Disheartening lethargic display

October 21, 2012

Reading back through the comments during and after the game, the disappointment was intense.

Largely, I expect that before the game most gooners had felt that we should come home with all three points from Carrow Road. By the time it got to the last ten minutes of the game I would have settled for a point even though both of the Manchester clubs and the chavs had come from behind to win their games earlier in the day. The days of our Arsenal swashbuckling their way to a victory from the jaws of defeat seem such a long time ago.

The stats for the game tell you nothing of how poorly we played. They say we had thirteen shots to Norwich’s  seven ……… THIRTEEN, can anyone remember that many because I can’t and seven of them were on target. Oh, I do remember Ruddy catching the ball a couple of times but they were hardly close.

We had 62% possession according to the BBC, I’d rather have 30% and make it count for something. In truth, we didn’t ever look like scoring because we really didn’t try very hard.

Maybe it was Arteta being pulled out of position protecting the space left by Santos, maybe it was Podolski carrying an ankle injury, maybe it was Vermaelen not playing as a steady centre-back, maybe it was Gervihno being trapped and Santi’s radar being switched off and Giroud just not seeing enough of the ball but this Arsenal hardly played as a team.

I’d noticed similar problems against West Ham but we got lucky and managed to score and win that game.

This team have for some reason stopped playing like a team. Is the Theo question having a destablising effect on the dressing-room? Have the frailties that stopped previous squads pushing themselves forward hit this squad already? The early gung-ho, look at us, we’re the mighty Arsenal has vanished.

Yesterday we returned to passing backwards and rarely running with the ball through the mid-field to frighten and open up the opposition. The Norwich players were on their toes and they seemed to know exactly what we were going to do and they were ready to cut out our passing almost every time. We on the other hand were extremely lucky to get away with a 1-0 scoreline, I feel.

I would say we were undone in the final third but that doesn’t explain why so little of the play actually got into the final third.

You have to wonder what the morale is like after a defeat like that. When we lost to Chelsea it was as a result of poor defending of set-plays, they scored two goals that we should have defended better but at least we were trying to score and on the balance of the play probably we were good for a draw. Yesterday a goalkeeping error helped  Norwich to a goal but it wasn’t in the 85th minute, it was in the 20th minute, we still had plenty of time to get into the game and turn the screw. No-one’s head seemed to be in the right place.

Giroud, Podolski, Cazorla and Gervihno will get us goals this season as will Theo, The Ox and Ramsey but the play has to lead to a goal scoring opportunity and yesterday it didn’t.  We had ten corners and they just weren’t good enough.

I’m very sad because I was really looking forward to watching this team play again and I’m disappointed that we’ve slipped further behind the leaders with this loss. I know we’re only eight games in and it’s a long race but we should be gaining ground not dropping down the table.

Luckily there’s not much time to hide under the rock, licking the wounds and an injury to The Ox doesn’t help when trying to look for positives but Jack was there, ready and willing even though AW didn’t send him into the fray. Other players that teams find unplayable like Theo and Diaby will hopefully return soon and Gibbs and Koscielny give us more options in defence.

Did we have a captain out there today? Vermaelen was wearing the armband but I didn’t much in the way of rousing the team from him. AW has to find an answer to this fairly quickly, in games like this one when we play in this way we are rudderless and that can’t help with team harmony either.

The connection that was in evidence at the start of the season between this group of players must return at some point, sooner rather than later huh?

Written without humour by peachesgooner

Narch. Letsbe Avingham.

October 20, 2012

Thank Dennis for that – it’s over .Two weeks of unrelenting football withdrawal. Cold turkey is over and we get our fix this afternoon.

Last time we played the Canaries it was  a roller coaster game at THOF in May; we went one up after 65 seconds, 2-1 down after 30 minutes, 3-2 up and finally allowed Norwich to equalise in the 85th minute. Some bloke scored two for us. Narch played very well but times have changed for the East Anglians, they sit just one point above the dismal QPR having a minus 12 goal difference and only 3 points from 7 games. They have yet to win at home.

History shows we have not lost at Carrow Rd since 1984, however 7 of the last 12 games have been draws.

Norwich: Let us start with their manager. People say (and this includes many Arsenal people) that Chris Hughton is a decent bloke. ……. . Decent Bloke? Which decent bloke plays 300 times for the blue-bellied sheep biters? The man is devil-spawn and guaranteed to take this lovely family club down with the Rangers.  Hughton is so average that Alan Pardew took his job! Nothing more needs saying. Don’t believe me? Check out his record since leaving Newcastle ….. Played 12  won none. And he has a carrot shaped head.

What of his team of flatlanders? Are they a bunch of decent pro’s doing the best for their families and playing honest, open football? 5 goals scored in 7 games tells a story. With just two yellow cards all season it must be said that Norwich are not a team who intimidate their opponents.

Ugly as a Dropped Pie

Who plays for the lovely historic town of Norwich? Well, there is a smattering of ex-miscreants – Bassong & Kane, England’s 3rd choice Mr Ruddy, the hideous but dangerous Grant Holt (sounds like a train station …. two returns to Grant Holt, please). Steve Morison is Holt’s forward partner, born in Enfield plays for Wales and  has a boy named Fenton . The defender Russell Martin was born in Brighton and represents Scotland.  Alan Smith says Wes Hoolahan is a player to watch – if he plays he is a second striker.

Arsenal: We are unbeaten away, scoring freely and defending well (apart from a few set play blips). 7th doesn’t reflect how well we are playing  or how the new boys are adapting to life in the PL.

We have 5 ever present players in the league. Can you guess who they are (without checking)?

The Internationals cost us 2 players, both Theo and Kos are out. Fabianski is out for a few more months. The defence picks itself.

My Team:

Once again, we have a strong bench though Coquelin is out.

Gervinho will be important this afternoon as he seeks to continue his scoring run; his pace and trickery will be of great concern to the Norwich defence. Let us hope he has not been too traumatised by the events in Senegal. I include Ramsey but if Diaby is available he would be the first choice.

Podolski has been a revelation in his attitude to hard work; he has a Mercedes Diesel engine. His ability to drop back and bolster the the left side of defence has allowed us to be very strong in midfield and it is here that we will win the game. I expect Norwich to try and flood the midfield – perhaps not zaparkowac autobus – but nonetheless defend deep. They are at home and surely have to try to entertain and take 3 points.

Further to my shock revelation that there is no way Jack Wilshere will play even a minute today, there is rumour he is in the squad. To play him would be a mistake. AW says he is only 80%, so what is the point?

Whilst you are munching through your cornflakes, let me tell you about the chap below because we like a British hero and fellow certainly fits the bill.

Sir Samuel Baker (great grandfather to Arsenal’s Joe).What this chap did in his lifetime is astonishing. He discovered  Uganda and named Lake Albert, searched for the source of the Nile, was a big game hunter, a fellow of every society known to man, explored on all the continents, was a friend of Edward v11, became Pasha of Egypt, and was a fervent anti-slavery campaigner. He would surely have been a Gooner but died too early.  All this and a fine Beardsman.

An important 3 points today (Yes – I know – they all are). We have to punish teams at the opposite end of the table , we didn’t last season and almost paid the price. There can be little question that Arsenal are the better team, there is only one Norwich player who would get in our squad, let alone our first team (Ruddy). The bookies are expecting us to win at Carrow Rd (odds 4/7)  and as they say, you never see a poor bookie.


Written by Big Raddy

Arsenal History Lesson

October 19, 2012

A few weeks ago, a good friend of mine came to see me in a distraught state. He was deeply worried that his 12 year old son was showing signs of coming out… as a Tottenham fan. The boy had showed no interest in following his dads hobby of Arsenal or football but now after starting big school he is was doing what all us parents fear, mixing with the wrong sorts, i.e. Tottenham fans. How could this happen? I don’t blame the kid, hes obviously troubled and hence mixing with the wrong crowd. I do blame my friend a bit, he should have been more forceful. But no, the real culprit is this countries educational system.

This got me thinking as to what should change. I believe proper education should start at about five when the kids are infants. I then wondered what if I was a teacher and addressing a class of five year olds, how would I approach it? Well it would be something like this.

I was greeted at the classroom gates by Ms Applegate, an attractive twenty something who would be sitting in whilst I gave the kids a good thrashing…err, I mean lesson . She greeted me warmly but overcome with excitement my first words to her were “Man, you smell good baby” She gave me a startled and worried look, but still led me into the classroom.

Hi kids my name is Terry, and I’m here to give you a history lesson. I usually get a cheer when I enter a room, but never mind, I forgive you. Right, to understand British history you must first understand Arsenal football club” (Ms Applegate looked shocked)

It all started in the 1920’s when a man who was very similar to Father Christmas, but better than him, called Sir Henry Norris, made the modern Arsenal. He was a great man. Before him there was no such thing as North London, so he invented it. He made Arsenal into a great football club, never taking reward for himself. Infact, he gave all his money to children and was loved and cherished throughout the world and beyond

Some people will say that he done some bad things with money but don’t believe them, he was very kind and gave all the children brilliant presents.

Now listen here kids sometimes bad people tell lies about good people. Some people will say that Sir Henry did some bad things but don’t believe them. For instance your parents might read in the local papers soon about how a man with the same name as me, looks exactly like me, and lives in the same house, has been caught swindling money from a local charity. This is very important to understand. It’s not me, just some poor man who has the same name and face and lives in my house”. (Applegate had her face in her hands)

Then Uncle Herbert came to Arsenal. Now Uncle Herbert was the cleverest man ever and some say he walked on water. In the 1930’s Arsenal won the world cup led by Uncle Herbert’s genius. He was such a genius that busts were mad of him all over the world. It is a fact that Her Majesty the Queen and Nelson Mandela have such busts of him in there house. So, Uncle Herbie is remembered as the greatest man that ever lived. The only thing that stopped Uncle Herbert from winning more World cups was that he passed on and became an Angel,

After Uncle Herbie, his son George Allison became leader. He took Arsenal to the Promised Land and won many more World Cups. He would have won more if it wasn’t for a very bad man called Hitler, who didn’t like football because everytime he saw a ball it reminded him that he wanted two balls. Besides, he was a season ticket holder at Tottenham.

Now, after the 1930’s, Arsenal became a force for all that is good in the world, but there were still some bad men who didn’t believe in Arsenal and would do horrible things. They are mostly called Tottenham fans. You can recognise these people because they are very ugly, have a tail, and sing silly songs about a man who is really a woman called Glenda Hoddle. You must never trust them. If a man ever asks if you want to go home with him and play with his Hornby Train Set or says that he has some very cute Rabbits living in his shed, don’t believe him, he is probably one of them”.

Then a little boy put his hand up.

Boy – “But my daddy likes Tottenham. He says they are a brilliant team in Black & White”

Terry – “What’s your name boy?”

Boy – “Timmy Jackson”

Terry – “Well Jackson, I knew there was something dodgy about you. Go and stand in that corner facing the wall. No use crying boy, you will thank me in the long run, I’m saving you from a life of Rabbits”.

All the other kids were looking bewildered, but I quickly put their minds at ease

So you see children, that’s what happens if you’re naughty like Jackson. If you do not follow the path of the Mighty Arsenal, you will have to watch endless replays of Jimmy Greaves and your memories of Hornby Train Sets will not be good.

At this point a couple of other kids were close to tears themselves from Jackson’s sobbing and I could hear groans of when can we play, or I want my mummy. Then Applegate intervened.

“Look Mr Mancini, this whole thing is totally inappropriate and I must ask you to stop now”

I wasn’t having that. These kids needed my help.

Leave it out love, these kids need a proper education not the drivel you teach them. After the lesson I will give you a nice massage and you will probably fall in love with me. Now be a dear and go and make us a nice cup of tea.

She looked shocked (no idea why) and stormed out, so I continued the lesson.

So kids, now I want to tell you about Father Arsene. He came to Arsenal in the nineties and everyone soon realised that he was the kindest, most generous and greatest manager since Uncle Herbie. He won lots of nice prizes, and gave them out to all the good children in the world. But not to little runts like Jackson over there. Father Arsene invented the term good football. Before him everyone just kicked the ball as hard as they could and beat each other up chasing it.

Now children, I want you all to stand up and sing this song. Just repeat what I say and remember to sing it every morning when you wake up. If your good and sing this every day you will get many nice prizes from Father Arsene

Good old Arsenal, were proud to say that name. Whilst we sing this song we will the game, while we win this song we will the game

Now to finish off kids, we will sing a song about how Tottenham went to see the pope

Just at this point I saw Applegate approaching with two rather large men, and there was no massage oils or tea tray.

Alright kids, ive just got to climb out of this window. Remember to sing your Arsenal song every morning.

So that’s what I think should happen to convert all undecided to the Mighty Arsenal. Whats your solution?

God Bless

Terry M

Stand Up For Your Rights

October 18, 2012

In the last few weeks we have seen that our footballing family in Liverpool have finally been provided with the facts about Hillsborough. Firstly I want to applaud the various groups who have never given up in their fight for the truth.

We now know that crowd management failed, and that the ground was an accident waiting to happen yet the FA and Police saw no reason to move the game to a safer venue.

Something else occurred to me, the Taylor Report as a result of the tragedy recommended that standing areas be removed from all football grounds and seats installed in their place. We as football fans were subject to being tarred with a now known to be invisible brush.

Strangely the Taylor Report seemed to be critical of the Policing of the event, and disregarded many of the conspiracies of late tickets and alcohol consumption. Taylor also refers to the safety of the ground, the fact that this was the 9th such report in recent history on safety of fans in football grounds.

However the Government and Police Authorities of the time seemed to have performed a masterstroke by employing the Sun to publish a number of lies regarding the tragedy. This seemed to stick with the public in general and the loss of terracing was inevitable along with a general cleaning up of the game as recommended by the Taylor Report. It was not all bad it refers to the the squalor that some of us had to bear, the lack of toilets etc and suggested that there was apathy amongst owners to improve the lot of the fans.

So my question today is do the recent revelations mean that the Taylor report was flawed? Should they have banned terracing or just demanded improved safety measures?

Afterall the terracing itself did not cause this disaster, the fences, the pens, the poor signage the failure to operate the Leppings Lane End properly (fill up each pen at a time) led to the disaster, they are all mentioned in Taylor’s Report.

I sat down in protest on the North Bank after my last chance to stand on it, along with many others. I was only 16, I had graduated from standing at the front of the Junior Gunners section to standing at the back of the North Bank from about the age of 14. I always enjoyed when we went f***ing mental for no other reason than we all wanted to change position.

Did I ever feel unsafe? Not once.

In our Health and Safety culture I know we will not return to those terraces, but we only have to look to Germany and teams like Dortmund to see how good it can be. The safe standing areas can house 3 people where every seat is. They are still to my knowledge allocated a space, so tickets can still be sold in their current way. Currently we pay £35 for a seat behind the goal, the club could probably charge £15 each for standing,treble the capacity at both ends of the ground and increase revenue whilst making it cheaper for fans.

Before you vote I ask you to look at the Hoffenheim Stadium and see how the Safe Standing Terraces are implemented, the website linked is also very interesting read.

Unfortunately I don’t see this being implemented at the Emirates, the design probably does not allow it, and we will have issues attempting to raise the capacity of the ground.

So my question to you all, should a return to standing be allowed?

Written by Gooner in Exile

Wilshere to start on Saturday and International Report

October 17, 2012

Will he or won’t he? Of course he won’t. There is as much chance of Wilshere starting as there is of Spurs winning the PL in my lifetime (or yours). I do not understand the calls for Jack – too often have we seen the results of bringing a player back too early. My guess is that JW is in Mr Wenger’s face every day desperate to get on the pitch; his career has been in park mode when he should have been establishing himself as the best player of his generation. It remains to be seen what effect his year put will have on his development.

Is Jack the “Real Deal”? This is another question entirely. The press and fans always hype up a player and the level of Jack-hype is ridiculous. There was talk of inclusion into the England squad before he has played for Arsenal !!

Jack may be a Dad but he is still a little boy.

As to the Internationals. Last night saw differing fortunes for our lads. A ying and yang game for Per Mertesacker who played the whole game for Germany, scored a volley and then was central to his side conceding 4 goals. The BBC laid the blame for Sweden’s last at the feet (or head) of Per, but as usual it was lazy journalism.

Mr Giroud came on as sub for Benzema to score a lovely goal. On the pitch for just 10 minutes he was very active and involved. A Ribery cross was deftly guided (with some power) into the far corner of Casillas’s net. A good lesson for the Arsenal wide-men; put in a decent cross and Giroud with score. In my opinion, he could be the best attacking header of the ball we have seen since Alan Smith.

Gervinho had a troubled night in Senegal. From what I saw he had a very good game and played wide left. Senegal played a pressing game and The Swerve  was Ivory Coast’s main outlet. Sadly, the game ended badly after the Senegal fans rioted.

Ramsey’s Wales won and lost. The Ox is benched for tonight’s match in Poland. Podolski was a German sub. Cazorla came on as sub for Spain – some nice touches but not particularly influential. Koscielny gave a way a dreadful penalty which Fabregas missed.

As far as I can find out, no-one was injured though Theo will be out for at least 3 games.

Written very hastily by Big Raddy

The Midfield Conundrum.

October 16, 2012

Sherlock Holmes said that whatever is left once you have removed the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.

What has this to do with our midfield? Well,  ….. the impossible is that we will have a fully fit midfield  to choose from, we have physical fragility in spades – Diaby, Wilshere, Rosicky, Ramsey, Frimpong, Coquelin and Arteta have all suffered long term injuries over the past few seasons and there is no reason to think this will change.

And what is improbable? That less than half of them will be fit at any one time. Add in the as yet to be damaged Ox, Arshavin and Cazorla and we have lots of choice, some might say, too much choice. At a time when all three of our Goalkeepers are under the age of 23 and two of them are crocked, it could be said that we lack squad balance – but that is another story and another post.

I would need RA mathematical qualities to work out the possible combinations of our midfield, all I know as there are too many to count on my fingers. Even if we take Cazorla and Arteta as starters  there are 8 possible partners for them. But should they be automatic starters? Is a midfield of Diaby, Wilshere and Coquelin worse? Or  Ramsey, Ox and Rosicky? etc etc etc

Should Oxlade- Chamberlain be considered as a future midfield linch-pin or a prettier Peter Beardsley?

My point is that what is left is the truth and the truth is we have too many midfield players. The skill sets of Ramsey, Rosicky, Coquelin, Wilshere, and Ox are similar – not identical but similar. I would be happy for any of them to start against any opposition, Cazorla is exceptional. We have no player who can replicate the skills of Arteta but should he be injured we will change the balance of the midfield to be either more attacking or more defensive.

What do you think will be our best midfield assuming all are fit? And what do you think it will look like in 2014? My take is:

2012   Diaby    Cazorla     Arteta

2014     O-C   Wilshere  Cazorla   Arteta

Because I believe to maximize the potential in this squad we have to play  4-3-1-2 with Ox being the 1.

The difficulty will be juggling the fantastic talent we will have behind the first eleven. Wages can be a recompense – it works for Nasri, Kolo, Cahill, Malouda, Nani etc but a truly ambitious player will want first team action and many of our squad players are highly talented lads who have yet to fulfill their potential, something I feel sure they will agitate for.

Lost in the Midfield

For the first time  I can recall we have an area of the pitch which is flooded with exceptional talent.  How would you sort it out ? I have no idea but then I am not paid £6m a year.

( pic c/o Didit )

Written very quickly by Big Raddy

Arsenal’s Worst Injury News Ever

October 15, 2012

Following Theo Walcott’s worrying injury against San Marino (who knew you could bruise a lung?) this seems like a good time to ask what has been the most damaging injury we have ever suffered.

I don’t mean damaging to the player (because surely Ramsey and Eduardo would jointly walk away with that one… well, hop away at any rate).

I mean damaging to Arsenal’s fortunes at the time.

Yes I know it’s a downbeat subject, but I’m feeling downbeat during this ridiculous two-week interlull*.

I know we’re supposed to be all “Cry God for Harry, England and Saint George” when Ingurland are on international duty, but I really couldn’t give a Gareth Bale’s uncle.

And so to the injuries which, given our abysmal history in recent years, should be a topic close to the hearts of most of us.

Fabregas Fractured

In the 2009-10 season Cesc Fabregas is proving to be an inspirational player. As the final day of March arrives, we are entertaining his DNA buddies from Barcelona in the Champions League quarter final (first leg); we are also sitting just four points behind Manchester United in the EPL, with six games to go. The Barca game finishes a 2-2 draw, with Captain Fabregas grabbing a memorable equalizer.

Unfortunately it emerges afterwards that even as he hit that goal to send the Emirates into ecstasy, he was suffering a leg fracture. Cesc misses the rest of the season and, without him, our form slumps. We lose the second leg in Barcelona and in the EPL we win only two of our remaining six matches to finish the season in third place, 11 points behind United.

If Fabregas had stayed fit, might we have ousted Barca and pushed on to CL and league glory? The answer to the first question is almost certainly “no” and to the second… “maybe.”

Van Persie (1)

Same season, 2009-10, and Robin van Persie is in fine form. He is named Player of the Month for October after a string of goals and assists. On November 14th he turns out for Holland in a “friendly’ against Italy.

A nasty tackle by the Italian defender Chiellini leaves him with an injured ankle and, supposedly, a six week lay-off. Clearly not wanting to become another of the “Disappeared Ones” in the Arsenal treatment centre, Robin pops over to Europe for some treatment with horse placenta and – Bingo! – six weeks out becomes five months.

Would a fit Robin have potentially sent us into the final run-in several points AHEAD of United rather than behind them? With the form he was in – very possibly.

Eduardo Horror Tackle

We probably all remember that day at Birmingham a bit too well. Arsenal are top of the league, the team are looking strong and, surely, glory awaits. Then, within minutes of the kick off, a lumbering Brummie oaf – Martin Taylor – dives in on our in-form Crozillian striker Eduardo and snaps his ankle in two.

The team are traumatised; captain William Gallas sits in the centre circle crying at the end of the game and, subsequently, our form drops quicker then a Towie girl’s knickers on a night out in Basildon.

Could we have won the league in 2008 but for Eduardo’s break? Most definitely YES.

Snap! Ramsey Horror Tackle

It is unbelievable when our boys have to experience an almost identical assault on another of their team mates, Aaron Ramsey, two years (almost to the day) later. In this case the offender is the Orc’s Orc, Ryan Shawcross, and the venue is the Britannia Ground where those classy Stoke fans boo young Aaron as he’s stretchered off to hospital.

In fairness, the team’s reaction was stronger this time round but we still had a disappointing finish to the 2009-10 season.

Did Aaron’s injury make a crucial difference? Given his youth and inexperience, probably not – but with the subsequent loss of Fabregas a month later it certainly didn’t help our midfield options.

Van Persie (2)

Come to think about it, this whole Post could have been about Brave Sir Robin, but I’ll keep it to two. In 2007-08, following the departure of Thierry Henry, it’s BSR’s turn to step into the limelight. He starts just as we would have hoped, with seven goals in 10 games. Then – yes, you’ve guessed – he goes off on international duty and comes back crocked. His involvement for the rest of the season is sporadic, to say the least.

Notwithstanding the trauma following the Eduardo injury, Robin’s full time presence in 2007-08 might well have given us the edge to find our way to silverware.

Ashley Cole

Football’s most charming man misses most of the 2005-06 season through injury, before following the smell of Maureen’s filthy lucre over to West London. We finish third that year, just ahead of the Spuds.

Flamini does a good job filling in in an unfamiliar position, but we undoubtedly lose something with not having Cole’s defensive solidity and attacking threat.

Could we have won silverware with him? A long shot, but it’s a possibility.

Those are the most telling ones from recent memory. There must have been devastating injuries from previous eras but I can’t seem to recall them.

Players just didn’t seem to get injured so much in the pre-Premier League age. Or maybe they did, but they were just pumped full of cortisone and sent out to get on with it: “Bruised lung? You’re havin’ a larf. Here, hold still while I give you this jab… that’s it – now get out there and kick someone.”

For what it’s worth, I believe the Eduardo injury was the most damaging of the ones I have listed.

The team was cooking on gas and I – and many Gooners – really felt the title was there for the taking.

The collapse in the team’s morale after the injury was disappointing (whatever happened to “let’s win it for Stumpy”?) but I do feel that we might have celebrated a 14th league title if it hadn’t happened.

What do you think?

And what injury blows have I missed off?


* © Arseblog

Box to Box Supporters

October 14, 2012

In the wake of some Club Financials, I am going to assume that future commercial deals are in good hands. That leaves the biggest threat to our business being the renewal/take-up of Corporate Boxes, and the massive contribution to match day income (someone can correct me, but I believe it represents something around 30% of match day revenue). I have noticed some spaces up there, and this is worrying. What’s to be done?

Well, let’s begin by studying these creatures.

I have only been in a box once. While very generous of my host, and I did have a great evening sitting with real die hard Arsenalistas in our compartment, I have to say that the boxes surrounding us were filled with decidedly uninterested looking sorts. Their mobile telephones were very busy and I could only think that it was an okay evening out. Nothing more.

Firstly, I must point out that I have nothing against Corporations or Big Business, although sitting amongst them does not rock my boat. However, we at The Arsenal do need to show them a good time, and I’m not convinced we are doing a very good job. I think the most fundamental error is in assuming these people are here primarily for the football. I don’t think so. It’s to impress someone, meet someone, tick a box, its free, and ok some like a game but probably follow some other team, while overall I would imagine only a tiny percentage are serious Arsenal Fans.

In the name of research, I have just visited The Arsenal site and unearthed this picture. Let’s be honest, if we were comparing to hotels, then these boxes are at the Travelodge end of the market. I also downloaded these prices for the next home game.

Executive Box Package
10 Seater @ £4,500 + vat
12 Seater @ £5,400 + vat
15 Seater @ £6,750 + vat

Right, so £450 a pop including lunch and nibbles. Just had a look around options on the same day, and you can get best tickets to see someone called Cheryl for £100, or Swan Lake at The Royal Opera House for the same price. Alright, so no chicken legs included and no welcoming glass of fizz, but still.

Look, 90% of Corporate are male, and we know what generally constitutes a good night out. Think Stag Party, belching, farting, and throwing up. I know what I would do…ban women, improve the waitresses, cut the quality of the booze and vastly increase the quatity, and turn a blind eye to smoking and inhaling. Re-instate the 3rd floor as THE place to be for rich, fertile and highly obnoxious City high flyers, and turn this tier into a sea of vice.

I do understand that you may have other suggestions.

Written by MickyDidIt89

Arsenal Defaced

October 13, 2012

……Can you name them all?

The interminable interlull is upon us.

Trying to come up with an interesting topic for discussion was beyond me, so I wondered if you fancied attempting to name all 24 of the following Arsenal players from the past and the present. All are distorted in some way. Some have clues left in, others not.

Looking back it seems pretty easy, but I suppose all picture quizzes are easy when you set them. Hopefully you enjoy spending a little time trying to get them all. Some go back quite a long way, so apologies to the younger Gooners amongst us.


No Arsenal players were hurt in the making of this quiz and it certainly wasn’t my intention to tarnish the reputation of any of them (except perhaps one!).

Written by chas

Mannone Is Becoming The Man

October 12, 2012

Have you ever gone looking for one thing and found something else instead?

You know, like when you’re trying to find a screwdriver in the back of the drawer (to fix that shelf and keep your wife from nagging) but instead you come across some old Arsenal match day programmes.

One thing leads to another and before you know it the wonky shelf is forgotten and you’re lost in the delights of Terry Neill’s “Manager’s Notebook” for the game against Sunderland in 1981.

Well, that happened to me yesterday in relation to our current stand-in goalkeeper, Don Vito Corleone Di Tortellini Degli Mannone.

After watching our away win at West Ham (hah! we shoved THOSE bubble where the sun don’t shine) I was left with the feeling that the West Ham players had gone out of their way to harm Don Vito.

I became convinced this must have been a deliberate ploy by Fat Sam to try and intimidate a young and relatively inexperienced ‘keeper.

The most heinous incident was when the Hammers’ winger Ricardo Vas Deferens deliberately trailed his boot into Mannone’s face while ostensibly jumping over him.

It should have been a red card for Vas Oline but the hopelessly inept Phil Dowd missed it (just like he missed the penalty on Aaron Ramsey). Fortunately fate had other ideas and evened up the score by causing the Portuguese to break his collarbone on landing.

I had also noticed some other moments in which the Don received some rough treatment.

I am a busy man, with a job to do, three kids to provide for and a wife to defuse and render harmless (still working on it), so when faced with such idle speculation about the malevolent motives of the Walrus I took the only responsible course of action: I dropped everything and watched the entire match again on Arsenal Player.

To my surprise, I had to admit that there was not a deliberate campaign to rough up our young Italian. He took a whack in the face from Carroll’s shoulder when clearing a high ball in the 32nd minute.

He had Kevin Nolan (anangram: An Evil Nonk) all over him at a corner and was whacked by Winston Reid in the same incident. But really there was nothing untoward. If anything, I was struck by how honestly and fairly Andy Carroll competed for the high balls throughout the game. His eyes were always on the ball and when his arms were raised it was always for elevation and with none of the elbow-stabbing movement for which certain other players are notorious (yes Kevin Davies – I’m looking at you).

I had had a vague idea of writing a Post headlined “Did Fat Sam Send His Players Out To Harm Mannone”, but the facts – on second viewing – did not support the thesis.

However, what I did find during this second viewing – like a 1980s match day programme at the back of a drawer – was a really, really strong performance from Il Custodiante. Better than I had appreciated on first viewing.

Mannone had one dodgy moment in the entire match – coming for the ball in the 66th minute but being beaten in the air by Carroll whose header, thankfully, looped wide.

And even in that case there is an argument that he would not have had to come if either of our central defenders had thought to mark the big Geordie in the penalty area.

But aside from that he looked composed and confident all game long. He made a couple of smart saves (including one low down to his left with the game still finely balanced at 1-2). And his kicking was outstanding. Even when he was given the ball under pressure, he managed to clear it such a long way into the Hammers’ half that we could all breath a sigh of relief.

I also spotted him organising defenders and talking to team mates to tell them where to stand at corners and so on.

It’s too early to say whether Don Vito could turn out to be our Number One ‘keeper. I have read many comments suggesting he is not as commanding or imposing as Wojcech Szczesny.

But on the weekend’s evidence his shot stopping is very good, his kicking is excellent and his decision making was as good as the Pole’s has been.

I feel his horror moment in the Champions League against Olympiakos last season (when he amusingly leapfrogged a goal-bound ball that he could easily have caught) has tarnished his reputation in the eyes of many Arsenal fans.

Now, even when he has a good game, they say things like “he doesn’t really convince” and “you always feel he’s going to make at least one gaffe every game.” I know: I have done it myself.

He just doesn’t get cut the same sort of slack that Szczesny does – even though Wojcech has also had his share of moments more suited to “Funniest Home Videos” than to “Match of the Day.”

Maybe it’s time to start watching Vito’s performances without prejudice and give our Italian rapscallion a fair crack of the whip.

His loan spell at Hull City was deemed a great success by the Tigers’ fans and it may just be that Mannone is growing into the job of being Arsenal’s goalkeeper. With Szczesny rumoured to be out for several weeks yet, the Don will at least get the chance to show us if he is up to the task.

All we need to do is support him.