Eduardo Was Never Injured.

March 24, 2009

I still don’t believe that Eduardo got injured while playing in Rome. I’m convinced he is being protected. If my memory serves me correctly it was around this time that he got injured last season. Clubs fighting against relegation start to get very desperate around now, relentless pressure is piled on managers to do what ever it takes to survive and that pressure, in turn, is piled onto the players. As far as I can make out, the unwritten rule is: if you have to break legs to survive — then break them.

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Just take the game on Saturday: Newcastle, whose management team is made up of three ex Spuds. Number one spud being in hospital leaving the other two talent less bozos, Calderwood and Hughton, to pick the team and decide upon the tactics.

One of those two gave the instructions to tread on Arshavin’s stitches and one of those two gave the instruction to try and hit him if they could.

Hughton is such an insipid nonentity that I find it hard to believe that any footballer would take him seriously enough to follow any instruction that he gave out; so, I can only assume that the decision maker was Calderwood, which makes sense: Calderwood was a nasty piece of work as a player and so it comes as no surprise that he is a nasty piece of work as a manger.

It is clear to me that the attempt to injure Arshavin was totally premeditated. We were lucky, Taylor could have broken his cheek bone and it is not beyond the realms of possibility that he could have broken his neck.

It takes no great leap of the imagination to conclude that part of the Newcastle pre-match team talk was focused on how to tread on Arshavin’s stitches; that is to say “hurt a previous injury”. So if that was the case with Arshavin what do you think the instructions would have been if Eduardo had been played?

Nothing will convince me otherwise that last season the Birmingham players were under instructions to take as many Arsenal players out as they could by any means possible and Eduardo was the unlucky victim that day. As for whether it should have been a red card: it was a hanging offence as far as I was concerned.

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Veni, Vidi, Vici…… Just.

March 12, 2009

Did you think it was going to be easy, did you really think that it was going to be easy? When has supporting Arsenal ever been easy?

This supporting a football team malarkey is supposed to be an enjoyable experience, an outlet that helps relive the stresses and strains of the weekly grind. I don’t know about you but I need a holiday because I am shattered after watching that.

Through to the last eight after a nail biting, heart attack inducing, penalty shoot out.

It all started brightly, Van Persie was radiating confidence, Bendtner was operating well down the left; our passing was crisp and we were in control. This lasted a whole nine minutes before a horrendous mix up between Gallas and Toure gifted Roma a goal and plan A of, keep it tight and hit them on the break had gone well and truly out of the window.

This time Roma had done their home work; they were aware that teams that had beaten us in the earlier part of the season did so by chasing us down relentlessly. A tactic that the Italians adopted from the outset and it didn’t take long before it began to have the desired effect.

We started giving the ball away cheaply and our confidence started to drop. As a result, nerves started creeping in and it was starting to look like the occasion was going to be too big for some of our young players.

Roma, like a dog smelling fear came onto us and we were creaking. I feared that this was going to be the end of our Champions league experience for another year. Half time came and we were fortunate to go into the break only one goal behind after Roma had a massive penalty shout turned down two minutes before the interval.

The Italians started the second half where they left off; they were the better team at this point. It was tough viewing, like watching a loved one getting beaten up from a distance and being helpless to do any thing about it.

After 60 minutes the game suddenly opened up and Roma stopped having everything their own way. Diaby started taking more control in the midfield, then after 75 minutes Walcott came on and a glimmer of hope appeared. On 80 minutes Baptista missed an absolute sitter and I thought for the first time, eye, eye, this could be our night. The longer the game went on the stronger we became. Roma were starting to tire. We were now the better side but more down to our levels of fitness rather than our level of skill. Enter Eduardo and things were really starting to look up. With one minute to go Toure missed our chance of the match.

Extra time came. Roma had picked up so many knocks they resembled the walking wounded as they hobbled around the pitch; we were in the ascendancy but the all important away goal continued to allude us. My nerves were frayed and then just to make things worse, Penalties! Tension,tension,tension,tension,tension…yeeeeeeeeeeeeessssssssssssss.

It was always going to be difficult but that was the one we needed to win. Compared to the first leg at the Emirates, last night was a poor performance and one I do not expect us to repeat in a hurry. Eduardo and Walcott were clearly not 100% fit but they will be by the next round, add Adebayor, Fabregas and even Rosicky and we are a different team.

To those on the outside, we will be viewed as the weakest English link in the draw for next round but to all us on the inside, we are well aware that you underestimate The Arsenal at your peril.

Every day is a good day to be an Arsenal supporter but some days are more special than others and today is a very, very special day indeed.


“We’re on our way, we’re on our way.”

March 11, 2009

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For years, around this time, if someone had asked me where the final of the Champions League was being held I would not have been able to tell them, even though, Arsenal may still have been in the competition. It always seemed unnecessary information. Perhaps this was the pessimist in me as I never expected us to reach the final and so knowing where it was going to be played seemed irrelevant. In fact, even in the 2005/2006 season when I went to Madrid and witnessed the first ever English team to win at the Bernabéu I still didn’t know where the final would be played later that year. This all changed shortly after with the creation of our great song. If you were lucky enough to go to Villarreal and have your heart torn out when they were awarded a penalty in the last minute, followed by unbridled joy as Jens saved it, then you, like me, sang your heart out for the rest of the night. “Way, we’re on our way, we’re going to Paris we’re on our way”.

This song, as we all know, has become so popular that it is sung from round one onwards with only the minor alteration of last year’s host city being replaced by this year’s. It is difficult to imagine, nowadays, that there are many, like I used to be, who are unaware of where the Champion’s final is being held; but, just in case: Rome…Wednesday the 27th of May. Keep it in your diary..because “Way, we’re on our way, we’re going to Roma we’re on our way”.

Tonight may turn out to be the defining match of our season. With the walking wounded steadily returning, some at a canter and some at a sprint Wenger finds himself in the enjoyable position of having selection problems. There are, of course, the absolute certainties; for example, Almunia: whether you think he is our best choice between the sticks is a debate for a later time, but tonight he will be in goal. Sagna: Wenger obviously has so much faith in his athleticism that he had no qualms about playing him for 90 minutes against Burnley. Toure: back from injury, if you believe that you will believe anything; he was rested for tonight. Gallas: As some clever person said last night “I thought that Chiellini was supposed to be the muts nuts, give me Gallas any day of the week”. Clichy: certainty. Now, Wenger could play Walcott but I think he will opt for Eboue; Roma will come onto us and we will need to contain them early on. We can bring on Walcott later when the game opens up. Denilson: was rested especially for this game. Diaby: if the double D can reproduce what they did at the Emirates we will win tonight. Nasri: although wasted out left he still adds a little bit more defensively than Vela. RVP: It’s show time for the boy wonder again. Bendtner: I expect him to play ahead of Eduardo. If I am wrong, I will be just as happy; although, I expect the Crozilian to be brought on if we need a fox in the box later on in the game. 1-1 we scrape through.

———Almunia

Sagna,Toure,Gallas,Clichy

Eboue,Denilson,Diaby,Nasri

——RVP,  Bendtner

By London..