Theo, Old Nick And More

Scene cuts to Houses of Parliament. Three figures emerge from blue Police Box

Mickey:    London! We’re home!
Rose:       Brilliant. See told you he’d get you back in time for the football.

Mickey bends down and picks up a paper from the ground

Mickey:    You muppet! They played yesterday! Look, England won in Croatia.
Doctor:    It’s not home. It’s a parallel universe.
Rose:       That’s a bit harsh. Just because England won!
Doctor:    No, look closer. An Arsenal player scored a hat-trick

So, Theo Walcott’s England career comes full circle. Ridiculed through his inclusion in the Germany 2006 World Cup squad, he leads the English into a Brave New World, a squad of players that is in no way related to those who have abjectly failed to qualify for Euro2008 and bottled it at the two previous international tournaments. For Zagreb 2008, read Munich 2001, Belgrade 1987. Great away wins that pump up the hype.
How the BBC, Sky and ITV are kicking their heels and regretting the decision to not bid higher or get into the Setanta bed. The last few days have frankly been embarrassing for them with the pundits being wheeled out to complain about Setanta’s financial requirements for a highlights package. Pundits like Mullers and Thommo who have in no way been employed by the Rupert Murdoch empire. The biter gets bitten and quite amusing it was to watch too. It does not escape the fact that the FA proved once more that they care FA about the game, merely the crisp rustle of fivers emerging from the suitcase which two Setanta goons dropped on their doorstep but that is another story.

Back to young Master Walcott. He thoroughly deserves his praise. The past two games have seen the Theo we all know and love. Well, except for the hat-trick. Infuriatingly good in Barcelona at the weekend, full of energy, some good passes and dropping out of the game for a spell. Last night, he was the same except more direct and for once, the midfield and forwards supported him and read the runs he was making instead of turning inside. And the goals. Three well-taken strikes which hopefully he can bring back into the Premier League with him. Or as he put it,

I tend to cross those a lot but I thought I’d be more greedy this time

Theo, though, is taking it all in his stride,

I’m just grateful [Capello] has given me the opportunity. I’ve got to take that forward now and keep on improving

Capello meanwhile has put the hex on Walcott,

I am happy for Theo. I think he is one of the most important young players in England. I hope he does not pick up an injury

Theo was not the only one who enjoyed the international night as Nicklas Bendtner found the net in Denmark’s win. Thankfully Cesc had a mere fourteen minutes in Spain’s win so he should be nice and fit with early reports showing no injuries to report. Oh, hold on. Samir Nasri did not take part in France’s win due to a ‘niggle’. Ho hum. As Arsene put it,

let’s hope first that everybody comes back without any injury and, secondly, with a positive experience. It is of course a worrying time for the managers

Oh and not for us, eh? Does he realise the agonies some go through? Probably less than the ones he suffers.

On the subject of injuries, Eduardo has been talking positively about his situation,

My leg is getting better all the time and I hope to be back playing again by Christmas. It has been a long road to recovery, and there is still a lot of hard work left to do, but everything is going well and I should be back playing again soon

Ordinarily, they say a returning player is like a new signing, giving everyone a boost. With Arsenal it is a regular occurence these days. However, Eduardo’s return will be, I think, a huge psychological boost for those who witnessed his injury first hand. Hopefully, as well, he will come back with a point to prove, hungry for goals. To me though, the biggest hurdle he faces is the first 50-50 challenge he is involved in. It is a big challenge for him to go for the ball not fearing injury. That his was suffered in a malicious challenge may make that bridge slightly easier for him to cross.

As for Tomas Rosicky, the claim that he might become the ‘forgotten man’ at The Emirates seems wide of the mark to me. When he returns, he will provide Arsene with more options on the left and enable him to rotate the squad, avoiding the wear and tear injuries that have cost us in the past, necessitating Diaby – who incidentally seems set to return in the next week or so – playing there.

Back to those on international duty. Bendtner believes that the matches post-international duty are going to make or break the season,

It’s a strong side that just shows that your squad is great when you have players like that, but it still can upset the balance. You’ve got to come back to all the normal ways. When you have been away you go with the national team the way they do it, and it can be a little bit destructive. It can upset the balance when it’s that close to each other

He was referring to the Fulham match and frankly another performance and result such as the one suffered at Craven Cottage could be hugely damaging. With Liverpool entertaining Manchester United and Chelsea going to Manchester City, there is a good chance for Arsenal to take advantage and rack three points on the board. Blackburn though have a point to prove having been tonked at West Ham. Not straightforward. The key thing is that the players come in raring to go. Few have suffered reverses last night so mentally they ought to be in a ‘good place’.

Bendtner is happy at the club despite summer gossip to the contrary,

I’ve been really happy so far. I said before that I wanted to start more games this season. Last season was sort of like my time getting into the squad and coming off the bench sort of thing, but I feel more ready and more mature this season and I think it will be shown and will keep showing, but there’s still more to come

He has his detractors but he and Adebayor are best of buddies for media eyes anyway,

It’s good, we have no problems, everything is normal and he plays like he did last season

That’s your lot for today. ’til Tomorrow.

Posted on September 11, 2008, in Arsenal, England, Football, Premier League, Soccer and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 87 Comments.

  1. Great article again Yogi.. really nice to read only positives for a change.

    Great stuff Theo… he has shown the rest of the ‘must picks’ internationals of Lampard, Cole, Owen, Bechkam how it should be done. The difference with Theo and them.. is he hasnt experienced any past upsets as of yet, so hes fresh and has NO FEAR… fear is what has destroyed the England team in the last few years. Fear of not qualifying, fear of losing, and fear of not getting booed!!… Capello is installing some belief back into them and how to avoid that fear.

    Lets get Wilshire, and Lansbury in there now.. and England might win the World Cup.. haha

  2. The one thing that stood out for me last night was how rooney suddenly came alive to the possibilities offered by playing with Theo. He suddenly had a well trained, intelligent footballer playing off him and that unlocked a lot of his abilities too.
    I can never like Rooney, natch, but he and Theo worked well together. Last night can only be good for us if Theo takes confidence from the performance.
    Conspiracy fans note the BBC report credits Theo with being an ‘ex Southampton’ player. No mention of course of Arsenal!!

  3. In the Andorra game Theo showed what he was about to the rest of the England team (no churlish Gerrard to intimidate him), and last night the ‘TEAM’ actually included him in their play, even after the shakey start.
    Was nice to read the quotes from Terry and Rooney that were very positive to Theo, Capello’s comments about good and bad days will help to keep the pressure off the lad. Also well done to Nik for Denmark and Ramsey for Welsh under 21’s all played good from reports.
    Was Theo’s surrogate agent D. Bentley in the stands keeping a (gloating) watchful eye on his young protige.

  4. well its been a long time since a gooner has even played for england let alone put in such a performance!

    absolutely made up for theo. he has always looked like a destined world class player for me and its nice to see him show what he is made of. if wenger played him upfront we will see more of this, the guy is clinical in front of goal.

    i dont know if any one believes in omens but the last time spain won the euro’s guess who went on to win the world cup!!!!

  5. I actually think a big reason for the all round improvement was Gerrard not being there. he wanders all over the pitch and tries to do other people’s jobs. the teams loses its structure. at liverpool Gerrard being THE man works but at international level we need to be a TEAM.
    Theo benefited from space created by Rooney and Heskey. now Heskey is no maradona but to be fair he is a real handful for defenders, which helps the players around him.
    Lampard and Barry functioned well as a pair and were snapping away at the croatians who hated it and in the end resorted to violence on a few occasions. poor old Joe Cole!
    lets hope the hat trick does wonders for Theo’s confidence and that he can take it into the next (arsenal) game. In the past I have noted that Theo gains confidence during games if he has done something good. he needs to learn to start games with that level of confidence.

  6. steww, I agree the partnership potential is there but also for Theo he can realise he is as good as the players around him and use that confidence against them in th EPL.
    Yes I did notice the BBC radio 5 quotes with ref to TW and Southampton but they were from the mouth of a spuds supporter, perhaps the BBC charter should include only equal numbers of team supporters and sack Peter Allen instantly!

  7. Theo’s finishing was top draw. As Wenger has said many times ‘you cant teach either have it or you dont’ I really think Theo will be better than Henry, but I struggle to see when he will get his chance upfront, with Ade and RvP.

    hope everyone gets back from the internationals today and concentrate on Blackburn!!! Finally something to get excited about

  8. steww said:
    “Conspiracy fans note the BBC report credits Theo with being an ‘ex Southampton’ player. No mention of course of Arsenal!!”
    Hi, Steww
    They did mention Arsenal, albeit grudgingly. However I totally agree with your underlying point, that they failed to give enough credit to both Arsenal AND Theo himself for his hard work and consequent development. At Southampton, he was basically a speed merchant, with one trick for getting past players. Now he is emerging as a winger who can play on either side as well as a CF. And he knows more than one way of fooling defenders.
    I am absolutely thrilled for him. I know he called it “being greedy” but it was great decision-making. And what a finisher!

  9. England fans dont expect england to be like Brazil (or Arsenal!), or even necessarily win a world cup or Euros, but they do expect to see the level of commitment that they showed last night more often. the fans just want something to cheer and be proud of, and that has been lacking for several years. Capello might be giving the players the confidence they need to show the commitment on the pitch that the England fans demand.

  10. Awesome play by Theo, just the breakthrough we have been waiting for. Good comment above by gazzap – Beckham is also someone who has been guilty of tearing up the England team’s shape with his incessant wandering around the pitch. Walcott held the the right wing really well, and got himself into the box in order to support the attack as often as he could. Boy did it pay off.

  11. mike - gunner fan79

    Lads, face it. Th English Gove. failed ye in not doing like we did here in Ireland. We put the people first (for a change) and ring-fenced certain sports events such as the all-ireland series as to be free to view. It also includes the home games of the soccer team and rugby team. On a “Ha ha” moment , and I cant but help myself , Setanta is an Irish Company which owns the rights to your games! Ironic eh! But i know where ye are coming from. Sport has become second to bank balances , sponsorship is now the determiner of games. It is becoming more American each day. Looking at the line up of players for Man City and the prices wquoted makes it a very sick sport. It even makes Chelsea look like amateurs and they buy big. UEFA /FIFA and all Football Associations must act now to stop the splurge of cash. Sport is to be enjoyed (mention Arsenal) not used for some big boys to play monopoly (remember Serie A in the 80’s and 90’s – major financial woes after the splurge). At the end of the day we, the fan, must pick up the tab for the Owner , be it in ticket prices, merchandising or even day to day goods such as oil.

  12. If only half the country had been able to watch it. That would have been even better

  13. i agree gazzap! i dont think we should pick any scousers for england again.

  14. I actually think a big reason for the all round improvement was Gerrard not being there. he wanders all over the pitch and tries to do other people’s jobs.


    It wasn’t only Gerard, generally the England players was all over the place, Capello had enough of it and against Andorra he let Cole and Rooney know that.

    But yea enough of that international stuff, let’s get ready for Blackburn.

  15. GAZZAP If Theo could be consistent he would be another Ronaldo, despite inconsistency he should start on a regular basis even if he has few bad games, Staring will give him confidence.

    As usual international injury jinx continues, Nasri has a knee injury, RVP seemed okay,Bentdner has strength like Heskey and could be good up front with EGO if Theo keeps up his improved psing and crosses

  16. passing

  17. Blackburn . Almunia and Denislon have had a rest, Cesc played very little, Clichy played one game, EGO was on strike, but Toure, Ebuoe, and Song, had long trips to Africa. Theo played 180 minutes as did Gallas. Nasri was injured, Ramsay played 90 minutes, Sagna also, so we have a few tired players with3 games coming up in 7 days

  18. Fun Gunner

    Thanks for the clarification about Ade yesterday. I’d actually seen it and assumed it was a ‘mistake’! So Ade perhaps has a point? The president could easily have gone for one evening since the death of his mother occurred not two hours or two days ago, but two years!

    Walcott will be on a high for a few days – the Times actually gave him 10, which I’ve never seen given before. Unfortunately he’ll be coming down just in time for Dynamo Kiev. Will we have Nasri for that? I remember Alan Green saying last year ‘Believe me, Walcott will never play for England.’ Wonder if anyone reminded him of that unfortunate remark?

  19. 2 days rest with very little training should make them ok for Blackburn… but any1 who is feeling a bit tired should be rested for Blackburn, they will be in our faces for sure.

    Any news on Diaby… i hear he could be starting on Saturday, i remember last time we played Blackburn in the cup.. Diaby was the best player on the pitch and scored if i remembered right??

  20. Wenger is always to blame when England do badly but I don’t see anyone giving him credit for developing Theo now that England have done well.

    Its not surprising though.

    Agree with those who think that we will have some tired legs after the internationals and 3 games in a week.

  21. Given that the presidents mother died 2 years ago then I would say Ade was well within is rights to make the decision he made.

    Would be interesting to know if Djourou had a good game or not against Luxembourg.

    If Nasri is not fit then surely Eboue comes into right wing, with Theo left wing, Ade and RVP up front, Den and Cesc midfield. Only question is whether Toure or Djourou partner Gallas, probably Toure.

    A well rested player is not always a good player. den had a long rest before fulham and then turned in his worst performance in an Arsenal shirt. too long without playing leaves a player switched off. Song is the other option in midfield.

  22. Blackburn should be a must-win game especially with Chelsea and MANU facing tough away games.

    We need height in the defence. Kolo has been poor anytime he’s returned from Africa so Djourou should play.

  23. Song should be playing some role on Saturday, i expect him to start.. but Gallas has played 180mins for France, he might be a bit tired, Djourou also, RvP only 45 i think, Cesc also rested.. so there will be a few changes.

    Theo might be starting on the bench, if Diaby is deemed match fit, with Eboue on the right and Cesc and Song/Denilson in the middle.

  24. Djourou needs to be given a run in the team, Wenger needs to make up his mind about our 1st choice CB pairing, hes seen both Toure & Djourou alongside Gallas and we know which pair worked better. Saying that we have only conceded 1 goal in competetive football so far this season, and that was against Fulham where we had an off night.

  25. Well done Walcott, Capello and England too.

    I hope Eduardo, if he was watching the game, noted the racial abuse – monkey chants – that a section of the Croatian fans directed at Emile Heskey during the game.

    I wonder what Eduardo, as a person of colour, makes of that.

    Let’s hope FIFA take some anti racist action to address the matter, irrespective of whether the English FA make a complaint about it.

    Congratulations are also in order to Gael Clichy, for winning his first senior cap for the French national team during their victory over Serbia.

  26. theo has a gr8 finish and it is really good when he cuts in n tries to score.. do that more often and we have a 10+ goal a season winger….

  27. cant wait for blackburn… hope we continue where we left of against the barcodes…

  28. nice to see the confidence in all our players growing.,. RvP looked sharp last game.. so did Nasri, Cesc is getting back into the swing of things too. Theo also coming of age.. all he needs is to be consistent. This team is very promising, hopefully they come back fresh enough to smack Blackburn.

  29. blackburn are no great shakes and I think we will be fine against them. as long as the Arsenal players focus and get back to Arsenal ways we will win the game.
    Ooijer injured, nelson travelled a long way and santa cruz played 90 minues.

    Bendtner highlighted the difference between Denmark and Arsenal and says its hard to switch between the two so quickly. arsenal have been heavily affected by this in the past – not helped by the fact that just about every player goes away compared with other clubs where maybe only half go away.

  30. magneto, where do you get the idea that Eduardo is a “person of color”??? Eduardo is not black or even mulatto — he’s just got that darker mediterranean caucasian skin tone like a lot of Spaniards, Portuguese, Italians, Turks and Greeks have. I’ve seen photos and videos of his parents, they’re both white.

    Don’t know why I even bothered to look but I see nothing in today’s British media that refers even in passing to Theo’s growth and development at Arsenal.

    As I’ve said before on other threads since the close of the transfer window, I don’t have high hopes for this season. We’re already 3 points down. I think the next 3 games are critical to our season. If we can get 2 wins and a draw, then I’ll feel better about our chances.

  31. Nymarcus,

    Thats becuase the media think Arsenes been leaving him out. Gallas giving him a slating probably didnt help. Most people would belive he’s better off somewhere else and good enough to play regularly. Only us gooners know his performances havent set the emirates allight

  32. True, Arse21 — that’s because they don’t pay close attention to Arsenal the way we do, hence their vapid and lazy reporting/punditry.

  33. solgooner,

    Africa is not so far away actually. It’s five hours away. Same as going to Ukraine.

  34. or Blackburn

  35. Or Skegness

  36. california gooner

    I just checked the Arsenal.Com website; Wenger is clear that he is NOT in for Appiah. So I guess we can put that one to rest. We will have the team we have, at least up to January.

    (From the website)
    Arsène Wenger has dismissed speculation that Ghana captain Stephen Appiah could be heading to Emirates Stadium.

    The 27-year-old central midfielder has been released by Fenerbahce and, as a free agent, is eligible to move outside of the transfer window.

    Arsenal have been touted as a possible destination for Appiah but Wenger scotched those rumours at his pre-match press conference on Thursday.

    When asked whether he was interested in Appiah, Wenger’s reply was short and blunt. “No, we are not on the case,” he said.

  37. NYmarcus, isn’t Eduardo ‘American Indian’? Not that I know what that means but in North American PC-speak surely it would make him ‘a person of colour’, just as, say, the Cree are people of colour, despite often being very light-skinned? The whole thing’s a nonsense anyway but it’s at least a well-meaning term.

    Yes, Blackburn is at least five hours away, in fact it’s positively light years away if you’re thinking symbolically rather than literally.

  38. california,

    You beat me to it regarding Appiah!

    I knew that this would be the case. We have had ample opportunities to sign him and Wenger has always passed them up – part-exchange with Juve for Paddy and before he went to Fener.

    His fitness is questionable and personally I have never rated him. I am not bothered in the slightest about him.

    Liesports have linked us to some Brazillian called Mineiro which means miner I think. Does anyone know anything about this guy? NYmarcus?

    He’s 33 so I can’t see this one happening either.

  39. Mia, my reply to magneto didn’t mean I took offense in any way, I was just confused as to how he could be called a “person of color.”

    I never heard any thing about Eduardo being of indigenous origin. Eduardo’s family are from the poor suburbs of Rio (an area I know well, my mother’s from there, I have several hundred cousins and some grandaunts/uncles there) and they’ve been there for generations.

  40. Alex, “mineiro” is a common nickname in Brazil for anyone who’s from the state of Minas Gerais. There are so many “mineiros” in Brazilian football, tho the age you cite narrows it down a bit. Haven’t heard anything about it.

  41. NYmarcus,

    I don’t like putting Liesports links on here but here goes:,19528,11661_4131149,00.html

    There is even a picture of him.

  42. Oh, I checked out the story — THAT Mineiro, the guy Dunga put on the national team! Not a bad choice for us, tho he’s not the kind of player Brazilians get very excited about. He doesn’t have a lot of great moves, not very fancy, just very committed in midfield, always in the opposition’s face trying to break their attacks. Also doesn’t have a history of injuries!

  43. NYmarcus,

    Brazillians only get excited by attackers in football. Maybe the odd winger masquerading as a fullback.

  44. california gooner

    NYMarcus, 5000 Brazilian players working outside of Brazil and we expect you to have the lowdown on all of them! OK, the pool of potential Arsenal players is a bit smaller, but still…

  45. california gooner

    Dump Gilberto and pick up a lesser-known 33 year old Brazillian MF. That would make no sense at all: unless it were Marcus Senna. Anyhow, I am willing to bet anybody on this board that this isn’t going to happen. If you know something I don’t, then take the bet, of course.

  46. So true Alex! Actually, Arsenal are exactly the kind of team that need Mineiro since we have so many flair attacking players. Brazilians consider him just a simple clogger-type. He’s very no-nonsense, it’s why Dunga picked him.

    california, LOL! 🙂

  47. NYmarcus,

    I used the term ‘person of colour’ to describe Eduardo as he is not white and is also a minority (in the UK at least) too.

    I prefer using that term and ‘people of colour’ as I really don’t like the term currently widely used in the UK…’Ethnic minority’ or ‘BME’ = ‘ Black and minority ethnic’.

    I don’t know if Eduardo’s parents are white, as you’ve stated. But, even if that’s true, I don’t think Eduardo is likely to be perceived as a white person in the UK.

  48. magneto, interesting, because eduardo is most definitely considered white in Brazil.

  49. Also, in Brazil the label “mulatto” refers to someone who looks like, say, Gilberto, a light skinned black man. Eduardo’s not even called that. He is, however, “moreno” which means a white person with dark-hued skin tone and dark hair like mediterraneans have.

    I’m certain Eduardo would be amazed to find out that in the UK he’s not considered white.

  50. Eduardo, not considered white? What nonsense. Of course he is white.

  51. I think he would be considered white. For example in the last Census, people from Greece and Turkey, who have similar skin tone to Eduardo are in an ethnic group called ‘White Other’.
    However, I think a lot of Brazilians are grouped in the remainder category of ‘Other’, which is not very enlightening.

  52. NYmarcus,

    In the UK, the term ‘mulatto’, is generally considered offensive, and has been consigned to the dustbin of history.

    There are obviously cultural, linguistic, social & political differences in terms of how different ‘races’ describe themselves and are described by others.

    It’s a sensitive matter.

  53. california gooner

    So…Eduardo does not just confuse defenders,; he screws up contemporary racial categorizations as well as he moves from the multiply-graded racial categories of Latin America to the more black and white Anglo-American world!

    My theory is that he, Cesc, Denilson and Carlos Vela were all produced from the same laboratory, with only slight quality differences due to specific conditions on the days they were created. If you ever watch Arsenal on a poor computer feed you know I speak truth.

  54. california gooner

    Of course the world was not ready and would not accept a team produced in a laboratory and so they were placed with families around the world where they could grow and develop until the time was right…

  55. magneto, yes I know about the negative connotations of “mulatto”, I’m well aware of the racial contradictions and hypocrisies of Brazilian society. However, the term is still used in Latin America to refer to someone who looks like Gilberto Silva, offensive or not. In fact, Brazilians of color use these terms themselves to describe themselves.

    The difference in Europe and US is that there is only “black” and “white” and nothing in between. In Latin America, there are definite gradations depending on how a person looks and it signifies status. That’s why very black Brazilians (like, say, Mineiro) will call themselves “mulatto” and reject the label “negro” because of the lower status that word implies.

  56. Gazzap,

    I think the official census definitions of race & ethnicity are problematic in all sorts of ways, and aren’t always consistent with (a) how people see and define themselves and (b) how people see and define other people.

    The matter is complex and sensitive, and it wasn’t my intention to ‘hijack’ the thread with this topic.

  57. california gooner

    Magneto, the term “Mulatto” actually comes from mule. The idea was that the offspring of white and black parents would be sterile! Hard to get more offensive than that. However, in contemporary usage in Latin America it really seems more of a description than anything else and doesn’t really have any negative connotations, at least among people i know.

  58. magneto, there’s no offense taken by anyone here, no need to apologize. I was just surprised by your description of Eduardo as a “person of color” simply because to a Brazilian he’d never be labelled that way (not in the way it’s intended in Europe/US). As you say, it’s all about different cultural perceptions and labels, nothing at all scientific or empirical.

  59. anyway, here’s to an emphatic win at Ewood Park! I’m out of town for a few days.

  60. NYmarcus,

    In the UK – can’t speak for the rest of Europe, or the USA – there are more categories than just ‘black’ and ‘white’.

    There’s a range of categories in between, partially determined by a person’s historical country of origin.

  61. @ californiagooner

  62. Latinos in the Caribbean, South and Central America do not like to be considered as Negro or Black because of the negative connotation garnered in the USA.

    In the English speaking Caribbean the term is used only to describe the color of one’s skin tone and is not considered derogatory.

    Incidentally, Brazil has the largest black population outside of Africa and the state of Bahia actually celebrates their “Negro” origin.

  63. Well, when I first saw Eduardo I thought, oh he’s an Indian, i.e. an American Indian as opposed to an Indian Indian. I’m not saying he is a native American – I haven’t a clue – just that that’s what he looks like to me. It’s the shape of his face more than anything; you don’t get faces like that in southern Europe but you do in Peru, say, and in much of Central America – I have a Peruvian friend who claims pure Native American ancestry and who looks exactly like Eduardo.

    Ah labels. I remember when Camden Council in strange fit of PC lunacy tried to classify the Irish and Chinese living in the borough as ‘black’. It went down rather badly with absolutely everyone.

  64. Oh dear oh dear oh dear

  65. Does the UK census form have a ‘black other’ and an ‘Asian other’ as well as ‘white other’? What are you if you’re a Yemeni, say, in the English winter when your skin is quite pale?

    I think Eduardo would be considered ‘white’ in England.

  66. Oh dear oh dear oh dear oh dear

  67. This is really alarming, I’m not sure why this blog has turned into a political, and race defining blog? I understand every one has the freedom to speak about anything but there are blogs for that.

    Can Saturday come any faster please?

  68. This just in: Van Persie injured, and may be sidelined for 2 months. He was flying back on the plane, and while trying to fasten his seatbelt, he dislocated his shoulder. Really bad news guys.

  69. Frank:
    I totally aggree with you today.

  70. Ateeb,

    I heard that the seatbelt was too tight and Persie broke his ribs

  71. Can we stop highlighting colour!

  72. On a more serious note, the games against Spurs and Manu have not sold out. The Manu tickets went on sale on Monday and haven’t sold out. The Spurs tickets went on sale last week and that hasn’t sold out either. These games used to sell out more quickly – in the last 2 seasons. Manu in particular would sell out in 30 mins at Highbury – obviously far fewer seats. Has the extra cost started to have an effect? What would happen if we ever dropped out of the top 4?

    Online Gooner ran an article about overzealous stewarding and its not the first time that articles like this have been written. I have seen it for myself also first hand at the Emirates. This, the lack of atmosphere and poor view from some parts of the lower tier (where there is some atmosphere) make the match day experience far less enjoyable than at Highbury in my opinion and this could also be why games are selling out more slowly.

    Any thoughts?

  73. “We’re already 3 points down.”

    Only one actually.

  74. I’d imagine it’s the credit crunch. They will sell out, though, so long as people know there are tickets available. But the club will have to publicise the fact otherwise people will just assume it’s like normal and there isn’t a chance.

  75. I’ve enjoyed reading some of the debate recently and I really don’t have a problem if it deviates from footie talk – it’s not like we’ve had much to go on as far as Arsenal news is concerned.

    Race is a bloody minefield though! Let’s try something less controversial like euthanasia or abortion…

    Seriously, if anyone’s ever up for a good pun-fest then I’m game.

  76. while those games will sell out, I agree with the point that its taking longer for games to sell out. might be due to not winning a trophy or the general air of pessimism due to not a lot happening in the transfer window. then there’s the money situation which is tight for a lot fans. no big deal at this moment but if we continue on a perceived downward trend then it may become a slight problem.

    wengers comments were interesting. he had a pop at City today. I think things like that and Chelsea really get to wenger. he hates to see injustice and inbalance which is what financial doping is. It could push him out of this country in the end.

    I dont know of any other manager that could do a similar job to Arsene when he’s gone. i’d quite like Bergkamp with Bould as his number 2. but we need to see how Bergy does in another job first.

  77. Dont mind it either Big Al!

    I’m pro life, euthanasia is another story, I find it hard for someone to want to take their own life but I guess that would be easy for me to say.

    I am so happy for Theo, so many of us fans get down on him (for what I dont know) but he has proven his worth and I know he will be great for the gunners this season.

    Its also great to see that Ramsey and Bendtner played well. Ramsey can play in the PL (This season). Arsenal will be something to behold this year.

    God Bless!!!!

  78. Its quite sad that in football black players are still disrespected. This is the real issue its not about politics, race (what race someone refers to someone as) but about ignorant people. We really should by now be able to get past disrespecting our players of African decent (black) as it is many of them who have made football what it is today. I dont know what can be done but its a shame. One thing I like about America is that this could not happen – there would be an outcry. Again its not about politics but immature, racist people that put a stain on the game we all love!

  79. Cant agree with you there Paul N, in England black players are respected.
    Its only in some other parts of Europe where they get abused, but as G4E says why are we talking race on this blog, roll on Blackburn and something to comment on.

  80. I wonder if wenger will start walcott against blackburn! and it will be a strange game this time coz ince will try to get blackburn to actually play football so it could be good for us!! is cruz injured?

  81. I am not talking about in one place vet. That is like saying one part of my house is not infetsed with termites, you have to get rid of them as it still affects the whole. What are you disagreeing with? Read my comment again and you will see that I am not looking at any one country but football on a whole. It is a shame that it happens at all, even if not in England. You get me?

  82. This is football, Heskey is a football player, right? This did happen in a football match, right? and no disrespect but that is only G4E’s opinion which I dont gree with at all.

  83. Take it easy Paul N, no one is putting a zipper on your mouth. I just think this blog is for football not for political views. I come here for football and your political discussion put me off the blog because I don’t like politics. It’s a common courtesy thing, don’t force your political views on me …there is a place for that. What brings us all here is our football not political views.

    I understand the boredom of international football, the EPL is coming back…thank God for that.

  84. Your blog is becoming so much more interesting than Arseblog.
    You are now my “first click”.
    Much better writing and more incisive.
    I’m a fan.

  85. Hmm. Problem with trying to ringfence blogs and their subject matter is in reality it doesn’t work Politics pervades all aspects of life – everything has a political resonance and sport very much so.
    I understand that when the footy is irrelevant then the conversation has no place here but the wider political aspects of the sport like race are utterly relevant. The alternative would be a sterile tedious chat about which player is best, or somesuch. It’s the difference between 442 and When Saturday Comes.

  86. re. dukeGoonem

    ‘I wonder if wenger will start walcott against blackburn! and it will be a strange game this time coz ince will try to get blackburn to actually play football so it could be good for us!! is cruz injured?’
    To play them…..Or kick them . That is the question.

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