Bring Me Sunshine

December 13, 2014

Ospina

Chambers   Koscielny  Hayden  Monreal

Ramsey  Wilshire   Arteta

Gnabry   Walcott Ozil

That is some team and one capable of winning this afternoon, unfortunately it is plucked from our lengthy injury list. 4 weeks out for Ramsey!

Why did I start with this? Two reasons – firstly that injuries will stop Arsenal having any chance of winning the PL this season, and I do believe we were in with a good chance; secondly, Mr Wenger said yesterday regarding the January transfer window ““If everybody is fit then we don’t need to go into the transfer market.” 

This worries me. Arsenal have consistently been top of the injuries league for many years, doesn’t Mr Wenger know this? Doesn’t he know that we never, repeat never, have an injury free squad. We have to buy or loan at least two players in the window if we are to challenge for Top 4. (update: Chas has pointed out that this was just part of AW’s speech and he has not written off the possibility of signings – Mr Wenger, not Chas 🙂 )

Newcastle: On a run of wins and arriving having “battered” the Chavs. They too have injuries but nothing like ours. They have pacy forwards who are in form, a solid defence  – Taylor is out but Coloccini could be fit. Alnwick starts who is  3rd choice GK but when we were forced to do so Martinez performed very well, I expect the same of Alnwick. Sissoko is suspended and that is good news.

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Greenwich-born Steven Taylor. Ideal signing for AFC

Arsenal: So what do we have to win? It seems obvious to me that Newcastle will score so we must outscore them. Having so few defenders means we have a space for an extra attacker – so my tactic would be to play an extremely attacking side. A 3-4-3 would do it but Mr Wenger is likely to start young Bellerin on the right with Debuchy next to him. This sends Per to the left of defence which don’t work very well against Stoke, did it? Any team which kicks-off with Ox, Santi, Alexis, Welbz and OG has a chance of scoring heavily.

A little extra: Have you ever heard of Elisabeth Fry? You should have – she is on the back of the £5 note! She was a prison reformer during the early 19th century. Born in Norwich  to a wealthy banking family Elisabeth became a Quaker and heavily involved in humanitarian work. Horrified by the conditions of women at Newgate prison in London she resolved to make the prisoners brutal conditions easier and set up a charity to give food and medical care.

This was a time when a woman’s role in society was ornamental yet Fry became the first woman to present evidence to the House of Commons. In 1840 she opened a nurses school  – one of her pupils was Florence Nightingale who took a team of Fry’s nurses out to  the Crimean War. She then opened a large hostel for ladies who had fallen on hard times in Manor House and later a much larger one in Highbury, just around the corner from The Emirates .  She died in Ramsgate in 1845.

220px-Elizabeth_Fry_by_Charles_Robert_Leslie

Have you seen this woman?

Back to football. Should be a cracking game today and one full of attacking play. Given the paucity of defenders and the excellent form of the visitors we cannot be too optimistic but with Alexis in the team anything is possible. A win would make my weekend.

written by Big Raddy


The Wenger Stadium? Vote

December 11, 2014

At his news conference this afternoon Alan Pardew stated the Arsenal should name their stadium after our manager. He thinks that AW’s work and transfer policy has paid for our move.

What do you think? If you had the choice what would the stadium be named (apart from your own name!!)

My first choice would be The Arsenal Stadium. Simple, accurate and rolls of the tongue.

So, let’s take a quick vote on it


The Return of the Dancing Fool

December 29, 2012

Today the Arsenal resume footballing hostilities with our first home game for three weeks against Alan Pardew’s Newcastle United in the 5.30pm kick off.

Mr Pardew is remembered less than fondly by Gooners for his jig of celebration in Wenger’s face during his spell as West Ham manager.

wenger pardew

Our opponent’s were on the rough end of yet another referee inspired victory for the denizens of Old Toilet with our former skipper VanJudas (or should I say “Lazarus” in view of his near death experience in the previous game?) scoring the equaliser that paved the way for the usual Fergie time winner we have witnessed all too often at the home of the Glazer’s loan security vehicle.

It is worth noting that referee on this occasion was Mike Dean, who saw fit to send our manager to the stands, full of rabid, uncouth ManUre fans, for the heinous crime of kicking a water bottle yet failed to mention “Sir” Alex’s repeated hostile verbal abuse of him and the match officials over a disputed off side goal in his match report.

Surprising ?

Not if you assume Dean didn’t want to be demoted to a League Two game for this weekend’s fixtures, as happened to Chris Foy when he allowed the Spuds to win at Old Toilet in October. That was clearly a because Foy hadn’t read the latest edition of the referees handbook which states: “play must continue until Manchester United equalise.”

Anyway, I digress.

Having scored three goals away from home and still losing it could be said that it would have some sort of psychological impact on most teams but I don’t believe we should believe that will necessarily apply to the Toon.

That being said United have only won one of their last four league games, and that was a win against Harry Redknapp’s bottom placed QPR(wouldn’t it be funny if he took another team down out of the Premiership?), so their current form is less than impressive.

Injuries to their midfield, exacerbated by another unpunished, reckless tackle by a home player on an away player at Old Toilet mean that our opponents will be fielding a much depleted midfield.

This is because Perch will have to go into defence as Williamson, one of their regular centre halves, was yellow carded against ManUre and is suspended for today. Other absentees include Ben Arfa, Cabaye and Gutierrez.

Up front the Toon have a choice of two Ameobis (Shola or Sammy) and as well their main danger man Demba Ba, the subject of much continued, and annoying, transfer speculation.

While we tend to lose games in clutches there is the possibility that Newcastle will use the injustice of the loss to ManUre as a motivation to increase their efforts as they are a team that have goals aplenty in them and for that reason our defence has to be on tip-top form; particularly cutting out any lazy cross field passes in our own third.

Therefore I would pick our current first choice centre back pairing of the BFG and Vermaelen, with fullbacks Gibbs and Sagna, although our right back’s form has been a tad patchy and I would not be too surprised to see Jenko get the nod.

For the middle three I would go for our form players, namely Arteta, Wilshire and Santi although I wish we could rest one or two of those as I fear they may hit the “red zone” soon. As Rosicky is available today perhaps he could start or at least be subbed on to give Santi/Mikel a rest.

Up top I would start the Ox with the Pod and Giroud, with Theo coming on later as an impact sub, although this may not help too much in respect of Theo’s long running contract negotiations.

Injury wise we are without Fabianski and Santos as well as the ever absent/present(in the injury room) Diaby which leads to today’s “Fun fact”, namely that it is exactly three MONTHS to the day since our fragile number two last played for us, after it was reported here by Arse.com that Diaby would be out for three WEEKS.

In keeping with this year’s theme as established by Big Randy today’s explorer comes from Gateshead appropriately enough and goes by the suitably genteel name of Harold Crichton-Browne.

His pen and ink caricature, which hangs in the National Portrait Gallery, is shown below in which he sports a lavish handlebar ‘stache that befits a man who in later life served as a Lieutenant Colonel in Africa.

NPG 6251(12); Harold Crichton-Browne by Harry Furniss

He accompanied the more well known James Thompson on an expedition to the Atlas mountains of Morocco in the late 1880’s – anything other than a win against the Toon today and we’ll face an uphill struggle (to keep in the running for a top four finish) as difficult as that faced by Joseph and Harry in Morocco.

UTA !

Charybdis1966 (on Twitter and youtube)