Eagles downed

December 29, 2017

A very entertaining game last night and if I had to sum it up in one sentence I would say it as a determined performance with some worring lapses of concentration.

Slim sums it up humourously: “We are like a team of narcaleptics! We just doze off unexpectedly then suddenly we wake up and are back at it.”

Cech: did you know he keeps whippets?

Chambers: no coincidence that Southampton have 75mil burning a hole in their bank accounts and out of the blue Chambers gets a first team start. 4

Mustafi: I had do a double take when he scored our first, the precision of the ball going from foot to goal made me think that it must have been Ozil at the same time I thought: wow good goal with your right foot Mesut – but no, it was no other than Skhodran M. Top goal, as for the defending, mah. 7

Koscielny: was he responsible for Palace’s second? Maybe. We won so a little generosity. 6

Bellerin: Hector should have had a couple of goals and if he had we would not have to focus on the fact that Zaha bossed him and Chambers down the flank. 5

Kolasinac: I am guessing that he didn’t much like riding the pine and as such when he got his chance to start again he was not going to miss it; he was far more determined last night and the fact that Palace had little joy down his flank is testament to that. 7

The Wilshere pass although superb was expected, the thing that has been surprising me is why he hasn’t been able to do that more often for Lacazette? He is improving with every game. 7

Xhaka: now I am usually quite tough on our Julie but I thought he had one of his best games for the club to date. Very determined, very confident, I am guessing that his goal against Liverpool has lifted his confidence and importantly no schoolboy errors. If it weren’t for a resurgent Sanchez he would have got my man of the match. 8

Ozil: always my favourite so I have to tone these down a bit, quiet start but got into it as the game progressed, so close to another wonder goal from the Sanchez pass. 7

Lacazette: the ball seems as though it just won’t fall for him to be able to slam it home, still he has become an important piece of the attacking jigsaw and there seems little doubt the goals will flow again. 7

Sanchez: MOTM, got his mojo back nothing to do with the transfer window opening again today of course just a case of Alexis’ doing his thing and making a few more simple passes to team mates, funny how that can be so effective. Two great goals. 9

written by LB


Giroud deserves a Start.

April 10, 2017

We have a difficult run-in and two  tough games in the FAC. Should be exciting. Tonight is one of our best possibilities for 3 points.

However, Palace have won 4 out of their last 5 games including a win at Chelsea and will expect to get points tonight, but we need to win in order to keep open the possibility of Top 4 (sorry, this is obvious but I am tired, it is early and I have people to see!)

My Team:

Martinez

Bellerin     Gabriel       Mustafi     Monreal

Elneny      Xhaka      Ozil

Walcott     Giroud     Sanchez

Giroud deserves a start after his excellent goal midweek. Otherwise, why change a winning  team? Sure, we have some great players on the bench who are going to be unhappy at not starting, but that is why we have a quality squad.

As you will know, I am no fan of the Palace manager, his manner, his football philosophy and his looks are all unpleasant. The bloke is sure to tell his team to kick our soft overpaid Jessies , and Benteke to bully our CB’s. Normal Fat Sam tactics.

Score early and we should win but I write that in every game.

COYRRG


Palace: Player Ratings

January 2, 2017

A bread and butter win against a poor Palace, with Özil out, presumably to flu, it gave us a chance to see what life would be like with a proper Mesut injury and to my surprise it didn’t look as bad as I feared. His absence seemed to embolden some; freed from having to pass it to the German Genius whenever he is available; players started to express themselves more than usual and it worked well. The Good Guys moved the ball around crisply and seemed to advance with a greater sense of urgency on the break. I will take those kind of wins all day long.

Cech: more confidence oozing from between the sticks; he had a chance to show off his skills three quarters of the way through the second half, making a series of impressive saves in the space of thirty seconds. 8

Bellerin: Hector, I am on first name terms, was even better than he normally is adding more to the attacking cause than usual while always doing the right thing in defence. 8

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Easter: with Mustafi on the bench the competition for places is hotting up in the back line and this fact wasn’t lost on our Brazilian; he upped his game accordingly and made it harder for the Boss to consider making a change. 7

Koscielny: this really should be a weekly copy and paste. Another game another captain’s performance, calm, thoughtful and well organised. 8

Monreal: I scoffed when RC78 made the comment at the end of last season that Nacho was the weakest link, I thought it a bit unfair but in view that there always has to be one weaker area than all the others, I feel confident in saying that the first new signing in the summer will be a left back. 7

Elneny: I really enjoyed his performance today, he seemed to add a bit of zip to things, the ball seemed to be moving around a lot quicker, compared to Coquelin there is less lunge and more thought. 7

Xhaka: a few people on here have said that they can see Vieira in him; it happened again, someone sitting behind me at the game said the same thing. For the life of me I cannot see it and I cannot tell you how much I want it to be true. Palace may have been poor but he was impressive, he is starting to take control and his passing was as accurate as Arteta on a good day. 7

Iwobi: my MOTM, with Ozil out Alex had a chance to play more centrally and wow was he good, I know like everyone else that he is a great prospect but I didn’t realise until today just how big a prospect he is. The man ran the show. 9

Sanchez: so what do you think: is he more effective on the wing or in the middle; full of beans as ever and a joy to watch. 8

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Giroud: in the first half Arsenal were playing some super quick pin ball machine football the only one unable to keep up is Ollie, but if you can score goals like that you are likely to keep your place. 7

Perez: “I believe that Perez really adds fluid movement and quick passing in the Arsenal school of thought” (Aaron) .  After spending the best part of the game surrounded by people criticising him it really made me feel good to read this when I got back onto the blog. Whereas Giroud will never be part of Arsenal’s quick interplay this guy could and the more of those the better things are in my humble opinion. 7

Written by LB


How to beat Palace. Turn Japanese

January 1, 2017

Bloody Fat Sam again. Pardew was bad but The Walrus? Didn’t the Palace directors ask WHU about him and his style of football? I am sure Cabaye will be thrilled.

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What can we expect from today’s game? You already know. FS will start his tenure at CP by  “shoring” up the defence, which is just another way of saying Park the Bus, 6 at the back and rough up the opposition. We need to score early otherwise this will be another yawn-fest.

Of course, I could be wrong and Mr Allardyce may send out his team  with a message full of attacking intent,  he has the talent available, Benteke, Cabaye, Zaha and Palace could play some great stuff under Pardew but sadly, it seems, AP lost both the dressing room and his job.

Shame. Palace are a fine club. Their fans do not deserve to go through what the Hammers suffered under Allardyce who turned the Academy into a joyless club.

The England job: It shows the remarkable stupidity of the FA that they chose FS, but if we are honest they do not have a recent history of inspired signings.

So … the game plan is obvious. Lightning fast attacks or Tora, Tora, Tora if you are Japanese).

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Mustafi is back so no need for two DM’s. Theo is out and Welbz isn’t ready yet. Ramsey is.

My Team:

Cesc

Bellerin    Mustafi   Kos    Monreal

Ramsey      Xhaka   Elneny

Perez    Sanchez    Ozil

Mr Wenger will disagree and not be so attacking. We are likely to see the Coquelin start as he always does when fit, but as Elneny is about to depart for the ACN, I would like to see him.

Given the worrying form of all our rivals we have to win today. We had almost 80% possession and 23 shots against WBA, it could be more this afternoon.

Happy New Year and let’s hope 2017 brings some silverware

written by Big Raddy


Coquelin to Conquer Crystal Palace?

April 17, 2016

The season is getting exciting, which is not what I expected. I thought we were strolling to a Top 4 position, probably 2nd or 3rd but instead the Manchester clubs are finding some form, progressing to semi-finals and steadily picking up points.

Which makes this afternoon an important fixture. Under normal circumstances I would welcome Palace and wish them well, after all we usually beat them (don’t we?), instead I want them to get at least two players sent off and succumb pre-match to a series of nasty , short-term, debilitating disease.

We need a win.

One would have thought that to go to WHU  and return with a point would be heralded with joy, but instead it felt like a defeat. With hindsight, Getting out of Upton (could be a title for an album),  where WHU have been in superb form was a decent performance with many positives. Means nothing today though …

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One reason we need to beat CP is Alan Pardew. Being a hippy I don’t hate anyone (apart from the obvious) but I have an active dislike of Pardew. He is one of those blokes who hides his vicious personality behind an expensive haircut and clothes. How anyone can employ him given his CV is surprising and once again Pardew’s team is falling down the league after a decent start.

Another reason to beat CP is the return of that oddity Adebayor. Rarely has a man been blessed with so much talent and yet been hated at every club he has joined. I don’t care how many he scored for us I can never forgive him for the run towards the away fans at the Emptihad. Hope he gets Coquelinned.

An absolute must for today … Cech has to start. I like Ospina but IMO Cech would have won us another 2 points at the Boleyn. If he is fit enough for the bench then he is fit enough to play.

It will be interesting to see whether Mr Wenger picks Ramsey and if he does who gets dropped. The two possibilities are Iwobi and Elneny, who are just bedding into the team. Unfortunately for Ramsey they have been our standout players in recent weeks. Thankfully, this is not my problem.

Whomever plays, they have to give 100%. Pardew has stated that anyone who shirks will not be playing at Wembley in their upcoming FAC semi-final (It should have been Us – another song title?), we should expect the same endeavour from our chaps..

We have to win. Let it be so.

COYRRG


Sanchez Return to Fire the Gunners

August 16, 2015

Now I don’t like Me-rinho but I do have a grudging admiration for him and one cannot deny that he knows his football;. Last week he gave an interview about his expectations for the season stating it would be the hardest league to win ever – his reasons? The huge revenues from the upcoming TV rights which have improved the ability of mid-to-low table PL clubs to sign international quality foreigners, thus making talent differentials between the Top 4 and the rest less apparent. For example, Ayew given a 5m signing on fee by Swansea, Shaqiri choosing Stoke instead of a host of clubs throughout Europe and worst for us today – Cabaye moving from the riches and attractions of PSG to ply his trade at Palace.

Just think – Crystal Palace – a club with a ground capacity of just 26k attracting Cabaye plus a front line of Zaha, Bolassie, Bamford, Wickham and our good friend Chamakh! That alone is a massive wage bill.

When asked if he had tried to sign Cabaye Mr Wenger said “No, we have enough in that area”. I don’t believe him. Cabaye is quality and certainly better than the players we had in midfield a few years ago. He will cause us problems this afternoon.

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Pulls did wonders at Palace last season and will be looking to push forward this, a Top 10 finish must be his target.

And what about Arsenal? The less said about last Sunday the better and I would like to thank WH Bob for not getting in touch this week 🙂  Can we expect better this afternoon?

We have to. This is a very, very good squad and the best we have had for many a year, we all know they could and should beat teams like CP, but ……. sadly, football is not about should’s, is it?

Debuchy looked rusty last week and Bellerin’s pace added to that of The Ox will be important given the pace of CP’s wingers.  Our pace upfront will test the ageing CP centre backs and as such I hope for Theo to start in place of OG, the pointless crossing into a packed box creates nothing against a team defending in depth which is what we can expect this afternoon.

A fit and raring to go Sanchez is a major boon, I expect him to score our first goal of the season.

We won 2-1 twice last season a similar result would be very welcome today

p.s. There are two ex-Arsenal players in CP’s Best Ever Team. Who are they?

COYRRG


Arsenal Player Ratings and match report

February 22, 2015

It was tense wasn’t it? Even when we scored the second there was a nagging feeling that if Palace scored we would be under pressure and so it proved. How can it be that at two up the team doesn’t relax?

Let’s start with the pitch. It was awful and clearly designed to upset our ball-players and assist the long-ball game. It was uneven and the grass hadn’t been cut since Wright and Bright were banging them in at Selhurst. Perhaps Pardew recognised our difficulties playing on the ploughed field at Stoke and instructed his groundsmen. It is often said that it is the same for both teams but have you ever heard anyone complain about on the magnificent Emirates pitch? Is it unfair to long-ball teams and Man Utd that we have a billiard table to play on?

I was surprised how clean a game it was. I expected Pardew to send out his men to kick our chaps but that didn’t happen, what happened was that CP pressed us from the first, not allowing any player time on the ball. The pundits say this is the best way to play Arsenal and perhaps it is but this should result in Arsenal having more space in the final minutes as an exhausted opponent slows down – it didn’t happen yesterday, in fact the opposite happened – we hung on for the win. Why?

Tactics? Substitutions? CP wanting it more? Fear? You tell me

Pardew identified the wings as the place to attack us. Monreal grew into the game, Chambers didn’t. I like Chambers and am fully aware he is a very young man but is he really a Full Back? A modern FB needs speed, lots of it and this is not an asset Chambers has. In time he is sure to be a fine CB but against the very speedy Gayle and Bolasie he struggled.

So far I have looked at the negative but we won the game, picked up the points, and sit in 3rd place. This is a Happy Gooner.

In midfield Santi surprised me at how well he linked with Coquelin; Palace were unable to play through the middle. Ozil floated through the game finding space and played a wonderful pass to Alexis at the beginning of the second half to Alexis – who should have looked for Giroud for the tap-in.

Ultimately, the result is all that matters.

Player Ratings:

Ospina:  Made some decent saves, distribution good but could have cost us the game with a touch of the Flapianski’s in the last minute    7

Chambers:  A difficult afternoon and a yellow card. 5

BFG: CP poured crosses into the box and BFG did well until the final 5 minutes    7

Koscielny: Our best defender …. again   8

Monreal: Thank goodness Zaha has no final ball. Nacho struggled. 6

Coquelin: Good game for him to show his battling qualities. High energy and focus.    7

Cazorla: Worked so hard on a pitch which was designed to stifle his skills. Lovely pass to Welbz to set up OG. Scored the pen.  8

Ozil: Quietly sets up the team but this wasn’t his sort of game or pitch    6

Alexis:  Not his day. Some lovely runs but no end product    6

Welbeck:  I am yet to be convinced of his partnership with OG. Drew the penalty. Assisted for the OG goal   7

Giroud: Scored. Led the line.  Did his job    7

 

written by Big Raddy

 

 

 

 


Wilshere’s Return?

February 21, 2015

I am excited. No it’s not the inviting look Mrs Raddy just gave me, nor is it the new piece of tech I have bought to while away a dull day. No it is the return of Little Jack Wilshere to the first team squad.

I know some are less than impressed by JW and question his place in our increasingly strong squad but I like the fellow – he is the nearest thing we have had to the Spirit of Charlie George since Charlie Nick came south from Celtic. If we lived in a Beano-World Jack is a chap who wouldn’t be out of place in the Bash Street Kids, and we all know who would be Billy Whizz!

Sadly, (or not) JW is unlikely to start today but I am sure he will get pitch time as Mr Wenger will want to use him in the PL run-in.

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The Spirit of CG

Onto Crystal Palace. They have been resurrected by the tactical ability of Alan Pardew (a little sarcasm there!) and will be tough opponents especially at a noisy and enthusiastic Selhurst Park. Pardew has organised the defence and given the team some balance which was missing under the previous incumbent which is strange because Warnock is nothing if not pragmatic; maybe the players respond better to a bloke in a well cut suit.

They have dangerous attackers, none more so than the rejuvenated Chamakh. I liked the big galloop when the first wore the red and white but the man couldn’t handle the intense pressure of leading the line for  The Arsenal. Good in the air, delicate touch for a Big Man, hopeless with his back to goal, dreadful haircut and as lethal for Arsenal as Chris Kiwomya, he has found his place – in midfield!. Just think ….. not so long ago we had Bendtner, Chamakh, Gervinho and Theo upfront, now we have OG, Ozil, Alexis, Welbz and Theo. Reasons to be cheerful??

If I were Pardew I would look to my pacy wingers to pressurise our FB’s. Bolasié and Gayle are both good players and will look to feed Frazier Campbell. But we have become used to teams playing this way against us; we are also used to the “midfield press” which is also touted to be a method of defeating our heroes. The return of CP captain Jedinak will give them a boost – he was linked with us last season but IMO is too old.

Speroni is a terrific goalkeeper whom I hope will be busy this afternoon (preferably picking the ball out of his net. Of Palace’s other players I like Scott Dann and thought he could be a good signing for us pre-Paul Easter and Zaha is starting to show why MU wasted €12m on him

Arsenal: Ox is almost fit and in the squad but like JW unlikely to start. There are question marks about Bellerin’s fitness. Should BFG retain his place or should Mr Wenger give Paul Easter his PL debut? Theo or Welbeck?

Much has been written about a strong squad allowing Mr Wenger to adjust his selections to the opposition. I am not so sure – I like the idea of a settled first 11; it worked for the Double teams and the Invincibles. The difficulty is that we have such fantastic alternatives it is difficult to keep everyone satisfied which is why Mr Wenger earns the Big Bucks. Rotation, Rotation, Rotation.

My Team:

pitch away to palace

Strong bench should we get into difficulties late in the game.

This has been an unpredictable season with Arsenal playing well interspersed with lack-lustre performances (MU, S’ton, Spurs etc). Mr Wenger has played with our tactics and in recent games has concentrated on a more pragmatic approach as opposed to our normal flowing attacking possession football. The win at Man City was excellent but led directly to playing the same system at Spurs and the subsequent painful loss. We are away today and perhaps Mr Wenger will continue with this tactic – I hope not because given the wonderful attacking options we have I want us to show why we are ” the greatest team, the world has ever seen”.

101 years ago today saw the start of the Battle of Verdun in which almost a million soldiers died – no account was made of the injured. The battle lasted until December and is the longest and costliest military battle in history. I have visited the battlefield and left with an understanding of how lucky I have been to be born at a time when I was not forced to go to war. We cannot imagine the horrors and fear experienced by the millions who fought there.

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As I sit and worry about whether Arsenal win today I will try to keep a football match in context, win or lose it is meaningless sport – trouble is it is hard to do, isn’t it?

COYRRG

Written by Big Raddy

 

 

 


Crystal Palace: Another Must Win

February 2, 2014

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

Right that’s done.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Team:

a v cp

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

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

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

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

It burned down in 1936.

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

COYRRG

written by Big Raddy


Were we wrong about Chamakh?

October 26, 2013

We had a brief conversation mid-week about whether it was good or bad to face a manager-less team. I don’t like it. Even when playing what is surely relegation fodder.

Our recent loss appears not to have damaged the confidence both on and off the pitch which considering the state of the club in January is a remarkable turn around. We fans and thankfully the media seem to be less knee-jerk in our reactions and open to a more rational approach, however, and this should be written in bold, lose today and the knives will re-appear quicker than our troll changes monicker.

What of Crystal Palace.? Well, the wouldn’t pay for Big Nick but very handily took Chamakh off our hands. This tells all we needed to know about Holloway’s strategy to taking CP into the Premiership – Scattergun signings and a huge dollop of hope. It could have worked out, Chamakh could have struck the form we saw in his first games at the Em’s. Sadly, the reality is that all the hope has gone west and Palace are struggling, having beaten just bottom placed Sunderland  and languishing firmly in the bottom 3. The 1-4 defeat to a poor Fulham side on Monday signalled the end for the likeable Holloway and whoever takes up the reins inherits a poisoned chalice.

I liked Chamakh and understood why Mr Wenger signed him but the man had the same problem as Gervinho – an inability to cope with the pressures of playing in front of 60+k expectant fans. Let us wish him well and trust that he gets his career back on track, starting tomorrow.

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Can they win today and beat the team sitting comfortably at the top of the table 😀 ?

Let’s look at the stats: Arsenal haven’t lost at Selhurst Park since 1979! We have won 12 of our last 13 away fixtures. We have only lost twice to Palace  – ever. But as we all know, there is many a slip twixt cup and lip, over-confidence would be costly.

Arsenal:  One of the question marks from Tuesday night was what happened to Özil? It was good to read that he was ill before the game and this reflected upon his play. Should he play today or be rested ahead of our testing games ahead? Given Wilshere’s troublesome ankle and the return of Flamini, I expect to see Mesut start particularly as the partnership with Santi needs pick-time. This axis alongside Ramsey will be the future of Arsenal and propel us to glory – it just needs time.

We miss Theo. Young Didit proclaimed that Walcott getting injured would be disastrous for Arsenal, it hasn’t been as painful as he thought but we miss the speedster. I am a big admirer of Walcott and think we will hit even loftier heights of play when he returns. His speed of foot and Özil’s speed of thought are made for each other. But he remains on the injury list.

In a way the injuries make Mr Wenger’s choices easier, the main question mark is whether Rosicky or Cazorla starts on the left? And whether Sagna needs a break. Given the CC game midweek I would continue with the first choice 11.

My Team:

pal v arse

The bench gets stronger and I expect all will get a run out on Tuesday.

If Arsenal are going to be serious contenders for the title then this is a must win game.  I like Palace, without their scouting network one of my footballing heroes would never have had the opportunity to excel, I speak of course of Ian Wright Wright Wright who whenever I think of his time at HIghbury lights my day.  On the flip side let us not forget Palace also sold us Eddie Mcgoldrick ….. need I say more?

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Early kick-off and I expect us to be 5 points ahead of the pack at the final whistle, but am not taking anything for granted.

COYRRG

written by Big Raddy