United we win, United they fall

My favourite memory of Highbury was seeing George Graham score a scissor kick against Man Utd in front of the Clock End in a 2-2 draw. George Best having scored an equally brilliant goal in front of the North Bank. It was 1969.

That reason that that goal remains imprinted upon my memory is due to the opponents. Manchester United were and are the glamour team of English football. Liverpool may have an equally spectacular history, Arsenal have collected a mass of silverware over the years, but MU are the team football fans know throughout the world.

Before I started my football love affair MU were already in my head. My parents used to take the family on driving tours around Europe in the early 60’s; whenever I met a friendly child and  said I was English, the first thing they said was “Bobby Charlton”, not Bobby Moore, not Geoff Hurst and certainly not Iain Ure!. Throughout my childhood Sir Bobby was the most famous player in the World. Had he played for Everton, he would have been a fine player but not a World superstar.

And then along came George Best. By this time I was a staunch Gooner, season ticket holder and North Banker, but George was the man. We had Stroller and Raddy, Geordie Armstrong and Storey, but in the schoolyard, everyone wanted to be Bestie. He summed up Man United; Glamour, swagger, style and brio.

There have been so many great MU memories; McLair missing a penalty in front of the North Bank, Ruud doing the same (prompting Keown’s wonderful response), Cantona getting sent off for kicking Nuttie, PV & Keane’s tunnel incident, TH goal of the season at the Clock End, Wiltord’s EPL winner at OT, and countless more. All are legendary because of the opponents. Beating MU is the best because MU are the true Arsenal rivals – let’s be honest, THFC are local rivals but hardly true rivals in a footballing sense, after all they last won the League in Black & White!

Which brings me to Sunday’s game. Sir Alex has perpetuated the United mystique, he is without question the best manager of all time (even surpassing Busby and Shankly), but and it is a large but, the current Man Utd team is a pale shadow of the former teams. Where is the panache, the swagger and the style? This United is a reflection of the worst sides of SAF’s personality. It is aggressive, streetwise, functional, dare I say common. It is full of snarling, vicious thugs. What must Giggs think when he takes to the field alongside Vidic, Anderson and Fletcher.? Whilst one could never say that United have been a team that doesn’t use hard men, (from Stiles, to Robson, to Keane,) all the previous enforcers had skill, could find a pass and create space for themselves. Fletcher, Anderson, Carrick and the very ageing Scholes are the worst midfield United have fielded in 15 years. What possessed SAF to bring a touch player like Berbatov into this team? It is a team built upon the strengths of Rooney – power, athleticism, simmering violence, and arrogance – though to be fair to Rooney, he is also a wonderful footballer.

There is an ethos to Arsene Wenger’s teams. He insists that all his players are well versed in the “beautiful game”. Opposition fans could point at PV4 and say that he was aggressive, well he was, but he was also one hell of a player, possessing pace, awareness and huge skill. There would never be a time when AW accepted the way this current MU team play. Where is MU’s Cesc, Arshavin or Rosicky? Who is their playmaker? They don’t have one because they rely so heavily on one player’s creative ability. Compare our goalscorers; So far MU have 4 players who have scored over 3 goals in the PL. We have 10 players who have scored 3 or more in the PL. To me this is a shameful reflection upon the state of MU. And a testament to Mr Wenger.

The key battles on Sunday will be Fletcher/Fabregas and Rooney/Gallas. If we get a fair ref (hardly likely versus MU), Cesc will run rings around Fletcher, but if as I expect there is a systematic rotational attack upon Fab and we get the usual weak ref, then we will have problems. Can WG control Rooney? We shall see, what is certain is that WG is having his best season in the shirt, so I am hopeful.

We have big game players in Arshavin, Fabregas and Gallas. Should Song be fit to play, we have the strength to outpower Utd. I feel confident that Clichy and Sagna are capable of nullifying the threat of Nani and Valencia. A raring to go Bendtner, and Nasri. The boundless energy of Rosicky, and the ageless Sol. What chance have United got?

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202 Responses to United we win, United they fall

  1. Rasputin says:

    Morning all,

    Fantastic post Raddy – why have you only just revealed such talent? – that article wouldn’t be out of place in the Times.

    My first memories of Arsenal are of that same era. That 1970/71 team was amazing and had something we lack sometimes today, fantastic balance, strength and quality in every position but still players like CG who could produce the ‘bit of magic’

  2. London says:

    Wow, I think that might be the best headline post that I have ever read. I’m glad I don’t have to follow that one up.

  3. Rasputin says:

    Not a bad debut eh London?

    It’s a shame its not available to a wider readership – we will have to work on getting the new ‘accessible site’ up and running next week. Just the small matter of taking 3 points off manure to get out of the way first 😉

  4. Rasputin says:

    I agree Fletcher/Cesc and Rooney/Gallas are the key battles, but often games like this produce unlikely heroes – Nasri gained a place in my heart for his brace against manure. Lofty is due one of his ‘pool performances’ so I’m hoping he may be deployed differently if Nik starts the game.

  5. Big Raddy says:

    I’m blushing !!

  6. Rasputin says:

    Maybe we should call the new site ‘Arsenal Academia’ – on second thoughts no, that would scare off 90% of visitors 😳 – how about Arsenal Grassroots 😉

  7. Rasputin says:

    I’d expected to surf the net and find that Fergie had started his usual war of words wind-up pre-sunday, but instead of that, his would-be replacement, that bitter little weasel MoN has been moaning all over the press – maybe its part of his apprenticeship?

  8. London says:

    It’s interesting reading another Arsenal supporter’s honest view of the allure of Manu around that time. I remember it well myself. One of my lasting football memories is that of walking into the living room to find my dad watching the start of a football match, I asked who was on and to my surprise he said manu (modern day equivalent of being caught watching porn) I naturally asked why? He said: because it was the first time an English team had been in the final of the European cup. So I watched it with him, there was some great football but I begrudged every pass and every goal and sure as hell didn’t watch them lift that cup.

    PS, My Dad remains a staunch Arsenal supporter….fortunately I don’t know about the porn!

  9. Rasputin says:

    It’s interesting how another team’s emergence can change the balance of your view of things. I was delighted when manu beat citeh in the CC and I also wanted manu to beat the chavs in the CL final. The next team to win the CL for the first time has to be the Arsenal.

  10. Big Raddy says:

    lol London.

    I remember very clearly watching that game, it was one of my formative football experiences. And remains one the the best games I have ever seen – I can still see it in my minds eye.

    I agree re MU v MC. But I want AV to win the CC. (too many abbreviations). And of corse you are right about the CL !

    It was an interesting statistic about our goal scorers, and shows that AW’s project towards total football is working. But I would love us to buy a striker.

  11. Big Raddy says:

    My father was a staunch Spurs man and it is a reflection of our relationship that I became a Gooner. My Uncle had season tickets at Chelsea and Arsenal -. Luckily he took me to the Arsenal first !

  12. London says:

    Interesting, I wanted City to win, manu have been buying the league for years. I think what many people haven’t noticed it how much city have helped Arsenal. By becoming manu’s financial rivals they have diluted manu’s power and therefore reduced their dominance which has helped strengthen us. I still think we will finish above the mancs regardless of the result on Sunday and I still say that if Rooney were to get an RVP injury they would finish outside the top four.

  13. alfamilano says:

    Great reading BR, and I agree with everything about manu, past and present. For me the equivalent was the Liverpool team of the 70’s even though I’ve always been a gooner (London is much, much older than me 😉 ).

    The present manu team is pretty much a disgrace and I reckon the only reason they are doing well in the EPL is that they made an uncharacteristically good start this season. Next season could be very tough for them financially and off the pitch.

    Yes they will target Cesc but if we can cut off the supply to Rooney so he has to drop deeper and deeper he’ll get frustrated and start to lose his composure. Also, without Ronaldo, he doesn’t have a reliable partner when they break (remember at the Emirates last season 😦 ).

  14. Big Raddy says:

    Good point London re: MC. Could the same be said of us and Chelsea?

  15. Rasputin says:

    I think citeh are not worthy of success as they epitomise the worst aspects of the way football is going. The £100m offer for Kaka was obscene and they looked ridiculous when it was rejected. How many ‘top teams’ can any league support? There can only really be four = CL places and the rest will be ‘pretenders’.

    I don’t respect citeh. They have been pathetic in their attempts to buy into the quality of other teams by seducing their players away with only money as the allure. Gareth Barry wanted to leave Villa to play CL football … helloooo… Arsenal, manu and pool all have the extra footballing ‘genetics’ that transcend what the money bullies have to offer but sadly appeal to fewer players these days.

  16. London says:

    BR

    I agree that the same scenario applies to Arsenal and Chelsea and it is because of this I welcome the emergence of City: it makes it just that little bit easier for us.

  17. London says:

    Rasp

    I hope I didn’t give the impression that I respect city, that certainly wasn’t my intension.

    If you stand back a bit from the Kaka deal I think you will see the truth: they never had any intention of paying 100mil for him, it was simply a very easy way to raise the awareness of the fact that there are two clubs in Manchester.
    I say this because I have spent long periods in Spain and up until recently they didn’t even bother to mention on the news the word United, they simply said Manchester because they had no idea there was a second team.

  18. Big Raddy says:

    I can’t blame any player going to MC. It is an exciting project they have which will undoubtedly reap rewards, and being paid an inflated wage would attract any wannabe player.

    Except for those who are already at top clubs, earning top money. All of MC’s players have left 2nd tier clubs or have been surplus to requirements at top clubs. If I was at Arsenal earning €5m a year, to be paid €7m at Citeh would be no enticement (though London disagrees with me). If I have 6 years at the top, I would earn €30m which is enough for any man. And the prospect of living and working in Manchester is not worth the extra money.

    However, MC will change the market when they start to go for young developing talent.

  19. Big Raddy says:

    What a sordid tale about John Terry. England captain.

    What a sad life he must lead. Adulterer, fornicator, gambler, billionaire ……..

    I blame the parents

  20. Rasputin says:

    Maybe so Raddy, but there are also the examples of SWP and Scott Parker who nearly had their careers destroyed by going to the chavs just for money. I think citeh have been crass in the way they’ve spent so far. They have a very good manager now who will inject some class into their squad I would imagine in his future purchases..

    On another note, has anyone heard from Irish?

  21. Big Raddy says:

    No I haven’t Ras. She hasn’t been on the other channel either.

  22. peachesgooner says:

    Morning all

    What a lovely read Raddy, well done to you and thankyou 🙂

    I treated myself to lay in this morning ….. sorry if I’ve missed you all.

    Irish has been consumed by the tennis but she’s gonna try to get on. I have to say I’m looking forward to the distraction of the final tmoro morning …….

  23. peachesgooner says:

    I’m sure I’ve sheepishly told you all before that my son is a manc – he was at an impressionable age in 1999 and it didn’t help that his teacher at the time was also a manc and managed to recruit most of her class.

    Hes a bit of a footie stats geek and has read everything we have in the house on Arsenal and can quote all sorts of interesting stats. I tease him about being a Gooner really – tomorrow will be a test. He’ll kiss me goodbye as I leave for the Emirates but its likely we won’t speak again until Tuesday.

  24. Rasputin says:

    Morning peaches,

    I thought Raddy’s stat about us having 10 players who have scored more than 3 compared to united’s 4 was telling. I wonder how the other teams in the prem compare on that basis?

  25. Irishgunner says:

    Excellent post Raddy.

    Enjoyed the read. Funny how 20 odd years later when I was searching for an English team I turned my back on United in 1994.

    Again at that time they were the glamour team who 60% followed and the other 38% supported Liverpool. Then there was the other 2% who wanted more than glory hunting and picked Arsenal.

    Yes, sorry I have been consumed by the tennis. I should have stayed in Melbourne for it but couldn’t have afforded it anyway 😦 Serena Willaims just won again (who is not a man 😉 – I checked with some male friends and they “would so do her”) she is an unreal sports woman. The tennis has been great cos normally I get so worked up over playing the Mancs and the worry of having my week ruined with a bad result but the tennis has been a great distraction.

    Now for Federer to win tomorrow 🙂

  26. London says:

    BR

    No, no, no I can see now where we each picked up a different end of the stick. My point was that I understand why a player being paid £5 mil a year at an average club would be enticed by £7 mill a year to go and play at City. Barry is the perfect example: Villa are an average club, why wouldn’t he want to go and play for another average club like City and get paid £2 mil or what ever it is, more per year. This is very different to suggesting that it would make sense for Fabrégas, for example, to go and play at Eastlands just because they offered him £200,000 a week. There are probably about three or four more headline posts here.

  27. London says:

    Is there anyone else that wants to come out of the closet lol

  28. Irishgunner says:

    What closet London?

  29. Rasputin says:

    Hi Irish,

    Terry’s been ‘bleached’ and still comes out looking mucky. There have been too many stories of this ilk attached to him. If he hadn’t been a footballer he’d probably have been a builder who rips off old ladies.

  30. Irishgunner says:

    I can’t really think of anything else Terry can do off the pitch – he has been a busy little boy eh?

    Do you reckon Capello will take the armband off him?

  31. Rasputin says:

    Nah, like you said, his faux pas’ have mostly not been footie related, but it will damage his value to sponsors.

  32. Irishgunner says:

    It’ll be awkward if he and Bridge are both in the World Cup squad….

    City vs Chelsea will be interesting.

  33. kelsey says:

    A bit of nostalgia Raddy, wonderful.I wish I could remember detail like you.Well done.

  34. kelsey says:

    second time of trying to post.

    dear raddy, a wonderful piece of nostalgia,i wish i could remember so much detail as you do. well done.

    by the way serena williams would make a good centre back 😉

  35. kelsey says:

    all my comments are being blocked

  36. kelsey says:

    strange, i posted something to raddy and it didn’t appear

  37. peachesgooner says:

    You’re just trouble kelsey – hold on I’ll have a look

  38. peachesgooner says:

    Hello kelsey – I don’t why, but your first comments went into spam, strangely your next comments didn’t unless the fairies took them out of moderation. Weird 🙂

    Anyway I had a similar text exchange with Irish about Serena and she – in no uncertain terms – didn’t agree.

  39. alfamilano says:

    London, I came out of the Liverpool closet in an earlier comment, you must have missed my dig at your age.

    Do you want me to wax lyrical about Emlyn Hughes lifting the cup, Tommy Smith’s headed goal and KK? I thought not. 🙂

    Mind you, I can also remember Leeds shaming the UK in Europe and I still don’t like them.

  40. alfamilano says:

    Kelsey, Serena Williams would make a good prop forward, never mind a centre back.

  41. Big Raddy says:

    London. I was referring to a long gone conversation we had about Flamini. You thought that he should maximise his earning potential despite going to an inferior team – the power being with the artist/ player as opposed the label/club.

    I disagreed. But then you are more Prince, and I am more Donovan 😉

  42. Rasputin says:

    Someone help me out because I don’t understand. Senderos is starting for Everton today.

    Moyes is a good manager, he must think he’s good enough. We played Sylvestre instead of Senderos and when Sol came in he was immediately third choice. There has to be a reason Arsene that we don’t know to explain why Arsene didn’t play him ahead of Tweety – he’s only 24, has loads of experience and has got to be quicker than Sylvestre. I never liked the signing of Sylvestre and I find it even more mystifying now…..

  43. London says:

    Wenger would have loved to have Senderos stay, he is great back up but I think it is reasonable to conclude that Senderos wanted first team football and so found a way to leave.

  44. London says:

    Alfa

    When you were refering to the Liverpool years I thought you were refering to the fact that you weren’t as old and that the era of Liverpool’s domination was more your time. You are pulling my leg when you say you used to support Liverpool?

  45. Rasputin says:

    OK London, but if AW would have loved Senderos to stay, why was Tweety chosen ahead of him? Everton are a good side and they think he’s worthy of 1st team football – they’ve just kept a clean sheet.

    I reckon if Senderos had been played ahead of Sylvestre he may not have wanted to leave. I feel the same way about the fact that we continually played Flamini when it was apparent he was going and in so doing p’d off Diara and he left because of it … yes I know he was a twat but a very good footballer

  46. London says:

    It wasn’t important to Senderos that he play ahead of Tweety; Senderos wanted to play ahead of Vermaelen which (if there is one thing in this world that we might agree on hopefully it is this) was never going to happen. Senderos wanted first team football he couldn’t get it at Arsenal so he found a way to leave…it’s not rocket science.

  47. peachesgooner says:

    I agree London – if Senderos wasn’t going to get 1st team football with us then obviously he needed to go somewhere else. He’s too young to be a back-up, I hope he has a good career there.

  48. peachesgooner says:

    Just noticed Burnley have equalised……1-1 at Turf Moor shhhhhh

  49. London says:

    wooo telly time

  50. Rasputin says:

    I think Senderos is only getting first team football because of their injuries, he’ll be on the bench whem Jagielka is back.

  51. London says:

    That didn’t last long

  52. Rasputin says:

    Announcement to the founder members of %$£*&(^)^% …

    peaches and I have been playing around with a couple of names and set up a some sites to illustrate the ideas. We will make you all authors so you can go into your dashboards and have a look before the chosen one is released onto the net. Everyone gets a say.

    We saw with AR what a deluge of new bloggers NN brings and we’re certainly not able to cope with that. Having said that it would be good to attract new contributors and encourage a range of opinions. Its a shame the fine articles we’ve had so far have been read by so few.

    As I said the other day, having Arsenal in the name (preferably first) means that we will receive hits from being googled. Here are a couple of suggestions that are simple but would get us high up the ‘hit list’

    ‘Arsenal Arsenal’ – simple but unforgettable, we could arrange for the chant to be played when people open the site

    ‘Arsenal For All’ – sums up what we’re trying to achieve

    The other top runners so far appear to be…
    Ooo-To-Be
    One Team in London
    ….and a couple I can’t remember. Please let me know if there are any other names you want added to the short list.

  53. London says:

    Jagielka is out for the season, in the mean time Senderos gets first team football, plays in the world cup and secures his dream move to wherever that may be.

  54. Rasputin says:

    Well I wish him luck. I think he could have had a future with us

  55. London says:

    It’s all about pace: Djourou has it, so he stays; Senderos doesn’t, so he goes.

  56. London says:

    I wish him luck as well…..good luck Big Phil.

  57. Rasputin says:

    I have high hopes for JD, he’s a great athlete but he needs to develop some of the Vermaelen grit. All CB’s need to be a bit ‘nasty’ and JD seems far too nice 😉

  58. Rasputin says:

    What are your 1 & 2 in the name stakes London?

  59. London says:

    I’m not sure Rasp, nothing jumps out at me. Still thinking about it all.

    I expect Djourou to replace Gallas.

  60. Rasputin says:

    It looks that way, but in that case, why were we so keen on Smalling. Cash strapped manu paid a small fortune for him (I think in the region of £13m)

  61. Rasputin says:

    I’m not sure if you are undecided about a name or the project London. If you mean you are reconsidering getting involved, we need to know.

    Neither peaches or I want to be anything other than the sort of contributors we were on AR. The whole idea is reliant on people like you, Raddy, kelsey Irish and alfa etc. Nothing would be demanded or even expected

    If we could amass about a dozen ‘authors’ who had access to the site, contributed a post once in a while and would step in and cut out any stupidity, then it would work.

  62. Big Raddy says:

    I agree about Arsenal being the first word

    There were nay suggestions and I think we should take 6 and reduce to one-

    I like Arsenal Forum & Arsenal Comment, but am open to Arsenal Arsenal (AA)

  63. Big Raddy says:

    Kelsey’s Arsenal Club or Club Arsenal are good as well

  64. Rasputin says:

    Thanks Raddy,

    peaches will give you access to the test sites so you can have a look at how it’s shaping up.

  65. Rasputin says:

    How about (The?) Arsenal Network

  66. Irishgunner says:

    I like “Arsenal Arsenal” and “Arsenal Comment” they are my one and two.

    Yes, I’m a one woman Serena Williams defending machine. She in no way gets the credit she deserves. She is one of the best sportswomen of this era for me. If you look at all the rubbish she has to put up with:

    1) Being black.
    2) Being black from one of America’s most crime ridden ghettos.
    3) Being a black woman from one of America’s most crime ridden ghettos.
    4) Not only breaking into a white dominated sport but dominating the thing.
    5) Coming back from a bad ankle injury to be number one and winning a grand slam title while ranked 81.
    6) Coming back from her sister being shot to win again.

    Same goes for her sister.

    But no she has a lot of muscle so she must be a man 🙄

    Not every woman that is good at sport is a cheat, a lesbian or a man.

    It bugs me because it was something I had to put up with growing up. Just because I was far better than most others in my age group I was either overage, “a boy” oh and a lesbian as well – when your 12 that can piss you off and it still does.

    Rant over, phew!!!

  67. Rasputin says:

    Wow Irish, that was some tirade. Who is it who has been saying all those things about Serena – the media, or have you found some chauvinist tennis site?

  68. London says:

    Not knowing if there will be a new post today I went and re-read Big Raddy’s above and trust me, it is worth a second read; it is one of those rare posts that get’s better with age.

    There is actually a question up there that has not been answered: What possessed SAF to bring a touch player like Berbatov into this team?

    As I see it there is a link between Bebatov, Rooney, Scoles and Fletcher: they are all players that were in awe of manu before they arrived and that is how Ferguson is able bond them together and get the best out of them. SAF has always had a core of Northerners in his team that were raised thinking that the greatest team they could ever play for is United: Nevile, Scoles, Fletcher (I know, is there really a difference) this even includes Rooney, a scouser of all things, he gives the impression that he would die for that club. With this core of Northerners in place he adds to it by buying proven players from lesser clubs in the EPL that he knows would feel honoured to play for United, Valencia is a good example and so is Bebatov, the fact that he is a touch player is secondary, the common denominator is that SAF knew he he would feel honoured to to play for United and assumed, as has always been that case in the past, that he would be able to get the best out of him.

  69. Rasputin says:

    Morning London,

    I would imagine that Arsene may have the same kind of aura in the minds of the french players although not maybe to the same level. It is clearly vital that we win the CL under Arsene so that our history of trophies is complete.

  70. Rasputin says:

    A thought for the day to take everyone’s mind off the small matter of the game today …..

    …….It is the month of January. It is raining, and the little town looks totally deserted. It is tough times, everybody is in debt, and everybody lives on credit.

    Suddenly, a rich tourist comes to town.

    He enters the only hotel, lays a 100 Euro note on the reception counter, and goes to inspect the rooms upstairs in order to choose one.

    The hotel proprietor takes the 100 Euro note and runs to pay his debt to the butcher.

    The butcher takes the 100 Euro note, and runs to pay his debt to the pig farmer.

    The pig farmer takes the 100 Euro note, and runs to pay his debt to the supplier of his feed and fuel.

    The supplier of feed and fuel takes the 100 Euro note and runs to pay his debt to the town’s prostitute that in these hard times, gave her “services” on credit.

    The hooker runs to the hotel, and pays off her debt with the 100 Euro note to the hotel proprietor to pay for the rooms that she rented when she brought her clients there.

    The hotel proprietor then lays the 100 Euro note back on the counter so that the rich tourist will not suspect anything.

    At that moment, the tourist comes down after inspecting the rooms, and takes his 100 Euro note, after saying that he did not like any of the rooms, and leaves town.

    No one earned anything. However, the whole town is now without debt, and looks to the future with a lot of optimism…..

    And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how the UK Government is doing business today.

  71. peachesgooner says:

    Morning all

    Irish, I believe you are right about all of the points you have raised about the Williams sisiters. They are a credit to themselves and their families and I hope they have been an inspiration to many youngsters.

    I apologise for conforming to the hype surrounding super human athletes that happen to be women.

    I consider myself ticked off 😳

  72. peachesgooner says:

    In yesterdays Times there was an interview with Gael Clichy who talks about the ‘aura’ surrounding the club and the fact thats its back.

    Someone mentioned Diarra yesterday and I always thought that he was an example of the waning aura – actually you can add Hleb and Flamini to that thought. Only Cashley had previously engineered a move.

  73. peachesgooner says:

    Murrays pumped up now – hes broken serve and roaring – long way to go though 😉

  74. London says:

    Rasp

    What a brilliant explanation……so the politicians have been getting whores on credit 😉

    I also like the French aura explanation from Wenger.

  75. peachesgooner says:

    London are you happy to do a post tomorrow – match report or whatever you fancy …..

  76. London says:

    Morning Peaches

    Yes, I will do my best.

  77. peachesgooner says:

    Thankyou 🙂

    I’m fine while I’m watching the tennis but every so often I remember about the game and get a knot in my stomach ………

  78. peachesgooner says:

    Come on come on……hes had 2 set points……

  79. peachesgooner says:

    No, not that time……

  80. peachesgooner says:

    …and another one…..

  81. peachesgooner says:

    ….not that one either 9 all…..

  82. peachesgooner says:

    All over – Federer in 3 sets – hes a God with a tennis racquet…….

  83. peachesgooner says:

    Murray’s in bits – great line ‘I can cry like Roger, its a shame I can’t play tennis like him’ …….

  84. Rasputin says:

    Can this be true? ….

    …… Arsenal striker Robin van Persie is set to return to action far sooner than expected, and could be ready for first team action by mid-March, according to the )
    Related Links

    The 26-year-old has been sidelined since rupturing ankle ligaments in an international friendly for Holland against Italy back in November.

    However, according to the report the Dutch international is now walking freely and was back in training with the Gunners last week.

    The lethal finisher had been expected to miss the majority of the season, putting him at risk of also being ruled out of this summer’s World Cup as well.

    However, van Persie is now expected to be ready to return by mid-March, almost a month sooner than originally anticipated.

    The paper claims that while manager Arsene Wenger is still counselling caution and not expecting the striker to play until April, the Holland national team’s doctors anticipate he could return in as little as seven weeks.

    Should the news prove correct it is likely to prove a huge boost for the Gunners, with Van Persie available to play a part in the campaign’s crucial run-in.

    The former Feyenoord forward bagged eight goals before injury, although despite his absence the north Londoners remain the Premier League’s top-scorers with 59 goals from 23 games.

  85. London says:

    I saw that report there was a great foot note issued by Arsenal at the end, I paraphrase: there isn’t a chance of him being released to play in that friendly.

  86. alfamilano says:

    Rasp, that’s a good spot, could be great news, but these are the same Dutch national team doctors who thought he would be out for a couple of weeks, so I’m a bit sceptical.

    Fantastic to have him back for the run in.

  87. Rasputin says:

    Hi London, alfa,

    It would be good to have him back for the totnum game 😉 But being realistic, he’s gonna take a couple of games for him to get back to form so I’d settle for the CL final 😛

  88. Rasputin says:

    OK you bunch of yellow-bellies 😕 I’ll start the ball rolling with a score prediction ….

    2:1 …. they score first, we equalise mid way through the 2nd half and get the winner with 10 mins to go. They hit the bar, post and have a goal disallowed and we hold on for a magnficent victory 😆

  89. London says:

    Can I watch that game as well?

    I am going for a woosey draw 2-2

  90. peachesgooner says:

    Oh Rasputin 😆

  91. London says:

    This one is doing the rounds, thanks 😉

    Cant believe that someone text a picture of a cadburys’ chocolate willy to wayne bridges wife….

    she sent a text back saying – ‘ i prefer terry’s’

  92. Rasputin says:

    What’s your prediction then peaches?

  93. Rasputin says:

    Yes London, Terry scored away from home again yesterday 🙄 (credit to Arseblog)

  94. peachesgooner says:

    I reckon 2-1 too but no way will they score first, we’ll be 2 up and they’ll score in the 80th minute and make the last minutes torture …….

  95. Rasputin says:

    Oh I see, you can copy my prediction by qualifying it with a different scenario 😳

  96. Rasputin says:

    Big questions ….. Will Nik start, will Song start, will Theo start?

    Yes to the first, yes to the second, no to the third

    I think Nik’s role is crucial to releasing AA to his natural position and Song’s presence will have the same effect on Cesc.

    Will Denilson start? … probably, should he – probably not..

  97. London says:

    The team will be the same ol, same ol plus Bendtner

    ——–Almunia

    Sagna,Gallas,Vermaelen,Clichy

    —-Denilson——-Song

    ———Fabregas

    –Rosicky,Bendtner,Arshavin

  98. alfamilano says:

    2-0 to us, Theo scores (will keep trying that one) .

  99. rico says:

    Good afternoon everyone

    London, you have stolen my thunder, I was about to boom on here with the JT joke 😉

  100. Rasputin says:

    Hi rico 😛

    Lovely to hear from you… Are you set up to watch the game or are you going for a 2 hour dogwalk?

  101. rico says:

    Hi Rasp

    I will be watching the footie, no dog walking this afterboon, its too bloomin cold 😦

    How are you?

  102. Rasputin says:

    TV has made the recovery of the century!!!

    I saw your team London. I assume Nasri’s not fit otherwise he’d definitely start instead of Denilson if I had my way.

  103. rico says:

    Is TV fit for the game Rasp?? Great news if he is..

    I don’t want to see Denilson this afternoon, I hope Billabong is fit enough..

  104. Rasputin says:

    I’m good thanks rico, how are you?

    Peaches and London are on their way to the game and I’m at work so will be popping onto the net for updates when I can. Haven’t heard from Raddy or kelsey today – they probably have their pre-match rituals to attend to 😉

  105. rico says:

    I’m good too thanks – not good that you have to work today…

    Lets hope Raddy gets his lucky underwear on 😉

  106. rico says:

    Citeh are 2-0 up..

  107. Rasputin says:

    Yea, Lazy scored – he had a good first touch? can’t remember that when he wore our shirt 😦

    Fab and Lofty to score for us today…..

  108. rico says:

    I don’t think we will win today Rasp, that is my head, not my heart…

  109. Rasputin says:

    I felt like that originally rico, and then I started comparing their players with ours and realised that we really do have a better team – certainly more creative/flair players.

    They have 1 player who can change a game we have at least 3. I will be disappointed if they ‘outwork’ us and win most of the 50/50’s. I think its all gonna be decided by our attitude. If we have the right mindset we will win.

  110. rico says:

    Song, Nasri and TV all start 😛 🙂

  111. rico says:

    .

    Arsenal team:

    Almunia,
    Sagna, Gallas, Vermaelen, Clichy,
    Song, Denilson, Fabregas,
    Rosicky, Nasri, Arshavin.

    Subs: Fabianski, Silvestre, Eboue, Traore, Ramsey, Walcott, Bendtner

  112. Rasputin says:

    There you go – we can’t be beaten 😆

  113. rico says:

    Nasri… CF, well blow me old boots….

  114. Rasputin says:

    Good ‘ol Arsene – he’s shown that he can surprise us all – let’s hope it works now 😕

  115. rico says:

    The only player i would want in there is RVP instead of Nasri… and that isn’t possible.

    That is a pretty good side, with some good subs, really good subs and AW has being subbing well recently…

  116. Rasputin says:

    Do you want to revise your prediction then rico?

  117. rico says:

    No Rasp, I want to be proved wrong, so so so much 😉

  118. Rasputin says:

    You won’t get to post on the ITYS widget that way rico 😛

    Have faith … only 33 minutes to go ……

  119. rico says:

    ah… i hope you are right…

    ok, short but sweet visit, stuff to do and then going to sit down in peace – for the first five minutes anyway 😉

    will try and get back later – hope your journey home is with you smiling from ear to ear Rasp, see you later..

  120. rico says:

    no reo or vidic for manure!!

  121. Irishgunner says:

    Rasp – type in the Williams Sisters or some variant into Google and see how many blogs/groups you find that state “We need to get these gorillas off the court” coming from white America – which of course isn’t racist *wink* now that it has a black president.

    I remember watching them when they started in tennis all of 15 years ago now I reckon and just thought how cool they were with their hairstyles and fashion, them being so good and to top it all off they were sisters.

    Being naive as I was as a 10 year old I didn’t get all the fuss the commentators (in a good way) were making of them being black. Its only when you get older you realise why. They are still dealing with the same crap now that they were back then.

    You’d think that America should be proud of what they achieve but instead a wide minority think the poor black girls should know there place.

    Anyway it just seems the world ain’t progressing much if that’s the case.

    Anyways enough of that – on to the Arsenal. How average is the Manky Utd team? Take Rooney out and its a mid table team. Their back line is so terrible we have to take advantage – I want payback for the CL semi last season…..

  122. Irishgunner says:

    Rasp – The ITYS widget is all mine when Rosicky and Bendtner are scorers in our 4-1 victory today – ya you saw right 4-1 Arsenal 8)

  123. Rasputin says:

    Hi Irish,

    I see why you find the Williams sisters such an emotive issue.

    Like I said earlier. This game is ours to win. We need to gat our heads into gear and the feet will do the rest…

  124. Irishgunner says:

    If we don’t beat this crowd today we don’t deserve the league all we need to do is keep Rooney quiet

  125. Rasputin says:

    Bendtners not starting Irish, I think Arsene will bring on 2 supersubs on with 20 to go – Nik and Theo

  126. Irishgunner says:

    Yeah Nikki isn’t fit enough but he’ll score at the end when he comes on 🙂

    Strange that Campbell isn’t even on the bench, unfit? injury?

  127. Big Raddy says:

    Afternoon All. Just in from a lovely alcoholic lunch. Huge snowstorm last night so am a little snowblind from my walk home. I hope Van de Saar suffers from the same problem.

    Re; the team. Why Denilson? Why not play 2 forwards, is NB not match fit? As you have said AW is full of surprises.

    I am fearful of making a prediction as I am a real Jonah.

    Come on You Rip Roaring Gunners.

  128. Rasputin says:

    I’m confused by the whole Campbell/Tweety/Senderos equilibrium? Campbell must be unfit – but earlier in the week he was saying how he was looking forward to the challenge?

  129. Rasputin says:

    Hi Raddy,

    Nasri in the centre will be interesting, but I don’t know what Denilson will add to the team.

  130. Irishgunner says:

    Denilson is due a good game.

    So glad Song is back, he needs a big game, himself and Denilson need to free up space for Cesc.

  131. Rasputin says:

    Let’s hope the ref stamps on the cesc multi-fouling at an early stage

  132. Irishgunner says:

    Another words book Fletcher after his fifth foul in a row

  133. Rasputin says:

    Straight red for Fletcher should do the trick……

  134. Rasputin says:

    We could be 2 nil up already!!!

  135. Irishgunner says:

    Clichy needs to wake up

  136. Rasputin says:

    I’ve been having increasing doubts over Clichy. His heart is in the right place but he needs to cut out the mistakes and make defending his priority.

  137. Irishgunner says:

    come on AA23 you’ll get there yet

  138. Irishgunner says:

    Yep Clichy makes too many positional mistakes considering his experience. We have seen he can defend, he needs to go back a few seasons and do what he did then.

  139. Rasputin says:

    Shitttt … Coco has to go 😦

  140. Irishgunner says:

    Whatever about Almunia – Clichy and Denilson looking at Nani go past them like two idiots

  141. Rasputin says:

    It’s the chav game all over again ………

    We haven’t lost yet. 1:2 at half time and we still have a good chance

  142. Irishgunner says:

    fuck sake – its the champions league semi again except against a worst Mank team……… USELESS

  143. Irishgunner says:

    Nani??? Bloody Nani is killing us.

    Cop on Clichy for heavens sake

  144. Rasputin says:

    We need strong leaders on the pitch when in this situation. First aim is not to concede a third and then regroup.

  145. Irishgunner says:

    I don’t see it getting any better – we’re looking worse and leaving them more space if anything

  146. rico says:

    theo for nasri

    nikki for denilson

    and lets go for it….

  147. rico says:

    nani is the best player on the pitch – right now i wish alex had sold him after their bust up…

    to us!!

  148. rico says:

    ok i know, one good game doesn’t make a good player, but i am just seeing from this game, nani looks real quality..

  149. Irishgunner says:

    Rooney has had one proper chance and he stuck it away – its why you generally should have a world class striker that is not injury prone

  150. rico says:

    roll on the day freeman is ‘old enough’ – we need a decent striker and he scores for fun for the kids – just hope he takes that ability through his whole career…

    what do we have??

  151. rico says:

    that will be that then bar a miracle….

    i think i could be in that page you mentioned rasp, how that saddens me though…..

  152. Irishgunner says:

    Oh we are real title winning material 🙄

  153. rico says:

    wish this game had been two weeks ago, even old ebenezer may have just spent some money on a few additions…

    what we have right now are not good enough..

  154. Big Raddy says:

    My fears about Denilson were justified. The naivet he showed for the second was criminal. Rooney was 15 yards behind him when the move started and ended up 10 in front. Had Den just run at his normal pace he could have blocked the pass.

    As to the Clown. Well, I was very tempted to add to my post that Coco was MU’s chance! And you may notice that I couldn’t add him to our positives. He has to go.

    Nonetheless, AW’s decision not to play a front man is proving to be a mistake .

    And AA, change your boots, you may get a shot on target.

  155. Big Raddy says:

    Oh dear…..

  156. rico says:

    spot on raddy, he had three chances, the game could have been won before mu scored their first….

  157. Irishgunner says:

    Eboue???????

  158. rico says:

    you know what, i played football for twenty years, had one severe injury but when i came back i still had basic ball control – nikki was dreadful, just dreadful…

    song was yet again motm imho, even poor old cesc looked fed up to his back teeth today…

    however, on a brighter note, the last time we lost at home we wet on a long run of wins…

    ok, who am i trying to kid..

    we have one day left in the transfer market, and if ever there needed a game to highlight what some of us believe it was this one..

    we need a goal scorer and a keeper!!!

    i really feel for the fans of arsenal who are leaving the emirates right now…

  159. rico says:

    at least eboue came on and tried…. can’t believe i am writing that, but he did…

  160. Irishgunner says:

    Out of the league simple as

  161. rico says:

    disagree, stll in with a chance – chavs are going to have a difficult ‘terry time’ – still a way to go and it aint over til that fat mamma starts singing…

  162. rico says:

    i actually think it was a draw, its the 3D that made it look so good for manure 😉

  163. Irishgunner says:

    Okay me and my angry self are going back to bed.

    Laters

  164. peachesgooner says:

    Hi all – nice to see you rico

    Just in from the cold – Denilson worst player on the pitch, I don’t know whats up with Clichy, Nani beat him every time – Arshavin could have had 3 before Manu were in the game. Anyway very disappointed but I’ll wait for London to have his say tomorrow.

    What did Arsene say about it?

  165. Rasputin says:

    It’s hard not to focus on Denilson as the biggest single factor that lost us the game. Pundits have been saying that we are 2 or 3 players short of a winning side (CL prem), but we had better players available than Denilson.

    Shame Diaby wasn’t fit. I despair at Almunia. Please, please, please Arsene, pick any of the other three and persist with them to see if they can rise to the task. Almunia is not going to get any better.

  166. peachesgooner says:

    I was listening to talk sport when I got into the car they said that Man u were fantastic in the first half – apart from their goals I wouldn’t say they were better. We had great chances to score but didn’t.

    Arshavin worked his socks off – it was one of those days when nothing went in – we created plenty but OUR DEFENDING AS A TEAM IS PANTS.

    Shame for Gallas and Vermaelen because mostly the goals we concede aren’t their fault – the men in front of them let them down – very poor. What can you do if Denilson allows a man to run past……

  167. peachesgooner says:

    Gallas was sensational and Song – we only have one Song – got into such great positions that he had THREE shots on target………..

  168. peachesgooner says:

    I thought the supporters were really subdued before the game – the walk to the Emirates from Finsbury Park was so quiet…………

  169. Rasputin says:

    Well we need to get 6 points fron the chavs and pool to get our required 7 out of 12 ….. We’ve made it a lot harder, but it’s still possible. Arsene just needs to send his stubborn gene on holiday and let the common sense one have a say.

  170. peachesgooner says:

    Hello rasputin 🙂

  171. peachesgooner says:

    Theo came on and he hardly gets into the game – no-one passes to him, when he was in a position to cross he completely missed everybody – how can he play if hes not in the game………

  172. Rasputin says:

    Hi peaches, hope your sore foot stood up to the long walk 🙂

    From a distance, the feeling I’m getting about this game is similar to the first match at OT – we were good enough to win but gifted it to them …. what do you think?

  173. peachesgooner says:

    Well we were good enough and creative enough in the first 20 minutes to have chalked up a couple of goals but it didn’t happen – the game wasn’t as clear cut as the game at OT, we let them back in and they started to outplay us.

    As usual a goal when they were 2 up would have made a huge difference.

    We didn’t play as well today as we did at OT I’m afraid 😦

  174. peachesgooner says:

    Have you heard Arsenes post match rasp?

  175. peachesgooner says:

    I have to say that Song got into some great positions in the box – he made space for himself, he didn’t look to pass sideways he had a shot and he needs to know that he can score from those positions. The penalty area was very congested at these times and I think he has to know how much his hard work is appreciated.

  176. Rasputin says:

    No peaches – I’ll have a look round. People are calling for Arsene’s head on the blogosphere …. you know the same ones who’d be singing his praises if we’d won 3 nil 🙄

  177. peachesgooner says:

    Its a fine line – if we smash the chavs then all will be forgiven but Denilson seems to have gone backwards since his injury – what was his role today, he was the last man before the back four surely ……..

  178. Rasputin says:

    I think Arsene’s stubborn gene is the only entity that thinks Denilson is worthy of a place in the side in preference to Ramsay etc. With Song we didn’t need another HM – our spine had ‘bifida’ – sorry if that’s an unpleasant analogy, but it makes the point!!

  179. peachesgooner says:

    Song was definitely playing as an attacking mid-fielder though – more of a Diaby role – I’m really confused, why not play Song as the HM and get Denilson to do the running around and getting in the way without relying on him to protect anyone……….

  180. peachesgooner says:

    Or play Ramsey…..and let him be creative……

  181. Rasputin says:

    I’m not sure I can stomach watching the highlights 😦

  182. peachesgooner says:

    Oh no, the anger has passed, we really lost didn’t we 😦

  183. London says:

    There are some nights when you just don’t watch MOTD and tonight is one of them.

    I am not going to hang around but I have finished the post I will put it up around nine.

    Hi Rico

    I can’t put my finger on it but there is something less canine about you 😉

  184. alfamilano says:

    We weren’t good enough. Someone smarter than me can probably come up with a tactical reason why but it was like the first half against Bolton – we didn’t seem like a team. Granted we had some chances to score but so did they and Gallas and Vermaelen were top draw at times. Rooney’s goal was a nightmare though, half the ground were screaming that he was coming through. As for Park, why didn’t Clichy try tackling him?

    Arshavin was pretty poor a lot of the time. Clichy looks like he hasn’t done pre-season training yet.

    The worst is that manu don’t have many good players. Rooney yes, Park had the game of his life, Carrick a fair bit of the time but Fletcher was no great shakes, Nani is a show pony (apart from the goal which looked amazing from the other side of the ground), Brown is like a tree, Scholes the usual slow, late tackler he has been for years etc. I can only think that SAF got his tactics right.

    Chelsea must be laughing.

    Theo to score next week 😀

  185. peachesgooner says:

    Thanks London, see you in the morning then – open a nice bottle – I have 😉

  186. Big Raddy says:

    Terribly disappointing.

    AW has to shoulder the blame. When I saw the team I couldn’t believe it, we hadn’t played this formation at home all season.

    We had to go for the win, instead AW bottled it by packing the MF and hoping Fab could get forward.

    Not AW’s finest hour. And then to put on Theo before Nik, when we clearly needed someone to hold the ball upfront……..

    As Alfa says, Chelsea must be laughing

  187. peachesgooner says:

    Hi Raddy – are you around tomorrow too

  188. Rasputin says:

    peaches – I’ve sent you another test banner …..

  189. peachesgooner says:

    Ok, did you see that I centred the others…..

  190. Rasputin says:

    I’ll have a look ta ….

  191. peachesgooner says:

    ok its done ……

  192. Rasputin says:

    Well done, I really like it – what do you think?

  193. peachesgooner says:

    Yes I really like it too – would you still like some other wording on there …….

  194. peachesgooner says:

    There are a lot of very sad and angry gooners in blog world tonight 😦

  195. Rasputin says:

    A slogan would be good.

    I’ve just watched the docudrama on Mo Mowlam – what an incredible woman.

    Night all …..

  196. peachesgooner says:

    I watched it too – very good television. Julie Walters is a great actress.

  197. peachesgooner says:

    Message to ‘Me’ – I’ll be happy to let you on if you identify yourself in your next comment.

  198. Big Raddy says:

    Peaches. I am around later today

  199. Big Raddy says:

    I hate days like today when I don’t want to read the newspapers or talk to non- Arsenal mates, and I am very happy that I am not going to work in London this morning.

    Yesterday was embarrassing. We had just two players who gave a decent performance – Song and Gallas, the rest just didn’t show up.

  200. rico says:

    Morning Raddy

    A dreadful display, my belief is still that we need new blood, players take it for granted that they will be on the team sheet each game…

    I know some get bitter when we talk about getting rid of a few, but yesterday showed when it comes to the big games, we are falling very very short..

  201. London says:

    New Post

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