Sunday, 30 January 2011

A Costly Walk In The Park

A home tie against a team from the old Division 3. That'll be a walk in the park and indeed it was. Unfortunately, the park was full of dangerous dogs and shit. On a freezing cold January morning I entered the ground unconcerned as to what I was about to witness but, for the umpteenth time this season, the team was chopped around and produced an utterly dire display. Harsh? We won!

It was an embarrassing victory. We scored an own goal and were awarded a very soft penalty. Huddersfield played amazingly well and we underestimated them as we did Leeds at home and Ipswich away. For the third time this year we got away with it against lower league opposition. This one was costly though. As Nasri pulled up the stadium and Gooners worldwide held their breath before uttering a united, 'Fuck.' Damn the hamstring. Nasri's loss for future games is unlucky. Nobodies fault just the bad luck injury fairy hits us again. What wasn't bad luck was Squillaci's utter stupidity at stopping Hunt who was on the run of his life. Is that the best a French international can come up with? Let's face it, he's not that good is he. People say we need a stop gap player to add to our central defenders. We have the stop gap already and he's suspended now for being a muppet. We have just over 24 hour to sort this out. Panic buy time!

Huddersfield were fantastic. We were wondering at 1-0 how they hadn't scored as they had chance after chance. Almunia pulled off a world class save (yes! I said it!) and Arshavin saved us with a last gasp tackle in the box. In fact these two were the only two that came out of this game with any credit. Arshavin worked hard again and he just needs to remember where he put his shooting boots. Maybe Eboue has hidden them for a laugh. Not funny anymore.

I don't really like picking on players but I seem to be today so I'll mention Denilson! He was awful today. Frustrating as he can do so much more and what better game to shut up the critics than against a League 1 side? Why can't these players take their chances to shine when it's on a plate for them. If we fail to bring in another defender Song will end up there with Denilson in his role and the team will suffer. Song can cover at the back but shouldn't.

I also thought Cesc let himself down a bit by waving the imaginary card at the ref when we were awarded the softest of penalties. I don't like to see that. I got a text from my cousin saying, 'Classy from Fabregas, wanting a Division 3 player sent off, how desperate are you?' My reply was, 'Very desperate.' I also don't like that stuttering run up. It won't be long before a player air kicks the ball, waits for the keeper to dive and rolls the ball the other way.

This is turning into a miserable rant. Imagine if we'd lost! It was freezing cold, frustrating, not very entertaining and we squeaked through but that's what matters. A change of attitude is needed for The Orient away in the next round.

You may know that my footballing mistress is Cambridge City and this could've been a big day for them. They beat Long Buckley and Hitchen Town in the FA Cup this season. Had they beaten Dover, Farnborough, Gillingham, Aldershot and Huddersfield they would've been running out at The New Highbury today and their squad of 16 part timers would've given us a game on that performance.

However, we limped to the hat and the quadruple is still on but what a cold costly day it was.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Milk Cup Finalists 2011

Dust down that yellow ribbon and give it to the nearest female lineslady. Once more the women of the land will be adorning yellow ribbons. When we ask them why they are wearing yellow ribbons we know the reply.

So we are in the league cup final. 90 minutes away from getting that King Kong sized monkey off our backs. It might be 'only' the league cup but there are only 4 things to win and to get one of them is an achievement. The 1987 win over Liverpool was a victory that young team needed to set them on their way to Anfield '89. No sodding about in the final. Play the strongest team and win us a pot.

Last night was a odd game. The atmosphere didn't quite suit a semifinal. The team, despite playing well, lacked urgency in the first half. I must admit, having not scored against Ipswich for 135 minutes, I was slightly anxious about getting 2 in 45. When the breakthrough came it was delightful. As NB collected a marvellous ball my son said, 'Oh no, not him, he never scores!' Quicker than a Rooney dive, the ball nestled in the corner after curling past Fulop. A cracker from the waxed wonder. It was followed by a proper old school, headed goal from a corner from Kos. Captain Cesc showed great leadership (!) by putting the game beyond doubt and extra time so Charlie Brooker's new show wouldn't be bumped. A good night all round. All credit to Ipswich who led this tie for a lot longer than we did. In fact, Leeds and Ipswich have given us more trouble than most of the crap in the Premier League. That Championship toughens you up.

So the scramble for final tickets is on. It will be so nice to go to Wembley and not go to Ikea. The beauty of Highbury was that season ticket holders were guaranteed a cup final ticket. 30,803 into 44,000 doesn't go but fingers crossed. I've not seen the pitch at the new Wembley yet. I went to the semi where Arsene got the team so wrong but was carted off in an ambulance before I reached my seat. Don't ask!! It was not a 'lucky' medical emergency as we lost. In fact, The Arsenal have never won at the new Wembley when I've been in an ambulance so I'll do my utmost to avoid it. Lucky pants are a better option.

The man from East Lower tweeted last night that he was sure I'm planning a final mix tape already. Well, he's right. I love a crap football song and would make pause button tapes in the late 80s. This led to mix tapes and then CDs especially for those annual journeys to Cardiff. My mixer, tape, CD and record decks have gone but I'll do a rushed laptop job I'm sure. Apparently I must soundcloud it or something. I'll podcloudcast it up my dropbox if I can work out what any of this means! If not I'll put it on A TDK D-90 and post it through Eastlower's door with a yellow ribbon for Mrs Eastlower.

Any requests?

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Wham Bang Thanks Wigan

Thank goodness RVP got his hatrick or I wouldn't have slept soundly. It's not a strange urge of mine to fill Robin's house with match balls but the guilty feeling that I was responsible for the worst penalty miss since Euro 98 or Italia 90. I thought I'd be clever and give the Twitterverse an insight into the atmosphere at The New Highbury when a goal is scored and a hatrick is completed. Everyone around me saw what I was doing and warned me he would miss it if I tried to record it. It was like standing on your chair at 1-0 up with 2 minutes left and shouting, 'Nothing can go wrong now!' Sorry Robin, sorry.

The game itself was a stroll in the park with a stop off for an ice cream. On a scale of 1 to 10 Wigan are shit. How did we drop points up there? The people of Wigan don't even want to watch Wigan as up to 100 fans filled the away section.
We battered them for 87 minutes only allowing them 3 minutes after half time to attack a bit. RVP's first goal was super, the second Bergkampesque and the third a rasper. That boy certainly can hit a ball. Penalties are just too easy! RVP scored more goals than Szezzer had touches! Another hatrick was achieved as it was the third successive game where the team played well collectively. It would be hard to pick out an outstanding individual as all jobs were done effectively and problem free. RVP will get the headlines and rightly so but this was a team performance to be proud of. I do believe we have found the form we so desperately need.

I still feel we need another body at the back to cover injuries and tiredness. Djourou, at one point, looked to be in pain as he held his shoulder and that would have left just the one. Thank Cesc he was OK but we are light there and it would be neglect to ignore it. It would worse than neglect if that body belonged to Woodgate! A daft story which make me feel as sick as when I heard the news report 'arry had had his trousers tugged. Mugged?! Now he knows how Birmingham will feel after a couple of weeks of Bentley.

Good to see Beckham's son wearing a superior scarf at the game yesterday. Romeo's dad said be a tottenham fan and he obviously replied, 'F.............. Well you know the rest. Interesting David didn't see fit to support the team that loves him so much away at Newcastle. Maybe he doesn't give a shit about spuds and their walletless manager. That would break Sky Sports News' hearts if that were true.

Right, the tractor boys next with our first Wembley final since 1998 only 90 minutes away. We need to score twice which is possible if the new efficient, professional, no nonsense Arsenal turn up. If the useless, flighty buggers play then we could be in for a right stressful night. NO! We are on form. Don't let us down. It's about time she wore that yellow ribbon again.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Elland Back & It Was Nice

I wasn't going to write a blog today. I just couldn't be bothered so I thought I just copy out some stories from The Current Bun. Who doesn't like getting the opinion on issues of the day from a topless woman? Debbie, 22, from Aldershot thinks The Arsenal might have finally found some form. 'I was impressed with their penetration' she giggled. That with 'exclusives about the latest man in Jordan's life and pictures of cats looking like Hitler should keep you happy. But you know what, that just wouldn't be right. I'd better do some work of my own.

I hope Debbie, 22, from Aldershot is right though. I hope these last two results lead to a run of form. The win at W'ham was great but they were awful. I was concerned we would do that thing we do and lose after a nice victory but we came through against a team much better than W'Ham. There were understandable changes but that can break the momentum. The big guns waited on the bench in case. I texted @eastlower at 8pm asking him if we would win. He said we would know after 5 minutes. A wise man that Eastlower. Nasri lifted the doubts as he twinkle toed his way past the White Wall to break ITV's hearts. You could almost hear the crackle in the commentators voice at it dawned on him that an upset was unlikely. On HD you could hear Andy Townsend crying.

ITV are second only to ESPN in the shit league. ESPN were actually sitting around a table by the corner flag, outside, at Man Shitty on Tuesday. At least Leeds gave err....Adrian......ummm......err.....checks notes.....ummm...Chiles a room to sit in. Shame they let the cameras in. The commentary is no better. At one point they said Leeds hadn't played at Elland Road since 2004! No wonder their fans didn't know what the seats were for. I was impressed by Leeds, or the White Machine as ITV renamed them, and I hope they do come up. We always win there!

The bottom line is that the team were impressive. We missed a couple of 'sliding in' chances that would've led to a breakdown for Townsend and ITV going off the air. My son turned to me and said, 'I'd love to tell you what I think of Bendtner but Mum is in the room!' He isn't keen on our Nick despite him putting in a shift. It ranged from rubbish (a great tackle near our corner flag which he promptly gave straight back to the tackled to set up a dangerous chance) to the magnificent (his cross for RVP's goal was a delight.) Really, AA was the only disappointment again but he did work harder than I've seen for a while. Lucky the game was on ITV as his second half shot knocked the Sky satellite out of line.* I hope he stays and finds his early form again as a sparkly Arshavin is a treat. Very pleased about the cracker from Bacary. He deserves every goal he gets, great player.

The defence looked solid despite poor defending for the soft Leeds equaliser!!! We do need a new central stopper as we are light. Big V is out for a while now, Squally is injured and not that good so we can't rely on Kos and Djourou to play every 4 days. Please Arsene get a body in. Stop gap or long term we don't care but we are short.

Right on to Wigan, Another win would start to convince me we have hit some form at the right time. We have a big week of home games coming up. The quadruple is on but you don't care about that. You just want a cat that looks like a dictator picture and who can blame you.

*#78 of 101 ways to describe the shooting of Arshavin vs Leeds Utd
Cat from as you can clearly see. I hope they don't mind! Not my cat. He looks like Charlie Chaplin so it wouldn't have worked at all.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Unexpected Fresh Bed Linen

Things seem a little better in the world when your team win. Football is an escape from all the crap that's all around us. It's a separate entity because if it wasn't it wouldn't matter. Whatever is going on around you it can cheer you up or get you down. It's in your soul. It affects us as one. It's a crucial whimsy!

So Gooners worldwide are at their happiest this year. We hammered W'ham as we should. It went to plan. It's what was expected and,this season, the expected happening is quite unexpected.

W'ham were poor. Much worse than the team that pushed us to the limit at our place. They look as doomed as Avram's face. He's in desperate need of a massage. Wonder if he knows anywhere good. The Krays wouldn't have stood for it. Their fans have had this all season and some could only face it by sleeping through it. Wake up! It's not a nightmare. It's real and you lot will have a lot of nice new teams to play next year. Maybe by then Wayne Bridge will be match fit. It was almost cruel playing him against Theo. As Theo scored the second goal Chris Waddle* said, "what was Bridge thinking there" and as the nation, as one, we replied, "Where is John Terry while I'm here."

Not being a reader of red tops or Heat I didn't know Wayne had moved onto a member of the Saturdays (a popular singing group of attractive young things I've been informed. A modern day Spice Girls if you will.) Twitter was alight with "John Terry only plays on Saturdays" gags. Twitter is an unforgiving, unforgetting marvel.

So welcome back my Arsenal. Goals scored with none in reply. A clean sheet is a thing to celebrate. There's an open top bus parade this morning at 11am from the stadium to the town hall where Schezzy will be holding aloft freshly washed bed linen in a literal tribute. He is rapidly becoming my keeper of choice. Of all the many keepers we've had this season he's the one who gives me the willies the least. (
When Djourou set up a chance for W'ham Shezzer was big and made a crucial save at 1-0. I'd stick with our future now.

Last season we drew this after winning 2-0 at half time. We were all thinking it and it was heartening to hear that Cesc had remembered too and warned the team to not repeat it. It would've been a collapse on a spuds scale for W'ham to get back into it but Cesc clenched his fist (see below) and that's all you ask sometimes.

Onwards to the replay. I'm positive but this team's form is as up and down as John Terry on a team mates wife so I'm not complacent about Leeds and I hope the team aren't either. A great win against shit doesn't mean a midweek win is assured. Leeds are probably a better team than W'ham and we need to be careful. We've had so many false dawns. Calm us down boys, find some form, expect the expected. Enoughs enough.

*How is that man allowed to speak in public. Compared to his commentary 'diamond lights' was a career highlight.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Brian Talbot's Fist

When I was much younger, in the early 80s, team busses would sometime drive along the main road near my house on their way to East Anglia when Ipswich had a team to be proud of. On Arsenal away days to Ipswich or Norwich I would put on my full 1981 season kit and burn it down to the main road on my chopper and muck about down there until we saw a football bus. Often it was just teams on their way to the Abbey Stadium to play Cambridge United. I remember seeing the Aston Villa coach once. Sometimes Arsenal didn't pass or we just missed it. However, on one occasion we hit gold. The bus, totally normal apart from a rectangular sign saying "Official Arsenal Team Coach" in the front window, stopped only a few yards from us as a car in front of it turned right. I froze then started punching the air and pointing to the plastic cannon on my chest as if they wouldn't recognise the red shirt with white sleves I was sporting. Then it happened. Brian Talbot, ex Ipswich, looked straight at me and clenched his fist. The passion! They were going into battle with the blue foe for me, The thin kid in a cheap replica kit on a chopper, on a Cambridge pavement. The bus disappeared but I'd made contact. Brian Ernest Talbot clenched his fist at me!

I'm sure we lost. We were crap then but Tolbot's fist had proved to me they wanted it. It kept me going through the dark days of Lee Chapman and it's what upset me last night. There were no clenched fists, no passion, no real shots, no nothing. It was lack lustre, pathetic and frankly embarrassing. It has dented my faith in this team further still in a season of inconsistency and faith denting.

If this is the best set of player Arsene has ever seen they are hiding it well. These performances are not blips anymore. It wasn't just one of those nights just like Leeds wasn't just one of those lunchtimes. I'm afraid I'm coming to the conclusion that this squad is not good enough. We are suffering from a lack of funds to bolster a clearly talented crop. Something is missing. Experience? Drive? A passion for success? I don't know. What I do know is no team of any standard should put in a performance like that in a semi final of any cup. It short changes the fans. Managers and players come and go as we remain and we deserve better than that.

I didn't want to pick out individuals as it seems to run deeper than that. The team isn't functioning. However, if you are a professional and you can't control the ball on the half way line thus allowing your opponent to have a clear run on goal you have a problem. If you get caught out by a long high ball and all you can do is stick your leg out hopefully thus allowing you opponent to have a clear run on goal you have a problem. If you midfield don't defend the ball or create any chances you have a problem. If your goalscorers won't shoot you have a problem. If nobody in your team will clench their bloody fist when you are up against it you have a problem.

Of course we might still win this cup. We could coast the second leg. Or we could be sloppy like we were against Leeds, get a 1-1 and slump in the corner with our heads down. After a season of defeats by crap and draws with crap would any of us be surprised? I don't know what to think anymore. Support you evermore and all that but I'm not confident of anything. I think we will beat W'Ham 3-0 on Saturday but we could lose 2-0. Would any of us be surprised of either?

Last night took me back to the early 80s. Hope dashed by a poor performance and a 1-0 loss at Ipswich Town. I stuck with them then and I'll be by their side forever. I feel 11 again all of a sudden. I'm off for a Marathon, a can of Quattro while Ant Music glides over me (on 7" vinyl of course.)

Monday, 10 January 2011

An FA Cup view from the Loo*

You have one job to do once or maybe twice a week. People look forward to seeing you. Everyday you focus on performing well and entertaining the crowd and you let us down like that. It's a big day, you're centre stage and you just don't turn up. Where the hell was Gunnersaurus at half time.

You just thought to yourself, "like most of the team" didn't you? Shame on you! However, I'd agree with you and your negativity! I was worried Arsene might underestimate dirty Leeds but his team, as ITV put it, included 10 full internationals and Denilson.

We just never got going despite being far better than dirty Leeds. Constant, but understandable, changes bring disjointed performances that you hope you can get away with. We just, but only just, got away with it.

The second half started with the usual concern over missed chances and then our only non international looked more non league with a daft leg stretch in the box. 1-0 down at home again. Well done to Sanchez Watt for standing quietly as his team mates went delirious. A classy moment from the on loan Gooner who looked pretty good to me.

The dirty Leeds fans were in full voice all afternoon. Derogatory songs about ITV were the highlight but I also enjoyed the relentless chant of "Yorkshire Yorkshire!" I tried to get a similar proud chant of "The South East" going but I am obviously the only one that loves my county.

I must admit I'd given up. Too many players were awful. Bendtner, who my son really doesn't rate, was dreadful. I'm sure he's world class but maybe only in his own head. Had we been playing in his head he may have got that routine left foot volley near to the goal rather than pathetically wide. Arshavin only livened up after he realised he had to play the full 90. Trying to run off every time the subs board lights up does not look good.

And onto Eboue. Gunnersaurus' mystery disappearing act only fueled the rumour that it is our number 27 in that costume. Maybe he would cross the ball better wearing a dinosaur costume. His crossing was so poor he'd get the sack from a hot bun factory in the run up to Easter. I know he's become a right cult but is he really good enough? I think you need more than being a nice bloke to warrant a first team place. When you do get a start, and this applies to nearly all of them on Saturday, you need to perform. Only Schezzer, Djourou, Theo and Cesc came away with any credit.

The ref had a strange end to the game. He awarded us a spot kick for a foul on Theo then changed his mind as Bendtner was offside after the foul. Very odd and wrong. Theo then admitted he dived which is honourable but slightly stupid. He might get hung, drawn and quartered in the replay and get booked for play acting. Compare Theo's 'dive' to Man of the match Berbatov's. Now that was a dive and it won the game and he didn't apologise. MancSpudScum! If Arsene only makes on signing this window let's hope it's a ref. Man U have one, why can't we? The one we got was a foul and the Captain didn't disappoint. We scraped a draw at home with a championship team. Woooooo!

So Arsene wanted anything but a replay and got a replay. Another game for the manager to tinker with. At least the next cup game should be easy enough. The chavs softened up Ipswich so a team including me in defence with Squillaci should gain a handsome victory resulting in fun and games in the second leg. We've got one hand on that Milk Cup. Reorder the silver polish Arsene.

*written on a mobile phone while hiding in the lav at work.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Peanuts, Chavs & Muppets

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why Italians should not be allowed to manage a football team. Especially one with stupid floppy hair who ties his scarf like a wanker.

Mancini was scared of us. That was clear from the off. We ripped them to bits at their place and he was scared. He saw what we did to the other chavscum and panicked. He thought 0-0 was the best they could manage and he was right. They were able to muster no shots on target despite the squillions of pounds of talent on show. 10 men behind the ball at all times. It did look like the whole team were scared of Tevez's face as the homesick looker was left all alone up front. The plus side of all this is our defence looked amazing against a team making no attempt to score. It's odd really. They believe they can win the league and we are rivals. I expected them to really go for us. Its not like we are not beatable at home. We've lost to some right crap like spuds. You can spend all you like but the small club mentality was still there. It was like playing a team scraping for their lives at the bottom.

I think a team should let us all know before hand if they won't try to play. They should make a statement saying,

"we don't know how to beat you and have no intention of trying to, so we will kill the game, make no attempt to score, let you have all the ball but guarantee it will be 0-0 so save your £50 if you want to avoid a frustrating and disappointing evening. What will make it worse is we will time waste from the off and our players will fake numerous injuries at every opportunity. Our manager will, at the end, lie about how he wanted the team to play to win while secretly be physically excited about the dullest performance the Premiership has ever seen. If you can't take your chance that's not our fault"

I was struck by how useless Yaya Toure was. I quite liked him at Barca but he seems to have given up. He's clearly gone there for the money (like most of them) and he has a huge arse to keep up. He is a massive lump of a man who doesn't run or do anything. He was beaten in the air by Clichy for goodness sake. He tried to jump but his arse prevented it. He's trotting about and becoming a multimillionaire. Like Damien Hurst, he earns enough to live in a castle yet produces rubbish. He is my new God!

Talking of Gods it was great to see Pat warming up for them. He too is just taking their money like an overweight boxer fighting one last bout but good luck to him. Take their money, build up your bank account and come and become an Arsenal coach soon. You'd be most welcome. It was a shame Greedybayor wasn't there to hear how we greet real legends.

Another thing that annoyed me were the pundits saying Chavscum north were brilliant at what they wanted to do and Arsenal fans can't complain because of George Graham's tactics. Bollocks! George always tried to score and win the game. 1-0 to The Arsenal! They wrote songs about it. It was in the Full Monty. Nothing wrong with defending. It's an art the present Arsenal team would do well to remember but it has to go with attacking. George stifled games so we could win. If The Arsenal ever go anywhere for a 0-0 draw I'll fry my season ticket, put it between a stale bap and sell it to the club for £8. See how they like it.

Enough about the anti-football of last night and briefly onto a tradition that has become traditional between myself and The Man From EastLower. Every Christmas and Birthday we buy each other gifts that are suitable for a friend of donkey's years. We have exchanged many a caravan themed present over the years due to our utter horror of the thought of them. This year EastLower got me one of the finest. A Caravan bird house! Unfortunately it only attracts Great Tits.

I went for a selection box of cheap stuff. First up was an old school packet of peanuts. You'll have to be of a certain age to appreciate this but we miss him. Eastlower will one day revive this industry. "Peanuts, Decaff and skinny Mocha nuts, £6.50 a bag." Change is not always good.

However, I was proud of his 'big' present. I made it (a bit) and it's unique! Nowhere else is there a calendar of cu^ts. I was going to write that on it but was worried he would open it in front of his mother. When you see it it's clear what it is. A muppet a month, sometimes two.

Make one for a friend or loved one. It's easy to find 12 pictures of utter morons. Start with footballers and politicians. It's easy and it's fun. Ive started you off with these examples. Enjoy yourself!

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Stamp Collecting in the Midlands

I like The Arsenal's New Year Resolutions. It's a time for change, out with the bad, a new start. Yesterdays performance was lovely. Lots of the things we are good at with only a little of what is bad. In many ways it was a better win than the thrashing of the chavs. It was the kind of game we are good at losing. The chavs lost there, ManUre drew and we won.

It's so pleasing when we beat a team like Birmingham. They are thugs. They know they can't play us at football so their only plan is to kick and stamp their way through the match. The studs up assault on Cesc was appalling. Martin Taylor all over again. Cesc was lucky. What made it worse was the gormless twat Johnson couldn't understand what he had done. It was delicious karma that meant gormless scored our third goal for us. What is it with Birmingham and collecting talentless morons?

Our first goal was delightful too. Birmingham spent the afternoon fouling us so it was ironic we scored from a free kick that wasn't a foul. RVP dived, took the free kick, it hit Bowyer (another scumbag who's only ability is to stamp his way around the pitch) and deflected it into his own net. Ha Ha Ha. They say things even themselves out. Well N'twat dived to get Wigan a penalty against us. RVP redressed the balance.

We created chance after chance before Cesc passed to Nasri who placed it beautifully. Na Na Na Na Na Na Nasri. Give that man a golden snood.

So 7 points out of 9 isn't bad. Let's make it 10 out of 12 with a win over chavscum (north) on Wednesday. They have joined my hate list. Shit team whose success is only due to rich owners. That's the way the game is going. Hate list will only get bigger. Let's put them in their place like we did with chavscum (south) last week. If we are serious about this title we need a run. It's already started.

I'm off to meet the man from Eastlower today for the swapping of crap Christmas presents and I'm not sure what we will moan about as the Reds seem to be Rip Roaring. Set piece defending maybe? Injuries? Even Fabianski has let us down by looking like a goalkeeper now. Oh well, there is always the weather.