Saturday, 27 November 2010

Mixed Messages

What on earth do we make of this team? After a week of worry, analysis, debate and downright grumpiness The Arsenal put in a display to be proud of at Villa. Is the defence strong enough? Are we better without Cesc? Is it Arsene's baby? Everything alright now. An away win heals the wounds (in November too!)

I kept quiet after the Braga game. I really was lost for words. It was a performance to forget. I've forgotten how poor we were at the back for the two goals. Forget it but learn from it. It was a week to forget. Texts from spuds clogged up my phone. One spud was particularly proud of 'Champions League - We're having a laugh' late on Wednesday night. Let them enjoy their temporary glory. I've worked out a cunning way to deal with them after a defeat. This maybe useless information as it happens only every 17 years but if you get a spud crowing about how good they are just calmly admit that we are crap. You don't have to mean it or believe it but it takes the wind right out of their sails.

Spud, 'Your lot are crap.'
Gooner, 'I know! We are awful. It's all over. Our players just aren't up to it.......etc.'

It stops them in their tracks. It confuses them. It makes their heads hurt. Walk away and uncross your fingers.

Many of us, mostly men, looked on in envy as Robert Pires kissed half our side in the tunnel (not a euphemism) before today's game. The exchange between Bobby and Clichy was technically a french kiss I suppose. Calm down! What a player he was and it was a joy to see him back although it's sad seeing him run flat footed out for Villa. I'm not keen on Villa. It's not hate like Spuds or the chavs I just find them dull and pointless. Irrational I know and I can't explain it but I wouldn't open my eyes if they were playing at the end of my bed. So it was pleasing to stick 4 very good goals past them and go top for a bit.

Just enough time to text that spud 'Top of the league - We're having a laugh.'

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Complacent Rubbish

I've just got back from the ground after the worst defeat by the Spuds in my 31 years of supporting The Arsenal. My wife and son have been subjected to a full analysis and a few choice words (sorry son) on the walk home. This blog might be a rant. This blog is therapy.

This team are, I'm afraid, a complacent arrogant bunch who seem to think that just by turning up they will win. It happened against Newcastle and WBA. It nearly happened against W'ham and B'ham. Today was the worst of all. The first half we were brilliant. We played the dirty Spuds off the park. We scored two good goals and were coasting and that's the problem. They went in at half time thinking this was easy. What the hell happens at half time. They must be told how wonderful they are while their ego's are stroked. Here's an idea boys - THE GAME IS NOT WON UNTIL THE FINAL WHISTLE!

The second half was a disgrace, as bad a performance as I've ever seen. They gave up and that's unforgivable. Spuds will now have and open top bus parade and a DVD out for Christmas and why not? We gave in to them in the most pathetic way. I'm gutted. Without big changes in attitude this team will win nothing. I've mentioned complacency before so why can't they learn? It's depressing and worrying how we lost today. Three defeats at home by crap is not the form of Champions. Utter utter rubbish Arsenal. Today was a new low. I'll support you ever more but today you own me and thousands of others an apology.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

An awful toon to Baca da net with added worms.

It's been quite a week for me and my relationship with this beautiful game. Last Sunday I saw my beloved team not try in the cold and it was unforgivable. They faced a tricky away tie on a wet Wednesday in Wolverhampton and I wasn't confident.

Wednesday afternoon is when the kid's football teams I am somehow in charge of practise and play matches. We are not good. As I stood on a sunny yet bitterly cold park pitch, worrying about what Henry might do to our brittle boned players that evening, my under 8's were taking a battering. I have no subs to turn things around with. Tactics are lost on them. One boys tells me he doesn't want to play anymore as his hands are dirty! He was told to go away from me before a torrent of anger reigned down upon him like shards of glass thrown by Hades himself. He looked at me, puzzled and just said, "What?"

What if Chamakh has a sudden panic about dirty hands? I'm not confident. My Under 8's faced another attack. GOAL! The keeper and his two defenders were standing in a self made circle with their heads bowed. In shame? NO! They were looking at a worm. A WORM! And they had no idea we had conceded! What if Fabianski, Squill........ No they wouldn't be that interested in wildlife would they?

As it happened dirty hand and worms couldn't stop us. A great start and end with some stout defensive play led to a fantastic 2-0 away win. Wolves were quite good and we were OK but we got the 3 points so suck on that Mr McCarthy and your dirty tackles they don't get shown on MOTD. Of course Cesc was hung out to dry but what do you expect?

Next up on my tour of falling back in love with the game was a trip with my son to Cambridge City vs Chesham. Awful. 0-0 with hardly a shot. City have been top of the league, won an award for best side in October, only lost one league game (we were there) and yet we have yet to see them score. A long drive, cold, no goals but that's the fan's lot isn't it. The highlights were half time and the sunset. I didn't want to go to football again after that. A brief depression during which I was checking the fixtures to see when their games don't clash with The Arsenal. Didcot away looks fun!

It was up to The Arsenal to win me fully back. Some of the kids I coach will always be more interested in the trees. Arsenal show me what they are missing. It was not the best game but that's OK. Two fairly even teams tend to do this but we have that little bit more class and it showed in the end. A crackery by Bacary got us off the sofa and an equally crackery strike from Cesc nearly made me spill my tea. Fabianski played well again. He is slowly getting his account into the black. He has proved himself to be a good shot stopper but his decision making and confidence at crosses (missed that corner today by miles) needs a lot of work. He is the best we have but until his errors become as rare as a well driven BMW he will still have his critics. I'm still not sure he's the long term answer but fair play to him as he's started to be a match winner rather than a points loser and long may it continue. Shame we conceded (not Wookash's fault) but, like Wayne Rooney with a crisp £20 note and an old lady on a Friday night, we struggle to keep a clean sheet.

Next up the North London Derby or should that be the Gareth Bale Derby. It will truly be an honour to be in the same stadium as the great man. Let's turn them over and put that mug back in his place safe in the knowledge that he plays for a half arsed club and will never play in a world cup finals. Before that the under 8's will be chasing the ball like a swarm of wasps, keeping their hands clean and talking to the animals. The future is safe.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

When Bagpuss goes to sleep.....

Let's get this blog thing out the way. We were awful. There are no other ways of saying it. Awful. I thought we would beat Newcastle at home and that's not complacency. If we have any aspirations of winning the Premier League we must beat teams like Newcastle or West Brom for that matter but to be blunt we are struggling a bit. Today was a low point in result and performance. I try to stay positive on here but after today you'll have to excuse me.

I've been lucky enough to see quite a few championship winning teams and I'm afraid, deep down, this is a squad that is missing that special something. As I write this the Chavs (south) have just gone 2-0 down. Great but we will make no ground on them today if they lose and we have to if we are at home to a team we should beat. Newcastle brought nothing to the game apart from too much hair and yet they won. We just brought nothing.

The something special we do have is Cesc and he is obviously struggling with the injury. Today he was below average at best. He makes our team tick. He makes our team great. Today he was asleep and, like Bagpuss, when Cesc goes to sleep his friends go to sleep to.

I wanted a big win today so I could title this 'Rapper's Delight' after the tabloid rubbish yesterday. I wanted to have a rant about spending £6 on a limp chicken and chips in the ground. I wanted to make a comment on the flashing advertising boards driving me mad but I won't. I should take about our defending for their goal or how there we two covering defenders when Kos got his red but I can't be bothered. I wanted to write about our goalscorers.

Wolves will be right up for it and so must we. Set the Bagpuss alarm clock for Wednesday.

Friday, 5 November 2010

I'd rather Jack.....

Excuse the lateness but I find it hard to get up for this after a performance like that. It has been discussed across endless blogs and we all know the midfield was missing, the team were complacent, Clichy has forgotten how to defend .......

Maybe Arsene rested too many players but who can blame him. Shakatak haven't lost at home for 100 years and we haven't won there in longer. They looked like a hungover pub side at our place and much better at theirs but if we needed to win that wouldn't be the team and you hope that wouldn't be the performance. We have two more goes against poor sides so qualification is certain. Oh there's that complacency again!

That game was very like a Cheryl Cole CD. Tiny high points (the silence between tracks), loads and loads of awful crap (the songs) and one thing of real beauty from Lil' Jack and Theo (the end of the CD when you feed it through a shredder). Theo's goal was Henryesque. It was fantastic to see an Arsenal player score a goal that took us all back to the great man. The ball from Jack could've been Bobby while the two touch finish was TH. The invincibles reformed for a come back gig oh so briefly and it was emotional. Shame we played the rest of the game like the hungover pub side.

Much has been made of Clichy and his lapses of concentration. He's been criticised from all angles and it's hard to disagree. Get well soon Mr Gibbs. However poor old Gibbs is made of sticks and feathers and is putting no pressure on Clichy. Complacent? Maybe.

I also have a problem with the kit! It was very very yellow. I'm all for a yellow away kit but that hurt the eyes. Also why are the player's names in lower case? Trivial? Maybe but if you see


who would you put your two quid on? Level one english at primary school where you learn all names have capital letters is basic stuff and that is why we lost and don't tell me otherwise!

Onwards to newcastle and wolves who are full of hard bastards and if we have anyone fit on Thursday morning it will be a miracle. However I expect two easy wins, at the risk of sounding complacent!

Monday, 1 November 2010

We're Back (Back Where We Bellong)

I'd given up hope. I went to this game expecting a battering for W'ham. Indeed on Twitter on Saturday morning we somehow turned an East End football club into an 80's pop band in jest. @Eastlower set the bar high hoping our Young Guns (Go for it) while recommending the Club level Tropicana juice at half time. @Avennel even suggested a win would take us to The Edge of Heaven. I thought W'ham should Wake us up before they go go down. How wrong we were.

It was not an enjoyable game to watch and it looked exhausting to play in. An early goal and we may have ended up with the large win we all expected but it never came. Rob Green was having his annual fantastic game against THE Arsenal but to be honest if Andrew Ridgeley was in goal with Pepsi and Shirley as full backs we wouldn't have scored. It wasn't through lack of trying it just felt like one of those days.

At half time I sent @eastlower an text suggesting that the game wasn't very good. He wasn't there and asked to be supplied with text updates. These updates consisted of a barrage of swear words. Mild at first but with only 5 minutes left they were verging on the late night Channel 4 variety. My mood wasn't helped as he kept sending me messages asking if we were 5-0 up yet!

Then up popped Alexandre Dimitri Song Billong! Critised roundly by a large part of the crowd around me for going too far forward, not playing the holding role and ruining his song from the @arsenalpodcast. He is maybe floating too far forward, this might be unbalancing the team but he's a goal machine at the moment so who can critise. Have a pop at his ashtray hair if you will but don't berate his positioning. He scored the winner, the place erupted, the win was ours. We must give him Freedom as he calls I'm Your Man! Sorry! Must stop it now.

Half way trough the second half I thought how hooligan films always feature W'ham and that I expected Danny Dyer to steam the Clock End wearing knock off designer jeans and a checked shirt as things got tasty. Lo and behold, 5 minutes later it got a little tasty as 6 W'ham fans in the Clock End decided to get a bit lippy. Some Gooners became upset and I had the phone ready to video! It's not that I want a record of a punch up it's just that the W'ham fans really were old enough to know better. Is there anything sadder than a man in his late fifties, balding, coat done up against the cold screaming, "You and me! Outside now!" The stuarts (as my son used to call them - Are they all called Stuart?) did their job and fistichffs were averted. They left after 86 minutes and missed the goal! Shame.