When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

Unfortunately, Arsenal has left it to a last gasp scramble to get over the line for a Champions League qualification place and the first silverware in a long long time. Now, where have we heard that one before? It took a herculean effort, and plenty of nerves, to get over the line this time last year. And yes, the good guys have left it late this year as well.

So, can we do it? Can we make it again? And will we top it up with glory at Wembley? And finally, what does this bode for next year?

Only seven games to go in a season defining final push for Arsenal. First up is Roberto Martinez’s former team Wigan Athletic. The current holders of the FA Cup, Wigan has had recent and remarkable success at Wembley and have defeated Manchester City not once but twice in two consecutive years in the FA Cup. Can we do it? Oh yes, certainly. But will we? Why not? With our talisman Rambo back from injury, and the team hurting after a sensational collapse away to Roberto’s current team Everton, what better time to show your mettle than now? Surely, we back them to show fine spirit and passion and clinch a FA Cup final appearance!

With another appearance in Wembley secure in the bag, what arrives then is the significant matter of securing 4th spot in the League and Champions League qualification. Five games come up in succession:

v West Ham (H) – Tue April 15
v Hull (A) – Sat April 19
v Newcastle (H) – Mon April 28
v West Brom (H) – Sun April 4
v Norwich (A) – Sun 11 May

Winning all five games will not guarantee a CL spot. Unfortunately the outcome is out of our hands now. But there is plenty to play for. And if I were a betting man, I would say we will do it. Everton have a difficult run-in and are expected to drop points. Then, 5 wins will get us through.

Further, all these five games are extremely winnable. It took Liverpool two lucky penalties to defeat Big Sam’s West Ham, but they are at best a mildly competitive mid-table team playing away from home this time round. Koscielny is scheduled to be back for this game.

Hull is another mid-table team and equally uninspiring. But they are competitive and also play in the FA Cup semis. This game could be a dress rehearsal of the FA Cup final in case Hull manage to edge Sheffield United out in the semis. The Wizard of Ozil could be back from injury in this game. This is be another great boost in our final push.

Next up are home games against Newcastle and West Brom. Newcastle are in a run of poor form home and away, and West Brom are just about edging their way away from the drop-zone. That then leaves a final day scramble against Norwich away. A terrible team under a new manager, but a crucial game that could prove immensely important for us. Absolutely no reason why we should not edge it. In short, just the small but not ignorable matter of 5 games that we should win. And we will win, aided not least by the return of Ramsey and Ozil. Oh, how dearly we have missed the duo.

And finally, the FA Cup final against the survivor of the Hull vs Sheffield United tie. Once again, a match that we should win, and thereby clinch our first silverware in 9 long years. A lot of history associated with this game. Our previous silverware was the FA Cup as well, won against Manchester United in penalties. Ah, what a day it was!

And that is not the only Manchester United connection this time round. The Cup game this weekend will be Arsenal’s 27th FA Cup Semi-Final appearance, equalling Manchester United’s record. Our FA Cup win will also see us equal Manchester United’s record of 11 triumphs.

Is that all that the end of the season holds for us? Not quite. The junior Gunners have had a mixed season this year, but will also play the FA Youth Cup semifinals against Chelsea this week. On show are, among others, Chuba Akpom, Leander Siemann, Gedion Zelalem and Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill, all potential names for the future.

So friends, all to play for. A big effort required from all and sundry, the manager and the team, but most importantly the fans. Back the good guys, chums, and revel in their big efforts in the end of the season gambit.

If there was ever the need for passion, big heart and unconditional support for whoever puts the shirt on, now is it. Other things can wait! 7 games left, only, and 7 wins is the target. No more, no less! It is achievable, and let us put our hands together and make it happen.

COYRRG!!!

Written by arnie

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181 Responses to When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

  1. Sav from Australia says:

    Well said Arnie! Very well said!

  2. Sav from Australia says:

    And I’m first for the first time…

    I want the players to read Arnie’s post and learn some fighting spirit.

    Just over the line…team will be a different beast next season…just power over that line.

  3. I know, LB, I was just having a laugh !. 🙂

    I like MK and his rant has not changed my mind, whether anyone follows his views or not, I just found it entertaining !.

  4. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Nice work Arnie

    Had someone said to me before the season began, we’d end 4th with the FAC, I would have “yes pleased”. In other words, all to play for as you so rightly say.

  5. Big Raddy says:

    Arnie. A well balanced post.

    I am sure I a not the only one worried about the FAC.

    Finish 4th and win the FAC. People would say progress has been made.

    Finish a gallant 5th and win the FAC and people would say we had an OK season.

    Finish 5th and no FAC and the loonies will take over ….

  6. kelsey says:

    “They think it’s all over” 🙂

    Well done arnie,I admire your optimism.

  7. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ah Raddy
    Pleasant surprise and all that.
    I’d take 4th over the FAC. You?

  8. Alan K says:

    I think Ill be banned from every Arsenal blog for saying this but I wonder if anyone else thinks that not getting fourth this year might just shake up our dear owners and get them to give AW the money he needs to go and buy the players we need to really compete.

  9. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Just to add to my last comment, I’d rather end 6th than 5th so as to avoid the horror of Thursday night football.

  10. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Alan K

    The danger of 5th is that the owners then allocate our transfer kitty into parachute money or whatever they call no CL Revenue.

  11. arnie says:

    Motning all, again, and thanks. This was written in a hurry, and a sudden impulse, as much for my sanity as everything else. 🙂

    Plenty of positive ideas around, and some negative. But the need of the moment is to get all hands on board and get through this final stage with positive spirits and a spirit of togetherness.

    Our beloved club, players, manager, et al, need our support. Let us provide this support unconditionally, just for these 7 games.

    Other things can wait just a little while. In any case, we need to take stock at the end of the year to move on to things moving forward. Onwards and upwards!

  12. Big Raddy says:

    I still believe we will finish 4th but if the efforts of the lads falls short then I would take 5th and Spursday.

    Micky. There are some fine cities to visit and it has to be said some top clubs playing in the Europa. So I disagree.

    Your 11.19. That assumes the BoD have no ambition which is clearly untrue. They want CL so they will have to invest.

  13. arnie says:

    David: with due respect, are you saying you “want to see Arsenal lose” so that you can make a point? Please look carefully at yourself. Your point is more important to you, is it not, than seeing the team do well. And you call yourself a fan? Come on, wake up mate, get a life! 🙂

    Support the club until the end of the season. I, and all of us, will be very happy to discuss other matters with you at that point. 🙂

  14. arnie says:

    Apols, got drawn in by the troll. Hang my head in shame. 😦

  15. kelsey says:

    arnie my dear friend

    Your post is optimistic in the extreme and why not,but as I have said on previous occasions I am a realist and though not a football tactician or manager our recent results and more importantly last weekend have been distinctly average and in some cases really poor.

    After the Chelsea defeat which was a humiliation we clawed ourselves back into the game against City through an unlikely goal by Flamini.

    A lack of concentration allowed a Swansea team in free fall to grab a late point and the performance at Everton was the worst of the season.

    Of course I want us to win the FA Cup and get forth but blind faith won’t do that.

    Kos coming back is a big boost and hopefully Ramsey is at least 90% fit as he really has a terrific engine and as I said yesterday our other attacking midfielders are not scoring and I wouldn’t back my mortgage on Giroud scoring the winning goal.

    Podolski gives us something else but until a couple of games ago hardly every started. I ask you why ?

    No Flamini for these vital next two games and Arteta is passed his best,therefore not an ideal scenario.

    Monreal is an average player but no substitute for an injured Gibbs.

    Everything has to fall into place for us to achieve what you wish for,arnie.

    If not certain players will come out again with “the club lacks real ambition” if that is meant to be aimed at the Board, certain players,the coaching or the manager, i am not sure.

  16. arnie says:

    Kelsey: Points well taken. 🙂 Injuries and deficiencies, players and strategy, notwithstanding, our team is good enough to achieve this. Yes, the return of Kos, Rambo and Ozil is going to be a great boost as well.

    Whether the team will be able to achieve this or not is the moot question. One thing is certain for me. They are not going to do this without our support as fans, and this is what I appeal for. This is my limited point. A plea really.

    Raddy: Spursday football will be second best, but something is better than nothing. Some nice places to visit as well. Can I perhaps join you in your trips. Micky OUT. 😛

  17. kelsey says:

    I would be staggered if the fans that go to Wembley aren’t fully behind the team.

    Our Away support is fantastic but at Everton it was a lot more muted.

  18. Big Raddy says:

    Arnie. We will be going to CL clubs and you will be very welcome, the more the merrier.

    kelsey. Let us hope the players are not “realists” because if they are as “realistic” as you they might as well not turn up. We expect the players to take to the field full of the confidence they need to play flowing football and yet some fans are fearful even before a ball is kicked!

    I do not share your affection for Flamini – to me he is an average PL player. His stupidity in getting booked 11 times this season (plus one red) costs us. Running hard, crunching into ill-timed tackles and waving his arms about is not enough to make him a “Leader.”

    Why shouldn’t we win our last 7 games?

  19. gyabi says:

    win all our games for we have been there be for so such times keep us by our team aii the way and they need us to support tham as fans

  20. Bryan says:

    Sadly I have lost faith in this shambolic side, I didn’t really expect us to win the league but neither did I expect us to totally fall apart either.

    It would not surprise me to see us miss out on CL football which would be the worse time ever to do it as we apparently have a lot of money to spend on (please0 top drawer players.
    I have my ticket for Wembley but can not get myself up for a game that unbelievably I am not looking forward too, as it really would not surprise me if we **cked it up.
    Wenger will have to retire or go one day & after watching the amount of times he has not been able to motivate players I am starting to feel maybe he should call it a day, he seems to have no tactics, always makes poor substitutions, also regularly leaves them too late.
    I always have supported Wenger but there was so many of these poor no effort & no caring games last season & although we have had less this year, still far too many & in massive games.

    Monreal would be the first player out the door for me, he is one of the worse left backs I can recall us having at the club in years & it beggers belief that he has played for Spain

  21. Big Raddy says:

    Gyabi. Exactly.

  22. kelsey says:

    arnie

    when you say” injuries and deficiencies, players and strategy, notwithstanding, our team is good enough to achieve this.” this is the frustrating part,why are we playing with little or no belief.

  23. Bryan says:

    Also I believe if we won the 5 games remaining we would definitely make 4th spot but guess what? I don’t see us doing that, in fact I think us winning 3 of them on current form is not looking likely.

  24. kelsey says:

    That wasn’t a very nice remark Raddy. The results currently prove I am right.

    I sometimes think people just brush over one bad result but this has been going on for quite a while and I feel my comments are justified.

    If we can turn it around and I mean dramatically I would be delighted,but IMO it’s a much harder task than many think.

  25. kelsey says:

    Oh, I have no affection for fFamini either but he covers for Arteta on a number of occasions.

  26. Bryan says:

    If we don’t make CL will they drop the price of season tickets?
    will they not include the poxy Europa cup in the tickets?
    We all know that won’t happen but I sure don’t want to be paying to watch that shite, so I agree that were better finishing 5th but then if we won the cup, we would be in it lol
    Damn I’m so depressed 😉

  27. Rasp says:

    Thanks arnie, I agree, we must all get behind the team and give 100% support.

    I am wearing a self-imposed gag because I have formed a strong opinion as to the best way forward for the Arsenal and will no doubt expand on this when the time is right. My opinion will not change whether we win the FAC and finish 2nd, or if Wigan knock us out and we finish 6th.

    All we can ask at this point is that everyone tries their hardest – then what will be, will be.

  28. Bryan says:

    Yes we will all have to get behind the team for sure.
    I really hate the Semi’s being played at Wembley, I’d much prefer to be going to Villa Park or wherever.
    Wembley should be for the final only & dare I say it we have never won at new Wembley yet, hopefully we can change that but we have never really ever played really well there.

  29. Rasp says:

    Hi Bryan. You are not alone in your concerns.

    There has been some discussion lately as to the function of a site like AA.

    For some we are a convenient outlet to let off steam ….. for others it is a friends forum to exchange banter and spread goodwill ….. and others think we should consider ourselves as a part of the greater entity that is the Arsenal and therefore it is incumbent upon us to only promote things that will help the club.

    My view is that it can be different things to different people at different times. All that is important is that when things are not going well, we remember what unites us and behave accordingly.

  30. Bryan says:

    Totally agree Rasp, for me, certainly today its to let off steam,
    but if I’m honest I am becoming very disillusioned with the way football is going.
    Everything about it now is just money & the only teams that win things are those who spend money & hopefully we will spend big this summer otherwise it will just be the same disappointing crap again.
    I am considering giving my season ticket up or at least loaning it for next season (just in case I regret it) because I am finding more & more that I am no longer enjoying it.
    I can’t stand watching those money cheating buy success clubs win trophy’s & listen to “9 years without winning anything” like were the nly big club that hasn’t every 5 mins, while Spurs spend 110M & are still shite but get nothing said.
    I even hate this years telly smashing FIFA 14 lol

    Thank you AA for letting me rip 😉

  31. Big Raddy says:

    Kelsey. As you well know, It wasn’t written to offend you.

    I just get annoyed with the way fans who expect the worst consider themselves “realists”, and consider those who are optimistic “delusional”

    My expectation that we will get 4th is IMO perfectectly reasoned. We have beaten WHU, Newcastle, Hull, Norwich and drawn away to WBA this season.

    A repetition is hardly unreasonable is it?

  32. kelsey says:

    you have an e mail Rddy sent by Rasp but not your usual address.

    Maybe being realistic as opposed to realists,but I always say I hope to be proved wrong 🙂

  33. arnie says:

    Kelsey: On the “frustrating part” of lack of belief, I agree, and have no credible explanation nor any solution therefore. It is a moot point as to how far belief in players spills on to fans, or whether the main spillover is the other way round. Certainly, it goes both ways.

    Hence, as fans I feel we should do our bit in trying to retain a degree of belief. Particularly because it is now a question of only a short period of time with only a few games left. Not easy, but I think we as fans should make an effort. 🙂

    Bryan: most welcome. it is nice that this space provides an environment to let off steam. All I can say is second your view and thank AA. 🙂

  34. arnie says:

    Raddy: well said @2:07. of course I would say that, would I not. But seriously, I see value in belief and optimism. Call it delusion, call it irrational, whatever. 🙂

  35. Norfolk Gooner says:

    When the going gets tough, the tough get going! Sounds great doesn’t it?

    Problem is Arsenal are not “tough”

    We used to slip up occasionally against the “lesser” teams, but put up a good show, mostly, against the top ones. Since January results indicate that we are poor to awful against the top teams and still make the occasional cock-up against the others.

    For some reason the mental strength so lauded by Wenger earlier in the season has leaked away to be replaced by an “Oh s**t here we go again attitude” as the goals against total steadily rises.

    A regular stream of comments from players along the lines of “we are up for the fight”, allied to words like “we need a better attitude”, “We have to go back to the basics”, from the manager, just bring to mind the old adage “fine words butter no parsnips”.

    Perhaps it’s time for Wenger to stop defending his players and make a statement to them along the lines of “ you have six, possibly seven games to prove to me your desire to continue as an Arsenal player” “Six, possibly seven games to decide the future direction of your career”.

    It’s surely the moment to tell the players some home truths.

  36. Bryan says:

    I don’t see anything wrong with being a realist but at the same time don’t think other supporters are disillusioned if they believe different.
    I do find it annoying though when people just look through rose tinted glasses & moan at you for saying anything bad about our beloved team.

    David you on the other hand are a fool lol
    I am at the stage when I think it may be time for change but I know what Wenger has done for this club & if we do get a new manager it can get even worse, look at Man Utd now & they were winning leagues not fighting for 4th

  37. Norfolk Gooner says:

    No! David, no true fan would ever, under any circumstances wish for his team to lose even a single a game.

  38. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Oh! david, what a silly comment.

  39. arnie says:

    Norfolk: troll alert.

  40. Rasp says:

    david = troll

  41. arnie says:

    Norfolk: “Since January results indicate that we are poor to awful against the top teams and still make the occasional cock-up against the others.” Agreed. An occasional cock-up happens only occasionally. So backing the good guys to win the 7 games is on!!!! 🙂

  42. Bryan says:

    To be fair I think we have done really well against the poorer teams, I would say probably better than any of the top 3, as you are going to drop some points against them but we have been appalling against the big teams.

    totally of topic but I was just thinking that it is somehow ironic that the last time we won a trophy we won it the Chelsea way
    ie: getting totally outplayed & getting away with the woodwork being rattled a few times then winning on pens & it was Vieira’s very last kick for Arsenal 😉

  43. arnie says:

    Nice points, Bryan. Top clip, Rasp. Come on fans. We can do it, and we will!!!! 🙂

  44. I would take the FAC and 5th all day long.

    We need to get the monkey off our back of no trophy for x amount of years, and the FAC would do that. It would also give this group of players some belief that they have what it takes to win.

    Also, i dont think CL qualification is so important to a squad that has very little chance of winning it. Yes, it helps with the club finances (not much of an issue now with new sponsors), and yes, it helps attract better players, but it also seems to effect our squad with injuries and exhaustion, something that could be avoided in the EL as we could play reserve players all the way through.

    A few years away from the CL has allowed Liverpool to rebuild and come again.

    Just 1 year away could give us the space needed to really push on in the league. Then we can go again in the CL once we have a larger depth of squad (bearing in mind our younger players would have a full season of EL football behind them).

    In the long term, obviously CL football is key to our club, but short term, it is hindering our chances of domestic success. Would a year out of the top 4 be such a bad thing?

  45. Bryan says:

    haha those were the days, can’t believe how crap we played but won it, totally in contrast to when we played so well against Liverpool & got beaten by 2 late Owen goals who then went on become the worse pundit ever well joint equal with John Barnes 😀

  46. Bryan says:

    I would love us to get the monkey off our back but I think we will spend big this summer (we better) & I just don’t believe we will be able to get the players we need without CL.
    Also poor old Durham wont know what to say if we win a trophy, no actually he’ll find some other crap to talk shite about us

  47. On the same topic, maybe we wont have much choice but to miss out on CL for a few seasons.

    We have really missed an opportunity to progress this year with City, United and Chelsea all getting new managers. There have been a few stages in the season where these clubs have been very poor, but i cant see that continuing.

    City will buy at least 1 quality CB in the summer,
    Chelsea will get strikers,
    United will buy half of a new team,
    Liverpool will build on CL qualification,
    Everton are making giant strides,
    Spurs will be better for a new manager and their players starting to settle.

    The PL has suddenly become a real battle for CL places, and next season it will only get worse with United back in the mix, and Everton and Spurs also thereabouts.

  48. arnie says:

    Top analyses, FGG and Bryan. Top 4 and FA Cup are achievable. If we fight hard and make this happen, we can make changes over the summer that will make us more competitive next year. 🙂

  49. arnie

    Im not so confident we will make the changes needed.

    One of Wengers beliefs is that there should always be space for a young player to progress into the first team. Whilst this produces some top talent, it also means that there is a little less room for the players we need to sign. This method always seems to leave us short when injuries occur, as they always seem to do.

    You cant argue with Wengers ability to produce quality youngsters, but you do wonder at what price this comes.

  50. arnie says:

    FGG: Fair enough. I am not confident either. In principle, I am not averse to this philosophy. But one needs to strike a balance. However, I feel this is more appropriately discussed after the 7 games and when we know where we stand.

  51. Bryan says:

    I agree FGG, we normally always get let down when it comes to the changes needed.
    We hear we have 100M & I think we need to spend all of that on 3 x 30M players of quality & sell a few to raise more cash to buy a few more squad players but don’t see it happening.
    Wenger messed up big time in January for me, he should of brought in at least 2 players, one being a striker & someone with pace.
    I really wish it was possible to wait to renew season tickets until after transfers were done 😉

  52. Shard says:

    Well done arnie.. 7 more matches to go. But I prefer to look at it as 1 game at a time. And even more than that, because of the way we’ve played recently, every tackle, every pass at a time. If we stay focused on the immediate objectives and put in a committed performance, the results should follow, since we are good enough to pull this off.

    A lack of confidence is the major issue, but today, I just realised something. Our next game is an FA Cup semi-final. That made me feel excited. Nothing to fear, despite the media stories and the pressure on us as favourites. It’s just an occasion and an opportunity. Nothing scary about that. It’s what we’ve been wanting.

    As for next season, we’ll see when we come to it and I haven’t read through all the comments properly, but fgg. Wenger’s reputation in the pre-Emirates era was one of not giving youngsters a chance. Even Liam Brady complained about that. I would say although he obviously likes giving them a chance, he likes winning even more and if we have the opportunity to buy better players, he will not hesitate because it might ‘kill’ a youngster.

  53. kelsey says:

    I prefer to look at it one minute at a time 🙂

  54. kelsey says:

    Europa League….no way…..even more matches

  55. Big Raddy says:

    EL is still a Cup and one currently held by Chelsea. Do you think their fans think it is a waste of time?

    It is winnable.

    We need a boost just like the Fairs Cup win gave the Double team of 70/71. Why not the EL?

  56. kelsey says:

    Not for me Raddy.

    23 games to win it compare that to the CL and then we have the LC and FA Cup and keeping tabs on the top 3 in the PL.Have we got the squad for that.If we don’t get CL I would rather miss out.

    I can’t agree with you on anything today 🙂

  57. arnie says:

    chums, I am now held up in binding constraints. back laters. 🙂

  58. how many of those games would require first team players though?

    A Championship side nearly made it through the group stages!!! 🙂

  59. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Cheers arnie baby

    Yes, we will all those games. I cant wait to go to Wembley twice and see us lift the Cup.

    Everton wont win all there games. There not all that. All of a sudden that Naismith geezer is Pele, when did that happen? The bloke cant even control a ball and I have heard no rumour of suspected erectile dysfunction.

    Been positive is really important arnie. I was once having an affair with a good friends wife. Now, been a man who believes in honour and integrety I tried my damndest he wouldnt find out.

    Eventully she left him and let spill of her affair. Obviosuly he wasnt happy and i heard he was looking for me. So been a man of high morals and empathy, for his sake i went into hiding. I didnt want the guy to batter me arnie, it would have left him feeling bad. I couldnt do that to him.

    Now, if this guy had thought of the positives he would have employed my services as intermediary and counsellor to save his marriage, but negative emotion won the day and he blew it.

    I heard through the grapevine that he is now remarried, and often wondered if I should contact him to discuss how he could cement his new relationship, perhaps with his new wife present, I hear she is very attractive, but realise hes probably not ready.

    Despite our recent setbacks there is always positives from the negatives. Winning the Cup and fourth place is there for the taking.

    The Ghosts of the Thirties are Stirring

  60. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ha ha Transplant

    It’s one of life’s great challenges. When to apply the strictest of moral codes, and when to relax things a little. I think you have mastered it 🙂

  61. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    hahaha, coming from a man who hides his identity. You and I both know what you are.

  62. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    hahaha, yes micky, its all about balance

  63. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Mmmm
    Anyone watching Barca match?
    Bayern 0-0. I’d say Munich look the more likely to score, but only seen 25 mins.

  64. Thanks arnie, but far from sounding like a Professor, I reckon you work in a chicken hatchery !……..as that is some counting of chickens before they have hatched !. hahaha
    Also, don’t let Transplant on to this as he is AA`s chief poultry molester and you will end up with more than egg on your face ! hahaha
    I might as well start celebrating now, now that I have read that we have won all these easy games !.
    For a start, Everton might have some supposedly tougher games, but they are the form team and them playing so called harder games is no different from us/Arsenal, a current below average team, playing average teams our self !. They have the bit between the teeth and it is in their hands, I wouldn`t back us to beat anyone on current form, especially a team who have beaten Mansour City twice at Wembley in less than a year !.

    Now to some real breaking news !………….Patsy Palmer ( Bianca ) is leaving EastEnders in pursuit of a career in Hollywood, it`s been reported !.
    I can see a great opening here and it is so bloody obvious !…………..she will star as the loud mouthed wife of a low bum punch drunk East End boxer, in a film called ……”Ricky “……followed by a multiple of sequels…….Ricky II……..Ricky III………Ricky IV etc`. Rumour has it Stallone is interested !.

  65. Big Raddy says:

    How have BM not scored? Moyes has been studying the Mourinho tactics book, 11 behind the ball and pray for a refereeing mistake.

    With this streaming business I can watch both games at the same time – makes me feel as though I have a handle on this tech stuff !

  66. chas says:

    Cheers Arnie.

  67. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Athletico 1-0 up
    Is it a good game Raddy?

  68. I have always said that 4th place trophy comes before an FAC or COC win, but this year I`m changing my opinion…….I want the FAC and if that comes to having to be 5th or 6th, then so be it !. There is still money there, whether we are in the CL or not !.
    If Manshafter Std don’t get in the back door of the CL by poxy winning it, which is ( at the current time of writing ) possible, do you think they wont have money to spend in the Summer TW ?. They could be in the Championship and would still bring in Super Quality players !.
    Not getting the FAC and scraping 4th will be more damaging to Wenger than winning the FAC and getting 5th imo….still damaging, but a proper Trophy will keep fans that are interested in trophies more happy than the one`s interested in the accounts !.

  69. Bayonne Jean says:

    Atletico Barca is a very good scrap; Atletico has it post/crossbar on three separate occasions in first half, twice by David Villa, who would have looked good in red with white sleeves. Barca doing better at start of second half, but Atletico are stronger and much better organized defensively.

    In the coverage on the left side of the Atlantic, halftime expert (?)commentary being provided by Mikel Sylvestre (?!?!?). As good at commentary as he was at defending for Arsenal.

  70. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Cornwall, hahaha, with all you recent dooming and glooming ime surprised your not embedded into the back of the sofa. We could make some money out of this. Get DFS to market a new range, if Arsenal lose nothing happens but if we win an East End hand pops up to pleasure you. hahahaha

  71. Big Raddy says:

    Bayonne 😀

    Terry. 7.07 Magnificent.

    If AM beat Barca and it looks like they will, then draw Chavs in the semi, can Chelsea insist Courtois doesn’t play for AM?

  72. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Bugger. Had to quit watching at half time because of lousy streams.
    Missed Utd losing, and according to Bayonne, a good game in Spain.

  73. Big Raddy says:

    Cracking game in Madrid.

  74. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Now you’re winding me up, Raddy. You with your working liveonline, and me with my five year subscription 😦

  75. Arnie, love the fighting spirit in the post.

    Brought out some varying topics of discussion too. Well played sir.

    Bryan if you’re unlucky enough to be sitting next to me at Wembley on Saturday try not to utter any words of discontent in ground.

    I don’t think i have too many problems with airing those negative thoughts away from the ground but the players confidence where it is at the moment they need all the help they can get on Saturday, so positive words and noises only at Wembley please.

    The thing is if the fans are 100% behind the team….then no one can use the “crap support” as an excuse……

    Also if you do decide to loan the ST out let me know (especially if you have a mate you go with also looking to loan out) think i could organise a share with my brother and Dad.

    As for the little debate about the variations of our finishing position. It’ll be what it’ll be, i don’t think it will affect the Board’s decisions on spending or Wenger.

    As for youth vs buying proven. I’ll take youth everyday, especially having heard Santi’s reported comments today.

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/arsenal-news-santi-cazorla-fires-3391667

    I’m pretty unimpressed by that interview hope the club fine him, he has just signed a new contract, so what has changed?

    And I constantly hate seeing players say “we need other signings” it does two things:

    1) criticises his teammates
    2) means you yourself do not have a winning mentality because you need someone else to help you.

    Seriously pissed off!

  76. chas says:

    Get your PC expert to have a look. If your login works elsewhere, it’s your end (either broadband, security or cookie) that’s causing the problem.

  77. Bayonne Jean says:

    What did Atletico pay for Villa? Five million quid?

    Oh, but he’s 31 years old. But you don’t necessarily need a very proven striker to play every match for you — give your main striker a break or rotate a bit more with some quality that doesn’t cost anything. That’s where the frustration comes in…..

  78. Intertesting from Safe Hands on TPIG1:

    “He’s had injuries, had the challenge of Fabianski trying to take his place but has come back really confident and consistent. That’s what I look for in a keeper – you’ll make mistakes here and there, but it’s about how you react afterwards and come back from them.

    “I used to talk to Bob Wilson about how many mistakes you can have in a season. We used to set a target of four or five and Szczesny is in that group. He’s made some great saves and not made many mistakes.

    “He is by far No1, because it looks like Fabianski might be leaving at the end of the season – which I can totally understand.

    “For a goalkeeper of his quality, Fabianski has to play. And I can’t imagine Arsenal buying a keeper to replace Szczesny after the season he’s had.”

  79. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Mmm Exile

    I looked carefully for the bits he actually said, and as you rightly say, not good at all.

    If he transmits that attitude around the dressing room, the team can never hope to beat teams putting in 100%. It creates an in-built excuse. Prat.

  80. chas says:

    That interview looks slightly different from its original source and Santi doesn’t speak English that well, so there are translation issues, too.
    Not publishing what questions were asked also leaves much to be filled in by the reader.
    The Mirror are at least, consistent in painting the worst possible picture as far as their coverage of Arsenal goes.

    http://www.sport360.com/article/european/20373/santi-cazorla-interview-desperate-finish-his-career-winner

  81. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Cheers Chas

    Give up on me and my equipment. We’re a lost cause.

  82. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    No need to be pissed of GIE. Santi is a great player but he looks like the kind of guy that spent two years working out the rules of hangman. No harm done.

    Besides, its micky that should be pissed. Getting a message from the FBI that they are blocking your computer and demanding $100 from you is not nice.

    At least Utd are out. 4th place now means Champions Laegue

  83. MickyDidIt89 says:

    “Santi is a great player but he looks like the kind of guy that spent two years working out the rules of hangman”

    Brilliant. I go to bed with a smile on my face 🙂

    Nite all.

  84. If Micky has indeed got that FBI Virus (can’t see it in comments) it is quite easy to get rid of.

  85. chas says:

    Wear red at Wembley……

  86. chas says:

  87. chas says:

  88. chas says:

  89. Gööner In Exile says:

    TMHT indeed 4th place will bring the normal supermarket sweep in late August 🙂

    It’s the comments about needing to sign other players that pees me off it actually shows a lack of belief in themselves to get the job done.

    In other news Chas the ticket arrived today….Mrs Exile wondered who was sending me a letter 🙂 she thinks it’s strange to get handwritten envelopes when birthdays/Christmas are not coming up.

  90. Shard says:

    GIE

    I’ve been considering the Cazorla quotes. I must say my initial reaction to seeing them wasn’t of anger or annoyance.. I think the tone of the comments is a little vague and open to interpretation.

    On the negative side he says things like ‘we don’t have a winning mentality’, and the ‘need to sign best football players’ .

    But the part about mentality was also qualified by saying that they have to believe more. He also said Arsenal have great players, essentially using transfers to say that we lack something in the squad when compared to clubs like City.

    I also feel that he made it clear that he’s at Arsenal to win titles and that he’s not considering leaving until his contract is up, even if Arsenal don’t win (despite it being depicted as the opposite)

    On the whole, I think it’s an honest assessment of the club, (which he praised) and of his hopes. It’s probably just the media trying to find controversy. Some comments don’t sound good individually, but overall I think I don’t have a problem with them.

  91. “and that he’s not considering leaving until his contract is up”

    I don’t want him considering leaving Arsenal at all. I want him saying….”you know what we’ve f***ed it up a bit, we were top of the League and in a strong position and we’ve let our standards drop, but what we are going to do now is go and give our fans something to cheer about we are all busting a gut to win the FA Cup, and we are hungry for it”

    And if he can’t say that give stonewall boring responses for an hour and it won’t end up being used as a stick against his employers before a big game.

  92. Shard says:

    GIE

    How do you know when that interview took place? Or that those quotes are all the quotes he gave? Maybe he did say something about the FA Cup but wasn’t reported because this way it creates more controversy.

    As for the leaving bit.. He was probably asked about playing in Spain again.. It’s not like he brought up leaving.. He can only answer the questions they asked him.

  93. Shard says:

    The media have done this before. Misrepresented what players were saying to make it appear as if they are slagging off their club and Arsenal are prime targets. Cazorla mentions going out against Bayern, and mentions Stoke finishing our title challenge. We don’t know when exactly that interview took place , what questions were asked, whether his responses to different questions were combined to distort their meaning (I think this appears to have happened) , and whether there was more.

    What I do know is that Cazorla is one of our best players, and it would be against our interests to turn on him. Especially when the ‘evidence’ of his ‘wrongdoing’ isn’t really that reliable.

    Off to bed now 🙂

  94. chas says:

    Precisely, Shard.
    We’ve now reached the point where Arsenal fans feel a desperate need to be offended by something and the media is all too willing to feed that self-destructive tendency.
    Fuck ’em. I bet if you spoke to Santi personally he’d say that the quotes are taken out of context (i.e. you don’t know what questions were asked and which answers were left out) and that that wasn’t the tone of the interview at all.

    Pleased the ticket arrived, GIE. We’re aiming for 1pm at the Green Man.

  95. Gööner In Exile says:

    I think we are singing from the same hymn sheet I am all too aware that quotes are taken out of context, which is precisely why i’d rather they didn’t give the interview at all. Or as I say bore the tits off the interviewer with endless good things about the club. I know I’m expecting footballers to show some savvy but surely they aren’t that dense?

    I think it’s happened to us before, the worst probably being Fabregas’s that according to the club was done with their approval and scrutiny.

    And like the tabloids when it comes to a story about England players they will sit on it until just before a big tournament.

    Keith Dover had a very good suggestion for dealing with it which involved Arsene peeing on a shirt before training and hanging it up and telling the players that if anyone was quoted in an interview mentioning playing for another team they would have tower the festering shirt in training.

  96. arnie says:

    Thanks, chums. nice chat today. ManUre out, even better. FA Cup and CL remains very much the agenda. Onwards and upwards! 🙂

  97. JM says:

    The title headline:

    “When the going gets tough, the tough get going …… ”

    rightfully fits the form, perseverance and dedication from players and staff of Atlético Madrid this season. (both in La Liga and CL). Gabi is their captain inspirational; Koke is their (and Spain’s) rising star.

    Arsenal FC can and should learn from them.

    (Firstly, do not treat the captain’s armband as an item on sale or as a tool to retain the services, temporarily, of our current best player)
    Re: After Tony Adams retired,

    Vieira – best all-round player at that time, sold to Juventus
    Henry – best player at his time, sold to Barcelona
    Gallas – controversial captaincy, then removed from role and released on a free.
    Fabregas – best player at his time, sold to Barcelona
    RvP – best player at his time, sold to Man. United

    Vermaelen – ?
    (I hope that he remains with the club and wins back his starting role, at any defensive position, until either till the end of his contract or he gets a renewal)

    We must never again treat the captain’s armband with so little respect and regard. Our captain might not be our best player but he is the living symbol of our club when leading our players onto the pitch in battle (regardless of what Arsene Wenger himself thinks that leadership is shared among players).

    Arsene must choose his next right candidate for captaincy. (Please do not jinx Ozil, Ramsey, Wilshere, Koscielny if they are not ready for the role).

  98. Gööner In Exile says:

    JM interesting thoughts on captaincy, I could understand PV he wasn’t just the best player he was the true leader on the pitch by example and stature.

    Henry was a case of who else with the rebuilding policy happening.

    Gallas explained by experience in the team of youngsters that Wenger put together.

    And Fabregas rose from that crop of youngsters to take the armband off Gallas after a sulk that would rival the most sullen of emo teenage girls.

    I guess the question is was there anyone else who could have captained the side better in the squad when the players got the armband?

    It’s not up for debate now as in my opinion there are a couple, most likely the BFG for me. And it did not have to go to the vice captain when BSR left.

  99. MickyDidIt89 says:

    JM and Exile Morning

    Most great sides have a “Mr Football Club”. They are rare for many reasons, and the presence a Keane, Adams, Gerrard, Terry etc means players are terrified of not giving it everything.

    Remember school, or look at your children, and peer pressure is more of an influence then any teacher. Buddy up with a Sniffer, and you’re fucked 🙂

  100. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Really wish I had watched the Athletico game.

    As JM points out, this CL Cup run is no fluke as the are top of the league. Amazing when you consider the power of Barca and Real.

    To be above one of those, and people would say the big boy is going through a bad spell, but both, then it is down to Athletico.

  101. chas says:

    Both Vieira and Fabregas were good captains as far as I’m concerned through most of their respective times at the club.

    I’ve never understood how a striker can be captain. Ideally it should be a centre back or central midfielder who exhibits leadership qualities.

    Vermaelen being captain has worked well, with either Arteta (who was the other logical choice when it was given to TV5) or the BFG have had the job without the added pressure of it being a permanent appointment.

    Talking of jinxing players with the role, highlights that it is a poisoned chalice to some extent.

  102. MickyDidIt89 says:

    There were still Wigan ticks available yesterday. How many ST holders are there these days?

  103. chas says:

    If you had to pick the remaining teams in the order you thought most likely to knock the chavs out in the semis, what would that order be?

  104. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Munich
    Athletico
    Real

    Although I’m not confident 😦

  105. chas says:

    Micky
    There are 43,000 STs approximately. The sale was on for Silver and Red members with certain numbers of attendances. It looks as though there could be 60 to 70 thousand gooners at Wembley.

    Someone on twitter posted that there were still tickets available from Wigan for any northern gooners who had any attendance history at the DW!

  106. chas says:

    With Maureen’s spawn they could definitely win it again.
    Bayern looked poor last night until Evra scored.
    Real looked somewhat fortunate against Dortmund.
    I think Thierry was tipping Athletico back in the round of 16.

  107. MickyDidIt89 says:

    43k…blimey. Had no idea.

    I have two Red Memberships, so got the email. Here are the words:

    “These additional tickets are being made available to Silver members who have attended more than 4 matches between August 13, 2011 up to March 25, 2014 and Red members who have attended 7 and above matches during the same period”

  108. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Yeah, that’s right about Henry.

    They were asking who he least fancied Arsenal drawing, and he came out with AM ahead of Barca, Real and BM.

    Maybe he does know about football. Might have to alter him slightly in my estimation from Arrogant Twat 🙂

  109. chas says:

    He’s our arrogant twat.

  110. chas says:

    Here’s the answer to BR’s question about Courtois…..

    https://twitter.com/HLNinEngeland/status/454138154128539649

  111. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Sorry, I was still typing when you posted that clip. However, it was somewhere else where they asked him who were the team he’d least like Arsenal to face.

    Damn, he was a great player, whatever I think of him.

  112. Big Raddy says:

    Hope the Chavs draw RM. At least one of the shitehawks won’t make the final

  113. chas says:

    Gnarly barrels…..

  114. White Bear says:

    TH has every reason to be arrogant
    How come that Atletico are so good this season? Have they been oiled?

  115. Morning

    Micky – do you want to try for a ticket using my season ticket number?

  116. chas says:

    I looked for that clip, Micky, but it’s not around.
    The taking the pish out of Jamie one made me laugh though. 🙂

  117. chas says:

    peaches
    AFC.com now says they’re sold out again.

  118. Gööner In Exile says:

    Bloody ell more benefits to being a Silver… attending 4 compared to 7 for Red.

    Definitely going to do the JGs ruse to acquire a silver membership, probably look to obvious if I say I’m 17, so I’ll do 16 and then I’ll get a Silver when I turn 18 🙂

    Ridiculous that JGs are Silver and can book tickets a month before the parents that need to accompany them if parents are only red.

    I had that email last week I think because if attended over 10 or 11. (Are more but some not on my ticket).

    Are you coming to Wemberlee then Micky?

  119. Oh for a Thierry Henry now …………. He absolutely has every right to be arrogant!!!!!!!!!!!

    Men can be so strange 😆

  120. Gööner In Exile says:

    Evonne Atletico have been improving year on year for a few seasons, actually impressed they have done so well having lost their star striker at the start of the season. They have effectively been oiled as they received how much for Falcao from Monaco?

  121. chas says:

    Micky’s just jealous, peaches. No more no less. 🙂

  122. White Bear says:

    can be? ARE strange.

  123. Big Raddy says:

    I would love to go to Wemberley.

  124. Big Raddy says:

    Peaches. At least when we juggle babies we stay standing up 😀

  125. I have a friend who has two spare tickets, sadly she’s not selling at face value ………….

  126. chas says:

    I hope she can’t sell them.

  127. 🙂 Raddy although with a bouncy chair wrapped around your ankles I doubt it

  128. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Peaches

    Thanks for the kind offer. I gave my membership numbers to a brother who wanted to go. Don’t know if he was successful.

    On the men are strange in the context of Henry, I think I can safely say I’m completely alone on this one.

  129. Exactly chas that’s why I’ve not mentioned it before. I put the wind up her saying if she advertised them anywhere the club could find out because Gooners don’t approve and she could lose her season tickets.

    I was feeling particularly spiteful 🙂

  130. chas says:

    She deserves it, peaches.

  131. You call that Baby juggling? You have to be kidding me ………

  132. I miss our Invincibles ……. I might need to get the DVD ready

  133. kelsey says:

    Morning all

    peaches please reply to my e mail.

    Did you know that in wages terms the Athletico players bar one or two earn about a quarter to a third of the Real Madrid players.

    With regards to Santi’s comments,taken out of context or not he clearly said in two yeras he will be 31 and would like to win a trophy. So what’s wrong with that.

    Having said that we need to find a way to get the best out of him when he plays with Ozil.He plays best at Home this season and being two footed is a bonus.Tracking back is not his forte,but I love him.

  134. You’ve all gone and I have to get up ……….. WB I put my phone on charge and I can’t reach it 😦

  135. Big Raddy says:

    Sniffer: “Pires couldn’t defend ….” 🙂 🙂

  136. Kelsey – I had a look at the controls last night and still can’t work it out. I’ll ask the question on the WordPress forum and see what answer comes back. Sorry.

  137. chas says:

    kelsey
    His comments have been spun as……
    ‘Win trophies or I’m off’ and
    ‘Spend some fackin money or I’m off’

    That’s what’s wrong.

  138. kelsey says:

    Oh i see,chas.

    Funny one never hears those remarks from players of other top teams or if I am wrong not to that extent

  139. kelsey says:

    “We haven’t got a winning mentality and we have to believe in ourselves more. Sometimes you can get used to not fighting, but we can’t do that. Arsenal is and will always be a historic football club, we have to look forward.
    Arsenal has everything to win; history, infrastructure, an incredible stadium and great players but we have to improve at crucial moments and sign the best football players because if you don’t do that, you may lag behind others.”

    That’s exactly what he said.

    Anyone want to comment.I suppose he’s being honest but me always looking at an angle is there some sort of player revolt brewing. They know money is available this Summer but do they know something we don’t.

  140. chas says:

    The thing is, he never said either.

    Interviewer………..
    Why did you join Arsenal?
    Santi…………….
    I thought they had a good chance to win some trophies
    Interviewer…………….
    Would you like to play in Spain again before your career is over?
    Santi………………
    Of course, my Spanish roots are very strong and I’ll be 31 when my current contract with Arsenal ends.
    Interviewer……….
    Would you like to see some other big name player purchases by Arsenal?
    Santi………….
    Sure, all of the big teams buy big players. (one of the other stories to come out of that interview was Santi hoping Arsenal buy Casillas who is being marginalised at Madrid)

  141. mickydidit89 says:

    For my own peace of mind, I’m going with the Transplant interpretation of the Santi comments. He’s not that bright, and was simply snookered by a journo with an agenda.

  142. chas says:

    That isn’t exactly what he said, kelsey.
    He can’t speak English that well.

  143. chas says:

    kelsey
    Please don’t fall into the journalist’s trap and start believing all sorts of attendant bollix.

  144. mickydidit89 says:

    Moral being, when you run into a journo with a Daily Mirror badge, walk the other way.

  145. chas says:

    Micky
    He wasn’t even interviewed by the Mirror, but Sport360.
    The Mirror have spun it to paint the worst possible picture.

  146. mickydidit89 says:

    Chas

    Interview probably went something like this:

    Journo: “So Santi, are Arsenal short of quality players and you’ll clear off if something isn’t done about it resulting in Arsenal winning the treble next season?”

    Santi: “My hovercraft is full of eels”

    Journo: “Can I take that as a yes, then?”

    Santi: “Yes. Seventeen and four sprouts”

  147. kelsey says:

    Ok, I raise the white flag.

    I have first hand info on journalists especially from the tabloids,because of my wife and about 15 years ago she did a full page interview with the Daily Mail under the pretence that they wanted to write a story about her as she was now,living in Surrey,now married young kids etc.

    When it was published absolutely nothing said in the interview was published and without going into too much detail what they wrote was incorrect and scandolous and libelous.

    I contacted the then chief editor who said the journalist was freelance and that the paper had no control over what he wrote.A get ot they often use.

    I sued the Daily Mail and got 20K threatening to take them to court if they didn’t pay.
    They paid and issued an apology a few days later saying the article was misleading and incorrect.

  148. Big Raddy says:

    Unless we actually see the player or manager talk then all is spin.

    And the Mirror is the Shane Warne of rags

  149. chas says:

    My hovercraft is full of eels. 🙂

    kelsey, I remember your horror story from before. They really don’t give a fuck if it sells papers or gathers internet hits.

    The interview was by Nacho Labarga.
    Even the original version of the interview proves that the context of the words has to be taken into consideration.
    I’d imagine the tape of the interview would tell another story again.

    http://www.sport360.com/article/european/20373/santi-cazorla-interview-desperate-finish-his-career-winner

  150. mickydidit89 says:

    Mind you, Raddy, if he did say these things, then he’s a twat and the dressing room is in deep poo.

    Nah, I’ll stick with the Eels 🙂

  151. Big Raddy says:

    kelsey

    Good on you for fighting so hard for your family

  152. chas says:

    Journalists 1 Arsenal fans 0
    Makes me sick

  153. Big Raddy says:

    Micky. If he did say it …… he was right 😦

  154. mickydidit89 says:

    Ok, let’s leave this one to Arsene. He’ll get to the bottom of it, and the answer will be revealed on Saturday.

    Santi will either be playing for Arsenal’s 1st XI at Wembley, or he’ll be trotting out as a loanee for Dynamo Dorking Rovers.

  155. chas says:

  156. chas says:

  157. mickydidit89 says:

    Jaeger bomb girls?

  158. chas says:

    Ant’s jacket for Saturday

  159. chas says:

    Da girls

  160. chas says:

  161. arnie says:

    motning all. 🙂

    about Santi, no comments. tough times, our focus is now elsewhere. remaining issues can wait. 🙂

  162. mickydidit89 says:

    Ant’s Jacket ha ha ha superb

    Although completely legal, I wonder how far you’d get wearing that down Wembley Way 🙂

  163. mickydidit89 says:

    Are Bomber Jackets still called Bomber Jackets or have the marketing department had a re-think?

  164. arnie says:

    Micky: had a fantastic day yesterday. Ben Friedman was just fantastic, and so was Charles Goodhart. 🙂

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