Diaby Day

May 24, 2015

End of a season. For some players this will be their final day at the finest ground in the universe, for others a glittering future awaits. I always hate the final day of the season, if we have not won the title it means my hopes fade and die – as far as I am concerned it is never over until the fat lady sings.

And the chubby lady’s voice is echoing all around Abou Diaby. I cannot recall a player who has had such a frustrating career. The man could have been the answer to all our midfield woes – tall, strong, pacy, and blessed with fast feet for a big man (I love a cliche´). Injury did for the poor fellow. Imagine how frustrated he must have been as season by season he worked his way back to the first team only to be knacked in the first game of his return. My sympathy for the loss of his Arsenal career is tempered by the many millions he will have earned sitting in the stands and lying on the treatment table. A story is so much better with a what might have been.

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This is not the place for a season review, we can leave that until after the big game next weekend, and it is with that in mind that we come to the selection of the team to play West Bromwich Albion.

Will Mr Wenger rotate the team? He surprised us all mid-week by playing the Crown Jewels (or The Holy Trinity as chas calls them). They have to be rested this afternoon. So should Per, Kos, Hector, Aaron, and OG. We have the squad…. Use them.

And what of WBA? Pulis has done a remarkable job – never liked the cut of his jib but credit where credit is due. Could Berahino be a summer signing at THOF? He has a touch of the IW8’s about him and I think if we can control what appears to be a massively inflated ego (see Raheem Sterling) he could do a job for us, especially if Theo leaves.

WBA are the usual Pulis team – hard working, organised, strong in defence and pacy on the counter – they are a decent team; mid-table decent.

Can we score? For a team with such a varied supply of attacking talent we have been toothless the last 4 games. This has to change and change fast. Not playing Theo mid-week was IMO a huge mistake because we seem to have lost the confidence and ability in front of goal  – Theo adds something different. What is the point of Bellerin crossing repeatedly into the box when all our players are dwarfed by defenders (apart from OG who has lost his mojo)?

There is the possibility we could ship 4 and MU could beat Hull by 3 so 3rd is not 100% guaranteed. Of course it is, that will never happen!

How would we feel if our players downed tools as Chelsea did last weekend? I would be hugely unhappy if any Arsenal player did not give 100% every time he stepped onto the field in the historic red and white; I expect nothing less than a sparkling display this afternoon.

Barca had a Xavi Day yesterday. We should have Diaby Day.

I am 72% confident

COYRRG

 

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The Boys are Back in Town

November 29, 2014

Is a very enjoyable victory over an un-inspired, un-motivated and injury ravaged team languishing just 2 points off the bottom of the Bundesliga the fillip our team need to start a good run in the PL? We shall see today.

Let’s be clear, Weds night’s win was a joyous event; we played well in all departments and saw some fine individual performances plus the return to form of some of our most important players but it was not a performance the Dortmund players will be happy about. Where was the pressing? Where was the pace and defensive cohesion? Let’s hope WBA play as badly today.

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West Bromwich are an odd club. One of the original founding clubs of the Football League, they won the title in 1920 and last won the FA Cup in ’68 with a goal from the mighty Jeff Astle (whom I will never forgive for missing a sitter for England in the ’70 World Cup vs Brazil). Yet they have never reached the heights of their Midland neighbours. That said, WBA have a strong fan base with an average gate of  25+k which means they sell out the Hawthorns almost every match.

If we are to judge the result of a game on finances we should steamroller them. Their biggest signing is Sessegnon at £6m  less than some of our reserves. The player who is attracting all the headlines is Berahino – a product of the WBA youth system and the type of player to cause BFG nightmares, a small, pacy, cool finisher and a player I could easily see at Arsenal.

Both teams have porous defences but ours could be improved by the return of Koscielny – we have really missed him though Monreal is growing into the CB role.

Once again the fates have been less than kind to Mr Wenger’s plans, another game another long term injury, this time to the crucial Arteta. I had not realised how influential the steel coiffured Spaniard is – without him we are not as good and the idea of playing the journeyman Flamini for any length of time is worrying. Perhaps with the return of Koscielny and Debuchy we will see whether Chambers can be our much hoped for DM. Who knows?

Could be another big day for young Damian Martinez though there is a chance TPIG will be fit. He did well last week so his confidence must be high – let’s hope it remains so tomorrow.

The return of OG is well-timed as it allows Welbeck a little more time to recover from injury. Scoring on his return to the PL he will want to assert himself as Arsenal’s Number One striker. I see a future in which Welbz plays left, OG central and Theo on the right with Alexis in the DB10 role, though just where Ozil plays is open to discussion.

Enough of football. West Bromwich foodstuffs: They like a beer up in the Midlands, there are 116 breweries within 50 miles of West Bromwich!! Even Ant & Duck will struggle to try them all. Probably the most famous beer is Ansell’s but a pint of Banks Bitter is a thing of beauty. As to foods, curries and pies are the order of the day,

It is a few years since I highlighted famous musicians born close to football grounds but I cannot leave the Hawthorns without mentioning two of my heroes – Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin and  Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy were born in West Bromwich (he left for Ireland at the age of 4). Metal rules in the Midlands!

Lunch time kick off despite our playing on Weds evening seems a bit harsh but the FA don’t do AFC favours, do they? Add in the huge and worrying injury list and there must be cause for concern today; yet we start as favourites. We have two players in exceptional form in Ox and Alexis, some others are returning to their expected consistency and WBA have their own problems.

Should be an exciting game

COYRRG

written by Big Raddy