Avenell’s Xmas Quiz..

December 23, 2009

Here is an idea for a bit of fun for a few days while we wait for the Villa game over Christmas..

10 questions for you to try to answer about Arsenal..
(I don’t know if you can google the answers but it may be fun not to)…

1… Name 5 other sports that have been played at our old Highbury stadium?

2…How long did the emirates take to build? (in weeks and days) not planning time or anything..

3…When was the last time that Arsenal fielded an all English team?

4… What was the common name of the Arsenal North End for the first 50 years of Highbury?

5.. In 2006 Arsenal had more players in the World cup than any other team.. How many players were involved?

6… Name 2 bizarre injuries that David Seaman picked up not playing football?

7… What unusual animal is named after Gilberto in London Zoo? (if it’s still alive)

8…How many Spuds have moved 5 miles down the Seven Sisters Road to play for Arsenal?

9… We all say no player that leaves Arsenal does any good.. How many have left us to go on to win the European Cup/Champions League?

10… The Spuds had an animal given to them on a tour, but on the day Arsenal took their place in the old First Division in 1919 it died and a famous football phrase was started what was it?

To the best of my knowledge I have the correct answers.. I had some fun and learned a bit about our great football club I hope you do too..

It may be a bit of fun to put a question in the comments then whoever answers it asks another question and so on.. If that makes sense.. 🙂

Have a great day Roadsters and stay warm..

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A Good Day at the Office.

December 20, 2009

It seems that reports of the demise of our title hopes have been greatly exaggerated. Arsenal took tentatively to the field and grew in confidence to such degree that having beaten Hull three – nil they strode off like Lions.

There was a new determination yesterday, the vacuum left by the absence of the Fabregas/Van Persie axsis has been filled by the more gritty nature of Vermaelen and Arshavin and this is worth emphasising; they are the alpha males of the team now and their fighting spirit was permeating throughout the team. And as if that wasn’t good news enough there was a punch up on the pitch as well.

Nasri trod on one of the Hull players feet, which looked as if the Hull player just fell over at the time, and then it all kicked off with Song weighing in and I suddenly had the thought that I wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of him in a dark ally. The Referee and linesmen went into a huddle and I feared the worse: a red card was surely on it’s way but luckily only a yellow appeared and up stepped Denilson, everyone’s new best friend, and scored a free kick with Brazilian aplomb.

This changed everything, gone was the early nervousness and on came a very determined second half, which was only interrupted by the referee awarding Hull a penalty for some mysterious  shirt pulling, the Rum was going down a treat on this freezing afternoon and all around me went mad with joy as Almunia saved.

Big Al’s heroics kick started us back into action and it didn’t take long until we were able to sit back and roast chestnuts in the warm glow of a two nil cushion. Some superb work by Diaby on the left to then cut it back for Eduardo to score one of his trade mark tap ins. Diaby was going from strength to strength now and crowned a fine afternoon’s work off with a powerful goal of his own, this was the cue to try and increase the confidence in the rest of those lacking in it on the bench: enter Walcott and Ramsey, although the Welshman doesn’t need his confidence increasing he just needs more games.

All in all, a great afternoon, I mean, what could be sweeter than rubbing Phil Browns nose in it? Oh yes, I know, Mark Hughs getting the sack. Lol

Players ratings.

Almunia: come on admit it, you forgave him for a minute when he saved the penalty that kept us in the game. If Hull had scored they would have put eleven men behind the ball and wasted time to such an extent that your hatred of Phil Brown would have reached a level that you would have wanted to see him tortured before he was put down. Well, done Big Al. 7.5

Eboue: everybody’s favourite back up, gave Sagna an opportunity to recharge his batteries, kept his diving down to a minimum and gave a classy display in just how to play against one of the lesser teams. What are we going to do if someone comes in and actually wants to buy him? 8

Gallas: never made a single mistake, still so obviously loving playing along side Vermaelen which is making even more sense now we can look objectively at Kolo’s scatter brained work up norf. 9

Vermaelen: you just know that when the ball breaks and he is chasing side by side with an attacker there is only going to be one winner. His aggression and determination have been badly missed in the Passenal of recent seasons. I wonder if he has any brothers or cousins, a team just can’t have too many Vermaelens. 9

Silvestre: some wise sage has been battling over recent months to try and explain that Mikael is an inexpensive piece of insurance taken out by Wenger on the off chance that three left backs get injured, hhhhhmmm, who was that? Considering he has only played three games at left back in as many season he is doing fine and was better today than he was in the week. Keep it up Mikael 7.5

Denilson: you just know that the Lefties had a collective orgasm when he scored his goal. We have a new free kick taker and superbly taken it was as well; his confidence soared after scoring and had one of the best games of his career at Arsenal to date. 8

Song: he is realising that he is one big tough Cookie. I hope they make him captain for Camaroon in the up and coming ACoN, the only thing he is missing from his game is leadership quality. 8

Nasri: this man does not like travelling but put him in the Emirates and he is a different person. Freed from the powerful influence of Fabregas, the now fit Nasri went about running the creative part of the midfield with Galic flair and determination. 8

Diaby: someone else, who, being free of the powerful influence of Fabregas was able to express himself, safe in the knowledge that Denilson and Song had his back covered he was able to power forward playing the one role he is suited to and a very good goal to boot. 7.5

Arshavin: our new centre forward may not be too much of a threat in the air to most defenders but you can see that they are having a hard time dealing with him on the deck; worked hard and his winning mentality is starting to rub off. 7.5

Eduardo: slowly coming back to life, it’s all about goals with him and his important second goal of the afternoon lifted not only him but the whole team. 7


Snow Cesc, Snow Balls, Snow Chance

December 19, 2009

Those dirty paupers from Oop Norf visit the emirates today with a lot of resentment still burning over from last season..I dont care what that lying piece of work Phil Brown says, they will be looking to put one over on us after what happened last season in the ‘spitgate’ debarcle..Tensions will be high and Hull will be up for this, after all  they did beat us here last season it what proved to be an embarrassing result, seeing as though Hull are a poor side..

We need our boys to do the same. We need them to match Hulls resentment attitude. They need to be up for it big time. Our two most influential creative players are out for this one so chances maybe hard to come by with a midfield of Denilson, Song, Diaby and maybe eboue..its fair to say the crab style will observed today so we need to show we can win the battle in the midfield and then hope Arshavin can produce a moment of brilliance to change the game in our favor..Hes still injured,but he’ll still play, so I advise the lads to get stuck in, do the dirty work for 90mins and when the ball is won just pass it to him to hit it..

Its going to be a tight game I feel..the weather does us no favors, neither do our injuries..therefore we need the boys to dig deep today.we need them to close down, go for the 50-50’s and do their best to win that second ball, becuase if they don’t then the chances are Hull will dominate, close us out, break and score, especially with Almunia in the worst form of his life…So i’d like him dropped for todays game..Theo should also be dropped, his attitude and body language has been terrible and the game against Burnley was one of the worst ive ever seen from an outfield player, we need a player who applies himself to the cause so I hope Theo is applied to the bench..

Team selection is a bit difficult seeing as though we seem to have more casualties than WW1, but we still have more quality than Hull…Which isn’t hard..Our ladies have more quality than Hull, today isnt about quality though it’s about commitment, focus, and a determined will to win at all costs…they owe us that after the Burnley performance and this time they have the fans to help them, so theres no excuses..I want to see crunching tackles, 100% work rate, close marking and closing down…we do that and the quality will shine through..

I’m going for 1-0 with AA the scorer..

Without Cesc we have little chance of creating so it socks up,dig deep, work hard and shoot on sight..One of them must go in…

Come on lads no excuses…


Title chances dented again as the poor get poorer and the good get injured..

December 17, 2009

After the win at the weekend you would have thought the team would be bursting with confidence. This proved not to be the case as not for the first time this season we seemed to think our opposition would roll over and let us play. Burnley have created a fortress at Turf Moor and the players must have realised it was no push over. So why they go out and play like that is a question only they can answer..It wasn’t a physical game..Burnley didnt try to kick us or bully us. If anything they played the game as it should be played and they did it better because their players were focused and committed..It was a good game to the neutral, pretty end to end stuff. Only difference being that when we got to their box we crumbled,and when they got the ball they ran through us like a knife through butter..

After a shaky opening few minutes we got our act together and found the net through Cescs good finish. The floodgates seemed to be opening and we started to play. AA hit the bar and Nasri had a one on one with the keeper in which he fluffed his lines. Then Burnley took over..For 75 mins they pounded us and when Cesc went off our only attacking threat went with it..It was always going to be a tough battle after that and the players just bottled it…

The season is long and gruelling and a draw away against Burnley who have been impressive this season at home is a decent result..Saying that, we need to start putting a few wins together at some point and after we got Liverpool out of the way we had a great opportunity to go on a Birmingham style run..who have won 5 on the trot. We slipped up last night and were very lucky not to lose.

We hit the post but so did they, they had a blatant handball by Silvestre in our box given as a freekick and an onside goal ruled offside..so we can’t argue we were unlucky.. Burnley deserved the points and we were a shambles but somehow we got a draw..We’ve now picked up four points by playing like crap in the last two games..every team needs luck on the way to a title so I’m hoping its a good omen…we just can’t play like that for the rest of the season and expect to win something because luck only lasts so long…

Ratings

Almunia..3..I don’t think I’ve ever seen a GK play as badly as that. Made a good save early on to deny TV another OG,but why TV feels he has to try head the ball standing on his own 6 yard line is proof of how much confidence the defence has with our GK. I counted 4 kicks that went out into touch, he was beaten at the near post from Eagles shot and only saved by the woodwork and was very lucky that Fletcher’s tap in was ruled offside when replays showed it wasn’t..What a howler. How he let that ball squirm under him was un-real. Another clanger from a GK who’s game has gone to pot. HE needs replacing and quick. He’s dodgy and he’s going to cost us a lot of points this season.

Sagna..5..Misses Eboue playing with him on the right, he’s too inconsistent at the minute.

Gallas..7..our best player, not for the first time this season. When your CB is your best performer on the night it shows how much ‘control’we had over the game..Body language towards Almunia was obvious. When your CB prefers to take a risk and run the ball to the corner flag and smashes it of an attackers legs to win the goal kick,rather than pass it back to the GK,it shows how much confidence he has in our number 1..and i don’t blame him.

TV..5..worst game for Arsenal. Almost scored an OG and gave away a silly penalty..was too erratic..

Silvestre..5..another bad show but it’s to be expected and he wasn’t the worst player on the pitch..

Diaby..4..not good.He looked like a man who’d never kicked a ball in his life, offered nothing in defence or attack and poor first touch and control..

Cesc..7..Was running the show until he had to go off. Then we totally went downhill without his presence or brilliance..Got lucky with the goal but it was still a good finish and if he had a left foot he could of had another..Lets hope he’s back for the next game or else we are in trouble..

Nasri..5..I don’t think he’s grasped the idea yet that we play as many games away as what we do at home and he needs to start turning up to these games.

Song..5..He was poor..held on to the ball far too long, never sat back and was beat to everything..He was looking like a rock at the start of the season and he’s turning into a pebble..Lets hope it’s just a minor dip in form..

Theo..1..he is not going to the world cup,he is not a wonderkid, he isn’t even a footballer..Young man you are quickly stealing Eboues thunder as our worst player and its time you pulled your socks up and started to do the business. He’s the worst wide player in the country. How you have a player who can’t dribble or even control the ball playing on your wing is beyond me..Wenger subbed him to save further embarrassment to a boy thats quickly becoming a laughing stock to the league..How do you set off running without the ball when you have the ball at your feet?

AA..5..is playing with an injury and that shows how important he is to the team..it was a typical game from him..did nothing but the only difference is he couldn’t save us with something you only see in your dreams like he did against Liverpool..He missed Cesc badly and the rest of the players didn’t use him enough..

subs..

ramsey..5..poor..

dudu..4..looks a different player..

In conclusion we were woeful..Burnley did a job on us big time and we were very lucky to get a draw so I see it as a point gained..We lost all the 50-50s and got beat to all the second balls and Burnley showed us how its done..We were tired, lazy and totally outclassed as we looked out of ideas..The players have to realise they need to earn the right to play Wengerball first..

It was identical to the first half at Liverpool only it went on for 80mins..You don’t win games if you play like that..The players need a shake up…

Wenger has to stop playing the out of form players..It’s like playing with 8 men right from the first whistle..

The only positive I take is that we’ve run out of steam at a good time..Its almost January so Wenger can dip into the transfer market to give the squad a much needed boost of class..

There are players out there who will improve this squad and help push is for the title..Mr Wenger,you have to go get them…


Don’t Go Throwing Stones Mr Wenger!

December 16, 2009

Last night I was shocked when I saw the team that Wolves fielded against Man U, they changed all 10 outfield players. They held  up a white flag as they entered the Theatre of Debt.

But we cannot moan really can we?

I am not talking about the teams that we field in the League Cup, okay we field our youngsters and take a chance to see how far we get. That’s different.. Why?.  Because that is a one off game that doesn’t affect any other team only the team we are up against that day.

But a team that does it in the Premiership has a responsibility of fair play and respect to all teams in that League. I know this is a little exaggerated but, for instance if all the bottom 12 teams when they play Man U field a reserve team that would give Man U an unchallenged 72 points, They would only need about 15-20 more and the title would be Uniteds,  also it allows them to rest players later in games for greater challenges ahead.

It isn’t right for a club to decide who they choose to be Champions, it isn’t in the spirit of the game.

Last week I didn’t want us to field the kids against Olympiacos  because I wanted to keep up some sort of winning momentum, this is also what I believe Wolves should have done their players have until Sunday afternoon to recover. and they were buzzing after taking out the Totts at the Lane.

Anyway as I said I wanted a stronger team out against Olympiacos and I was going to continue the debate by saying it isn’t fair on Standard Liege, when they played against us we was still trying to qualify and we fielded our strongest team in Mr Wengers eyes. When we played Olympiacos we threw that game and I would not have been very happy if I was Standard Liege. If we had of won that last game in our Champions League group that means Standard Liege  had a chance of going through. (although they cocked up)

So what is the difference between what we did compared to what Wolves did last night, surely we had some responsibility to Standard to play our strongest team too!!

We shouldn’t be deciding which team joins us in the knockout stages.

Tonight we go back oop norf to Burnley who will play and quite rightly the strongest side they have even though they are Wolves opponents on Sunday, I do hope and so do about 99% of true football fans stick it right up Mick McCarthy’s  men on Sunday.
Burnley are not going to be a pushover tonight and the cold drizzly conditions will suit them, they have a good record at home too.
To be honest I quite like Burnley, they are one of the clubs that were in the big time when I were lad, I quite like the manager and they try to play decent football and not do the usual northern thuggery.

We should win I’m going to go for a clean sheet for Manuel and a brace for us.

Last night West Ham were all over until the keeper of our dreams this transfer window made a massive howler.. We need to be careful what we wish for on that one. In fact that mistake could have saved us a few quid, no point in buying a keeper for £10 million only to find he is worse than the three we already have..

Have a good day guys and gals.. I will be on later probably struggling to find a stream with you all as the Twelve Pins is a shade far away to go for a beer tonight..


From the Ridiculous to the Sublime.

December 13, 2009

I don’t know what Wenger said at half time but it must have been some team talk, it certainly had the desired effect because it changed everything and we had been woeful up until then.  Well, perhaps to be a bit fairer, we were woeful except for the first ten minutes when we looked the more composed side, going through the gears with ease but the through ball to Torres giving him a one on one with Almunia and the Gerrard penalty shout against Gallas seemed to give Liverpool belief and strengthen their resolve to win this extremely important clash for both sides.

Our reassured football gave way to poor passing and nigh on panic after they scored. I still think that it was right to play both Denilson and Song in front of the back four: their job is to brake up play and give the ball to Fabregas who, in turn, is supposed to find the runs of either Arshavin, Nasri or Walcott but I do not recall any one of these three collecting the ball and moving towards the goal with any purpose or threat during the whole of the first half. Every time the ball was played to Walcott’s feet he was unable to control it the result being that Liverpool regained possession and drove forward putting additional unnecessary pressure on us. Half time couldn’t come soon enough and we were lucky to go into the break only one down.

The only snippet of information we have as to what was said at half time comes from Fabregas relaying that Wenger was so unhappy at the players first half performance that he accused them of not being worthy of wearing the Arsenal shirt. There is no doubt this had the desired affect as they took to the field with more determination and moving Walcott more centrally would also , no doubt, have pleased many but it was the stroke of luck that changed everything.

The own goal drained the belief out of Liverpool and into the Good Guys. From this point on we went from strength to strength: Fabregas started to dominate the midfield, Vermaelen was winning everything in the air, Sagna started to make Torres look ordinary and then it happened, after determined running, Arshavin scored with a piece of individual skill that I hope stays with me for the rest of my life. There were still nails to be bitten before the final whistle but we got the precious three points. Whether we deserved them I don’t really care, we are back in the title race.

Player ratings.

Almunia: at half time I was so angry with him for flapping when the ball came over that lead to the goal that I was screaming that he should never be allowed to wear the Arsenal shirt ever again………but at the end of the game I noticed in a replay that the ball deflected off of Lucas just before it got to the Spanish waiter, making it extremely difficult to deal with. Even so, he is surely just keeping the green jersey warm for Fabianski. 6

Sagna: this guy gave 100% from start to finish. The last time he did this was against Ireland; it seems that he does need the rest to maintain his optimum performance. 10

Gallas: every time he pulls up, for no matter how small the injury may have turned out to be, my heart sinks; we all know that we cannot afford to lose this much quality — and quality he is. 9

Vermaelen: Sky’s man of the match, my man of the match and I find it difficult to believe that he isn’t your man of the match. The  Belgian Rock was immense; he was the one true leader on the pitch; he looked as though he was prepared to give everything to the cause: the cause of winning and making Arsenal great again. 10

Traore: it has to be said that he is getting stronger and stronger and he needed to be because Kuyt gave him a very stern test. I became more and more worried as the game went on that if Liverpool were going to get back into the game it was going to be from Armand’s flank. But he held firm, although, I must admit that I was greatly relieved when Silvestre came on. 8

Denilson: no one in the midfield covered themselves I glory in the first half but we won and because of that the young Brazilian deserves his share of the praise. 8

Song: in the first half he was playing in such a way that you could so easily imagine his critics tearing their hair out in anger at the wasted passes but some how he seems to make amends enabling his fans like me to keep championing his cause. 8

Fabregas: for me, in games like this, it makes sense to have him playing a free role in front of Denilson and Song. This enables him to play safe in the knowledge that they have his back covered in the sense that they will do all the heavy work of recovering the ball while he can focus on being creative.  Whether you agree with that or not I don’t know but one thing I’m sure we can agree on is that he worked hard for the cause, never gave up and for that reason we love him. 9

Nasri: he owed us, his away form in general is poor and so it continued in the first half but whatever Wenger said at half time worked because he came out after the break a different player. 8

Arshavin: worked tirelessly throughout the game. His goal was one of the best pieces of individual skill I have ever seen at Arsenal. With the collective talent of Arshavin, Fabregas and Nasri it is hard to work out why we don’t beat every team every week but this combination is still not clicking as well as it should. Arshavin was making the runs but Fabregas is still not finding him although he is finding him more than Eduardo when he plays so more of the same, I suppose. 8

Walcott: his control is so poor I want to scream. 6

Wenger: the right team selection given what was available and a half time team talk worthy of winning the game 9


Oh Arsene .. You are such a Smart Arse!

December 13, 2009

Before the season started Mr Wenger OBE said this would be the closest Premiership title race for years.
Yet Abramovich’s chequebook was beginning to prove him wrong.
But ‘wow’ what a day we had yesterday. Man City the draw kings drew, The top 4 Spuds lost, The Bancrupts from Salford lost even with the scouse version of Jacques Cousteau in the team . I always thought we could catch that mob, ..But perhaps not Chelsea, they have been on another level this season, but even they are showing vulnerability.. No Essien no win.. No Essien until February so fingers crossed..

But those results won’t mean anything unless we can capitalize today against the Bindippers. And this is a good a time to play them as any. Torres not yet match fit, Gerrard needs an operation on his groin but Rafa cannot risk it, so he stays half fit and the rest of the squad are unhappy, Barbel wants out, Mascherano won’t sign an extension to his current deal. It isn’t looking good up there and I love it.

I have hated the Scousers since the days of the silly moustaches and the Afro’s (sorry Mr Sunderland) .. Since then they have got us chucked out of Europe and ruined the atmosphere in our grounds, they have helped take football out of the reach of the working classes which is ironic, so really they should be the most hated team in England.

We need a win today, it puts us on a football high, all those past weeks of losing to Sunderland etc will be put behind us and quashed in one weekend. It’s what being a supporter is all about good days and bad days .

But the main reason for winning and being excited is, if we win tomorrow and our game in hand . we would only be 3 points behind Chelsea, we also have a relatively easy run for a bit to keep the points rolling in so without putting too much pressure on, a win would be great and bring the season back to life. Not that it is as bad as some are talking.

I just hope that we are up for it because Liverpool will be, even if we play some of our non favourite players as long as they work hard we should get a result today.

AA is bound to score and a couple from the midfield will do very nicely today, I won’t even try to pick a team as I don’t know who we have left un- injured.

I am hoping our third choice left back can run rings around England’s No1 right back and he will need to keep his eye on Kuyt too.

Vermaelen should be able to handle Torres, it just depends on who Arsene picks to run the midfield.. Please let it be Song and not the Statman..

I am still going for a 3-1 win…

Have a good day ladies and gentlemen..