Three points – Not a classic but a serious performance

Written by 26may1989

After all the prematch neurosis, that was what this game was about. Not Shawcross, not Ramsey, not Pulis;  just the points. And they’re ours.

Le Boss summarised things nicely:

“Tonight was a night when nobody else played [well] and if you can take three points and glide closer to the top, that means that your team is really hungry for success. The number of games we play, not to make a mistake at any stage… we were less sharp creatively but you could feel the team did not want to make a mistake and that’s a very positive sign.”

Couldn’t agree more.

The opening ten minutes contained much of the game’s creative content: Fabregas, Bendtner and Walcott carved open the Stoke defence three times, and Theo was very unlucky to see his first effort bounce back off the post to Begovic rather than nestle in the net. And on the 8th minute a corner pinged around the box, before being deftly knocked back into the danger area by Bendtner to Squillaci, who nodded in from no distance, with Stoke’s defending surprisingly weak. And that was that, 1-0 to the football team, which is how it stayed till the end.

This was certainly no classic. No surprise there, the Stoke way makes classics a different thing to achieve. There’s a reason fans watching Stoke have seen fewer goals than any other team’s fans other than those of Fulham and Birmingham (only West Brom fans have seen more goals than Gooners). But without doubt, our boys weren’t at the top of their creative game either. Fabregas’s early departure must be a big part of the reason for that, the remaining players seemed to lose their fluency and dynamism as soon as El Capitan limped off, and didn’t really get their mojo back before the end of the first half.

There was a strange lack of intensity to both teams in the first half – where the appearance of Shawcross a year after he split the tibia and fibula in Aaron Ramsey’s right leg was meant to fire up this game, it was a calcio, uber tactical, sterile exchange, with Arsenal working hard but failing to string many moves together. However, the defence staying strong and disciplined in terms of shape and position. Stoke started in more of a 4-3-3 but after a while Walters and Pennant spent most of their time in midfield, making it a 4-5-1. Neither John Carew nor Wojciech Szczesny saw much of the ball before half-time, save for one sparkling, powerful drive from the Norwegian that our young Pole saved without much fuss.

Things picked up in the second half, as Stoke came out of their lair and tried to press us more aggressively. That, plus the inevitable rubbish from the referee, prompted a more vigorous style of play from our guys, with Nasri in particular coming into the game more effectively than he had done up to that point. Walcott, who had been one of the bright sparks before half time, faded a bit, before being chopped down from behind by Whitehead without Peter Walton spotting the foul. Walcott was stretchered off and will now miss the League Cup Final. Thanks Stoke. I guess we should be grateful the doctors aren’t debating whether one of his limbs needs to be amputated.

Szczesny and the defenders had to deal with the inevitable artillery barage from throw-ins, corners and free-kicks, and for the most part they dealt with it well. They were assisted by Stoke’s undisciplined approach to our offside trap, Stoke’s front players often being lazy in holding their position. But Robert Huth ought to have scored from one of the deadball mortar shells lobbed into the penalty area to consolidate his position as Stoke’s top scorer. Fortunately for us, he headed over.

Arshavin worked hard throughout, and unlocked the Stoke defence beautifully when he took his defender to the line and cleverly beat him, then set up Walcott in the centre, only for Theo to miscue when he should have buried the ball in the net. There were occasions when we carried some threat to Stoke, usually when one of our attacking players received the ball between Stoke’s midfield and defensive lines. But truth be told, they were few and far between.

This was a serious performance from Arsenal, one that suggests the appetite and focus that they’ll need if they are to overhaul United. There were no frills or thrills, and no hysterical attempts at revenge, just a determination to bag the points in a game against an obnoxious but potent opponent. The price for those points may have been high: we’ll have to see what the morning brings in terms of the injuries suffered by Fabregas (who appears to have the tightest of hamstrings) and Theo. But fingers crossed, they’ll be able to resume duties, at least when we play Sunderland and West Brom.

Here are my rankings, which I think will prompt disagreement:

Szczesny: 8 – Dealt with what was thrown at him well and without panicking. That’s more than we can say about either Fabianski or Almunia.

Sagna: 7 – Disciplined, no nonsense performance.

Squillaci: 7.5 – Showed the doubters that there is more to his game than he’s often given credit for, the goal just being the icing on the cake. Clearly more comfortable alongside Djourou than Koscielny.

Djourou: 6 – Positionally superb and dealt well with the ball in the air, but on a number of occasions he was uncharacteristically error-prone with the ball at his feet, exposing us to unnecessary risk.

Clichy: 7 – Again, a disciplined performance, along with some of the usual Clichy bite, and some of the usual misplaced passes.

Song: 7.5 – Efficient with the ball, with very few errors, and executed his defensive duties well.

Wilshere: 8 – What more can be said about this boy? He is a marvel, it’s astonishing to think he was playing youth team football not long ago. His maturity with and without the ball in a game like this is incredible. MOTM.

Nasri: 6 – Not his best performance but worked hard, and got some traction in the second half.

Walcott: 7 – Fantastic and explosive beginning. He saw less of the ball after Fabregas went off, but still worked hard. Went down a couple of culs-de-sac in the second half but was still one of our better creative players.

Fabregas: 7 – He was only on for 14 minutes, and looked mighty unhappy when he had to come off, but in the time he was on, he looked willing and able to spring the Stoke defence.

Arshavin: 7 – Worked very hard, and used his tricks to good effect. Has clearly got over his difficult phase, he’ll be a big part of our run-in.

Bendtner: 7 – Again, worked hard against Huth and Shawcross often without support, and got an assist for the goal plus was at the heart of our early chances.

Denilson: 7 – Very astute substitute for the injured Walcott when the logical choice might have been the off-form/in decline Rosicky – Denilson did what he does best, retained possession and completed a very high proportion of his passes, just what we needed.

Chamakh: 6.5 – Didn’t do much wrong, and did well in the air for the short period he was on, but no sparkling contribution either.

The fans’ lack of spark also contributed to the mean fare that was on offer. It really isn’t good enough on such a crucial night for our fans to put in such a poor shift – we have a lot to contribute to the push for the title. Playing Barcelona is all very well, but let’s be realistic, we’re not going to win the Champions’ League; our season is about these league games, and we need to contribute to the drive for the title.

Finally, and on a very different subject, I just wanted to send my best wishes to everyone in Christchurch. I have family in NZ, and know the country and Christchurch very well, having even gone to school in the Christchurch suburb of Sumner for a few months. My parents are in NZ visiting my brother right now, and were only 60km up the coast from Christchurch when the earthquake hit. They’re fine but seeing the devistation done to the city and its people is shocking, and hearing that rescue efforts for those trapped are now being wound down is deeply depressing. My thoughts are with Christchurchians and all Kiwis.

147 Responses to Three points – Not a classic but a serious performance

  1. Gooner in Exile says:

    That about sums up the performance 26may

    I thought we were making good noise but as soon as Cesc went off I think mentally our thoughts turned to Sunday. And we started to count the cost of this game.

    It was quite lively in my section, at the end Stoke fans were asking us to meet them outside, not sure if it was to shake our hands though.

    I’m still pretty hoarse, my last attempt at creating some singing in my area was “you’ll only go as a tourist” in reply to them singing “you’re gonna lose in the Nou Camp” ….. I was quite happy with that one, as well as my “come back when you play football” which was joined in with by some others.

  2. dandan says:

    Very good read 26 and an accurate summation of the game.

    As I am just off out and following this mornings posts on yesterdays articles I would like to add this.

    Des Smyth the Irish professional golfer told me this story of being challenged to a round by a member of his home club he didn’t know, for a wager of a grand.
    He asked the bloke what his handicap was and was told 2 Gotcha’s
    Des hadn’t a clue what a gotcha was but thought, what the hell I am the pro here I know the course like the back of my hand, “sod it” yep I will take him on.

    On the first tee Des got to the top of his back swing and as his club started down, a hand went between his legs from behind, grabbed his wedding tackle and a voice shouted Gotcha!!! needless to say the ball went deep into trouble.

    Des lost that match and the grand. When asked by the club secretary how come he had lost he asked have you ever played 17 holes wondering when the next Gotcha will come?

    That I suggest was the position that Theo was in last night with two footed tackles etc, one eye on the ball and one on the player, makes for difficult first touches I think. So yes I do think you were a little hard on him London.

  3. Gooner in Exile says:

    😀 Dandan

  4. Red Arse says:

    Hi 26, 🙂

    A very clear, concise and erudite report, which is only to be expected from you.

    I had trouble getting a “stream” last night and it had only just got going when it froze, again, leaving Bendy in an awkward looking balletic pose; arms extended, right knee flexed, while standing tippy toed on his left foot, facing side onto the goal.

    Suppressing a groan, (I admit I am not a fan of his, sorry), I waited impatiently for the screen to restart, when suddenly it flickered to life with everyone on the halfway line.

    My resigned disappointment was proved totally wrong when I saw the score 1:0, followed by a jerky replay of Bendy executing a nice lob into the box and Squiller, the Stoke Killer, putting an easy header into the goal!

    Jubilation! 🙂

    Bendy is now my top man, and Squiller, the Stoke Killer, has rocketed up in my estimation!!

    Apologies to Sid, the Nickname Censor, for taking liberties with their nicknames. 🙂

    26, I am glad your family in NZ are OK and I share your thoughts and best wishes for the good folk of Christchurch. It must be terrible for all there! 😦

  5. Red Arse says:

    Hi Dandan, 🙂

    I loved your wince inducing golf story to paint a picture for a very telling footballing point.

    You are another clever, creative writer and I am learning a lot from you! 🙂

  6. Red Arse says:


    I am sure you gave as good as you got with the chants from the Stoke fans. 🙂

    For myself, my neighbours puppy jumped up at me when I answered the door last night, and the little devil knocked me over, and then licked me to bits!

    When I’m feeling better I will whup his ass! 🙂

  7. tommystout says:

    good writing as always 26m.
    i watched last night on a pretty decent stream and the crowd did seem subdued and i’m sure that would rub off on the players. Along with the dissapointment of losing cesc i’m sure that this was the main contributing factor to our lack of putting moves together. But in respect of the result,and the effort and concentration that went in last night, it was a fabulous performance, our boys are now men, no warriors. With the majority of the stadium are expecting a stoke equaliser it really shows how we are growing as a team. Not to concede with that amount of negetivity surrounding you is massive. Well done chaps 🙂

  8. Great write-up 26may, I would say that dandan’s story rightly sums up where the players minds were last night.

    After Theo went off both Jack and Nasri completely disappeared for about 10 minutes, neither showing for the ball, I don’t believe either were nervous of being harshly challenged but more trying to be invisible to preserve their place in the team for Sunday.

    It was a hard game but I suspect Sundays will be just as hard – it could have been a lot easier of course if we were 3 up inside 5 minutes.

    Let me join with everyone else in sending my best wishes the people of Christchurch.I’m glad your family are safe 26may.

  9. 26may1989 says:

    Thanks for the comments friends, including re Christchurch. Some family members have seen their home badly damaged but everyone I know there is ok. Am sorry for the spelling mistakes in my report, I was tired, that’s my excuse!

    Love Exile’s come-back to the Stoke fans. As I said yesterday, I have a certain grudging respect for Pulis and Stoke as a club. But their fans are another thing, they just seem to glory in the shiteness of Pulis’s tactics and dream of an EDL England. A shame we’ll be seeing them back at the Grove next season.

    I also love dandan’s gotcha story, funny and makes a good point.

    tommystout, I’m not sure there was much anxiety in the ground about Stoke equalising, they were so unambitious, especially in the first half. I just think our fans are only really willing to turn up for the big games.

    Onward to Wembley!

  10. Carlito11 says:

    26May- thanks for the match report. I think I saw it in much the same way- at least when the immediate subjectivity of the match had worn off. I think some of the ratings are a little generous- everyone put in a shift so they deserve credit, but apart from Jack and the back 5 no-one else deserved higher than a six for me as they did what was needed but nothing special.
    It was one of the worst games of football I have seen at the emirates and that was no doubt due to the nature of the opposition. The fact that only one of the 20 or so folk I usually greet in the seats near me had turned up says it all about the standard of this fixture. Possibly even more dreaded for anti-football than Allardyce’s Bolton were.
    This lack of support from the season ticket holders obviously had an effect on the strength of our support as those who had taken the tickets didn’t seem even slightly interested in joining in with the singing (maybe some were Stoke fans but most were probably neutral “football fans”). So it was just me and my fellow ST holder who had a go! I loved the chant of “1-0 to the football team” and Sz got a rousing “Arsenal’s number 1” from the North End. Otherwise fairly tepid stuff although the team got a great cheer and applause at the end for their fortitude.
    Great to meet up with Harry before the game- sorry we missed you GiE. Next time!
    A quick aside: Cesc’s statement on Twitter last night was heartfelt:
    “I dont know if ill make sunday or no, but all i know is that from this moment to sunday 16’30 i wont sleep if its necessary. Ive waited……Too long to captain a final for arsenal and i wont give up till the last second.”
    Sincerely hope he can fulfill his wish- can he go up and claim the trophy as captain even if he doesn’t play?

  11. Carlito11 says:

    Agree with you all about dandan’s allegory- Theo seemed to be trying to take a wider path around the cloggers than he normally might. I think there was more fear of what Stoke might do than the reality- they won some great clean tackles to speak in their defence for a second. The reputation they have built up works very well in their favour as it inhibited our players’ ambition and close passing game.

  12. Red Arse says:

    As I said earlier, the stream I had was pretty poor, so I am afraid I was one of those (the only one?) who was dreading a last minute Stoke equaliser.

    Blow me, just a micro second after Pennant took their late freekick, the screeen froze for the nth time. I could not see the ball but it seemed well taken shot from Pennants body shape.

    A couple of seconds later it restarted and my heart missed a beat as Chezzer seemed beaten and the ball appeared, at first, to be in the net.

    What a relief to see Chezzer smiling and picking up the ball from — outside– the net.

    Hell of a way to watch a match on a stop start stream!

  13. Red Arse says:

    Spot on Carlito.

    On a small point 26, I thought Theo was unlucky and just fell awkwardly, but then it might be clearer with a better picture.

  14. Carlito11 says:

    RA- there was absolute silence for a good 5 seconds on the North bank as we couldn’t tell if it went in or not. It wasn’t quite heartstopping- more confusing really! When the big screen showed that it had gone just the right side of the post but Sz had it covered anyway there was a good cheer but it never felt like relief. Maybe because there were some pretty apathetic people around me or maybe because we now believe the team can hold out?

  15. London says:

    Top drawer report 26m and very good player ratings, no controversy there.

    As for where Theo’s head was, I don’t know and I am going to avoid the obvious crude suggestion, but that is not the point, his first touch, his close control were pathetic last night and it should not be excused by the bad tackle he received. Some have tried to excuse him by pointing to his enthusiasm, if that was the only criteria for first team football then Almunia would be playing every week. The fact is enthusiasm on its own is not enough, having sufficient skill set to carry out your job description is. Almunia is no longer our goal keeper becasue he consistently showed a lack of ability to do his job properly and that is what Walcott is doing more and more.
    As to whether Walcott turns into the next Henry, I don’t know, my criticism is aimed at last nights performance and I for one refuse to go along with the English tokenism that affords him so much more leeway than other players. Look at his close control last night……..pathetic.

  16. 26may1989 says:

    RA, might be my tinted specs, but even on a replay I thought it was clear that Dean Whitehead (who has a more than passing resemblance to John Merrick, aka The Elephant Man) clumsily (not maliciously) went through the back of Walcott. And in the process of falling down, Theo turned his ankle. For me, a clear foul, free-kick and booking.

  17. Carlito11 says:

    London- I think Theo’s control issue yesterday was more influenced by fear than enthusiasm as per Dandan’s gotcha analogy

  18. tommystout says:

    it looked to me as though when theos twisted ankle was planted in position, whitehead fell on to it and probably did the main damage

  19. fruss says:

    Red Arse should be a blogger,i think yu can compete against the best,26may1989 included.The way you play with words is mesmerising.

  20. 26may1989 says:

    Fruss, kind words re Mr Arse, and I agree whole heartedly, he’s tremendous! But this blog operates on an open basis, meaning different people post the lead item each day, and we are often blessed with RA’s witty observations, so do come back for a read.

    I know the organisers of the site are always keen to have new people post, so if you ever fancy penning something on the greatest football club in the world yourself, I invite you to go to the Be Our Guest tab at the top of the page.

  21. London says:

    Nope, he was like a puppy with a ball, running too fast and leaving it behind more often than not. And that is his close control, his passing? I have used the p word enough this morning.
    Dandan comes from a very honourable position: you wear the red and white shirt, you get his support, fair enough. I went to the game and my observations are what they are.

  22. Carlito11 says:

    Fairplay London- he certainly didn’t play well after the first 10 minutes- we’ll have to disagree on the reasons why 🙂

  23. Gooner In Exile says:

    One thing sitting in Row 3 of the lower tier in the North or South stands does give you is a great view of the goal mouth action at your end. So I had a great view of NikBs deft touch to set up Squilli.

    One thing you don’t get is sense of depth when the ball is at the other end, Theo looked like he was in the area when he went down under Whiteheads tackle. A lot of frustration around me from those who cared (as Carlito mentioned there were quite a few tourists there last night) when the players appeared to be dilly dallying in their area when in reality they were probably 20 yards or more out.

    One guy to my right left with 15 minutesto go in annoyance…..very strange

  24. Red Arse says:

    Hi Fruss, 🙂

    Just got back online.

    re your 11:40, I am blushing a strange shade of baby pink.

    I am extremely flattered by your very kind words. I do not deserve them, but thank you! 🙂

  25. kelsey says:

    Well written report 26thMay and thankful that your family are safe.
    I think the expectancy from all of us is that because of the style of football we play with so many excellent and clever players in the team,we will score at least 3 or 4 goals every game, but of course we know that doesn’t happen.

    I am worried about Cesc’s injuries as for the 4th time in the last 15 months it is hamstring yet again, and that will be playing on his mind more than anything.

    I hope Jack doesn’t suffer burn out, as I am sure under normal circumstances he wasn’t meant to have played so much this season, but he gets better and better and is never fazed.

    Theo (as I stated earlier) is a bit of an enigma,as he drifts in and out of games,though he does track back much more than before, but when going forward doesn’t always make the right decision, and is quite easily tackled.He is still work in progress.

    As mentioned earlier part of the reason the players literally stopped playing when cesc left the field, had a huge impact on the crowd,who I imagine all thought the same thing, and add to that personally I wouldn’t pay top dollar to watch a team like Stoke .Not what one would call entertaining.

  26. London says:

    By the way 26m

    I forgot to say, I really liked your assessment of Denilson. I feel the same but I would never have been able to articulate my views as well as you did above.

  27. London says:

    Hi Kelsey

    For me Jack has moved into the category of “Players I no longer worry about” that is to say if Almunia is playing I worry, when Szcesney is there I don’t. When Diaby is playing I worry, when Wilshere is there I don’t.

  28. 26may1989 says:

    Cheers London, we might have seen Walcott’s performance differently (I’m going to watch the game again to see if my view wsa over-generous, may well have been). But I’m glad we’re as one on Denilson!

    As for Szczesny, I wonder if last night’s game may have a big bearing on what Wenger does once Fabianski is fit again. We all think Szczesny should have the shirt, but he is still playing his first season at the top level, and it must be tempting to go with the person who’s served more time. But the clamness and concentration Szczesny brought to bear on dealing with the balls into the box, only missing out once, mark him out as clearly ahead of Fabianski.

  29. RockyLives says:

    Excellent write-up 26may.
    For the sake of contrariness, I shall make a couple of tiny quibbles with your player ratings. I would give JD a 7 – because although he lost the ball on the floor a few times he was commanding in the air at the back. Song would also be a 7 for me (not 7.5) because his sloppy passing was annoying at times. Apart from that, I agree with them all! I thought giving Nasri a 6 was brave – because although that sums up his performance, he is one of the favoured ones at the moment and doesn’t usually get criticised.
    I mentioned in a comment last night that I thought Theo did better than some people are giving him credit for. He was often double-marked and, after Cesc went off, our play was really lacking in fluidity, which didn’t help him. He miscontrolled occasionally and sometimes failed to beat the defender, but at least he was trying to get past.

  30. RockyLives says:

    Loved the Gotcha story – made me laugh.

    Fruss is just saying what we all know.

  31. Wonderman says:

    Hi 26 great report. I missed the game last night because of coahing responsibilities, but caught the seconf half on a patchy stream. Pretty much agree with what you have written.

    I must admit, I was groaning when I saw Denilson being called back and thought Eboue was a more like for like sub, but last night was all about the 3 points which we got. 11 games to go folks ( in the prem) 7 points ahead of 3rd place and a final on Sunday !!

    If there is even a hint of a risk for Cesc I would not play him on sunday, as we have already beaten them twice both with him and without him and we need him more crucially for Barca

  32. Carlito11 says:

    Afternoon Rocky and Wonderman- turning to those 11 remaining fixtures- what do you reckon is required to bring home the trophy? We’ve been on a marvelous run since mid December and it’s unreasonable to expect it to be as good until the end of the season given the congestion and injuries we’re picking up. My thoughts? I reckon we can afford to lose one and draw 2 and still win the league(82 points).

  33. Carlito11 says:

    Rocky- REDAction have just picked up on your son’s lyrics on Twitter- they may get a proper outing yet!

  34. Carlito11 says:

    offski- work beckons with its skeletal finger…

  35. Gooner In Exile says:

    I agree Carlito I did the BBC predictor last night, and even without the Spurs game (which as no date yet is not on there) we win the league by drawing with ManUre and the Scousers and winning the rest.

    That is of course if Spuds and Chavs do us a favour against ManUre if those 3 games lose ManUre 6 points or more we are well on the way. Next 4 weeks are crucial for us both.

  36. Wonderman says:

    Hi Carlito,

    I cant see us losing at all in the league before the end of the season. In my opinion we may draw against the Mancs and Liverpool, but deep down I think we will beat the Mancs. We have been very strong away from home this season and the Ems has returned to being a fortress. I think if we win Sunday it will be like a shot in the arm for all the battle weary players to get them over the line

  37. London says:

    Ah, we have a new excuse: double marked. Usually, when this happens it is harder for the marked player to receive the ball and when he does he is tackled quicker than usual. My critiscm of Walcott is not that he was tackled easier or quicker, my critiscm is that his close control and his distribution were so poor I am going to persist with the word pathetic.

    Fabregas, Nasri, Wilshere, Arshavin have great close control and excellent distribution, Walcott by contrast is fast.

  38. 26may1989 says:

    Carlito, I reckon we’ll need 82 points at the very least, but I predict we’ll finish top on 85. That would mean going undefeated for the rest of the season and drawing just two games, but then I’m always a glass half full person.

    I take it that next Tuesday, we’ll all be Chavs for the day.

  39. RockyLives says:

    Carlito – thanks for that – I’ll let my son know. He posts on here occasionally (under the name ‘wolf’) but is usually too busy being 18.

    Two other thoughts from last night’s game: the worst foul of the night (by Dewlap on Sagna) was not even given as a foul, let alone the yellow or possibly even red card that it deserved. When are referees and their assistants going to start getting this stuff right?

    And the way we ran the clock down at the end, playing keep-ball in the corner, was really encouraging. This was the first time in a long time where I felt our players were confident about not conceding a late sucker-punch. Of the Stoke chances, the only dangerous ones were Carew’s shot (brilliant save from Chesney, having had nothing to do until then) and the Huth header. Shitecross’s header was going wide even without the deflection and, in any case, Chesney had it covered. Ditto Pennant’s late free kick – Chesney had it covered all the way.

    How Pulis can claim that they were unlucky not to get something is mystifying, but not surprising.

  40. 26may1989 says:

    Fast is good London! Theo’s pace gives us something we don’t get from any other player in the squad, even if that does earn him the impact player tag (never understood why that’s such a bad thing to be). Not everyone can have the ability to control the ball at pace the way Thierry Henry could or Gareth Bale can. That lad Ryo Miyaichi looks like he could have it in him though.

  41. Wonderman says:

    Hi 26, We all also have to remember that Walcott’s natural game is NOT that of a winger. He is a forward all day long.His job in the team is to scare wing backs into staying in their own half. Anyone expecting Theo to have excellent control, weaving in and out with a trick or two will be sorely disappointed. He is our modern day Overmars

  42. Big Raddy says:

    26. Fine write up and an enjoyable precis of last nights entertainment.

    I am with London in thinking Walcott had a poor game. His work rate cannot be questioned but I became heartily sick of seeing our natural outball to the speedy Theo being wasted by his appalling control. An average full back like Pugh had him in his pocket, and quite frankly Stoke didn’t need to double team him. Theo works best when the ball is played in front of him and he uses pace to beat the man, however put the ball at his feet and he loses it! (I a writing of last night not his whole season)

    Otherwise delighted by the performance. Worst man on the pitch – the referee. Delap’s foul was awful and could have been deemed a red.If Pulis sends his team out in the second half with clear instructions to “get amongst them”, then it is up to the ref. to show that those tactics are unacceptable. We have seen this type of rotational fouling from MU, they do it for a 15 minute burst which puts fear into the mind of the ball receiver, then stop playing dirty.

  43. Red Arse says:

    Hi Rocky, 🙂

    Just back for a couple of minutes.

    Re your 1:45, I think that if we met in real life, I would be proud to have you as a friend!

    I have written the odd Post for about 3 or 4 sites since I started perusing the Gooner’s blogs last November, but I found I just gravitated to AA and its great community. (Actually on the recommendation of Rico, the boss of another site!)

    Unfortunately, a frivolous Post I wrote for AA a couple of months ago was, quite correctly, rejected by Rasp and Peaches. It’s true; they were right and my work was not good enough. Damn! Now everyone knows I am the only person in the world to have had a Post rejected. 🙂

    So you see, I am grateful to you and Fruss for your kind words, as you have boosted my confidence, but not everyone would agree with you about my writing skills. 🙂

    (Since then I have not written for anyone. Me smart!!) 🙂

    Medicine time now. See you later. 🙂

  44. Red Arse says:

    Can’t resist a final, final comment.

    I love the calm confidence expressed by nearly all of you re our chances of winning the Premiership. 🙂

    Me? I live on my nerves too much and see all sorts of reasons why we will run into a truckload of bad luck! 😦

    London, I hope someone reminds ne never to get on your bad side. When you think you are right you are prepared to stand up and be counted, whether others agree with you, or not. An admirable quality! 🙂

    In Theo’s case, I rather agree with you and Raddy. (Which is a relief!) 🙂

  45. London says:

    I am going to stand down now on the Walcott thing, I think it is safe to say I have made my point lol.

    Three points was all that last night was about and they were secured.

    It would be good to get some positive news on Fabregas.

  46. 26may1989 says:

    Raddy, “it is up to the ref. to show that those tactics are unacceptable” – agree 100%, that’s where a lot of the problems with the game in this country start.

    As for rotational fouling, it’s an area where the rules need to catch up with the game. The concept of a foul has always attached to individual players, but why should it? There ought to be enuogh flexibility in the rules to punish clear cases of rotational fouling – after the game, that could come in the form of fines etc, but even during a game, when a player has been fouled for the 5th time, you could for example allow the free kick to be moved forward 10 yards.

    By comparison with other sports, in football not enough imagination goes into looking at ways of making sure the rules keep pace with tactics in the modern game.

  47. Big Raddy says:

    26. One cannot expect the man in the middle to keep track of everything, but it would not be difficult for the 4th official to take some control. He must do something other than hold up the overtime board, check studs and listen to the bleating of managers!

    I think a yellow for anyone who commits the third foul in say a 10 minute period. Seeing as Stoke only committed one foul (I think) in the first half and then 5 in 5 minutes at the start of the second shows clearly that it was a tactic.

  48. RockyLives says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who bangs on about ‘rotational fouling.’
    As I never tire of reminding people, Jaap Stam, in his autobiography after he left ManUre, confirmed that it was a deliberate policy of Ferguson’s to cause maximum damage and intimidation on the opposition without any Utd player ending up with a card. Or, put another way, cheating.

  49. RockyLives says:

    The feeling’s mutual 🙂

  50. 26may1989 says:

    Raddy, fair point, and any changes of course need to be workable, but one of the other things I think ought to be done is have two referees, as in hockey, ice hockey. That would help.

    But regardless of whether that suggestion is the right one, we can agree that the current situation isn’t good enough.

  51. goonermichael says:

    I know it sounds really cliche’d but last season we would have lost or drawn that game. 🙂

  52. Red Arse says:


    I look to you as the Oracle in these matters.

    Your suggestion for advancing a free kick 10 metres in certain circumstances has merit.

    However, I am sure there was a change to the rules, some years ago, where dissension with a referee’s decision was rewarded by doing just that.

    Sadly, as with so many “initiatives”, poorly applied changes to the rules by refs led to the initiative being quietly dropped, without anyone even noticing.

    Am I right, oh Oracular Being, or am I write? 🙂

  53. goonermichael says:

    Red Arse
    I remeber the ref moving the free kick 5 yards forward

  54. 26may1989 says:

    Senor Arse, you’re right….sort of! There was an experiment for advancing free kicks that was never pursued.

    But given that it’s not always advantageous to move free kicks forward (the free kick that is too close to get a ball up and over the wall etc), I think the team winning the free kick should always be allowed to move the ball backwards along the same line from the point of the foul to the centre of the goal, to get the best advantage. Plus where there is dissent, rotational fouling, some other terrible factor, the innocent team should be able to move the ball forward up to 10 metres/yards, i.e., leave it up to the players to decide where on that line would be to their greatest advantage rather than mechanistically force the ball forward regardless of whethe rit helps the attacking team or not.

  55. Red Arse says:

    Thank you oh mighty 26! 🙂

    My solution for the foul acts mentioned by you?

    Award a free kick, and forbid the offending team from setting up a “defensive” wall, other than the GK, within 20 metres of the foul, with neither team allowed within the penalty area.

    This would increase the number of goals, and would rapidly clean up the game! Seemples. 🙂

  56. Carlito11 says:

    Love the optimism about our league run in. I just have a feeling that IF we make it past Orient- we might end up beating the Mancs in the cup and them come down to London on a revenge mission. Despite being a far better team than them this season- old Red Nose seems to know how to get the better of Le Prof. That could be part of the 7 points we can drop but IF we get past Barca we have one hell of a run in and it’s not fitness that worries me as Nasri/ Cesc/ RVP have all had enough time on the sidelines to take the strain. It’s more a fear that our continual injury nightmare may reassert itself at some point. but Vermaelen should be fit in 2 weeks so maybe it’ll swing our way for once!

  57. Rasp says:

    Afternoon all. Apologies for my late appearance, I’ve been otherwise occupied.

    Well done 26m on crafting such a well written and in depth appraisal from what was a pretty dire game.

    My distaste for Stoke has only been heightened after that game. I cannot see how their fans can take any pride in their performances. Sadly they look unlikely to be relegated but we can always hope for next season.

  58. Red Arse says:

    Have any of you ever wondered how the rest of your fellow AA’ers see you?

    Have a go at the attached, if you are interested! 🙂

    Arsenal Arsenal Isometric Test: Don’t cheat! Be brutally honest about yourself!
    The test is pretty accurate and it only takes a few minutes.

    There are 10 Simple questions, so grab a pencil and paper. Record your letter answers to each question and then compare with the answer table.

    1. When do you feel at your best?…
    A) in the morning
    B) during the afternoon and early evening
    C) late at night

    2. How do you usually walk?….
    A) fairly fast, with long steps
    B) fairly fast, with little steps
    C) less fast head up, looking the world in the face
    D) less fast, head down
    E) very slowly

    3. When talking to people do you?…
    A) stand with your arms folded
    B) have your hands clasped
    C) have one or both your hands on your hips
    D) touch or push the person to whom you are talking
    E) play with your ear, touch your chin, or smooth your hair

    4. When relaxing, do you sit with?..
    A) your knees bent with your legs neatly side by side
    B) your legs crossed
    C) your legs stretched out or straight
    D) one leg curled under you

    5. When something really amuses you, you react with?…
    A) big appreciative laugh
    B) a laugh, but not a loud one
    C) a quiet chuckle
    D) a sheepish smile

    6. When you go to a party or social gathering do you?…
    A) make a loud entrance so everyone notices you
    B) make a quiet entrance, looking around for someone you know
    C) make the quietest entrance, trying to stay unnoticed

    7. When you’re working, concentrating hard and you’re interrupted, do you?…
    A) welcome the break
    B) feel extremely irritated
    C) vary between these two extremes
    8. Which of the following colors do you like most….
    A) Red or orange
    B) black
    C) yellow or light blue
    D) green
    E) dark blue or purple
    F) white
    G) brown or gray

    9. When you are in bed at night, just before going to sleep are you?…..
    A) stretched out on your back
    B) stretched out face down on your stomach
    C) on your side, slightly curled
    D) with your head on one arm
    E) with your head under the covers

    10. You often dream that you are?…
    A) falling
    B) fighting or struggling
    C) searching for something or somebody
    D) flying or floating
    E) you usually have dreamless sleep
    F) your dreams are always pleasant

    1. (a) 2 (b) 4 (c) 6
    2. (a) 6 (b) 4 (c) 7 (d) 2 (e) 1
    3. (a) 4 (b) 2 (c) 5 (d) 7 (e) 6
    4. (a) 4 (b) 6 (c) 2 (d) 1
    5. (a) 6 (b) 4 (c) 3 (d) 5 (e) 2
    6. (a) 6 (b) 4 (c) 2
    7. (a) 6 (b) 2 (c) 4
    8. (a) 6 (b) 7 (c) 5 (d) 4 (e) 3 (f) 2 (g) 1
    9. (a) 7 (b) 6 (c) 4 (d) 2 (e) 1
    10 (a) 4 (b) 2 (c) 3 (d) 5 (e) 6 (f) 1

    Now add up your total number of points.

    OVER 60 POINTS: Others see you as someone they should “handle with care.” You’re seen as vain, self-centred and extremely dominant. Others may admire you, wishing they could be more like you but don’t always trust you, hesitating to become too deeply involved with you.

    51 TO 60 POINTS: Others see you as an exciting, highly volatile, rather impulsive personality, a natural leader who’s quick to make decisions, though not always the right ones. They see you as bold and adventuresome, someone who will try anything once, someone who takes chances and enjoys an adventure. They enjoy being in your company because of the excitement you radiate.

    41 TO 50 POINTS: Others see you as fresh, lively, charming, amusing, practical, and always interesting; someone who’s constantly the centre of attention, but sufficiently well-balanced not to let it go to their head. They also see you as kind, considerate and understanding; someone who’ll always cheer them up and help them out.

    31 TO 40 POINTS: Others see you as sensible, cautious, careful & practical. They see you as clever, gifted or talented but modest. Not a person who makes friends too quickly or easily, but someone who’s extremely loyal to friends you do make and who expects the same loyalty in return. Those who really get to know you realize it takes a lot to shake your trust in your friends, but equally that it takes you a long time to get over if that trust is ever broken.

    21 TO 30 POINTS: Your friends see you as painstaking and fussy. They see you as very cautious, extremely careful, a slow and steady plodder. It would really surprise them if you ever did something impulsively or on the spur of the moment, expecting you to examine everything carefully from every angle and then, usually decide against it. They think this reaction is caused partly by your careful nature.

    UNDER 21 POINTS: People think you are shy, nervous, and indecisive, someone who needs looking after, who always wants someone else to make the decisions and who doesn’t want to get involved with anyone or anything! They see you as a worrier who always sees problems that don’t exist. Some people think you’re boring. Only those who know you well know that you aren’t.

    (I already know what you think of me!) Hmmph!! 🙂

  59. Carlito11 says:

    Bet you got 49 points Red Arse…

  60. Afternoon Red Arse – I hope you’re feeling on top of things today, I noticed you received some fan mail earlier in the comments and quite right too, don’t be bashful 🙂

    I’ve taken the test and although there were no questions on the etiquette for kissing strangers I feel my results definitely reflect the person I am in all modesty 😆

  61. Red Arse says:

    Oh Shucks, Carlito. 🙂

    Just for that I will give you some more — genuine– adverts found in the London Evening News. 🙂

    8 years old.
    Hateful little bastard.

    1/2 Cocker Spaniel,
    1/2 sneaky neighbour’s dog.

    Mother is a Kennel Club registered German Shepherd.
    Father is a Super Dog, able to leap tall fences in a single bound.

    Also 1 gay bull for sale.

  62. Hi Carlito, its a shame I missed the beer last night I’m sure the game would have felt better with a Peroni inside me.

  63. Carlito11 says:

    The beers got me through the first half pretty well Peaches! Best thing that can be said is we got 3 points and don’t have to sit through that again. Think I’ll try and watch highlights only of the return match 😉

  64. RockyLives says:

    Tony Pulis just completed the test and scored 72.

  65. Red Arse says:

    Hi Peaches,

    That is a genuine Human Resources Iso test, and is really accurate. Are you going to tell us your result?? 🙂

    Candidates do not normally see the results, of course, but as you are all my fellow AA’ers, (and the thousands having a silent peek at AA 🙂 ), I thought I would cheat and let you see them! 🙂

    Keep it with you when you next go for an interview guys!

  66. Red Arse says:

    Rocky, 🙂

    Same as me!!!!!

  67. RockyLives says:

    I’m not bashful (according to my score) so I’m happy to share the result: I scored 40. But there were a couple of questions where none of the answer’s quite fitted, so I guess it could have nudged up or down a little…

  68. Red Arse says:


    The only etiquette I know regarding kissing strangers is;

    1. Try to kiss them only when they are awake.
    2. If your motives are lustful, try not to salivate.
    3. In no circumstances kiss them on the arse, without asking permission.

    That should help! 🙂 But I’m sure our friends could help draw up a more definitive list.

  69. Red Arse says:


    That score does not surprise me, and accords with your AA persona, although a higher score would also have been appropriate, I think!

  70. 😆 thanks Red Arse 😆

  71. Red Arse says:

    Well it’s time to have a little kip (break), so see you later! “Ta ra”.

    (I love idiomatic English! “kip” “Ta ra”) 🙂

  72. dandan says:

    Having just returned from a day out I have enjoyed reading the conflicting views on last nights game.
    As far as the Gotcha is concerned Red that is a true story,so consequently easy to write Des Smyth is a fine golfer and one very funny man.

    London who is right or wrong about Woolcott is a matter of little importance although it is true I have always rated him for numerous reasons.
    I do take issue however with your contention that I support anything in Red and White, that is not and has not ever been so.

    For Instance EE drives me to distraction for many reasons and I find it most difficult to find much in his favour. Big Al for me suffers from poor decision making, though his commitment and courage in my eyes cannot be faulted.

    So we can agree to disagree re Theo. Notwithstanding that from my point of view the use of words such as pathetic are undeserved given his 11 goals and numerous assists this season

    Especially as we will in all probability after the Barca 2nd leg be saying Damn if only we had, had Theo.

  73. Carlito11 says:

    Dandan- I fear you may be right that we’ll miss our rocket-heeled man against Barca:-(
    This is the best example of “simulation” ever! A must see!

  74. Carlito11 says:

    Dammit! Code doesn’t embed! Worth clicking on though 😀

  75. RockyLives says:

    I love those phrases too. A Canadian colleague is going on holiday tomorrow and I asked him if he was ‘demob happy’. He just looked blank…

  76. RockyLives says:

    That’s brilliant. I didn’t get it at the first view… but in slo-mo… hilarious.

  77. Irishgunner says:

    Rocky you still here?

  78. RockyLives says:


  79. Irishgunner says:

    Can you give me a replacement for Walcott in your team purleaaaaaase 🙂 (for the article)

  80. RockyLives says:

    That’s easy Irish – Arsh for Theo. And if Cesc doesn’t make it I would go with Diaby (not without reservations)…

  81. Irishgunner says:

    Thanks Rocky – I suspected that but had to ask anyway 🙂

    I’ll leave Cesc in because for the moment he is 50/50 not definitely out.

  82. Big Raddy says:

    Very interesting RA. I scored 41 and am not sure fit the description. I tend to be a surly old git and have Victor Meldrew as my normal gravatar!

    Carlito. That is a brilliant vid. Won’t be long before we se it in the PL – probably Nani

  83. Irishgunner says:

    Is the final on BBC on Sunday?

  84. Irishgunner says:

    FUCK FUCK FUCK its clashing with the Ireland vs Scotland game and that’ll be on in the local pub and at home – I’ll probably miss the first half FFFFFFFFFUCCCCCCCCCK

  85. Big Raddy says:

    Wonder if Bartley is playing for Rangers tonight? Strange that he was born in Manchestere but joined Arsenal Youth; at 6’4″ and only 19 he is definitely one for the future.

  86. dandan says:

    Irish if you have to many replies will not be in the least offended if you drop mine

  87. Irishgunner says:

    Glad you brought it up Dandan.

    I have to have an even amount of fans from either side and only ONE brummie got back to me, so I went with Rocky’s answers. However, fear not, I write for another site called and will put together all your answers in an article there – waste not, want not 🙂 just working on it now.

  88. 26may1989 says:

    Rugby vs league cup final? In fact, rugby vs any game of football? Where’s the problem Irish??! Am worried about you.

    But not as worried as I am about me, am trapped in a cinema with my lovely kids watching Gnomio and Juliet. Ohmygod……

    Didn’t we sign Kyle Bartley from Bolton?

    Good personality test RA, scored 44 for what it’s worth.

  89. Irishgunner says:

    26th – I HAVE to go home at the weekend, the internet is so slow there it barely loads basic html pages. We’ve only one tv and the auld fella will want to watch the rugby (and it being his house yada yada) and the local pub near by will be definitely showing the rugby.

    Its not a matter of choice 😦

    Ah, I’ll figure something out.

  90. goonermichael says:

    The final is on Sky. Is it on the beeb as well?

  91. Big Raddy says:

    26. Yes we did, but he was born in Manchester. (is Bolton a suburb?)

  92. 26may1989 says:

    We need to put a rescue plan in place for Irish and quickly….

  93. dandan says:

    BR Bolton is a town in its own right, Bit like asking if Epping is a suburb of London mate

  94. Red Arse says:


    I have a mental image of you as a big cuddly bear, who, like Blackpool Rock, is red and white all the way thru’! 🙂

    41? Not surprised.

    26, Again a score of 44 is in keeping with my image of you too.

    You are right about Bartley, we pinched him from Bolton and, I think, paid a compensation fee; we were in competition with Spuds and Manure etc.

  95. 26may1989 says:

    Raddy, yup, it’s in Greater Manchester. Contradiction in terms, that one.

  96. Ok if everyone is giving their scores mine was 46

  97. London says:

    Fair enough Dandan, in my defence I would say that my motives for suggesting such a thing were respectful.

  98. dandan says:

    Red I scored 40

  99. dandan says:

    NO prob London, I enjoy very much your contributions and remember only to well how the emotions get driven at live matches. Much easier to be less volatile in your own home without outside influences

  100. London says:

    Hi Dandan, sorry I didn’t see this.

    “So we can agree to disagree re Theo. Notwithstanding that from my point of view the use of words such as pathetic are undeserved given his 11 goals and numerous assists this season”

    What this says to me is that you have completely misunderstood what I was trying to say. My comments about Walcott were aimed at his performance last evening, something that I repeatedly tried to make clear. Look again at his control and you will see why I use the word pathetic, a view that has nothing to do with his previous performances.

  101. Irishgunner says:

    26 – I’m going to the pub and will demand they put the CC Final on one of the tvs – I’m a valued customer so they will.


  102. I don’t know what we’re going to do about a match report for the Carling Cup Final – do we have any teetotalers amongst us that will have their head in the right place to be able to write one?

  103. Irishgunner says:

    Cesc is confirmed as out 😦

  104. Irishgunner says:

    No worries – Nasri in the middle beside Jack.

    Feel bad for Cesc more than anything.

  105. Nicely put together post Irish on Arsenal Comment, when does the other one go out?

  106. Where did you hear that Irish about Cesc?

  107. Irishgunner says:

    official twitter Peaches.

    Thanks 🙂 I’ve sent it in so it will be edited and posted

  108. RockyLives says:

    Ha! I definitely won’t be teetotalling and you can’t use the ‘five hours times difference’ argument to twist my arm this time round. Sorry.

    Through a combination of alcohol, jet lag and (I hope) euphoria, I expect to be very non compos mentis by Sunday evening.

  109. I’ll cross you off then – actually I wouldn’t have dreamt of asking you 🙂

    Maybe we’ll just have a splurg of drunken comments on Monday 😆

  110. RockyLives says:

    I’ll still volunteer my Monday-for-Tuesday…

  111. RockyLives says:

    Actually Peaches, maybe just a giant pic of the trophy would do the trick (fingers, legs and other bits crossed).

  112. RockyLives says:

    Your personality test set me thinking: I reckon the median score for contributors on AA would probably be in the 40s. Interesting to speculate what it would be on certain ‘other’ sites…

    I’m sure Myles P would be nudging 60…

  113. RockyLives says:

    Oops – three and out.

  114. chas says:

    Enjoyed the Des Smyth story and it’s prompted me to share a story told by my older brother about a Graham Gooch (i think) after dinner anecdote.

    You may or may not remember a cricketer called Derek Randall who played for Notts and England in the 70s and early 80s. By reputation he wasn’t the sharpest tool in the box despite being a magnificent cover fielder and eccentric batsman.
    Anyway as the story has it, the team Randall was playing for were under the cosh and at the tea break he decided to try to raise morale by saying a few timely words.
    He encouraged his teammates and said that they needed to rise like a pheasant from the flames. One of his teammates asked, “dont you mean phoenix, Derek?” to which Randall replied, “that’s the one…I knew it was some bird beginning with an ‘F'”.

  115. Red Arse says:

    Guys and Gals,

    If I had to make an informed guess, I would have put you all in the 40 to 50 Groups. 🙂

    I make no comment about the rumour I am in the 20’s. 🙂


    My friend worked with a young Bosnian guy. He spoke English pretty well, but did not always have a grasp of the vernacular.

    He came in one day really steamed up about something and was asked why he was all steamed up?

    “Pah! English women, like my girlfriend, think they are so superior. We argue today, but she thinks I know nothing and she knows everything. Well, let me tell you; I know fuck all!” 🙂

  116. Red Arse says:

    For those of you who heard the original joke, I apologise.

    I could not remember it properly so I used “poetic licence”. 🙂

  117. Red Arse says:

    Tomorrow Guys. 🙂

  118. Gooner In Exile says:

    So Cesc and Theo out RvP in.

    Nik B to play up front with RvP playing Cesc role, Nasri and AA23 wide with Jack and Song holding? Could be awesome and also give us extra height at set pieces.

    Just a thought on how to stop rotational fouling, I don’t think the ten yard advance would help as the foul tends to be around half way

    What really bugs me is when a player is injured as a result of a foul if he has treatment he has to go off, so at the resultant free kick the defending team has 11 men on the pitch whilst the attacking team have 10. This rule was to stop timewasting play acting, simply only enforce this rule if the referee deems there to be no foul…..or when a foul has caused the injury the player who has committed the foul should also leave the field until the injured player returns or is replaced.

  119. chas says:

    Haha, RA, I know fuck all too.
    I love it when certain bloggers say, we won’t win fuck all.

    GIE, a really ridiculous rule, agreed.
    Another thing that always pisses me off is teams wasting time persistently throughout a match, especially at the Grove and then having the benefit of the extra injury time they’ve created in which to score an equaliser.

  120. goonermichael says:

    Can Cesc get a medal at all?

  121. Gooner In Exile says:

    Scored 39 by the way

  122. Harry says:

    Evening all, shattered and need my bed, been on go since 5 this morning just got in, seen and heard nothing all on the match all day….

    Great write 26m, although the words got blurry, but thats cause I had about 3 hours sleep, due to delayed train back last night, not sure who annoyed me more British Rail or Pulis….

    I thought 6 for Nasri was a tad harsh and 6.5 for chamakh was a tad high, he really has fell away…..But we all have our views…..I heard some bloke once said Pulis was a football coach……

    Great to have a beer with Carlito last night, shame you missed it Gie, but you were close in the ground to me, should have called you then, was about 9 rows behind you……

    All meet up next wed for Orient?

    With Cesc out, I saw someone mentioned RVP in his role….not sure…My team:

    Sags Koz Jd Clichy

    Diaby Song


    Arshavin RVP Nasri.

    Bench: Eboue,Rosicky,Bendtner,Toto,Gibbs,Ramsey?, Al

  123. RockyLives says:

    That’s the team I’d go for too. Let Li’l Jack be our Cesc for the final.

    Good question. I would have thought anyone who played in any CC game would get a medal, but I don’t know the rules.

    I made exactly the same point earlier about the fouling team being given an advantage.

  124. Harry says:

    Exactly rocky, with those behind him, giving him the freedom to reap havoc……

    Think diaby and song will prevent bully boys tactics as well….

    Just so gotta to feel for Cesc, RVP will Captain well in his absence……

    I know I bang on about 1 game at a time, but i just hope and pray cesc plays at the CampNou…..

    I put Rambo on the bench, is he free to play, surely? and whoever mentioned worrying about bentley, he is cup tied…….

  125. SharkeySure says:

    Evening All

    SharkeySure score on the door: 46.

    That team looks the ticket Harry, square pegs in square holes etc etc. I note you have no Denilson on the bench, whilst I see where you’re coming from but its never going to happen, and perhaps rightly so.

    Denilson has been integral in this march to the final, and can consider himself unlucky not to start it (if thats the case on Sun). But to not even get a place on the bench with Theo and Cesc out would be criminal. I’d be stunned (maybe even mortified) if Arsene did that.

  126. SharkeySure says:

    26. Denilson 7? was my first thought, as I really wasn;t happy weith is comntributin lasdt night and thought that EE27 (for all his sins) would have been a better bet as a straight swap.

    I watched Denilson slip before his first touch, then slip again before his second. I remarked last night that Denilson has very little influence i gams of late, but to be fair you make a good point about knowing exactly what you get from him. Neat and tidy interpassing, that retains possession, and he alays seems to be in the right place to be the outlet for a team mate under pressure.

    I need to stop expecting him to turn games in our favour, and picture him in the mould of two other Brazilians – Emerson (the one who got injured and let Gilberto silva in), and Mauro Silva. I coud prob even throw in Donato who had many good years for Deportivo, playing on past his 40th birthday I think. All of those guys did what it sad on the tin. Without ever being spectacular, they kept their teams ticking over.

    Wow thats a lot of words for not a great deal of info !!!

  127. SharkeySure says:

    Donato turned up in Spain aged 26 – and played for 15 more years !!!

    18 goals in his first two seasons at Deportivo, so much for him being like our no.15 then. I’ll get my coat.

  128. FrothingInarticulateLoon says:

    102 for me Red. Is that good news..? Should I bring it up at my next case review..?

  129. Gooner In Exile says:

    Make shack captain, it’ll be his when Cesc leaves in the summer anyway (joking!)

  130. Gooner In Exile says:

    Shack=Jack obviously

  131. RockyLives says:

    Damn GiE
    I thought for a moment we’d signed Shaqille O’Neil – I’d like to see him up against Zigic!

  132. Gooner In Exile says:

    😀 Rocky

  133. Willo says:

    Thanks for your kind words in regard to the Christchurch situation. I’ve just picked up my daughter who flew up to Auckland for a few days break from the stress of the aftershocks. She lost her house but thankfully is unharmed physically. It puts in to perspective whether Denilson is shit or not.
    Thanks also for a great blog, it’s been one great season for us so far and it has been a pleasure reading a positive spin put on the lads efforts. Unlike a plethora of other negative fairweather blogs that seem to infest the internet more by the day. I’m sure some are run by spuds.
    We will win the carling cup 3-1 with van Persie 2 and Arshavin with the other.

  134. Big Raddy says:

    Willo. My thoughts are with you and your family. As you say the events in Christchurch put opinions about Denilson into perspective.

    Hope your prediction is correct.

  135. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    Anyone who thinks that Brum will just bend over on Sunday for The Arsenal should think again. I’m the sort of sports follower who won’t rest till the deed is done. 1-0 will do me. As winning the F A Cup on penalties in ’05 was as well. I do not care about the style in which its won, as long as its won.

  136. Rasp says:

    Morning all,

    Sorry I couldn’t join yesterday’s fun.

    I hope it all works out for your folks in NZ, by all accounts this was a less severe quake than the previous one but caused more damage. They’re a tough lot over there so I’m sure they’ll bounce back.

    Morning gg,
    Brum and Stoke are our nemesis in footballing terms. We’ve had to face our two most recent ‘leg-breakers’in quick succession. I’m sure they both will take pleasure out of weakening our side to play Barca by kicking the daylights out of us ably assisted by the referee no doubt.

  137. Gooner In Exile says:

    Agreed GG.

    & Rasp I’m sure the referee will delight in making sure the underdog has a fair chance of winning.

    Anyone else clinging on to the hope that Cesc out is a bit of psychological mind games, and come Sunday morning we will hear he is selected?

  138. gnarleygeorge9 says:


    I don’t know whether leg breaking will be @ the top of their priorities. They are a chance to win silverware, just as much as Arsenal. If Arsenal people continue to think of past injustices, then Arsenal may pay a high cost = runnersup.

    Arsenal need to win the game for the games sake, what ever it takes. Yes! Whatever it takes. And Arsene Wenger pre 2005 was the Cups King. I trust Arsene 🙂

  139. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    Cheers GiE

    I don’t care how much of a party pooper I may sound 😉 I will say anything I feel needs to be said to make sure that every Arsenal person is up & about for this Cup Final. Its too important!

    Winning is everything when you’ve come thus far 😀

  140. Morning all

    There’s a New Post

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