Sunday, 29 August 2010

"I'm Theo"

This evening my son fired a shot past me in the back garden. As I dived haplessly to my left the ball broke the net. It wasn't the velocity of the shot as much as the age of the net that broke it but my son exclaimed, "I'm Theo" as the ball didn't nestle but hit the shed. Theo Walcott - 4 goals in two games, a recall to the England squad and my son wants to be you. Quite a week. I was always Frank Stapleton as I broke my homemade goal. Then I was Charlie Nicholas when I was old enough to know better. Now my goalscoring is done in my head I can be Bergkamp, Henry or Wright and nobody can stop me.

I watched the whole game yesterday on an iPhone so all the players were 3mm tall or smaller. Eyes hurt at the end but it was worth it. That was a fantastic away win at a horrible place. Their antifootball manager tried to stop us playing but failed. That's a victory in itself. We could've won by more but let's not complain. We dealt with their long balls and we didn't let them scare our keeper at corners. That was a massive step up from last year's horror show up there. It's very satisfying to beat teams managed by that chewing boring man. Imagine having a season ticket to watch that every week. Not many do and that's not just due to the economy. Boring, defensive, long ball antifootball and the boys dealt with it. Proud of them.

OK, there was that horrible bit of defending that led to their goal. Awful but we got away with it. Last season that would've cost us points. One man who hasn't cost us points so far this season is Almunia. He's done OK especially with all the stuff about replacing him flying around. However, he needs replacing. He's a good keeper as is Flappyhandski. You can't get to their level without being good but we need better. We need great not good. Greats I remember - Jennings, Seaman, Lukic, Lehmann. Good - Just about everyone else. Good keepers are back up. Greats are first choice. We have good, we need a great.

A new keeper would give the whole team a new confidence. Every time the ball goes near Almunia I hold my breath. He feels like a mistake waiting to happen. For the sake of my health I hope we get a new man by Tuesday.

So a splendid away win to take us into the interlull. No Arsenal next weekend which has led some fans to set up Non-League day. They are urging fans of league clubs to go and see their local non-league team on Saturday. I'll be taking my son to see Cambridge City and hope they can repeat their 5-0 thrashing of Tiverton. A fantastic idea and I'll try to do a short post about it later in the week.

Right, I'm off to bed to dream of being Jack Wilshire breaking up a fight between bigger boys.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

A Message From Your New (joint) Owner

I went to the game today feeling quite different. I've been following The Arsenal since 1979 but I've never watched a game as a joint owner. Yes! This morning I joined the Fanshare scheme. I now own 1\100th of a share of the club and I'm quite proud of that. What a great idea and it means that if that man Usmanov wants our club he'll have to go through me first! Your club is safe with me.

What a marvellous day out at the Grove today. The Arsenalisation of the stadium is a treat. The clock is up, the stands have proper names and there are splendid murals of the Clubs history everywhere. The Chavs would struggle to cover a toilet wall with their history let alone a stadium. Yet again The Arsenal have done things in the right way. Good work.

The clock was opened. We had fireworks and banners to announce the reinstatement of the North Bank and the Clock End. Welcome back. The Grove never felt more like The Home Of Football.

Blackpool were a lovely opponent. Their fans were excited. Pictures outside and inside the ground at every opportunity. I even saw a man with an orange camera (but then again I've got a red one.) I hope they do OK this season. In Ian Holloway they have a really decent fella in charge. It was all going wrong for them but they didn't once resort to kicking us. They tried to play and credit to them. They probably should've tried to kick us off the pitch but they didn't and it made for a nice change.

Theo was my man of the match. Not because of the Hatrick but it was his best game from a start I've seen him play. He looked dangerous everytime he had the ball. Mrs Feverpitch's MotM was Rosicky. Everything we did went through him. Great to see him back. Chamakh had a funny game. He never gave up but at times tried too hard. He derserve his goal. A header from a corner! I remember those. When was the last one? Linigan in the 1993 Cup Final replay?

The red card was harsh but gave the ref no choice. Last man and from behind. What could the ref do? It led to the away fans chanting, "Same old Arsenal away cheating" to which the bloke behind me replied, "How would you know." Brilliant.

We will have much harder days at the Grove but today was perfect. The team looked impressive. I know, if we play a team who have a shot we need a new keeper but let's not worry about that today. My first game as a joint owner ended in a 6-0 win. I'm happy with that.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Reina Signs For The Arsenal

After all that waiting I must admit I didn't enjoy that as much as I'd hoped. Being 100 miles from my Sky dish and the Sky player buffering more times than an unpunished Gerrard foul didn't make it easy viewing. However, it wasn't just the technology. We didn't play. We didn't click. We looked tired. Tired? We were lackluster, lacked urgency. It was not a great performance.

Yet there were positives! The new fella, Kos, whose name I must learn to spell looked the part. I was worried how he'd find the step up but step up he did and fair play to him (and that was never a second yellow. In fact I don't think kicking Kuyt in the sherringhams is a yellow, it's a round of applause.)

Secondly,their goalie made a bigger howler than ours and what a howler it was too. On your knees throwing the ball in your own net! Class! It felt nice to laugh at the other keeper for a change. That'll teach the muppet for head locking Cesc in the summer although he is our leading goalscorer so let's not be too unkind. Almunia did his usual grasp at fresh air and half hearted leap at their goal. Great shot but near post Manuel? Let's not forget the wonderful passes we put together to set up the Liverpool goal. Lovely stuff. Sorry we are doing positives aren't we?

Other positives - we got a point away from home, the all yellow kit looked nice, Kos doesn't have a broken leg just a suspension, Chamakh kind of scored (well massive assist) and Flappyhandski didn't play.

Just a quick thought on Cole's red card. When did a player's character start playing a part in a sending off? A bad tackle is a bad tackle. All we get now is 'he's not that kind of player.' To be honest there aren't many who are. Very few player set out to really hurt another player. Some do and we know who they are but the list is not huge. Most bad tackles are made fairly honestly for the ball and they go wrong. If you get it wrong, even if you give to charity and visit sick kids in hospital, you must be punished. Cole is now out of work for 3 games and can sign on, sign on with the pen in his hand.... #watchedfootballinthe80s

I'm not going to moan about individual performances as that's been done all afternoon on Twitter however, why don't we use the sides of the pitch. Why so narrow? I think we need John Barnes to pop in and give the team a rhyming talk about getting to the line and around the back. It would do no harm!

Anyway, still need a goalie, a pair of central defenders, Song, Cesc and RVP to start and to stop passing it to the opposition just outside our box. All this should be sorted by the time we take on high flying Blackpool.

Friday, 13 August 2010

The Famous Zebra Shirt

As Almunia palmed the ball into his own net and Flappyhandski slapped it against Titus Bramble's head in the final games of last season the thing we were all sure about was the arrival of a new keeper. Arsene had no idea who was number 1 as they were both number 2s. The defenders had no idea who would be behind them from one game to the next. We had no idea how many mistakes we would see. They had no idea.

It's Friday the 13th and the new season kicks off tomorrow and we still don't have the most obvious of problems sorted. Twitter was hot last night with quotes from Schwarzer about how he would pay his own taxi fare to play for us but I'm too long in the tooth to believe anything until I see a new man in the famous grey with zebra arms shirt.

To not address this problem is neglect. At any level of football a decent keeper is essential. I've been lucky enough to run school football teams at a very small school. I often have very few players to choose from and rarely am I lucky enough to have a good goalkeeper but if I do results improve enormously. The whole team is more confident. I believe this is true from schools football right up to international level. Just look at England in the summer. You will win nothing with a poor keeper.

To be honest for the first time ever I'm not really looking forward to the season starting. I think I must be mentally scared by the goalkeeping I saw last season. I pay too much to see mistake after mistake by the keepers again. I really do feel that we are damaging our chances of winning anything or even finishing top 4 if we stick with either of them. They need to move on. A fresh club would be good for them as well as Arsenal. Another season of that and it could destroy the pair. Ship them out for their own good if nothing else.

Of course it's not just the keepers that are our weakness. It's the defence too and it looks a little weaker than last year. This needs addressing too because I'm guessing we will get injuries!

This has turned into a bit of a moan. I'm sorry! Typical football fan - never happy. Well we look ready in midfield and up front going forward. Goals will not be a problem but we need these boys to defend as a team too. Sorry, used that 'D' word again but it does all come back to that. The 'we will just score more than you' method might sound fun but we will soon be undone.

So come on Arsene, find us that keeper and defender that could make all the difference. Friday the 13th - the perfect day to bury last season's nightmares.

Up The Gunners.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Waiting for the Postman.

This blogging lark is harder than it looks especially over the summer when there is nothing to talk about. Well nothing except goalkeepers, defenders, the grooming of the captain, pointless internationals......

The biggest problem is that I think of a subject and it's written about elsewhere before I can get the computer charged up. It suggests to me that the majority of Gooners are excited by the new season, as we are every August, but few of us feel the team is ready for the long campaign.

My biggest worry are the goalkeeper. My last post I hoped would be out of date by now but it's still valid as a new one hasn't arrived yet. Arseblog discussed yesterday how the defence lose confidence when they have no idea who will be behind them from one game to the next. I do too. Last season was horrible. The points these men cost us went into double figures and I spend too much on my season ticket to watch second rate goalkeeping. Waiting for news of a new goalkeeper is like waiting for the postman to bring you your exam results. The only difference is the postman always turned up.

If the postman is coming could he also bring us another central defender (as long as it's not in a Silvestre shaped package) as three is clearly not enough. I'm assuming we will be hit by injuries as that seems to be the norm so we need enough cover and depth and we don't seem to have it. The games last weekend showed that the defence is still a bit of a shambles. Nearly letting a 3 goal lead slip against Celtic! Hmmm

Good news though as it does seem as if the club has seen off Barcelona over their attempts to unsettle Cesc. They really are a horrible arrogant club who go about things in the wrong way. Bastards. I know Cesc will go one day but until they have the money to buy back 'one of their own' they can shut up. Had they actually offered the club what he is worth so we could get in replacements (as it would take more than one to replace him) I think the summer would've been different. Every player has a price and Barcelona are nowhere near Cesc's. I hope he isn't booed. He is an Arsenal legend. He is vital to the team. He's done nothing wrong. He may not have made the statement every Arsenal fan wanted to hear but it was hard for him. I think saying nothing and leaving it up to the two clubs to scrap it out was his only option. He's our captain, we need him, Don't boo.

As for these international friendlies - feel free to boo.

See, nothing to talk about. And I haven't even mentioned Manchester City or the take over of Liverpool or the direction the top flight is heading financially and how it could all blow up in it's face or.........

Right, later today I'm starting a 200 mile round trip to Farnborough with my son to see Cambridge City play in the Southern League Championship. It involves a ferry crossing, an overnight stop and losing a day of holiday with the family. It's a kind of madness only football fans understand.