Easier than Spurs?

Fulham, should be a stroll but will it?

BR spends much of the day with his head in the clouds pondering upon imponderables and when I sat to start this post it was the name Fulham which interested me. Why are so many places  named …. ham or Ham …..?  Obvious really to a Danish speaker, Ham originates from the Anglo-Saxon “hjem” meaning home or homestead.  ‘Ful’ (in danish *fugl*-silent g) means bird or fowl, so home of the fowls. If one adds another *m* (hamm) it means water-meadow.  As Fulham is on the low lying banks of the Thames shouldn’t it be Fulhamm? I will write to the new owners.

Onto the football. Fulham appear to be in free-fall. Jol couldn’t inspire them and this new fellow is struggling. Will they go down? Much depends upon the form of those around them but with Pulis and Poyet beginning to influence their teams it is highly likely.

Who do you think will be relegated? It is usually a couple of the promoted teams but this season it is almost impossible to predict – at the moment there are just 6 points separating the bottom 11 clubs! My guess – West Ham,  Fulham and Palace (I dislike Pulis and Allardyce and less London derbies).

images-1

Cone-Man and The Barbarian

What can Meulensteen do to stop the rot? Well, the return of Hangeland to his porous defence will be hugely beneficial, the Norwegian may be ponderous ( 😀 ) but he is experienced and Fulham’s defensive leader. We welcome back an old boy who has made a fine career for himself – Steve Sidwell who will line up alongside the deeply distasteful Scott Parker (watch him kick lumps out of our lads), possibly TMHT’s fellow countryman and national captain, Karagounis and some fellows called Kasami and Degajah (sound like types of sushi) or perhaps the old but good loanee Dempsey can add some guile. Taarabt is also available but despite his undoubted talent he remains erratic.

Upfront. Darren Bent likes a goal against the club he supports (AFC) – a few years back I saw him as the successor to TH14 – how wrong was I! Will Fulham play two strikers with Berbs and Bent? Highly unlikely, my guess is they will pack the midfield, play deep, look for a set-piece goal and pray to escape a hammering. If we score a couple early it could turn nasty for the Cottagers.

I don’t want to put a bok on us but Fulham have never won away at Arsenal.

Arsenal:  Still lots of injuries but we continue to put out an excellent team, perhaps Mr Wenger is right when he states this is his best ever squad. Is it? We certainly have depth throughout the squad, particularly if Bendtner improves as cover for Giroud.

Can Cazorla and Podolksi start in the same team given Ozil’s automatic start? It assumes Santi will play centrally with Podolski coming in from the left. Is Podolski clever enough to play the great one touch football Ozil, Jack, Santi and OG play? I believe he is but I also expect him to leave in summer (a topic for another day).

My Team:

arse v ful

I know ……. no Pod and no Cazorla but given the balance of the frontline we have to play Gnabry out right with a licence to cut inside his fullback.

Or Cazorla plays left and Gnabry rides the pine. Or Podolski plays in place of Tomas and Santi plays alongside him. Who knows, we could see a few minutes from Park ! Any injury to a CB will result in Sagna playing CB and Jenks getting a run. Let’s hope that with TV out we can keep both Kos and BFG fit.

This may seem presumptuous but if we do not take 3 points today then we can forget the title. Why? Because this is probably our easiest game of the season apart from Spurs away.

Let’s finish with a story of pride coming before a fall but with a considerable silver lining.

There was a young player who learned his trade in the Arsenal youth team and was hailed as the next Liam Brady. He scored for AFC before his 19th birthday but after  just 9 games he was loaned out to Norwich and Blackburn to “beef up”. Returning to Arsenal he put in a transfer request saying he was being denied a first team place ( as attacking MF’s we had Cesc, Bobby, Freddie, Hleb, Reyes & Diaby). His “reward” was a transfer to Blackburn. Two seasons later and in one of the most bizarre signings of modern times he was sold to a team of North London no-hopers for a massive fee and a 6 year contract worth over £50k a week!! His career highlight was to come at THOF in the skinny cock shirt when he scored an outrageous and incredibly lucky goal in a 4-4 draw. He played a total of 44 games for the first team and that was it for him. A number of seasons in the reserves, a couple of loan deals, including one to Championship Birmingham who refused to sign him permanently and finally the spanish archer from Spurs.

So, why do I bring up David Bentley? Because it fascinates me how someone who has totally screwed up his career (he earned 7 full England caps as a 23 y.o) can earn  over 15 million quid in the last 6 years AND get a £1m loyalty bonus because no-one would sign him – an average wage of £360k+ a game for a very average player!! And what now for a man who is still younger than RVP and Mertesacker? I will tell you …. nothing; no team has offered him a contract.

images

“What sin have I committed to deserve wearing this awful shirt?

The moral of the story: Sign for Spurs and become mega-wealthy whilst sitting in your Essex home playing with yourself (I mean playing computer games you mucky people!)

Another big game for Arsenal and Mr Wenger. The bookies have us as 2/9 favourites and they are seldom wrong.

Big Raddy

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214 Responses to Easier than Spurs?

  1. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Welcome back Raddy with a Bang.

    Cripes, hard line up to predict. Mmm, I’d like to see Podolski start, so I’ll work a team around him and be back shortly.

  2. andy bishop says:

    Cazorla will start unless he is injured

  3. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Right. Thunk.

    …….Pole
    Bac BFG Kos Gibbs
    ….Jack Flam
    Ozil Santi Pod
    ……..Ollie

  4. LB says:

    Superb read BR

    I am constantly amazed at how you continually come up with fresh ideas.

    I also agree that Gnabry is more likely to start than the Ox, this is a subtle but clever move.

    If Wenger were to start with the Ox, who is more advanced in his development, Gnabry would, I suspect, lose a bit of confidence and determination.

    By starting with Gnabry, Wenger sends the signal to the young German that he really does have a chance of becoming a permanent fixture in the starting line up.

    The Ox needs no such boost, he already knows that he is in Wenger’s future plans.

    Conclusion: I expect to see them both this afternoon.

  5. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ha ha Arsehole

    I genuinely have no idea whether that is a compliment or an insult

  6. LB says:

    Wooooo, clever team Micky

    Yep, I am persuaded.

  7. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ah, morning LB.

    Did you run into any surfers grabbing some sun and waves when you were in Tenerife?

  8. evonne says:

    so Micky, it is
    Pole
    Bac German Pole Gibbs
    jack Flam
    Ozil Santi Pole
    your Ollie

    Joking, I think Nachos instead of Gibbs and perhaps Gnarby to start with Ollie?

    Will read Raddy just before the game

  9. LB says:

    Oh, and another thing, I don’t think there is a single thing wrong with Arteta.

    I am convinced that Wenger saw the opportunity to send him on a break while we played Villa, Fulham, Coventry and maybe even Southampton and Palace but I would bet my bike that he will be back for Liverpool and the serious stuff that follows.

  10. MickyDidIt89 says:

    “bet my bike”

    Bike gone then 🙂

  11. LB says:

    Micky

    I did see quite a few surfers. It rained one day, a bit too strong to go out for us but it seemed to be perfect for some of your like minded chaps and chapesses, so we went in a café and watched the show for a few hours.

    Not sure why surfers would go there rather than Cornwall or Devon though.

  12. Rasp says:

    Nice one Raddy 😛 On the face of it, they have a couple of players who could hurt us (in both senses). But you’re right, only a win will suffice. An early goal to calm the nerves and allow us to play the free flowing stuff would be nice.

    The one thing we have to pray for is that Merts and Kozzer can stay fit until the rest of the season. Although TV has done well, he seems injury prone and after him there’s only Sagna.

  13. MickyDidIt89 says:

    LB
    One word. Sun.

  14. LB says:

    Ahh yes, that big yellow ball in the sky. So rare is its appearance that every time it did we all fell to our knees and worshipped it.

  15. Charybdis1966 says:

    Thanks for the PM Big Dandy.
    Let us not forget that moolinsteen is the man responsible for enticing the cutch dunt to old toilet by saying he needed to move to a trophy winning side to further his international career.
    Their manager deserves dogs abuse for that and if I was going today I’d give him that.
    Normally I bare no ill will to the Cottagers but now I hate them because of their scummy manager, fungus-face lite.

  16. arnie says:

    Great stuff, Raddy. A lot of thought must go into the stories to spice up the environment for the game, even if it is only Fool Hamm!!! Thank you very much. 😀 😀 😀

    These formation thingys are way too complicated for me. But, I think Poldi should start, as well as one of Gnabry and The Ox. Poldi is our best man in front of goal, and Arsene agrees, so perhaps he should be play as striker, with Ollie playing slightly behind? No problems trying out a new combination against a weak team, that Fulham truly is!!!!! 😀 😀 😀

  17. arnie says:

    Raddy: One point, really an aside, on which I disagree!!!!

    If Poldi gets regular starts in Arsenal, and he should, I think he will not leave. Arsenal is the next home destination for German players, and Germany is the place that is currently producing the most exciting players in Europe, so all bodes well!!!!! For Arsenal and for Germany!!!!!

    Arsene gave a press conference I think yesterday where he discussed Germany and Arsenal. I will try and find some excerpts and put these in. 😀 😀

  18. arnie says:

    Arsene, yesterday, responding to the Per admission that he was “curious” about a potential deal for Draxler:

    “I am curious as well, of course I’m curious it’s my nature,” said Wenger. “But the transfer period lasts until the 31st of January. Are we close to signing anybody? At the moment I would say no.

    “It’s not about German, it’s about talent and quality. At the moment the quality is produced in Germany so we are of course interested where the talent is and where the good education of the players is. At the moment Germany produces top level players.”

    And last week, on Poldi: “If there is one (player) you want to see in front of the goal in a shooting position, it is him because Podolski is certainly one of the best finishers I have ever seen. He can play that central role when he is completely fit and is one of the potential assets we have there.” 😀 😀

  19. Big Raddy says:

    arnie. I need to expand upon why I think Poldi will leave and perhaps will write a post rather than discuss it today.

    I agree we have to find a place for him with TW out for the season

  20. Okocha says:

    Interesting little side segment about Bentley…it’s hard to know if he ever would have made it at Arsenal if he had been patient…maybe a bit like Lansbury he just didn’t have the quality to do it week in week out at the top level.
    I think a lot of young players should use the likes of Bentley & Bendtner as a yard stick for how your career can go down the toilet if your ego becomes bigger than your talent can ever live up to!!
    Just a quick question I have for Raddy that you might like to share your views on…
    If Wenger decides not to buy a back up striker in January & we slide down the table as all the pundits out there say we will & we just make 4th place…then should Wenger really be given a new deal?

  21. Norfolk Gooner says:

    ‘morning AAers, fine pre-match yet again BR, thank you.

    Arnie, to answer your question from yesterday’s post, I can claim no credit whatsoever for the headline, it’s down to Rasp and Peaches who regularly come up with enticing titles and edit out the errors.

    Very busy day today, might get back on around midnight,

    COYGs.

  22. Big Raddy says:

    Okocha. Thanks for your comment

    You make assumptions….. that we need a striker, that we will slide down the table if we don’t sign one and that we will finish 4th!

    Do I think we should offer AW another contract? Absolutely. Ask yourself this – would Man Utd, Liverpool or Spurs or Everton offer their manager a new contract for finishing 4th?

    Furthermore, who is an acceptable and available alternative? Klopp will stay at BD for the foreseeable future. Guardiola – maybe but why leave BM. We need a manager who will be with us for at least 5 seasons and the only chaps who are out there are unproven in the PL. Just look at what happened to the clubs managed by AVB – who let us not forget won the Europa with a crap team.

    Laudrup? Unproven but has potential, same as Martinez, but whoever replaces AW will have the same problem……. how do you compete in a financially doped league? The signing of Matic is further proof of pour problems.

    In my opinion Mr Wenger is the best manager for our club.

    Finally, all this is irrelevant as we will not finish 4th – the title awaits!

  23. Bayonne Jean says:

    For what it’s worth, BN, we’d see Norwich and Cardiff joining the Hammers in going to the drop — possibly Villa instead of West Ham.
    Norwich’s last four fixtures are a real meat grinder,

  24. 26may1989 says:

    Nice, Raddy, as ever.

    Putting on the Mystis Meg outfit, I see a big win for us today.

    Bentley? Such a shame, he had enough talent, but didn’t have enough heart or brains.

    Relegation: with the PL having divided into two (are we going Scottish?), it’s a tough one to call, but I think I’d go for Cardiff, Norwich and Fulham (or Fuglhjem).

  25. Thanks for the pre-match BR, is there such a thing as a dead-cert in the PL these days? Confident of three points today to keep the chasing pack at arms length.
    For what it’s worth, I think Thierry Henry will be Arsenal’s next manager.

  26. Danny says:

    Excellent, the same starting 11 as against Aston Villa, I always like to see this.

  27. GunnerN5 says:

    TEAM NEWS: Wenger names unchanged side

    Nacho Monreal has been passed for Saturday’s Premier League home clash against Fulham and takes his place in an unchanged side.

    The Spain international had been considered a doubt for the game after sustaining a foot injury in Monday night’s 2-1 win at Aston Villa.

    Serge Gnabry makes his third successive start in the right flank, while Olivier Giroud will spearhead the attack.

    Team in full: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Flamini, Wilshere, Cazorla, Gnabry, Ozil, Giroud

    Subs: Fabianski, Jenkinson, Gibbs, Rosicky, Podolski, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ju-Young Park

    Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to http://www.arsenal.com

  28. RockyLives says:

    Best pre-match for ages BR – thank you.

    I loved the origins of the Fulham name. Perhaps you have stumbled upon a new theme for the remaining PMs this season: the etymological origin of our opponents’ name….

    Should be a comfortable win today – exactly the sort of fixture that makes me nervous.

  29. RA says:

    A typical Raddish pre-match and very enjoyable as a result/

    I have detected an occasional tendency in some of your Posts that I find oddly humorous.

    I will not say what phrase in particular caught my eye today, other than to ask if you know you are an illeist? 🙂

    Don’t mention this to Micky Who Didit as he will only say that I am trying to be a clever clogs. (Not true — as I am not the one, and I do not possess the other!) 🙂

  30. GunnerN5 says:

    BR,

    I was surprised that nobody has picked up Bentley even on a free transfer. A bit like Bendtner, I guess – their reputations make them soiled goods, and manager’s are not looking to contaminate their squads. It’s a shame as they both have the talent to succeed but their egos get in the way.

  31. Big Raddy says:

    RA. BR refutes the allegation 😀

  32. evonne says:

    nacho to start

  33. arnie says:

    Raddy: In eager anticipation. 😀 😀

    On to the game now. COYG!!!!!!!! 😀 😀 😀

  34. evonne says:

    sorry, Nacho and Gnarby to start

    I am sooooo clever )

  35. Gööner In Exile says:

    Team announced Gnabry starts, good PM Raddy.

    I have nothing against Fulham which doesn’t help getting “up” for today’s game, and in the last two seasons they have managed to leave with a point when visiting the Emirates.

    From memory one game was after a tough CL qualification and one at the start of last season when we were still bedding in the new signings.

    Let’s hope for a quick smash and grab early and the enjoy a comfortable afternoon while we wait to see who has kept pace with us.

  36. arnie says:

    Ozil, oh Ozil, take it yourself!!!!!!! Lovely from Gnabry!!!!

  37. Big Raddy says:

    Nice tidy start but we need to increase the pace.

  38. Big Raddy says:

    Fulhamm defending well but we need to step it up

  39. RockyLives says:

    Patience needed – it will come…

  40. RockyLives says:

    Gnabbers showing is inexperience at times.

    Oooh – well done Szcz

  41. arnie says:

    great save Szcz, come on Arsenal, not good enough!!!!

  42. Big Raddy says:

    Fulham dominating possession!!

    Come on Arsenal

  43. arnie says:

    Szcz again, brilliant, this is a bit nervy!!!!

  44. RockyLives says:

    Probert needs to wave the yellow for one of these Fulham fouls soon.

  45. Big Raddy says:

    Could our sluggish performance be due to my drinking lager as opposed to my usual red wine?

    Will switch second half

  46. Hendon Gunner says:

    We are overplaying too much in front of goal. We just need to shot!

  47. arnie says:

    well, half time, all square so far, more effort required. Szcz teh star of the half, tells its own story, I suppose. COYG!!!!!!

  48. arnie says:

    well, Ozil is getting a bit frustrated as well. Could have been lucky!!!!

  49. Big Raddy says:

    Fairplay to Fulhamm, they are playing well.

    Not letting us play our intricate passing around the box and defending well.

    Berbs is class and is working hard for his team. Best player of the first half.

    We need to up the pace and get Gnabry to stick to his wing.

  50. Gööner In Exile says:

    Right folks no stream so need updates second half.

    What’s going on poor/unlucky/slow/quick?

  51. Big Raddy says:

    Ooops forgot Szczesny. Fine half

  52. Gööner In Exile says:

    Raddy interesting on Gnabry I thought against Villa first half he was drifting inside a bit too regularly, think Wengers presser yesterday was designed to influence him to stay ot wide a bit.

    Reckon Ox is more disciplined tends to do what has been asked of him.

  53. arnie says:

    I think Gnabry is providing about the only action through the middle. But he needs to curb his shooting!!!!!

  54. arnie says:

    Ozil and Jack have been OK, if they were better I would agree that Gnabry should stick to the wing, but they are not. Unfortunately.

  55. Rasp says:

    Errrrr ….Podolski is what is required. Let’s hope we don’t have to wait until 73 mins to see the Ox and Pod

  56. Big Raddy says:

    Arnie. I have to disagree. We are too narrow in attack because both Santi and Gnabry are too central. One,yes but both, no.

    Still, red wine in galss (a little french merlot). We will win

  57. arnie says:

    Raddy: 😀

  58. Rasp says:

    I said Berbatov would fit in well at the Ems. He’s class.

  59. arnie says:

    OK, much better, Raddy’s red wine working I think ……

  60. arnie says:

    Santi …………………

  61. RockyLives says:

    Santi is definitely back.

    Great goal.

  62. arnie says:

    Jack assist

  63. RockyLives says:

    Keep quaffing the red, BR 🙂

    Another assist for our DM 🙂

  64. Big Raddy says:

    Superb from both Wilshere and Kelsey’s favourite player.

  65. arnie says:

    Santi ………………

  66. Big Raddy says:

    Kelsey’s fave again!

  67. arnie says:

    Who needs Berbs? Costa or Suarez, yes, Rooney, maybe, not any other minnows!!”!!!!

  68. Big Raddy says:

    Must stop drinking lager during the game 🙂

  69. RockyLives says:

    Last time we were 2-0 up and coasting we made a silly mistake (Santi 😳 ) and had a very nervy last 15.

    Can we learn from that?

  70. arnie says:

    strong man, Giroud!!!!!!!

  71. Rasp says:

    You beaut Santi – we can relax now 🙂

    Can anyone help with the assists for his goals?

  72. Big Raddy says:

    Rasp. You were 2 minutes out for Pod!

  73. Big Raddy says:

    Wilshere and …….

  74. arnie says:

    oh, Poldi, unlucky, twice ……

  75. RockyLives says:

    Koscielny is simply awesome

  76. 2Hoots says:

    There’s an 11 point gap between us and Spurs. If Spurs win tomorrow it will be 8 points. The title isn’t city’s to lose, it’s ours to lose. We haven’t won the title for a while. That worries me. 8 point gaps have been overcome before. That worries me too. City are a machine at the moment – that worries me. Chelsea go out and buy 2 world class players and mourinho takes them onto an unbeaten run. This also provokes fear. If Soldudo starts to score freely with Sherwood finding an answer – we could actually inspire Tottenham out of their rivalry with us to mount a campaign such they they finish closer behind us and in the top 3. This also worries me.

    Therefore, although your article is correct, you’ve started crowing, preening, getting as cock eyed as Spurs were last year at our expense when they were miles ahead of us.

    You are not alone, this worries me most.

  77. Rasp says:

    We have 17 more points than last year after 22 games 51/34

  78. Big Raddy says:

    2hoots. I wasted 30 seconds of my life reading your nonsense.

    That worries me.

  79. RockyLives says:

    No assist for the second goal Rasp.

    Santi picked up the ball from a defensive header.

  80. evonne says:

    I think that Ozil is getting fed up with Giroud, watch his body language

  81. arnie says:

    GiE: Fair points. But we play the game in a different way from the ignorable others. And our guys have fought very hard to get us where we are now, which is ………… So, on we go. Let us give them a bit of respect. Remember, nobody gave us a monkey of a chance at the start, but we are here.

    Yes, it is ours to lose, but we will not lose easily at least. If we can grind out wins against the lower teams, then its all to play for. We can be very bullish, I think.

    No matter how many superstars the Chavs buy, they will drop points. Shitty likewise, particularly away from home. We will do this.

  82. Big Raddy says:

    Disappointed with Flamini today his passing was poor.

    MotM Santi or Kos or TPIG

  83. RockyLives says:

    Blimey 2Hoots

    I’ve heard of glass half empty but in your analysis you appear to have lost the glass altogether.

    You need a stiff drink.

    (By the way, don’t ever compare BR to a Spud – that’s plain offensive).

  84. arnie says:

    Sorry I must be imagining things. What a waste of time. Apologies, GiE.

  85. Gööner In Exile says:

    2Hoots…..what you have forgotten to add is that in the last two seasons we have finished stronger than we have started.

    There are a lot of it’s in your statement the funniest probably being Soldado to start scoring freely, to do that they have to have a team capable of setting him up.

    The best things for us is that goals continue to be spread out.

    Won’t it be funny if we break two “pundits rules” and win the PL.

    1) you need a 20+ goal forward
    2) you need an English centre back

  86. Gööner In Exile says:

    Arnie have you been sharing the merlot with Raddy 😀

    I’m offended you attributed that comment to me 😉

  87. RockyLives says:

    BR
    That’s funny – I was thinking of Flam as a potential MOTM 🙂

  88. arnie says:

    FFS, apologies everyone for my comment. I hang my head in shame!!!! 😦

  89. arnie says:

    Apologies again, GiE. 😦

  90. arnie says:

    Blame it on the hangover from last night!!!!! Should shut up now!! 😦

  91. kelsey says:

    Well pleased upped our game as opposed to Villa, Yes Santi is my man.
    When the squad is small with several inuries we aren’t going to go gung ho.
    Gnabry is a star in the making as is The Ox
    .
    Not one of Wilshere’s best games and I am sorry Giroud just isn’t good enough if you are expecting him to be a clinical striker.

    Maybe he should be less selfish and have a pop himself but his heading off target when given chances is nearly at zero conversion rate and always seem to arrive a second to late for a cross on the ground.,yet he is invaluable as as added defender with his heading.
    He’s not the answer for me.
    Numerous crosses as usual with usually only Giroud in the box,we might be better to limit those high crosses and play mmore on the ground.
    We really have a great team that justs needs a little tweaking.

  92. arnie says:

    Santi and Szcz joint MOTM for me. Szcz’s saves were at least as important as Santi’s goals.

  93. Big Raddy says:

    RL. I think we are much better with Arteta fit. Flamini works his nuts off but hasn’t the range of passing. IMO today he was just OK.

    But maybe you are right, I will have to watch again.

  94. Bayonne Jean says:

    This match shows how much Arteta brings to the side. In the first half it seemed that the timing was all off, particularly in regulating the overall pattern of the passing, which Arteta regulates so well. Can’t wait for his return!

  95. arnie says:

    Guys, let us not give Flamster a stick!!!! He is an important player for us, and certainly an important team player. Very much part of the team, and the team is what it is. Respect!!!! Flamster lacks a bit of creativity, and Arteta a bit of pace. Both are good leaders. Could be better, but this is where we are. 😀 😀 😀

  96. Big Raddy says:

    arnie I agree. Flamini is a vital member of the squad. But there is nothing wrong with him having, by his standards, an average game. Every player has them.

    Let’s face it , JW, Giroud, and Ozil are not at their best either

  97. RA says:

    Brillbloodytastic. 🙂

  98. arnie says:

    ha ha ha, Arsene had likened Draxler spotting at Colney to UFO sighting, some see it others dont!!!!!!!

    Hello Wenger!!!! UFO seen at Arsenal's TrainingGround 7.11.13. Did you watch it? Did you talk to the Alien? #AFC 😄😄😄— Jan Aage Fjortoft (@JanAageFjortoft) January 17, 2014

  99. RockyLives says:

    RA
    Howbloodyareyou?
    How’sGeronimothehorse?

  100. LB says:

    I thought Flamini was excellent today, didn’t notice any stray passes, that’s not to say there wasn’t any.

    Cazorla: now that is what I call an attacking midfield performance and deservedly picks up the MOTM award.

    Kos was also excellent but he didn’t do more than should have been expected of him.

  101. RockyLives says:

    The thing about Flamini is that his important stuff is mostly unspectacular. It’s that nicking in front of an opponent to stop a move in its tracks and regain possession; the tracking runners even when the ball never reaches them (the reason it doesn’t reach them is because the Flamster has tracked back with them, marking them out of the game); being first to tidy up when the ball is loose in midfield.

    He did lots of that today.

  102. RA says:

    Hi Rockadillo, 🙂

    Been out and about – my cousin is a pain, but she is soooo sweet I cannot tell her to bug out when she is being nice, so I missed the game. 😦

    Thank goodness I listened to you about Per ‘Clean Sheet’ Mert and his sidekick ‘Kozzer I’m Brilliant.

    All well with your empire building? 🙂

  103. MickyDidIt89 says:

    What time is KO? 😦

  104. arnie says:

    GiE: Still offended? 😀

  105. RA says:

    Rock,

    Geronimo is really my cousin’s mount and I get to look after him to give me something to do, and he is big enough for me to ride without bending his back. 🙂

    He is now a big Arsenal fan and farts when I say ‘Spuds’. 🙂

    The only drawback is he almost asphyxiates me!!

  106. arnie says:

    ROLF alert. Pool 0-1 Villa!!!!! 😀 😀

  107. RA says:

    arnie, I am offended that you have offended my mate, GIE.

    (He is not offended — just a bit of that British humour I told you about! 🙂 )

  108. arnie says:

    Redders: 😀

  109. arnie says:

    Liverpool 0-2 Aston Villa tra la la la la 😀 😀 😀

  110. Rasp says:

    Villa are playing like Real …. a richly deserved 2nd goal. They are showing how pace on the flanks can be very effective.

  111. Rasp says:

    Has anyone volunteered a match report yet?

  112. GunnerN5 says:

    Sixteen wins after twenty two games is the highest in our EPL history.

    The team we enjoy watching showed up in the 2nd half, it would be enlightening to know what took place in the dressing room.

  113. RA says:

    I am sure Rocky will do a match report, Rasper — he says a schooner or two makes him loquacious on the keyboard. 🙂

    [Get out of that, Rocky!] 🙂

  114. RA says:

    We are becoming blasé with the team’s performances nowadays, GN5.

    Do you have the clean sheets stats for the season so far? 🙂

  115. RockyLives says:

    “He is now a big Arsenal fan and farts when I say ‘Spuds’.” 😀

    Well you see, Redders, I’m having a ‘dry’ January, so you can’t get round me that way!

    Rasp
    I will happily do the report instead of doing a Sunday-for-Monday if you would like?

  116. Rasp says:

    Its all up there in the widgets Redders – we’ve 10 clean sheets in 22 games, although one was a nil nil

  117. Rasp says:

    Hi Rocky, thanks, we love your Monday slot so I’ll leave it up to you. I’m sure peaches will start nagging when she gets back from the game 😕

  118. RockyLives says:

    OK Rasp
    If no-one says on the site that they’re doing the report I’ll do it.

  119. GunnerN5 says:

    RA:

    We have 10 clean sheets so far and my records indicate that we had 13 twice after 22 games one in 1993/4 and the other in 1998/9.

  120. RA says:

    I am Rocky’s agent and I have an authorised message from him:

    “My name is Rocky and I am a teetotaller – and I will do both the post match AND the Rocky special so as not to upset my avid readers!!”

    Yea! 🙂

  121. arnie says:

    Rocky-days make a lovely start to the week!!!!!! 😀 😀

  122. arnie says:

    Three cheers for Rocky and his agent!!!!! 😀 😀 😀

  123. GunnerN5 says:

    I think RA may be stepping on very Rocky ground !

  124. RA says:

    Thanks GN5 and Rasper.

    It is good that we had an official confirmation, from you GN5, as you know what that GIE is like – typical accountant and can make the numbers anything you want. 🙂

  125. RA says:

    Quite right, arnie (thinks arnie is still drunk). 🙂

  126. arnie says:

    poor penalty decision I think, 2-2 now. 😦

  127. RA says:

    Damned cheating diver that Suarez.

    I do not think the keeper touched him!!

  128. Big Raddy says:

    Blatant dive from Suarez.

  129. arnie says:

    Commentator says minimal contact but any player in the country would go down for that because there is a chance to win a penalty. Obviously he thinks Arsenal players are from some other country!!!! Come on, show some respect!!!! 😀 😀

    Redders: 😀

  130. Big Raddy says:

    Can’t watch this cheating Livrepool team. Shameful bunch of fancy dans.

  131. arnie says:

    Yes, Raddy, better watch Ronnie play snooker. In 5 mins. 😀 😀

  132. RA says:

    I bet that idiot Maureenyo regrets letting Sturridge go.
    Or, if he did not authorise it then tuff tators.

    Just cannot see Villa holding out. 😦

  133. RockyLives says:

    Redders
    You might force me back on the drink at this rate!

    Suarez… There was contact from the keeper – but Suarez made certain there was by directing his run into Guzan then going down as if shot.

    There are some very dislike able players in this Pool team and their forwards don’t seem to like each other.

  134. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Cheers Raddy

    I like Karagounis. It was his majestic inspiration that drove Greece to 2004 Euro success, playing sinctilating stuff on the way.

    I believe that Spains recent achievements was because they copied the Greek model of total football.

    Not a great performance today, but job done. I thought Flamini played well, but Chesney was the man today. Boy, is that guy silencing his critics.

    2Hoots, from your post I sense you are a bit worried. As an unqualified Physician, I can assure you that stress and fear is the main killer.

    I reccomend lying back on a comfy chair, dabbing on some fine aftershave, then relax to the dulcet tone of Barry Manilows greatest hits.

    This will create the illusion that you are in the company of a racey attractive women, rather than the reality of a cheap can of lager and fat dog chewing on your slippers.

  135. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    I am in moderation. Is it because my pet is overweight?

  136. RA says:

    No Terry darling — it’s because no one likes the dog you do not have!! 🙂

  137. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    hahahahaha, Your so right Redders.

  138. RA says:

    I like you though, Terry, and if you are good I will take you for walkies.

    Anyway, if you were in moderation, how come you were chatting to us? Very devious doggie!! 🙂

  139. Hi all

    Great three points today ………… first half was a borefest though apart from the first few minutes.

    Terry – you’re out of moderation

    I see Rocky has offered a match report but we love Rocky Mondays don’t we? Would someone else like to offer to write a little something for tomorrow ……. pretty please.

    Happy Belated Birthday greetings to kelsey

  140. RA says:

    Just seen your comment released from moderation, Terry, and I think it should be framed — and go down for at least 20 years. 🙂

  141. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Redders, I have recently joined a walking club, its a great way to meet meet middle aged women. The ladies think the men will be of a fairly fit standard, and then I turned up.

    Simce I know you are a very fair person Redders, i would like to ask you your opinion of Bennedict Arnold. This geezer only recently came to my attention and I would like to hear your view

  142. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Thanks Peaches

    Have to go. My non exsistent fat dog is ready for his walk.

    Bloody hell, its hard work been a non exsistent Dog owner.

  143. arnie says:

    Terry: The quintessential existentialist dilemma!!!!! 😀 😀

    Redders @ 7:23: ditto. 😀 😀 😀

  144. RA says:

    Terry,

    Benedict Arnold was part of my British ancestry and became a General in the American army.

    As you know, he then met one of your great uncles who taught him to be a turncoat and in due course he switched back to being British and returned to the UK and was set up with some delectable young ladies by your uncle and became a close friend of the great great uncle of Norwich Gooner, because Norwhich is where he was born.

    That is all the info you need to get by. 🙂

  145. RA says:

    Gotta go guys. 🙂

  146. fatgingergooner says:

    Wow, Wenger proves his genius once more by allowing Villa to get their confidence back in the 2nd half against us in the knowledge that they had Liverpool away next up.

    Now that is forward planning for you! What a guy! 🙂

    Great effort 2nd half from our boys today. Cazorla was excellent and I enjoyed watching Özil again today, even if his final ball/run did not penetrate enough.

    We are still top of the league! 16 games to go.

  147. arnie says:

    Arsene, on his own contract negotiations: “There is always a point where you have to decide, of course. There is a point where you have to decide and there is a point where you have to make your decision public. You can take of that sentence the way you want it. We are making good progress and hopefully we can announce something soon.” Source: The Daily Express.

  148. evonne says:

    Raddy – I have just read the prematch! It is actually fun reading it after the game, I could fully appreciate the accuracy of your prognosis.

    I thought that Fulham at home has to be an easy game and it is games like this that Wenger needs to give Gnarby and Nacho time to develop. The boys did well, fair play to them.

    In your PM you didn’t mention Alex Kacaniklic, mind you if you did I wouldn’t know whom are you talking about. Now I know that he is possibly one of the best players FFC employ.

    The interesting thing was how he didn’t score against us. I could swear that he slowed down deliberately and let Szcz catch up with him. Is he moving to North London by any chance? i wouldn’t be surprised.

    Another player that fecked up his career is Hangeland – he actually refused to move to Arsenal, eejet.

    Anyway, great PM, not a bad game, amazing 3 points. Happy Gunneress

  149. Gööner In Exile says:

    Evening all…..Arnie I was not at all offended…..

    I’ve been re arranging the AV equipment in the lounge as the new Media Unit to stop little Exile playing with the buttons arrived.

    Only problem is that requires hoovering, lead untangling and then re engaging…..oh and the depth of my Amp fits the new unit fine, as i measured it first. What I didn’t factor in was the lummox (me) who previously shortened speaker wires so they were neat and tidy where the Amp was previously situated but are now a bit tight and the fact that the bottom of the new unit has a door magnet closer which means the amp does not fit on that shelf when all HDMIs and Banana Plugs are attached, meaning I now need to take the jigsaw to the newly acquired furniture to cut a hole the size of the amp convections plate in the back so it all fits.

    Think that’s known as First World Problems 😀

  150. evonne says:

    GiE – sorry dear, but what did you expect ? 🙂

  151. arnie says:

    GiE: 😀

    Organising life around little George! Brings back happy memories from a bygone era. You will probably be surprised at how quickly he tries to take control of the remote. It will soon be only CeeBeebies for you!!!!!! Great fun, enjoy!!!!! 😀 😀 😀

  152. Still need a volunteer for the post tomorrow ………….

  153. GunnerN5 says:

    arnie,

    My 3 year old Grandson not only takes control of the remote he also knows how to use it, including having memorized all of his favourite channels.

  154. arnie says:

    GN5: Yes, it is amazing how quickly they learn about gadgets.

    The daughter of one of my friends, at age 4, recorded a whole day of activity within their house, including an argument between mom and dad, and posted it on her mother’s facebook account!!!!!! Amazing. Whizzkids!!! 😀 😀 😀

  155. arnie says:

    …. this was on an ipad.

  156. Job well done today, nice one Santi!
    That’s incredible on one level, GunnerN5/Arnie, but quite sad and worrying on another.

  157. arnie says:

    Agreed, WATA. Different times. 😀

  158. RockyLives says:

    Peaches
    In the absence of any volunteers I shall do the report and perhaps you can persuade someone to do a Post for Monday.

  159. arnie says:

    Rocky, Peaches: I was hesitating because I think I saw the game quite differently from others. But, if it comes to that, allow me to do the report. Let us retain Monday as the Rocky-day!!!!!!! 😀 😀 😀

  160. Gööner In Exile says:

    I’m trying my hardest to keep George away from gadgets, TVs, iPads, remotes, iphone etc are all a no no.

    He is attracted to them obviously bright lights etc, but thankfully he is more often than not picking up a book and *waving it at me. And then we read it……ten times 😀

    It’s not that computers aren’t wonderful things, but they are there to make life easier (communication, sums, planning, drawing, etc). But without knowing how to do those things yourself a computer is useless.

    If you need an example regarding communication go look around the web. 😀

    *When I say waving I mean he hits me with it.

  161. For sure, Arnie, the speed at which technology grows and improves is robbing parents and children of the child enjoying a natural childhood. I’m glad these things weren’t around when I was young, being grown-up is far too stressful.

  162. arnie says:

    GiE: Well done. Keep it up!!!!!! 😀

  163. RockyLives says:

    That’s great Arnie – it’s more fun if people see the game differently 🙂

    I’ll stick to the Monday piece then 🙂

  164. jnyc says:

    Raddy, great response to 2hoots. But u are a bit too polite. When i realized the garbage i was reading from him, i skipped over the second part. Great job again boys.

  165. Thank you arnie, don’t worry if you think you saw the game differently it makes for a lively discussion.

    I’ll have a problem with you if you make jack MOTM though but I’m not that scary 🙂

  166. The Fulham cb’s were huge both in stature and work-rate

  167. evonne says:

    I am ridiculous!! I watched the game in the afternoon, but now when watching it on MoD I’m panicing that Giroud is injured )

  168. We had a couple of silent moments at the ground, one when Per was on the ground and the other when Olly was down, rolling and waving his hand

  169. arnie says:

    On with the show, then. 😀 Not giving anything away at this stage. 😀

  170. 26may1989 says:

    Evening all.

    Have you noticed how every team we’ve played in the last couple of months (except Spurs in the FA Cup) have lifted themselves for the game against us? And so it was with Fulham today, they played a good, narrow defence, made life hard for us.

    Despite a sluggish first half, good performances from Szczesny, Koscielny, Wilshere, Cazorla and Flamini, I thought. Any one of them would do as MOTM for me (apols Peaches!).

    Today pretty much confirmed for me why we shouldn’t go for Berbatov. A couple of decent touches, but he’s so slow, and was in sulk mode within ten minutes of the start. Wasn’t impressed.

    Elsewhere, City’s defending was shocking, I feel ever more confident they’ll be dropping points soon. I do love watching Aguero though. And Liverpool were bloody lucky not to get a caning from an amazingly fluent Villa.

  171. RockyLives says:

    26
    Good points.

    The Villa performance casts our win over them in a good light.

  172. arnie says:

    Peaches, post sent to nuts. Off to bed now. Back in the morning. Cheers.

  173. RockyLives says:

    BR
    “I was disappointed with Flamini today, his passing was poor.”

    OPTA stats: Flamini pass success: 98% (best on team).

    How much of that lager were you drinking BR? 🙂

  174. Gööner In Exile says:

    Have only watched highlights, but want to stress again how vital Giroud is to this team and the way we play.

    Look at the first goal it is he who makes a run to receive the pass from Santi before playing in Jack who cuts back for Santi.

    The second goal the cross that led to it being hurriedly cleared by a Fulham defender and dropping to Santi was aimed at him.

    Now I know the second point may look like me finding the lad another silent assist but it’s more about what he makes opposition defenders do that makes space for others.

    A couple of seasons ago I complained we were too predictable around the final third. The ball would get wide but defenders were not worried about the cross so kept relatively high and made it difficult for us to find a way in on the floor. Giroud in the middle means we have a goal threat from crosses, and that central defenders respect him (drop deeper and keep marking him) and full backs pressure the wide men more.

    This means the midfielders have a bit more space to run into and that we can work it through on the ground.

  175. chas says:

    Nice pre-match, BR.

    Even though it turned into a reasonably comfortable victory yesterday, it still amazes me how many fans still make comments like
    ‘a chance to improve our goal difference’ before the game
    ‘Cmon Reds, it’s only Fulham we’re playing’ right up until we scored etc etc.

    You would have thought from years of watching matches and even recent games such as Cardiff on New Years Day that they might learn that some patience, understand that all teams have to be broken down and realise that, as 26 says, nearly all will lift their performance when playing against us.

    Anyway, 3 more points. 🙂

  176. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Morning Exile

    I, too, have just watched highlights on Arsenal Player (I thought they were a little longer than usual)

    Your excellent comment also highlights the difference between watching on tv (full match or highlights) and seeing the game live, as with the latter you can see the off the ball running.

  177. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I’ve also read through all comments, and would like to acknowledge the contribution our own Big Raddy made in shifting from beer to red wine.

  178. Gööner In Exile says:

    Chas, you are correct.

    I expect most silly results to come at the start of the season, when teams are more free and filled with the chance of “doing well” hence they come and have a go (not just to us but any match any ground), as the season progresses and points become more vital they revert to a more solid shape as they fight for survival. And this season there are very few teams safe.

    It’s tight at the top which means less teams in the bottom half are picking up results, two wins separate Villa in 10th and Cardiff bottom.

    The only thing we can do is hope for 3 more points if we do that until the end of the season we will win the League…..simples. 😀

  179. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Santi appears to be really getting back to last season’s form, which bodes very well.

    Any way you look at yesterday, it was yet another fantastic win.

  180. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ah Chas. Morning to you too.

  181. Gööner In Exile says:

    Morning Micky, the off the ball running is key to me deciding whether a player is on form or not as is the tackling back and work rate.

    For example Pods thunderbolt highlights both, look in the 28 yard box and Giroud is running for the knockdown not standing admiring, then Pod races over to stop any counter attack with a crunching tackle.

    I am also enjoying the way our team are celebrating goals, there seems to be a real togetherness in the team.

  182. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Bit concerned that Arnie sent his report at 3:44am

    Hope he’s in a foreign land.

  183. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ah, Podolski, Exile.

    Have no idea what’s going on with him. A goalscoring international who appears to be our supersub. I know 26 pointed out the important role late subs have, but still, I’m umm’ing

  184. byron says:

    Mini-league involving Everton, Chelsea, Man Utd, Man City and Arsenal:

    1. Man City 9 points
    2. Everton 7 points
    3. Chelsea 5 points
    4. Man Utd 4 points
    5. Arsenal 2 points

  185. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Damn, all this Arsenal winning must be annoying for you Bryon.

  186. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Oh I know it’s Dial Sq, but I’m bored 😦

  187. chas says:

    When Pod came on, I was less than impressed with his off the ball running. He didn’t seem to want to support Giroud at all, but then he is a ball to feet type player rather than someone whose intelligent runs might get him a goal.
    I’m still not sure we’ve found out how to play him in our formation.

  188. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I never have known precisely what a Podolski actually is, so I agree with your view. Always seen him as a 4-4-2 man, which is no good to us. Good powerful player, who can also come up with goals though

  189. chas says:

    Haha, can’t include dippers because we beat them.
    This about sums up the situation……..

  190. byron says:

    Arsenal’s remarkable form against the lemons of the league is what’s keeping us in the hunt for the title.

  191. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I imagine he also plays an enormously positive role both in training as well as in the dressing room.

  192. chas says:

    Yep, if he could play just behind Ollie and always be facing the goal, he’d be lethal. 🙂

  193. chas says:

    Don’t get me wrong, I still love him.

  194. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Chas

    I know. Bless Bryon. Left out Pool and Spuds although Utd are below both 🙂

  195. chas says:

  196. chas says:

    .

  197. chas says:

    Effin wordpress only showing the first attempt when you put the second on.

  198. chas says:

  199. chas says:

    Right, must go, the thirteen pints I had Friday/Saturday aren’t going to shift themselves.

  200. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Chas

    I shall be expecting some epic work from Beijing later

  201. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Chas

    If you had thrown a light night doner kebab down on top of them, they would have 🙂

    Right, me off as well.

  202. MickyDidIt89 says:

    late night, even

  203. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All.

    Another tough game , anothrer 3 points. Another fine post match to enjoy

  204. LB says:

    Very insightful comment Chas at 7.07 if you don’t mind me saying.

  205. kelsey says:

    Morning all

    I take your point about Giroud but if the intention was to buy him as a clinical striker he is preety avergae. As part of the team no one in the front line works harder but there will be days when we can’t rely on our fantastic attacking midfielders to score a vital goal in a tight match.
    Do we really need what was used to be called an old fashioned striker or is Giroud just a good hold up player.

    With regards to Santi it has been proved without doubt he plays his best when not on the flanks.
    I predict both Gnabry and The Ox will be better players than Walcott in the future,yet so often we lack width as nearly all our midfielders our those that start on the wing drift inside.
    Though a RB Sagna actually plays more like a winger than anyone when we attack.
    With Ramsey fit and if he shows his form of two months ago he is more than likely to continue to score.
    Podolski is a hard one to access as has been said before what is his best position and his stamina. His shot is most probably the best in the squad but is he another Arshavin in work rate.
    Wilshere shows his best and worst assets usually in any given game but he has age on his side.
    Overall we must all be pleased as no game is ever easy and maybe the league will be won by the team that scores the most or one that concedes the least.

    Take away City and Villa defeats to concede only 10 goals in 20 matches is a fantastic stat.

  206. evonne says:

    byron – what do you effing mean by ‘us’??? You is on your own mate, pee off

    Yes, interesting game – start and stop. We went flying, then rested, came back rejuvenated, long rest from having possession, start again.

    I know everybody is impressed with Szcz and so am i. But he spilled the ball twice, very dangerous. He needs to get a grip

  207. evonne says:

    do you guys find it dissatisfying to find that presumed morons like Danny Murphy are making a lot of sense? I don’t like that

  208. evonne says:

    Final point from me – Santiago Cazorla – I have to apologize to you for being unfaithful. I was smitten with the new arrival even before he kicked the ball at the Ems and dropped you and your gravator like a sack of spuds. I am sorry! yesterday you outplayed Ozil and made me look like a fool. I am off to restore your gravator, love evonne xx

  209. arnie says:

    Motning all. Damn, what a damp squib of a day!!!! 😦

    Micky: I am very much in the country, just takes me a long time to write a post. But I had a good sleep after that, relaxed and relived. Let us see how this turns out. 😀

    Loving the discussion about Poldi. Making me think. Raddy has promised a post later in the year.

    Chas @ 7:13. Can anyone tell me what this Ollie celebration means, beyond the dirty obvious!!!!!! 😛

    Evonne: Change of gravatar!!!!! Well done you!! 😀 😀 😀

    Is Peaches still in bed?

  210. Big Raddy says:

    arnie. To whom is your final question aimed? 😉

  211. Morning all

    We have a New Post ……………………..

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