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Back into the Trenches as Arsenal beat Stoke 1-0……..

Back to league competition for an important fixture against Stoke City at the Ems this evening. This match was originally scheduled for Saturday, December 18, 2010 but was postponed due to the pre-Christmas deep freeze that hit England. So two months on, we tried again, with our Arsenal squad in arguably better mental and physical shape than on the original fixture date – remember that this was supposed to be played just over a week prior to what turned out to be a watershed win over Chelsea, and at a time when we were coming off a disappointing loss at Old Trafford.

Although Robin and Kos were ruled out of this match yesterday, both have “have a chance” (Arsene’s words) to play in the Carling Cup final, so Tommy and Fabianski remain the major long-term absentees (not counting Diaby as he may be back before too much longer).

The associated subplot, of course, is Ramsey and Shawcross; the apparent personal dislike between Arsene and Pulis another one. There were no surprises regarding the reaction for Shawcross – now Stoke’s captain – every time he touched the ball; and I imagine that Cesc and many of our players will hear similar from the Brittania crowd on May 7th. My concern was that the players on both sides would look to settle some scores on the pitch. I hoped this wouldn’t be the case. What is done is done, Aaron is returning from his loan spell at Cardiff this weekend and we are in the thick of four competitions, our players focus should be on winning matches.

While I understand that bitterness and anger linger with many supporters, I have moved on from that particular incident…

With 9 of our 11 second string players featuring Sunday at Brisbane Road, a predominantly first team was expected. With Kos and Robin out, deputies would be required at the back and up front, the rest being our strongest eleven.

We lined up Szczesny, Clichy, JD, Squillaci, Sagna, Jack, Cesc, Song, Samir, Nik and Theo.

Our bench featured Al, Gibbs, Eboue, Denilson, Rosicky, Arshavin and Chamakh.

Almost straight from the kickoff, Cesc played Theo in and he smashed his shot off the inside of the post. We very nearly had an immediate goal, but we wouldn’t have to wait too long for the opener. On eight minutes, Nik earned us a corner. Jack delivered, and Nik helped it on the Squillaci, who buried his header for a 1-0 lead – Squil headed a similar goal for us earlier in the season, so this was a welcome return. Just a couple of minutes after, however, spirits sank as Cesc pulled up and then signaled to the bench.

Arshavin warmed up and then replaced the captain with less than a quarter of an hour gone. No immediate indication as to the nature of the injury was given, but it looked worryingly similar to previous instances when Cesc’s hammy flared up.

So Arshavin came on, and Samir moved into Cesc’s midfield position, with Arsh taking up a striker support role. The unexpected change clearly stalled our momentum, as we began to pass sideways, and with Stoke sitting back and looking to deny us time and space, our tempo dropped and we kept the ball without doing all that much with it.

Arshavin took a pop from distance, but did not trouble Begovic. Just past the half hour, Stoke broke out of their shell long enough for Carew to force Szczesny to make a fine diving save. Late in the half, Shawcross chopped Arshavin down, Samir wasting the free kick from a good position. Stoke finished the half with more of the ball, but were unable to trouble us, and it remained 1-0 at the interval.

Arsene made no further changes during the break, and as the teams came out for the second half, word came through that Cesc came off as a precaution, not an actual injury.

Here is hoping he will be fit for the Carling Cup final on Sunday – that is for later, at this moment, we still had a game to win. Stoke immediately put in a few rugged challenges, preventing us from finding an early rhythm. Former Arsenal player Pennant was sharp with his crossing this evening, and he put a peach in for Shawcross, who headed narrowly wide. Stoke continued with the fouls, Whitehead catching Sagna with his studs, no booking from referee Walton. Clichy was booked for a payback foul on Pennant a few minutes later, and Stoke conjured up their best opportunity so far, as Huth headed a Delap throw narrowly over the bar.

At this point, Stoke seemed on top, but we found another gear and started to create chances again, with Jack and Arshavin coming to the fore. Jack forced Begovic to make another save, and Arshavin fed Theo, who could only shoot wide. A few minutes later, Whitehead brought Theo down just outside the Stoke area and the latter stayed down in pain. After a few minutes treatment, he was brought off with what appeared to be an ankle injury, Denilson coming on in his place.

We resumed taking the game to Stoke and forced a corner, which Jack delivered to Nik, who headed over the bar. Stoke made their first change inside the final quarter of an hour, with Fuller replacing Walters in an attacking move. Arsene made our final change with just over ten minutes left, Chamakh replacing Nik. Walton finally got his card out, booking Wilson for hacking Chamakh down.

Arshavin was flagged offside after Jack nearly put him in. Right at 90 minutes, Denilson conceded a foul to give Stoke a free kick in another good position. Pennant put our collective hearts in our mouths with a fine delivery that rippled the side netting. That was Stoke’s proverbial last gasp; despite five minutes of stoppage time, we smartly kept the ball, took our time on a corner, attacked and ran the clock down for a 1-0 win, putting us a solitary point behind Man United.

So we survived another bruising encounter with Stoke. As of this typing, Arsene stated that Cesc has a hamstring problem which will be assessed tomorrow, at which point a proper estimate can be provided. Theo’s injury is characterized as an ankle sprain, and Arsene ruled him “definitely out” for Sunday. I am particularly gutted for Theo – the most recent player to score for Arsenal in a cup final.

Cesc has indicated via twitter, that he will do whatever it takes to lead the team out at Wembley on Sunday. Unfortunately, this is his hammy and that’s given him trouble before… We have to hope that he can play but if there is a doubt, I would not want to risk long-term injury with him. As important as it is for him to lead the side out in our first Cup final as Captain, I don’t want to see him risk longer-term damage for this. Although our task just got that much more difficult, losing Theo and having questions over Cesc, Robin and Kos for the final, we have the players to compensate and see Birmingham City off.

Going in, we knew tonight would be difficult; we were fully aware that Stoke would put us under pressure and try and rough us up. They did that, as expected, but we did well to stand our ground and not wilt. I expected them to bring it from the opening minute, but they were surprisingly passive in the first half.

As they stayed defensive and we passed rings around them for most of that period, I had a fair idea of what to expect in the second half, and Stoke came out immediately and got stuck in. They got several hefty challenges in – what we would characterize as “hard fouls” in basketball parlance. In other words, fouls and tackles intended to frustrate, intimidate, and put us off our stride. I am very pleased that Stoke accomplished none of these things – they had their best passage of play at the start of the second half, but we did not wilt and regained control around the hour mark.

Whitehead’s late, studs-up challenge on Sagna was the worst of their fouls, in my opinion. Walton did virtually nothing, so Clichy gave Pennant a taste of it. Our player was booked for the retaliatory nature of his challenge, but I am pleased that we stood up for each other and let Pulis and his players know that we would give it right back.

Arsene seemed ok with what transpired, injuries notwithstanding. He commented on the good spirit of the game, the commitment, strong challenges and “overall correct” play between the teams. I thought there was a spiteful undercurrent on the pitch, probably due to lingering hard feelings on both sides, but things thankfully did not get out of control. Besides the Whitehead’s challenges on Sagna and Theo, Carew’s late challenge and subsequent push on JD could have been a potential flash point but we kept our cool.

One player I am pleased for is the oft-maligned Sebastian Squillaci. I have been critical of him, but tonight I thought he had a very good overall match. He was Johnny-on-the-spot to covert Nik’s cross, giving us an early lead, and played solidly in defence. Fairly recently someone suggested to me that he plays better with JD than Kos; I kind of shrugged it off, but tonight I saw exactly what the person that mentioned this means. He also played well when partnered with the rook (Miquel) at Brisbane Road, so I am rapidly coming around to the idea that it may not be anything worse than he and Kos just not having an effective partnership. He did well against a difficult opponent this evening and if he can sustain this form – getting meaningful match minutes will help – then we should be in good shape at the center of defence for the remainder of this season.

Jack had an excellent match as well. Once our captain went off, it was he that pushed us forward often, got back to defend when necessary, kept things going, never panicked, and calmly saw the last few minutes out as Stoke made a late push. In the first minute of stoppage time, he did some fine work to win us a corner – an opportunity to take more time off the clock. His corner deliveries were excellent tonight, as well.

Even though we didn’t play particularly well collectively, so many others had solid games. This was a match where we had to stand up not allow Stoke to bully us. We did that admirably, and were rewarded with another three points. The win will be overshadowed by the injuries to Theo and Cesc – especially if our captain is sidelined for more than one or two matches. Unfortunately, that is part of the game.

We are almost in to March – during the past few seasons, we have more often than not had to field injury depleted sides for key matches. Even if the missing players are all out for more than a match or two, we are still in better shape than in previous years. We should be the best in the league at coping with this situation by now. Even if the news on the two players we lost today – as well as Robin and Kos – is not good, I think we have the quality, depth and strength to cope. But before we even worry about that, let’s wait for the prognosis on these players.

Sunday is the Carling Cup final. Whatever happens, after that match we will only have three competitions to worry about. Not that it will get any easier, but I think a trophy win can give us extra confidence for the remainder of the season.

No matter how one looks at it, there is still plenty of football remaining and an opportunity to have a really special season here!

Written by Oliver

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247 comments on “Back into the Trenches as Arsenal beat Stoke 1-0……..

  1. Morning all

    Great read again Oliver…

    Great result but gutted about Cesc and Theo…

  2. Good write up.

    I thought Squil was good last night, got tight to Carew, never letting him control and turn with the ball.

    The ref was again a xenophobic piece of crap, seems it is ok to do two footed tackles as long as it is against The Arsenal.

    Hope Cesc can make it for Sunday.

    Wenger needs to tell Jack, AA and Nasri to pass the ball forward sometimes. It is all well and good retaining possession but if you do nothing with that possession, you are asking for trouble.

    You will lose the ball at one point and then the ball is in our box so, we need to go for the throat. Players need to run through the massed defences, balls need to be threaded. So what if possession is lost, we are already camped in their half so we can win it back high up.

    With 4 or 5 players making runs, their defenders become confused and then holes appear for our (very) clever players to find the “killer” pass.

  3. Morning Will

    Call me an old cynic but i think both will make it for sunday…

  4. I think Cesc will but I am not sure about Theo.

    I am looking forward to the game on Sunday.

  5. Morning Rico,

    could you make your posts alittle shorter?

  6. Me too Will, can’t wait :)

  7. Morning didee – cheeky, i hope oliver isn’t offended ;)

  8. Sorry, no offense intended but just thought it was

  9. no offence taken by me didee, there’s always so much to include in a match report…

  10. Morning Rico,Will and Didee…three vital points but bitter victory hope Cesc will make sunday

  11. Oliver great post as always

  12. Morning Erik, I hoping for the best concerning Theo and Cesc, we need them all the way

  13. Morning Erick, it sure feels good to be sat just the one point behind the mancs and if wigan can actually put up a fight at the weekend they could do us a huge favour….

  14. we should know a bit more today about the injuries…

  15. Rico, ur an old cynic :P

  16. I really wish Gazidis would bring out a DVD and take it to the FA asking why this tackle was not punished etc etc.

  17. Morning Rico, excellent post by Oliver. The team seem to be growing as the season progresses, dare i say getting stronger with every big game.

  18. Morning WATH – I am :)

  19. Hi Will, we discussed this a few weeks ago, was it Coyle who has sent a DVD to the FA asking about the dreadful decisions they have been on the end of

    Morning Kev…

  20. Who’s going to Wembley then??

  21. Ramsey to play vs Leyton Orient i reckon.

  22. Cos we Arsenal Will and the FA don’t give a shit…! never been any different and never will be either.

  23. Yeah I remember Rico and I really think The Arsenal (who in my opinion are the worst affected)should start asking the FA to explain some of their officials decisions.

    Seems to me, kicking Arsenal is ok, if The Arsenal kick back it is an automatic booking. I would love to find out the fouls to bookings ratio of us and others.

  24. I reckon so kev, him and diaby in the middle…

  25. Why would anyone wanna go Wembley Rico its not a very nice place even the market is crap !! :P :P

  26. I know Will but like WATH says, its Arsenal and the FA hate us, they would do naff all about it and just accuse wenger of whinging again….

    but we sure have a case…

  27. :lol: I wouldn’t want to be going thats for sure, i’d have no sofa to hide behind if it gets close…. ;)

  28. What do we think of the performance from last night? Is it acceptable that no one takes responsibility once Cesc goes off?

  29. The tackle against Sagna was from Rory “longthrow” Delap not Whitehead. just thought I should point it out, otherwise it was an excellent reporting

  30. That happens all too often Will.. its not right but it’s true – when cesc doesn’t play, we lack a leader on the pitch, takes us back to that big strong fearless midfielder..

    Actions speak louder than words sometimes….

  31. Morning all, great write up Ollie. Long winded, bit id much rather have that than multiple one paragraph blogs every few hours, just churning out something teyve, as everyone else has, on newsnow. NOT mentioning names…cough…Ashburton Grove..cough..

    Big thumbs up goes to Nikki B who had the presence of mind to notice the Stoke defence lose the plot and dink the ball back in for SS18 (he showed massive improvement too. As We all have been pleading for). How many times have we seen NB52 smack those into Holloway road?

  32. I really hope Samir would have stepped up but they were all too happy to play the safe, sideways pass. That said, none of the forwards were willing to run their nuts off to create space behind them.

    Too often Sagna and Clichy were cut off because the “wingers” were happy to stay outside in their safe zone rather than drive in the box hoping to stretch the defenders.

  33. Winning the Carling Cup would be the springboard to a minimum top two Premier League finish for Arsenal, according to new Opta statistics.

    Statistically, over the past ten years the winner of the competition has achieved a 10% increase in points gathered for the remainder of the season, enough to guarantee a runners-up position at least.

    Opta data compiled for this weekend’s Carling Cup Final reveals that for the successful team the average points haul per league game rises from 1.81 to 1.99 after the final.

    Winning finalists have also gone on to do well in other competitions with Liverpool claiming the FA Cup and UEFA Cup in 2001, Chelsea winning the FA Cup in 2007 and Manchester United winning the Premier League in 2009.

  34. To be fair Will, they’re not wingers, they’re alot more inside forwards. 3 points gained, one behind UTD. that’ll do me, The Chavs are picking up momentum now, I reckon they’ll take points off the yanks.

  35. That’s very interesting Will. Fingers crossed.

  36. Rocastle, I think you may have missed my point. It was about the fact that Fabregas goes off, no one takes ownership to continue the attacking play.

    We are too happy to play safe, sideways passes and players to keep to their positions.

  37. Yeah, we do seem to go flat.

    2 forced midfield changes can do that to momentum I think. It was like musical chairs across the attacking 5 last night. Samir or Jack can fill in for Cesc if needs be.

  38. Can they fill in?

    Also, it seems that once the captain goes, the players get lazy. My point about the wide me is, if they had run off the ball in behind the defence, they would have

    A) Caused panic as who goes with them?
    B) Opened up space of our full backs to push up and get decent crosses in.

    But, it seemed to me that the wide men were happy to stay out there and pass the ball back, so it could go sideways and then to the other side for exactly the same thing to happen.

  39. Hi Rocastle – i’ve only seen the highlights but Nikki def seemed a lot more interested than he did against LO and good pass for the goal…

  40. I think they can fill in if they’re given that specific role. That’s the position they both feel they are most comfortable in. So they can step up. Both have the required quality. Well be ok.

  41. play wise they can fill in but as for taking the armband and leading, rvp will do that on sunday if cesc doesn’t play…

  42. on and off for a bit, few things to get done….

  43. Will your missing the fact none of them really wanted to get booted up in the air, we’d scored looked very comfy so i think they were playing well within themselves which was sideways and not taking risks and for sure not killing the game or creating much BUT as said before it was a way of keeping out of trouble and lunging tackles etc etc…! When we need to step it up we will do…!

  44. Wath, not missing that point at all but how many games have you seen this season alone where we have been “comfy” until one long ball causes panic in our box and bang, we are at 1-1 and hanging on?

    The truly great teams go for the throat. The invincibles and the current Barca team get 1-0 and want 2, 3 and 4. They create an aura that give them an advantage before a ball is kicked.

    Remember Mile Tyson? Fighters were scared of him because of his rep, a rep he himself built by knocking people out hard and fast. I hate to say this but the great Man Utd team had that aura, teams would start the game hoping to get beaten by only two goals.

    We need to get that aura and when players are lazy like they were last night, it annoys the piss out of me. Stoke were there for the taking but we were left biting our nails in the final minutes as balls were hoofed into our box.

    Yes we got the win but did it add to our rep?

  45. Arsenal knew how to manage emotions and keep the game plan. As predicted, there was a match to remember but to perform the work due. And we have done it. Period.
    Sunday, must be a day to remember. Would that be a milestone in early Emirats brought many trophies and also the new Wembley. For the remaining time, which is the stimulus and the doping required to provide us with extra energy and confidence.
    As for injuries let us have to get used to them but as stops are one or two weeks is not very serious. We have to have substitutes to match. And we have. However, he is speaking Vermaelen …
    Yesterday, the commentator spoke of service “lack of freshness. ” With Sunday’s game are 43 official games to which they have to add the international and friendly. Just do the sums and there are many clubs across Europe that at the end of the season will not have made 43 official games.
    Already reserved a seat for Sunday!

  46. Trevor Francis reckons there will be an upset on Sunday…

    So, going by what the pundits keep saying about us, that must mean we are going to win :lol:

  47. Trevor Francis is a numpty.

  48. ‘morning all…thanks for the taking the comments, rico…now we just have to wait and see what the news on cesc is…

    i am a bit apprehensive about sunday’s final and it is nothing to do with the massive brum homer, trevor francis…having played for and managed that club, i don’t expect him to say anything else…remember his pitiful, biased commentary in our 2-1 ems win over them early in the season?

    i am more nervous because i think that we will be battling not only brum, but also expectations. we are the better side and should win, but i worry about how the players will respond to the pressure…

  49. Will, normally i’d agree with you and we do take our foot off the pedal and mess abt far to much but think we just lost a bit of focus when Cesc went off and we became disjointed, the rest I put down to having a final in the back of their minds and not wanting to get booted out the game. I can understand that as well.

  50. But don’t you want Samir to step up and show how good he is once Cesc has gone? Surely pride alone would make you want to “be the man” in a game like this?

  51. hi oliver – have to say, i’m not overly confident either, like you say, the club is under so much pressure to get a long awaited trophy and the pressure could really get to them….

  52. Nicklas Bendtner insists Arsenal will be deadly serious when they look to end their six-year wait for a trophy this weekend.

    Arsène Wenger’s side are firm favourites going into Sunday’s Carling Cup Final against Birmingham but the Gunners are no strangers to Wembley shocks – they lost League Cup showpieces they were expected to win in 1969 and 1988.

    Bendtner knows there is no room for complacency and he is ready to make a major contribution of his own.

    “I’d love to say that I have trophies to show for my time at Arsenal,” he told the Official Arsenal Programme. “That’s why I’m here, to win things and play with the best players.

    “Everyone wants to be a part of that so it’d be nice if we can start off with some silverware on Sunday, it’s a very big game and we need to take it seriously to make sure of it.

    “There have been ups and downs for me this season but I think things have turned – I’ve finally overcome my injury 100 per cent and feel much sharper, more myself.”

  53. Watch the game Will Nas and Jack both stepped up they both took control always wanted the ball and didnt hide, you wanted them to score five and get forward and create they just wanted the ball to kill the game off and its what they did, two ways of controlling the game they just did it in a bit of a negative way thats all, not a bad thing when half the time our shit comes from being to gung ho and then getting caught out. Your looking at it from a far to negative perspective, they did what they had to do for a change.

  54. Oh well thats the answer then Rico, poor ole bendy ain’t been 100%. . . . . !

  55. How sad a great club likes Arsenals fans, generalise so much.
    Even Wenger has come off his high horse and said Stoke played well.
    There is no perfect way to play,you cannot take the moral high ground.
    You have a worse disciplinary record than Stoke this season and committed more fouls last night.

    Very sad a team that employed Keown,Adams ,Winterburn,Viera Wright etc have gone all high and mighty sice they went all tippy tappy with there art noveax fans.
    Look forward to a hostile time at the Britannia come May.The whole of Potteries is waiting with relish.

  56. has he ever WATH, he was a bit better last night but still has a way to go, both our so called big strikers do….

  57. I thought he ran round more in the first ten mins last night that he did the 90 at Orient….!

  58. Kev – niggly fouls have seen us pick up our cards – apart from one from jack which was a tad late – we may have seen a few cards more than you but we don’t break legs!!

  59. maybe he was playing for a start on sunday – did he sustain it after theo went off??

    he must have thought then he was in with a pretty good chance to play in the final….

  60. Worse disciplinary record than Stoke for the first time in yrs and thats your only argument from a team who’s idea of getting a result is a bloke with a long throw, All the Arsenal ex players you mentioned fella were all hard as nails but hardly dirty unlike a few of yours, hard is one thing sticking up for crap dirty tackles entirely another and your tarred with that brush when you all stuck up for what shawcross did to Ramsey. If the cap fits….! Looking forward to May actually, if you wanna win the league you gotta beat allsorts even teams that play anti-football so bring it on..!.

  61. oliver, you do this really well. :) I had the same thoughts about Denilson’s foul on the 90. Allthough, mine were less kind. ;) Great result. Bad injuries. Poor Theo. I hope Cesc’s is nothing too major though.

  62. Hello, rico. :) I completely agree with your 3:06.

    Hola, WATH. Don’t go getting apoplectic now. :P Stoke fans are not worth the bother. ;P

  63. hi agag, that foul of deniloson’s made me want to jump through the television screen and lamp him one, and that was this morning watching the highlights already knowing we had won…

    how many times does he make those stupid tackles…. thankfully this one didn’t cost us any points….

  64. AGAG, Makes me laugh when ppl talk about playing well when all they can do is lob a ball 50yards from a throw in….!.

  65. Hahaha. I know, rico! A really poor decision from Denilson, but how we would have paid, if Stoke had scored! Thankfully…

  66. That was, WATH, “playing well” for Stoke. We hold ourselves to much higher standards, and yes, “one-nil to the football team.” :)

  67. I disagree with you Wath.

  68. Anti football.
    Get a grip.
    How many goals have we scored from the throw this season TWO.
    Leg breakers now are we lol.Wilshire can throw himself two footed into tackles though and thats ok.
    Your little fairies can dive and cheat as much as they want.
    So who else has had a leg broke by stoke ,Delap had his broke two seasons ago do we cry ?
    Girlie team with girlie support.
    Media darling who most the country hates because of their sly cheating and back biting.
    As you say see you in May at a proper football club.
    Make sure Tarquin and Jeremy come with you before they all go back to rugby.

  69. Rugby…. yeah that’s a good idea, i reckon Delap would be brilliant at ‘line-outs’…. Martin Johnson, get up to the Brittainia, quick…

  70. Shawcross at ‘tighthead-prop’, yeah , i can see it now…

  71. Imagine the ‘rucks’ and ‘mauls’ Whitehead would win… That’s it, Stoke City RFU….

  72. morning agag…i gritted my teeth when i saw denilson’s foul – it was in a good position, and pennant had put some good crosses in earlier, so i feared the worst…he didn’t miss by much, that’s for sure…

  73. Hello, allezkev. :)

    oliver, Denilson will be the death of me, I fear. ;) Having said that, I thought he was otherwise solid. And held the ball quite well. :)

  74. D&D will be the death of me :lol:

  75. agag, i am not sure i would even call him solid. i thought the team around him kept their composure and kept the ball well in general…

  76. Your allowed to disagree with me Will thats why we all have an opinion mate..!

  77. Your a proper football club are you kev, must be the highlight of your week being grim up norff watching that crap week in week out…! Yes anti-football all you do is hoof….! pure and simple…! Oh well its what your used to so how would you know what proper footie is. See if next time you can quote something not out of the media…!

  78. Semi-solid then, oliver. Like jell-o, if you will. :)

    Oh let’s not even go into the other “D”, rico. I’d keep Denilson over Diaby, that’s how little I rate the latter. ;)

  79. I’d have to think about that one agag ;)

  80. I don’t think anyone is asking Stoke to play free flowing football and match us attack for attack (although it would be nice if they attained for that). I just think we Gooners are looking for teams to be fair in the tackle. Sorry, I don’t take “we need to be physical to compete” as a reason to kick and be overly aggressive.

    Also, I think we would like teams like Stoke to have some attacking thoughts and not just stick 9 men at the edge of their area and hope for set pieces.

    Also, Stoke is hardly the impoverished ghetto so Kev, stop being an internet hardman and come debate football.

  81. rico, :lol:

  82. its a tough call agag, i’d prob go for both and let us use the money for Hazard :lol:

  83. Can someone tell me how many yellow cards have Fabregas, Song, Denilson, Sagna, Clichy … ?
    That is also important for the rest of the season

  84. Hi JM, i’ll see if i can find that out now…

  85. JM, on the PL stat list they are not listed, it’s full of stoke players ;)

  86. No Rico, you have to look on the IRB site to find Stoke. Hi agag

  87. :lol: kev…

    Off to cook dinner… back in a bit

  88. It don’t take that long for beans on toast. . . . . .

  89. Anyone watching the Liverpool game?

  90. Tottenham [a] April 20th. I was kinda hoping for a May appointment at The Slum…

  91. Shit, won’t be winning the league for a third time at their place then, bit to early…!

  92. Bad news on Arse .com…. Cesc is out…..merde

  93. Cheeky WATH, a jamie oliver dinner for me…

  94. RVP, Kozzer and Diaby should be ok.

  95. kev, no, cesc out for sunday :(

  96. Sorry sweetypie, i wish i was joking…gutted

  97. Maybe Wenger isn’t prepared to risk him with Barca on the horizon…?

  98. just read it on afc.com, thats a real setback…..

    doesn’t sound as if he and theo will be back for the barca game either….

    sweetypie??

  99. Cesc out? :cry: I was waiting for some news… I wish I hadn’t…

  100. Just fed up Rico, Theo might be back, ‘sweetpie’, i’m a cockney, it’s just my way of speaking to friends, no offence i hope..

  101. God save us from a Denilson/Diaby midfield on Sunday. Don’t think i could cope…

  102. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UsEbf-o83fc&feature=youtu.beEvening all,
    You must take a look at this, penalty anytime you like

  103. none taken kev ;)

    agag, it never rains but it pours :(

  104. Diaby is fit for sunday… BUT no place in that side for denilson, not unless wenger wants us to lose…..

  105. ‘Theo might be back’ for Barcelona, i meant… Evening Steve P.

  106. I do hope your right Rico, what a shame Aaron won’t be back in time

  107. … And so close to the Barcelona second leg, too. :(

    Oh the Injury Imp is wreaking havoc again. Sigh.

    Who was that, Steve P.??

  108. Well done SP, i needed a laugh.

  109. Kev, I thought Rambo’s spell at Cardiff ends tomorrow?

  110. No Cesc is no great shakes means the others have to pull finger thats all…! Nas, Jack n Song in the middle, simple. RVP back AA on the wing and does Bendy play on the right instead of Theo or Ebooooie..?

  111. Rambo ends at Cardiff after their game saturday AGAG…!

  112. Hi Agag AlKev,
    dont know, was just sent it by a mate of mine

  113. Ah, I see. I wish AW would recall him. Either of the D and D can go in his stead… :)

  114. WATH, yeah your right the boys still have enough, we’re just gutted for Cesc in particular, wish you were right agag…

  115. bad news on cesc…but a potential silver lining is that he may be recovered in time for march 8th…i am sure arsene will play cards close to the proverbial vest and we will not hear either cesc or theo are fit to return until arsene is pretty certain…

    agree denilson should not start…arshavin slots in neatly for theo, but the other midfielder alongside jack and song is a more difficult call…denilson and song do not function well together, it strips the side of creativity…between diaby and rosicky, i would probably go for the former…

  116. I would play Jack/Samir/Song in the centre and Eboue on the right.

  117. I’m so sad for cesc, finally we get to a final and he’s crocked….

  118. Think I’m with you on that one Will, then Bendy can come on for the last 20 if needed…?!?!?! That middle of Nas, Jack n Song is top quality so no excuses there…!

  119. He’ll have to make sure we get to CL final then Rico…!

  120. hopefully this will be the first of many finals and cesc will reap a nice silverware haul as our captain…

  121. so unless he suffers a setback, robin will start on sunday – and skipper the side.

  122. Also reward for RVP to list a bit of silverware Oliver, think he will relish being Captain…!

  123. So depressing. I am off. Very sleepy. It’s almost breakfast here, rico, and you just had your dinner. :)

    Good night, all!!

  124. :lol: agag, enjoy breakfast.. nighty night..

    I’d actually be happier for RvP to lift the trophy, he’s been with us longer and like WATH says, cesc can lift other silverware – the CL :)

  125. Nite AGAG. . . . SLeep tite ;-)

    So who’s going sunday anyone…? I know ur not Rico, I’ll send you a pic ;-)

  126. I knew you’d be going WATH – cheap seats no doubt ;)

  127. Cheap seeing as I didnt pay for them ;-) If they crap I’ll be having words with said person that got them for me….! I was gonna stay in the pub with a few of the chaps who also not got a tkt but thought stuff it its still a final so I’ll go in…!

  128. i can understand that WATH, i said earlier i wouldn’t go but truth be known, if i lived nearby i bite anyones hand off that could get me a ticket… i’d love to be there ….

  129. I wasn’t to fussed to be honest but the closer it got the more I wanted to go so I’m going…! It could be a very long day and I already looked in the mirror and said boss I won’t be into work on Monday ;-) he agreed it would be wise to relax n take it easy on monday

  130. Has everyone gone to bed, oi wake up you lazy lot….!

  131. haha, well, thats ok when your boss is in the mirror – just hope we bloomin well beat the brummies WATH – i wish i felt more confident…

  132. and to think i am still up too….. ;)

  133. WATH, i had a choice with my Son, who i share my season ticket with, Birmingham or Leyton Orient??? Decisions, decisions… So guess whose going?

  134. Really looking forward to the FA Cup…

  135. Gone 9 and ur still here on a school night ;-)

    Have you turned into a pumpkin yet…?

    Yep the boss is very understanding :-)

    I think we will win sunday, we got far to much quality and long as we dont take them lightly which I really dont think we will then I think we will win.

  136. Well ur a top man Kev, I’d ground my boy n tell him its Dads last turn for a final maybe lol, how old is your nipper…? Hope he realises he has nicked Dad’s ticket ;-)

  137. Rico, how was the Jamie Oliver dinner, are they any good?

  138. He’s bigger than me WATH lol

  139. midnight is my problem WATH!!

  140. So you share the home games as well or do you take the best games..? Think lots share their season tkts now, I rarely use mine the pub is far better with ya mates in watching the game on some dodgy tv station ;-)

  141. kev – not his dinners, it was made from one of his recipes :)

  142. To be honest WATH, as much as i’d love to be there, i just want them to win. I’ll be dancing in the garden when Robin lift’s the cup. Rico will still be hiding behind the settee, hehe

  143. Don’t matter how big he is mate, he’s still the nipper !! Midnight, when do u ever make it to midnight :P

  144. if you guys choose not to go, do you offer your ST up for use?? Thats the only way i used to go…

  145. Rico will be drunk by half time stressing and downing her cider’s….! she will be asleep through the 2nd half and will miss Robin lifting the cup…!

  146. WATH – never, not even new years eve…. :(

  147. I went to the Spurs game, nightmare, but nah, he gets the big games, i get to wound-up mate. I should be calming down, but i’m worse than ever…

  148. I normally give mine to my brother in law Rico, he uses them or any of my mates boys use them…! Simple and easy.

  149. Lets not even mention that game……….. My mrs keeps telling me that it shouldnt matter as much any more yet I think it matters more now than ever I keep saying it dont matter and I dont care anymore but I do….!

  150. The ticket never ever goes to waste Rico. My lad might be working Saturday week, so if he’s ‘on-call’, i’m going to the Sunderland game.

  151. And no ripping someone of either WATH – bet they all love it when you cannot go…

    kev – dreadful night but we’ll get them back….. that away fixture could very well be pretty special..

  152. Must admit bit pissed off the yids is April 20th…. I was thinking 2nd week in May would be great ;-) Oh well it’ll be worth taking the wee wee to celebrate 50yrs of nothing for them ;-)

  153. So true WATH, i also try to be chilled-out, but i was raving at the PC last night. My lot think i’m mad.

  154. As u kno Rico its not that I cant go its that I chose not to go in, am always over there I just stay in the pub nine times out of ten…!

  155. Well least down the pub it doesnt get the mrs all humpy cos your going mental at a little screen and she has no idea whats going on and then by the time I get home have calmed down or am happy n tipsy ;-) She none the wiser…!

  156. April 20th – bring it on..

  157. Oh Rico, i just couldn’t understand how we fell apart. There just seemed a really deflated feeling among us Gooners in the stadium when it went 2-1, almost as if we expected the worst…

  158. WATH, oh yeah, have you been told ” It’s only a game” yet, grrrrr.

  159. i felt the same and i was watching the TV – it was horrid but we’ll get them back……

  160. I left at 2-2 that day I fcukin knew what was coming and I wasnt gonna watch those cnuts celebrate so far as I am concerned it finished 2-2 ;-) I still got home at some stupid time the next day…! Oh well we did have fun, i think ;-)

  161. Oi WATH, some of us ladies get all humpy too when we don’t win, don’t think we are all the same!!

  162. Rico, she knows better than to come out with that old crap, I only get told to calm down or the best one is, I’m off out your mental…! Normal reply being . . . Bye……!

  163. Yeah Rico, but like WATH i was dreaming of another 1971/2004 moment.But hey….what about May 7th???? Stoke [a], now wouldn’t that be sweet….

  164. Mine gets humpy cos she knows I am a nightmare for days when we have lost ;-) She also Arsenal but I never take her so that pisses her off too lol….! Women shouldnt be at footie lol hmmmmm watch the steam coming out the easr now over the pc n blog airwaves ;-) :P :P :P

  165. Ere ere ere, no domestics please lol

  166. Nothing quite like going down the swamp n taking the piss though Kev, I await the Wrath of Rico lol ;-)

  167. WATH – I am not even going to bother replying to that and you would not have said it if agag and i were on here –
    :lol:

  168. Oh so u have to gang up on me to reply……….. Not bad from 2 ladies who never go………. !! :P :P :P

  169. No Wrath, WATH…. :)

  170. See ur good at poetry, women should stick to that kinda thing ;-) lol

  171. ok, but i go when i can :(

    talking of going, i am soon so beat me up now and i can get over it by the morning… ;)

  172. I’m always on my best behaviour on here WATH. Just accept that our lovely girls on here are always right. Quiet life mate…

  173. kev – well said :lol: :lol:

  174. I’ll let you off Rico, told you I’d take you over there but no drinking me under the table ;-)

    A quiet life is too boring Kev, can’t be having that..! Go big or go home I say.

  175. I know my place….hehe

  176. :lol: WATH… make it a tall table then….

    guys, i gotta go, pooped….

    nighty night and just be good….

    TTFN, til tommorrow….

  177. So u going wednesday to the replay Kev..? or just Sunderland next weekend..? Looking forward to seeing Aaron back I must admit…!

  178. :lol: kev….

    nighty night…

  179. Nite Rico, sleep tite n watch out for the pumpkins ;-)

  180. Goodnight Rico [S/pie] pleasant dreams…

  181. WATH, going to L.Orient for defo, should go to Sunderland as well, my lad needs the overtime.

  182. Yeah, it’ll be fantastic to see Aaron back in an Arsenal shirt. really looking forward to it…

  183. If Aaron is playing I’ll go in otherwise I’ll just be in the pub close by, will be good to see the fella back, I really rate him. You upper or lower tier..?

  184. My lad usually goes for a beer in a pub close to Finsbury Park Stn, where do you go??

  185. we’re in the ‘cheap seats’… Just in front of where the players relatives sit. We used to see Dennis up there on a regular basis, before he rejoined Ajax.

  186. Where do you sit mate??

  187. I usually drink round the back of Holl Rd going up towards the Callie…. I’m block 31. Upstairs is crap…!

  188. Cheap seats………. Ur having a laugh, nothing cheap in that place !!

  189. Dennis and Henry have a box next to each other don’t they…!

  190. We’re about Row 13, good atmosphere. Not as good as Highbury, but it’s improving. At least the ‘stewards’ leave us alone and i can stand for most of 90mins. Took awhile for the penny to drop and for ‘them’ to leave us be.

  191. Ticket prices are a joke. They can stick the Champions League final where the sun don’t shine.

  192. Yeah, we saw Thierry recently. Once a Gooner eh? These blokes are legends, and i don’t use that lightly…

  193. Ur by Red action obviously that where all their seats are…! Stewards get told to sod off where we are they a nightmare, little gestapo numpty’s

  194. TH goes to as many games as he can, he always says he’s Arsenal and i think he is to be fair, DB10 for me was The Man but have a lot of time for TH14.

  195. Yeah, Red Action are on the next Block to our right [facing pitch]. Stewards are a lot better now, to be fair. But it took too long for them to realise that you can’t create an atmosphere sitting on your bum…

  196. Watch us get to the final and loads of season ticket holders wont get CL tickets they will all sell out and we wont get nothing, they’ll all go to club level and the coorporates, utter shit that is.

  197. Wasn’t TH14 at our training ground recently? What a great example to the boys. I’ve always wondered why Keown wasn’t kept on the coaching staff??

  198. Far to many think being a steward is a power thing and they get right carried away….! The club were well at fault though for the way they behave. It def aint like the good ole days thats for sure

  199. Same with the FA Cup mate. It’s a joke…

  200. TH trained with the team for a few weeks while he was in the off season from the States, Keown tells it like it is you really think Wenger would have him around telling Arsene he thinks he’s wrong…? lol Wenger wont have anyone telling him he’s wrong he’s to egotistical for that..!

  201. How the fuck do eufa get away with 25quid admin fee on a tkt, ultimate piss take for sure and 150 for a tkt thats gonna be up in the gods…. fuck that I’ll watch that on tv thats for sure the pub will be rocking…!

  202. Yeah, we used to be at the Clock End at Highbury, right close to the First Aid stn. We had a steward who kept control by having a laugh, he was a really good guy. We all moaned at him, but ultimately he got us seated…well usually

  203. You know mate, if we don’t make the final, then i hope it’s Shaktar vs Schalke, half-empty stadium.

  204. Must admit cant stand sitting watching football it just seems wrong….! Highbury was always a good laugh. I was East lower always a good crack in there.

  205. Prob is the hospitality would still prob fill it even its its the two worst supported clubs in Europe, its all a con…! Normal supporters just get shit on time and again.

  206. Having said that, i hope it’s Arsenal vs Mancs

  207. UEFA/FIFA are full of shit, how i hate those tossers.

  208. I walk past Highbury now and it just pisses me off, to think of all the memories from the place and now its poxy flats…! This lot now are so spoilt, i’ve seen some utter shit over the yrs over that place thats for sure, now we got all these pampered lot moaning cos we gone 5 yrs and no trophy..!

  209. U don’t want much eh… Arsenal v mancs CL final, we’ll never ever get tickets….! lol

  210. Blimey mate, how i agree, my boys don’t know how lucky they are….. oh no, i’m sounding like my Dad,lol

  211. Yeah mate, we won’t get tickets, but we’d beat them, now how fantastic would that be??

  212. Ur Dad sounds like he got it right though ;-)how old are they…?

  213. Fuck not sure me ole ticker could handle that……. The thought of loosing to them is nearly as bad as loosin to the yids…. We’d never ever live it down….! Not sure I could handle the stress lol

  214. i think if it was Arse vs Mancs, i get the feeling that you wouldn’t be in the pub for that one eh? Not if you had a ticket…

  215. If it was us v anyone in the Cl i’ll be there, fuck the money, seen us win everything but that so least then for me I can say happily I’ve seen us win it all…!

  216. Nah mate, you’d be ok, my boys are 29 & 27.

  217. Well at that age least they grew up over Highbury so know what it was all about, still spoilt with the success though, we had all the shit of the mid 70’s to mid 80’s, we were toilet at times lol.

  218. We all went to Paris in 2006, 3 gooners, 2 tickets… Guess who sat in a bar with a bunch of Barcelona fans???

  219. Yes mate, and i also used to go to the away games, i must have been insane. When i think of some of the rubbish we put up with, i reckon we paid our dues mate.

  220. The place was mobbed with Arsenal how did you get stuck with a load of them..? I also walked out about 2 mins b4 the end so again didnt see them celebrate, to this day have never seen their goals, have erased that match from my memory.

  221. Did you go to Anfield in 1989?

  222. It was fun then though and didnt cost a fortune, we were shit but the players gave 100% even if they were rubbish lol and the away trips all over the place were always good fun.

  223. Yep I was there…! Special special night, still not my fav though, yids semi final replay in 87….! mental night…! That night was just the ultimate..!

  224. Don’t know, there was a bar opposite full of Gooners, i just wondered into this bar, asked for a beer, non, then a coke, non, so i just thought sod ya, sat down and watched the game on French TV. Biggest disappointment ever. And we’ve had a few eh?

  225. Yeh we’ve had a fair few for sure but thats football…..!

  226. Ah, great, great, nope i missed them both. I saw the league game at The Slum that season. That was quite enjoyable…
    Other than the game, i had a great day un Paris. I live in Kent and drove there, i was knackered on the way home.

  227. All those games with them are a blur from the 80’s, was always a mad day out and the games were more intense than they are now for sure…! No tickets needed turn up and jump over the turnstiles cos they put the prices up cos it was us… typical of that lot…!

  228. I think beating Spurs at Wembley in 1993 was the biggie for me. After losing to them in 1991 we just couldn’t lose to them again. God how i hated them that day in 93. It was bedlam on the final whistle.

  229. I think after 91 we were so lucky to be able to beat them only 2 yrs lata and make up for 91….! The semi at Manchester was also mad though, that was also a mad trip and weekend.

  230. Yeah, that’s right, 30,000 creating more of a din that 60,000 now.

  231. I think the noise from that semi in 2001 was mental….! One thing for sure old trafford has never been so loud…! That was one really good weekend ;-)

  232. 2001, wasn’t it, yeah that was a wild one, but i was always confident of beating them that day, even when they went 1-0. Did you go to Cardiff?

  233. Right been good chatting gotta go make tea for the Mrs and show her am still alive….! chat 2moro if your about. You always on HH or do you chat elsewhere, I’m only ever on here to many knobs on other sites for me. Take it easy.

  234. You know i’ve been to Old Trafford six times, only seen us lose once, a lucky ground for me.

  235. Yep did all the cardiff trips, loosin to the dippers was sore….! They got smashed to bits that day and that little thief nicked two goals n stole the cup from us, again we missed so many chances to kill them off and as usual didnt…!

  236. OK matey, likewise, good atmosphere on here. Don’t upset ‘she, who must be obeyed’… Nite WATH

  237. I’ve seen us win lots at OT but also seen us lose a few times as well. Hated Anfield never used to win there think only seen us win there 3 times…! and its a crap hole…!

  238. Yeah., that game did me in for weeks. cheerio mate

  239. She who must be obeyed does as she’s told when I tell her lol ;-) Told ya, go big or go home….! Enjoy the rest of ya evening.

  240. Was there when we lost 4-0 in 1998, what a great night, just took the piss out of the Scousers.

  241. I know my place, hehe

  242. I was there too at the 4-0 game, pissed down as well if I remember but a right laugh cos we didnt care…!

  243. Eveeryone seems to have a place on here mate thats why its a good laugh. lata…!

  244. If anyone gets a chance, have a quick look on the ‘comments’ on yesterdays [24th] Le Grove. Look at Wardo 13.48, and the singing commentator, it’s a scream.

  245. morning all, news out this morning that cesc will be fit for the little game in spain….

  246. New Post up…

  247. I look forward to your comments after watching the following.

    http://playfootballthearsenalway.wordpress.com/

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