Best manager ever – Herbert Chapman

September 23, 2011

Written by Herb’sArmy

For most of us on AA, it is impossible to separate our emotions from our club, the two are intrinsically linked. It’s probably fair to say that whilst both games caused a lot of pain, the Blackburn game probably wounded us deeper than the one at OT, if only because of the expectation. And apart from one or two predictable ‘Wenger Out’ bloggers, most of us kept a lid on our seething rage.

One comment that stood out for me was RA’s, categorically proclaiming AW is the greatest manager the club has ever had.

Sorry RA, I don’t agree, and here’s why.

Collectively I think we can all acknowledge and celebrate in the wonderful things Arsene Wenger has brought to our club, and there is no doubt that he has raised our profile across the globe. Beautiful football, titles, the Invincibles, Champions League every year without fail (thus far), and a world-class all-seated stadium are the obvious stand-out achievements, along with the plethora of gifted footballers he has given us. Enough certainly to satisfy any Arsenal fan anywhere, me included. But it’s a big call to call him the greatest.

For me it is Herbert Chapman.

He truly revolutionised Arsenal, and laid all the foundations for what we are today.

We had been in existence for 44 years before Chapman won us our first trophy in 1930 (which puts this current ‘drought’ into real perspective!). He built the Huddersfield side that won three successive titles (they’ve never won it since), and then made Arsenal the most famous club in the world. He built a side that achieved something no Arsenal side has done since, dominating our domestic league with five titles and three FA Cups between 1930-39. Tragically he died January 6th 1934 with Arsenal on the way to the second of their three successive titles, and of course George Allison took over, but it was Chapman’s team, formation and tactics.

And though he only had nine years at the club, he died with his team top of the table, and with trophies still waiting to be won.

He didn’t change the club crest or over-see a massive stadium move (he didn’t have to, Highbury was a world-class stadium in it’s hey-day), but what he did do was re-define who and what Arsenal Football Club stood for. He revolutionised the whole football culture with his visionary W-M tactics, and showed the world how football should be played, with stand-out legends such as Eddie Hapgood, Wilf Copping, Alex James, Cliff Bastin, David Jack and Ted Drake.

He was the first manager to advocate floodlights, the use of shirt-numbers, and quite literally put Arsenal on the map by getting Islington Borough Council to change Gillespie Road tube station to Arsenal tube station.

Chapman’s vision all those years ago is exactly why we are in a position to appoint the likes of Arsene Wenger today.

Arsene Wenger has undoubtedly earned his legendary status at our club, but the accolade as the club’s greatest manager, for me personally, has to go to Herbert Chapman..


What’s your breaking point?

September 22, 2011

Written by FatGingerGooner

So the dust has settled on a couple of dreadful Arsenal away results, and equally dreadful defensive displays. Obviously, I’m talking about the 8-2 and 4-3 defeats. There have been a lot of people coming out of the woodwork in recent days, using these results as ammunition to have a pop at the manager and also to give their opinion on the direction this club needs to go. Now I would admit that I am an avid Wenger supporter, as most of you know, and I do get frustrated when others feel the only way forward is to get rid of him, but, even I have to admit that recent results have left my support for Arsene a little bit stretched.

So, my question to you is this:-

At what point does the recent decline in Arsenal fortunes have to get to before you say enough is enough?

WHAT IS YOUR BREAKING POINT?

For me, I am yet to reach that point, and I am hoping that Arsene has the fight left in him to turn this situation around. We are probably at the lowest I have witnessed since Arsene took over 15 years ago, the fans are divided, the team is unfamiliar, and the performances are poor. Who is to blame for this recent downturn in fortunes, I don’t know. But, what I do know is that Arsene cannot and should not take all the flak.

Is it his fault that Chelsea, Man City and Man United have been able to find Billionaire sugar daddies and thus price us out of the market? NO.

Is it his fault that his best players have decided to chase the dollar rather than try to build another legacy with Arsenal? NOT REALLY.

Is it his fault that so many of the clubs key players get injured during important parts of the season? I DOUBT IT

So would it be right of the club to get rid of a man who has done so much for them?

We have all witnessed the amazing sides that Arsene has brought us whilst manager, from the Double winners of Overmars and co, to the Invincibles led by Henry and Vieira. We have all seen the transition we have made from 1-0 specialists to easy on the eye pass masters. We have all celebrated as we have won Leagues and FA Cups, and we have all had chances (apart from myself!) to visit a brand new, state of the art 60,000 seater stadium known as the Emirates. Arsene has overseen this club through some, if not most, of its greatest ever achievements.

Personally, I believe the achievements made by this man gives him the right to leave the club on his own terms. He is the greatest manager this club has ever seen, and should be given the respect he deserves. I have seen people writing comments on blogs such as ‘this man is a disgrace to Arsenal’ and ‘Arsene is ruining this club’, well, i’m sorry, but what a crock of shit!!!

If it wasn’t for this man that you hate so much, we would probably still be at Highbury, sat in midtable, playing boring, long ball football. We would never have seen the likes of Pires, Vieira, Campbell, Overmars, Ljungberg, Lehmann, Fabregas, Van Persie and Henry. We may never have reached a Champions League or Uefa Cup final. We would never have seen the Invincibles.

What some of you fans seem to forget is that Arsene loves this club just as much as you and me. He is not here for the money, or to enhance his career, after all, he could walk into any job in world football getting paid twice as much as he gets now. He is here because he wants this club to be the best in the world. He is a fan, just like you and me.

Now, I am not so blinkered that I don’t  realise that things aren’t going well at the moment, and if things do continue on this downward spiral, then there has to be a time when the manager must be changed. But, given what Arsene has done for this club, I believe it should be his choice. He is smart enough to know when he can take this club no further, and I trust that he will make the step into the boardroom when the time is right. Until then, please can we show this man some respect.


Ox-tale super

September 21, 2011

Having missed the opportunity to ensnare London or 26may to write a match report I’m shamelessly using their comments from after the game and adding a few of my own.

Like many I was looking forward to seeing Oxlade-Chamberlain, Park and Ryo in addition to other well-known young guns show off their silky skills. Micky had been banging on about giving Mert and Kos some more playing time together which I also felt was a good idea but clearly Arsène didn’t as he started with Miguel and Djourou – as captain – as the centre-back pairing.

The joy of Carling Cup teams in the past has partly been the surprise at how well a team of youngsters were able to perform in front of an Emirates crowd. I was there the night Nik and Carlos set the pitch alight with their fabulous link up play that put Sheffield United to the sword in the same round in 2008 but I quickly realised that most of this team hadn’t had very much playing time together and so the frailties of the first team were also in evidence.

On reflection, AW missed a good opportunity to bed Mertesacker and Koscielny as a partnership before the coming fixtures. I was disappointed that Djourou was leaden footed for the Shrewsbury goal, he didn’t even jump and needs more time to get his head back together before getting in the first team. I’m willing to listen to other’s thoughts of what Chamakh brought to the team last night, he looked out of his depth to me and if he’s our answer to when van Persie next gets an injury we’re in trouble.

London’s post match comment

Ladies and gentleman

Be in no doubt, we have another star in the wings, Oxo was excitement personified. Not ready for a starting place in the first team but will be making more and more cameo performances as the season progresses. Theo can learn a lot from this young man, yes that is right. The Ox’s ability to operate in tight corners and create chances for others is second to no one in the UK that I can think of right now, there is an Argentinean dwarf overseas but we will cross that bridge when we come to it.

Other thoughts: Park is nowhere near ready for first team duty neither is Ryo but we probably all knew that one already.

Chamakh got better as the game went on but he was pants to begin with; nevertheless, I still say he has a role to play at the end of a game when we need to change to 4.4.2 in order to add more aerial threat in an attempt to get a winner or such like.

Benayoun: will someone give that man a decent meal, his mother’s chicken soup is just not doing the trick, feed the poor boy. Still, he did just fine tonight, I like the way he puts serious pressure on Ramsey for a first team place.

Gibbs was good, Jenkinson is getting better although just how far he can go, I am not so sure. Frimpong was calmer which I liked.

Djourou arrived on a horse wearing a ten gallon hat and proceeded to give a cowboy performance at defending.

By contrast Miguel was as slick as a cat on Vaseline.

Oh well, that was the best £20 I have spent in a while, naturally I joined in whole heartedly in singing:

One Arsene Wenger, there’s only one Arsene Wenger.

Trolls be gone lol

Post match comments from 26may1989

On the train home, I was thinking about what I take from this evening’s game. The fact that London has already covered many of the points I wanted to make in his 10:47pm post (darn you, London), isn’t going to get in my way.

What I learnt:

1. A 40,000 crowd at the Emeratess isn’t so bad after all, especially when so few of the whiners from the regulars aren’t there. The atmosphere was surprisingly supportive – no-one was impressed when Djourou gifted a goal to a side three divisions below us, but there wasn’t any panic and the fans remained pretty supportive.

2. Oxlade-Chamberlain is tops; both in terms of quality and appetite. Shooting, dribbling, crossing and passing, all were on display tonight. If anyone can’t see the potential in this player, their comments don’t deserve to be taken seriously. He oozes class, and £12m already looks like a bargain price to me, even before he’s faced top level opposition.

3. Coquelin’s distribution was a bit wayward at points but he grew into the game and was fantastic by the second half.

4. Miquel was tremendous.

5. Djourou is still very much in the doldrums with zero confidence.  Sorry, but he needs to be kept away from the first team.

6. Gibbs had a  good and very mature game – he was willing to take on leadership in a very young side.

7. Park was worryingly nervous for much of the fist half but with one Henry-esque cut-in and shot he found himself and did much better after that.

8. Ozyakup was a slick sub – his passing game was very nice.

9. Wenger is determined not to be shaken by the current crisis – he could have played a senior side tonight, but he stuck to his (young) guns instead.

10. The team out tonight, like the first team at Ewood Park, began the game not knowing each other very well. We’re in pre-season and the Wenger Out brigade would do well to bear that in mind. Sack in haste, repent at leisure.

11. Shrewsbury were dangerous for much of the first half, and could (should?) have scored another goal. They may not be a fashionable side, but there’s quality there, especially the two CBs. But they used up so much of their energy that they began to tire before half-time. Their keeper did help us though.

All in all, this evening was more positive than it was negative. Before the game, I would have said the same as Sharkey, that conceding even one goal and not absolutely slaughtering such lowly opposition would mean the evening would be a failure. But the youngsters out there this evening played the second half with a refreshing level of enjoyment and desire – it might have only finished 3-1 but it was still a pretty good performance from the kids and their minders.

It was a lovely prematch this evening, meeting up with Peaches, Evonne and Micky was great. Bit disconcerting being at The Tavern for prematch drinks and being able to get served at the bar immediately.


Shrewsbury, Carling Cup and Evolutionary Synthesis at the Grove

September 20, 2011

What could be better than a chance to see our new players added to a sprinkling of youth play a decent footballing side from a lower division in a Cup game? Ok, you are right, lots of things ….. but such a spectacle is interesting, isn’t it? I know that if I had the opportunity I would be meeting up with the splendid AA possee prior to cheering my team to victory. And yet, I expect a low attendance, possibly the lowest ever at the Grove; after all, the vibe around the club is very negative, the season ticket holders have to buy their tickets, and some fans think paying to see the B team is unacceptable (however cheap the seats).

I expect a very entertaining game. There is the opportunity to see the first appearance at the Grove of Park Young and the Ox and  Ryo, the chance to see some goals, and  hopefully the wonder of our other Pole in Goal.

You will not be surprised to read that I know next to nothing about Shrewsbury. They play in Div 2, they have won 6 out of their last 8 games, they will be without their CB pairing and possibly their captain, Ian Sharps, and “Marvellous” Marvin Morgan is the main striker. They are managed by Graham Turner and their home ground used to be Gay Meadows (titter you not) but is now Greenhous Meadow.

Our team:

Fabianski

Jenkinson   Mertesacker  Koscielny   Santos

Frimpong  Coquelin   Benayoun

Ox  Chamakh  Park

I would not be surprised to see Park play out left and Chamakh start upfront, he needs games and this could be ideal for him, in which case, Ryo will come on at 60 mins. I would like to see the CB’s who played at Ewood get another game – they really need as much playing time as possible what with the loss of TV for a couple of months.

Shrewsbury is the birthplace of Charles Darwin (1809-1882),  author of  Origin of the Species in which he espoused the then revolutionary theory of  natural selection, an ideology he later applied to human evolution. Such theory is fitting to the development of this Arsenal team (I think)

For many seasons the CC was a fun diversion from the serious business of the PL and CL and I look forward to a return to this attitude tonight.  Like many I maintain the debacle of losing to relegation fodder at Wembley had a hugely damaging effect upon the remainder of our campaigns, I know others disagree but in my opinion the CC is best left to our reserves –  thankfully our reserves are very good.

COYRRG

Big Raddy


Who put a curse on our team???????

September 19, 2011

Have scum put a curse on the Emirates?

I was told this story some time ago but have never passed it on because, well, frankly, I didn’t give it much credence.

It came from a relative who worked on the demolition of Highbury and the construction of the Emirates.

He is not a football fan and has no axe to grind as far as the Arsenal is concerned.

He told me this:

During the construction of our new stadium many sub contracting companies were used and these firms hired their labour in various ways.

Suffice to say, there was a huge number of casual labourers involved in the new build.

Among these, according to my informant, were two T*ttenham supporters who were, shall we say, of a pikeyish disposition. This ill-favored pair, this brace of base-born bastards, this tickle-brained twosome came up with the idea of laying a gipsy curse in Arsenal’s new home.

They consulted some old witch of their clan and were given a small bottle containing various bits of nefarious nonsense (eye of newt and tail of Sherringham – that kind of thing). The rogues then buried it somewhere in the construction site that would eventually be The Emirates Stadium.

It’s probably balderdash.

But just look at the luck we’ve had since we moved stadium. As the classic Cream track says, if it wasn’t for real bad luck, we wouldn’t have no luck at all.

The defeat at Blackburn was just the latest in a long sequence of games where we have been vanquished by extraordinary circumstances (in this case, two own goals – one of which came from a free kick for a non-foul by Arshavin – and one clearly offside goal, as well as a blatant penalty in our favour ignored by the ref).

I know you skeptics will say the defeat had nothing to do with bad luck.

And you can certainly point a finger at our tendency to panic in defense and our adoption of zonal marking and our use of players who barely know each others’ names…

And yet, and yet… We were bloody unlucky, just as we were in the 4-4 at Newcastle and the away leg at Barca and the CC final and the CL semi against Liverpool a couple of years back and the Liverpool game at the end of last season and the Birmingham game where Eduardo’s leg got smashed and the ridiculous run of long-term injuries to our very best players and and…. well, you can all add your own examples.

Logic would have it that our ambitions have been thwarted by the financial strictures of moving stadium, by the influx of gazillionaires into the EPL, by the waning powers of a once-great manager, by the greed of young players…

But what if there is something more than this? Something from the Twilight Zone (N17) that is also holding us back.

I don’t want to put the willies up you (especially after that incident with the girl in accounts…).

And as a man of logic and science (O Level Biology, 1976) I find it hard to accept that our misfortunes of recent years are the result of mumbo jumbo and witchery.

But sometimes, when the moon slips behind the clouds and the tree branches are tapping on the window, even the sanest of us can find themselves succumbing to the power of the Other.

So, just to be on the safe side, are there any Arsenal supporting Romany types out there who might know what it will take to counteract this curse (if, indeed, it exists)?

Do we need to sneak into the Emirates on a night of the full moon and bury a small vial under the centre circle containing one of Tony Adams’ pubes, a hair from Martin Keown’s head (same thing, really), a Thierry Henry nail clipping and a bit of wee from Dennis Bergkamp?

Do we need to parade 13 times backwards round the pitch at Halloween, invoking the spirit of Herbert Chapman?

Do we need to call in Harry Potter, with an “expelliamus scumcursum” spell?

Please let us know. And if you need any help lifting the curse, count me in.

RockyLives


Bruised and Battered, but not Down and Out

September 18, 2011

 

Blackburn – Arsenal: 4-3

 Match Report

Written by Total Arsenal

 

Today we saw once again the two Arsenals we got to know so well in recent years: the one that dominates proceedings and scores great goals through wonderful football, and the one that cannot defend properly. Arsenal scored five away goals and won a penalty in the last two games on the road: against Manchester United and Blackburn. Yet, we did not take home any points from those games and conceded an unbelievable 12 goals in 180 minutes of football. Between the two away games we bought new defenders, midfielders and attackers, and whether we like it or not it will take time before these players are settled in and start making a real difference. I hear you say, why oh why did we not buy them all in June/July so they could have settled in better. The answer my friend, is blowing in the wind.

First half

Arsenal started so brightly. There was pressing, crisp passing, good movement upfront and especially Gervinho looked sharp. The midfield trio of Song-Arteta-Ramsey were combining well and bossed the midfield with ease and style. Arshavin did his bit on the left, but we were most dangerous on the right, where Gervinho and the always impressive Sagna combined very well to create chance after chance. Our first goal came from a simple and incisive attack: Song gets the ball in midfield, he moves with ease past a player, after which he delivers a beautifully weighted pass into the box: it quite resembled the one Theo made for Arsenal’s first goal against Dortmund on Tuesday. Gervinho makes a good run into the box and lets Song’s ball run past his body to then cleverly hit a reverse diagonal shot under the outstretched leg of Samba and past Robinson: 1-0.

Then we get the first warning sign of what was to come: a free-kick is simply aimed at – the throughout the game very impressive – Samba in the box, who is allowed an unhindered header from which he should have done better. A few minutes later, (despite Samba’s earlier chance) against the run of play, we concede the equaliser: a simple, low ball is placed past Mertesacker into the box and there is Yakubu to elegantly sight-foot the ball past Szczesny, with the outside of his foot: 1-1, and we have to start all over again.

Samba misses another chance, but it is Arsenal who score the best goal of the game, next. A beautifully worked combination between our three central midfielders: Song passes to Ramsey just outside the Blackburn box, the latter plays a clever cutback towards the D, where just in time, Arteta arrives with a clean and beautifully hit shot, high into the net: 2-1 to Arsenal! Football at its best, and surely, this time we are not going to give it away again…. The Away Fans sing their hearts out and life feels great. Just before the end of the first half we get another great chance. Arshavin uses his body strength and speed very well and makes a fabulous run on the left hand side – he passes to Gervinho who moves himself to a decent shooting position, but his shot is blocked. He could have passed to RvP who seemed in a better position to score, but Gervinho was totally entitled to take a shot himself. RvP could not have looked more Dutch if he tried, when he showed Gervinho his unfiltered dismay about not being played in by him.

Second half

Blackburn started brightly and pressed straightaway high up the pitch – with a high defensive line – putting us under pressure, to which we were slow to react. It only took five minutes in the second half before the defensive horror show to start. The lively Rosina ‘floats in’ – by a lack of better word – a free kick towards the first post: RvP gets outmuscled and cannot get to the ball, it then drops – very unluckily – on the thigh of Song, after which it disappears into Szczesny left-hand corner: 2-2.

Arsenal were still very much in the game and more than capable of winning it, but only three minutes after the equaliser Sagna had to come off and Johan Djourou came on. This turned out to be the turning point for Arsenal. It does not take long before JD gets his first yellow card and it is clear that his confidence is low.

Szczesny, despite finding the ball four times in his net, had hardly anything to do. However, in the 54th minute, a long kick from Robinson reaches Rochina, who plays the ball cleverly to the lively Formica who takes a shot inside the box, only to be denied by a great safe from you know who. Five minutes later, another defensive howler: a corner-kick reaches Nzonzi – who before he brings the ball down with his foot was able to send a text message to all his friends – he is not closed down quickly enough, and is able to put in a clever cross towards Szczesny’s right post: a simple tap-in by Yakubu: 3-2. The new Blackburn signing is just offside, but it is not spotted by the linesman and here you go, from being 1-0 and 2-1 up, we are now trailing 3-2 against the bottom PL club. Unbelievably, and oh so cruelly, another nightmare is unfolding right before our eyes.

Gervinho has not given up though and another clever run enables him to release the ball well to the ‘hammer’ left foot of RvP. The normally prolific Dutchman hesitates for an instance and his shot gets blocked. The following corner-kick is well met by RvP’s head but the ball disappears on the wrong side of Robinson’s right post.

Then the final blow is delivered. From another corner Blackburn can break. The ball reaches Yakubu around the halfway line who passes to Olsson. Djourou is quickly there to block him, but he is already on a yellow card and seems to hesitate as to what to do: he tries to win the ball cleanly but Olsson gets away from him, and Song is also not able to block him off: he ‘passes’ the ball to Koscielny, who inadvertently puts the ball past the flabbergasted Szczesny: 4-2 – game over, so it seems. Desperately unlucky: two own goals and a slightly offside goal all in one game.

However it is not over yet. Chamakh who came on for Song for the last 15 minutes, rises well inside the box between Givet and Dann to reach a peach of a cross by RvP with some power: 4-3 with five minutes to go. A number of chances follow: a great, super-cross by Santos for the revived, and towards the end of the game real leadership showing, Mertesackter – who misses a good chance; RvP’s shot in the box gets blocked by Robinson; Chamakh misses a good header-opportunity; and Theo should have had a penalty when Robinson took him down without touching the ball. It was not to be, and despite 57% of possession and 16 attempts on target (BBC), AND scoring three goals, Arsenal go home with no points at all, once again.

The team showed fight till the end: we never gave up and that at least is an improvement from last season.

Conclusions & Player Ratings

I have decided not to score individual players this time, as this would inevitably lead to discussions about how woeful some of our players have been yesterday, leading to the identification of the next lot of Arsenal players who need kicking out of the door as soon as possible. I am sick to the teeth about our need to single out individual players to blame, if and when we have a sequence of bad games. Clearly, some players have underperformed in this game but this is a new team, in a new post-Cesc era, and for me it is obvious that we are struggling with the system-side of things such as: communication, positioning, holding a defensive line and ‘zonal marking’, ability to find each other and anticipating what fellow players want to do, how to keep possession, how to dominate the midfield, how to create chances for the front players etc, etc.

Individual performances are often significantly influenced by these factors, especially at the start of the season and within a new team. And, although it is easy and gratifying to make one or more of our players into scapegoats – we are all humans in the end – this is not what we should be doing right now. The problem lays in the simple fact that the new players will have to be integrated with the existing players, in a new football system that best suits the quality of all our players, and makes us forget the departure of Fabregas. This is clearly far from ideal, but we are where we are.

I still have full confidence in the quality of our squad and Wenger’s desire and ability to change this round. However, this will take time and there is nothing we can do but hope that we will get back to winning ways soon. Losing to Blackburn hurts badly, and it is highly likely that we will get hurt and embarrassed again in the next few months, but now is the time to stand by our club, players and manager to see this period of transition through: we will need to win this battle by battle, game by game. Next game is Shrewsbury, COYRRG!


Hopefully the final trip to Blackburn – preview.

September 17, 2011

Let me start by stating the views held below are entirely my own and in no way represent the views of the site.

Anyone who has read my pre-matches over the seasons will know that I am not a huge fan of Blackburn, I will go further and say that for many seasons they have represented all that is reprehensible in football – from top to bottom.

Let’s look at their recent record:

Managers: Graham Souness, Paul Ince, Fat Sam, Mark Hughes, Steve Kean.  Only Dalglish brought some respectability to this awful club and he was sacked (by mutual consent).  The last 3 seasons have seen them reach their nadir – from the non-football of the Walrus through to Kean’s  commitment to the “big man.”

Ownership.: Jack Walker (the first man to buy the PL), the Chicken chaps – the chicanery of the promotion of Kean by the Venky’s, whom it is said had no conception there was relegation in football and the PL was based upon the franchise system as in the NFL!

Players: El Hadj Diouf, Robbie Savage, David Bentley, Craig Bellamy (both players of the season!) –  they are united in their awulness.

If you enjoy utilitarian football allied to workmanlike players who are encouraged to “get in their faces,” then Blackburn is the club for you. The management are at best pragmatic.  There is a reason Blackburn are most peoples favourites for relegation.

Detail of Steve Kean’s tactics

What should we expect from a team based around the physical presence of Yakubu, Samba, Jason Roberts? Tactically, I guess they will be very energetic, pack the midfield, look to stifle our creative players, defend in depth to stop the pace merchants,  hit a number of long balls to the isolated front man and look to score from set pieces. They do have quality, Givet and Samba are two fine players, Dunn has been,  and in Hoilett they have the makings of a top player.

To turn to the men in the white hats, we celebrate the return of the violent miscreants: Song, Gervinho and Jenkison, two of whom I expect to play today. Song was outstanding in Germany and I look forward to a more mature performance from him than the idiocy with Barton.

My team:

Gibbs has played twice in a week and being fragile could use the rest, furthermore I would like to see Santos play – he is supposedly a fine attacking LB and despite Holliet being a right winger, should have plenty of opportunities to get forward. Should Benayoun start ahead of Arshavin? In a game which is likely to get physical – yes.

Today’s referee is Andy Marriner (I think). Let us hope he gets early control and that our team can keep 11 players on the pitch.

Blackburn as everyone knows has 400o holes in it  (Lennon was referring to the appalling state of the local roads). What is less known is that Mitchell and Kenyon who were pioneers in the development of cinematography  lived in Blackburn until 1901.

A tough away  game with Blackburn looking to dig themselves out of a hole (sic) having won just one point so far this season but one that Arsenal have reason to be positive about.

N.B. Don’t forget the 12.45 kick-off!

COYRRG

Big Raddy