“You Haven’t Got A Prayer Arsenal”.

April 28, 2010

That’s what the Daily Mirror had as its headline back in 1989, but they forgot we had Michael Thomas, he and the rest of the Arsenal players shoved that headline right back up them……..

You all know what i’m referring to, the final game at Anfield and we needed a victory by two clear goals to win the league…

Just imagine if that was how the league was looking this weekend, having lost two games we should never have lost, would you feel confident with two games left we could still win the league? I wouldn’t!

But back in 1989 we had a very different side, full of a very different kind of player. A good job to as going to Anfield needing a victory was always a mountain, let alone to win by that kind of scoreline.

Liverpool were confident they would be safe, they had just won the FA Cup and confidence was sky-high – they were actually quite a good side back then, so some say…

No doubt every Arsenal fan felt a little bit like we do right now about any impending transfers – we all think/hope Wenger will buy the players we want/need, but deep down we don’t believe it will happen.

Well, back then it did happen, we won the game 2-0 and were rightfully crowned Champions of England….

One man stole the show, one man had no fear, even when it involved his manager, George Graham..

Alan ‘Smudger’ Smith told a story about the hero of that day, and one of the all time favourites, Sir Michael Thomas. Ok, he isn’t a Sir, but every Gooner who supported our club back the and to this today will think he should be!

Back to the story – and don’t forget I’m telling it as Smudgers story, not mine….

Smudger has a special memory –

“One day while training at London Colney, George Graham decided it was a time for press-ups, down we went, up and down to the count. He often joined in but this day he walked around the group to make sure everyone was pulling their weight. Always a stickler for the right technique, George didn’t think Mickey was doing it right, he wasn’t going down all the way, so he stood over the player to turn up the heat. Still the manager was not satisfied so he started pushing on Mickey’s shoulders to encourage him further.

When that didn’t work, he climbed right on top, virtually sitting on Thommo’s back in an effort to force down to the ground. But when he wanted to be, Mickey could be incredibly stubborn. Not only that, he was as strong as an ox.
The episode turned into a battle of wills with George trying desperately to
get his own way and Mickey refusing to budge, showing incredible strength to keep his arms out straight in the press-up position.

What a sight, it was hard not to laugh.

Finally, the boss had to admit defeat, which, I can tell you, didn’t happen very often!!

For me, it wasn’t just his goal against Liverpool, it was his extraordinary energy. Our central midfielder was everywhere, perpetual motion, closing down opponents, getting up and down the pitch with a feverish level of dedication and desire.

Before or after, he never enjoyed a better 90 minutes…..Who could argue that Michael Thomas is firmly entrenched as a principle part of Highbury folklore?”

I for sure wish our next two games meant we were still in with a chance of the Premier League title and that we had players like Michael Thomas in our side.

But I guess it was oh so different all those years ago, can’t imagine that scenario taking place at Arsenal now, can you?

1989 was special, very very special – not many Liverpool fans have forgiven us for that day, not even twenty-one years later…… Oh those days……. I wonder what The Daily Mirrors headline was the day after 😉

Finally, The Emirates Cup, July 31st – August 1st, will see us host Celtic, Lyon and AC Milan, that should be our first trophy of the 2010/11 season in the bag 🙂

Have a good day…

Forget Barca again, this time it’s Wolves

April 2, 2010

So the news we all expected has been confirmed,  our little magician Cesc is out for the rest of the season. Gallas and Arshavin are out for three to four weeks so it’s hardly good news for us…

 I am gutted, sad and peed off, you name it!!

Cesc himself said he was fine before the game against Barca and his injury would have happened regardless. He wanted to play, he felt right enough to play so he did. What happened to him just about sums up our season as far as injuries go!! I bet though he wouldn’t have missed it for the world, no matter how he ‘really’ felt.  Cesc has spoken on the Arsenal website and given high praise to Theo Walcott. Cesc says it was the introduction of Theo that sparked the comeback, his pace, his grit and his ability to ‘get behind’ the Barca defence.

Well Cesc, I don’t think we can disagree with that!

I’ve said before, we are not a one man team, we never have been so its time for a few others to step up and earn their wages.

Again, Barca can wait, tomorrow we face Wolverhampton Wanderers, another must win game in the race to finish top in the Premier League.

So what does Arsene Wenger do, play his strongest eleven or rest a few ready for Tuesday??

What would you do??

All through the season I have bleated on about always playing the strongest team available, but this time I am thinking differently. Not so much because of what lies ahead but we can’t afford another player to get injured. I am glad we are playing Wolves and not Stoke, Bolton or Blackburn!!

I’ll tell you what I would do, I’d look at this bunch of players who turned out for the reserves to beat Birmingham 3-1 to keep their chances alive of winning their league.  I think if they beat Aston Villa they win it so good luck to them for Monday.

Vito Mannone
Nico Yennaris
Ignasi Miquel
Thomas Cruise
Cedric Evina
Craig Eastmond
Oguzhan Ozyakup
Conor Henderson
Nacer Barazite
Rhys Murphy
Luke Freeman

After looking at that fine crop, I would think about Freeman, Barazite, Eastmond and Cruise for the Wolves game. Have them on the bench ready to come on and rest players when the game has been put to bed. If we get through Tuesday, we may well need a few of the reserves to help us out in the league in the last couple of games!

Get them in there now, and get them used to it. I would also add Coquelin to the list. Freeman is in any case in the Champions League squad, so Wenger must think he is good enough..

As said, reserves play again on Easter Monday, so surely 48 hours rest is enough at their age 😉

Its a tough one, I’m glad I don’t have to make that decision, what would you do???

The one thing I know I would do, thats start Theo Walcott – he needs it for himself and for Arsenal – isn’t that why we bought him??

Sorry for the short post, bit hectic yesterday and a rushed one 😦