Stone Cold Friday: Finding Opportunity In The Midst Of Adversity

He’s fearless, intrepid and laughs in the face of danger. Which is just as well because even Indiana Jones wouldn’t venture into his neck of the woods. A place where the men are men and the sheep are worried. Here’s Darius...

Rahm Emmanuel, the White House Chief of Staff, when responding to a question about how Obama’s administration intends to manage the economic crisis said: ”There’s nothing worse than letting a good crisis go to waste”.

If you believe some of the stuff being printed out there about Arsenal’s’ short-comings, you wouldn’t be mistaken to think that we’re a club operating in crisis mode.

With a first choice centre half, a talismanic captain and one of the world’s best strikers in Robin Van Persie out for the season, surely mid-table mediocrity is a position Arsenal should be thankful for?

At least that’s what they say or seem to suggest. To give you an idea about the lengths some media houses will go in their desperation to push ratings and get traffic (to increase their advertising revenue of course), one of them even questioned whether Fabregas had played his last match for Arsenal.

I’ve got to tell you that some people are only alive because it’s illegal to kill. I would have been content with writing up this column for the next 14 years from the library at Belmarsh Prison south of the river if that comment was made in the same room I was in, but I digress.

What is it about this Arsenal team that refuses to go away or refuses to die?

On Wednesday night, I was watching the game against Barca with my wife and a friend. After 20 minutes, my wife went upstairs to watch one of her soaps instead because she was embarrassed for me and couldn’t take the footballing master class the Catalans were dishing out in plenty.

I don’t blame her, believe me – I was tempted to hide under the sofa. I had to be a good host and pretend that what happened in that first 25 minutes was an anomaly.

As the match went on though, I was totally convinced that riding that Spanish inquisition was perhaps one of the best tests of adversity this team has faced. We were playing the best team in the world, a team that admitted that they played the best football they’d ever played in those 45 minutes.

We were put under so much pressure, that the Arsenal team could not retreat or surrender; we had no option but to deal with the relentless pressure. The fact that the entire footballing population around the world who could get to a TV or a radio were probably tuned in did not help in relieving that pressure.

However, this is the key thing. Arsenal survived that onslaught in the first half. The only reason Barca weren’t rolling into the sunset with a 6 nil lead after the first half is because Arsenal defended like their lives depended on it.

It was funny watching Premiership managers give their verdict on the game as they did their routine interviews yesterday. A handful of them praised both Barca and Arsenal for their respective roles in the epic encounter, but the funniest comments came from managers who had suffered the wrath of the Arsenal.

Mick McCarthy for example, took pleasure in pointing out that ”Well, at least Arsenal know how we all feel when we try to play them”.

It’s true; this team has never had to live with being starved of the ball and being made to chase shadows. The fact that they dealt with it and came out of the battle with their heads held up high tells me a lot about how this team has grown up.

We can question the team’s tactics; we can question individual and collective performances. However, it’s becoming harder and harder to question the teams determination, tenacity, character and resolve.

As every obstacle is placed in front of this team, the young men are showing that they feel nothing and will do whatever it takes to find a way around that obstacle.

We face yet another hurdle with the walking wounded who are keeping Colin Lewin and his team gainfully employed. Ordinarily, I would have been concerned about not having our talismanic captain, our big bad Billy G out back, and the lethal streak of Robin Van Persie. Arshavin has some down time to kill while entertaining his website visitors.

In most other clubs I know, injuries to the fulcrum of the team would be considered a crisis and a disaster.

However, this team has yet another opportunity to rise from the ashes and continue with the ’never say die’ spirit that they’ve shown throughout this season.

We have no time to chew fat on the impact Fabregas’ loss will have; Samir Nasri has an unbelievable opportunity to nail a first team place in the Les Bleus squad for the World Cup.

We have no time to ponder which version of Andrey Arshavin will turn up for the match; Eduardo, Vela and Walcott have statements to make to remind the masses that they aren’t just bench warmers.

We have no time to moan about whether Wenger should have risked William Gallas or bought brand spanking new centre half backups; there’s 6 games in the EPL and 4 games in the Champions League that stand between Arsenal and 2 trophies.

Before the season started, we were allegedly destined for the wilderness of mid-table, and the team continue to defy the odds as they refuse to go away.

Of course, some will be quick to point out the short-comings of this team in the familiar defensive pessimism streak. My sense is what the team has done this far demand that we as a collective fan base, rally behind and help carry them through to the finishing line.

If this was the crisis that we are made to believe, I would suggest that those not acknowledging what this team has achieved so far don’t know what success looks like any more.

I’ll be honest with you – the journey this team has taken us through this season is a roller coaster ride and it’s not good for my heart. I wouldn’t have it any other way though.

Is there a sweeter way to victory than to experience adversity and come out on top?

’til Tomorrow

Posted on April 2, 2010, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 181 Comments.

  1. “A place where the men are men and the sheep are worried”

    fantastic pmsl

  2. happy easter all see you pre game

    family stuff

  3. We will win one of the two trophies this year. Maybe both.
    It’s destiny. It’s Slumdog Millionaire-esque.
    No team comes back into contention so many times in one year, and does not win eventually.

  4. Superb analysis and commitment there Darius, similar to what we (AFC) need to produce for the remainder of the season.

    I am optimistic and tomorrow (Mancs v Chavs and our match) could be a big day for us. A draw in the former and big win for us later on will not only press our premiership cause, it will also lay the ground for what I predict will be a memorable and glorious night on foreign soil come April 6th!


  5. “…the harder they come…”

  6. You can only hope the team learn from Wednesday particularly Nasri and Diaby the importance of pressing. For those who decry the strength of the squad remove 4-5 first teamers from any side and see who they have as backup.

    But this is the time for the players who have struggled for form to prove they have a future at the club e.g. Eduardo, Vela, Traore.

    I hope the team focus on Wolves though who have found some form the best preparation for Tuesday is 3 points and closing the gap on the top two.


    1. i love the part where u said its time for eduardo,walcott and especially VELA to show what they are made of because

    defense is: traore or clichy—obvious
    campbell or silvester—obvious
    sagna then EBOUE …obvious

    the SONG POSITION!!!

    remaining two midfielder positions for : diaby/nasri/denlison/rosicky

    attack: the big dane/eduardo/walcott

    my starting line up(coz i expect wenger to surprise us and hopefully it will be what i predict)


    sagna vermaleen silvestre traore
    rosicky denilson

    walcot bendtner eduardo

    subs will be: eboue for walcot, diaby for rosicky and either nasri or vela for eduardo

    although i have a feeling we might see vela get a surprise start(my false hopes i guess)

  8. “… many rivers to cross”

  9. “ the rivers of Babylon..

  10. Careful Consols, some people with think you’ve gone all Boney M on them….


  11. “…If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
    If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
    If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
    Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise; …”
    then my son you would be a man


  12. Darius, this is no flattery; you’re becoming to Arsenal blogs, what Pep is becoming to football artistry;what a masterpiece! How did you put this together? You stated: “I’ve got to tell you that some people are only alive because it’s illegal to kill. I would have been content with writing up this column for the next 14 years from the library at Belmarsh Prison south of the river if that comment was made in the same room I was in, but I digress.”

    If AW was wiser he’ll employ you as his spokesman right away…very few SEE the upside of this team like you do. I just hope that having received the lesson on what is lacking in our game, we(I mean Arsene) will be humble enough to accept the lessons and drum into our style of play from now until the preseason–imagine Arsenal being able to stop the likes of Man Utd, Chelsea or Barcelona from playing too!

    We’ll do another unbeaten run of +50 games, winning everything available! We should just send our coaching staff to Nou Camp for refresher courses right now! They did it with such style, and hardly any cynical fouling or thuggery as we know English teams do…respect!

    Now we must go to Camp Nou and practise what they taught us on our own pitch…let Eboue start in front of Sagna or Clichy and let Rosicky play on the other side due to his ability to track back well too;Song, Diaby and Nasri in the middle and Theo as usual, the impact sub. Or if you want to pressure Barca, send Theo in from the start, score the two needed goals and pull him out for Eboue or Rosicky.

    Tuesday isnt as straightforward for the Catalans as everybody thinks.As this Arsenal team has shown, adversity is more of a springboard rather than a stumbling block for them…we can do this…COYG!

    For Wolves, they have become more organised lately and we need to complete their business quickly and without and period of nail-biting anxiety…let’s go there!

    Once again, I duff my hat Darius;you’re the best…

  13. Oh no, Yogi. Mine’s the original version, on vynil. Not at all ‘updated’ for the ‘now’ generation.

    Mind you, that bloke could certainly dance.

  14. Well, it’s about time Eduardo finds his shooting boots. No better time for him to show everyone that he’s still got it. I really hope he gets a game against Wolves, so he can get some matches, he could prove crucial in the last few games. Wouldn’t we all be including the “Old Eduardo” in every starting X1? Time for him to step up and deliver.

    We’ve got another player, who has been waiting a long time to prove a point. Carlos Vela. Though I have no fucking clue why he’s had almost no games this season so far. Is he not ready yet? Judging from the Carling cup games, he is the best finisher in our team along with Eduardo.

    And lastly, we’ve got RVP coming back, who can be as instrumental as our injured captain. Just a couple of weeks more, and we’ll have more cavalry charging at our opponents.

    But the player who is ready to deliver NOW, is Thomas Rosicky. I was surprised he wasn’t played against Barca. He will have a good say in the outcome of the next few matches if he manages to stay fit.

    Arsene is right, about us having a lot of depth in our squad. Let’s just hope these players deliver when they’re called upon to do so. A fit RVP, Rosicky, and Eduardo, would make any team’s starting X1. And we’ve been without them for a long time, and they’re all coming back to fitness. FUCKING COME ON~~

  15. IIRC they were the Milli Vanilli of the ’70s – all sorts of rumours that he wasn’t a vocalists at all. Still that makes them the same as 90% of popular beat combos now. All style, no substance.

  16. Growing up in public. Let’s put into practice against Wolves what we learnt from the way Barcelona played against us on Wednesday.
    Let’s experiment with trying to raise our game a slice, while the lesson is fresh in their memory. It would be cool to try to see how it feels. Copying is a great way to develop.

  17. Excellent Arseman.

  18. Well, he didn’t sing much that’s true.

    As I write this the Monkees are playing on the radio!

    Great songs and not a band at all.

  19. Great, inspirational stuff as usual Darius. Too many people are quick to focus on the negative, but we started the match with at least 3 not 100% fit. We then lost 2 players to injury during the first half and were forced into quick substitutions and having to reshuffle our formation. Not to mention our broken captain in the second half. Despite all that we survived the best team in the world, playing the best football they have ever played and came out with a draw. How can some people not see the positives in that?

    We lost more players as a result of one game of football than we’ve ever done even against the worst cloggers. That’s because these players put their bodies on the line for the cause. It may have been last ditch defending at times in the first half, but they did it. I hope they take buckets full of belief and strength from that performance.

  20. Thanks CB….figured the Melodians deserve a lot more credit:)

  21. Steven.

    I am humbled by your compliment and glad that you feel that way.

    I have no doubt that lessons were learnt – the final score and the performance by Arsenal in the 2nd half evidence enough. This Arsenal team is not the finished article by any means – we’re still on a journey to greater things.

    But there’s nothing wrong with taking a step back and recognizing how far the team has come, in order to draw energy for the journey ahead. The fact that we’re still in with a shout for both the EPL and the CL already shows that this team is learning and is learning quickly.

    Consolsbob – Boney M!!!???

    Now that’s a blast from the past. Last time I remember anything Boney M was funnily enough in your neck of the woods in the Cider Press in Newton Abbot.

    The last thing I remember was being forced to join into the Brown girl in the rain chanting while holding on to a pair of nice and supple ‘wowowo’s’ – but clearly, I wasn’t compus mentus long after that.

    I blame the Scrampi jack.

  22. Scrampi jack? Is that some kind of crayfish fried in cider batter? Sounds great, got the recipe?

    Or maybe you are having a flashback.

  23. I remember going to the few remaining scrumpy pubs in Plymouth after games at Argyle when I was just a teen.

    Getting pissed on that stuff was a lot like, ahem, an experience on LSD25. Very odd stuff, cider i mean.

    Those pubs are gone now. Like so much of my brain I suppose.

  24. Oh and keep your hands off our Devon Maids the next time you come West. You Big City boys are all the same, coming down here, flashing your money around with your mobile ‘phones and everything.

    Turn a good girl’s head.

  25. to be honest im a little bit sick of everyone saying barca will crush us in the next leg

    i was at work yesterday and everyone was bleating on about how barca are unstoppable and we dont have a chance cos we were the home team and we got schooled and it pissed me off..

    what ppl forget is that, yes barca are the best team in the universe, but that first half was probably the best display of football anyones ever seen..even guardiola said that is the best hes seen them play…and yet at the same time its probably the worst ive seen us play in a long long time and we still didnt get beat..

    the way i see it is that barca cant play no better..but we can and if we turn it on in the return leg we have a chance…

    that being said it will be tough but footballs a funny old game and if we do get knocked out there is no shame in barca being the team that do it..

  26. Paulie Walnuts

    Inspiring stuff Darius,

    So many heroes from Wednesday – Big Al, Cesc, Theo, Denilson & now Ma Baker & Ra Ra Rasputin.

    Tomorrow will be a time for Eduardo & Vela to do their stuff

  27. The impression I get about Darius in the west country with a mobile phone is of one of those where you had to carry the battery pack on your back.

    No offence Darius.

  28. CB, on Friday afternoons – we used to drive down to the beach in Torquay with Jerrycans of the stuff.

    I do recall that we usually spend the nights pub and club crawling down the sea front – though my mates seem to think I was normally blacked out in the car.

    That stuff was bad – and probably fried out my brain too.

  29. dupsffokcuf…LOL!

    Backpack??? I had to use a trolley to carry the bleeding battery.

    @CB, there’s nothing wrong with turning the head of a ‘Devon maid’ as you so insist.

    I’ll have you know that they’re some of the finest women (in every sense) in the land. For one, they ain’t as cocky as the city types you so resent….

  30. I’ve just watched Arsene’s pre match interview on ATVO and he’s still smiling, so he is obviously not downhearted about Weds night’s game.

  31. For tomorrow;

    Rosicky Eduardo Walcott

    Diaby Song Nasri

    Traore Vermaelen Silvestre Sagna


    Bench: Fabianski, Denilson, Campbell, Bendtner, Clichy, Eboue, Vela

  32. I hate this ‘Diet Barcelona’ rubbish, it makes me feel so angry we have our own style I want people to shut up

  33. Darius are you on Twitter?

    Great column esp. “Is there a sweeter way to victory than to experience adversity and come out on top?”.

    I would like to win the PL easily though, would still be sweet.

  34. stone cold? warm as a page three girls nipples more like! bet you were crying man tears of pride by the end. cracking read as ever on this site and yours D. i was unfortunate to miss the first half hour of the game due to work but what i saw of it gave me heart i am almost certain of a win a la bolton a few seasons ago when i think diaby got sent off in the first half and we moved the ball too fast for those hoofers to get close.broke the hoodoo.Now we know the nature of the beast there is going to be less nervous tension . abou diaby is a name i need to mention just for the betting folks, back that man to open the scoring for us. darius ,yw i love you boys. man love that is.

  35. Nacer is going to make his Premier League debut very soon.

  36. PZ – I hope so. I think the young man has talent. He could be the next Nacer Barazite. (Before the lazy ‘next …’ tags begin)

  37. Guildford gooner

    Great blog Darius! This is why I keep coming back.The task of beating Barca is a difficult one but by no means insurmountable.Great first half they played,but no team in the world can mainatin that pace for 90 minutes.This is a much overlooked factor in many post match analyses and I believe a contributory factor in our coming back into the game.My match plan for next tuesday will be to introduce Theo as a second half sub to run at them again.We have a younger and probably fitter team.We need to keep it tight and not concede due to defensive errors.The die is cast! We can do this!

  38. A big positive for me was how we finally used our physical strength to slow them down, there was some brilliant late challenges from denilson and song, really getting in there faces and they didnt like being kicked. I just hope we do the same at the camp nou

  39. Pz,

    Isn’t Nacer on loan somewhere?

    I hope Rosicky is saved for the Barca game, and doesn’t play against Wolves.

  40. arshenal

    You can follow me on twitter here, or click on the tweetie bird button thing on the right sidebar of my blog.

    @Ugandangoon…Banange! What you mean talking about nipples here…LOL!

    But on Wednesday night, believe me, I had to put on a brave front – especially since I’d been waxing lyrical to my mate about this Arsenal team before the game. The come back was mind blowing.

  41. No no no no no! On Tuesday, he masterminded a 3-1 win over Birmingham in the reserves league to keep Arsenal in title-contention.

  42. Excuse me for my ignorance then. Perhaps he can do the same for the first team, soon.

  43. Paulie Walnuts

    Barazite certainly has a chance of a debut if we continue to pick up injuries.

    I`d go with Ole`s team for tomorrow however

  44. Hey! With the exception of Chip Douglas (ex-Turtles) on bass, The Monkees did play their instruments and all vocals on their hit “Alternate Title” which remains my favourite to this day. In the US and on albums it was known as Randy Scouse Git as it was written by Dolenz after he had seen Till Death Do Us Part whilst over here.

    Those guys weren’t allowed to play their instruments at first, when they got the chance they proved they could. What this has to do with Arsenal I don’t know, but maybe there is a parallel at Bolton where under Owen Coyle, players seen as cloggers are now proving they can play. I don’t suppose anyone goes into football as a career with no skill, and maybe it’s just managers who drill it out of them and change their priorities.

    As for the Barcelona game, the first person on the team-sheet (if fit) must be Denilson. He proved on Wednesday that he can keep possession, and I think that made a lot of difference.

  45. I’ve observed that Theo often excels in big games.

    Milan v Arsenal CL 0:2 The long run and pass to Ade for the second

    Pool v Arsenal CL 4:2 The long run and pass to Ade for the equaliser

    Arsenal v Chavski FA cup 1:2 The first goal from Gibbs’ pass

    Arsenal V Barca CL The first goal and the cross for Nik to head to FAB4 for the penalty

  46. I think we gave them t00 much respect and let them play 0n wed we w0nt next time, big win t0m0rr0w w0uld be nice.(my letter 0 is br0ken)

  47. Paulie Walnuts

    Big Al was great in the first half but terrible in the second. No need for him to rush out for the first goal, same as rushing out at Old Trafford for Rooney’s soft penalty.

    He was cheekily beaten at his near post for the once more for the second, same as Drogba’s second goal at Stamford Bridge. Why does he go down before the ball is shot always?

    Van der Sar or any above average GK could’ve saved us from those goals.

    We need Szczesny for next season.

  48. I always thought that Mike Nesmith was the only musician in the Monkees?

    Please note DS that if you had committed your crime in the US you would be executed. Cold bloodedly.

    I have just watched the first half of Wednesday’s game again. Quite an eye opener.

    Barca of course did dominate in the first half…but really only from minute 2 to minute 18. In that half they only got behind Arsenal’s defence twice and one of those times was offside. Nearly all of their passing in the first half was in front of Arsenal’s defence. Of course they had shots but they were all snaps very much in front of the keeper and/or defenders, all of whom were brilliant.

    Abou and Cesc were incapable of making the simplest of passes even when not under pressure. They both improved after about 25-30 minutes.

    Interestingly the conclusion one comes to after watching just one half is that Barca’a passing game was not effective. On the other hand when we got it together Arsenal’s passing game was much more incisive and we got behind their defence on numerous occasions. Alves and Maxwell were crumbling in the second part of the first half.

    I will watch the second half again this afternoon.

  49. I should add that the long ball to Ibrahimovic was probably the most effective move for Barca which they tried several tmes in the first half. But William and TV had him in their pockets.

  50. Conrad Gustin

    Cesc was unbelievable, he really clawed us back into it, you could see him shouting at diaby and the others to get there act together and stop being shell shocked, he is an amazing young man

  51. Barbados,

    By the time Al’s knee was on the grass,
    the ball was rocking about in the back of the net.

    Perhaps the view from yonder sunny isle isn’t that great.

    I’d recommend some binoculars, or a boat.

  52. Well done again, DS

    @ Ole Gunner

    Just looked at your line-up for tomorrow. Does that mean you are also of the opinion that Campbell should play at the Noooooo Camp, or would you prefer Vermaelen and Song as a pair?

  53. Did Cesc play, start, on Weds with a stress fracture in his leg?

    He more or less admitted as much in the immediate post-game interview.

    I’ve heard reports saying it was the same injury suffered at Birmingham, but nothing on Arsenal OL.

  54. Finsbury,

    AW is just saying it was a bruised bone before the game, but they X-rayed it and it was not broken. The kick from Puyol cracked it. The bruise WAS a result of Gardner’s challenge, apparently, so I was wrong there.

  55. Not a broken bone, a cracked bone, so 4-6 weeks out.

    AA out till end of April.

  56. Thanks FG.

    ****ing Brum ****s.

    **** McLeish ****ing *** *** *** ****.

  57. With regards to the Tuesday game, it would be interesting to see if Wenger gives the team that will play on Tuesday a dress rehearsal tomorrow.

    I would favour the following team for the Camp Nou.

    Eboue, Song, Vermaelen, Clichy
    Denilson, Nasri, Diaby
    Walcott, Bendtner, Rosicky

    Barca are a different animal and we need more ball carriers than physical players.

    Maxwell and the 2 makeshift centre backs won’t be smiling at the thought of Walcott and Eboue marauding down the right flank. Nasri can run the show from the middle and link up play with Little Mozart.

    We now know that Barca won’t last 90 minutes of hard pressure, and Arsenal are a much fitter team than they are. Theo will keep them occupied and disrupt their flow of play because they dare not give him an inch behind their high line.

    It really doesn’t matter if Theo doesn’t use every ball he gets properly. The very thought that he could will scare the living shit out of Barca’s defense.

    Assuming that Diaby’s stage fright is buried in the past, he has a big role to play alongside Denilson and Nasri in playing keep ball and unleashing Theo.

    If they bum rush Theo and giv him no space – unleash Manu Eboue on Maxwell’s arse. Either will do the job.

    …And of course, this same team is capable of doing a job against the Wolves.

    And enough with the Almunia bashing already. We’re only in with a chance because of Almunia – despite the goals that went in. Can we at least acknowledge the pivital role he played?

  58. Clichy and Denilson are OK for tomorrow, thank goodness. Gallas out for 5 weeks.

  59. Hardly a word about tommorrows game. With a just a little help from Chavs and Mancs we can still win the league. Everyone think draw at Old Trafford tommorrow.


    Eboue Song Vermaelen Traore

    Denilson nasri Diaby

    Walcott Bendtner Rosicky.

    for Wolves

    We can worry about Barca after the game on Saturday.

  60. Who is this beautiful young man showing off his ball skills?

  61. Hey, the link is automatically replaced with the video. That takes all the mystery away!

  62. Bill.

    If you don’t mind my saying, you really have embraced a sunny disposition of late. I like the positive side of you.

    I agree we can still win the title.

    Where’s Joe and hollis? Are they still angry that we don’t defend well enough?

  63. Frank – Peter Tork was an all round musician, far better than Nesmith. Tork and Nesmith were musicians and hadn’t acted before. The other two were primarily actors. Dolenz had fronted a band as singer and played rhythm guitar. Davy Jones had sung on stage. Jones was a better drummer than Dolenz but disappeared behind the drums so they taught Dolenz to play them. Tork taught Jones to play bass, guitar and keyboards. Jones sometimes played drums live when it was too complex for Dolenz to sing and drum at the same time. They played most of the instruments themselves on the third album Headquarters.

    DIscussing the Monkees with Arsenal fans – love it! I suppose the connection is that the money men wanted The Monkees to front a load of anonymous musicians, but they were happiest when allowed to use their own skills and develop their own music.

    We love Arsene because he allows the players to use and develop their skills. Tenuous, but hey, I could be paid as a journalist for finding tenous similes…

  64. Fantastic post. Yet another voice echoing what I have felt for most of the year.
    We are stripped to the core by injuries to our first team, yet here we sit, withing striking distance of the title and in a 1/4 final of the biggest euro text ever..

    BRING IT ON!!!

  65. Darius:

    No I do not mind you saying.

    Like you I have always believed this team can and hopefully will be great. I still think that if we could somehow figure out a way to play consistantly better defense we would become the best team in the world and fullfill all of the potential that you and I see. I have made all of my arguments several times and do not see any point in repeating. We will have plenty of time to discuss at a later date.

    The fans that we so often complain about seemed to do a pretty darn good job in the Barca game. How about a little love for them.

  66. Thanks, BigDave, though I must say I am not keen on the Monkees songs. Imagine if Charles Manson had been one of them. I guess they would have had to air the show after the water-shed with the carnage and all.

  67. Cesc was clearly not fit to start really. I don’t think that he was playing with a cracked bone. A crack is a simple break after all. I also doubt that he did it in the tackle with Puyol…he was too mobile when taking the penalty. More likely a stress fracture caused on landing after he took the kick or ran to pick the ball out of the net. Anyway I am about to watch the second half again to see how he fared. I already have a strategy for the Barca game and I think we will win.

  68. Reputedly, Jimi Hendrix accepted the offer for The Experience to support The Monkees on tour in 1967, because The Monkees were well known at that time to have a seemingly unending supply of some of the very best marijuana in the land.

    Makes sense really.

  69. The Monkees! Is this a f*cking joke? The music snobs of ACLF want to talk about The Monkees? Is Big Al now going to explain to us why The Monkees have credibility?

  70. Sorry, “credibility”.

  71. Adversity continues for this team. no one can moan if we end up empty handed, we have the fukin luck of the devil. barca were scared of us and knew they had to be on top of their game, and then produced that 70 min performance but then in doing so tired themselves out.

  72. It was not a seventy minute performance.

  73. Bill,

    Teams don’t play defence, they defend.

  74. It’s football you’re talking about not fucking American kicksie

  75. FunGunner,

    I’d rather Campbell played. What we saw on Wednesday is Song’s weakness as a centre back; a lack of speed, and perhaps not reading the game as well as Big Sol would.

  76. They were not great and did not dominate for 70 minutes either.

    7 shots in the second half for barca, and 4 for us.

    I still if we didnt give them so much respect we wouldnt be hearing about this “greatest” half of football ever.

    We will win the return leg!!!

    This is what easter is all about!!!
    Matthew 27
    32 Now as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. Him they compelled to bear His cross. 33 And when they had come to a place called Golgotha, that is to say, Place of a Skull, 34 they gave Him sour[e] wine mingled with gall to drink. But when He had tasted it, He would not drink. 35 Then they crucified Him, and divided His garments, casting lots,[f] that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet:

    “ They divided My garments among them,
    And for My clothing they cast lots.”[g]

    36 Sitting down, they kept watch over Him there. 37 And they put up over His head the accusation written against Him:


    Lord I thank you for dying on the cross for my sins!!!

  77. Wenger is the man, I love this.

    “Gallas is longer than three weeks,” said Wenger. “I would say five weeks.

    “It was a gamble which did not pay off and was a mistake, yes.

    “He could be back maybe quicker but I just give myself five weeks because three weeks is a minimum and we will have to be a bit more cautious with him.

    “So WHEN we go to the Champions League Final, he still has a chance to play,” he added with a smile.

  78. Please pipe down with the religious claptrap, PaulN, I am trying to rewatch a game of football here.

  79. California Gooner

    Darius, I agree with your team for Camp Nou… but it might be nice to see Theo switch up and play down the left as well. Dani Alves is a pain and there is nothing I would like better than to punish him by making him play defense. The main thing, that everyone seems to see, is that we will have to press better and put Barca on the back foot more often if we want a prayer at winning. That means Theo and Eboue, who have created a very effective attacking unit on the right. It will be fun to watch. One can only imagine that Pep has his own surprises for us.

  80. @ Ole Gunner

    Hurrah! Someone agrees with me! 🙂 I had Campbell starting for the same reasons and also because I think TV appreciates an experienced head beside him to talk to.

    This was my suggested starting line-up for the second leg – making the most of everybody’s strengths:

    Sagna Campbell Vermaelen Clichy
    Rosicky Song Denilson
    Eboue Bendtner Nasri

    For me, Walcott and Diaby would be impact subs.
    I think it’s a good defensive and offensive balance, full of people who keep the ball, versatile (dribblers/passers) with some pace as well. What do you think?

  81. Ole:


    This game vs. Wolves has great potential to be a trap game. Hopefully we will concentrate stay organized for 90 minutes and keep a clean sheet. We may be a little physically and mentally jaded and a subpar offensive game is always possible. 1 – 0 or 2 -0 would not surprise me. Lets get an early goal or 2, keep a clean sheet and hope for a draw at Old Trafford.

  82. @ California Gooner

    Already I can see the advantage of Eboue + Theo on the right, or just starting Theo at all, whether on the right or the left, but something tells me that Pep will have worked out a plan for Theo by next week, and we would get more value from him by saving him for when they are knackered, later in the game.

  83. Great video PZ.

    (Some slick moves by the cameraman/woman, not just from Nacer).

    Goes well with the music,

    “Y’allah habibi!”

  84. Watch in peace Frank.

  85. FG:

    We need Sol at the Nou Camp. Wish he could realistically play both games. I would start Diaby instead of Rosicky and would move Nasri back to central midfield. Diably had a bad game Tues. but still think he is awesome and hope he comes back with a great game vs. Wolves and much better 2nd leg.

    I do hope the team is more focused on tommorrow then we are.

  86. Any line-up against Barca without Denilson is crazy. I would say give them Deni, Song and Nasri in the middle park and they will look ordinary. I, personaly would have stardted with Vela and Eduardo in the wings to bring Theo at the hour mark again. I would give them Eboue and Clichy at the full back positions and see how they will fair. Sagna or Campbell could partner Vermaelen at the back. I would give Armand a start this week-end.
    For Wolves I would go with :
    Sagna Campbel Vermaelen Traoré

    Diaby Song Merida

    Vela Eduard Walcott

    Subs : Fabianski, Nasri, Rosicky, Eboue, Eastmond, Sylvestre, Bendtner, Clichy

  87. We played with unfit players against Barca but as soon as Deni the boy came on they did not once get a ball from him and he got so much off them. They also fouled him a lot. Deni, Song, Nasri, Clichy were really good. Diaby did not cut it. His playing style is easy for Barca.

  88. FunGun, I am thinking if they pay too much attn to Walcott they will get hurt elswhere, you think?

    Barca doesnt look like a team that are full of tactical awareness defensive wise. I feel that they are just excellent at playing their style and it keeps teams at bay.

  89. I think Diaby was in shock, maybe he idolizes some of the Barca players.

  90. I think he will come good if given a chance, I thought that Song looked rather slow actually.

  91. @ Bill

    I prefer Rosicky in the middle because I think he is more reliable defensively than Nasri, and Nasri is a bit quicker and more potent as a goal threat. I just love his recent habit of picking up the ball 40 yards down and saying, right – I’m going to score! And Rosicky is more experienced. Diaby is also one to unleash when they’re tired – they’ll never get the ball off him as he surges forward. We’d be bringing in the speed, height and power (Theo and Diaby) when they were least able to cope.
    And I am also hoping for Denilson to pull the trigger from 25 yards and plant one in the top corner!

    Anyway, Wolves….

  92. I would bring Diaby late in the game against Barca and in a more advanced position. With a good line-up we will lead them so around the heighty minute mark I would call off Bendy and introduce Diaby so Walcott or Vela would move CF while Diaby will play side forwardish midfield. I have a good feeling about this one.

  93. Excellent post Darius…we gave them too much respect. But this team is so strong…so much heart.

    @Frank. I watched the game several times and I agree with you. The “battering” we took wasn’t as bad as it seemed initially. I realized that the announcers were going on and on about how we were getting thrashed…it gave the impression without the substance. Now don’t get me wrong they played great football, and they could have put away three easily…but we weren’t carved open as some have suggested. What we were was tentative. The strange thing was that the defense was rallied by – that’s right Almunia! He was the one marshaling the troops. In fact, if Gallas doesn’t go out…I don’t think Barca scores at all. They picked on Song twice. Both times when he got caught out of position when expected to cover for TV. Arsene had a go at TV over it, but I bet it was only to say not to leave Song adrift. Barca came out right after the break to have a go at Song first time. Think that’s an accident? I think Pep’s a smart guy. Knowing that Song was in the midst of trying to switch gears he decided to take a quick shot at him and it worked. Almunia saw that Song might be in trouble and rushed out, then realizing too late that he’d given himself away. Pep’s watched plenty of film of us playing. He knows that every team that has found joy against us has done so early. The initial onslaught was no accident either. We give big teams too much respect early on, but that’s changing as well.

  94. FG;

    I’m almost afraid to jinx everything by thinking of Barcelona before Wolves!

    That said I’d be tempted to play Denilson, Nasri & Rosicky in central midfield against Barcelona, with Eduardo, Bendtner & Eboue upfront. Theo to come in off the bench. At the back I’d play Sagna, Sol, Vermaelen and Clichy.

  95. Eduardo, Vela, Denilson and even Merida are a lot more tidy in possession than DIaby and Rosicky. In the premierleague they suffer from the physical assault but I believe they will look very cool against Barca!

  96. @ Paul N

    I see what you’re saying but I would prioritise keeping possession once we’ve gained it – Walcott would attract players but it could also mean losing the ball, if we’re honest! And having worked so hard to get the ball, we wouldn’t want to give it away cheaply. If he comes on after an hour of them being BamBOUEzled (see what I did there?), they will simply not be able to contain him. Anyway, what do I know. I’m just excited.

    Wolves. Wolves. Wolves.

  97. Yeah Wolves but I really wanna beat this Barca lot otherwise people won’t respect us!

  98. @ Ole Gunner

    Very similar line-up to mine. I’m flattered.

    OK – last question, and then you can throw salt over your shoulder or something. So you wouldn’t start Song? I had in mind that he could be insurance for the CBs. Plus he and Denilson are like a double act in midfield, and Song can do Diaby-like forward runs as well and provide another aerial threat in the box, in addition to Bendtner. I know Eduardo is good with his head, but Song is taller.

  99. 14teranga,

    In defence of the Football G*D, TR7, Captain of Czech:

    He’s barely been fit this season, yet has crucial goals, assists, etc. the works!

    TR7 played in three games within week for the first time in years recently. He doesn’t suffer from the ‘physical assaults’, just tendonitis.

    So, maybe, if there are no niggles, niggling away, he can play against both Wolves & Barca.

  100. Finsbury,

    I love the CR7 fella. I would rather give him the wolves and bring him on around the hour mark along with Theo to kill off Barca.
    He can overcomplicate things and give away possession and that’s what I don’t want early on against the Catalun guys.
    Later his leadership, drive, shots and complicate play will be very welcome, me think!

  101. FG,

    It’s all about possession. I think we’d have Eduardo, Bendtner, Sol & Vermaelen who’re good in the air. I’d probably even start Diaby ahead of Song. Just for his dribbling, pace, aerial ability and stamina. It’s not a punishment, it’s just that I think the midfield 3 should be ball players against Barcelona. Somehow, it’s not the game for Song.

  102. A hope that the is a backlash against wovles we handed manyoo three points,and we score 10 goals….theo and Benny to get a hatrick

    Also let’s not forget that it was Big Al that kept us in the semis last year against the Mancs.

  103. @ OG
    Fair enough.

    @ Maria
    That would be nice! But I would just take any win, quite honestly. And a ManU/Chavs draw.

  104. Sorry my blackberry is acting up…but I thunk you can all guess what I meant…

  105. Well, nice to chat, arsefans. I am off a-Eastering (be-Eastering). See you tomorrow.

  106. Maria

    Before I go, I love the idea of playing against Wovles – they sound like dried Weevils!

  107. 14teranga,

    Oh, I see, you mean the old classic bamBOUEzle.
    Very nice.

    I get a feeling of vertgo when discussing tactics, don’t really know anything, but as Paul N said above, I think TW14 starting, maybe TR7 Away, could ‘distract’ the opponents.

    We’ll just have to wait till next week, check who survives the weekend, and see who’s name is on the teamsheet when it’s handed out!

  108. We should not mess with the team anymore that’s why I want us to give wolves a strong second team with a first class bench. Give Traore, Merida, Vela, Eduardo games and keep Denilson, Nasri and Clichy on the bench as they are the most important starters against barca.

  109. great little youtube vid on a young barazite above

    the kid is such a talent coming in off the left wing, i would love to see him given a shout in the first team.

    he had a blinding game against manyoo in the cup for derby a season or 2 back, showed he was up to the task against top opposition.. but then, the gooner curse struck


    he is back and fully fit now, still more than young enought to do himself justice.

  110. Nice clip of Nacer, Poliziano. I would love it if this season COULD be his (cameo) breakthrough. More realistically next season….

    Cameo, now there was a band.

    I see we have signed Michael Macintyre outside the transfer window.

    Eduardo Vela and Bendtner up front against Wolves.

  111. FG:

    Good thought about TR7 although I thought Nasri did some good defensively against Barca. Remember a very nice tackle on our left flank. We shall see. TR7 can also track back from the left wing and we may need that against Barca. Messi was one of the few Barca players who did not live up to lofty expectations in the first 1st last Tues. TR7 could help keep him down by tracking back on that flank and helping Clichy. If Messi gets to be a real problem perhaps we could even put Eboue of the left flank. I know he is a very right footed player but he is strong fast and could certainly help on that flank.

  112. I see your thinking FunGun,


    Pretty Kool!!!

    Eboue gave Barca no ends of problems.

    Frank, whats up with the second half analysis?

  113. Well, well, well

    Just watched the second half again.

    Two silly goals from defensive errors. Manuel should have stayed on his line for the first. BUT both goals were down to TV. He got drawn forward and left Alex exposed for both goals. The second goal was not helped by Gael Clichy playing Ibrahimovic onside.

    Apart from that we could have gone onto to win that game quite comfortably. As the game went on Barcelona visibly wilted…whether that was down to overconfidence or tiredness we cannot know. But once we got our game together there was no stopping us and we were far more incisive than them.

    My recipe for the second leg…depends who is fit but;
    i). Make sure that Sol is fit to play. TV is not ready to take command at the back and needs an experienced head beside him. Play Sylvestre against Wolves.
    ii) Make sure that Alex Song is fit to play in front of the centre-halfs he was brilliant in the first half
    iii) Press their full-backs from the outset
    iv) Make sure that whoever plays in the Cesc role is fully fit…I prefer Samir Nasri but Tomas is great in the middle. An unfit Cesc and an unfocused Abou handed them the initiative.
    v) Make sure that Abou Diaby is focused and in the game from the start, I think he will feel that he owes us one in the next leg. Perhaps play him in a front three.
    vi) Save Theo until they tire.
    vii) Most of all belive in ourselves and keep doing what we do best…DO NOT change our game.


  114. The Monkees – the made-for-TV band of the time -were, as it happens, respected by many musicians for their arrangements, so much so that their classic ‘Last Train to Clarksville’, their first big hit (August 66) became something of a cult jazz standard (it’s a great arrangement to solo over).

    They became friends with the Beatles during Sgt Pepper Lonely Hearts Club sessions, appearing on a few Beatles recordings, and Goerge Harrison – surely everyone’s favourite Beatle – said “…they might turn out to BE the best”.

    How the the classic Jimmy Cliff song, also covered by UB40, Annie Lennox and a gazillion others got confused with Boney M will forever be a mystery.
    Consols! Seriously … !

    Many rivers to cross
    But I cant seem to find my way over
    Wandering I am lost
    As I travel along the white cliffs of dover.

    Yes Ive got many rivers to cross
    And it’s only my will that keeps me alive
    Cause Ive been licked, washed up for years
    And I merely survive because of my pride.

    And this lonliness wont leave me alone
    It’s such a drag to be on your own
    Cuz my woman left me and she didnt say why
    So I guess I’ll have to cry.

    Ive got many rivers to cross
    But just where to begin, I’m playing for time
    Cuz there’ve been times I find myself
    Thinking of committing, a dreadful crime.

    And this lonliness wont leave me alone
    It’s such a drag to be on your own
    My woman left me and she didnt say why
    So I guess I’ll have to cry.

    I’ve got many rivers to cross
    But just where to begin, I’m playing for time
    But I’ve been licked, and washed up for years
    And I merely survive because of my pride
    (Many rivers to) Oh cross

  115. Frank, Mike Tyson said “Everyone has a plan ’till they get punched in the mouth”.

    Barca lost confidence and their plan was out the window once we started to pressure them. That Theo goal was the punch that did it.

  116. Barcelona’s full-backs are terrible defenders. They were kept out of gaol by Pique on the right and Puyol on the left. What no Pique?…no Puyol?. Whoopee. Hit them down the flanks and make sure when we do our centres exploit the holes left by covering centre-halfs. Our passing game is perfect for this. We must push ten yards fiurther up the pitch and we must dominate the central mid-field. We do this all the time, nothing different.

    We just need to stick to our game.


  117. Walcott coming on later is both obvious and right, Frank. And was I dreaming or did I read on here the other night someone claiming to be you, talking about cocks and golliwogs?

  118. No it was me,mingus. Although someone does seem to impersonate me from time to time. I used the PC version of the word…’gollies’. I was abusing Wolves fans although it would have been more apt for the Stoke and Burnley fans…the twin homes of the BNP. It was about shaven headed oafs with tattoos clutching there favourite body parts and their fetishes.

  119. Are you a Charles Mingus fan, mingus? An extraordinary man.

  120. I am, Frank. But more of a Barazite fan at the moment. (amongst many others of course).

  121. *

  122. Are you into hard bop in general or just Charles Mingus? I love John Coltrane, Miles, Thelonius Monk….as well Stan Getz, Sonny Rollins, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Dexter Gordon…goes on forever..

  123. Flying Gunner.

    Amazing post.

  124. I agree about Walcott and Diaby guys. Diaby might also be most effective coming on later.

    I know I’m looking too far ahead but:

    Almunia; Sagna, Song, Vermaelen, Clichy; Nasri, Denilson, Rosicky; Eduardo, Bendtner, Eboue

    I know Eduardo’s short of pace, but he’s great at working the ball in tight areas, and, if needed, I think he could drop deeper and help the midfield out a little.

    David Moyes want Arteta to replace Cesc at the World Cup. Obviously that’s not going to happen because Cesc will be back in a month, but England might have a better chance this summer of they can persuade Almunia, N’Zogbia and Arteta to apply for citizenship.

  125. diaby has seemed to do better in the absence of cesc in the past

    maybe he is better suited to the free attacking role, which cesc adopts when he plays.

  126. I like so many types of music, Frank, including all those you mentioned.

    It’s difficult to focus on Wolves tomorrow. Let’s hope the squad are better at it than we are.

    Who are Barca playing this weekend?


  127. bilbao at home

    very similar to wolves

    both wank.

  128. OK, google it.
    Atletico Bilbao at 7.00

  129. Hey, Bilbao are doing well this season.

    They deserve credit. I sort of admire their bloody-minded recruitment policy. It could be a tough match.

  130. I see that some poor TV cameraman died in the stadium on Wednesday. Thankfully it was after the game. What a game to go out on.

  131. What is it? Basque-only?

  132. bilbao base there game on being heroes at home and parking the bus away from home

    they have an appalling away record, they won’t be too much resistance for barca.

  133. Yep, at least that’s what it always used to be. Of course I’d hate to see it over here, but from a distance…

    It also means that Arteta could play for Bilbao, as well as England.

  134. Their kick off is four hours later than ours, so advantage us.

  135. That’s true, SH. Still, if they at least make Barcelona sweat then it might make a difference on Tuesday because Barcelona certainly won’t be able to field their new batch of not-that-great youngsters and expect to win.

  136. Now that Cesc is injured, we will know the extent of A. Ramsey’s loss to yet another ‘Stupid Giant”.

  137. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    Are you into Sun Ra, Frank?

  138. I hate to say it, as its bad karma to wish harm on others.. but an injury to a key player or two, would render them useless for the arsenal game inside the following 72 hours.

    The league games ( ours and theirs ) are very close to the 2nd leg.. it would be almost impossible to recover.

    Messi is certianly targeted by away sides at the camp nou.

  139. And there could be some wear and tear after Wednesday’s epic. Just saying.

  140. Darius:

    Eboue, Song, Vermaelen, Clichy
    Denilson, Nasri, Diaby
    Walcott, Bendtner, Rosicky”

    The thing I am weary of is Ibra running off the ball. Song and Verma need to have a sit down and discuss this. And I’d start Sagna at RB with Eboue on the wing. I think Theo would be a lot more effective coming off the bench.

    “Barca are a different animal and we need more ball carriers than physical players. ”

    I agree. This is why I feel no worries about playing Denilson in the middle. Unlike other big teams they don’t battle it out in the midfield. They use their possession for that.

  141. frank.

    Song was at fault for them barca goals.

  142. Have to say I disagree, DG.

  143. I agree with Frank’s optimistic train of thought.

    I am unimpressed by all this talk of Barcelona’s brilliance in the 1st 25 minutes. Cesc and Gallas were not fit. Therefore we lacked the total unit to press the ball. We did not press the ball and hence Barcelona looked amazing. However, they were not able to keep that up, and we conceded the 2 cheap goals early in the 2nd half.

    With a fit midfield, and back line, we can go to the Nou Camp knowing that we just have to score. None of this nonsense about being cagey. I cannot see Barcelona putting as much energy into the game as they did at the Emirates in the first 30 minutes. If they do that, they run the risk of tiring and being vulnerable on the counter. I think we have a chance of scoring, but we will need to score 2. That is the hard part.

  144. Excuse me ZP!

    It was Yogi who brought up Boney M!!!!

  145. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    I’ll take that as a no then, Frank?

    How bout David Axelrod?

  146. the last few years where we were outplaying other teams but still not winning ,the hack/doomer/ opposite fan were all saying we need striker,we were playing pretty football but not end product ,we try to pass too much the ball in the goal and it s wrong..blablabla

    yet Barca with all the pretty stuff at the first half the score was 0-0.And the two goal we saw was more Chelsea style (high ball to the big striker) than “magic football” all that by our CB who were in bad position .
    Yet they are amazing,playing god football.Time to shut everyone up and beat them at th Nou Camp

  147. Vermaelen was so focussed on Messi, he completely missed Ibra running in behind. Certainly for the first goal, it was on the left and therefore you have to put it down to him and Clichy.

  148. Sorry, NJN. I have listened to the Arkestra from time to time. I don’t like to work too hard at listening so I’m kind of OK with Sun Ra but not totally. Having said that when FZ hit the scene I thought he was fantastic and still do.

  149. Yes that is what I saw too, Passenal. I think he needs an old head to help at times. Of course sooner or later he will be the old head and he will then be unbeatable.

  150. I don’t really know David Axelrod, NJN

  151. Nasir Jones-Nasri



    “That is not true. We had two independent doctors clarify the bone was OK.

    “It was a bruised bone, but not broken – I am 100% confident.”


    I won’t quote Gardner,
    It’s meant to be Good Friday.

  153. Got me?

  154. Excellent post, Darius. I’m still beaming from Wednesday night.

  155. Frank,

    Everything you said sounds like what Robson highlighted after the Liverfool game and the difference between the first and second halves in that game, especially when it came to the increased support to the main striker from Nasri and Theo which pushed the MF up aswell and helped us regain the ball and made it harder for the opposition to get at our defence.

    Watch it back on ArsenalOnline if you can it’s quite interesting.

    Also has anyone from ACLF called up the fans forum??

  156. I agree with Frank and Muppets optmism.

    looking @ Barca’s firts goal again, I doubt Ibra couldve scored from that angle. Almunia shouldve stayed back i think.

    We will straighten out the kicks and get the win!

  157. You are football encyclopaedia, Maria, and a star.

  158. I for one would like to say that good defending and good goalkeeping has nothing to do with luck. I have read that we were lucky so many times over the past two days, nonsense.

  159. meant to say kinks

  160. Nasir Jones-Nasri


  161. Cesc had a ‘bruised bone’.

    What the hell is a ‘bruised bone’?
    I live with medics, but I’m at work right now, so this is what I found:

    “A bone bruise is an injury to a bone caused by a sudden jerk or fall, which harms the bone but does not fracture it. Bone bruises are visible in high-density MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), but not simple X-rays. Depending on their severity, bone bruises can take months to heal. You need to treat a bone bruise with proper care and patience.

    Bone bruises can take a few months to heal”

    Obviously each injury is unique,
    but in a vague sense, it seems that’s what Cesc played through on Weds.

  162. Ah,

    The Kinks!

  163. That text should be ammended to say:

    “A bone bruise is an injury to a bone caused by a sudden jerk or fall, or aan assault, when the victim isn’t looking, by a proper little coward, which harms the bone…”

  164. Generally speaking ‘bruising’ is caused by leakage of blood into surrounding tissues. A bone bruise is just that and thr surrounding tissue is bone. Clearly as with any other bruise severity can be very variable…it depends what causes it. Trauma is only one possible cause and of course is relevant in Cesc’s case.

  165. Harry Flowers

    Great post. Love the optimism. We have a lot to be optimistic about. Happy easter to all you arsefans out there.

    “Frank – Peter Tork was an all round musician, far better than Nesmith. Tork and Nesmith were musicians and hadn’t acted before.”

    Just scrolling down the comments and saw this. Mike Nesmith was a bit of pop visionary actually. His solo lp’s from the early 70’s are country rock classics. If you like Gene Clark….well worth checking out..

  166. Who was playing on the Naser vid? (The music not the football)

  167. I have always liked Gene Clark. My favourite Byrd. I know Mike Nesmith’s stuff.

  168. Nevada Fighter, The Prison, Tropical Campfires….all a bit late for me but a girl I once knew was really keen.

  169. Didn’t know that Peter Tork was even a musician

  170. Harry Flowers

    Neither did I Frank. Mind you that’s not saying much…. there’s a lot I don’t know. Peter Tork was always my fav Monkee as a kid when they used to show the repeats. The goofy one.
    “Country rock” is not really my thing, I never really understood the fuss about Gram Parsons for instance. Those early Nesmith lps are lovely though.
    Having said that…I’m off to the pub.

  171. Cheers, HF.

  172. I would like to be the first person on this blog today to suggest that Raymond Domenech go fuck himself.

  173. I second that, Frank

  174. Who is RayDom trying to trick? Everyone knows he selects his squads according to the positions of the stars and the pattern formed by his tea leaves.

  175. Interesting reading peoples thoughts on who was at fault for the goals…like Arsene claims there are often multiple reason why a goal has been scored.

    Looking at the first goal for example….
    Bendtner fails to close down the long ball early enough making only a half hearted attempt to get across,

    Eboue is the wrong side of Messi,

    so Vermaelen steps into the midfield but doesn’t communicate with Song,

    Song fails to read Ibra’s run,

    Almunia reads the run but misjudges the angle and comes out when he doesn’t need to.

    A collective error, not one persons fault per se…certainly not the sole responsibility of Almunia as others would have you believe.

  176. I agree QoS, there was collective responsibility in conceding those goals, just as there was collective responsibility in scoring our goals. Theo’s goal started with an Arsenal interception in midfield (Denilson, I think) followed by some sharp passing between Diaby, Nasri, Bendtner and finally Theo into the back of the net.

  177. Diaby intercepted from Busquets, passed it to Nasri, then Nasri to Bendtener and he played an awesome pass to Theo. That was the sequence.

  178. Thanks Gainsbourg69, I couldn’t remember exactly the sequence.

  179. Last Wednesday night we took on the best club side in the world playing their best football ever under their manager …

    and still they could not beat us.

    Worse for them they’ve got to play us again on Tuesday without a decent centre-back in sight.

    We can replace Cesc with Nasri. Gallas with Campbell. We can start with Theo, get Eduardo up front, have a Rosicky and an Eboue up our sleeves. Crocked though we are, we’ve options to be proud of.

    They, on the other hand … have to hurdle Athletic Bilbao without injury and then face us knowing full well they missed a real opportunity to finish the tie in the first leg.

    There’s a narrative to be played out at the Nou Camp and I really don’t think it’ll be flattering for the home team.

    This has all the hallmarks of a ‘one of those nights’ nights. Though probably not one for the faint-hearted.

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