Flood Alert …… Arsenal’s defence to triumph at ‘Pool

February 8, 2014

Today’s early kick off sees the good guys travel up to Anfield, risking hub caps and (pockets to be picked) in search of three points to sustain the title challenge that was comfortably dismissed as a flash in the pan by the so called experts back in September when we had the temerity to top the table.

Where am i ?

Where am I ?

Following the football cliché of “taking each game as it comes” nothing will be said about the following games so looking at the form of the ‘dippers/mug smashers (delete as applicable) we see they have won 3, lost 2 and drawn 2 of their last 7 games.

It would be remiss of me not to point out both those losses were to the oil slick teams (CSKA Fulham Bus stop and Abu Dhabi FC, or maybe that should be the Amoco Cadiz and the Torrey Canyon) and one of those wins was a resounding thumping of the Toffees 4 zip so this calls for the Arsenal to be at their sharpest.

Having said that our form over that same period is 6 wins and a draw so I would expect home advantage to be the only thing that may tilt the bookies odds away from us.

The team news for our opponents is that four defenders are unavailable, Johnson, Sakho , Enrique and Agger, while Leiva misses out in midfield. Much will depend on how the axis of Henderson, Gerrard and Coutinho perform assuming Rogers picks the obvious first XI. To my eyes Henderson has been improving whilst Gerrard seems to be slowing and perhaps is being picked for non-footballing reasons.

At the moment the ‘dippers strength is up front with everyone’s favourite cannibal leading the scoring stats for the Premier League by a hefty distance, ably assisted by the slightly sulky Sturridge, an Anelka in the making perhaps.

Turning to the Arsenal the only change to the squad from the Palace match, my first without seeing any of the AA crew at the Tavern beforehand, will be the addition of Wilshere to the squad, most likely in place of Zelalem.

The back five picks itself except for the left full back position where I think Wenger will plump for Gibbs who will be able to deal with pace of Saurez/Sterling/Sturridge a bit better than Nacho man.

In the middle I would like to see Wilshere, Özzy and Rosicky with Santi, Prince Poldi and Olly up top, although I think Wenger will pick this team:

pool v arse

Tactical bollix wise I would suggest exploiting the ‘dippers main weakness, their defence and strangling their midfield so that their lethal front three are forced to drop deep to pick up the ball.

After Kolo’s howler that resulted in two dropped points against the Baggies last week confidence may not be sky high along the back line so early pressing of the centre backs of the day is in order.

Despite my good natured ribbing of today’s opponents above I don’t dislike them terribly, nothing like the contempt I feel for that Salford team or the Orcs for example. They serve as salutary tale for a once top drawer club that, from the heyday of the 70’s and early 80’s, allowed themselves to fall from grace and only now seem to be, possibly, climbing back to the top. I remember bonding with a group of their supporters, in a bar near Charing Cross before a Scorpions gig, over our mutual hatred of ManUre.

A perfect combination of Polynesian and Scandinavian

A perfect combination of Polynesian and Scandinavian

In that same era as an adolescent in Essex I was mainly aware of two things, football and developing early crushes on actresses, in particular one Maren Jensen, of Danish and Hawaiian parentage.

She was the first in a long line of such crushes that made the male-female polarity dilemma such a feature of my teenage years.

Remembering how topsy-turvy the late 70’s were, I’d also not want another aspect of that era to return, namely a period of Liverpool dominance.

Wenger will know what is required to win at Anfield and if I could say anything to him regarding his preparation I would like him to attempt to nullify our opponent’s strengths, so we can then concentrate on our game.

Whoever starts for us tomorrow will no doubt know that we(and they) want the 3 points – make it so.

UTA !

By ChärybdÏß1966 (on Twitter @charybdis1966)


Arsenal Arsenal’s Friday News Roundup

February 7, 2014

Last Friday:

Actual news, as opposed to all the speculation of the last month, we finally sign a player. The confirmation of the six month loan deal for

Kim Kallstrom took us all by surprise but that surely is, and always has been, the Wenger way.

Other transfer news; Frimpong’s sojourn at Arsenal is over, he’s been sold to Barnsley for an undisclosed fee, he immediately took to twitter to complain “how am I going to pull girls now?” Well as we say in Norfolk “hold yew hard bor, there’s some gret old mawthers up North, yew jus might find it’s yew agetin pulled”.

Saturday:

Hard on the underwhelming news of the signing of Kim Kallstrom, comes the report that our newest recruit injured his back in his first training session and will be out for weeks rather than days. Fanbloodytastic!!! Is there any point in keeping him? Should the loan be cancelled? Answers on a postcard please.

Sunday:

Kallstrom latest; According to the Sun on Sunday Arsenal are trying to cancel the loan arrangement and return our deadline day signing to Spartak Moscow.

Van Persie to rejoin The Gunners in the summer? That’s a move that could be on the cards as the little Dutch Boy is unhappy that Old Rednose and coach Muelensteen have left and his missus doesn’t like living in Cheshire. All together now! Aaaah bless! Would you want him back? Would the fans?

Monday:

Arsene revealed the truth behind the Kallstrom deal, the player was injured before joining Arsenal, not as the Red Tops would have it in his first training session, the extent of the injury was not determined until 5pm on deadline day after two scans revealed a “micro fracture” in his back. The prognosis is he will be out for between four and six weeks, during this time his wages will be paid by Spartak Moscow and no loan fee has been paid. According to Wenger it was too late to find an alternative, so It was a case of this deal or no deal.

Tony Pulis talking after the game…. “We seemed pretty comfortable and we had a great chance ourselves and that would have changed the game”. Not sure I like Mr. Pulis’s idea of comfort, more like a bed of nails I would have thought.

Mikel Arteta got a kick during the game and will be receiving treatment, hopefully he’ll be fit to play the Bin-Dippers.

Tuesday:

According to one London paper Jack Wilshere will be fit to start against the Bin-Dippers on Saturday in the Premiership game at Anfield, while Arteta and the Ox are expected to have fully recovered from “knocks” received during the Palace game. Vermaelen may make it onto the bench.

According to another London paper, with the Russian transfer window still open, Zenit St Petersburg are preparing to offer Arsenal as much as £18 million for Thomas Vermaelen, the player has previously said he may be interested in a transfer if it guaranteed him first team action and boosted his chances of playing for Belgium in the World Cup Finals. I’d hate to see this fine player leave the club, especially has it would be impossible to sign a replacement this season.

Another piece in the same paper suggests that our new kit supplier Puma are willing to help fund the purchase of Mario Balotelli, at the end of the season. He is sponsored by Puma and they would like to unite two of their biggest brands. Balotelli is on fire at the moment, scoring 25 goals in 38 matches for AC Milan and is rated to be worth £40 million but Puma could pay as much as £15 million of that to secure the player’s signature for Arsenal. If I was presenting one of my pub quizes at the moment, I would ask “is that true or false?”. I’ll leave that answer to all you AAers.

Wednesday:

It seems The Gunners are unpopular again! Ticket allocations are the latest bone of contention. Arsenal have reduced the allocation to Liverpool, for the FA Cup tie, from the “recommended” 15% of the total (9.050) to 5,186, the same as given to Spurs for the earlier round, Coventry got 8,686. Arsenal say the decision was made on the advice of their Safety Advisory Group “due to fears over safety issues from supporters standing in the upper tiers of the stadium”. The group consist of representatives from the club, Metropolitan Police, local authority and transport. Liverpool supporter organisation Spirit of Shankly are also upset about the kick-off being switched to 4pm Sunday. Apparently this will prevent many fans from attending as they will be otherwise engaged at Sunday School.

Sagna contract talks back on. It is believed an extension is on offer but not an increase in the £70,000 per week wages. But he may get a pay rise in order to ward off interest from Manchester City. A club that is fast becoming a pre-retirement home for elderly Arsenal Players.

Schalke’s chairman Clemens Tonnies has said that Arsenal may have to wait years before signing Julian Draxler. ‘It would do Draxler good to spend another year or two with us,’ said Tonnies at the SpoBiS conference. ‘But we know we’re not going to be able to keep a super-talented player like Julian at Schalke forever.

Why can't I play for Arsenal?

Why can’t I play for Arsenal?

Metropolitan Police have issued photographs of three Spurs fans wanted in connection with the hurling of missiles at Theo Walcott, para-medics, ambulance men and stewards as the injured player was being stretchered off during the recent Cup Tie.

Thursday:

I couldn’t find any actual “news”, so I’ve gone with a bit of speculation…Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa, 25, Manchester City forward Edin Dzeko, 27, and Bayern Munich’s Mario Mandzukic, 27, are three players very much on Arsene’s radar and one or more is the target for the summer signing season. Oh! And add to the list Porto Striker Jackson Martinez, 39 goals in 47 matcheshe grew up in Mexico and supported guess who? Yep! Arsenal and would “love” to join The Gunners in the summer.

Swansea city are looking for a new manager and one stand out name on the short list is someone who would be less a coach and more a messiah, Dennis Bergkamp. Now I wouldn’t be averse to Dennis taking the job, getting a couple of years managerial experience in the Premiership, before taking over at Arsenal when Le Boss finally retires.

Now I’m in no way criticising Tomas Rosicky or our medical staff but our Mozart was out of action for a while with a broken nose, contrast that to Jonny May who suffered a broken nose playing on the wing for England in the Six Nations match against France last Saturday. He resumed full contact training on Tuesday and is expected to start in the match against Scotland on Saturday, he will not be wearing a protective mask. Are rugby players harder than footballers? Are footballers hard enough?

And Finally; Stan Kroenke is reportedly set to use his ownership of Arsenal to create a new American sister team – called the LA Gunners. The plans are in their infancy, but reports suggest that the new team would be modelled on Arsenal.

That’s it for another week

Norfolk Gooner


Blast from the Past Part 3: The Arsenal Win The League

February 6, 2014

One year after winning 1930 FA Cup Final, Arsenal continued their rise to the top echelons of football with their first league title. Herbert Chapman’s team had the exceptional forward line of Jack Lambert, David Jack and Cliff Bastin and opposition defences simply could not cope with their combined skills. Lambert scored 38 goals in 34 matches, Jack 31 in 35 and Bastin 28 from 42. Joe Hulme also netted 14 times as Arsenal scored 127 league goals, a club record for a single season.

Arsenal handed out a number of thrashings. Grimsby Town were on the end of a 9-1 hiding in a replay of the game that was abandoned on December 6th 1930, although they could consider themselves slightly unlucky as they were leading 1-0 when the game was abandoned, due to fog after 63 minutes. Blackpool lost 7-1 at Highbury, Derby conceded six on their visit to North London, and Arsenal won 7-2 at Leicester. It was an exciting time to be a Gunner. Cliff Bastin ~ already Arsenal’s youngest scorer, became their youngest scorer of a hat-trick (at 18) in a 6-3 win over Derby on February 14, and was the all-time leading scorer until Ian Wright.

Arsenal won four of their first seven games by 4-1 and looked the only possible winners after beating their nearest challengers, Aston Villa, 5-2 on November 8 – a defeat compounded by Villa’s 6-4 home defeat by Derby the following week. Villa won the return against Arsenal 5-1 in March, but by then it was too late.

In the second-highest scoring season in top-flight history, there was any number of eye-popping results. Leeds United were relegated despite beating Blackpool 7-3, Middlesbrough 7-0 and Man Utd 5-0. Man Utd’ shapless defence let in 115 goals as they lost their first 12 games, starting 4-3, 3-1, 6-0, 6-2, 7-4. Blackpool, who stayed up thanks to a 2-2 draw with Man City on the last day, somehow shipped even more goals than United (125), including a 10-1 defeat at Huddersfield in December.

Arsenal’s first League title (and the first by any southern club) set them on their way to their domination of the 1930s. The previous year’s FA Cup final victory over manager Herbert Chapman’s old club, Huddersfield, was very symbolic, but the championship cemented the arrival of Arsenal. It took Chapman six years to win it, but then the floodgates opened, with three in a row from 1933-35, another in 1938 and a second Cup win in 1936 – although sadly he didn’t live to see most of the silverware, having died in 1934.

The 1930/31 season also saw the debut of the Gunners first player signed from overseas, Dutch goalkeeper Gerry Keyser. He played in the first 12 league matches of the campaign. Another debutant was George Male who made his Arsenal debut against Blackpool in December and went on to serve the Club until 1948; his first appearance was on Christmas Day. The team played three games in three days over the Christmas period, and won them all scoring 14 goals in the process.

Arsenal’s 66 points were six better than the previous best in League history. Villa smashed Sheffield Wednesday’s First Division scoring record of 105, set the previous season – in their home matches alone, Villa scored 86 goals. Tom “Pongo” Waring grabbed 49, a club record. Newcastle’s record crowd (68,386) saw their beloved striker Hughie Gallacher return with his new team, Chelsea, in the second match of the season. Meanwhile, in the Third Division South, the lowest ever League attendance – 469 – huddled in the vast West Ham greyhound stadium to see Thames beat Luton 1-0 on December 6.

Only Arsenal have stayed in the top flight without interruption since then, Everton were Second Division champions in their first year below the top level and won the League title the following season.

The World Cup ~ was inaugurated in the summer of 1930, though not considered important enough for England to enter until 1950.

Bill Shankly ~ started his career with the Ayrshire junior side Cronberry Eglinton.
Stanley Matthews ~ was on the books of Stoke as a 15-year-old, though he did not make his debut until March 1932.

GunnerN5

Final League Table

P W D L F A Pts
Arsenal 42 28 10 4 127 59 66
Aston Villa 42 25 9 8 128 78 59
Sheffield Wednesday 42 22 8 12 102 75 52
Portsmouth 42 18 13 11 84 67 49
Huddersfield Town 42 18 12 12 81 65 48
Derby County 42 18 10 14 94 79 46
Middlesbrough 42 19 8 15 98 90 46
Manchester City 42 18 10 14 75 70 46
Liverpool 42 15 12 15 86 85 42
Blackburn Rovers 42 17 8 17 83 84 42
Sunderland 42 16 9 17 89 85 41
Chelsea 42 15 10 17 64 67 40
Grimsby Town 42 17 5 20 82 87 39
Bolton Wanderers 42 15 9 18 68 81 39
Sheffield United 42 14 10 18 78 84 38
Leicester City 42 16 6 20 80 95 38
Newcastle United 42 15 6 21 78 87 36
West Ham United 42 14 8 20 79 94 36
Birmingham 42 13 10 19 55 70 36
Blackpool 42 11 10 21 71 125 32
Leeds United 42 12 7 23 68 81 31
Manchester United 42 7 8 27 53 115 22

Arsenal Results 1930/31

Date Opponent H/A Result GF GA Pts
Sat Aug 30 Blackpool Away Won 4 1 3
Mon Sep 1 Bolton Wanderers Away Won 4 1 3
Sat Sep 6 Leeds United Home Won 3 1 2
Wed Sep 10 Blackburn Rovers Home Won 3 2 1
Sat Sep 13 Sunderland Away Won 4 1 3
Mon Sep 15 Blackburn Rovers Away Drew 2 2 0
Sat Sep 20 Leicester City Home Won 4 1 3
Sat Sep 27 Birmingham Away Won 4 2 2
Sat Oct 4 Sheffield United Home Drew 1 1 0
Sat Oct 11 Derby County Away Lost 2 4 -2
Sat Oct 18 Manchester United Away Won 2 1 1
Sat Oct 25 West Ham United Home Drew 1 1 0
Sat Nov 1 Huddersfield Away Drew 1 1 0
Sat Nov 8 Aston Villa Home Won 5 2 3
Sat Nov 15 Sheffield Wed Away Won 2 1 1
Sat Nov 22 Middlesbrough Home Won 5 3 2
Sat Nov 29 Chelsea Away Won 5 1 4
Sat Dec 6 Grimsby Town Home Abandoned** 0 0 0
Sat Dec 13 Liverpool Away Drew 1 1 0
Sat Dec 20 Newcastle United Home Lost 1 2 -1
Thu Dec 25 Manchester City Away Won 4 1 3
Fri Dec 26 Manchester City Home Won 3 1 2
Sat Dec 27 Blackpool Home Won 7 1 6
Sat Jan 17 Sunderland Home Lost 1 3 -2
Wed Jan 28 Grimsby Town Home Won 9 1 8
Sat Jan 31 Birmingham Home Drew 1 1 0
Thu Feb 5 Leicester City Away Won 7 2 5
Sat Feb 7 Sheffield United Away Drew 1 1 0
Sat Feb 14 Derby County Home Won 6 3 3
Sat Feb 21 Manchester United Home Won 4 1 3
Sat Feb 28 West Ham United Away Won 4 2 2
Sat Mar 7 Huddersfield Home Drew 0 0 0
Wed Mar 11 Leeds United Away Won 2 1 1
Sat Mar 14 Aston Villa Away Lost 1 5 -4
Sat Mar 21 Sheffield Wed Home Won 2 0 2
Sat Mar 28 Middlesbrough Away Won 5 2 3
Fri Apr 3 Portsmouth Away Drew 1 1 0
Sat Apr 4 Chelsea Home Won 2 1 1
Mon Apr 6 Portsmouth Home Drew 1 1 0
Sat Apr 11 Grimsby Town Away Won 1 0 1
Sat Apr 18 Liverpool Home Won 3 1 2
Sat Apr 25 Newcastle United Away Won 3 1 2
Sat May 2 Bolton Wanderers Home Won 5 0 5

Collective Disbelief at Arsenal

February 5, 2014

I get the feeling there is a rather unusual situation unfolding. Fans are a notoriously blinkered and an over optimistic troupe, whereas if anything, for Managers it is about trying to instill a Collective Belief amongst his players.

Here on this site, where there tends to be a positive outlook, one can detect more than a hint of “you wait, next season”.

Whereas, on the pitch as well as in the dressing room, I detect a real sense of belief.

This difference, between fans and players, bodes very well indeed as the level of expectation from the support (and equally importantly, the Media) will play into our hands. You can sense, particularly at Utd right now, how the reverse is true. The fans demand success, and even expect it, whereas the players have had the belief and confidence drained from them, while even their Manager is now making the wrong noises that merely underlines this disbelief.

I genuinely believe all these factors are really playing into our hands.

We now enter what Rocky has called Death Con 1, or something, the first of our two horrendous mini fixture lists. To my mind they are conveniently grouped. First up, Pool (twice), Utd and Bayern. Good results here will still leave Fans and Media alike “Ah, but butting…”…..”Wait till City and Chelsea”.

Thing is this. By the time we get to Death Con 2, it may almost be too late for Chelsea and City. Gaps may have appeared, while the disconnect between Arsenal Fan and Player expectation will have disappeared and merged into a new Collective Belief.

This is why the other day I mentioned The Liverpool game as being our last seasons’ Bayern. A game that bonded confidence and gave belief in spades.

The burden of expectation from Media as well as The Emirates Crowd will only intensify once we have confronted Chelsea and City. I hear noises of anger that The Media still don’t rate our chances, but it really couldn’t be a more positive situation.

Given Monday nights’ result, Chelsea have moved in as our chief rivals given the remaining fixtures. City have tough away games, and remember, they play Utd away three days before coming to THOF. Chelsea, on the other hand have now finished with the Manchester Clubs, but like us, have to go to Anfield.

Could the League be decided on Merseyside? I remember when it was, and no-one gave us a chance. The fans did not really believe then, and nor did the media, but the players did.

Written by mickydidit89


What El Cashico Tells Us About Arsenal’s Title Hopes

February 4, 2014

Short answer, not a lot.

But wait, wait… don’t put your coat and hat back on just yet.

There are intriguing snippets to be taken from the surprisingly entertaining face-off between the financially doped Mancunians and the financially doped Chavtonians.

They don’t tell us enough to say with certainty that our hopes of a first Premier League title since 2004 are greater or lower, but they provide hints:

  • The Chavs stopped Manchester City scoring for the first time in a bazillion home games. Fair play to the odious West Londoners and their pipsqueak manager. But here’s the thing: our defensive record is almost identical to the Chavs’ this season. They have let in 20 goals, we have let in 21. Therefore when we next play Man City our defense should do just as well as the Chavs did. Yes, I know, we were holed six times below the waterline last time we faced the light blue oilers but I’m happy to wrap myself in what, in philosophy terms, is known as a “logical fallacy”: Chelsea stopped Man City scoring; we are as good defensively as Chelsea; therefore we will stop Man City scoring. Simples (as Plato might have said)

 

  • Man City’s bubble has been burst. The media have been falling over themselves to anoint Citeh as the Champions-in-waiting, regardless of the fact that a certain other team sits above them in the table. Such is the nature of journalism that the more a thing is repeated, the more it becomes inflated. The concept of Citeh as an unstoppable juggernaut had taken hold in Fleet Street and on the armchairs of the BBC and Sky TV. This defeat will bring everyone back to down to earth a little – and will also make Citeh’s future opponents more aware that they are beatable. This can only be to our advantage.

 

  • The Chavs triumphed partly through solid defense and partly by exploiting Citeh’s weaknesses at the back. When we played at Middle Oilsands we were also very effective at exploiting Citeh’s defensive vulnerability – but we forgot about the other bit (the defending). We weren’t helped by some highly suspicious decisions from the officials. But nevertheless, we should have every reason to feel confident when we next take on the Citizens.

 

  • Manuel Pelligrini is not the Messiah, just a very naughty boy with deep pockets. Nice enough bloke and all that, but not in the same class as Arsene Wenger.

 

  • Despite the result, does anyone think Citeh are now out of the title race? No, I didn’t think so. And that’s a fact worth bearing in mind next time we face a setback. It’s easy to look from the outside and see how a bad day at the office is just a bad day at the office. But when it’s YOUR bad day and YOUR office it’s easy for it to feel like the end of the world. We will not win every game between now and the season’s end – but nor will anyone else. So when we slip up please let’s keep the hysterics to a minimum.

One other thing is also abundantly clear. When you look at these two super rich clubs and their international Bond villain owners slugging it out just for the right to hang on to our coat tails, you realise that there is no better thing in this world than to be an Arsenal man (or woman… or trans gender person…).

RockyLives


The Ox fires Arsenal to The Top of The League.‏

February 3, 2014

Arsenal produced a first half performance that we have seen so often this season. Predictably, we had a huge amount of possession against a dour Palace defence which has improved dramatically in recent weeks, so it was never going to be an easy game. A couple of chances fell to Monreal and Koscielny that were well saved by Speroni, and Pulis Palace offered next to nothing in attack. Ozil impressed me, he definitely was the orchestrator – always looking to probe what often amounted to a nine or ten men defence.

Even so the balance seemed wrong with Podolski particularly playing too deep. We did not have enough width to stretch their defence, and why oh why didn’t someone try the occasional shot? Instead we made countless triangular passes (which is Arsene’s way), but this doesn’t work against teams that park the bus. Palace’s sole intention was not to get beaten.

oxlade chamberlain v palace

Within two minutes of the start of the second half, a beautifully dinked ball over the Palace defence by Santi set The Ox up to calmly and expertly chip the ball over the hapless Palace the keeper. However as so often is the case, we took our foot off the peddle and Jerome would have equalised but for an excellent save by the ever improving Szczesny. Subs were needed and the introduction of Rosicky paid dividends within minutes with an exquisite reverse pass touched on by Giroud for The Ox to drive a low shot past Speroni. Giroud had looked tired throughout the game and I would have preferred Bendtner to come on a little earlier, although he wasn’t involved that much, he showed a few good touches.

Podolski got another valuable 72 minutes and who better to bring on than Rosicky.

We have a tough series of games coming up so conserving strength was the key,so why go all out and try add to our tally. IMO those were the right tactics today. Three points in the bag – who could ask for more.

No question that The Ox was the Man of the Match not only for the breakthrough goal but his directness to take any opportunity to shoot as well as his overall contribution to play. He is only twenty and has a big future in this squad.

Player ratings

  •   Szczesny 8.5
  •   Sagna 7
  •   Monreal 6
  •   Arteta 6
  •   Mertesacker 8
  •   Koscielny 8
  •   Cazorla 8
  •   Oxlade-Chamberlain 8.5
  •   Giroud 6
  •   Özil 8
  •   Podolski 6.5

Subs

Rosicky 7.5

Bendtner 7

Gibbs 7

Written by kelsey

 


Crystal Palace: Another Must Win

February 2, 2014

Let’s get this out the way at the beginning because it is so distasteful to write ….. Pulis is doing a fine job at Palace. Who would have thought it?

Right that’s done.

And now for another unpleasant chore, a retrospective of Arsenal’s  January Transfer window. I will be brief, in my opinion it was ……..  how can I put this? Dire.

I know there are extenuating circumstances but the Draxler Affair was a comedy which ended with the player himself stating (I say “stating” but who knows if he did) that he wanted to come but Schalke refused to sell. AW saying it was all a media sham and Shalke winning all round. But who knows what is true? The club have never been open in their dealings and as we all know tradition is paramount at THOF. Any long-term fan knows that until a transfer is announced by the club everything you read and hear is supposition and gossip.

Crystal Palace on the other hand have been very active, bringing in 5 players. At least one will start today, Jason Puncheon, who is in excellent form following his joke penalty at Shite Hart Lane. And of course today heralds “The Return of the Chamakh” ( whatever happened to that Mark Morrison?). I always liked Chamakh but he is at his level now; an inability to reach the standard required by Arsenal was not down to lack of effort but lack of talent and he cannot be blamed for that. Bet he scores now!!

I have already sullied my keyboard with my first sentence so will not  linger on their manager. Suffice to say, he is an odious fellow who will hopefully return to South London pointless and humiliated.

Arsenal:  Usual stuff – who starts given our mounting injury list (which thanks to our bizarre TW signing now has a Swede in the treatment room).

Please Mr Wenger can we see more than 60 seconds of Podolski? Whilst I understand the need to balance the team by playing Gnabry on the right and Santi on the left I would much prefer to see  (for the final 30 mins) Ozil go right, Santi central and Poldi on the left.

Can we go into a game which is likely to be a midfield battleground with only Arteta to put his “foot in”? Micky suggests playing Vermaelen a in midfield and this makes much sense to me – won’t happen though.

I expect Rosicky to start. He has been a major plus this season. I recall a conversation with kelsey a few seasons ago when we both wrote off Tomas’s career and questioned why AFC didn’t pay him off ! I am excited to see whether Rosicky plays in a Mask. Would he be the first Masked Gooner?

The recurrence of Ramsey’s thigh knack is hugely annoying but it gives The Ox a chance to show us why he will be so integral to the team in future years. Important games ahead and his work will be under scrutiny.

My Team:

a v cp

This should be enough to win today. We have quality on the bench which has been further strengthened by the absence of Park.

The origins of The Crystal Palace are obvious(see pic)  but prior to the building of this wonderful example of English Victorian ingenuity and engineering it was just a part of Penge Common. And what is Penge apart from where Tony Hancock came from (look him up)

Unknown

Penge was another of the towns established by those hardy travellers the Anglo-Saxons. It was original called Penceat which means edge of the wood thanks to it being on the periphery of a dense forest.

Crystal Palace was built for the 1851 Great Exhibition which was hugely popular. In just 6 months over 6m people visited which was a third of the population of England! It was the first building with public flushing toilets and it cost one penny to visit them – almost a million did which is remarkable because you could buy a decent central midfielder for a penny in those days – anyway – this is where the expression “To spend a penny” comes from!! (for our foreign readers this is slang for going to the toilet)

It burned down in 1936.

On paper this should be a win for the good guys, but who knows? We haven’t been playing our fluent brand of Wengerball in recent weeks – perhaps not since the Ramsey injury. This is the last “easy” game before the “Death Cluster” (™ RL) we must take three points and return to our rightful place at the Top of the League.

COYRRG

written by Big Raddy


Kim’ll Fix It………or maybe not!

February 1, 2014

About a week ago I’d had enough of this January transfer window. I was sick of all the rumours about Draxler and Morata, and after the ‘confirmed’ signings of Higuain, Fellaini, Grenier etc in the summer, I had learnt my lesson that all transfer rumours are absolute bollocks and you shouldn’t believe anything until it’s on arsenal.com.

Kim-KBut when I woke up yesterday and turned on Sky Sports News I couldn’t help but get a little excited about what the day had in store, espescially when I heard Wenger say something about being 80% sure he could deliver us a shiny new toy!

Unfortunately, what transpired was a bit of a let down, as our shiny new toy turned out to be a rusty, old bike. No, it wasn’t Kim Kardashian, it was none other than 31 year old Swedish International Kim Källström!

kallstrom

In fairness to Kim, she’s got a cracking figure….sorry, I mean he’s got a great left foot, and I’ve not really seen much of him in action, so maybe I was being a bit unfair, but his signing just left me a little underwhelmed.

Looking at twitter and the comments on here yesterday evening it was obvious that most people agreed, but does a lack of any real transfer activity mean we have lost all hope of a good season? I don’t think so.

Team updates:-

Man City 53 pts no signings

Arsenal 52 pts Källström in

Chelsea 50 pts Matic, Salah in Mata out

Liverpool 46 pts no signings

Tottenham 43 pts no signings

Everton 42 pts Traore, McGeady, Stanek in

Man United 40 pts Mata in

If you look at the top 7 of the PL, nobody has really strengthened apart from United. Some may argue Chelsea and Everton are stronger because they’ve signed players, but I don’t think adding numbers means you’ve added quality. Chelsea have replaced Mata with Matic and Salah, not exactly like for like is it?

All in all, nothing has happened in this transfer period that should get Arsenal fans worried. In my opinion we still have the players to challenge for trophies this season, and after too many years scrapping for a CL spot, I would say that’s a big step in the right direction.

We are nowhere near the finished article, with GK, CB, DM, LW and CF all positions that could arguably do with strengthening in the summer, and Källström is definitely not the long term answer (what was the question again!?), but that doesn’t mean this transfer window has been a failure.

In conclusion, we have as good a chance of winning a trophy as we did before the TW opened. Depending on your own outlook on Arsenal FC at the moment that could mean zero chance or guaranteed silverware.

Personally, I think we will fall just short behind City and Chelsea, but I’m certain we will see a massive improvement on last season, and I’m even more certain that improvement will have very little to do with Kim Källström.

Sorry Kim!

FatGingerGooner