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Striker exit confirmed & Will Theo show today why Wenger was right?

December 31, 2011

Before you all get your hopes up, Chamakh will only be leaving us short term as yesterday Morocco confirmed that our potent striker will be playing some kind of part in the African Cup of Nations. Sadly though, he will be back at some stage! The timing of this ACON could be good for all though, Chamakh may find some form with Morocco, he may even start scoring goals and get some confidence back. Then, on his return he may just continue that form for us!

On the other hand, his absence may just give another player a chance and he may just take that chance and no, I don’t mean TH12 either, I mean Park or Chamberlain. Although it should be a Podolski or Remy but our club is too tight to go down that route!

Onto today, the vistors being QPR and it’s going to be interesting on the right for us, on the the left for them.

Theo Walcott, if selected will be up against Traore in what could be a tasty little battle. We all know that the Frenchman likes to bomb forward and attack but today I strongly suspect Warnock will have told him to hang back and not let Theo rip him apart down the wing.

Of course, there could be a chance that our other young Englishman will start and Theo could be on the bench, either way I strongly suspect that Chamberlain or Walcott will win the battle and prove to Wenger that he was right to let Traore move on. Mind you, right now we could do with him…..

In the middle of the park there will be Battle number 2, the little slimy weasel, also known as, Joey Barton, will be up against Alex Song and we all know what happened the last time those two met! Well, we don’t need any repeat of that today, Song and every other player, especially Gervinho needs to concentrate on playing football and not being wound up by that little git, we all know that most referees love to send off one of our players!

We mustn’t give him the opportunity and Wenger needs to have a word with them all before the game, make it clear not to rise to any of Barton’s bait, sure as heck Warnock will be telling him to wind us up for 90 minutes…..

Today is also the last chance for Robin van Persie to equal or surpass Shearers record – good, maybe he’s been trying a bit too hard for the goals in the last couple of games and he’s just got unlucky – after today, the pressure is off and he’ll start banging them in again!

Most importantly though we need to get back to winning ways at The Emirates if we want to stay in and around the top four, teams around us will get stronger next month and we cannot afford to drop anymore points.

We have no new injuries after the Wolves fixture so other than the return of Walcott; the squad should be the same, although it would be good to see Park on the bench (no pun intended) and Chamberlain actually get some playing time, he could actually change a game, unlike Chamakh or Arshavin these days!

Three points today are essential but will we get them?

Have a good day all, transfer window opens tomorrow and that’s something to get excited about isn’t it!!

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Gazidis simply must finance this move! Wenger rules out signing full-back!!

December 30, 2011

Whenever I read an Arsenal blog and its following comments, the concern over the fitness of one man stands out like a sore cruciate.
The fortune of our great club seems to be very much tied up with the health of our Dutch maestro Robin Van Persie.

As the January Window approaches we are all concerned about the wellbeing of our talisman, whilst hoping that Arsene Wenger brings in a quality striker to help carry some of the load from off of the broad shoulders of our Captain Courageous.

Who though, in truth, could supplant him in the team and do the job that he does?

The Coach of Borussia Dortmund was full of praise at the way that Robin ‘Led the Line’ or did so, by often dropping deep into midfield.

A revival of the ‘Revie Plan’ maybe from the mid-1950′s when Don Revie, as a deep-lying centre-forward, copied those revolutionary tactics first viewed in England at Wembley in 1953? The original tactic was brought to England by the famous Magic Magyars from Hungary, when they visited Wembley and inflicted a record 6-3 hammering on the hosts.

That result reverberated throughout English/British football and brought about changes not seen in British football since the change to the off-side law in the 1920′s.

The fulcrum of that great Hungarian team was it’s centre-forward Nandor Hidegkuti, who would drop deep into midfield, leaving the opposition centre-half [ only one in those days ] marking empty space. Meanwhile inside-forwards [ attacking midfielders ] Ferenc Puskas and Sandor Kocsis ran amok in the space that Hidegkuti had vacated.

Fast-Forward 58 years and we see Robin doing a similar job for Arsenal, dropping deep to link up with the midfield whilst Gervinho & Walcott run into the empty space. Robin then joins the attack, usually unmarked, to wreak havoc.

It takes a player of supreme quality and intelligence to play such a role and we are lucky to have him but it also leaves Arsenal in a right pickle if Robin is unavailable.

So where does Arsene find an apprentice to our captain?

Not an easy task, but something that Wenger has to face and that Gazidis simply must finance this time.

No prevaricating in this Window this time Ivan…!

Finally, Wenger has taken a U-turn on signing a full-back, having suggested he would sign cover in January, he has now said he doesn’t want to be paying a player for four years, especially as we have enough cover to get us through until our injured players return.

Written by Allezkev

Barca Striker & Henry lined up! Who has been your greatest Arsenal Captain??

December 29, 2011

The Daily Mail reports this morning that Arsene Wenger is lining up Barcelona striker Isaac Cuenca, the 20year old is free to talk to clubs next month as his contract is up in the summer. The same paper also suggest that we have finally offered Thierry Henry a return on a two month loan deal.

Should he accept this loan deal, he will feature in seven Premier League fixtures, our FA Cup matches and of course the Champions League battle with AC Milan. I’m sure many fans will be glad to hear this news but still many will wonder if this is the right thing to be doing.

So as an old Captain looks to be one his way back, who has been your greatest captain of Arsenal? It must be a question that every generation of Arsenal fans muse over from time to time.

For me, it is a toss-up between Frank McLintock MBE, and the equally great Tony Adams. For my Dad it was Joe Mercer and before him, those old enough to remember would probably say Eddie Hapgood and/or Tom Parker.

Recent Arsenal captains like Thierry Henry and Cesc Fabregas didn’t really come up to those exacting standards but they did the job in a more continental way.

Right now we are fortunate to have a dual leadership, of the more traditional type, an indefatigable duo of warriors in the shape of Robin Van Persie & Thomas Vermaelen. These two have seen a return to the bloody-minded, ‘over my dead body’ style of leadership that we tended to associate with Arsenal skippers of yore. They have created a more resilient attitude and mentality in the dressing room, aided and abetted by our more experienced summer signings.

Don Howe and Terry Neill were the first captains I can recall as a young boy but then Frank took the captaincy and was responsible for driving Arsenal to their first honours since 1953. Frank gave absolutely everything and he expected his team mates to do likewise.

A statue for him would be a well deserved honour & thank you from the club.

Alan Ball led the team through a difficult period as the 1970-71 Double Team broke up and he was eventually succeeded by Pat Rice.
Pat lifted the FA Cup in 1979, but my over-riding feeling about his team was that he should have lifted a few more cups as well as 1979.

The ever popular Kenny Sansom lifted the Littlewoods Cup in 1987 and he is one of my all-time favourite but he left the club under regrettable circumstances shortly afterwards.

Then we had Tony Adams, a West Ham fan as a boy but  soon became Mr Arsenal and most of us know how great Tony was/is…
My favourite two moments of his were his winner against Tottenham at Wembley in 1993 and his goal against Everton in 1998.

His “Would you believe it” moment…

'Would you believe it'?

Well what do you guys and gals think???

For the record and to help you make your choice:

The first Arsenal captain to win a trophy [FA Cup], Tom Parker.
The first Arsenal captain to win the League Championship, Tom Parker.
The first Arsenal captain to win the League Cup, Kenny Sansom.
The first Arsenal captain to win a european trophy, Frank McLintock.
Captain with most League titles, Eddie Hapgood and Tony Adams.
Only Arsenal captain to win League titles in three different decades, Tony Adams.

Todays post has been conjured up by Allezkev and Lee

The Post-Christmas Hangover….

December 28, 2011

This year we got to enjoy Boxing Day without an Arsenal fixture, thanks to the 24-hour strike by union workers shut the London Underground down, and had a knock-on effect on London surface and national rail traffic. So prior to Christmas, our club announced that our home fixture with Wolves would be pushed back 24 hours. An extra day of rest, which would hopefully translate into a good performance and three points…

Certainly, the opportunity was there. Man City, Chelsea and Liverpool all dropped points, the latter two at home. While City remain well off our radar for the time being, we came into today with an opportunity to leapfrog Chelsea and put some distance between us and Liverpool.

The official site ran a piece quoting Arsene as saying that Ju’s “adaptation” time is over and he now has to step up and show his quality. Seeing that he – once again – was not on the bench today, I am not sure just where and when he will be afforded his opportunity. If it won’t arrive until Chamakh departs for the African Cup of Nations next month, then there was no point to the article. Who knows…Perhaps Chamakh’s psyche is so fragile that Arsene is loath to even use Ju until the former is unavailable for selection. Anything resembling that speaks more to Chamakh’s unsuitability for our club than anything else.

There was also a piece quoting Arsene saying OC would be “ready to play” in 2012. He was on the bench but did not make it on the pitch…

Prior to the holiday weekend, Arsene also discussed Robin and his pursuit of the calendar year goal scoring record, suggesting the record is secondary (which I agree with) to team results and implying that our captain may rest one of these two (QPR upcoming) home fixtures, and stressing that other players need to be rested.

As it was, Robin did start, JD returned to the side at right back, Theo missed out due to illness (did he eat something on Christmas that did not agree with him?) and Ramsey rested for Rosicky. Benny was the direct beneficiary of Theo’s misfortune, taking his place.

We lined up Szczesny, TV, Mert, Kos, JD, Arteta, Song, Rosicky, Benny, Robin and Gerv. Al, Miquel, Coq, Ramsey, OC, Arsh, and Chamakh made the bench.

Wolves are a side we have done well against – both here and at Molineaux – in recent seasons, and we got ourselves in the scoreboard fairly early. Wolves threatened briefly before Rosicky picked Benny out. The latter bisected the Wolves defence with a great pass to Gerv, who decked Hennessey, and slotted home between a pair of defenders. Eight minutes in, a goal from someone other than Robin – a great start, and surely a platform for us to surge into fourth and perhaps improve our goal difference…

Sadly, that was not to be…

With 15 minutes gone, we should have doubled the lead, Gerv turning provider, but Robin shot wide. Robin then tried to chip Hennessey but Ward got back to head the ball out for a corner. Just past the half hour, we had another great opportunity, as Robin picked Henry’s pocket and played to Rosicky in. With room and time for a shot, he opted to pass – one of several instances where we should have instead shot – to Arteta, who had his attempted shot blocked. Robin then took the shot himself in our next attack, but Hennessey got down and tipped the ball around the post…

Wolves had not yet had a shot on goal, so perhaps it was inevitable that they would make their first – and only – shot on goal count.

The equalizer was more about our inability to deal with the set piece: we couldn’t clear a corner, Wolves played the ball to Hunt, whose deflected shot found Fletcher and he headed in from close range. Unfortunately, an inattentive Song played Fletcher onside, so the goal stood and we were back to square one…

We tried for an immediate response, Rosicky turning and shooting, but too close to Hennessey. Jarvis had given JD an uncomfortable afternoon, and Wolves had a good passage of play through him right before halftime, but didn’t create anything. Robin worked his way into the Wolves area right at the end of the two minutes extra time, but the move broke down and we went into the break level.

We kicked the second half off with no changes to either side. That changed within a couple of minutes, however, as Zubar apparently did his knee after colliding with Gerv. He tried to carry on, couldn’t and Stearman had to replace him five minutes in. On 57 minutes, we Kos’ cross clearly struck Berra’s arm. Referee Atwell awarded a corner instead of a penalty, and TV was booked for dissent.

Gerv then went on a great run with the ball, bringing into the box, but instead of shooting when he had the chance, he passed to Song, who was crowded out. At this point, we dominated play, but continued over-think and over-pass the ball…It was starting to resemble us at our ineffectual worst of last season’s run-in…

Arsene made his first change with 25 minutes remaining, Arsh replacing Benny, who I thought didn’t have that bad of a game. Henry then fouled Gerv to concede a free-kick in a good position. Robin took it and curled the ball towards the top corner, but Hennessey just tipped it over the bar at full stretch.

By now, the pressure on the Wolves defence and keeper was almost non-stop, with Hennessey saving a point-blank Mert header, with Rosicky then shooting wide…

With 20 minutes remaining, Song and Fletcher squared up. The former was booked, and Arsene replaced him with Ramsey soon after.

Five minutes later, Wolves were down to ten men, after Atwell showed Milijas a straight red for a challenge on Arteta. Honestly, I thought the Wolves player was unlucky to be sent off here – if it were an Arsenal player for the same challenge, I would be furious…

As it was, we couldn’t really make the extra man count.

The final 15 regulation and 6 extra minutes were a one way procession to the Wolves goal. Robin had a handful of good chances – including a one-on-one – but Hennessey denied him each time and when we did beat Hennessey, Arsh hit the post instead of the net.

Arsene made his final change with 5 regulation minutes left, Chamakh replacing JD. While Arsh looked improved for the second consecutive appearance (albeit without making a telling impact), all we got from Chamakh was more of the same. His only contribution was to take Robin out when both players collided going for a header – fortunately, our Captain was able to continue.

At this point, if Ju cannot give us more than Chamakh does, perhaps we should just release him from his contract…

After a great save to deny TV, Hennessey was then booked for time-wasting during the stoppage time but Atwell didn’t add any extra time on, and blew the whistle just after six minutes. And so we allowed a golden opportunity to slip through our fingers…

We started the day in fifth and finish it in fifth. Five seems to be a relevant number, as that is also the amount of points Wolves have now picked up away from home. They have more or less been road kill away from Molineaux – and not particularly good there, either – making our failure to win today look that much worse…

At the same time, it has to be mentioned that we are not the only side this happened to. For Wayne Hennessey, read David Stockdale, the Fulham keeper who frustrated Chelsea in a very similar manner at Stamford Bridge on Boxing Day. Add frustrating draws for Man City and Liverpool against opponents they also would expect to beat fairly comfortably.

Other than Spurs (who won 2-0 at Carrow Road in the late kickoff) and Man United (who once again saw Wigan roll over and hand them three points on a platter), none of the top six had a good round of fixtures.

So it is best to get this one out of our system and look to take it out on QPR on New Year’s Eve day.

If Arsene is thinking about making wholesale changes there, I would urge him to reconsider. For now, I think we will have to start our strongest available side, try to rack up some goals early and perhaps put ourselves in a situation where three players can get partial breaks through substitutions.

I don’t think we can afford to put ourselves in a position to drop more points, after what happened yesterday.

The thing that continues to worry me is that lack of impact our subs have been making. Benny’s goal at Villa Park is the first decisive contribution I can remember for a while. Before that, Robin had to rescue us as a sub, when Arsene had intended to rest him.

Normally, Arsene mechanically brings on the usual suspects (Arsh and Chamakh) at seemingly pre-determined intervals and it rarely makes a difference.  Yesterday it certainly did not. As long as we continue to persist with these two players as first subs, I think the more difficult it will be for us to come back in games…

This wasn’t a good result but we have a chance to make up for it on Saturday. Looking at the frustration on many of our players’ faces, I expect a response versus QPR.

If this isn’t motivation enough, then hopefully the prospect of settling some accounts with a certain Joseph Anthony Barton will do the trick…

We owe him, and not just a little bit…

Written by Oliver

Not a day to go a ‘Wandering’ as others drop points!

December 27, 2011

Morning all,

Before we start I hope your Christmas Day went just how you had hoped it would and I hope Santa was kind to you and yours and for one or two of you, I hope your heads have cleared and your stomachs are getting back to normal. ;)

Wolverhampton Wanderers today here at The Emirates Kick off at 3pm. Wolves are in 17th position in the league, while we are currently 5th.

17th position may seem a long way off the pace but we were there not so long ago and people had written our chances off, so this is not a game to take lightly, as Wolves will want to emulate the way that we recovered.

Maybe they will but for today we need to make sure that their season kick start doesn’t begin against us!

I kid you not when I say that we are not at our strongest but when are we? However, we do have a knack of getting the best from it.

Throughout the squad we have about 9 or 10 players out injured but talk is that we may start seeing some of our injured fairly soon.

As far as I’m concerned it’s not to say it’s not before time!

Our back line has been shuffled round long enough, our full backs had been depleted to zero, and we have been using centre backs to cover these positions.  We have weathered the storm well but what we have been sadly missing is creativity down our flanks and that’s because we have been without Sagna, Jenkinson, Gibbs and Santo.

Our options have been reduced, so for the time being we are only firing on half cylinders.

The players who have come in to cover have filled these positions admirably but at the same time they are centre backs and lacking that little bit of creativity that our forward players need to do their jobs right.

Theo Walcott and Gervinho have not looked at their best for the last few games which is understandable when you consider the players missing but as these injured players start to return, our situation will cure itself and the missing cylinders will fire up again.

That will happen in the New Year, just as some are getting a bit tired, others will return and give us that extra zip.

For today though, we need to rely on and trust in who we have and that should be enough to beat Wolves.

No resting players unless absolutely nesseccary, one or two if really needed but no more – leave the meerkat at home and let Chamberlain be ready to change the game if needed – and Yossi, well surely he has pushed Arshavin further down the team sheet!!

We have a good squad, an excellent Manager with good staff. We are a great club which is financially stable and the outlook looks very bright indeed, we have injured players returning any day soon and we are in 5th place.

As said, we must now push on, take care of Wolverhampton Wanderers and anybody else that comes our way.

Results did us another favor yesterday with both the Chavs and Dippers dropping points so today let’s make sure we capitalise, if we don’t then come May we could just regret it.

I have only good feelings for the second half of the season, everything is in place and it’s now time to go out and show the world what we are capable of.

I know we can win things, its time to go and do it.


Written by Steve Palmer

Little news but will Robin be rested tomorrow??

December 26, 2011

Boxing Day here in the UK and it’s got nothing to do with grown men knocking six bells out of each other!

It all begins now.....

For many, Boxing Day is about eating all the food that was left over from Christmas Day, making sure it didn’t go to waste but the origin of its name come from employees picking up their ‘gift parcel’ or ‘Christmas box’ on the first working day after the 25th December and this could contain anything from left over food, to money….

On to Arsenal – we don’t have a fixture today as it’s been postponed until tomorrow but when the whistle blows for kick off, the gloves will be off!

We may not have the three minutes rounds and of course, we won’t have the knock-out but anything other than three points tomorrow will feel like one!

As expected, there is little Arsenal news other than a few reports which suggest Robin van Persie could be in line for a rest tomorrow. I’m not sure that would be such a good idea and it’s not about him getting the scoring record, it’s about us needing three points. Hope he starts, we get a few goals and then take him off for a rest if he needs it.

Another story going around is that AVB is being given £150 Million to spend next month to strengthen his Chav team!! Crazy money, not sure our whole squad cost that much did they?

Anyway, enjoy the leftovers, tomorrow the boys are back in business!

Have a good day all……

A Christmas Message from an Arsenal Legend…..

December 25, 2011

Thanks to our regular Highbury House Blogger Lee, we have a special message from Frank McLintock to all at Highbury House.

And a Happy Christmas to you Frank......

Yep, it’s for real, no editing or messing around with photo’s…

Thanks Frank and a Merry Christmas to you too….

In fact, that message goes out to all and I hope that however you celebrate this occassion, you have a wonderful time with your families and friends.

At the same time though, let’s spare a thought for those who can’t be together today for one reason or another. Christmas can be a great time for many, but it can also be tough for others…..

Also, let’s not forget the reason we all celebrate this day, it’s not just about the big bird for lunch or the next best ipod or ipad hidden by sparkly paper, nor is it about just how soft the brussels are served. ;)

This is what it’s really about!

This is Christmas.....

See, it’s all about the birth of a young man, and rumour has it, Arsene Wenger tried to sign him up at a very young age as he was reported to be ‘something special’…. ;)

Well, he was wasn’t he…..

That’s it guys and gals, all that is left for me to do is wish you all:

Merry Christmas

Love from rico

Midfielder in talks! Right Back, maybe a Left Back but there sure won’t be a Centre Back……

December 24, 2011

Amongst all the usual pre-transfer window speculation, Arsene Wenger has totally ruled out buying a centre back.

We have plenty of centre backs, fortunately they can play on the flanks too as they are at the moment. We are not looking for any centre backs. No chance.

He also talks about the situation at left and right back:

It depends now on how quickly Sagna will come back, He has started to run a little bit.

I have to see what is available – if I have a good opportunity then why not? But I haven’t made any enquiry yet, so for the moment no Wayne Bridge or anyone else.

It is of course something we look at but as well it depends on how long you have to take them, They have a big impact on your wages as well. If you have to sign a player for three or four years and then you have three or four left backs, only one can play, so they are not happy.

It can only be a short-term solution for us because we have bought Santos, we have Gibbs, we have Vermaelen who can play there, so we do not need a long-term solution.

I can’t see him getting cover for the right back situation as Johan Djourou is very near a return, in fact he could be back for Tuesdays fixture against Wolves, which is good news. Gibbs as we all know has undergone surgery and will be out for another four weeks at least.

The news on Sagna however is positive:

You could see that he’s a bit ahead of schedule. We have to be careful but physically he will be ready very quickly because he worked very hard in the gym. We think the end of January is a reasonable target for him.

I think the moral of those two stories are, Wenger will get whoever costs the less, so goodness knows who that will be. My guess is Wayne Bridge and surely we won’t have to wait too long to find out?

In fact despite all that Wenger says, we have to hope that he has pretty much sorted out who is coming in January by now as the players we need are needed now, not on a 31st January cheap deal, as by then a few will be coming back.

We need a quick fix, otherwise all that has been done could start to chipped away at, we are on a good run, a very good run but just one or two more injuries to our defence could see us in dire straights…

Surely the owner and his merry men wouldn’t let that happen….

Would they?

Finally, Francis Coquelin is in talks over a new four-year deal, which is good news – however he may still head off out on loan next month.

Have a good day all, guess the boys will be heading to the local Texaco Garage late this afternoon….. ;)

‘That Day’ is nearly here! Wenger in for Rodallega but why not The Yak?

December 23, 2011

Off with the latest titbit and that’s from The Metro, they report that Wenger is about to make a shock move for Wigan’s Hugo Rodallega! What, surely not! He’s notched up just 22 goals in 100 appearances for Wigan, he’s hardly likely to bring anything to our side is he?

The Yak could though… 9 goals in his last 9 games, now that’s not bad is it and let’s not forget that his club are really struggling, score for them and you can score for anyone!

Rumours are about that Kieran Gibbs is out for a further four weeks so if Wenger is to be believed, we should be bringing in cover next month.

On to today’s post by Steve:

We are fast approaching the day that all kids have waited for all year, the 25th of December but when you get a little older Christmas Day comes a few days later if you’re a supporter.

Yes your right, the belated Santa comes on the first of January and if Santa had given me the two gifts I wanted last year, I really believe we would have had our presents delivered in May – Needless to say, I won’t be writing to him this year!!

Of course you have to be a believer and many old Scrooges aren’t, so Santa swerves his sleigh away from them but he knows I am a true believer and I think he will repay my faith in him this time when the transfer window opens. I will of course be leaving a bottle of Grey Goose on the side for him and mince pies for the reindeer.

Many fans were not expecting us to be in the position we are but I always believed we would turn it round. Wenger is a bit like Marmite you either love him or hate him and I have been a big supporter of him for years and years and he has inspired me, thrilled me yet totally pee’d me off.

It has not always been a smooth ride but through all those years, I have always had a mountain of respect for him and what he has done and achieved. Many believe his finest moments are behind him and of course they are entitled to their opinions but I on the other hand can only see a bright future with him.

The way we play been like a roller coaster ride with a mixture of good and not so good – the early days were magical and many of you remember those times with affection, as I know I do. When you look round at other clubs and look at the success they all have had, only one team stands out more than ours, Manchester United.

They in all honesty have been immense under Rudolf the Red Nose Ferguson, even the most hardened of supporter has to hold his or her hands up to the man, a true united legend if ever you saw one.

Wenger has crossed swords many times with Red Nose and the respect between these two men is immense, so far Red Nose has had the best of it, and in our first game of this present season, they have first blood.

I have no doubt Wenger’s Antlers will be out for the return next month but right now we need to get through the busy festive period.

Santa wont help us out in those games, so we have to do it by ourselves. He may help us in the transfer window in the New Year but for now, it’s down to who we have fit and raring to play.

Can we do it?

The answer has to be a resounding ‘Yes’


Now I’ll leave you with my very own Twelve Days of Christmas:

Sung to the tune 12 days of Christmas and it’s the last TWELVE days of the transfer window.

A bit of Christmas humour!!

On the 12th last day of the window, our manager gave to me, no effing player at all.

On the 11th last day of the window, our manager gave to me, a lovely couple of winks, and no effing play at all.

On the 10th last day of the window, our manager gave to me, three Basil Faulties, a lovely couple of winks, and no effing player at all.

On the 9th last day of the window, our manager gave to me, four players leaving, three Basil Faulties, a lovely couple of winks, but no effing player at all

On the 8th last day of the window, our manager gave to me, five if’s and buts, four players leaving, three Basil Faulties, a lovely couple of winks, but no effing player at all.

On the 7th last day of the window, our manager gave to me, we are very busy, five ifs and butts, four players leaving, three Basil Faulties, a lovely couple of winks, but no effing player at all.

On the 6th last day of the window, our manager gave to me, we have the money, we are very busy, 5 ifs and buts, four players leaving, three Basil Faulties, a lovely couple of winks but no effing player at all.

On the 5th last day of the window, our manager gave to me, I’ve seen a player, we have the money, we are very busy, 5 ifs and buts, four players leaving three Basil Faulties, a lovely couple of winks, but no effing player at all.

On the 4th last day of the window, our manager gave to me, that deals fell through, I’ve seen a player, we have the money, we are very busy, 5 ifs and buts, four players leaving, three Basil Faulties, a lovely couple of winks, but no effing player at all.

On the 3rd last day of the window our manager gave to me, another deal is on, that deals fell through, I’ve seen a player, we have the money, we are very busy, 5 ifs and buts, four players leaving, 3 Basil Faulties, a lovely couple of winks, but no effing player at all.

On the 2nd last day of the window, our manager gave to me, City has outbid us, another deal is on, that deals fell through, I’ve seen a player, we have the money, we are very busy, 5 ifs and buts, 4 players leaving, three Basil Faulties, a lovely couple of winks, but  no effing player at all.

On the last day of the window our manager gave to me, the summers round the corner, City have outbid us, another deal is on, that deals fallen through, I’ve seen a player, we have the money, we are very busy, 5 ifs and buts, 4 players leaving, three Basil Faulties, a lovely couple of winks…….

But still no effing player at all.

I would just like to wish all at Highbury House a very Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

Take no notice of the song, Wenger will sort them out I’m sure – look after yourselves and your families and have an enjoyable time.

Hopefully our boys will get the results and make it that much more enjoyable


Written by Steve Palmer…

The Reverse of Sunday….

December 22, 2011

Just three days after our modest away winning run in league play was snapped at Eastlands, we hit the road again hoping to restart the cycle at Villa Park.

A win last night would get us back on track, especially with winnable Boxing Day (Wolves, home) and New Year’s Eve (QPR, home) fixtures coming up…

Three points would bring us level on points with Chelsea but we would need to score almost double-digits to move into fourth on goal difference.

Nevertheless, with Chelsea visiting the Spuds tomorrow, at least one – perhaps both – of those sides will drop points tomorrow. We had to win last night to make it count…

Arsene had hinted may look for cover in January after our latest injuries but frankly, I’ll believe it when I see it.

For one, the options are not great and for two, I suspect that Arsene may be more concerned about having too much depth at left back if/when Gibbs and Santos return, than he is about bringing someone in to cover here and now. So I expect he will continue with a rotation between TV, Kos and Miquel for the flanks, with the remaining player partnering Mert in the center, and Squil providing the depth…

Arsene had other ideas, omitting Miquel entirely from the squad and drafting Coq into the back four on the right. This allowed us to start Frim in Song’s place. We lined up Szczesny, Coq, Mert, Kos, TV, Frim, Arteta, Ramsey, Theo, Robin, and Gerv.

Al, Squil, Rosicky, OC, Arsh, Benny and Chamakh made the bench.

While I usually try to refrain from discussing personal player milestones and focus on what our team can do, I should be remiss not to mention that Robin had three games to break a certain Thierry Henry’s club record of 34 goals in calendar year 2004, and Alan Shearer’s league record of 36 in 1995.

Both are achievable, so I hope that he can set the new league mark – as long as it is not at the expense of wins in these matches…

Villa kicked the match off and did most of the early attacking. Szczesny was called into action early, blocking Agbonlahor’s header from an N’Zogbia corner. Frim won our first corner a couple of minutes later, but Guzan gathered the delivery rather easily. Agbonlahor then went close, but shot a bit too high.

Villa looked the better, sharper side during the first quarter hour, keeping the ball well and doing most of the attacking…

Then, in the sixteenth minute, Theo cut into the Villa penalty area and Clark tugged him back for a clear penalty.

Robin stepped up and made it 34 for 2011 with no fuss. Theo then had an immediate chance to double our lead, but shot too close to Guzan, who made the block. Then Petrov took a pop for Villa, forcing Szczesny to save, as the game opened up.

Just before the half hour, Coq was booked for hacking N’Zogbia down. Our stand-in right back had looked a bit shaky during earlier passages of play, understandably so…

Just past the half hour mark, Robin put Ramsey clean through but the latter shot poorly and wastefully wide with only Guzan to beat. At this point, we should have been at least 2, perhaps 3, up, but we weren’t taking our chances… Still, we had the initiative and controlled play, unlike the first ten minutes.

In the last five minutes of the half, the teams traded yellow cards, with Clark first fouling Arteta for a booking and Mert returning the favor with a foul on N’Zogbia. Those were the only incidents and the half ended with us leading a goal to nil…We had some spells of good play, but were also occasionally sloppy with our passing and wasteful with our finishing.

We kicked the second half off with no changes to our starting eleven. It didn’t take long for us to pay for our wastefulness. Nine minutes into the half, Albrighton latched on to a poor clearing header from TV and slid the ball under Szczesny to bring us back to square one.

The goal, by the way, was the 20,000 goal in premier league play.

We tried to respond immediately, as Guzan saved from Mert, of all people but Villa now had the momentum, and Hutton fed Clark for a shot that went high and wide. As the match moved past the hour mark, Villa were on top – perhaps a good time for a substitution, Arsene?

He made his first move on 65, replacing Frim – who had a very poor match, it must be said – with Rosicky. The change came midway through a sequence where we forced four corners; we did not score from any of these, but Rosicky’s introduction immediately improved our passing and ball retention, things Frim struggled with all evening…

The match then entered a lull, as the teams exchanged corners without threatening either goal. Then Robin hit the deck in the area. At first I thought he was fouled, but on replay I didn’t think so, so good call by Moss. The referee also booked our captain for diving. In his post-match, Arsene himself implied he didn’t think it was a foul. Petrov then wasted a Villa free kick from a good position…

With ten minutes remaining, Arsene made a double switch, bringing Arsh and Benny on for Gerv and Ramsey, respectively. I would have preferred to see OC for Arsh, but…Arsh set Robin up for a shot, but the latter put it high and wide.

At this point, we did the pressing, as Dunne blocked a Rosicky effort, and Arsh forced a corner with a shot from the edge of the box. From that set-piece, we went back in front, with Robin swinging the ball in and Benny getting ahead of Agbonlahor at the far post to head past Guzan. It was his first prem goal for us, and could not have come at a better time. Right on 90, Arteta shot from outside the Villa box, but Guzan got down to save this one…

The fourth official signaled four minutes of stoppage time, and Kos conceded a corner in the first minute, but Hutton could not connect cleanly. The aforementioned former Tott was booked for a bit of nonsense with Benny, thereby wasting some precious time for his side…

Not happy with that, the Spuddie reject then went in hard on TV for a deserved second yellow, red…That was game, set and match…

Thanks for doing us a favor Hutton – you sabotaged any chance your side had to equalize again. In many places, that is a sackable offense…Once a Spud, always a Spud, I guess…

So we got the job done. As the title says, this was the reverse of Sunday: on that occasion, we played well without getting anything.

Yesterday we played generally poorly but pulled out a win. We drafted two young players in to start this evening and neither played well. For Coq, tonight shows that he is not entirely comfortable at right back and may not yet be a reliable option there. Frim showed that he has tons of energy and enthusiasm, but is a long way from the finished article, and his passing particularly leaves much to be desired.

As it is, Song cleared his suspension, so he should return to the starting eleven on Boxing Day. Luckily for us, we will have him here throughout the African Cup of Nations, as Cameroon failed to qualify…

While Arsh was more involved than in his appearance on Sunday, he still made no impact. Benny was brought on and he scored the winner; he’s already done far more than either Arsh or Chamakh and should be coming on as a sub ahead of either of the aforementioned two.

I would like to have seen OC get a chance ahead of Arsh, but considering that Theo didn’t play particularly well, perhaps we will see him (OC) feature in one of the next two matches. Most of the team looked jaded, I thought. Ramsey, Arteta and Gerv all look as though they can use breathers.

The schedule will stay busy from here, so Arsene will either need to figure out a way to give these players partial rests, or make individual (not whole-sale) rotations in the next few matches.

Congratulations to Villa for showing up today. I would much have preferred the pitiful side that lay down for Man United and Liverpool, but you cannot have everything, I guess…

A win is a win, and we get a small measure of payback to Eck for the Carling Cup final, and Villa for their win on our patch this past May. As far as the former is concerned, I don’t think we can ever fully pay that back, but as long as we can keep beating his teams, I’ll be reasonably satisfied…Arsene praised Villa’s effort in his post-match, but I shall not quite go there.

So we will celebrate Christmas where we started yesterday, in fifth, behind Chelsea on goal difference.

We did, however, put two points between us and Liverpool and will see this time tomorrow whether we gained points on the Spuds, Chelsea or both.

We won while being far from our best but got a much-needed win, so we’ll see where that takes us.

In the meantime, Merry Christmas to all.

Written by Oliver


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