Farewell to the Lane – Thanks for the Memories

February 8, 2018

It seems decidely odd that the upcoming North London Derby will take place in north west London. Perhaps it’s time to reminisce once more about the former home of our irksome neighbours. White Hart Lane could be compared to lovers’ lanes all over the country; a place full of seedy characters giving off that slightly nauseating whiff of desperation, but also a place where excitement-filled, enjoyable times have been spent basking in numerous victorious climaxes.

Who could forget 7th May 1927? Level on points with the spuds going into the final game of the season and who should be our last opponents but only the miscreants themselves and at the Lane, too. No need to worry as the boys in red and white ran out comfortable 4-0 winners for a very special last day of the season St Totteringham’s day.

The next glorious day out down Tottenham High Road came on 6th March 1935 in the fourth of our 1930s title winning seasons. Spurs decided that to curb Arsenal’s free-scoring forward line, they needed to set an offside-trap. It failed, they lost 6-0 with goals from Kirchen (2), Drake (2), Dougall and Bastin from the penalty spot. The only photo of that game emerging from a quick search is this of Frank Moss gathering the ball from a rare Tottenham attack (perhaps the photographer was a spud as he must have been stationed at the wrong end of the stadium!)

On 20th September 1952, Tottenham’s 11th largest home attendance at White Hart Lane, 69,247, saw them lose 3-1 to Arsenal with goals from Goring, Logie and Milton.  This was followed a year later on 10th October by another home 4-1 thrashing in front of their 8th biggest crowd at the Lane. 69,821 spectators witnessed another 2 goals from Jimmy Logie this time around. 1957 and 1959 saw comprehensive Arsenal wins of 3-1 and 4-1 respectively in N17 before Spurs briefly took the upper hand with their last League title in 1961. But this wasn’t to be the last time the top flight was ever clinched on White Hart Lane soil, oh no.

Next on the list of glorious moments at the home of South Middlesex’s finest came on the 3rd May 1971 with Arsenal clinching the League title in front of a White Hart Lane crowd swarming with Gunners. Ray Kennedy’s late goal gave Arsenal the points to overhaul Leeds at the top and witness the Lane turn into a sea of bright red.

My personal highlight of trips to the Lane came on December 23rd 1978 with our 5-0 Christmas demolition of ‘Silent Spurs’. Stood with my old man and 2 brothers on the away terrace, that date has become etched in my memory. I was wearing a lightweight rain jacket with a front pocket which contained a Mars bar. Remembering about its existence only after all the jubilant celebrations had died down, that chocolate bar cannot have been more than a quarter inch thick when it finally emerged.

“Oh, Brady won it beautifully. Look at That – Oh, Look at That! What a Goal by Brady!”

The roll of honour continues with an epic League Cup semi-final in 1987. The first leg at Highbury finished 1-0 to Spurs, with a goal from a prolific Clive Allen. Allen also scored in the first half of the second leg at the Lane. Reportedly, at half-time the Spurs stadium announcer made announcements about how the Neanderthal hordes could book tickets for the Final. They turned out to be rather premature as goals from Viv Anderson and Niall Quinn meant that the semi ended unresolved.

The referee, Alan Gunn, tossed a coin to decide where a replay would take place and after his first attempt stuck upright in the mud, the second toss landed in Spurs’ favour. The 4th March 1987 was to see one of our greatest ever comebacks at the Lane. Clive Allen scored for the third time in the tie in the 62nd minute and Spurs looked to have finally gotten the upper hand. However the best was yet to come as the 82nd  minute saw an unlikely equaliser from Ian Allinson before the Park Lane erupted with Rocky’s 90th minute winner – the first time Arsenal had been in front over the 3 games!

Notable victories in the 90s were hard to come by until a majestic 3-1 win at the Lane on the 5th May 1999 capped off with a stunning goal from Nwankwo Kanu, sporting the sharpest haircut I’ve ever seen.

Next up a disappointing draw on 25th April 2004, with Mad Jens falling for Robbie Keane’s foul tactics of treading on the toes of the German’s size thirteens. The incensed goalkeeper’s reaction enabled the aforementioned Irishman to convert a last minute penalty equaliser. The resulting Spurs DVD failed to mention that Arsenal had only needed a draw to clinch the top flight title at their own stadium – and for the second time, no less.

Argentine defender Mauricio Taricco – who prior to the equaliser had suffered a torrid afternoon chasing the Arsenal forward line – somehow managed to pull his hamstring during his team’s misguided celebrations of their equaliser.

A clearly incensed Henry – despite being warned by the authorities beforehand – at the final whistle gathered his troops together and took them to the now celebrating corner where the Arsenal fans were congregated.

As he said afterwards in a thinly veiled nod at Taricco’s behaviour:” When you see behaviour like that it is impossible for us not to celebrate in response.”

Recent years haven’t seen us win any more titles at the Lane but have seen some banging goals from departees Fabregas and Adebayor in particular but the best has to be this beauty from Arsenal favourite Tomas Rosicky.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mf9XyZq25Kw

Thanks for joining me on this journey down the Lane. I hope you all have some fond memories of the Tottenham High Road public convenience, too. 🙂

chas

 


Top Six PL Teams Final Countdown

February 7, 2018

With only twelve games remaining Arsenal find themselves in sixth place, five points out of a Champions League position. Manchester City are run away leaders and are odds on favourites to win the championship with second place Manchester United a distant thirteen points behind. The only question that remains to be answered is the final positions of the next five teams, with this in mind here are the remaining games for each club.

With the recent additions of Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang, Arsenal appear to have improved our attacking options but will our suspect defence be good enough?

It’s important for us to keep up the momentum after the Everton game where our offence was superb and AW was able to field his preferred defensive partnerships.

Next up we play Tottenham at Wembley, the NLD is always a spirited game with an electric atmosphere that could easily spark a fire. Win this and we will enhance our top 4 possibilities – lose and it will look like a bridge too far.

Our goal is straight forward, we have to get 5 points more than Spurs and 6 points more than Chelsea – do you think it’s possible?

I do……………………..

GunnerN5

 


Arsenal – England’s Longest Top Flight Team

February 6, 2018

By 1919 the Football League was gearing up for the return of the national game after the trials and tribulations of the First World War. It was proposed that the First Division be extended to include 22 teams rather than the 20 which had competed 4 years previously. On previous League expansions, teams who had sat in the relegation positions stayed up and two were added from Divison Two. With such a large gap between the cessation of League football because of the Great War and its resumption in 1919, normal rules did not apply.

The 1914/5 season had ended in dubious circumstances. There had been allegations that Manchester United and Liverpool had colluded to ensure that the red Mancs would not be relegated. Their final game was allegedly fixed, United winning 2-0 and thus condemning 19th placed Chelsea to the second relegation spot.

Liverpool chairman John McKenna, wracked with guilt at the League’s resumption, gave a speech at the League’s AGM insisting that the West London club remain in the top flight.  Preston and Derby had finished first and second in the promotion places at the end of the 1914/5 season. It was unanimously agreed that Chelsea, Preston and Derby would be in the new First Division.

This left one position in the new 22 team First Division up for grabs. Seven contenders emerged, the five teams who had finished 3rd to 7th in the 1915 League Division Two table, Barnsley, Wolves, Birmingham, Arsenal and Hull , Nottingham Forest (for some bizarre reason) who had finished 18th in Division Two and finally and by every means least, Tottenham Hotspurs, who had ignominiously finished bottom in Division One behind Chelsea.

A formal vote was held at the League meeting of March 10th 1919 and the results, as documented in the minutes, were as follows;

Arsenal 18, Tottenham Hotspur 8, Barnsley 5, Wolves 4, Nottingham Forest 3, Birmingham 2, Hull 1

Arsenal Football Club’s inherent glamour and prestige appeared to be major overriding factors in the result, most seeing how beneficial it would be to the top flight to include such attractive opposition.  Accusations of vote-influencing bribery are, of course, preposterous; Sir Henry Norris was of far too upstanding a character to stoop to such levels. Judging by how unpopular Spurs were at the time, it is remarkable that they even managed to gather 8 votes. For years there had been a festering of resentment against Tottenham Hotspur because of their delayed entry to the Football League right up until 1908, favouring the Southern League previously. There were even allegations that they had had to bribe their way into the Football League by offering financial inducements to Stoke City to resign.

Perhaps teams in the First Divison had just become tired of trudging across Tottenham Marshes to get to White Hart Lane?

Perhaps it was recognised that a proper London Club, rather than one from the swamps of South Middlesex would be more fitting in the top flight in the new period of post-war optimism?

Middlesex in green, Essex in blue, the County of London in white

Thus began Arsenal’s glorious and long-enduring run in the top flight of English football.

Long may it continue.


Can VAR stop Spurs Cheating?

February 5, 2018

An exciting game at Anfield left Mr. Klopp fuming and a few million viewers shaking their heads at another example of the lack of moral fibre in the Spurs Miscreants. Which , to be candid, comes as no real surprise.What is surprising is that following at least a dozen slo-mo replays there was disagreement about both penalty decisions.

So how will VAR improve matters?

Let us look at both decisions.

Penalty 1. Kane is offside when the ball is played. It hits Lovren and thus Kane is adjudged onside (according to the TV referee Dermot Gallagher who has, at best, a loose knowledge of the game). Kane then sees the GK come towards him and dives, trailing his leg which brushes the GK’s arm. It is a clear dive. The man was falling before being minimally touched.

Much discussion followed. Penalty given.

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Penalty 2. Lamela gets into front of Van Dijk. Backs into him as Van Dijk attempts to clear the ball and hits the deck mortally wounded. No way a penalty – it was another example of crafty cheating.

Yet … penalty given and despite replays many would agree that it was a penalty.

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Would VAR have corrected either decision?

Alli got booked for an obvious dive earlier in the game, Lamela and Kane were simply better cheats.

We saw a similar act in our game vs Everton, when some no-mark got in front of the defender running at speed into the penalty area  -I think it was Calvert-Lewin – then halted abruptly causing the defender to run into him. The inevitable dive followed but the Everton miscreant was not booked, hence his cheating went unpunished.

Many say VAR would slow the game down whilst the decision is being made and that the fans would see less football. Given that the ball is in play for less than 45 of the 90 minutes, something could be done to correct this i.e. stop the clock when the ball is out of play at throw-ins, free-kicks and goal-kicks. It is an easy solution. What isn’t easy is finding a unbiased panel of referees to act as VAR officials.

In my opinion anything which stops a player cheating is beneficial, whether it is 100% accurate or not. There are players and managers who use diving and foul play as a tactic, VAR can help with this.

It is not perfect but IF, the replays are shown to the fans it can add to the excitement, as it has in rugby; unfortunately I doubt very much whether the replays will be shown to the attending fans. Which raises another point – VAR is for the home viewer, the billions who watch the PL around the world, not the tens of thousands who attend the game. And it is their dollar which counts.

Do you think VAR will make professional players stop cheating?

p.s. If you did not see the Anfield game, you will just have to take my  judgement as fact – after all, I am completely unbiased 😀 😀


Toffees Trampled in North London – Player Ratings

February 4, 2018

How one feels about some event tends to say more about the individual doing the feeling than it does about the event itself.

Of course I am talking about one isolated game of football, and for me, the fluctuations in my range of feelings begin with anticipation, the team sheet, and finally the performance. The bigger picture stuff is completely forgotten about in the moment. It can wait.

The anticipation of this particular isolated event was naturally bolstered as it came on the back of a storming transfer window which brought the promise of a refreshing new era.

I don’t suppose anyone believed our new star, PEA, would be making the XI, but that is what happened. If you did not experience a surge of tingles shortly after the team was announced just after 4:30, then hope fades for you. Auba was starting, and better still, being re-united with the man with whom he shared such a devastating partnership in their heyday at Dortmund, Mikki.

The game was pure joy from start to finish, and with the exception of LB, we all saw it (I hope our own cyclist has access to internet replays). Stars shone and stars were born, but most importantly there was the old Arsenal swagger back in sharp focus. Confidence oozed and smiles on players faces returned, replacing the furrowed brows of our recent visit to Wales.

Now that the dust has settled, and the sun rises over a new era, we get to do the bigger picture stuff. Well, to be more precise, you lot do.

I think  Eddie has already perfectly captured the new mood regarding the big picture when she said earlier: “the best aspect of yesterday’s display is our imminent trip to Wembley. Instead of being scared I am actually looking forward to watching some spuds being mashed.”

On a personal note, I never believed for one second we’d actually sign Auba. Damn it’s good to be wrong.

 

Ratings

Cech/Ospina – Where Did Our Love Go – It’s so much more fun being in the crowd when David is taking goal kicks ….8/8

Monreal/Kolasinac – Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Nacho is important to the team – as the Beast proved in the second half…9/8

Mustafi – Uptight (Everything’s Alright) – Committed, positive and forthright ….8

Koscielny – Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me) –  Stooping header to finish off his centre back partner’s flick on – Bould and Adams?  ….8

Bellerin – Living For the City – Loved going forward, knowing he might actually receive the ball  ….8

Xhaka – Ball of Confusion (That’s What the World Is Today) – Much better from Granit – Fat Sam not playing any strikers until the second half helped ….8

Ramsey – Three Times a Lady –  Bang, bang, bang – enjoyed himself immensely – as did we all ….9

Mkhitaryan – Reach Out, I’ll Be There – Micki loves creating goals, works hard for the team and hits early pinpoint balls across the box – what’s not to love? ….9

Iwobi  – You Can’t Hurry Love – Didn’t look out of place playing in such esteemed company  ….8

Ozil – Let’s Get It On – Loves playing with his new teammates ….9

Aubameyang – Dancing In The Street – Majestic finish to equal Stevie Bould’s achievement of scoring on his debut ….8

Written by MickyDidIt89 

(except the ratings)

 


Will the Gamble Pay Off?

February 3, 2018

In the past 2 years we have seen 34 players leave AFC with just 5 coming in (according to Arseblog). Who could have imagined such a scenario?

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Today we welcome both an incoming and outgoing player to The Emirates. Black Jedward is apparently ill but Mkhiki is due to start. This is exciting. Whom will he join in midfield? Will he play on the left wing? Only Mr Wenger knows.

I have to say that it is my belief Mr Wenger did not intend to buy Mkiki, we have other priorities and perhaps taking him was the best we could achieve in the Sanchez sale. That said, Mkiki is a player with much to prove and Arsenal is a good vehicle for him. How he fits into the first 11 is not obvious.

Arsenal have made a major shift in their forward planning, relying upon older, big name players coming in and reducing the numbers of the squad.The attack has been dealt with, Mr Wenger has stated he wanted to do more business with the defence needing more bodies (Evans??).  About time some may say but it is a gamble.

Fat Sam/Everton. Like one, dislike the other. One is all that is shite about the North, and the other the opposite. How quickly has The Walrus been allowed back into the top echelon’s of UK football after being sacked as England boss and outed as a liar and cheat?

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Everton are a proper club with good values. Walcott is a perfect fit. Let’s hope he is welcomed back and then has a stinker. They paid huge money for players in summer and January and have yet to really see an improvement. We made a mistake in allowing Everton to sign Pickford – he is a terrific young GK as we will witness this evening

My Team: Assuming JW and Auba are ill.

Cech

Koscielny     Mustafi    Monreal

Bellerin   Ramsey    Xhaka    Mkiki

Ozil   Iwobi

Lacazette

I am tempted to play Welbeck instead of Iwobi as this team lacks real punch. And of course, if JW /Auba are fit they should start.

Super day of sport ahead with an evening kick off for the Arsenal. Let us hope we continue our fine home form and take the points

COYRRG


Aubameyang – Destined to Play for Arsenal

February 2, 2018

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, also known as PEA or ‘Auba’ has already mentioned that he would like to emulate Thierry Henry as an Arsenal great. They were both wingers at the start of their careers who developed a killer instinct in front of goal. While Thierry developed his art at Highbury under the guidance of Arsene Wenger, Auba comes to Arsenal Football Club in his prime and as the finished article. Anyone connected with the club will be hoping he can emulate his predecessor’s success while playing in the same number 14 shirt.

It’s a little known fact that Auba was an Arsenal supporter when younger 🙂

Auba was born in Laval, France in June 1989. His mother, Margarita Crespo Aubameyang has roots in Spain while his Gabonese father, Pierre (nicknamed ‘Yaya’), played professional football for a variety of clubs including Le Havre, Toulouse and Nice before ending his career at another French club, Rouen. He also made 80 appearances for the Gabon national team as solid defender and national captain.

His grandfather took Auba to his first serious training sessions at Laval aged 11. But it was not until his father took him into the first-team dressing room at Nice that the bug really bit. “Something changed in me. I had had the dream of being a pro. But it was a dream, lots of kids have that,” Aubameyang explained. “But when I breathed in the air of the dressing room, I knew exactly what I wanted to do.”

After finishing his playing career, Pierre Senior worked as a coach for AC Milan and Auba joined his two half-brothers, Catalina and Willy at The AC Milan academy. His early career spluttered and loans to Dijon, Lille and Monaco weren’t as successful as they might have been.

By 2011 AC Milan had decided the young winger could move on. St Etienne coach Christophe Galtier saw huge potential in the lightning speed of the young Gabonese player (reportedly clocked at AC Milan running 30m in 3.7 seconds – faster than a 2009 Usain Bolt) and after an initial loan period, the Ligue 1 side signed him on a permanent deal. Thirty-five league goals in just 73 league appearances over the next two seasons proved Galtier absolutely right.

Aubameyang’s love of sports cars, jewel-encrusted boots and outlandish clothing may take the headlines but he is a loving father to son Curtys and often dedicates goals to his son by wearing superhero masks in the celebration. According to his close friend Christophe Jallet, “Aubameyang is a quiet lad who doesn’t visit nightclubs, doesn’t drink alcohol and always dreams about football.”

Dortmund had come to notice that Auba had developed a cold-blooded goalscorer’s instinct in front of goal and signed him in July 2013. He made a dream debut a month later scoring a hattrick against FC Augsburg.

Auba’s Dortmund career has launched him into the world spotlight, scoring 141 goals in 213 appearances for the Bundesliga side. He won the German equivalent of the Golden Boot award in the 2016/7 season with his 31 league goals. Fittingly the trophy is a cannon and seems almost prescient of his Arsenal career to come.

Arsenal’s wantaway Chilean’s transfer to Manchester has led to Auba’s ex-Dortmund colleague Henrikh Mkhitaryan also being welcomed to the home of football. Let’s hope their previously successful partnership can be fruitful once again.

Welcome to Arsenal, Auba. We all hope your stay with us is both productive and joyful.

 


Wenger Loosens the French Connection.

February 1, 2018

Another Obituary. Strange Days.

Today we wish Giroud a fond farewell, and give a gentle wave to Debuchy. Two more lockers to be emptied.

Matthieu Debuchy. Signed from Newcastle for, what was then, big money. Started his AFC career in fine form and seemed another good buy, but sadly he got crocked by Arnautivic (off the ball in what should have been a straight red card incident). In his absence Hector grew into the player we see today. Had Debuchy not been injured would Hector have made such an impression? We will never know. What is for sure is that injuries have blighted Debuchy’s AFC career. I like his punk attitude; he has not been satisfied being a squad player and now has the chance to enjoy the last years of his playing time in France. Could have been a good servant, sadly through events beyond his control, wasn’t.

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Like so many others I would like to thank Olivier Giroud for his input – a proper Arsenal man who (from media reports) wanted to stay at The Emirates. When OG arrived we were excited, a French International with a good scoring record, good in the air and just the chap to take over from RvP, or so we thought. Unfortunately OG is not and never was at the level of the Dutch Traitor. He is a very good attacker with great vision and a delicate touch but he is not of the first rank. Much admired but everyone knows he is simply not good enough for Arsenal. A great back-up striker and Plan B. For a team which has historically relied upon pace, OG was perhaps not the right fit but he always gave his all and we can ask for no more.

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No more will his song be sung, shame as it is one of the few that everyone knows both the tune and words. We will remember a man who loved the club, was extraordinarily handsome and scored spectacular goals.

Thank you Mr. Giroud. We wish you well.

So … we come to the end of a thrilling January transfer window, out of breath and in shock. I predicted we would sign and sell no-one, so did almost all of you. How wrong could we be?

Exciting times ahead.