front of goal, TR played only 20 mins but had more shots than any other player! JW was superb apart from his rash moment.

    AA average today usually taking the wrong option, expect him to get a rest for a couple of games – Theo will want a kick around as will NB (who almost scored with his first touch)

    Was it a pen? well it depends ehch team you support. I see the Brum defender clipping Cham and him going down, though it could be argued that Cham was already falling when he got touched by the defender. Whatever …… we desrved the 3 points

  24. Big Raddy says:

    Oooops typinsons

  25. SharkeySure says:

    Thanks for the updates Radders

  26. kelsey says:

    Theo didn’t play, is that right.

    Wenger will have egg on his face after speaking about bad tackles in today’s knew if anyone it would be jack, yet by all accounts he had a fine game.Does the ban include the C.L. (I don’t think it does)

  27. Big Raddy says:

    Kelsey. No. No.

  28. Statics says:

    did anyone noticed alex song and eboue kissed fabianski head after he catch the ball in the last minute of the game.. he had a very good game, again, apart from the Brum goal..

  29. Red Arse says:


    Was Flappy at fault for the goal, in your opinion?

  30. Red Arse says:

    O.K., too boozed now to wait for a reply, too much celebratory vino.

    Tomorrow! 🙂

  31. It wasn’t pretty but a very welcome 3 points.

    Anyone fancy writing a match report ….. let me know please …….

  32. Statics says:

    Red Arse,

    I firmly believe it’s not entirely his fault, n he was a little bit unlucky as he was at full stretch that time.. perhaps he was not expecting the header will be a looping effort rather than a usual thumping like header.. having said that, he should do better if he want to cement his spot as a current no1.. i blame JD for that goal though, he should mark zigic better..

  33. Carlito11 says:

    Just back from the match- fabianski had a good game- song was special if unsung and nasri was great.JD was at fault for the goal IMO and generally looked shakey 🙂
    bentner needs time on this evidence to get anywhere need chamakhs contribution… Lots of positives- shame JW will miss the next one but hopefully have cesc back. BR you’re spot on about Diaby- needs to grow a pair and drive forward more

  34. Carlito11 says:

    Arshavin played most of his passes to blue shirts and should have been subbed off at halftime! 😉

  35. Big Raddy says:

    I don’t think Fab was at fault, it was a fantastic header and if one of our boys had scored it we would be thrilled.

    I agree Carlito – TR should have come on after 45 mins.

  36. Red Arse says:


    I think a straight Red Card means Jack will miss the next three games. (I thought it was a straight Red, did you think it was a yellow? If so, it’s a one game ban).

  37. I thought it was a straight red, I think he’ll miss 2 prem games – next weeks Man City away and Wham at home – and the CC against Newcastle.

  38. Rasp says:

    They’re saying Chamakh dived for the pen on talk shite. I thought Nasri was most at fault for the goal as he backed off and allowed the cross to be made. I’m not sure there was much JD could do about a striker that tall.

    I lost count of how many times I was screaming at Diaby to just keep going. He’d start off very purposefully on a run, beat a couple of players, his path to goal would open up and just when he was about to get into a shooting position, stop and look for a pass.

  39. Rasp says:

    Jack got a straight red = 3 match ban to include CC matches

  40. Rasp says:

    Vila chavs nin nil – 2 points gained on the leaders, we won ugly, not a bad day.

  41. kelsey says:

    Rasp said,,

    I lost count of how many times I was screaming at Diaby to just keep going. He’d start off very purposefully on a run, beat a couple of players, his path to goal would open up and just when he was about to get into a shooting position, stop and look for a pass.

    This is the problem with him and others.we can’t continue to play like this if we want to win silverware.i have said it hundreds of time, and one must question are they playing under orders therefore stifling their natural instincts.

    Why don’t we shoot more often. Urghhhhhhhhh

  42. Big Raddy says:

    As I said in the post, teams pack the 12 yard line knowing we will try to pass through them, so we have to be more aware on our breakaways because when Diaby got the ball at speed he only had Chamakh for company. Thank goodness Theo will be back very soon, his pace adds a different dimension to our attack.

    We appear to have only TR and Denilson who are prepared to shoot from distance though Nasri srewed an ugly shot well wide of target.

  43. Rasp says:

    The ref was crap today – in fact, he’s crap every day.

    Raddy, did you see the passage of play where the ref gave the advantage when 2 of our players were fouled but we were moving forward – when Diaby was surrounded by 4 defenders the ref blew up thinking our attack was over just as Diaby produced a bit of magic and left them all for dead and was through on goal. He really is the most frustrating player.

  44. Big Raddy says:

    Yes I did Rasp.

    But the ref did give us the penalty (correctly IMO), and the sending off of JW was just.

    Well played AV, shows how well Chelsea do away when hampered by injury

  45. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    Missed to game, my recording failed, but have seen the highlights.

    Little Jacky “The Knife” Wilshire in the 93rd minute. I’ve seen the tackle, & IMO, it will send out a message. Well done Jack. For the loss of a couple of games thru suspension, the long term good will be great. Don’t puck with The Arsenal anymore 😈

    On the other hand, did Chamakh dive? Still in the long term I spose, opo boof head defenders may think twice about putting in a decent tackle in the box = we score more 😛

  46. barumgooner says:

    Just watched the extended highlights on sky. The single most biased commentary i’ve ever heard. OK cham saw it coming and made the most of it but it was a penalty and then he was hit in the head by a leading elbow to which the commentator said was a perfect defenders header… laughable
    Rasp i did see the diaby thing with the ref but lets face it , he would have only got all confused, turned around and passed to the opposition anyway.

    Lj deserved a red but a great game once again..him and Aaron really gonna be the future and it looks bright gooners.

  47. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    G’Day barum

    Well in the spirit of your “future looks bright” comment. Its been a rather forgetable start for me, apart from the Hotshit fun time in the Carling Cup. But, having said that, we are 2nd & 5 points from the top, & with quality players to return. Yep, maybe, just maybe 😛

    …….what about the 2 howlers by Edwin van der Sar 😆 Makes flappy look goody.

  48. gnarleygeorge9 says:


    Unlike the old Brotherhood of Man song, I don’t reckon any Man United players/ol sweaty sock will be saving any kisses for van der Sar though.

    I’m going to get behind the team as my theme now, so a win is a win is a win. Well done Arsenal F.C

  49. Morning all

    I’ve cobbled together an assessment rather than a match report but if anyone wants to add some player ratings they’re welcome to do so. I’ll put it up in about 10 minutes.

  50. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Morning anyone,
    No cloud cover Gnarley!
    My money is on issues in the final third.

  51. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    Any cred with this 😉

    Arsene Wenger is ready to offer ex-Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira a job on his coaching staff if the former Gunners great retires at the end of the season.

    Not with u MDI89 with the cloud cover 😉

  52. MickyDidIt89 says:

    19 mins, Peaches. No pressure, but we are off to the North Cornish cliffs for a walk, so if you don’t mind!

    Not one cloud Gnarley.

  53. MickyDidIt89 says:

    We will need speed and directness against City. Oh for Theo and RVP.

  54. Sorry, sorry its done now


  55. […] Mr Wenger’s 800th game and Birmingham Preview […]

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