Imagine this: 2010. You support a club which has won the European Cup, your team has a wealthy American owner , they are Wembley regulars and are usually in contact with the League leaders, they are managed by one of the best PL managers (O’Neill) and have some decent players in the squad.
Move forward a couple of years to 2012. Suddenly your club is owned by a man whose personal fortune has diminished from 1.5 billion to less than the cost of your new striker. They have taken on a manager from your hated rivals with a football policy that harks back to the ’50’s, your club is over 50 million in debt, and sit 15th in the PL with little hope of improvement.
A Face like the Smell of Gas
Just think …. there are Gooners who think Arsenal have problems!!!
Aston Villa are one of those clubs almost everyone has a soft spot for. A family club with good traditions. Decent ground, decent supporters, no real challenge for The Arsenal (we have lost to them twice since 1999) – what is there not to like? OK, they beat us at The Emirates last season but we were awful that day, with Darren Bent scoring twice in the process of relegating poor Squllaci to the reserves
This season we beat Villa in a tight game with Benayoun scoring in the 87th minute. Can’t see Bennie getting a bench seat today. With the return of our first choice MF’s (bar JW) his days are numbered.
Bennie and Arshavin. Will we see them again
I know many are extolling our fantastic run as a return to the Arsenal of Old but I am yet to be convinced. We were definitely second best at Anfield with the woodwork and Szczesny’s brilliance saving us, and at Goodison we were hardly outstanding. I have said previously the difference is that we are getting the breaks which we certainly didn’t get earlier in the season when we hit the woodwork over and over again, and got beaten by teams who had 2 0r 3 shots on target all game. Luck matters, it is often the difference in a tight game.
Having an almost full squad to choose from is a luxury we have not had for some time (1982?). Mr Wenger has options in almost every position which makes guessing the team considerably more difficult. The back 5 pick themselves though I expect to see Santos get some pitch time – he will be important in the run-in. The Gerv/Ox position is difficult. Ox plays deeper and can help the midfield more consistently than Gerv, but Gervinho is better on the break and we can win this game with pace.
Unlike the Everton game I do not expect an 8 man midfield battle. I expect AV to park the bus and look to hit us with the ball over the top to Agbonlahor (Bent is injured). In N’zogbia, Ireland and Petrov they have players who can hurt us with clever through balls.
This week’s Gooner. How about another Old Timer? The writer George Orwell was a Gooner. Born in India he became a fan during the late 1920’s. Orwell then moved to Hampstead and later Kentish Town where he witnessed the great Arsenal team of the 30’s winning absolutely everything. In his Collected Essays he writes of the pride he felt when 7 Arsenal players represented England in a game at Highbury. After WW2, he moved to Canonbury Sq.Islington where he lived until bad health forced him to leave the borough of his beloved team.
Another important game today. Whatever the result at the Bridge we have to win. There are tough games ahead and Villa, despite being a decent side, are just the type of team we have to dispatch in what will be a tight contest for the CL places.
written by Big Raddy