Champions League Final on the AA sofa.

June 3, 2017

August 2016, and I was sitting next to an Italian chum in a restaurant in Northern Italy. Chum, born Italian and Juventus, has for the past fifteen years lived in North London and become Arsenal as well. The company was good and the conversation flowed merrily.

I ask him about Juve’s recent €90M acquisition of Higuain, and he responds quickly and very matter of factly “the loss in the final of 2015 to Barca hurt them badly. They have bought Higuain purely to try and win the Champions League”.

Here we are, and tonight they face Real Madrid going for their incredible 12th victory as Champions of Europe. Juve go for their 3rd.

I’m very much behind Juve, but of course, look forward to a high scoring entertaining finale to the season.

Hopefully an expert or two will join me on the AA sofa tonight and point out a few potential Arsenal targets.

I will be eating pizza.

written by MickyDidit

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Arsenal to Park The Bus?

February 15, 2017

I should be excited as we go to play one of the very best teams in one of the best stadiums  in the world, I’m not. Is this CL fatigue, Arsenal fatigue, same old same old or something deeper – perhaps a winter depression? Who knows, all I know is that I’m not as passionate about tonight as I should be.

Last night didn’t help; to see the best team of my lifetime, Barca, humbled by a team we drew with twice (luckily!!) was a sign not just of the inevitable atrophy of life but also the end of another era, and I have only a few more eras left! A depressing thought.

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Let’s be honest, the vast majority of us hope only that Arsenal can fight hard and return with the second leg being competitive. If we score then that must be possible and score we can.

Bayern Munich are not unbeatable and if we had a fully functioning first 11 in good form I would expect us to win. Instead we have to be pragmatic and this is where Micky’s BM line up will come to the fore. Coquelin is not good enough or strong enough to combat BM’s midfield, he will need help, a lot of it.

We have beaten City  and BD  playing conservative tactics, rope-a-dope works sometimes (thankfully not often). Will Mr Wenger PTB? Doubtful.

My Team:

Ospina

Bellerin       Mustafi      Koscielny     Monreal

Xhaka     Elneny     Coquelin

Ozil

Welbeck     Sanchez

Of course AW will not play the above, he will start Theo ahead of Danny and almost certainly Iwobi ahead of Elneny, but we can hope.

Much has been written about Ozil, little of it good, but we all know that if there was a combined AFC/BM team only 2 or 3 of our lads would start and Ozil is one of them. He is German Player of the Year and has been  for 5 of the last 6 years. He is not a bottler, he is just a man out of form and we all know, form is temporary, class is permanent.

Arjen Robben may start tonight; what an objectionable cheating arse he is, for a man who has as much talent as any footballer on the planet, why does he have to be so objectionable? Hope he gets Xhaka’ed early..

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Thinking of which, if he starts this is a huge game for Xhaka. Get sent off tonight and his Arsenal career is deeply in doubt, we cannot play top teams with 10 men. Has he learned his lesson? Can he be as effective without a bit of spite? Vieira learned it and became a legend.

This could be Mr Wenger’s last CL campaign, he deserves a signature victory and tonight would certainly be one.

Can we win? Why not.

COYRRG


Arsène Wenger’s Greatest Sacrifice …..

January 7, 2016

Arsène Wenger is in his 20th year as manager of the Arsenal. In that time he has lived, breathed, and ‘been’ Arsenal.

His dedication has been total and unerring. He is the greatest manager the club has ever known and in common with Herbert Chapman, he has been the driving force behind massive change for the good of the club and football in general in this country.

His Arsenal obsession may even have cost him his marriage, but I’m sure if you asked him today, he would say that his passion and drive is as strong as when he first walked through the doors at Highbury in 1996. We have much to thank him for.

Arsène’s current contract expires at the end of the 2016/17 season. He is a rare commodity in the modern game – an honest, principled and dignified man. He has gone on record many times saying that he always respects his contracts.

We know his love for the club, we also know that one day he will want to hand the reins over to someone who will carry on his good work.

There are very few candidates who could zip up Arsène’s puffer jacket.

Two men, one vision

Two men …. one vision

The one name that has been repeatedly linked as a future incumbent is Pep Guardiola. For most of us he ticks all the boxes.

Pep will be leaving Bayern at the end of the season. He has stated that he would like to come to the EPL and Man City are the bookies favourites to secure his services. But if he is the principled man we believe, wouldn’t he prefer to join a club who do everything the right way, who back their manager through thick and thin, who have a rich history and who aspire to the style of football that Guardiola has championed throughout his managerial career?

Guardiola took a one year sabbatical after leaving Barca but this time it appears he wants to take on a new challenge straight away.

So Pep will be moving in the summer and Arsene, the man who respects contracts, will have another year of his current contract to fulfil.

It’s a travesty that The Invincibles fell short in Europe.  Our squad is probably a couple of years away from competing with Europe’s top three so to win the CL in the next two years is a tough call. Would Arsène deny himself one last chance to win the Champion’s League; the big one that has eluded him?

Arsène may well think he has unfinished business. He may wish to extend his contract before 2017. He owes us nothing, the choice will surely be down to him alone.

Pep may not wish to manage The Arsenal – if so, he isn’t the man we think he is ……. but what if his first choice would be to come to The Emirates?

The hypothetical question I would ask is ……. If (and it’s a big if) …. If we win the league title this season, and if Pep wanted to manage Arsenal, do you think that Arsène would/should step down a year early?

Arsène’s legacy is already cemented into the club’s history. Will his love for Arsenal extend to stepping down a year early for the natural heir apparent?

Give us your thoughts ……

Rasp

 

 


Fenerbahce. A win starts our season.

August 21, 2013

How many times do we read that a match is of “vital importance”? Are they? Is any match vital to the long -term success of the club? We all have our opinions but mine is that the CL is an adventure and good for earning money – but let’s be honest, is there any Gooner who really believes we can win the thing? OK, you over there in the red & white shirt covered in dribble, but anyone else?

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Don’t get me wrong – I want us to win tonight and win handsomely but I will not be calling for the heads of the entire management team if we don’t.  Man City & Chelsea didn’t even get into the knockout stages last season which gives an idea of how tough this competition is and perhaps, just perhaps, we may be better off out of it. (I did emphasise, perhaps! ). Mr Wenger says asks what is the point of battling to get fourth spot and then losing in the play-offs; he has a point. In the unlikely event that Spurs had been 4th and AFC 5th we would be suffering badly, and yet we do not even bother crowing about it.

Fenerbahce: Don’t know much about them but they have a corruption charge hanging over them which will be resolved after the tie is over – another example of the work of the overpaid lunatics who run the CL. What I do know is that Turkish fans are committed and loud. They will do all they can to make it a torrid night for the Arsenal. Whether their team is good I cannot say, but Turkish football has been improving for many years and in Mereiles they have a decent player.

Arsenal: The fears about our lack of players are somewhat exaggerated; we can raise a decent team though there remains some doubt as to whether Koscielny and Cazorla can play as they got cards last season. Going by the info from other sites it appears that they will start tonight.

My team:

fenerbahce v arsenal

If they play as we all know they can, this team is good enough to win. My fear is that without Arteta we may be porous in defence which could prove costly. An early goal would settle the team and the tie; as such it is important to approach the game in a positive frame of mind and attack from the start.

As always patience and concentration are essentials. I would love to see Wilshere start to boss a game, we know he has the talent and the drive, a touch more fitness and confidence and he will flourish, perhaps tonight is the night.

We have come through hard CL qualifiers before – anyone recall how tough Udinese were? This will be the same with hopefully a similar result.

On a side issue. Had Newcastle agreed to sell Cabaye, would he have been available to play play tonight?

Big Raddy


Are We Totnum In Disguise?

January 8, 2013

I have seen some worrying comments recently from Arsenal supporters suggesting that our team is starting to take on characteristics more commonly associated with the slum dwellers from down the road.

No, they are not suggesting that we have suddenly developed bad personal hygiene habits; or started dragging our knuckles along the ground; or begun recruiting players from the ape enclosure at London zoo.

Instead they point to our recent inconsistent form; our ability to look world beaters one day and carpet beaters the next; our capacity to lose in any given circumstance.

Do they have a point?

Are we becoming another Tottering Hospice?

No, no, never and no.

You know the old saying, form is temporary, but class is permanent? Well that applies to Arsenal.

There’s an alternative version of the same saying that applies to the Totts: “Form is temporary, but T*ttenham are sh*t.” Look it up – it’s in all good anthologies of phrase and fable.

Of course we lucky souls born to enjoy the red and white domination of North London can feel disheartened at times.  And let’s face it, this current team has put us through the mill and back already this season.

Stirring victories like the 7-3 over Newcastle followed days later by the ineptness of the Southampton game; trouncing Liverpool at Anfield, but succumbing to lowly Bradford at Valley Parade.

It’s enough to bring a quiver to the stiffest of upper lips.

But no matter how down you feel, no matter how bleak our prospects look, don’t ever – ever – make the mistake of thinking that we have anything in common with those sad degenerates who worship a scrawny chicken perched on a basketball.

Even if (Dennis forfend) we were to finish behind them in the league this season it would mean nothing in the grand scheme of things (and bear in mind that all previous precedent points to them doing their usual choke-the-chicken act this year when the going gets tough).

There is no Dennis-given right to have St Totteringham’s Day every year. A glance back through history shows that there have, in the past, been years when that great festival was not celebrated.

Just like years of plague, famine, pestilence and war, they happen once in a while but they are not the norm: they are a perverted departure from the norm.

So next time you hear (or read) someone suggesting that we are “becoming the new Totteringham” just remind them of some facts that every Arsenal supporter should have at their finger tips:

Arsenal League Championships: 13

The Other Lot: 2

Arsenal FA Cup wins: 10

Them: 8

Number of times league title clinched at the other’s ground:

Arsenal: 2

Unmentionables: Never

Seasons in Champions League:

Arsenal: 15

Toe rags: 1

And these are just the tip of the iceberg. If you want to dig deeper there are so many more ways in which it is empirically provable that Arsenal and our unfortunate neighbours do not inhabit the same universe when it comes to class, quality, achievement and history.

What’s more, there is nothing to suggest that that situation will ever change. The Spuds have managed to cobble together a half decent team for now, but their long term prospects are always going to be baulked by their tiny ground, their general scumminess and their tendency to in-breed.

If ever they try to move stadium, we’ll soon see how remarkable was Arsene Wenger’s achievement in keeping us in the top four for year after year without any net spending on transfers.

A Totteringham stadium move is likely to lead to another period in the lower leagues for them (which will be fun, as we will be able to celebrate St Totteringham’s Day on the first day of every season).

So by all means be frustrated with our inconsistency, be angry when our players seem not to show enough effort, but please: enough of the comparisons with an entity so far below us they even have to look upwards to see Lucifer’s arse.

RockyLives