Arsenals Top Seasons 2001-02 – Our 4th Best

April 10, 2018

2001- 02 was a very competitive season with several teams challenging for the top spot in the league. For the first 11 games an unbeaten Leeds team were the early leaders and in November they were top of the table. At the start of December Liverpool was three points clear with a game in hand, Newcastle took over as leaders at Christmas but by February Manchester United was in first place, looking to make it four titles in a row.  Arsenal was never far off the pace but they suffered their lowest point of the season during October and November taking only three points from four games. They responded to that four-game winless run in style with a 3-1 victory over Manchester United which was memorable for Freddie Ljungberg’s lob and two gift wrapped presents from Fabian Barthez which Thierry Henry happily accepted.

Notably, on the player front David Seaman, Martin Keown and Ray Parlour were still going strong, while both Tony Adams and Lee Dixons careers were winding down.

Arsene Wenger brought in Sol Campbell, Giovanni van Bronckhorst and Kole Toure while John Lukic. Sylvinho and Nelson Vivas left the club.

The Arsenal 2001- 02 Squad.

Seaman (17), Dixon (13), A. Cole (29), Vieira (36), Keown ( 21), Adams (10), Pires (28),Ljungberg (25), Bergkamp ( 33), Wiltord (33), Lauren (27), Taylor (10), Henry (33), van Bronckhorst (21), Edu (14), Grimandi (16), Upson (14), Luzhny (18) Campbell (31), Wright (12), Kanu (23), Stepanvos (8).

Four games after beating Manchester United we suffered our third defeat, at home to Newcastle but it proved to be the final loss of the season. (ed: this was the game  in which Graham Poll came close to being lynched after sending off Ray Parlour for two bookables and handing the game to Newcastle late on with a disgraceful penalty decision; it still makes my blood boil thinking about it). 

In the next two games we defeated Liverpool 2-1 at Anfield with only 10 men and followed that with a 2-1 win over Chelsea on Boxing Day with Sol Campbell scoring his first goal for Arsenal. The next six games saw us win 3 and draw 3 ending in a 1-1 draw with Southampton at Highbury on February 2 which left us toiling in 3rd position.

It would take a special effort to beat off the many competitors to the title and the draw against Southampton proved to be the game that spurred us on – it would be the last time we dropped points all season. In the final 13 games we went unbeaten, including a 2-0 win at title rivals Newcastle which will be forever remembered by Denis Bergkamp’s stunning goal. He made it look so simple, pirouetting within a split second of his flick to score the goal and leaving no doubt as to whether it was intended. Nobody has pulled off anything as special since, suggesting it was a more remarkable piece of skill than he made it appear. The fact that we all talk about it 17 years later is an indication of just how wonderful Bergkamp’s touch and intelligence was to create such an incredible goal.

Five games later we beat Tottenham 2-1 at Highbury with Lauren scoring the winning goal from a late penalty. With 2 games left in the season we met Manchester United at Old Trafford, to have any hopes of retaining their crown United had to beat Arsenal, but Sylvain Wiltord’s 55th minute winner sealed a second Premier League title for Arsene Wenger’s side. We ended the season seven points clear of second-placed Liverpool, who sneaked ahead of United on the final day.

We finished the season off in style with a 4-3 win over Everton on the final day that saw Tony Adams lift the title trophy in front of the home fans as he bowed out alongside Lee Dixon.

Credit: Stuart MacFarlane / Arsenal Football Club.

Henry, Pires and Ljungberg  all made huge contributions to our season. Henry finished the season with 24 goals in the Premier League and the Golden Boot, Pires recorded a league-high 15 assists and won the Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year award, Pires was so good that when he took his turn to lift the Premier League trophy on the last day, his team-mates bowed down in front of him.

Freddie Ljungberg scored 12 times in just 25 games and claimed the official Barclaycard Premier League Player of the Season honour.

We lost only three games, all at Highbury and went the full season unbeaten away from home in the league, scored in every game and finished the season with 13 consecutive wins.

Not to be forgotten is the fact that a week before the season ended we won the FA Cup Final beating Chelsea 2-0 with stunning goals from Ray Parlour and Freddie Ljungberg.

Unsurprisingly Arsene Wenger was named as the Manager of the Season after winning his second double in five seasons.

Written by GunnerN5


Does Money Buy you the Premiership Title?

March 17, 2018

This was a reply to a GoonerB question which needed a wider audience

Everyone saw the recent Watford game in which we won 3-0. Was anyone really surprised? No. Why? Because Arsenal have a better team. Why do Arsenal have a better team? Because Arsenal have more money to buy better players. This is not rocket science. So I think it is fair to say that if Arsenal played Watford 100 times, Arsenal would win 95 of them.

It then naturally follows that if there were a league of just those two teams that Arsenal would win most of the time. However as the odds suggest Arsenal could have an off day as we did when Watford dumped us out of the FA cup. This is the equivalent of Leicester winning the league, they are the exception that proves the rule that the clubs with greater spending power are more likely to win the league.

Things should be clear now using the Arsenal – Watford example, where it gets complicated is when loyalty gets in the way because that can be the only excuse for not seeing that exactly the same applies to Arsenal and Man City. If they they played us for 100 consecutive games they are more likely than not to win 95 of them for the same reasons I give above.

Winning is quite simply all about money, it is not a case of Stan Kroenke loosening the purse strings; he is not competing against another rich man he is competing against an oil rich country. It cannot be won and should not be expected to be won.

So what does this mean? It means that yes we can still win the league but the odds are against us. What I want is a manager who understands this and accepts the challenge in order to increase the small chance of winning the league to the maximum that it can be. And who do I think is best placed to achieve this? Arsene Wenger and that is why I remain loyal.

That obviously needs explanation but I don’t want to turn this into a book.

Taken from a comment written by LB


Arsenals Top Seasons 1947-48 – Our 7th Best

January 28, 2018

One night during WWII I was lying in bed when the room was suddenly lit up with a nearby searchlight coming on. Thinking it was a raid coming, I jumped out of bed and I started to get dressed. Looking out of the window, I saw dozens of searchlights sweeping the sky and waving backwards and forwards. I went into the front room where Mum and Dad had the radio on and they were just announcing the end of the war in Europe. Our next-door neighbour rushed in and everybody sat talking until the early hours of the morning. The next day nobody went to work and we had an impromptu party down at the corner of the road. People took cakes and sandwiches down to be shared out and a radiogram was fixed up to provide music for people to dance to.

Germany had officially surrendered and Londoners could now try to rebuild their damaged City and lives. Life was still very difficult, good jobs were scarce, food was still rationed, we still used Cow and Gate powered milk, and bomb sites were scattered all over town. But gradually life was returning to the streets and the daily fear of bombing raids, and having to dash to air raid shelters for safety, was now just a horrible memory.

The Arsenal ground in North London was not spared war damage as the North Stand was extensively damaged by fire and the roof had collapsed, the South Stand terracing was also badly damaged and in need of repair. The debts from the construction of Highbury and the costs of repairing the war damage were a heavy financial burden, and Arsenal struggled when competitive football resumed.

The war had cut short the careers of many of the club’s star players, including Bastin and Drake and nine of the pre-WW11 staff  were lost during the war. Upon the league’s resumption in 1946-47 the club began poorly and were bottom at Christmas. However, George Allison managed to make two signings late in 1946 which laid the foundations for the success of the following 1947/8 season. Cultured left half Joe Mercer was signed from Everton in November at the age of 32 on the agreement that he could commute from Liverpool and Ronnie Rooke, a prolific goalscorer in Division 2, signed from Fulham a month later. With a face carved from granite, his 6ft 3in, 15 stone frame helped to define his powerful playing style.  Rooke scored 21 goals in the 24 games he played that season and helped to drag Arsenal up to 13th place.

 

After close to forty years with the Arsenal, George Allison decided to retire from football in the summer of 1947 and was replaced by his assistant Tom Whittaker, who had been the club’s trainer under Herbert Chapman. Whittaker took over the reins at Highbury with Joe Shaw joining him from Chelsea. Arsenal kicked off the1947/48 season with a 3-1 victory over Sunderland at Highbury, an ideal start for the new management team (see British Pathe video below).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ys2vdV_r8No

Leslie Compton, the previous club Captain who had been playing cricket for Middlesex, returned to Arsenal and we won the next six games. Joe Mercer had been Arsenal’s Captain in Compton’s absence but Whittaker felt that now Compton was back he should, once again, lead the team but Compton felt differently and persuaded him to keep Joe on as the club Captain. There certainly seemed to be harmony in the Arsenal dressing room as we remained unbeaten in the first 17 games of the season, winning 12 and drawing 5 before losing 0-1 away to Derby County in the 18th game.

That 17th game of the unbeaten start proved to be a milestone in the life of GunnerN5. I was nine years old and I spent endless hours playing football with my mates on Avenell Road as we kicked a rag football (made by my Mum) about using the main gate into Highbury as our goal. We were in awe of all the supporters as they streamed in and out of Highbury on Saturday afternoons wishing we could be inside with them. The Oohs and Aahs coming from the ground always left us wondering what was happening but we always knew when the Gunners had scored as that caused the biggest roar of all. My maternal Grandfather changed my life when he gave me the best birthday present I’d  received – for my 10th birthday he took me to my very first Arsenal game – it was November 22nd 1947 Arsenal vs Huddersfield Town and we won 2-0. That game was the start my lifelong journey of supporting the Arsenal and it was capped off with us winning the League Championship.

North London had the original Ronnie and Reggie up front as Ronnie Rooke and Reg Lewis powered Arsenal to the title with 47 goals between them (Rooke’s 33 goals still stands as a post-war record, although Thierry Henry did manage 30 goals in 4 less games in the Invincibles season). Arsenal were the dominant team of the season and were ahead of the other final top teams from the 2nd game of the season onward – as shown in the following table. The highlighted variance column shows how many points the 2nd, 3rd and 4th teams Manchester United, Burnley, and Derby County) were behind Arsenal after each game of the season. Top of the table for 41 of the 42 League matches – the phrase ‘never in doubt’ has never been more correctly used.

In the final Arsenal matchday programme of the 1947/48 League Championship winning season, ‘Marksman’ (aka Harry Homer), the programme editor of the day, wrote: “…my mind seeks an apt quotation with which to close this season which has been such a glorious one for Tom Whittaker, Joe Mercer and all connected with The Gunners. Shall we turn for once to Latin? ‘Victoria Concordia Crescit’. Translation: ‘Victory grows out of harmony.’”

Two seasons later and Arsenal unveiled its new crest which incorporated Marksman’s Latin maxim. Tom Whittaker explained in the 1949/50 handbook (which also included the new crest) that the Club had been impressed by Marksman’s motto and it had now been officially adopted by the Club. The new crest also featured ‘Arsenal’ in a gothic style typeface, the westward facing cannon, the Borough of Islington’s coat of arms and ermine(courtesy of Arsenal.com)

Written by GunnerN5


Arsenal Question Time

June 23, 2012

Morning all. No surprises last night with Germany progressing to the semi-finals. I wasn’t sure they wanted it until Greece equalised but then they went about their business with a typically cool Germanic air to break the Greeks hearts. They will be hard to beat.

To fill in some time before “life” starts again, on August 18th when we play Sunderland at home, GunnerN5 has set the following quiz to test  your knowledge on Arsenal history.

1. Q. How many times have we appeared in the FA Cup Final?

2. Q. How many times have we won the FA Cup?

3. Q. What season did we have the most wins – and how many?

4. Q. What season did we have the least wins – and how many?

5. Q. What season did we have the most losses – and how many?

6. Q. What season did we have the least losses – and how many?

7. Q. What season did we score the most goals – and how many?

8.   Q. What season did we have the least goals against – and how many?

9.   Q. What season did we get the most points – and how many?

10. Q. How many seasons did we play in the 2nd Division?

11. Q. How many seasons did we have in the 1st Division?

12. Q. How many seasons have we played in the Premier Division?

13. Q. How many games did we play in the 2nd Division?

14. Q. How many games did we play in the 1st Division?

15. Q. How many games have we played in the Premier Division?

16. Q. How many consecutive seasons have we played in the top flight?

17. Q. How many people have managed Arsenal?

18. Q. How many total trophies have we won?

19. Q. How many of our managers have a winning % above 60%?

20. Q.  How many of our managers have a winning % below 50%?

Have fun and good luck, we’ll put the answers up later today.


Thoughts on Benfica and Another Bad Week

August 7, 2011

Benfica 2-1 Arsenal

Aimar 49,

Nolito 60 van Persie 33

It started well enough and we tried hard enough. That is the best I can say.

Gervinho looked good and went close twice before Arshavin played Gibbs in, who found van Persie for a cool finish. It is a goal Arsenal wouldn’t have scored with Clichy overlapping on the left.

In the second half Gibbs failed to clear and Squillaci went a wandering before Vermaelen got brushed aside by little Aimar. I am sure Alan Hansen would be sitting at home uttering his trademark phrase.

Shortly afterwards the lively Nolito cut in from the left and Squillaci got mugged again, 2-1.

The look Ramsey gave him and what he appeared to say was telling.

Benfica have played competitive games and that sharpness gave them the edge. The performance in itself isn’t that much of a worry but the last week has been.

I don’t care about pre season results, they don’t matter. What does matter is that you get to your first game with 90% of your first team fit and on form and we are not anywhere near that.

Arsenal were missing many players for various reasons and that does excuse the lack of craft in an under par second half performance but that in itself is an issue seven days away from the big kick off.

We haven’t had a good week since February.

Injuries to Gibbs, Vermaelen, Diaby, Wilshere, Van Persie, Walcott and no win in three this week.

Fabregas, Nasri, Bendtner and Eboue are sitting by the phone.

The fans are fighting amongst themselves.

In the space of a week I have seen two draws, one defeat and more importantly three fairly average performances from patchwork sides. Seen fans turn on each other watching friendlies and training sessions, met some heroes, lost a couple two.

I’ve seen our captain train, smile and give an imperious wave. Mad people could read all kind of things in to that.

Are we together? No.

Are we healthy? No.

Are we ready? No, we are not even close.

There is nothing wrong with being anti-Wenger. If you are, I think you are wrong but you are entitled to your opinions and we shouldn’t make out that it is a crime or that it means you are not a real fan.

It is ok to get angry.

It is ok to doubt.

It is ok to be frustrated that we haven’t spent a pound (net) in five years.

It is ok to question Wenger’s training methods when we are seeming to be starting a season with anywhere up to eight players suffering injuries of some kind.

It is ok to think that if someone had come to you in 1996 and told you that you would win 7 trophies in 15 years when Arsenal had won 6 trophies previous few years, you might have said we will gamble on someone else.

Again, I think you’re wrong but it’s your choice.

It is ok to hold that opinion and you shouldn’t have to say 10 “Hail Arsènes” every time you question the team sheet.

It is ok to be sick of “mental strength” performances and “super quality” players that never seem to materialize.

Question his methods, but don’t question his motives. Do you think he would still be here if he didn’t care? Do you not think there are easier jobs he could do?

You shouldn’t think that those of us pro-Wenger don’t see his flaws.

We see Wenger’s flaws but don’t boo the team, don’t insult your fellow fans, they pay good money too. It doesn’t help anyone.

We don’t sit there in some drug induced haze thinking that Squillaci is the future.

I’ve seen cheap comments from cheap hacks, stories and “inside” knowledge twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools.

I have read Myles “Source” Palmer spreading poison among the masses. Do me a favour!

I wonder how many Arsenal fans regret buying that book.

Arsene Wenger has won three league titles, four FA cups, paid for Arsenal to build a training ground and a stadium by keeping a team in the top four with little money to spend and taking a skip full of flack while he has done it.

This is the man who brought you a season unbeaten and some of the best football you have ever seen.

This week I have seen someone refer to our Captain as Fabretwat, on this very site.

I saw a Gooner make comments about Arsène Wenger, the kind that are usually reserved for nights at the Lane. At the time the drunken slob was getting a free tour of the Stadium. His kids must be very proud of him.

It is ok to disagree, but stop the hate. It’s pathetic.

Arsene Wenger, any team he picks, and captain he chooses, deserve a little more respect.

Raise Yourselves!

The fans need to get on the same page, for the good of the team.

Wenger needs to do his bit and get a centre back, patch up the walking wounded and get three points.

The board need to tell Barcelona and Man City to do one.

We all have a part to play.

Don’t blow it or this might just start feeling like an ending.

Written by Jamie


Arsenal Rock and Roll onwards…..Phew!

April 11, 2011

Written by Harry

As the sun shone all over Bloomfield, Arsene’s battle weary troops took to the field with Lehmann starting his 200th game for the gunners…….No mean feat, apart from the fact his 199th was 3 years ago!! Manuel was injured in the warm up…….I think I heard that Eboue had tied his bootlaces together…Anyway Big Jens was in the spotlight…..

As expected Blackpool started like a rollercoaster, pace and purpose with a few ups and downs, survival is paramount to the seasiders and they tried to get at a vulnerable Arsenal defence, supposedly which is there for the taking according to some…….But Arsenal held firm with Squillaci and Kosceinly doing a good impression of a Centre back partnership..

And although Blackpool got some crosses in Lehmann took every catch with the air of authority as he marshalled the back line as if he had never been away, he has a presence about him, a calmness that really does settle the team…..

Fabregas was back and although not at his majestic best, his array of passing was on show as he looked to open up the seasiders, a delightful lobbed pass over the Blackpool back line saw van Persie’s control just let him down as the ball ran through to Kingston.

Arsenal really began to control the game as Blackpool found it difficult to maintain the early pace, Diaby intercepted and strode forward with purpose, laying off to Cesc, Diaby then thrust towards goal, as Cesc pinged the ball wide left to van Persie, who only needed to play the ball across the area to an Arsenal player, yes for once someone was in the area!! Honest!! As Diaby just ended the move he started with ease, 1-0……..

It wasn’t long before it was 2-0 with the goal of the game for me, Eboue cutting in from the right played a one-two with Wilshere, as he took the ball on the return in his stride and absolutely smashed in the far top corner….If that had been Rooney and Scholes, the press would have wet themselves, that was a goal of a high quality……

Arsenal tried to put the game to bed, but for the rest of the first half they had a bit of a Torres spell……Most memorable moment came when Nasri couldn’t quite get the ball out of his feet to get a shot off inside the area, he was pushed wide, he played the ball back across and darted into the box again as Fabregas sent a sublime chip into his path, as the keeper came out, nasri struck across the ball, which hit the post and away, that would have been a quality goal, one we all knew we needed.

Just before Half Time Blackpool signalled their intentions not to lie down, when they got down the right and put the ball across into a melee, somehow a faint touch from Lehmanns outstretched leg stopped the ball going in and Fabregas calmly took the ball away.

In the 2nd half, Blackpool took the game to Arsenal, with more gusto than a Talksport presenter criticizing Arsenal……

As Blackpool broke again, little Jack stretched to a tackle, but brought himself a yellow, Mason waved play on, Blackpool attacked at pace, as DJ danced into the box he took the ball towards the goal, Lehmann, came out and took him down, the ball fell to Taylor-Fletcher who tapped into the empty net, game on…..

As much as I rate Lee Mason as the worst referee I have seen in the premiership (he was the ref at the Everton home match), fair play to how he handled this phase of play……Lehmann could have seen red… (Lucky Break No1)

Blackpool really went for it and Arsenals steadiness of the 1st half was replaced with some ropey impressions of Bambi on ice, then lucky break no2, Koscienly took Taylor-Fletcher out just inside the area with what was a stone-wall penalty…..Mason waved them away, ying and yang somehow playing their part, me thinks….

Wenger made his first substitution with an inevitable early retreat for Arshavin, I think we could all see that coming a mile off.  Walcott’s entrance would add an extra threat that would finally seal the points.

But the start of the move for the points bagger, must see high praise for Toto, who slid in for a perfect tackle, taking the ball away just as Blackpool threatened again, Diaby mopped up the ball but was under immediate pressure, he twisted and turned and got a chip pass through to Cesc, who first time helped it on to the jet fuelled Theo, who disappeared down the right faster than Rooney chasing a Camera man, he passed across to van Persie who passed the ball into the bottom right hand corner. Game over, planets re-aligned…..

Ratings:

Lehmann: 8: Probably a tad generous with his near red moment, but then it wouldn’t be Jens without that; I just liked the authority he has, barking his orders and berating the slightest error….keeps them on their toes. Made a couple of good saves as well……Does he have 7 more games in him?

Eboue: 8: Still has the ability to frustrate with his acting ability, but I love the way he takes the game to the opposition, not afraid to see a gap and attack it, his goal was superb.

Koscienly: 7: Solid enough game, but lucky not to give away a penalty, but apart from that I felt he did his job without too much problems.

Squillaci: 8: Very solid, read the game well, cannot remember any mistakes and his tackle that started the move for the 3rd goal was exceptional.  For me, probably controversially, my MotM…

Clichy: 7: Had a decent game apart from his moment of “Total Liability” when he decided to dwell on the ball and acts like a lemming……For me it is a too regular occurrence, Spurs, Birmingham etc.

Fabregas: 7: Fantastic Passing, orchestrated attacking moves like only he can, just lacked a bit of sharpness in his movement, but he is nursing his hamstrings….

Diaby: 7.5: Started and Finished the move for the opener, and was instrumental in the 3rd, got a silly booking before half time. This is the Diaby I defend continuously….although he has even more to give, physically he can dominate games if his head is in the right time dimension.

Wilshere: 7: Although no where near his best in affecting the game creative wise, but he kept in there and was involved throughout in physical encounters, never gives up, has the right attitude for me.

Nasri: 7: Looked more himself today, still not as sharp as before his injury, but getting there. When we were on top he really was buzzing, probing and trying to get at their fullbacks. Nearly scored twice…….

Van Persie: 7: Good game, unfortunate the ball ran away from him on one occasion and another he just seem to half hit it. Took the goal well to seal the points, worked hard, just needs to be a tad more clinical at times.

Arshavin: 6: Not involved enough for me, after a couple of better performances lately, but he needs the team to involve him more. Personally I would play him behind Van Persie, would be much more effective, but I am no Professor…….

Subs:

Walcott :7:  Lively and Jet fuelled, want him to be more selfish when near the goal, but there again that’s not in our locker….

Gibbs and Ramsey: Too little time to judge…..

Wenger: 9: End of a turbulent week for Le Boss, his handling of the press set the scene for a punchy response from his team. Made the right changes to the line up and made the substitutions at the right times…..

Roast Dinner at Pub with Man United Mates: Priceless …………

Overall:

Some decisions went for us, some didn’t, its argumentative who had the real key defining ones, although Kozzers’ was a stonewall penalty, but hey ho that’s football……..It was a great result and a much more impressive performance, still needs to be upped a level for the next seven games, all must win for me.

Away from home we definitely play with more freedom, less fear. With Blackpool fans epitomizing my firm held belief that a crowd can play its part, okay, they didn’t win, but the positive support helped them go through the gears with the speed of Jensen button…..

Footnote:

Probably could do without the talk of takeovers at such a crucial time, but just maybe the distraction could keep the fans from been so negative about the team and Wenger?

And if the takeover sees the return of Double D, this could reignite the successful times he enjoyed with Wenger till his acrimonious departure, I pray…….

2nd Footnote:

Man City think they can buy our Jack for 40million?

For that amount of money they can have his boots, he isn’t going nowhere my middle eastern oil pumpers…..See you all next Sunday……


Arshavin scores a great a goal

March 20, 2011

Here is Arshavin celebrating his great goal and if you haven’t seen it being scored click on the link

http://videa.hu/videok/allatok/2-1-arsenal-Fy2At09VCGvJaR3p

Out of nothing, Chamakh and our little Russian combined in the 70th minute to score a fabulous goal. What had gone on before the 70th minute was so unimaginative by Arsenal that not only were we 2 goals behind but it looked like there was no chance of us getting anything out of this game.

Poor defending had given West Brom a corner in the first 2 minutes and poor defending gave them a free header to score in the 3rd minute. But it was only the third minute. We had players on the pitch that could undoubtedly change that and surely the Baggies couldn’t park the bus for 87 minutes. Cue boring boring Arsenal.

So much has already been written about Almunia’s inexplicable decision to rush out of his goal to meet Odemwingie whilst having the support of Squillaci and Koscielny that I can’t be bothered to even rant about it. He may be a great shot-stopper but thats only part of his job. What on earth was he doing? Enough, the ball rolled into the back of the net and we were 2 down.

In the 76th minute we had our own goal from a ball that rolled over the line from van Persie, actually it trickled over the line and we were lucky that no-one was alert enough to claw it back before it got there. Suddenly, we were level and the resulting 14 minutes plus extra time were played at a frantic pace, but to no avail. Why did we wait until it was 2-2 to try and win this game?

In those frenetic 14 minutes there were occasions when there were plenty of  our Red (yellow, I know) shirts and West Brom’s striped shirts in the penalty area while we tried to score a  goal. It occured to me that the voodoo is clearly in the penalty area as we have as much luck scoring scrappy goals as we do defending corners or set pieces into the box – unlike manu who once again got an undeserved winner late on. Why is that?

What are this Arsenal team really good at? We often can’t defend and just as often we can’t score goals, we can keep the ball and weave pretty patterns in the middle of the pitch but scoring goals is what counts. Arsène, for all our possesion stats, when it counts we don’t seem to be able to score.

There were a couple of positives to be gained from yesterday game. Arsène changed the habit of a life-time and made a substitution at half-time taking off Denilson and bringing on Chamakh who was infinitely better. Was it a tactical change or did Denilson pick up a knock? I hope it was both. In addition, Aaron Ramsey made his first start since returning from injury and was welcomed back with a huge cheer from the supporters watching with me in Club Level.

We have a two week break and then hopefully the return of Theo van Nasregas at the Emirates for a must win game against Blackburn. The manks must be feeling confident that the title is theirs this morning – 9 games to go. Come on Arsenal.

Written by peachesgooner



Mentally Scarred….Is it terminal?

March 18, 2011

Written by Harry

I am still fed up with the way we keep getting beat, when we have the better of the game……it goes to show that even when you do dominate {ala Barca}, games can go against you (so if RVP had stayed on…..who knows), we used to have that ability, to win when not playing well, sneak your one chance and 1-0 would be sung with gusto as we see out a game, or sometimes that 1 goal with ten minutes left would open the floodgates, it’s all about taking chances……..

Our on field issue of converting chances when they come along is symptomatic of our recent history, the ability to take chances, the Carling Cup for example, win that and the confidence would have oozed, I am sure……..

United are a poor side and very average squad {1 domineering WC CB and WC Keeper and a spluttering of just above average players}……., but they retain that ability to take a chance, make something happen and fergie gets the best out of them. How many times have we out played them or Chelsea and that one chance sees them take the lead and we then get caught trying to catch them…….

Frankly I have a grudging admiration for the old red nose pensioner, single handedly he has kept United in the upper echelons of the football world, far longer than they should have been…….

I have defended staunchly certain players and the manager, I always will within the confines of the Emirates, but my belief is been eroded away at an alarming rate and as much as I can be objective about the defeats we have suffered and other games such as Newcastle away, I feel such annoyance that we keep getting so close but falling short, yes we have a larger than fair share of injuries (and always key players)…..How can I continue to berate other fans for being negative, when we consistently disappoint?

Other teams have gone out of all cups, now there are only be 4 left in the FA cup, there are only 8 left in CL as today sees the draw….so we are not alone in being out, many others have fallen, and last night saw the end of Man City and Liverpool as they bit the Europa league dust…(so much for spending loads of wonga, doesnt guarantee trophies)

Now we are only in with a chance of 1 trophy instead of 4 all within a space of about 10days, this is what is so shattering, devastating and in the long term we have to look at the mental scars, is this becoming terminal?

I get so frustrated at the way the press have harped on about the 6 years  with no trophy blah blah,  ask any fan of any team how long since Arsenal lifted a trophy and you’ll get a correct response, ask about other teams and nobody will get it right………………..

Somehow we need the Emirates crowd to get behind the team and in some respect, an away match is probably best right now, get 3 points and we are still in there, by our fingernails….(mathematically strong position : mentally still fragile though)

Then we have to keep winning, if we drop anything, even a draw, then it’s over for the season, then could the unthinkable happen, especially with these injuries racking up? Will we still qualify for the CL next season?

After WBA we have a ten day break, timely to say at least………Time to heal, after WBA we have Blackburn and Blackpool, after those 3 games we need to have taken 9points…………..As after that our run in gets interesting, with Liverpool been a big test right now…….followed by Spurs, Stoke, Bolton, United, villa and fulham…..

I will never ask for Wenger to leave, I hope he’ll know when his time is over and not get forced out, but if we fail this season on all fronts and he decides to stay, he must seriously look at our squad the makeup and then shake it up, with perhaps 6 going and maybe 7 / 8 coming in, remove that brittleness by injecting some new blood, try to remove that mental barrier…….He can still retain his football ethos, but he must admit that the choking at the finish line is a malaise within, a rotten core that needs ripping out and replacing with some real winning mentality…………..

Maybe Jens Lehmann on his ad-hoc monthly rolling contract will at least bring a stronger mentality to the dressing room, a calming influence, did I say that? Certainly more experienced than all others around him, it might just help…..I think he is the best option right now…….

I am trying so hard to retain some belief that we can do it, after 90mins at the Hawthorns on Saturday I will have my answer, it will either strengthen my resolve or it will allow me to prepare for the worse and steady myself for the possibility of total failure…..

Without been too melodramatic, I actually see this WBA game now as been one of the biggest in our recent history….Not just in the sense of fighting for this title, but the very real danger of this squad been damaged beyond repair, mentally can they respond…..

I believed in this team and the squad at the start of the season, all I felt we needed was another CM / CB Warrior {ie Parker/ Samba etc}, and I believe that was right at that time and still do on the aspects of technical and physical ability, but now we have to assess the mental state of some players, they might need to move on for themselves and the best interests of Arsenal…

I will get behind the team and try to be positive till the season ends, all I hope is that it ends on the 22nd May at Craven Cottage with us taking the Premier League Crown………

Lets see what Saturday brings, 3points and a performance, I pray…….All Gooners, Stand tall Be proud, Stand as one Stand together, conquer all……


Who are the real footie fans?

March 18, 2011

Written by Red Arse

I am a fan! Like many Arsenal fans I call myself, with a great deal of pride, a ‘Gooner’. This clearly identifies me as a fan of the greatest footie club in the world. I bet you do too.

But here is the thing. Although the behaviour, the thought processes and the values of many who also call themselves Gooners chimes very closely with my own ideals, there are many others who seem to have decidedly different views of what constitutes a real fan. We cannot all be called fans, can we?

So, let’s see; who is the real fan?

Excitedly approaching the Emirates on a match day, with the noise of the crowd and, the occasional whiff of sweaty mankind, combined with the oniony smell of greasy hotdogs, you quickly become immersed in an environment recognisable to all fans from childhood.

At the game, when we take our allotted seats, we are immediately aware there are strong visual signals that all fans are indeed not the same.

Over there, behind the goal, are a group of shirtless wonders proudly flashing their six packs, or fat bellies, depending on your view point, while they drink copious quantities of beer and laugh with their mates. Next to them are men and women of indeterminate age, solid, experienced, proudly wearing their club scarves, hats and shirts, the love of their team shining out of their eyes. These are out and out fans, who attend games come rain or shine, are always enthusiastic, always willing to sing and chant and always encourage their team, come what may. The life of any club!

Over to their right are some very respectable looking young guys braying like donkeys over some indecipherable private joke, who probably only attend games once in a blue moon courtesy of a business contact. Perhaps fans of convenience?
Just a couple of rows behind them is sitting a rather harassed looking father trying to calm a couple of young munchkins with painted faces, smartly bedecked in club shirts, who are busily slurping Cokes and jumping on and off their seats. These are the fans of the future, already exposed to the opiate of Goonerdom!

Over to the left, again, there is a bevy of young women, faces aglow, scarves worn jauntily around their necks, chatting animatedly to their beaux, and giggling their denials of lust for the players’ thighs, or nether regions. These are the breeders of the young fans of the future.

Higher up in the stands are the alumni, students out to enjoy themselves, with their club scarves, and bobble hats perched precariously on their mops of hair. Perpetually fidgeting, yelling and bursting with animal spirits, they never remain still and unceasingly shout out their support throughout the game, while loudly deriding the opposition with scatological glee as well as assuring the referee he has no father! These will be the senior fans of the future.

Then over there, in the plush areas are the ‘respectable’, prawn sandwich fans in their smart suits, sipping wine and laughing like hyenas at some indecipherable private joke. These fans are here to be entertained and remain seated at all times, while politely clapping any goal attempt but, of course, never indulging in the common man’s singing or chanting. Fans? Well, their dosh is important to the financial stability of the club, so let it go!

For me, my love and support of the club is unconditional, and I have probably been many of these different types of fan as I grew from an awestruck child to manhood.

What type of fan are you? In truth, I don’t suppose it matters. We all love the Arsenal!

Perhaps the following sums up what being a fan means to us!

A young man was watching football. He noticed an empty seat in front of him. It was a better seat than his, so at half-time he went down to the empty seat. He asked the old man sitting next to it “Is it okay if I sit here?”

“No problem”, said the old man. “It was my wife’s seat, but she’s dead. We’ve been to every home match together for 40 years, and we always had these two seats.”
A tear rolled slowly down the old man’s cheek.

“Don’t you have a friend, or someone from your family, who’d come and sit with you?” The young man asked, gently.

The old man wiped his eyes and said, “Yes, but not today. They are all at my wife’s funeral.”

Reference:: Sikh Philosophy Network http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/showthread.php?t=22838


Nik Bendtner. Should he stay or should he go?

March 17, 2011

Mr Bendtner is a man who creates waves, everyone has an opinion about Nik and for a man who has yet to play a consistent first team role in the Premiership, he attracts an enormous amount of publicity. Why? Perhaps it is his self-belief that rubs the humble Anglo – Saxon mentality up the wrong way or is it his happy swagger and the fact he finds football amusing?

This post is not designed to defend Nik (though in places it surely will), it is my perspective as to whether Arsenal should remain his employer.

I reside in Denmark where Nik is perceived with superstar status. Coming from a small country with a football mad population of just over 5 million, he is the shining star; the successor to the Laudrup brothers, Peter Schmeichel, Preben Elkjær and Johnny Jensen (OK, maybe not JJ)  he is lauded wherever he goes. Front cover of all the society mags, front cover of the tabloids, the face of  advertising campaigns, and the reason why every Arsenal game is shown on Danish TV.

Bendtner was still in Arsenal’s youth team when he received his first International cap, scoring on debut. He had already played in the U-21 World Cup at the age of 17, scoring regularly. He was voted Denmark’s Player of Year at both youth and senior level. He was poached by Mr Wenger at just 16 and made his first team debut at just 18.

Is it any wonder this lad has self-confidence?

The question is, where does he go from here? Has he a first team future at Arsenal, and if not should he be sold?

This season started badly for Nik who had a tough World Cup campaign, picking up a muscle injury before South Africa but considered so important that he played in all Denmark’s games and scored against Cameroon. He came back to Arsenal crocked, was unable to get any pre-season and consequently has had a stop-start season.

However his stats are very good. This season despite only starting 14 games (+ 12 subs), he has scored 9 and had 7 assists. In his Arsenal career he has started 79 games (+71 subs) and scored 45 with 22 assists. These are the returns of a top striker, especially one of a man who only recently turned 23 y.o.

Yet a percentage of Arsenal fans remain unconvinced. How many times do we read of his “dreadful first touch”, his lack of pace or his inability to turn a game? His self-confidence is seen as a negative (which to me seems a ridiculous argument) – he is too big for his boots etc etc.

My concerns lie more with where he fits into the current Arsenal squad.

We have yet to see where Bendtner’s natural position lies. He is neither fish nor fowl. As far as I can see he has the strength to lead the line and yet his passing ability is such that his talents are wasted as a target man. He has the vision to play as second striker but AW prefers to play him on the right when allied with RvP (I have yet to see the benefit of using NB as a winger). He is superb in the air (witness the brilliant header v Orient), yet doesn’t attack the 6 yard line when the ball comes in from the wings. He has fine dribbling skills yet continually tries to beat too many players and loses the ball.  His first touch is inconsistent – compare the first touch for his goal v Ipswich compared to the one in the dying minutes at Camp Nou.

My guess is that Mr Wenger views him with similar perplexity. Our first choice strikers must be RvP and Theo with Nasri or Arshavin completing the frontline. We have a choice of Vela, Chamakh or Bendtner for the bench and rotation, and I cannot understand the signing of Chamakh if he is to be 5th choice striker. As such Nik must be considered well down the pecking order for 2011/12. Will his ego/agent accept this?

How must Nik feel when having scored so many goals on the way to Wembley, that he didn’t get a starting role? Furious, I imagine. How does he feel about the signing of Chamakh when he has yet to be given a proper run at CF? How does a man who believes he is one of the World’s top strikers feel about being on the bench week after week?

In my opinion he has to seek pastures new, though I would be very sad to see him go. I just cannot see where he fits into Arsenal’s future. We need another striker but it is not NB, it is a proper left winger or a fox-in-the-box. RvP’s propensity for injury is the only reason I can see for keeping him,  and even in this case, I would prefer to see Walcott take a more central role. I cannot see NB being prepared to accept al ong-term role as second-string right winger, can you?

So, if it is true that Bundesliga clubs have Bendter as a summer target then I am afraid we should take the money and watch his career blossom elsewhere. My main problem with this being that Danish TV will start to show German soccer instead of my beloved Arsenal. On second thoughts, BENDTNER MUST STAY

Hot News – The Fun Run to raise funds for Arsenal’s chosen charity Centrepoint is this Saturday. There wil be kids and adult events running around the outside of the Emirates from 10.45.  If you’re coming to watch the game in Club level get down there early to be part of the fun. See you there. peachesgooner

Be a Gooner, Be a Giver – Saturday 19th March

One of our young gooners has signed up to do the Fun Run this Saturday for Arsenal’s chosen charity Centrepoint and it would be fantastic if any of you felt you wanted to support her and the charity by donating on her giving page.

The Fun Run will take place at the Emirates stadium this Saturday the 19th March 2011. Centrepoint do such good work for homeless young people in London and Arsenal are hoping to raise £500,000 this season to help fund the refurbishment of a facility in Soho.