Results Go Our Way

March 22, 2009

Well the results certainly did go our way didn’t they? At 2:30 any lingering concerns that Everton might catch us were extinguished after they lost to Portsmouth. Then, with our sights now set on third place, our new best new friends from N17 who, not content with doing us the huge favour by beating Villa last week, go and beat the Chelsea.

Greedily my mind raced from third place to first as I suddenly wondered if United kept dropping points at the rate they were doing could we still to win the league? I spent the next twenty minutes studying the table, something I haven’t done since we last had a chance of winning the league about two months ago. Unfortunately, I came to the conclusion that it was still beyond us.

Anyway, while I am doing this, I notice Newcastle are in the relegation zone and wondered what it must be like to be in a relegation battle.

Occasionally, there is a team at the foot of the table that I find myself having a modicum of sympathy for in their fight for survival. A Team, more often than not, that was recently promoted. West Bromwich Albion for example, yes, I suppose I wouldn’t mind if they stayed up.

My sympathy for their plight continues so long as they do the right thing and dutifully hands over all three points twice a year without too much of a fight. I am not best pleased if they only hand over one point instead of the required three and all sense of benevolence goes completely out the window if, for some silly reason, they do not volunteer any of our expected entitlement on the allotted match day.

Newcastle, on the other hand, have never been one of those teams that I have felt any sympathy for whatsoever; they are badly run, badly managed, badly motivated and I simply wanted Arsenal to put them to the sword.

We started the game well in a confident, business like manner. The gulf of class between the two sides was immediately evident and we should have marched all over them from the out set and yet; somehow, as we have done so many times this season, we contrived to make hard work of it.

The game was exciting end to end stuff but the fact that Newcastle were able to pour through our defensive midfield as if it wasn’t there, with only some last ditch defending notably from Clichy to save us, was of great concern to me. I point the finger of blame, yet again, at Denilson who offered no defensive shield whatsoever.

It was obvious that Newcastle were going to come onto us and I still think that Song would have been a better choice. Anyway, Diaby as per usual was giving the ball away as often as Santa gives gifts at Christmas and on the subject of presents, Almunia, making a pig’s ear of a cross, gifted Newcastle a penalty while at the same time gifting his critics a stick to beat him with.

But today was our day and everything went our way. Did you get the impression that Almunia had been practicing his penalties recently? I did, as he saved Martins spot kick well and instantly gave his supporters something to cheer about.

Newcastle decided that as Arshavin had played in the Premier league for long enough and it was now it was time for his baptism. First they worked out where he had his stitches and tried to stamp on them, I winced in pain from my front room; next, as Arshavin was chasing the ball down the wing, Taylor having looked up to make sure Arshavin was within reach, punched him with his forearm in the face. It was a red card offence if ever I saw one and yet Taylor didn’t even get a yellow.

The second half started with more urgency but not a lot more penetration. One thought kept on going through my mind: this is the last game without Fabregas; this is the last game without Fabregas; this is the last game without Fabregas, our captain will return to lead us out against Man City.

Newcastle continued their rugby tackles and brought down Clichy about 30 yards out; Arshavin sent in the perfect cross for Bendtner to head home, it was not an easy header and he took it extremely well.

Before I could even finish my sigh of relief Newcastle equalised but as I said earlier, results were going our way. It helped that they lost their two central defenders not that I have any sympathy for them but can you imagine loosing Gallas and Toure in the same game? While Taylor was off receiving treatment Diaby turned into Vieira for a moment and after the deftest of passes from Van Persie he strode through to score the all important second goal. Five minutes later Van Persie threaded the ball to Nasri who weaved his way through the defence to score a fine goal, low into the corner. The game as a competition was all but over; it was show boating and missing sitters time.

Almunia: hero, villain, hero all in five minutes; in his defence, no keeper goes through the whole season without making a mistake. 6

Sagna: his level of defending is always high but today it was a bit higher than usual; and what’s more, his crosses were slightly better. 7.5

Gallas: a few blunders today, completely guilty for their goal. 5.5

Toure: the central defence was not at its best. 6

Clichy: back to the absolute top of his game, never stopped running, brilliant. 8

Nasri: a common complaint is that he does not travel, well he did today, he was my man of the match; he worked tirelessly, showing Diaby and Denilson how it should be done. 8

Denilson: neither protected the defence nor linked the attack. 5

Diaby: often slow to release the ball but I am sure you like me forgave him everything after scoring that goal. 6.5

Arshavin: a quiet game but still showed some great flashes of brilliance by scrapping the bar with a rasping shot form 30 yards out and sent in the beautifully weighted ball for Bendtner to score. 6

RVP: two brilliant assists and three missed one on one chances with the keeper. The Boy Wonder can do no wrong with this gooner 7.5

Bendtner: held the line well, slow to release the ball, good goal. Adebayor still offers more at this point for me. 6.5

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“Black Bullets”

March 20, 2009

It seems like a rare Premiership away fixture today, we go to the land of Dandelion and Burdock and Black Bullets.

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A miscarriage of justice came to light the other day; a man wrongly accused of murder served 27 years in jail. I was moved by the thought of how long that was to spend in prison for a crime he didn’t commit and just how difficult it would be for him to re-adjust to life outside as so much has changed during that time. But, then I thought, reassuringly for him, some things certainly haven’t changed at all 1, Glory Glory Totnum Hotspur haven’t won the league (that’s 47 years lol) and 2, Newcastle haven’t won “k” all.

They are the Spuds of the north except they make the Spuds trophy cabinet look like it’s Real Madrids..

Last time they won the league 1927 , last time they one the FA cup 1955, where does it all go wrong? They spend more than us? They have a similar size following to us in this country?

Serial underachievers, serial manager changers, they run there club management structure on the grass is greener theory. If only the boys and girls from the British forces got as much compensation when they are injured or the families when they are killed, as the ex managers from these two clubs do when they get sacked.

There is another old saying “You never see Kevin Keegan on a pushbike” well not for long..

I’m glad that superstars isn’t on anymore because if any of our players went on that programe we would never see them again with our luck with injuries. Theo was walking along and his leg locked and he is possibly out for the rest of the season, it can only happen to us..

Like when Charlie George cut his toe off with a lawnmower or Perry Groves knocked himself out hitting his head on the dug out roof.

Slightly concerning is Theo’s contract situation and indeed Rosicky’s. Theo has been out for three months and he still hasn’t signed a new deal.. what has he been doing? I am hoping they are a bit more grateful than Bischoff who Wenger rescued from a German scrap heap, nursed back to health whilst being paid, now seems to want to join Sporting Lisbon in front of us.. There was a clue there when he played for the Portugese Under 21’s rather than the French who he played for in his younger days at Under 18 level..

There seems to be a team that breeds thugs to play for them, Leeds and two teams that buy them in.. West ham and Newcastle. You can chuck Man City in the mix now with Barton and what his name? Not Lee Evans… that’s it Craig Bellamy. These teams and useless overpaid English tossers seem to find each other.

Team for today..

……………..Almunia.

..Sagna.. Toure.. Gallas.. Clichy.

..Nasri.. Diaby.. Denilson.. Arshavin.

………..Bendtner..

…………………………Van the Man (fingers crossed).

The score 2-1 to us but I am hoping for a whole bunch more..

Oh and Dandelion and Burdock is a drink a bit like Cola that Geordies drink until the age of seven when Newcastle brown Ale takes over as there favourite tipple..

Have a good day roadsters..


Phil Brown: unwashed, fatherless person from beyond the Watford Gap.

March 19, 2009

In an attempt to make sense of what are, so obviously, false allegations made by Brown and Horton; I asked my self, “Why”?

This is not the first time a manager has come to the Emirates, lost the game and then marched, very publicly, onto the pitch at the end to berate the referee about one decision or another.

No, Phil Brown is in the esteemed company of Kevin Keegan and Paul Jewel both of which, in their own inimitable way, have marched onto the Emirates, thrown their arms into the air and started shouting.

The connection is probably becoming clearer, all of them were managing a team in decline and all of them were aware that their jobs were under serious threat.

The public display of emotion is not aimed at the referee; they know full well that they are not going to change his mind. This contrived frustration is a manipulative act aimed at the travelling supporters who have just watched their team lose and in all three cases of Newcastle, Wigan and Hull were very angry and very worried that their team was, and is, about to be relegated.

In an attempt to save their jobs, the managers try to create a siege mentality, an us against the rest of the world attitude, in the hope that it will install a fighting spirit amongst the players and divert the anger away from the hard core, the most influential and therefore the most likely to start the calling for the managers head, section of the supporters.

In normal circumstances we wouldn’t take too much notice of these kind of things, I mean, petty squabbles at the foot of the table is so not us, but Phil Brown crossed the line; accusing Wenger of refusing to shake his hand and Fabregas of spitting at Horton are despicable lies especially when you realise how clearly these allegations have been manufactured for the sake of trying to save their jobs.

Phil Brown purposely avoided the hand shake as part of his deceitful plan to try and garner sympathy from the clubs players and fans. Fabregas has categorically denied spitting and I know who I believe.

I didn’t like Phil Brown before Tuesday but now nothing would give me greater pleasure that to see Hull relegated and Brown to lose his job.


Arsenal Two — Hull One……Simples

March 18, 2009

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Actually, it was far from simple, it was nerve racking and frustrating for 75 minutes and could have so easily gone horribly wrong but as all right-minded stories should end – the good guys won.

Arsenal started this tie as if they wished they were somewhere else, a bit like an unpleasant chore that had to be suffered before being awarded a treat. In this case the treat was the far more glamorous tie with Chelsea at Wembley on April 18th.

The team selection made complete sense. There should have been enough speed and talent in the choice of Walcott, RVP, Vela and Arshavin up front to have won this tie comfortably. But as is so often the case; things that look good on paper do not always function well in practice. Our new shiny attack was running slow and spluttering, like a Ferrari stuck in second gear. There was no interplay between them and no link up play from the midfield. My frustration focused on Diaby who had one of those games in which he infuriatingly doesn’t get rid of the ball quick enough and loses possession.

Hull couldn’t believe their luck at all the presents that Diaby kept giving them; as a result, they went from a team that started time wasting from the very first minute; which, if you think about it is quite disgusting, to a team that thought they could get something out of the tie and then to compound everyone’s frustration they scored from a lucky deflection.

The goal certainly perked us up but didn’t change anything. One half of the midfield had gone missing. Song’s role as DM was to break up play and pass to Diaby who was supposed to drive things forward. Song was doing his job but Diaby annoyingly failed to do his. Van Persie frustrated by the situation was coming back deep to pick up the ball in an attempt to make things happen, the result being that there was no one left in the attack to play it to.

The second half started in the same frustrating way as the first half ended. The bright spot was Arshavin; he was the only one capable of igniting the game but even he needed help which finally arrived in the form of Bendtner and Nasri, their impact was immediate. RVP was instantly put at ease by Bendtner playing the lead striker and Nasri having told Diaby to go and play with his toys in the corner got on with the task of grabbing the game by the scruff of the neck and dominating the midfield.

The breakthrough came after 75 minutes when it was our turn to have some luck: the ball bounced kindly for Bendtner who then controlled it well, passed to Arshavin who coolly squared it to RVP to finish from 5 yards out.
The stadium erupted with relief and the onslaught in search for the winner began. The Hull goal for the next ten minutes resembled Dresden on a bad night: wave after wave of bombardment until Nasri flighted a free kick into the box which the goal keeper couldn’t punch clear, it spun off his glove up into the air for Billy Boy, who was miles on side, to head the winner. Job done but we managed to make a mountain out of a mole hill, again.

Fabianski: in control, commanding, not to blame for the first goal. 7

Sagna: usual good defending. 6.5

Gallas: missed playing with someone more experienced next to him. 6.5

Djourou: really should play with learner plates on. L plates on a player congers quite a funny image to me. 6

Gibbs: sorry, I have gone back to thinking he is not going to make it at Arsenal. More composed, yes, but it is only a question of time before someone with pace embarrasses him. 6

Diaby: the reason I am upset about him is because I was one of those hoping that he was going to metamorphosise into Patrick Vieira but on last night’s performance he is a long way from that. 5

Song: did his job well, made some very incisive passes, one most notably that carved their defence open but Theo was unable to control. 7

Walcott: like a flower needs light, Theo needs space and there wasn’t much of it yesterday. 6

RVP: doesn’t like playing the lone striker role, instantly more comfortable when Bendtner came on. 6

Vela: completely forgettable performance. 5

Arshavin: the speed this man is adapting at is staggering, give him two more weeks and he will be the captain. 7.5

Subs
Nasri: changed the game. 8
Bendtner: growing in confidence. 7

Other notable appearances.
Fabregas: Horton is a nasty piece of work. 10


The Vinegar Strokes.

March 17, 2009

Tonight we play Hull City, in the sixth round of the FA Cup. It is one of those games where we are getting close to the buisness end of the season, you can feel elation starting to boil up inside but just take your minds off lifting some silverware and get through this round, we will reach the semi’s and Wembley, I can picture it but take those images out of your head and think of other things. I want to enjoy this one too it will happen but not yet, just make it last that little bit longer, winning will be even sweeter.

This is what supporting a big club is all about, just before the season starts our football juices start to flow as we prepare for the first games of the season there is initial excitement, the expectancy level is high and we want it, but we don’t know what the year will bring.  After a game or two there is a smug satisfaction. then as the season gets rolling we normally get into a nice rhythm, not this year though.

Just before Christmas it began to go slightly limp and Dr Wenger prescibed a Russian to help the club to have the stamina for the run in and it certainly looks to have worked, as his potency at the front has upped our performance levels.

If we get through this round and ultimately reach the final and do the same in the Champions League it will be a very satisfying end to the season indeed.

One of our posters saw Andrey Arshavin walking or limping around his local Tesco’s last night  and he said he was very doubtful for tonight’s game. I bet he didn’t look like one of the usual eastern Europeans who frequent these supermarkets dressed in clothes that would look more at home on an extra from the Professionals, jumpers that could only be bought from that clothes shop at the end of Blackstock Road in the early eighties, who used to survive selling H&J sports socks.

No clubcards for these guys, you can queue behind them safe in the knowledge that just as there shopping is tucked away in there polythene bags (no bags for life) they won’t bring out the dreaded clubcard or the money off vouchers the ones that send you over the edge in anger as you are getting later and later for work.

We seem to have a semi injury crisis again, I hope Theo is given another start he will frighten the Fishermen with his pace along with Vela, It is a shame Dudu is still unavailable.

Fabianski

Sagna…Toure…JD….Gibbs

Theo..Denilson..Diaby..Nasri.

Bendtner.. Vela..

I think we should win this one at a canter, 4-1 fingers crossed, revenge will be sweet..

I’m going back to bed for an hour lol.. Enjoy your day Roadsters!!


Bendtner. “The Marmite Kid”.

March 16, 2009

Sorry to use such a common cliché (as David “kerbcrawler” Pleat calls our left back). but everyone seems to love him or hate him, me I am sitting on the fence on this one. I am warming to him, but he frustrates the hell out of me, I was livid after he missed 3 one on ones with the keeper against Burnley.

Saturday he was back to his old barn door self. Okay he may miss a few chances, but as the old saying goes “you have to be in it, to win it” and when Nikki plays, he is a big lad 6′ 4″ and he is certainly gets in the thick of it. chases the ball, always trying something, though it doesn’t always come off . On the other hand we have a different type  of  striker in Eduardo, rarely misses but can go missing for the majority of a game, sometimes all of a game, doesn’t seem to have the presence to dictate a game, needs others to feed him. He would not have missed nowhere near as many chances as Nikki but would he have ever got into the positions Nikki gets into?

Is it better to create 8 chances and  miss 8, or create no chances at all?  The former gives better odds for a goal but is so frustrating to watch, okay it is not a definite science and I may have exaggerated it to get my point over. Also Nikki is just our 4th choice striker, I have heard that excuse a thousand times. Is that how it works?  “Rvp isn’t fit”, “okay try Eduardo”,  No good Arsene”.. “Okay Nikki B it is then” or  are they all equal and  Mr Wenger obe picks them on form and what is best suited to play the opposition. If Bendtner hits top form can he not be 3rd choice striker?  Or 1st?.. If by some  form of miracle we could take the best parts of the two strikers and genetically bond them, we would have the best striker in the world… Probably..


Good Triumphs Over Evil.

March 15, 2009

If this game were set in the age of chivalry then the Arsenal team coach would have arrived covered with beautiful banners and flowing pennants, all streaming in the wind. On board would be our heroic knights returning from doing battle in foreign lands. As they make their way down Ye Auld Holloway Road, it would be lined with fair maidens waving red and white handkerchiefs, as well as smiling children and grown men encouraging our noble knights to go forth and play the beautiful game in the honourable, entertaining way that it should be played.

By contrast, the Bolton team coach clad with shields and crests representing all that is dark, destructive and ruinous about football arrived; parked their bus in front of the goal, out got Fat Sam, Djouf et al and immediately set up their well rehearsed 4.5.1 formation in the hope of frustrating us, while poised to deploy their equally negative tactic of kicking lumps out of us.

This strategy lasted for 3 minutes before our most noble of Knights Sir Theo was played through; he raced to the by line before squaring to Sir Arshavin to score his first goal for the club. Celebration commenced. The forces of darkness had to abandon their defensive time wasting strategy but they didn’t stop their tactic of trying to kick lumps out of us.

Ok, I’m going to stop this now before it becomes irritating. Wenger fielded a team that was closer to what we wanted rather than what we expected. Such was the collective talent of Arshavin, Nasri and Walcott that we were treated to flashes of interplay that were reminiscent of the days when Henry, Pires and Bergkamp played together. And I don’t just mean the control; I mean fast counter attacks with the emphasis on fast, we haven’t seen those for a very long time.

Song was outstanding; he performed his duty of protecting the defence with the kind of composure that he has displayed for his country for some time: his passing was first class and his positioning equally as good. This man will not be needed to play every week but when the Bolton bullies turn up it is very useful to have someone as powerful as Song in our armoury.

Ok, jokes over, Blackburn had their chances towards the end of the first half, as well did we, most notably from Nasri who hit the bar from a brilliantly taken free kick but while it stayed at one nil we continued to be vulnerable to the sucker punch.

Wenger made some half time adjustments, moving Arshavin out to the left and Nasri into the middle. These changes had an immediate effect. The team started creating more chances each opportunity getting easier and easier and all falling to Bendtner who squandered every single one of them, the last being a howler.

In recent times Bendtner would have been booed but something very unusual happened in the ground: instead of getting on his back, the crowd started heartily singing his name as a way of lifting his spirits and encouraging him.

With the score still precarious at one nil Arshavin realised that something had to be done; picking up the ball on the left wing he weaved his way the goal line before turning towards the goal with Bendtner free on the penalty spot screaming for the ball Arshavin made the decision of the match: rather than pass to Bendtner to potentially squander he fired the ball from a ridiculous angle over the keeper to score. It was a great goal. But there is even more than great goals to this man, if there is such a thing: he has the speed of thought that is light years ahead of anyone else; there is only one perhaps two others at the club that come anywhere close: Fabregas and Rosicky; and, when those three finally take to the field we could see a quality of play to match the vintage years of 2003/4.

Bendtner and Walcott were replaced by Eboue and Diaby. It didn’t take long before the Russian dynamo was weaving his magic again this time in an attempt to get his hat trick he hit a thunderous shot, which Robinson could not hold, allowing Eboue, the goal machine as he is now known, to tap in the rebound.

Not long after, Arshavin had another chance to get his hat trick when we were awarded a penalty after Vela had been brought down. As Arshavin walked to pick up the ball it was snatched by Eboue who hastily put it on the spot. Arshavin turned to Wenger with his hands out as if to say what’s going on. Wenger was shouting at Eboue trying to ensure that Arshavin took the kick but Eboue refused to make eye contact and slotted it home to make it 4-0.

As Bendtner walked slowly off, the crowd got to their feet and applauded with conviction. Why? Because, we know the difference between someone who has tried and failed and someone who has shirked from their responsibilities. Bendtner missed five gilt edged chances but he never stopped trying and for that we salute our couragious knight, Sir Nikki.

Written by London