Thursday, 29 September 2011

Controversial moan!

Cards on the table, I'm not a great fan of the champions league. 'What!' I hear you cry. Yes! Not a great fan despite it being responsible for my greatest away trip.

Paris 2006 with the man from Eastlower, his brother (who had my wife's ticket due to having just given birth! Yes I was allowed to leave her with a week old baby. What a woman!) and our friend MD had the best 72 hours ever despite the horrible result. The picture of me in front of the half time score board (1-0 to the Arsenal) takes pride of place in our house. Still not keen though.

It's a massive money making juggernaut ploughing through the game. It has become the ultimate aim at the expense to actual success. Robert Pires once answered a question about being disappointed with 3rd replied, 'No, we are in the Champions league.' We'd won nothing yet were successful. Every year we are in the league of Champions usually as champions of nothing. Us and 2 other English teams. I'm writing this while the spuds huff against Shamrock Rovers in the dreaded Wafer cup. (ha! Shamrock have just gone 1-0 up!!) It's the cup nobody wants to be in. If Arsenal ended up playing on a spursday night there would be less interest than the Carling Cup. The champions league has undermined it. It's struggling to be second best out of two cups.

It's the groups of the Champions league I really dislike. It's an elongated cash generating nonsense for a corrupt organisation and we all fall for it. Don't even get me going on the fixed draw due to TV schedules.

However, a win is a win!

- Posted too hot & quite grumpy using BlogPress from an iTelephone.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Birthday Bashing

Well that was a better week wasn't it? Things feel nicer when you've won 2 games whatever the opposition. Division 4's Shrewsbury gave us a scare by scoring. Bolton woke us up with an early chance that Szczesny saved beautifully. Our hearts sank but was it mental strength that saw us through?

Our next Milk Cup opponents rocked up on Saturday for my first 6 pointer relegation battle. Exciting! Unfortunately the first half wasn't. As we went to our seats the steward asked us if we would win. My son & I both made that strange sound, accompanied with a shoulder shrug, that means 'don't know' or 'wouldn't bet on it.' Apparently we weren't the only doubters.

The team played out the first half carrying our anxieties. It was slow, ponderous and, dare I say it, dull. No pace, no speed, no invention. At half time we feared the worst. We were better than Bolton but we've lost in that situation before. On Friday @eastlower texted me claiming he felt bullish. 3 wins in 16 suggested a madness. The first half confirmed it. The bull had slipped it's chain. At half time we were no good.

The second half needed a boom and within 2 minutes RVP out (world) classed the whole Bolton defence to slam it past the near post. The stadium breathed out briefly but we've done that prematurely too often. The relief soon turned to nerves as we realised we now have a lead we could lose. Bolton were awful but so were Blackburn. We could easily score Bolton a goal if they asked nicely.

Suddenly things started to go our way. It seems a long time since we felt the touch of lady luck but she was lurking just outside the box as Theo was pulled down as he stormed through & Bolton found themselves a man down. Nothing can go wrong now? The way Theo was playing it was a daft foul. Wheater could've let him shoot & then taken the resulting Bolton throw. Poor T frustrated us. He's begged to play down the middle. He later went clean through only to fluff his lines. Out wide he's often ineffective. What do you do with a problem called Theo? You stick with him & let him slip a delightful ball to RVP to join the 100 club. Enough? Or enough is enough?

Bolton were done while we relaxed in the seats. A poor first half was forgotten as Song cracked one home. 'We are staying up, we are staying up.' 3-0 is as good as we could've hoped. More convincing than the Swansea win but nothing special. We are so far from the sparkling speedy Arsenal everyone fell for but we've turned that awkward corner. Wednesday (let's not even think about Sunday) will be a right test but we face it with hope.

Yesterday was my Birthday & the boys came through. Arsenal 3 Bolton 0. Cambridge City 3 Bashley 0. I should have birthdays more often. Indeed it was a happy one.

- Posted using BlogPress from an iTelephone.

Sunday, 18 September 2011


It's rare that I don't get to watch The Arsenal but yesterday we were all busy due to a ridiculous kick off time. My son & I were on a motorway to Cambridge to see an FA Cup 1st round qualifier and relied on Radio 5 to bring us the good news. We left 5 minutes into the game. "If we can't beat Blackburn we may as well give up now" we said as we left the house. Sky box was recording so we could enjoy it later.

Things started well as we queued to get out of London. The wonders of invention meant we were watching Gervinho's excellent goal on a mobile phone at traffic lights. We're on our way. One way traffic for both of us. Blackburn, unhappy with their manager, were chickens in the headlights. Nothing can go wrong now!

Until Blackburn attack that is. Unfortunately the defence are still shit. Samba was left alone to miss an easy header before Yakabu finished nicely as the back 4 stood about. Reports are just coming in that Mertesacker has finally finished turning for that goal.

We went on to score 2 more really good goals. Great unless you defend like utter muppets. A nothing ball bounced off Song into our goal as the defence stood about again bemused by the round thing being kicked towards them. Yakabu then scored again. "Offside" the team cried. "Bloody mark Yakabu" the rest of us replied. Totally unmarked 4 yards out! Staggering.

The 4th was comical. Blackburn attacked the wing. Djourou lumped towards the player and made the daftest of challenges. Indeed calling it a challenge is kind. It was pathetic. However, he should get away with it as the cross has gone straight to Koschelny totally unchallenged in our area. Koschelny is facing the ball. He has a number of choices. He could kick it very hard away from the netty thing, ie, his job or he could neatly sidefoot it home in a way Torres can only dream of. Oh! He's a fox in the wrong box. Stunningly idiotic.

I lost my mind. We had just turned off the motorway & I actually pulled over to swear on twitter. I wasn't alone. This was the worst defeat of the season & in a season that's only 5 games old & one of those games was an 8-2 loss that's saying something. At Old Trafford we faced a strong Man U with a very weak side. Yesterday we played a very poor team with our strongest fit 11.

People were saying we have to be patient as we have lots of new players and it takes time. Isn't that what the preseason is for? These boys should've been trotting about in the friendlies. The club messed up the summer & given themselves another excuse for this shower. We need changes quickly. I'm not going to jump on the obvious bandwagon. A defensive coach is the way forward in the short term. This needs stopping quickly and that can be done first thing Monday morning. Make no mistake we are in trouble here. If we played ourselves we'd both lose at the moment. Worst start since the 1950s. Bottom 5 at time of writing. Worst goal difference in the league. We are minus 23 goals behind Man u after 5 games! 5 games! 5!

When we scored Blackburn's 4th I explained to my son that lean periods are quite common in football. We need to just sit this out and it will be OK. My son looked at me and said, 'I've known nothing but lean periods!' He started really caring at the start of the 05/06 season and has known nothing but disappointment. 'Is it me?' he asked. 'No son' I replied, 'It's them.' As if that conversation wasn't bad enough I had to buy him a Cambridge City shirt as he didn't want to wear his Arsenal shirt. I hope it means as much to those making an utter mess of running the club as it does to the rest of us.

Shrewsbury must be looking forward to Tuesday night more than we are. If we can't beat Shrewsbury we might as well give up ............ As for the bottom of the table clash against Bolton.....

- Posted using BlogPress from an iTelephone.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

What the......

.......fuck was that?

- Posted depressed, miserable, fed up & pissed off using BlogPress from an iTelephone.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

No one to blame.

A last minute goal against always leaves you feeling deflated. It was not only a cracker but unusual in that I couldn't find anyone to blame.

Its rare for me to see a good goal scored against us. I'm biased. It's as simple as that. Every goal at Old Trafford, for example, were a direct result of our poor defending rather than their ability. It's my way of giving the opposition no credit. Bad things are down to us never them. The 88th minute screamer left me initially speechless before exclaiming, to the shock of the living room, that there was nobody to blame. The ball was headed clear, which made a nice change, and Benayoun sprinted to close down Perisic but the shot was too good. Brilliance that I'll take squarely on the chin.

It was no more than Dortmund deserved. Indeed, had we escaped to victory it would have been floodlit robbery. We were battered. Wave after wave of attacks led to poor finish after poor finish. There was an over supply of kittens available stemmed only by RVP's chocolatty finish after a sublime ball (that wasn't a cross) by Theo. Against all the odds Arsene's Jedi Mind Tricks to the bench were working even if the tactics weren't spot on.

The second half took place in our half with only the occasional appearance from their keeper. 1-0 to The Arsenal. The good old days. The defence was a mixture of solid and shambles. Solbles? Gibbs still concerns me defensively. I'm not sure a left back should be playing in such a free role which means he's rarely left or back. The huge plus again was Szzzzzzzny. Another amazing, commanding performance. We've got ourselves a right good goalie there.

At the final whistle I was down but soon realised we got away with that a bit. I'm sure I'll feel the same a lot this season. It could be a long one.

Written during breaks in the loo at work using BlogPress from an iTelephone.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Vorm Our Vay To Victory

After unequally sharing 10 goals with the school bully (nice he allowed us two I suppose) all we wished for was a win & a win is what we got.

On the way to the ground there was anticipation rather than trepidation due to the late night shopping of the previous Monday. The new boys weren't so much exciting as necessary. Three Swansea fans asked if I could take their picture with the ground as a background. This was another cup final to them. Nothing to lose. They weren't confident but their belief that they couldn't defeat Arsenal because they were Arsenal planted doubt in me. We have been nothing short of shit for months. Would today be a Blackpool thrashing or a Hull City humiliation? With this side you can't tell.

We started brightly & the crowd were right up for it. The in fighting had gone. We were one again. The 8-2 had galvanised the club. Blame was shadowed by the future. We need to get out of this mess starting today. Mertesacker looked enormous even from my seat in the clouds. That's more like it. A big international beast of a man who knows where to stand at set pieces. He made the odd error but looked solid & I'd rather have him there than any of the other fit options. Most pleasing was how Koschelny mopped up the errors. He's come a very long way very quickly.

R. Teta (like R. Kelly, that's right isn't it) stole the new boy's show. He looked lively & slotted into the passing, moving, triangle thing we love so much. He showed the value of a signing who knows this league. Whereas Mertesacker looked a bit off the pace Arteta was at home. He maybe Cesc lite but that's where we are now.

Many positives after the *-2. Not least Szzzzzzzny who looks like a proper goalkeeper. He's confident and commanding & pulled off a number of top stops especially when Mertesacker let a Swan nip in front of him in the first half at 0-0.

Concerns were Gibbs & Walcott. Gibbs is interesting as Arsene obviously rates him highly but has bought an experienced Brazilian international who won't be happy with being 2nd choice. Although you could understudy Gibbs and still play more games than him. He did ok going forward. His crossing sometimes seems better than Walcott's but defensively he seems all over the place. Clichy used to ignore where he should be & Gibbs is copying that. It's an area that stronger teams will target.

On the other wing we have Theo. He's desperate to play centrally & I can see why. He doesn't get past people & his crossing is woeful. If he made a promise he'd struggle to cross his heart. I really want him to succeed but he's going backwards out there. Oddly enough it was an awful cross-cum-shot from Theo that led to the winner. A deflected shot-cum-cross was kept in by Vorm who inexplicably threw the ball against Angel Rangel (& if his names don't rhyme it's criminal) & into the path of Arshavin. My initial thought was what's he going to do as everyone had run away ready for a clearance. From a very tight angle rangle he found the net. A fantastic effort & thank Bergkamp it was as that was it for us.

We had chances. We hit the wood but so did they. In the end we were on the edges of our padded seats as Swansea gave it a final push. They should've equalised when the ball was skied from a few yards out. We scored a freaky tricky goal. They missed an easy one. The margins are thin.

At the whistle there was a lot of sighs of relief. The steward looked at me as we left (when the game had actually finished still unlike thousands around us) & said, "you've got to take what you can at the moment!" I agreed but this tainted the win. Yes it was lucky. It probably was just about deserved but it probably wasn't good enough either to make any of us think we can even challenge the top 4. We are so far away from the Manchester pair at present it's scary. Yet, a win is a win and my God we needed it.

- Posted using BlogPress from an iTelephone.