Stone Cold Friday: The Ghosts Of Seasons Past

He put the Rama into Lama, the Ding into Dong, the shoo into bop and a whole host of other things that may yet see his rap sheet grow. Here’s Darius

It will be just over 25 months to the day since Arsenal’s last trip to St. Andrews ended with a horror show. So many things went wrong on that day, not least the assault on Eduardo.

Wenger surmises that the events of that fateful visit to Birmingham weren’t exclusively responsible for the capitulation of the title challenge in 2008. I don’t entirely agree with the manager’s assertion about why things went pear shaped, as the performances following that game spoke for themselves.

Two years on and what can we learn from what this team has been through?

My sense is that firstly, we shouldn’t underestimate the psychological impact of the team going to St. Andrews. Tomorrow is perhaps a more difficult game than it needs to be because Arsenal still need to exorcise the demons from that day.

The Signs so far this season have been good, and the case in point is the response at the Britannia stadium on Feb 27th this year. Despite another assault on an Arsenal player, the team rallied themselves and showed great strength of character to complete the job that they went to do.

Eduardo did come on as a substitute after Ramsey’s injury in that game against Stoke, but it was obvious that the events 2 years ago were still on his mind. The Crozilian opted to play safe and not commit fully to a shot on goal because of an impending tackle, and no one can blame him for that.

Birmingham City is a different proposition this time round. McLeish has had the time to build a squad that has exceeded expectations this season. What hasn’t changed is the crass mentality of the Birmingham collective, if the reverse fixture is anything to go by.

For this reason, Arsenal is facing at least 3 hurdles.

Firstly, a resilient Birmingham team that has fought hard to have a formidable home record this season. Only Bolton has come away from St. Andrews with 3 points and that was back in September last year.

Secondly, you have a team that relishes the opportunity to unleash an uncouth and insalubrious brand of football to counter Wengerball that they can’t cope with. They’ll of course call it good old fashioned grit and steel that illustrates their grafting capability.

Lastly, the timing of this match is critical as it comes during the business end of a season which Arsenal has as good a chance as any to come out top. In what I call the cup final series, this game has taken more significance than it would normally have.

What’s becoming obvious is that Wenger’s signing of former Arsenal vice-captain and defensive stalwart Sol Campbell is a stroke of genius. Eyebrows were raised at the thought of Wenger even contemplating such a move, but it’s turning out to be a master stroke.

In my view, the key to tomorrow’s game and the rest of the cup final series is the veteran defender. He was built for games like Birmingham, and to cope with the attitudes they bring on the pitch.

Campbell’s legs may have gone, but he starts his first mile upstairs and his intelligent reading of the game is first class. Moreover, he has shown how adept he is at organizing the defence and getting other players around him to do the running for him.

This will be the key to holding Birmingham at bay, and being patient in our play. The team has shown time and time again that they have become efficient at wearing down teams that park the bus before licking them to submission in the last 15 minutes of games.

This defensive stability, patience and calmness with the ball will be critical during such difficult games. We have previously given away poor goals this season, and we have little or no room for errors at this point in time.

Our collective defensive challenges have been used as a stick to beat the team with time and time again, despite the clear evidence that the team is doing much better and is currently the in-form team in the league.

A few weeks ago, I made an attempt to compare the defensive philosophies of this current team and of the Arsenal double winning teams of yester-year that had the likes of Dixon, Keown, Adams and Winterburn.

Flint, one of my ardent readers, quickly sought to put the record straight by blowing to pieces the myth that Wenger’s latter day defences haven’t performed as well as previous Arsenal defences that were seen as fortresses. It was a classic example of misguided truths and inconvenient lies that unchecked, easily become facts and urban myths.

Flint pointed out that under Graham; Arsenal conceded 0.898 goals per game with a goal difference average of 24 goals per season. Under Wenger, Arsenal has conceded an average of 0.885 goals per game with a goal difference average of 37.3 per season.

Wenger has evolved the team to one with an attacking mindset, but at this point in the season, discipline has more currency than beauty. The team has worked too hard and been through too much adversity for them to throw in the towel.

Tomorrow’s game at St. Andrews presents another opportunity to cement the belief and resolve that has developed over time. Man for man, we have a squad that is technically more superior to Birmingham, and tomorrow’s battle is all in the mind.

Birmingham are reeling from their indifferent form in the last few games, and following their defeat to Blackburn a few days ago, McLeish has publicly vowed to stop Arsenal leaving Birmingham with the points.

I don’t think it’s unreasonable to consider McLeish’s comments as code for ”you know what to do about Arsenal boys”, and in my view, that makes them a very dangerous proposition.

We just have to scare the living daylights out of them to make sure they’re not in doubt about Arsenal’s resolve to win the title this season.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on March 26, 2010, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 268 Comments.

  1. I agree with you, tomorrow is a massive hurdle.

    But I think it is something we have the mental strength to overcome.

    We’ll gain three points and win the title. It’s going to happen.

  2. Hear hear…..

  3. I think our focus on the ultimate goal is so strong right now, that i think that no matter what teams throw at us, we either just side-step it, absorb it or ignore it. All the while doing what we have to do to win….usually by playing our own game…but whatever it takes. We have the stomach. Bring it on. COYR!

  4. mingus,

    What if they threw a sheep at you?

  5. Mingus,

    What about if they threw a sheep at you on facebook? what would you do then?

  6. bigbrova, are you on Dial-up?

  7. lol @ James

  8. lol @ James @ bigbrovar!

  9. James, re:What about if they threw a sheep at you on facebook? what would you do then?
    Answer. I don’t know.

  10. No sensible transfer policy can account for the unavoidable loss of the first-, second- and third-choice centre-backs. Wenger can still draw upon the experience of the Easter Island statue that is Sol Campbell, as well as the less-assured, but capable Mikael Silvestre and, of course, that man Song.

    http://www.tnp.sg/sports/story/0,4136,234638,00.html?

  11. Shouldn’t these losers be in bed hang over or something….I can’t imagine they successfully hold down jobs, yet they are up this early freaking weirdos!!

  12. I think that Birmingham have begun to see the virtues in playing football and see themselves as Arsenal-lite. Almost none of the players playing for Bromwicham in the Eduardo incident will be playing tomorrow. In fact I understand that only one will be playing….you will have to guess which one because I haven’t got a fucking clue. Utterly useless source who should spend a lot less time in the pub in my opinion.

    Also in my opinion tomorrow there will be no nerves and the players will use it as a warm-up for Barca. We will see a very comprehensive victory to Arsenal.

    Why a match like this cannot be televised I have no idea. Seems to me that the TV companies do as much to stop us watching football as they do in airing it.

    ….Arsenal….

  13. D.S. – Your belligerent optimism, like those of Ateeb and Frank’s yesterday, is an antidote to the pangs of self doubt that most of us have. Most of all it is a rejection of the pundits and bloggers who over the past four years doubted Wenger’s project youth and as Nasir Jones-Nasir aptly described would have blown up the current squad and replace it with 300 million of experience. We are on a seven-game winning streak, literally head to head with the front-runners Man United and Chelsea. After four years of of growing up with this young team, suffering all the joys and heartbreaks, to believe we will win the league is not based on “faith” but grounded in experience.
    Birmingham, here we come!

  14. Ole, If money wasn’t an issue, would you take Adebeyor back if he sincerely apologised for his actions?

  15. I am not fucking belligerent and anyone who claims I am will get their lights punched out.

  16. Harry's got a twitch

    Everyone is talking abot Eduardo and Gallas after what happended 2 years ago.But the player who was most effected was Clichy who lost his form completley after his error and has only just got back to the form that made him better than Cashley.

    2-0 win Cesc and Arshavin to score

  17. By the way – I think Brum has over achieved to date. The fact that they score and concede 1 goal per game is the hallmark of a team that should be in a relegation fight, not mid-table mediocrity.

  18. Frank, not belligerent? LOL!

  19. Harry's got a twitch

    I wouldnt take that Greedy one season wonder Adebayor back if he was available on a free.

    The last two seasons this fraud has been found out.

  20. Shotta, I dont know, they play some good stuff, you obviously havent been watching them, just reading stats.

  21. 1 loose cannon

    The ref need to keep an eye on Ridgewell this guy is a ticking bomb.He hacked Walcott got away with it then he hacked someone the other day. he thinks his tackling is perfect. Lets hope he is spoken to early in the game.
    Never mind winning we need to bump up our goal tally and a thrashing would be perfect to go to the Barcelona game.

  22. Nani signs new contract another world beater signed up over the odds by red nose.

  23. Did anyone watch the Truman Show the other night? I forgot what a great film it is

  24. Go suck on an exhaust pipe, James.

  25. Ole, I know you mean that in a fond way, you’re such a kidder, ha ha ha

  26. Frank,

    That’s how I see it too. Birmingham have nothing to play for. We’re going for the league, we want to set things right from 2008, and we’re better than them.

    It should be a straight-forward away game.

  27. This’ll be the game where we catch up the goal difference.

  28. That dial-up comment still cracks me up, James!

    Anyway, with nothing to play for, Birmingham might be even more cynical. We’ll win, but not without a moment or two of Ferguson-sponsored violence.

    Here’s a link to Jay Emmanuel Thomas, (minus his dreads) on loan at Doncaster.
    http://www.doncasterroversfc.co.uk/page/News/0,,10329~2004996,00.html?

  29. I think it is exactly what he needs, Maria. Leeds are hanging by their finger nails and desperately want to get into the play-offs. The play-off ‘tournament’ will be great for him.

  30. That club is s*** though and so are their whiney fans.

  31. Watching the Brom game at home this season and it looked far from easy. It was a hard fought win even though we were in form with most of our first eleven out. I suspect that this game will be much harder than it looks, like most of our recent games.

  32. So the Arshavin quotes were all recycled gash form old interviews to make a bit of copy. Gave the blogs a days worth of angst I suppose, for those who gave a toss about it.

    Maria – shit and whiney? Pot, Kettle, Black, love.

  33. Hollis,

    Drop dead.

  34. Maria, Arsenehollis,

    Shall we have a three-way snuggle?

  35. I remember Gallas crying like a baby at St Andrews the last time we played the devils in that stadia and good enough he will not be there.
    My motto for tomorrow’s game is that we either win or they lose.
    A Gooner for Life.
    Gooners brace yourselves for the best match of the season which shall be the turning point to lift the trophy this season.

  36. there you go again ‘hollis.

    For someone who only wants to debate football you certainly go looking for fights.

    Leave it alone.

  37. Civility costs nothing. Shall we try to cut out the abuse?

    YW

  38. Frank,

    it was goon (no compliment intended) ridgewell who played two years ago. Same guy who hurt theo.

    And off to the pub I go. Course it IS 9 am here:(

    cambell to play Tom I think. You can play vermaellen and song against barca.

  39. Harry`s got a twitch is spot on about Clichy and Birmingham 2 years ago.

  40. Darius:

    Absolutely great post. Your best.

    Sol Campbell was a stroke of genius and I agree completely about how he has helped organize the team defense. It has has been much better with him on the pitch. The only bad goal I can think of recently was vs Burnley when MS was playing instead of Sol. I think the improved form of Almunia and Clichy corresponding to Sol is not coincidence either.

    Agree with Maria this will be a tough game. No one has broken down Birmingham at St. Andrews. However, their form has slipped lately. I love the fact the boss has said in no uncertain terms that he will give everything we have for this game and then worry about Barca later.

    COYG. I think we will score 2 or 3 goals and keep a clean sheet. I would love for NB to score to keep his confidence high before the Barca game.

  41. great post darius – insightful analysis and a good explanation of the 3 pronged challenge we face tomorrow.

    ole – “straightforward away game” ?????

    really? I would suggest that its far from it. They’ve been spectacular at home this season, we absolutely HAVE to leave w/3 pts, and while ill admit it is certainly of minimal importance, you’d be crazy to think that some of the players havent at least thought once this week, “huh, we havent been at birhmingham since the eduardo injury”.

    dont oversimplfy ole, your smarter than that… THIS IS A HUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGE GAME!!!!

    COYG

  42. in order to stress the high quality of today’s post, i will dedicate a comment solely to you darius.

    great work. all those ass clowns who were saying you write about the same stuff blah blah blah a few weeks ago can shove this one, well, you get it.

  43. ‘hollis why do i not remember you being so aggressive? the past 2 days man… everything ok?

  44. It must be all that Spanish sun.

  45. Surely the spanish sun should make you tranquillo! Oh well…

    I can’t wait for tomorrow’s match. Is it me or has this week gone really slowly?

    It’s going to be a tricky one and another test of our character, unity and resolve. We’re going to put those demons to bed and slaughter those lumpy cloggers. They’ve been lulling themselves into a false sense of security, and we’ll punish them for that…

    Theo to come on and score? Edu scoring would be the cherry on the cake though…

  46. If manu don’t drop points in the next couple of games I will start getting a tad jittery.

  47. They’ve got the chavs soon keyser. One of them will drop points, if not both, so it’s all groovy. We could do with them both dropping points against the spuds too… Who knows though, anyone can beat anyone in our league at the mo, it’s making things pretty exciting!

  48. im with you keysersoze.. im starting to get VERY anxious yesterday.

    the discussion of “controlling your own destiny” only reinforced how absolutely necessary it is for utd to drop points. i wish villa were playing utd instead of chelski

  49. People talk about putting demons to bed, but I honestly don’t think the players are bothering to think of it like that. Birmingham dropped out of the Premier League that season and came back and are now a different bunch of players. So what is it? A stadium? A badge? A memory? Our boys have moved on from all that. For Eduardo maybe it is a personal demon, but I think when they celebrate another three points it won’t be about demons, it will be about another three points.

  50. Forget the others. Yes, I know the argument that was going on here yesterday but the mancs and chavs are irrelevant.

    Just concentrate on us winning all our games.

    When we do, we WILL win the title.

    Don’t waste a second of concern about anyone else. When they drop points, celebrate but celebrate our wins more.

  51. Lets not think about Man Utd or Chelsea, we all if we win our remaining games we will be crowned champions. Its a not a bad pressure, its a positive pressure to push us on to win all our games. Starting from tomorrow, i see nothing less than an Arsenal win. Ok maybe I am a bit biassed, but we outplayed with ten men a relegation battling team, at the same time as outpassing all the other premiership teams last weekend! (Think I saw them stats on Arseblog).

    This team we have he is ready to fight, and we all know we have the quality.. Birmingham will be hard, but we NEED 3 points. The players will demonstrate that tomorrow.

  52. Oh, and for anybody who doubts Ateeb’s maths, remember that he is a banker…

    …but that doesn’t make him all bad.

  53. I too don’t understand the demons which people talk about, 60% of our team has changed since then.. its a new season, a new game, and a new opportunity.. the players will have the current game solely in their mind, and solely gaining 3 points.

    The only distraction that can bother our players is Barcelona, but i agree with an earlier post, the players will want to warm up with a nice win for the next game, and more importantly to go top of the league once again.

  54. mingus – i’m sure they would all say that the demons have been put to bed, but in reality, that game will be one of the most memorable moments (and season-defining moments) that any of our young players have experienced. It will be in their minds, which is a shame, but hopefully it will drive them on to beat them by an even bigger margin.

    Fair enough consolsbob. I’m sure that’s what wenger’s saying to the lads too…

  55. is he really a banker c-bob? bc some of what he was saying yesterday made him sound like something that requires far less higher education that a position like that. perhaps he’s a teller?

  56. hahaha NJGooner!

  57. here’s my stance – I’m incredibly optimistic about the rest of the run in for us. no part of me doubts that we can win the remaining games. and i will certainly celebrate our wins more than anyone dropping points.

    but again, your speaking of utd dropping points as a certainty, and im not sure it is. how you can say only focus on us? we dont control our own destiny! if we win out, its not a guarantee that we will hoist the trophy in may. we HAVE to follow the results of utd and chelsea, but cannot let it affect our concentration or make it seem as if their result is more important than ours.

  58. Man Yoo are Poo,

    I don’t understand the big fuss with them, I have watched them a fair few times and they aren’t nothing special. In fact they are a very ordinary team, with a prolific goalscorer..

    Nani? Has he even scored more than Nasri?

    What about Fletcher, he comes nowhere near to Song in physicue, technique, passing, and aerial ability.

    Scholes i wont comment, although Park is a good player, i would still pick Nasri, Rosicky, Cesc, and Theo and Denilson ahead of him.

    Vidic or Ferdinand or Vermaelen – you ask any fan and you will see who is voted for as the best defender.

    Then there is the refereeing, can anyone imagine if we got the biassness (if thats a word) that Man Poo get in games..!!!..

    We would certainly be sitting pretty now, if somehow we don’t win the league i will still be quite happy with our season, and i still prefer to be an Arsenal fan than. We can all be proud no matter what happens, I just seriously believed from the start this teams character and ability would take it to somethiing good.. FINGERS CROSSED, from now till the end of the season!

  59. My only worry is Liam Ridgewell. We don’t need that little snide bastard taking out any of our players before the Barca match. I expect us to win one or two to nothing.

  60. NJGooner

    Can see your point, but it is highly unlikely with United’s fixtures that they will win all their games. I know there aren’t any easy games in the Premiership, we will have to be on our game more than ever, but United have to play Bolton Away, Blackburn Away, City Away, Spurs and Chelsea.. if they win all them games, i will hold my hands up to them. For me it is our league to win 😀

  61. chris,

    please dont take what i said abotu the mancs to be an endorsement of their quality, or that i think they will win out. I JUST DONT KNOW HOW THEY’LL PERFORM THATS THE POINT.

    and i agree with mostly everything you said. they’re riding rooney and the favorable treatment of the refs.

    rudolph the rednose reindeer, had a very shiny nose, and if you ever saw it, you would even say it glowed. Then one foggy manc night, the FA came to say, Fergie with your nose so bright, we’ll help you win the leage tonight

  62. Im with you Chirs, not only do i think we will win out, but i think utd will drop points…

    im just getting nervous waiting for it to happen!!

  63. @ Darius

    Good post. Actually, I agree with Wenger about why our title bid went off track in 2008. Birmingham was a blow, but not a mortal one. We did come back with a great win at Bolton a man down and 2-0 down after that. And he mentions players not being focused – remember the Hleb and Flamini sagas? Plus Eduardo’s injury meant we were almost out of strikers and of course Bendtner and Walcott were two years younger.

    I think the advantage of our position is that it’s very simple for the players – every game’s a cup final for them.

  64. Anyone fancy a snuggle?

  65. Plus there is a deep desire by those involved two years ago to shove it right up Bromwichams arses. Ask Gael Clichy…he knows.

  66. What the fuck is a snuggle.

  67. That’s what i’m saying Frank. Wouldn’t it be great from Edu to score the winner…?

  68. I think it means a warty, herpes infected pork roll, but i may be wrong.

  69. On the contrary, I find it fun to contrast the invincibles side with the current side. We know how good the invincibles were. It reminds us that football – tactical skills – has progressed.

    During the various Wenger bashing tirades, the ‘Invincibles’ – built around Bergkamp, brilliant purchases and a strong in-place defence – has been proof that thereafter Wenger ‘lost it’ with his misguided ‘youth project’ bla bla (yawn), miscalculating that Mr. Wenger in reality had far, far bigger long term ambitions. Crazy plans.

    How would you improve on the invincibles? The current squad is how. It is interesting to see how the ambitions have progressed and in which directions. I don’t believe Wenger conceived youth-building for financial reasons, but for long-term football reasons in which he could also show financial rationale alongside the new stadium.

    I was taken to task for saying that Eboue, Diaby and Song – to take three ‘typical’ products of the current squad would have been automatic choices 9 years ago. I was just being provocative, but for good reason. All I am saying is: understand just how good these young players are – how would one leave Diaby or Song, on current form, out of any team? Let’s just say it would not be easy. A year ago both were written off as ‘maybes’.

    Eboue is the more controversial and fascinating as he asserts himself as an indispensible attacking defender who turns a game with a single run, and of course defends.

    But of course, it is not about individual players, it is about the ‘whole’, the team ethos.

    Birmingham will be tough. In my opinion it is close to the most important and hardest game of the season, for a host of reasons, but mainly psychological. Sooner or later this team will reach the ‘tipping point’, the ‘no going back point’, the ‘let there be no doubts’ point even for the most cynical pundit. I wonder to myself will it be this game or the next? We are surely close.

    Arsenal fans can be a timid lot on the whole, not quite sure, not yet convinced. For me I just look at the trajectory over 3 years, it becomes clear.

    Anybody remember we got here without RvP?

  70. Zimpaul – legend. Who’s RvP…? 😉

  71. Frank, A snuggles sort of an extended cuddle, like in the term ‘Snuggle up in front of the Tele’.

    Would you like one?

  72. @ Ateeb, ZimPaul, NJ-N
    You are wildly exaggerating (Ateeb from last night) and all of you have missed the point. You say you understand the arithmetic of it, so I won’t labour that point.

    You are confusing a statement of fact with an expression of faith. Are you going to tell me that AW doesn’t believe in his team because he says the situation is not in our hands? Having 67 points and lying third with seven games to go is not a hypothetical “worst-case scenario”, it is currently fact. We will win all our remaining games – there’s faith for you. But that will not be enough on its own. That’s fact. So I for one will be cheering on Bolton and Aston Villa and anyone else the Chavs or Mancs face. You can do as you please.

    @ Frank
    Since you were the person who first mentioned that we were not currently in control of our own destiny, I am rather surprised that you are siding with Ateeb et al and their bizarre reading of what I said.

  73. Oh… i was wrong. I’d have accepted many-a snuggle over the years if i’d known it’s true meaning.

  74. Well put ZP. Very well put.

  75. FG, i missed something i think… what are the wild exaggerations about?

  76. Let’s just conclude FunG that as of now we are right smack in the race, and that is a fact too. Barring an extraordinary, almost unprecedented run, it is unlikely any team will win all 7 games.

    We are close, that’s all, and currently in the position of least advantage of the three, but only just.

  77. Of course you are correct, Fun. No argument.

    For me though, I believe that we will garner more points then either the chavs or mancs.

    Win our games, win the title. Bugger the maths.

  78. Baby duty calls.
    Later!
    Arsenal!
    Yes, you are right FunG.

  79. All ghosts will be appropriately exorcised come tomorrow without a doubt.

  80. Trust me, Geo, you don’t want to know! 🙂

    An argument carried on from last night’s blog post, basically.

  81. I am with Mr. Bob, United and Chelsea will drop more points than us therefore we will win the PL!!

    What is fact is that they play eachother, thats huge. Lets hope for a draw!!

    Lovely!!

    Blessings on you all!!!

  82. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    You’re right, FG, but when one says the others aren’t guaranteed to drop points it kind of rankles. I’d just like to see some more support for the boys and Club, and less admiration of the Mancs and Chavs.

  83. FunGunner,

    If we win all our games it will be almost certainly enough. I think it’s extremely improbable that Man United & Chelsea will not drop points.

  84. I think that I have already mentioned, FG, that ‘control of our own destiny’ is just a turn of phrase. For me it is just a question of time before we ease out into the overtaking lane. I was merely suggesting that that game would be the point at which we do that. No-one is actually in control of their own destiny in football anymore than in life.BUT…I believe that the Mancs and the Chavs will drop points and we won’t.

    I had no idea I was siding with anyone against you. I think that you and Ateeb are both stars.

    You got red hair?

  85. If Ancellotti is really suggesting that being hurled out of the Eurothingy is good for Chelski’s EPL chances then he has already thrown in the towel.

  86. Can Everyone please stop ganging up on FunGunner.

    FunGunner, would you like a snuggle?

  87. I just had a look actually FG, too much to read but i got the main points! lol!

  88. Mingus did us no favours today. Don’t tell me. That is you as well.

  89. If we win all our games we will wind up champions and fully deserve it – 13 wins in a row would be stunning.

    The mancs are in good form though and whilst they will drop points, it may not be more than once or twice, probably. That would mean we can afford not to win only once.

    It is starting to line up for us though, the fixtures are falling nicely, esp the spud game, and we are getting healthier.

    Tomorrow will be tough though, all these slightly crap, very cunty, English nark merchants love to try and get at us. Plus the jock is one of Fergie’s mob.

    Still 3-1 tomorrow is my guess.

  90. Sorry you got in the way there, Geo.

  91. Go on Nasir, show us your support then.

  92. To be honest, going behind early is the best thing for us, we then wake up, equalise and fight for the time remaining after the equalizer. I would weirdly rather go in to half time at 0-1 or 1-1 than 1-0 or 2-0 up.

  93. He already has, arsenehollis, should you not be sipping mojitas by now?

  94. 🙂 I was about to ask you where that came from Frank!

    hollis, why so pugnacious?

  95. A very interesting post Darius. I accept your view of Campbell organizing the people around him. This has also been my observation. A wily old veteren. He has been nothing but good for the team. When Campbell left the team under a cloud of doubts, I thought that we would never see the player that we previously knew.

    Campbell, coupled with Vermalen and Gallas, is indeed a formidable trio of central defenders. Perhaps the best in the league! Yes, I agree Darius, this signing of Arsene’s has been a stroke of magic.

    My observations of Campbell has noticed at times his tendency to play higher on the pitch than Vermalen to allow the Dutchman to pick up the speedier forwards.

  96. It is mojito Frank and they are Cuban, I think, certainly not from Spain. I’m not sure a man from Hoxton should be going down that route anyway, it is a suspect starting point. Either way, I am over in London now for the match Wednseday, so mine will be a pint Cider this evening. Thanks for asking.

  97. ‘pugnacious’, Great word

  98. He is Belgian

  99. Agree with all of that Two Owls apart from TV’s nationality! Who cares anyway, it’s all Flemmish to me…

  100. Geo – there are plenty of people on here are not slow to get feisty when someone they disagree with, or just don’t like pops on the board. I am simply keeping with the spirit of the place, except I think that some of the regular posters are full of shit, that’s all. They probably will say the same of me, it’s all good fun.

  101. My spelling is poor but people do drink mojitos in Spain.

  102. Yes they do, it is a quality drink.

  103. Mojito’s originated in Cuba but theres many variations nowadays, I know all this from my days in Havana.

  104. Fair enough hollis. Everyone’s full of shit… depending on what they’re talking about and to whom 😉

  105. Fuck off James you spud

  106. Absolutely.

  107. It really does not matter where mojitos originated. I just think that it would be better if arsenehollis was off drinking it.

  108. See, Zap’s at it.

    Thanks for the confirmation James.

  109. Why dont you stop trying to be funny? You’re just not and dat is da truth blud

  110. James, you strike me as more of a WKD or Bacardi Breezer type… I learnt all that from my days in Croydon

  111. Cheers Frank, I am off now as it happens. I hope you also make it out this evening, at your age there must be better things to do than sit in front of computer for hours every day being a wanker, probably at any age, but especially when time is in short supply.

    Enjoy the game tomorrow folks.

  112. Were talking drinks Zap you donut, fancy a Brandy?

  113. Hollis,

    What a star you are..!!!

  114. Actually whilst you were figuring out an insulting response I discovered that in fact Mojitos probably originated from Barbados. The family who invented Bacardi went to Cuba from Barbados. It is popularly considered to be a Cuban cocktail….but not originally.

    Anyway to answer. I will be out tonight as I work nights 6 days per week. Usually starting at about midnight.

  115. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    I agree with Frank.

  116. Hey Joe, you found another friend.

  117. Zap,

    Yes that’s very very weird.

    The reality this season is that when we go 1-0 up, we usually win. I think we’re one of the best in the EPL on that front.

  118. ole, wasn’t zap saying the opposite?

  119. Frank, thats just what people from Barbados say, the Cubans laugh at them for this.

  120. Zim Paul @ 3:03

    How would you line up a composite team of the invincibles and todays squad. My choice

    Jens L.

    Eboue/Lauren/Sagna is the toughest

    Campbell, Vermaelen, Cole

    Viera Fab

    Pires Bergkamp Arshavin

    Henry.

    The current squad has potential to be even as good as the invincibles with time. I hope we can keep it together until they truly mature and may be add 1 or 3 more players to the mix.

    May be I am a romantic about the invincibles but I think they were one of the best squads of all time. They were as physically intimidating as anything Stoke or Hull could throw on the pitch today yet they were technically great. They were the best defensive team in the league in their era. DBergkamp is my choice for best Arsenal player in memory. Bobby Pires is my favorite of all time. On top of all their strength and technical skill they were probably the best counter attacking team the EPL has ever seen. No way to prove it but I think that squad would easily win this years EPL.

  121. Bill – DB10 is a god. He’s my favourite player in the world, ever – by miles!

  122. If man utd are in the driving seat, which seat are Arsenal in? The passenger seat? What about Chelsea? I hope they’re not sharing the passenger seat with us.

  123. We are in a helicopter hovering just above and behind them. They haven’t really noticed yet.

  124. Consols – Your attempts at mediation and peace-making on this blog are usually well received. But for some reason I feel you have failed this time around.
    Un(f*cking)believable!

  125. I see your point Ole Gunner and raise you.

    I can’t see Arsenal losing the league if we win all but one, and draw the other. It’s not a certainty, but with the way this season has gone, it should be enough.

    The only thing that concerns me is that we’re significantly behind on goal difference. Hopefully, a couple of 3-0 wins will cut into that difference.

  126. Mediation! Uuuuurgh

  127. Geo at 4.01 hahahahah

  128. Zap we used to be buddies, whats happened to us? Maybe we need to snuggle

  129. Someone pointed out yeserday that it doesn’t make sense to compare a team at it’s peak to a team at the start of its cycle.

    I’d take every player in the invincibles except Lauren & Gilberto (Sagna & Cesc).

    But what shows how stupid the comparison is is the fact that Campbell was in the invincibles side, but he’s only a sub in the current side.

    In terms of ability, we have players in the current side who could be as good as the invincibles; Vermaelen, Cesc, Nasri, RVP, Eduardo, Diaby, Song….

    Wait till we win a couple of trophies and watch how large the stature of these players will be in your eyes.

  130. Wow, James you are just pathetic- wether u call yourself William, James, WelshDave you’re just annoying and not at all funny. I feel sorry for you they dont have any spurs blogs

  131. mediators, middlemen, referees, umpires…..dearie me. This is not Cb territory.

  132. ARSENALLLLLLLLLL

  133. men snuggling?

  134. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    These guys have become shells of their former selves. Take Joe for example. What happened to you, Joe. He was that guy that would post those 10 paragraph essay type comments only after draws and losses. That’s why you haven’t seen him posting during this amazing run we’ve been on. He’s been reduced to simply popping in and agreeing with dunces like arsenehollis. It’s quite interesting seeing people completely devoid of praise, praising a backwards c*nt like arsenehollis.

  135. lagooner,

    A weekend in which Arsenal won 3-0 and Man U lost 2-1 can swing goals difference by 4.

    I’m not too worried. But hopefully we can rout a couple of teams along the way.

  136. James, would you like some sheep? I can throw you some sheep through your window

  137. It’s a strange fact that at the start of a season nobody is in the driving seat, since no team can guarantee that by winning all their games they will win the league. I suppose all the teams are sitting side by side in the back. Even after the first match, it is highly likely that the driving seat will remain unoccupied, as more than one team will almost always win on the opening day. I wonder how long it normally takes for a team to move into the driving seat. Since being in the driving seat is synonymous with having one’s destiny in one’s own hands, I must infer that at the start of the season the destiny of all the clubs is unheld. For destiny to exist, does it have to be held in someone’s hands? In that case, would it be fair to say that the teams don’t have a destiny until a few matches have been played?

  138. Zap, forget the past and embrace me as your brother

  139. “no team can guarantee that by winning all their games they will win the league”

    That is of course false.

  140. I’ll take Clichy at his best over Ashley Cole. This is the only season since 05/06 in which Cashley has played better than Clichy.

  141. I forgot the rather obvious point that only one team can win all its games.

  142. I embrace you as my bitch because james is my bitch. James go buy me some sheep see now hes buying my sheep because hes my bitch. now never come back. thankyou bye james bye.

  143. Paul N, yes, men can snuggle. Like me and Zap for instance used to snuggle all the time but recently he’s been very distant.

    Zap, I hope all this isnt just cos I spanked you at Fifa 10 the other day and done the robot after every goal, Its only a game.

  144. I must admit Im getting anxious. I want the others to drop points soon but I keep firm in my belief that we have what it takes to win all of our remaining fixtures….and that if we do that we will be champions.

    RvP is back in around two weeks people. Exciting times indeed.

    James

    Your in bed with Aaron Lennon now arnet you! You snidy git. Stroking his eyebrows.

  145. I suppose all the teams are in the driving seat at the start of the season.

  146. It is impossible that Chelse and manu wont drop points, they have to play eachother dont forget.

    I see us drawing either tomorrow, or at home to citeh. The others we should win.

  147. That’s rather fortunate. I was starting to get worried about teams not having a destiny.

  148. “In that case, would it be fair to say that the teams don’t have a destiny until a few matches have been played?”

    or until a few matches are left to be played?

  149. James likes to snuggle with other tottenham fans, he likes to fantasize about commenters on here.

  150. and that leaves me uncomfortable

  151. Zap dont listen to Deano, he’s just joking I’m alone I swear to God

  152. Still, one could imagine having a league where two teams never play one another. In that case, the problem of indeterminate destiny would once more raise its ugly head.

  153. Nice post Darius.

    This has to be one of arsenal’s toughest fixtures for a while. However, the omens are good. No midweek game, plenty of time to prepare, and with the exception of Vermaelen and Gallas, the rest of the team that has been performing well recently, will be playing.

    Having just seen the premiership review programme on Sky, it is pretty clear that Birmingham are no mugs. We will need to be at our very best.

    A lot of people are talking about the invincibles. I tend to agree with Frank that this squad looks better. It may only be a matter of time before some of the players reach the same level of respect and adulation. Nasri, Song, Diaby, Denilson and Bendtner may soon be talked about in the hushed tones reserved for some of the invincibles.

  154. How true, Poliziano, How true, what an intelligent human you are, James dont get your hopes up someone of poliziano’s stature is out of your league, you should consider hitting on moda or jaguar. On le grove

    bye bye

  155. But can we be sure that such a league could exist? Might not some hitherto unknown law of nature prevent a league from being set up in which each team does not play all the others?

    That puts me in mind of the problem of Maxwell’s Demon.

  156. “Hey Joe, you found another friend.”

    Therefore so has Bill.

  157. Maria – you’ve been in a feisty mood recently! Has hollis infected you? 😉

  158. Muppet – you mention not having Gallas and TV. The doom merchants are surely writing us off because of that.

    To be fair, at the start of the season, if we’d had those 2 out for any amount of games i would have been worried. But Sol’s come in and has been a rock, and seeing the way Song slotted in so nicely against WH, we have a great balance, with quality cover in almost every position.

    And who said we had quad depth issues?

  159. AAARRRSSSEEEENNNNAAALLLL!!!!!!!

  160. @ Frank
    Ateeb objected to the phrase “control of our destiny”, which started this whole thing.

    You seemed to be siding with Ateeb when he criticised me for supposedly not backing us to win.

    @ Ole G
    There is no doubt in my mind that we will win all our remaining games. And I agree, if we win all our games we will ALMOST CERTAINLY be champions. But you didn’t say winning all our games means we will DEFINITELY be champions, because you know as well as I do that it is not in our hands at this moment. We are reliant on other teams to get results against them. If/when they do get the requisite results, that’s it – because it will be solely up to US from then on.

    @ NJ-N
    OK, I’ll rephrase – we are partly dependent on other teams getting a result against ManUre and Chavski. Better?

    I have never said anything like “I am convinced that ManU and Chelsea will not wobble.”
    With Chelsea, the pressure we are applying has got to them already. But unfortunately, even if the Mancs play rubbish, SAF has got the refs in their pocket and teams frequently roll over for them. I’m not saying they WILL NOT drop points, I’m saying they MIGHT not, or might not drop enough. Anything can happen in a football match. Look at Porto away.

    @ Zap
    One or both will definitely drop points from the head-to-head, as I said last night. But we might need them both to drop points in other games as well.

    @ Paul N
    If you know that winning all our games will give us the title, why are you hoping for a draw between ManU and Chelsea? And will you not be rooting for Bolton and Aston Villa et al?

  161. Text can easily be mis-read or too much read into a certain phrase. It seems that was the case in this mass-debate last night (see what i did there)

  162. Great reading though 🙂

  163. Can I agree with FG, without really agreeing with her?

  164. Is FG a woman? Not that it matters obviously Maria!

  165. Ole G:

    Agree can not really compare teams but it is fun. Diaby, RVP, Nasri Vermaelen could all be in the Arsenal top 11 if they continue to develop. Diaby might even pass the immortal Patrick V. Cesc will certainly be in the top 11 of all time. Can not see anyone passing DBergkamp or RPires, but wouldn’t be awesome if they could.

  166. And I agree with the rest of the boys, without really agreeing with them?

  167. You got that right, Geo.

  168. Geo,

    Absolutely. The doomers frankly, and a lot of the pundits, are lost for words. Like John Terry, they can’t quite believe it. Campbell was an outstanding signing. Song, Bendtner and Denilson has made a lot eat their words. When Almunia puts in a good shift though, he is still not good enough. And I don’t think Almunia has done a whole lot wrong this season.

    While all the hot air is being spoken, the squad improves from week to week.

  169. GEo’s comment at 5:06pm, I mean

  170. I didn’t even realise it was a mass debate. Eye of the storm and all that.

  171. I dont know why but that surprised me. what that says about me i dont know… Why dont i know any females that are this into football?

  172. There are several on this site, Geo

  173. @ Muppet

    We are the Unstoppables.

  174. lol frank…

    Muppet – I was a bit disappointed with Almunia’s form earlier in the season, but if he had personal stuff to get over, then fair enough. It was ridiculous how many people were saying that we needed a new GK. He’s been consistently one of the best in the country for the last 3-4 years! He would be the best option for England by miles, not that i would want that of course…

  175. I didnt know FG was a woman

  176. not that it matters…

    What matters is ARSENAL BEATING BIRMINGHAM. COME ON YOU FECKIN GUNNERS

  177. So a bit off topic, but we’re treading water in the comments right now so whatever.

    But at teh school I teach at (in the USA) its spirit week and today is red and white day.. which are our school colors… so what does Mr. NJ Gooner decide to wear??

    My Arsenal kit of course.

    I’ve been getting shtick from some football following students. a bunch of chelsea fans in particular. my response to them was swift and always the same “hows the champs league going for ya? excited about the next roudn?” that shuts em up!!!

    COYG!!!!!!!!!!

  178. frank – None in my actual life though! Plenty of blokes (mainly liverpool or utd fans) but literally no women that i can have a face to face discussion about footie with… 😦

  179. Technically, a team might not be in the drivers seat until the last game of the season even if it had won every game up until then.

  180. @ NJ Gooner
    ha ha – nice one!

  181. So a bit off topic, but we’re treading water in the comments right now so whatever

    lol!

  182. NJ, dont you think Arsenal should do a tour in USA, chelsea have a lot of fans there, simple because not many people have heard of arsenal. Ive done my bit, thanks to me there are about 5 new gooners in new hampshire

  183. Absolutely FunGunner, and we look forward with excitement. Because we know that the margin for improvement is colossal.

    Denilson, Song, Bendtner, Nasri, Ramsey, Vela, Gibbs, Diaby, Traore, Merida are all going to get better and better and better.

    And then there is the group coming up behind them – Eastmond, Jet, Coquelin, Sunu, Szczesny, Fabianski, Barazite, Wilshere, Nordtveit, Lansbury.

    Even the likes of Eduardo, Rosicky, Arshavin have more to contribute.

    It is an amazing time to be an arsenal supporter.

  184. Wasn’t wenger opposed to that idea Zap?

  185. I agree with Geo. Almunia is unfashionable because of his spanish nationality. He is better than any english goalkeepers, and certainly as good as Reina. He does not appear to get any due credit when having outstanding games. If we win the title, this view will change.

  186. When he saved the penalty last week, all they talked about was him moving off his line before the ball was struck!!! It was a fantastic save, simple. All keepers do it, some much worse than others (Reina anyone?) but there always has to be something that undermines a moment of beauty for Arsenal.

  187. haha glad youve all enjoyed it.. one kid was like “hahaha arsenal are out of the FA cup, they suck” needless to say he got more than the standard retort.

    and as far as a US tour goes…i dont know. Personally, I dont think US fans have that big of an impact on the club. all i do is recruit those closest to me to the idea of football being cool. my friends are forced to watch CL games, people at work, when they ask about my plans for the weekend, i usually say “well arsenal play at xx” haha so im doing my part too Zap!!

    I think all it would do would generate more revenue and international buzz, but if AW doesnt want it, i say let him call the shots. He knows whats best. if he wants to be tucked away in an austrian forest so be it. Although i do find it a bit frustrating when chelsea and utd come over here bc they are then touted as the end all be all.. utter bullshit obviously.

    I’ve actually attracted a number of people to arsenal by constantly reminding and pointing out the examples of arsenal playing “beautifully”. i sound a bit like a broken record, but its the truth. we are the best football team in the world.

  188. That was ESPN Geo. Not sure why, but their coverage seems to be vehemently anti-arsenal.

  189. yea Geo i noticed that too. the match commentator said it right away!! the play-by-play guy was like “what a great save from almunia” the color guy was like “well ya know he’s off the line early” and just kept repeating it.. unbelievable!!

    how can we solve this problem? this blatant and belligerent xenephobia that the media/pundits/announcers spew as objective fact.. other than through gratuitous violence

  190. @ Muppet

    I agree 100%, of course.

    “Szczesny”

    If you typed that without checking the official site, I am seriously impressed.

  191. No.. I had to check it FunGunner !! It’s a bastard to spell isn’t it ?!

    I think we need to come up with a nickname for him. PoleSafe ! or something.

  192. We can’t solve the problem, NJ Gooner, we just have to try to make it irrelevant by winning.

  193. Hahahaha NJG!!

    Winning things will go some way to shutting them up and force feeding them a mammoth wedge of humble pie. But if that fails, gratuitous violence sounds great…

  194. Is Chezney Hawkes on loan or is he playing in the reserves? I really want to see him playing! from what i’ve heard, he’s going to be a superstar…

  195. I like the nickname Chesney. He is the one and only!
    Except that Wookie is Polish as well, isn’t he. Oh, well. We could call them Pole A and Pole B, like in the IKEA catalogue? Nah.

  196. haha yea thats the issue FG i agree with you!!. I, personally, have a problem accepting that there isnt a solution to any problem though!!

    We just have to be sure that when we DO win, we make sure to remind those who slighted us of the embarassingly generic, nationalistic trite put out to as the omnipotent word of God. God is in the SKY though right?? haha

  197. Geo, hes playing for brentford in league 1

  198. FG & NJG lol – chuckling away here 🙂

  199. Chesney sounds easy. A name will evolve no doubt.

    Yeah Geo – he has been receiving rave reviews from the Brentford fans. They believe his is top top class and will go on to be a great player. No exaggeration. Lord Wenger himself said that he will be a great goalkeeper.

  200. Cheers Zap, i’ll see if i can get to see some of their matches. Have any of you seen him play?

  201. Ikea ?! Haven’t been to them in a while. Remember the swedish meatballs in the canteen though.

  202. Muppet: Nice, Poles A & B are going to push eachother all the way then… always good

  203. James remembers the free pencils in ikea

  204. Geo, i saw him this season in the carling cup v west brom. He made some good saves. hes a very good goalie naturally has height, power and ability. I wouldnt be surprised if hes a future keeper for the arsnal

  205. Do they allow sharp things in the creche?

  206. FunGun, I am saying that I believe others will drop points. Just faith that all things will work for the good as far as Arsenal winning the title.

    My hope is that both Chelsea and United lose all of their remaining matches and draw against eachother while we win all of our remaining matches

    Though I believe we will win, most certainly others have to drop points.

  207. Poliziano is a wise man, so wise people could mistake him for a wide man, therefore going under the illusion that he is overweight.

  208. Cool, that adds to the glowing references i’ve heard about him… will definitely check him out.

  209. not Poliziano btw! lol, no offence Poliziano! I’m sure you’re a very wide man (sorry i’ve got a cold at the mo)

  210. anyway, on that bombshell…

    See ya’ll later, have a good one

  211. Birmingham 1-1 Arsenal
    Bolton 1-3 Man U
    Chelsea 3-0 A Villa

    Man U 2-2 Chelsea
    Arsenal 3-1 Wolves

    Blackburn 1-1 Man United
    Chelsea 5-0 Bolton
    Spurs 1-2 Arsenal

    Tottenham 1-1 Chelsea
    Man City 2-1 Man United
    Wigan 1-3 Arsenal

    Man U 1-0 Tottenham
    Chelsea 4-0 Stoke
    Arsenal 3-1 Man City

    Blackburn 0-2 Arsenal
    Sunderland 1-1 Man United
    Liverpool 2-2 Chelsea

    Arsenal 2-1 Fulham
    Man U 5-1 Stoke
    Chelsea 6-1 Wigan

    Arsenal win the league

  212. Geo,

    Check this out:

  213. when talking abotu Szcezny, AW said, his natural reflexes are unbelievable.. good sign for a yougn keeper! he looks like a beast too! quite large, dominating.. maybe not seaman esque but pretty authoritative

  214. Zap, seeing as you’ve clearly just returned from the future.. how else could a man of logic and reason make such a statement.. do you have any stock tips? gambling advice? is the end of the world nigh?

    please indulge me

  215. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    Sheesh ffs, Zap. That was a cringer. I still don’t get it.

  216. @Fun Gunner and Muppet.

    Szczesny already has a nickname. All the other players at Arsenal call him Tech 9.

    His name is actually pronounced “Chenzni” – and this I was told by the manager at my local pub who comes from the same neck of the woods in Poland as him.

  217. Muppet – you star, thanks!

    He looks awesome! You can’t get much higher praise either… He looks like he should be playing at the top level already from those clips. Will be checking out Brentford over the next couple of months for sure.

    Like the look of that Zap, very possible…

    Cheers all, been a pleasure

  218. tech 9 – nice darius i like it.

  219. @ Darius
    Tech 9 – yes! That sounds scary. We’ll have to do something about the lisp, though. He’s too loveable with a lisp.

    @ Muppet
    Ikea ?! Haven’t been to them in a while. Remember the swedish meatballs in the canteen though.
    Still repeating on you, are they?

    @ Paul N
    My hope is that both Chelsea and United lose all of their remaining matches and draw against eachother while we win all of our remaining matches

    Though I believe we will win, most certainly others have to drop points.

    Exactly the same position as mine, then. 🙂

  220. You seem to have cheered up, FG

  221. I always cheer up when I feel I have got my point across, Frank.

  222. @Fungunner.

    I just love the way he owns the 18 yard box like it’s his own piece of real estate. Forget his amazing shot stopping ability and reflexes, his confidence and sheer presence has a calming effect.

    Interesting that both he and Fabianski have been capped for Poland and yet they can’t even make No. 1 at Arsenal.

    I have a very strong feeling that within 2 years, Tech 9 will be the No. 1 goalie at Arsenal because he is to goal keeping what Fabregas is to our midfield.

  223. No not really mediating, shotta. Just pointing out that he is aggressive for no good reason.

    I mean, there are people worthy of an ‘assertive’ response who post here but the fights he picks just strike me as stupid.

    It’s not as if he always talks nonsense the rest of the time. I can’t really summon up enough energy or reason to do battle like you do though.

    I just want us to win the Premiership. All other agendas suspended.

  224. Nice one Consols.

    We’ve got all summer to throw sheep at each other.

    Right now we need to get behind the team unconditionally.

    I was very impressed with the sheer level of support from the fans at the Emirates on Saturday. You got the sense immediately that they knew it was time to support the team as we had the job of pushing them over the finishing line.

    The away support have always covered themselves in glory and I expect the same tomorrow.

  225. Have you ever tried throwing a sheep, Darius?

    I’ll stick to their droppings. In a manner of speaking, of course.

  226. I’ve seen/read a lot of interviews with Szcezny now, what a great guy. Arsh certainly won’t be able to accuse him of lacking character!

  227. The away support have definitely not always covered themselves in glory

  228. I dont come from the future, NJ but its nice of you to think that i come from, the futture thank you.

  229. If you have come from the future and you are going backwards we can tell you what happens.

  230. ? what happens, then.

  231. LOL Consols.

    You’ll be surprised what you can throw when you put your mind to it.

  232. We beat Everton 6-1 at the beginning of the season, or rather the end of the season to you. Actually at the end of the season to you everyone achieved zero points. No goals no nothing.

  233. “I was very impressed with the sheer level of support from the fans at the Emirates on Saturday. You got the sense immediately that they knew it was time to support the team as we had the job of pushing them over the finishing line.”

    Darius, better late than never but how great it wouldve been if we had this attitude all season. Lets hope going forward the supporters will continue with this attitude!

    Seriously, how can you look at this team and not see greatness both now and for years to come.

    What a team, what a team!!!

    ARSENAL!!!

  234. I don’t trust the support in the stadium. It is great when we are winning.

  235. You will find, Zap, that as you approach the beginning of the season, the support gets worse.

  236. Cheers Darius. Tech 9 sounds like a star trek character. Chenzni sounds preferable.

    FG – not that repeatable !

  237. Frank.

    It’s them club level chino wearing punks who just come to dine and entertain themselves on a day out, huh?

    They don’t know what supporting a team is…LOL!

    @Paul N. It’s quite sad that it’s taken this long for the belief to come from the support in the stadium, but I think they’ve realised that they have a job to do.

    Regardless, it’s nice to see the crowd getting behind the team. The players need it regardless of what the score is.

  238. I guarantee that a well aimed sheep’s dropping will scatter any parcel of grandchildren and/or women.

    Like soft shrapnel.

    A sheep just doesn’t have the same effect.

    It’s like comparing Nasri to Fletcher.

    One has a stunning impact and the other just stuns.

  239. Seems to me that the manager and squad are dragging the so-called supporters along. Any notion that Arsenal supporters will provide the extra man is laughable.

  240. Frank that sucks.

  241. I agree Darius, I am all for people realizing the errors of their ways and getting it right.

    We truly have the best team in the PL!!

    Someone earlier posted how we have done so much of this without RVP. Which other team could do this withouth their main striker?

    What a team!!!

  242. that day where we played birmingham was great

  243. What if you throw a sheep at James

  244. To be fair there is a nucleus of about 10,000 supporters who can be relied upon to get behind the team on any home matchday.

  245. I wont spoil the end of the season for all of you.

  246. I see that Kroenke has saved up his pocket money and bought seven more shares.

  247. Hope your wrong on this one Frank. The team deserves the full support of all who say they are supporters.

    This team against all odds has continued to fight for the prize.

    amazing!!

    Makes me proud!!

  248. Take his suggestion lightly, dont bombard him with HIA statistics, you know exactly what i mean.

  249. It is never too late, Paul N. The team definitely up their performance if the crowd are behind them. But I have seen the reactions of some of the people around me over the past few seasons…and I just don’t trust them.

  250. Did anyone notice how quiet the camp nou was? I know the noise at the grove is nothing to shout about, but for a 90000 seater, it was incredible to hear so little noise when theyre under pressure

  251. Pz,

    I go by your initial assesment that no teams are in the driving seat at the start of the season, and hence not in control of their destiny. For to be in control, they wouldn’t require others to drop points but they require the exact opposite. However by chance one could find a scenario that at the end of the season, 2 teams could find themselves level on points, goal difference, and all the other criteria that decides the eventual winner. That leads to a situation where they would have to play off against each other. There too, you’d find that they are not in control, for to win the match/league they would require the other to lose the match. The last bit confuses me a bit.

    Fungunner,

    I never really had an argument with you. I never disagreed the arithematics of your argument, they were as one would say mathematic laws, that would hold on their without you having to persuade anyone. My disagreement was with the other two, to condemn the phrase and to show less faith in the capabilities over the Manc or the Chavs. Your faith was never in question.

    Maria,

    You were quite right yesterday the doomers have evolved. I happen to note that this new breed shows faith and belief in our own team, however shows greater belief in our rivals. Don’t see how that helps in maintaining an optimistic outlook.

  252. Don’t forget ATVO is free right now.

  253. come on the boys tomorrow, if we stay this close before the others hard games this could be our title

    3 points more tomorrow..

  254. Consols – Not into the sheep throwing, you know. Shagging maybe, or something along those lines but sheep is a bit out of my league. So are fools and knaves. My mind is firmly on the Arsenal.

    PS: I love when FG is happy. She has a simplicity but iron logic to her prose. Gently conclusive but sharp when angry. I always meant to ask FG whether she is a writer or an attorney?

  255. We are in scary form- 7 straight wins in all competitions, 6 in the EPL

  256. Frank – I agree with your comment about the majority of supporters. IMO they are still lukewarm at best. None ogf your belligerence. I have a new name for many wheo recently hopped on the bandwaggon – DOUBTERS.

    Should we have the slightest setback in the seven-game journey we will see the true beast.

    Win, Lose or Draw we are the team of the future.
    COYG!

  257. I agree with shotta-gunna

  258. FunGunner are you a writer or an attorney?

  259. I see slur Alex is getting worried about The Arsenal – he’s started bitching about Vermaelen not getting an extension to his ban for having the temerity to appeal. He obviously forgot to drop off his brown envelope beforehand.

  260. 1 loose cannon

    United appealed Rio’s ban so that he can delay the suspention to play Man city and that is why he was given an extra match with the Vermaelen one it was a genuine appeal to clear his name the FA are stupid but not that stupid. Sir Alex Fungus knows it well he just want to stir up his usual bullshit. is he not happy enough getting penalties at Old Trash in all crucial games.

  261. Well, what can I say?

    Have never read so much bullshit.

    Sheep? James? Anyone surprised?

    Darius as always well done, very nice post.

    COYG!!!!

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