Ipswich Preview: Turning The Tides Of History

Ipswich Town arrive at The Emirates this evening looking to preserve their one goal advantage and venture onto Wembley for the first time since 1978. History is on their side. Arsenal has never overturned a deficit incurred in the first leg of a cup semi-final when that match was away from home.

There is a gulf in quality of the opposition on those acursed occasions though and with all due respect to Ipswich, it will be a huge disappointment and surprise if Arsenal do not progress. Complacency though must not come into it. In Saturday’s programme, Jack Wilshere admitted that those who played in the first leg were exactly that. Tonight they need to be as focussed as they were at Elland Road and against Wigan at the weekend.

Arsene confirmed no new injuries this weekend but that he will be rotating the squad for tonight’s match. Which means that most of the team that played at Leeds will start tonight. Squillaci is likely to return against Huddersfield which means that the back four ought really to be the same as last Wednesday.

There is a strong argument for fielding the best XI; this is the first chance for the squad to win a tournament this season and whilst it may not rank as one that sets the world alight, lifting the trophy would push them over the mental hurdle of their first silverware. Arsene alluded to the belief that some of the players are gaining in themselves; a winner’s medal from a genuine tournament not something conjured up to satisfy sponsors, would prove to those involved that they are winners.

The question is whom does Arsene put in midfield. Denilson and Song played well together at Leeds, forging ball retention with timely interception. Tonight is going to be a similar circumstance. Ipswich will be sitting back to try and defend their lead. Arsenal need to be aware of the counter-attack, especially as it was the sucker punch which is the difference between the two sides at this stage of the tie.

Whilst I would prefer Wenger to start with RvP, I do not think it will happen, the Dutchman likely to be on the bench alongside Cesc, Wilshere and Walcott. Nasri though has been so influential on Arsenal’s play this season that his inclusion must be a certainty.

The starting XI I expect is:

Szczesny; Sagna, Koscielny, Djourou, Gibbs; Song, Denilson; Nasri; Bendtner, Chamakh, Arshavin

It is a shame that Carlos Vela will not get the chance to be more involved. Wenger noted that his loan will probably resolved this week. Having been insistent that the Mexican would be playing in the Premier League, he hinted that it may be a La Liga destination, Vela preferring the linguistic aspects to learning Notlobian or deciphering just what is being said on Tyneside.

Interestingly outgoing loans are not the only ones being considered. Wenger is either deceiving the media or genuinely not going to pay ยฃ20m for a centre back in this transfer window. His observation regarding wages paid to expensive players is somewhat disingenuous but nonetheless a strong indicator that transfer talks with some have stalled. It seems he is looking for a short-term fix rather than a longer-term solution by bringing in a loanee.

He asked what he was going to do with five centre backs. Arsene, when the situation ever arises where you have five fit central defenders, most of us will probably be propping up daisies so it is really not worth worrying about.

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it. ’til Tomorrow.

Posted on January 25, 2011, in Arsenal, Carling Cup, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 411 Comments.

  1. Team prediction:

    – – – – – – – – – Szeczsney – – – – – – – – – – –
    – – – – – Djourou – – – Koscielny – – – – – –
    Sagna – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Gibbs
    – – – – – – – – Song – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Denilson – – – – – – – –
    – – – – – – – – – Fabregas – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    – – – Nasri – – – – – – – – – – Arshavin – – – –
    – – – – – – – – – Chamakh – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    Although I wouldn’t be the least suprised if RVP led the line… nor for that matter, if Nicklas Bendtner did.

    Hopefully; Diaby, Rosicky, Squillaci, and Fabianski can all be involved against Hudder.

  2. Thanks YW, great read.
    Looking forward to the game tonight. I’m not going to think too much about who’ll be on the pitch tonight. I’m hoping that whoever pulls on that shirt tonight will be fired up for it, and we get treated to an evening of scintillating football.

  3. If both Cesc and Nasri play, we will will win regardless of the rest of the team I feel.

  4. I’d be tempted to suggest that it’s not quite as simple as that goonerandy, but it’d sure as hell give us a better chance.

  5. Denilson played really well against Leeds, so I’d definitely reward him with another start.

    Transfer wise, why even discuss. It’s clear that Wenger only flirts with the January transfer market in order to placate the plastics and doomers. We’re covered.

  6. We always dominate possesion, but the combination play of Nasri and Cesc always creates chances. Without them sometimes we dominate, but don’t actually create too much.

  7. I agree with Limpar – id play Cesc in a game of this magnitude. We need to hit them early and fast with slick passing – and I’m not convinced a front line of Arsh, chamakh and Niklas B are the guys to do that.

    We can’t let frustration start to build – better to get the best players on from the start, score 3 times and take Cesc off after 60 mins.

  8. Denilson & Wilshere is also a possibility if a CB needs a rest, or if anyone’s carrying knocks or niggles. Look forward to seeing Song Denilson and Wilshere sometime. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow…

  9. I feel your pain, YW; but I agree with AW. In theory, if we bought a centreback today, we would have five of them available to play by the end of February. That may not happen – but one day it will… and it’ll happen sooner than you think.

    I think, if we need anyone, it’s a stop-gap. Someone who’s willing to take their season in the sun, and probably eff off afterwards. And that ‘if’ depends on us trying to judge, over the next few days, how much of the season Vermaelen play. How the fuck we judge that I don’t know.

    I guess the crowd calling for a long-term solution see whoever coming in as displacing Squillaci long-term. The problem with that is Squillaci is only a year into a long-term contract and he’s playing well. So somewhere down the line you’ve got a lot of money being forked out for someone doing sweet FA.

    Maybe we should resign Ade… he’s good at that.

  10. “Need a full emirates with best atmosphere of the season so far tonight. We are all together in this. C you all tonight! Come on!”

    The words of our captain. For those that have are able to get to the Emirates tonight, I hope I can hear you singing loudly on my telly! It’s going to be a long day waiting for the game…

  11. Theo will defo play since he was on the bench on Saturday. Really hope RVP starts though. We need to score, the earlier the better. I would go for –

    AA – RVP – Theo

  12. Very sad Vela has to leave. Loan move will be done by this week. *sniff* x10

  13. Early goals would be ideal, but this tie has late goals written all over it.

  14. As for our defence… I really don’t think we’ll see somebody come in. We’re only a few short weeks away from having all of our CB’s fully fit (hopefully) and in the mean time, as AW says (although it’s not ideal) Song can play in there. Maybe it’s a backup to Song in DM that we need? That said, we have got players who can play that role temporarily. Would we be seriously weakened if we had somebody other than Song playing there?

    As for our attack? Needless to say, RvP is back on form, but like Chamakh earlier in the season, he’s not going to be able to do it alone. For the likes of Arshavin and Bendtner, they need game time, and possibly more crucially, a goal to get them going. Build that confidence up! Chamakh will get back in to it again too. It’s easy to forget how important he was for us in those early months.

    At this stage, I really couldn’t pick a first 11, as I feel bad for leaving so many fantastic players out. A good problem to have, I think.

  15. “You’re going home in a combine harvester!”

  16. Men!

    Cast your minds back a few mere weeks to when we were repelled and forced to retreat, our head hung low and limp with the taste of defeat prominent in the saliva that would moisten our tongues and lips.

    Remember that taste well, because that will be our only access to such foulness: our memories. Remember that taste well, and let it spur you to inflict it upon everyone else, for we are not to have it upon us.

    Tonight, tonight is chance for not for vengence, but the reaffirmation. Should we let it pass by? Shall we act with indifference? I say thee nay. NAY! We will defeat the enemy tonight, and we shall do it with majestically and ruthlessly. Victory must be our, because with it comes the first glimpse of that bountiful harvest which we have fought so hard for.

    That’s right Men: dawn is nigh.

    Go forward Men, reach for the light and fight for what is yours.

    The legend of you begins now.

    For you. For us. For Arsene. For Arsenal

  17. I read this morning Samba has turned down Arsenal to sign a new contract with Blackburn. I know, its very funny.
    Its a good sign that we might finally win the title, last season everyone thought we had a good chance when we had an easy running at the end of the season but we lost the supposedly easy games and the title chance went at bit earlier than expected but we had all our top players out during that period. I’ve been listening to few expert on who is going to win the title and Arsenal don’t even get a mention as if there is nobody in that second spot its of course between Manure and Chavs according to the expert, Well this year looks very different and I’m delighted they are not paying attention at all. One thing that thees so called expert have failed to see is that our away form is the best in the league and that is key. I can see Manure’s away draws turn into defeats at some point. 2 or 3 away wins all season that is not champions form and contrary to what everyone is saying, I can’t see how they are going to get any better there is not Ronaldo, Tevez or any player of that calibre to make you think they can go up a level, this is really their top side playing at its maximun. It will catch up.

  18. Theo started on saturday…

  19. Agree with Limpar Assist.
    And Squillachi is pencilled in to play on Sunday and TV is on the mend. No sense signing anyone long-term to provide short-term cover, if we can help it.
    Looking forward to tonight – if you hear on the news about a woman in the East Stand fainting from over-excitement, that’ll be me.

  20. Gadget…
    Beautiful. You should do the team talk.
    No, seriously.

  21. FOR ARSENAAAL! *vaults parapet and charges*

  22. Maria, regarding Vela. I thought the same. Then I realised that he would only be my fourth choice to play on the left side of attack after Nasri, Arshavin and then Rosicky. So let him go I say.

  23. Maria just fancies Vela. And why not, eh?

  24. Tonight will be the return of Chamakh, I can feel it.

    We need to fly out of the blocks like we did at Leeds. Really scare them from the off. They are going to try and make life difficult for us so a denilson screamer to open the scoring and give everyone on le moan an ulcer. Happy days.

  25. Just how long a contract can Squillacci be on? I know the press release said ‘long term’ but he was 30 when he signed so it wasnt for 4 or 5 years – 3 at the max, maybe even 2.

    I’ve seen enough the stats tell a story too – squillacci is no more than a stop-gap. The other CBs can all stay long term – but if someone really good is available, sign him – and ditch squillacci in the summer.

    What decent CBs who can help us win the league and CL will be available on loan?

  26. Squillaci was signed on a 3 year deal on 26th August, just after his 30th birthday, so technically when negotiations were ongoing he was 29 and Wenger didn’t break his policy of no deal over two years for a player over the age of 30.

    I don’t see him as a stop gap. I see him as a hugely experienced CB (almost 450 professional games under his belt) who could play for us for the next 5 or 6 years if the notion took him.

  27. “Arsene, when the situation ever arises where you have five fit central defenders, most of us will probably be propping up daisies so it is really not worth worrying about.” Perfectly summarised YW.

    What Arsene also fails to recognise is that calibre of those defenders collectively is not good enough, so when we invariably need to call on the 2nd, 3rd and4th choice defenders we are exposed. He needs to redress the centre back situation now if we realistically want to push on for the top honours, although in all honesty we all know that he should have done it last summer.


  29. Deano, fantastic story! Reminds me of last summer when I had to walk home at 2am because my phone battery was dead, and couldn’t find any cabs (not many round ‘ere out in the sticks) – 9 miles.

  30. markus – extremely experienced is beyond doubt, nor is our superior record with Djourou and Koz.

    Squillacci has not been the defensive rock we need.

  31. Well, you could say that AW did everything he needed to do last summer; despite the negativity surrounding his arrival Koscielny’s proving to be one of the signings of the season.

    The difference between him and Vermaelen is that Koscielny needed a little time – partly because he didn’t have an established Arsenal player to partner with until Djourou got back to fitness.

    If Squillaci is back this weekend then we can put the whole CB thing to bed.

  32. Squillaci is fine as 4th choice, which is what he’ll be in a month and a half.

  33. I agree with Romford Pele, 450 professional games = experience, not quality.

  34. I say lets go and get one of them panic buys.

  35. Excellent post, YW. I rhininit would be a shame if Vela goes on loan outside the PL, which is where he needs the experience to make it in the first team at Arsenal. He’s played in Spain already and I fear such a move would be a prelude to a possible sale.

    I would only disagree a bit on the team selection. Since we have Huddersfield on Sunday, let’s play RvP. He loves the big games and is on fire. We have a deficit to overcome and his invention is so brilliant. He might be able to get a goal or two and come off for the second half. Otherwise we will have to play him on the weekend so he gets playing time.

  36. I understand Arsene’s dilenma, but I have to say I agree with YW. The risk we face for gambling that we’ll have the current 3 CBs fit for the rest of the season is way greater than whatever the downsides of having 5 CBs next season are.

    Its also a big leap of faith to assume that Diaby will be fit enough for the rest of the season to cover Song’s position should he in turn need to move to defense. On a related note, I find it rather interesting that Arsene didn’t mention Denilson when talking about cover for Song (or did he?). Is that because he sees Denilson as more of a replacement for Cesc/Wilshere?

  37. OneofUs
    Koscielny is good, but you can’t really say he is top draw at the moment, therefore I consider that we addressed the needed numbers during the summer but not the needed quality.

    We tend to dominate teams offensievely and therefore don’t often get a really good look at the capabilites of our defenders. On the occasions this season that teams have attacked and put us under pressure I think Koscienly, and Squillaci even more so, have been found wanting.

  38. Limestone,
    Awesome discussion you had with Joshua, Bill etc yesterday. Really, really enjoyed it. Just one of the reasons why ACLF is such a great blog.

  39. Surely the club should provide jetpacks for the players during bad weather?

  40. I cannot contemplate not winning this tie and going to Wembley, we simply must do it.

    To that end i say play the big guns from the start, start the game in high tempo and knock in some goals in first 20-25 minutes to knock the spirit from Ipswich. Go in at half time up by 2 goals in the tie, keep it tight for 15 after half time, then bring on subs to see out the game and maybe nick another goal.

    Start with:
    Sagna, Koscielny, Djourou, Clichy
    Song, Jack
    Theo, Cesc, Nasri

    Then rest Nasri, Cesc and RVP if we have the game in the bag – bring Chamakh on for RVP, AA23 for Cesc and Gibbs for Nasri

  41. I’m sorry Diaby seems not back; he would have been a good player to field.

    We need to play well, fast and cunning, Ipswish will be more dificult than Leeds because nobody gives them a chance.

    On the absence of some defenders, Wenger believes he has more stop-gap options than we do. Have we considered Gibbs in Song’s role?

  42. We’ve got to win this cup. After five years I’m desperate. I’d take anything. Wenger should put out the strongest team possible.

  43. Russ, notice how the form of every player in that defence – Clichy, Sagna as well – has improved over the past two months. It’s because there’s some stability there at last. I just don’t see point in unsettling the unit again by going out and signing a first-choice player in January.

    And as for the problems we had at the start of the season – I think they were down to a lack of continuity, caused by the injury to Vermaelen.

    In August, Koscielny and Squillaci – two players who were completely new to the club and league – came in and found themselves having to play together from the start. They had to get used to each other, the full-backs and the league, so there were bound to be some break downs.

    And right now I’m not sure many sides are simply choosing to sit back against us; they’re getting pegged back, and our defence is proving more capable at snuffing out their attacks and stopping them from getting a foothold.

    Actually the performances of JW, and his relationship with Song and the defenders, have had a hand in this as well. He has really come on since November, to the point where you notice the difference in the side when he’s not there.

  44. Gibbs is no Gr*tkicker.
    We need a signing the size of Dennis Wise,
    with boots as ‘ard as a diamond geezer.
    Come on Weng. Sort it out.

  45. @Maria and Markus.
    I also liked Vela and wonder how things would have turned out for him – and Arsenal – if he’d been given the same playing time as Arshavin, who, let’s face it, has been awful for some time now. Vela’s had 5 to 10 minutes here and there and it’s impossible to produce like that. Pressure on him to produce has got to be tremendous under those conditions. I have some sympathy for him.
    On reflection , not just Arshavin re: playing time – Bendtner too !

  46. Haha, bit repetitive there.

  47. I agree with DG, great initials by the way. put them on the ropes,knock the stuffing out of them then bring off our big guns. no point starting slow and giving these slags any hint of confidence.

    we need a trophy any bloody trophy, after all we are desperate arent we.

  48. Good call ZimPaul. I wouldn’t mind seeing Gibbs in there. What exactly has Arsene been experimenting with when he’s had Gibbs AND Clichy on the pitch at the same time? It’s not been for very long periods (closing out a game, etc.) so I’m not what position they’ve both been playing.


    This is the most important match of our season so far. For the objective viewer it represents the best chance that our team has of winning a trophy this season. It is not going to be easy as szechprhly has suggested, we have to come out all guns blazing and not give the tractor boys a chance to settle because if they do, we will be in for trouble.

    I feel we will need 3 goals as I dont see our defence keeping a clean sheet against an attack force of any competence, especially opponents who resort to the direct route. Lets give it a go at full throttle, and book a place at wembley, everything else can come later.

    And please no denilson…if he does start, it means ipswich already have a foothold in the game.

    Full team full throttle, dont mess this up Arsene… PLEASE!

    Cheers all!

  50. Gibbs could be our Bale.by that i mean a good LM not an ugly annoying little prick.

  51. naga are you talking about the defence that hasn’t conceded in the EPL all year? That one?


  52. I want Denilson to start.

  53. I think if you haven’t had a good look at the capabilities of our defenders by now, 30-odd games into the season, then you either haven’t been watching or you’re a fucking cretin. Our defence is half the reason we’re 2nd in the league.

    We are the form defensive unit in the country, yet to concede in the league this year.

    You can fuck off and all, Naga Gunner. When we win the league you’re not coming to the party.

  54. I can’t wait til Deni proves himself undoubtedly. So that even you paper gospel sheep reading numpty boys can’t deny what an asset he is to the squad. As song, eboue, diaby, walcott and probably others have done. Why do supporters look for targets?

  55. makes FABs comments seem even more real ๐Ÿ™‚ long ball is for loosers!

  56. Well said Limpar.

  57. “Gareth Bale peels bananas with his feet, bananas with his feet, bananas with his feet” ๐Ÿ™‚

    AC Milan sign Van Bommell – poor ol Flamini falls further down the pecking order – greedy bitch should never have left the Arsenal.

  58. Zimpaul,

    Gibbs in Songs role? I have seen that for awhile now, but what in the world will make u want to play Gibbs in that role? He’s an entirely different player from Song and I don’t see how he can possibly play there.

    Song is a foundation on which our play develops. Gibbs reads the game well and interdepts exellently, but I do2 think he has enough yet to play the role.

    Having said that, good luck to the gunners tonight.

  59. really like your line up. i hope arshavin starts to focus now. keeping in mind that a lot of nasri’s goals came from arshavin assists.

  60. Gibbs is England left back in the making, leave him there, or play him just in front of Clichy if you want to close out a game – simples – a DM he aint.

    Wow we are soo far behind in the long ball stakes its untrue

  61. Stat attack

    * Arsenal have picked up 32 of a possible 36 points against opposition currently in the bottom half of the table.

    * Laurent Koscielny had the best pass completion rate (94%) of any Arsenal player against Wigan on Saturday.

    * Cesc Fabregas has created 3.49 chances per 90 minutes of football this season. Samir Nasri’s figure is 2.25.

  62. Limestonegunner

    Everyone seems to be counting on Vermaelen coming back soon from his operation. Perhaps but perhaps not. How long will it take to get match fit and in form and to develop an understanding with essentially new partners? By all means we should be optimistic about his chances and about Dj/Kos’s fitness. But to casually assume Vermaelen will be back and first choice is unwarranted. We hope he will but also should acknowledge the challenges involved. If Squillaci comes back soon and plays well, it will certainly be a relief.

  63. While it’s true Carlos is handsome, his also a young man who has fantastic footballing potential, who I feel Arsene has neglected somewhat. The is absolutely no way for him to improve if his not playing he doesn’t even make it on for the b-side as a sub. Today a full international who played in the recent world cup is playing in a weekday, midday reserve game. It’s a crying shame.

  64. This place looks so much better without pricks like Naga Gooner..

  65. Plus Vela is the future. AA and are not! Vela should be seen as the back-up to Nasri. Carlos from what I am hearing on twitter will either be off to Bolton or Valcenia by the end of the week. I hope Carlos chooses Bolton he could work well with old Kevin ‘elbows’ Davies.

  66. Limestonegunner

    Henristic, thanks and glad to see you posting. Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to respond to Joshua’s last. But since I didn’t have a point anyway and am just confused, it is probably just as well!

  67. Carlitos wants to go on loan to Spain but Wenger wants him in the Premier League. Its really make or break for the Mexican i feel. If he stays in England and does well – a la Jackie Boy – hes got an Arsenal future. If he goes against Wenger and really opts for a loan move to Spain, i reckon hes in the shop window for a move there in the summer.

  68. Camberwell Gooner

    I can only echo the fine pronouncements of those who have gone before me and say: play RVP, play el Capitan and play Nasri and everything will be fine. Keep them on the bench until the 65th minute and we’ll all be collectively soiling our pants – if we haven’t already let in 1 or 2 through sponge-soft defending, wet blanket challenges and drippy passing play.

    I demand a whitewash! We all deserve to see the Tractor Boys sluiced clean off the park as the boys in red wipe the floor with them then take them to the cleaners. And if the floodgates open, unleashing a tidal wave of goals and an almighty torrent of starch-crisp one-touch passing, it’ll be plain sailing in the second half – rather that than any port in a storm!

  69. Oh and I am going to the game! Can’t wait!!!! Wiiiipppppeessss onto Wembley we march.

  70. I hope we have the option of selecting one of those lady linesman, opps, I mean referee’s assistants tonight, in the starting line ups.
    No slightly dodgy offsides calls, on more then one occasion, please.

    Cheers all!

  71. What do you call someone who used to like tractors?

  72. …an extractor fan

  73. good frank good

  74. As far as I’m concerned Nasri,RVP and Cesc (in that particular order) should be rested or start on the bench.I don’t think they’re worth risking for today’s game.I think we have enough in reserve to see out Ipswich.I feel sorry for JD and Kos though.Probably their 5th game in a row?

  75. Gunman – today IS they game they should be ‘risked’ for – its the one to get us to a final! Rest them against Huddersfield if needs be. Surely Rosicky, AA23 and B52 can step up to beat that lot!

  76. Chelsea win one game and there’s talk of them being back in the title run?
    The shallowness and sensationalism in the press never ceases to amaze me .On a positive note ,I hope they get their confidence on the up in preparation for playin United.

  77. Limestonegunner

    OOU, I think your post on the early difficulties caused by Vermaelen’s injury was quite right. I always thought that the new defenders would take some time to get used to the league and one another. It was like three new defenders with Djourou coming back. The stability has been very important and hopefully Djourou and Kos will be able to play most games in partnership. That’s certainly my hope. But I don’t think it would be disruptive of that partnership to bring in another defender who is as good or better than Squillaci, if that is possible. It might not be. He could rotate in and compete for the first team.

    Olegunner mentioned Majid Bougherra as a possibility last night–he would be CL cup tied but clearly has helped Rangers do well defensively in the group stages. But it is almost a moot issue now; we’ll probably go forward as we are. If so, barring injuries, we will still be on track to keep challenging on all fronts with a fantastic chance at glorious victories this season.

  78. Limestone, is there ever a point to talking football? I don’t know why we do it but heh… ๐Ÿ™‚

    Anyways, kinda impressed you noticed I haven’t been posting so much recently. Working on my thesis and had some deadlines to meet that required 110% focus.

    Looking forward to night! I agree with playing RvP tonight and resting him for the FA game. Playing Arshavin with Cesc and RvP might well get his form going as well, compared to when he plays with mostly ‘B’ team players.
    In any case I hope whichever ‘fringe’ players gets to feature tonight play their hearts out and have a stormer. That will more than any signing make me more assured of our chances for more prestigious silverware this year.

  79. I would go with a mix. I’d rest two of the three king gunners. Perhaps play cesc, rest Nas and RvP.

  80. Comment form doomers such as Russ just show those guys criticise the club without watching the match! Someone who watches the matches and says Djourou and Koscielny are not great defenders are either blind or does not have a clue of what defending is all about. They are forming a great understanding, complementing each other perfectly. Koscielny is the master of anticipation and interception and is just not recognise as such because the pundits are stuck in the idea that Wenger’s boys do not know how to defend. If an English defender was doing half the interceptions he would be a god to them. As for Djourou he is a rock in the air and on the floor and has great technique.

    I believe it is wishful thinking to assume Vermalen will be fit by end of Feb and slot in straight away. I obviously hope he’ll get back to his best sooner rather than later but after being out for 6 month I would prefer see Wenger being cautious with him and ease him back in like he did with RVP and Djourou. Anyway Vermalen will have to fight for his place because KOsc and Johan have made a strong statement for them to be first choice.

    As for tonight, I hope Wenger will make just a few changes. The Carling Cup is the fourth objective of the club but should still be taken seriously as a trophy will be beneficial for everyone and set us on course for our bigger objectives. In addition Huddersfield should be the game here we rest most of our first teamers.


  81. Limparassist!

    “When we win the league”

    I respect your argument but dont build it on pipe dreams. And yes we have been second at various points of time in the league for the last 5 seasons (not to mention top in february 2008) and the rubbish defence is precisely the reason why we blew it each time and ended up with nothing.

    Get some perspective my friend, and love reading your posts always.


  82. Those of the opinion that Ipswich ‘deserved’ their 1st leg victory keep forgetting that the ‘goal’ they scored was a clear offside.
    We were poor, but did enough to avoid that defeat, & if we manage not to go through today, for me, it will be the shite standards of refereeing which will be responsible.

  83. If we ever get 5 fit CBs then I hope AW could start training one as a DM as cover for Song!

  84. its absoloutley sexist to suggest ladies cant be officials, how rude and old fashioned are these people. hopefully we get a lady linesofficial…so we can all check out her credentials!!

  85. Duke do you have pig DNA, why do you always have to be such a a**???

  86. haha dukie

  87. From Le Boss – โ€œIt does of course ease my mind because at the moment you think the only resource available is Alex Song, Song is an important player in midfield as well so you could weaken your midfield. Squillaci being available makes it much easier.โ€

    โ€œBasically that (a loan) would be the best solution for us because what do you do with five centre backs?,โ€ he said.

    Well get a DM who can play centreback – a la Song – so that way we have Song cover and centre half cover at a push.

    If Denilson was just that bit stronger where he could play in at centrehalf wed be sorted – alas he aint

  88. Hope we start a very strong side. The confidence of our first 11 is very high right now and it gives us the best chance to score quickly and douse whatever belief that Ipswich might have. They will gain confidence with every minute that we do not score. Knock the stuffing out of them early and then bring on subs later if the situation allows.

    Normally wishing for Chelsea to play well is about as happy a thought as colonoscopy or a root canal but this case is different. They have 2 games left against the red Manc’s. The snow rescheduled the United game at The Bridge which would have occured during Chelsea’s mid season mental vacation. We got to play Chelsea during their run of bad form and United will have 2 games against them after they hopefully get back some of their form. Usually the opposite occurs. Perhaps the football Gods are actually on our side this year.

  89. Expecting Arsenal to win the EPL this year is hardly a pipedream.

  90. Limestonegunner

    Henristic, what sort of a thesis and what’s it on? If you’ve finished, congrats!; otherwise, good luck with it!

  91. I suppose Arsene’s quote confirms there’s almost no chance of Miguel featuring in the 1st team at all this season, although the fact that he didn’t feature in the CC first leg was also a major hint in that direction. Shame as I really was looking forward to seeing one of our home grown CB’s play and neither Nordveidt nor Bartely are available.

  92. Henry,

    His with the reserves who are playing a match Archie moment. As are Vela and Eastmond.

  93. Amazingly I am beginning to enjoy Bill’s posts. Without the defence to compain about, his not half bad!

  94. Limestonegunner

    Pipe dream? Sounds rather like someone has been smoking something in a pipe. We are in great position to win the CC and go on for the title. We are in form and have a beneficial schedule. I really pray that on April 30 that is a meaningful game for the outcome of the championship. Only long term injuries to RvP, Cesc, Nasri, Song, Sagna, and Djourou would derail us. If this core can play together most league and CL games with contributions from the rest of the squad, would anyone really count us out of any competition? We might not be favored against Barcelona but only fools would rule out a victory–let’s hope Barca underestimate us.

  95. Carlos scores a pen, it’s 1-0 to The Arsenal against the baby Chavs!

  96. While i understand the need for a new CB, i feel the hysteria its generating and the mass suicide planned by Arsenal fans if one is not delivered is totally silly and Hilarious to say the least. Have we considered that we are not any worst than the Mancs, who have Smalling and Evans as back up or the Chavs who have only Alex and Burma. I think we are taking the bait created by the media as usual. We should learn to trust Arsene because he wants to win even more than we fans do and will do everything in his powers. Cue the call for a keeper before the season began; can say we have fared perfectly well in that department.
    In Arsene we trust!!

  97. mj_gunner | January 25, 2011 at 1:10 pm | I concur.

    Whichever team Wenger decides to field tonight, let’s hope they will be up for it and will win it, we are only 90 mins away from Wembley,we can do it!!!!

    Fungunner please dont faint, the thought of you fainting and missing Nasri’s move to a goal is disturbing.

  98. Maria he was spouting BS only yesterday so am not so sure he is reformed!

  99. Limestone, its a PhD thesis on the process modelling of bioenergy conversion pathways. Still got a couple more chapters, hope to be done in a few months, hopefully around the time we’re lifting the CL trophy!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  100. Cheerio, FirstLady!

  101. I’m pretty sure Naga is taking the piss. Not even the regular pessimists on le-grove think our chances are a pipe dream anymore…

  102. should read ‘chances of winning the title’

  103. Delia---Block 112

    Having spent half the night watching Federer play the equivalent of Wengerball, I trust our leader will not deprive us from watching the beautiful game performed by our superb first eleven this evening. I will willingly make do with some of the squad players on my Sunday visit to the Emirates. Success tonight means a tremendous amount to everyone connected to Arsenal , especially the fans, many of whom will be of the younger generation tonight . I have been fortunate enough to have witnessed the many highs over the last 55 years and plenty of the lows too but youngsters ,in particular, will not have had the thrill of seeing their heroes with silverware. We have the final within our grasp. The Carling Cup has always been an occasion where mums and dads have been able to take their families to The Grove at a reasonable cost and long may it continue . So let’s put on a show and put Ipswich in their place, the poor, unfortunate fans who travelled to Portman Road also need to be recompensed on the pitch ,if not in their pockets.
    As always COYRs.

  104. Yes Limestone, I do agree that we can’t be sure Vermaelen will be back this season and that another body in there wouldn’t go amiss. I like the sound of a loan, similar to Sol last year, but I’d hope whoever we bring in wouldn’t be needed as much as he was.

    Slightly geeky questio, but has anyone seen that 3-5-2 might be making a comeback? Chile used it at the World Cup and Udinese just destroyed a resurgent Inter with it. Apart from the back four it’s not too different from what we use now. Could anyone see us adopting it in a few years time?

  105. The 1995 Ajax side, which we also resemble, had its as well:


  106. If I was Arsene’s confidant or, more importantly, he mine – I’d suggest that we start with our strongest starting 11 including Theo van Nasrigas (and replace Clichy with Gibbs as he provides a better attacking option and is not that far off defensively). Given the need for a 2 goal margin tonight, it seems sensible.

    However, GPS and training will tell its tale and we might rotate. In that case, I’d like to see us rest Clichy, RvP and Nasri and start with Gibbs, Chamakh and Theo. Gibbs seems capable of providing better service than Clichy and might (along with Sagna) provide sufficient crosses for Chamakh to thrive on. With Theo and Cesc being able to offer a threat behind (through pace and passing, respectively) we should have the fluency to break down Ipswich. Similarly, I’d start with Jack as the attacking option that he offers would offset some of the impact of resting Nasri and Robin and starting Denilson over Sng would hopefully further this without making us too vulnerable: although I am not completely confident about leaving Alex out at this point. This would give this starting eleven:

    Sagna, Koscielny, Djourou, Gibbs;
    Denilson (Song);
    Cesc, Wilshere;
    Theo, Chamakh, Arshavin

    However, I have full faith in the full squad and so would hope for a positive outcome regardless! I predict a 4-0 scoreline.


  107. na – attacking fullbacks is where its at OneOfUs – Udinese dont normally play that way if im right, they just adopted that system against Inter

  108. Haha, I don’t know, from what I’ve read they’ve kind of settled on that formation after a bit or rejigging earlier in the season. I can’t say really, because I’ve only taken notice since they hit form. But I think it was a 3-5-2 against Milan as well.

    Maybe it’s just that I’d love to see Theo playing as a wing-back!

  109. leave well enough alone i say – we have our current formation down now so lets not go back to the drawing board

  110. Considering the amount of time our fullbacks spend in midfield, we’re not far off that now are we, Oofus? Only we do without the ‘uncool’ sweeper by way of two super-mobile centrebacks. More of a 2-4-3-1 at times. Bejeesus…

  111. i have seen a few games where Udinese have played a kinda 4-3-1-2 but maybe you are right – 3-4-3 is a formation of choice for a few italian teams it seams

  112. I’d hit ’em real hard with a midfield of Walcott-Song-Cesc-Jack-Arshavin+ Bendtner, be 2 or 3 up by halftime, then bring on Nasri, Chamakh + Denilson (or RVP, if necessary).

    Final scoreline: 3-0 (3’s been the magic number lately)

    PS: do u think AW would consider loaning back big Phil Senderos if he were fit?

  113. Yeah, it’s just idle, killing time before the match when I should be working, talk.

    And seeing as Chile were one of the best things to come out of the World Cup, I wonder how their system would work with better players.

  114. I want so see. Szczesny; Sagna, Kos, Djourou, Gibbs; Song, Wilshere, Fabregas, Nasri, RvP, Walcott. They can rest at the weekend, the reserves should be able to beat up Hudds. This game is more important than the one being played on Sunday.


    Come on Arsenal!

  115. I can see Arshavin exploding tonight and Bendy too. 6-0 to the Arsenal!! A hat-trick for our little Russian and a brace for Bendy, with Chamakh rounding off the evening with the goal of the season!! Wembley here we come!! COYG!

  116. We should play Nasri, RvP, Fabregas, Walcott and Wilshere. They can all sit out the game on sunday, we should still be able to trash Hudds! Check my blog out as website, borrowed the oarking the bus video from Gunnerblog. I found it peculiar but funny in a weird way.

    Come on Arsenal!

  117. Cobra like wit from Naga, Henristic? Perhaps. If he is not careful I will send Riki Tiki Tavi after him.

  118. Hmmm … I seem to recall there could be witches, or at least some witchery in Ipswich. The name is a bit of a give away. OK, no problem. I shall consult the one-horned goat and politely request some counter-juju. Hope he doesn’t get too drunk like last time. In any event their spells may fizzle out down London way. Good luck tonight to our glorious team folks.

    COY Gunners!!!!!

  119. No thats Naga Henristic, he is as serious as a heart attack.

    Anyway this is good for a laugh.


    Have a blessed day all!

  120. I’ve been snowed under like a mofo at work, but I believe in the squad, and if Dragonball Z taught me anything as an adolesent adult, it’s that the power of belief can help a homicidal human-looking alien monkey defeat powerful foes, and launch planet destroying blasts.

    Let the squad have your faith by singing songs of valour no matter where you are, and they’ll kick arse in all type of ways (heh, can you see what I did there? Arsenal type of ways – genius!)

  121. Andy Gray just been sacked by Sky. Pity he didn’t take Keys with him!

  122. Great post earlier Gadget…inspiring.

    We’re in great position all the way round and our fixtures play to our advantage, while the others have to scramble points amongst them…I think we look good for any and all.


  123. Tremendous news JD. Now, if they’ll only sack Keyes, Tyler and Redknapp as well.

  124. Bye bye andy gray. Tosser. I’m not bothered about his recent comments he’s just shite.

  125. bob I think if anything Redknapp Jnr will be more prominent. He’ll be the new ‘Face’ of sky sports.

  126. This is why Gray was sacked

  127. Georgie Thompson should be the new presenter.

  128. What’s wrong with Martin Tyler, Bob?
    Though he’s clearly biased towards the English ways, I believe he generally sticks to facts & figures, unlike other pricks who just blabber on the basis of reputation..

  129. I’m eargarly anticipating the match..

    Deep in my heart, I want a total masterclass, but kinda scared cos we’ve been getting lots of that lately. I truly hope we rise to the occasion tonight.

    Heres to a trip to Wembley come March.


  130. I love these behind the scenes glimpses at Sky. It confirms everything you already assumed about these knobs. Also you get the impression that they’ve been collecting footage for quite some time and they were going to use it to get rid of him – whoever had the audio from Saturday wasted no time in making it public. And suddenly all this other stuff emerges.

    And then the second the Sun started running the story we all knew that heads were going to roll.

    They’d never do it but James Richardson’s the only one they should be going for. There has never been anything as good as Gazzetta Italia.

    I didn’t like him, I’m glad he’s gone and I hope he takes Keys with him, but I still think there’s something unseemly about the way we scapegoat people in public like this. I can’t articulate it properly, but I think we’re all a bit insecure about our prejudices, and afraid that we’ll get caught saying something politically incorrect one day.

    The funniest thing was reading the comments on the news sites, and people not realising the irony of calling Keys and Gray “sexist c*nts”.

  131. Or maybe they did, and I’m slow on the uptake!

  132. Here’s to dropped points at Blackpool tonight!

  133. 2-4-3-1 would be a more accurate description at times. Most times!

    The ZM diagram for Udinese Calcio (i think that each one tries to capture a teams set up for a specific game) did look a little familiar.

  134. And also, I’m assuming that Keys will go too.

  135. Well done Sky Sports but I think that’s a job only half done!! Mr Cliche Keys awaits.

  136. Whoever said today was going to drag was dead right. I’m a nervous ball of caffeine and Arsenal and energy. I’m off in a sec so enjoy the match everyone…

    The funny thing about the relics at Sky is that there are female footballers in the world today who are far, far better footballers than Andy Gray ever was. Witness Marta for example…

    But I agree with you, OOU, there is a puritannical wind blowing through these isles. The daily frontpage updates of Rooney’s sexlife… chased around in his Range Rover for about a month for having an affair was spectacularly hypocritical. Ah well.. fuck that lot.


  137. From twitter

    “Sky have shut the door to sexism, shame they didn’t throw away the Keys”

  138. I didn’t think I would ever get this excited for a Carling cup game but the fact that we have to overcome a defecit is multiplying my eagerness. It means we will have to really go at it, not that we don’t normally, but there is something particularly beautiful about this Arsenal team when they are chasing a win from a goal or two down, and tonight we have a full 90 minutes to destroy the opposition. Mouth watering prospect.

  139. Vermallen and the surgery to repair the uninjury to his Achilles Tendon was really a nonsurgical procedure. It is the pain from the non injury that is bothering him. They removed another tendon that was rubbing against the Achilles which should fix the problem. A most vexing medical unproblem.

    On the serious side of things, Sami Salo, a Vancouver Canucks defenceman, suffered a ruptured Achilles Tendon during the month of July, 2010. Sami is likely the teams best defenceman. He is now back training with the team. However, Sami is not deemed ready to play a game. There have been no setbacks from this injury. The length of time Sami has been out has been virtually the entire season with a little extra time. Speculation is that Sami will be back in the lineup sometime within the next three weeks. I think that we have all heard that one before.

  140. I have secured a last minute ticket so I am off to the clock end! Should be fun!

  141. Dupsffocuf,


  142. Very excited about tonight – but I can’t help thinking that Blackpool is the really important game. Need Ian Holloway to do us a good turn up there.

  143. Oofus,

    I partially agree about the hypocracy but am just glad that two of our unfair critics have been shown the door: particularly as I believe that prejudice plays an unvoiced part in many of the criticisms that modern AFC receives!

  144. Steww,

    I’m also making the forelorn prayer that Blackpool turn the Mancs over tonight. Give me that improbability and our win and I’ll be happy for some time to come (well, until Sunday at least).


  145. Steww – Blackpool could be winning with only a few minutes left but the ref will find some way for the mancs to equalise or even win. We have to win this title with help from no one but ourselves.

  146. Quite agree dups but a Manure defeat is like an Arsenal win in my house.

  147. My little brother is lecturing in anatomy, and he said to me that injuries like Vermaelan’s can be tricky to pick up at times. The world of sports science can be an odd one with fads and trends in his humble opinion, but we don’t think the AFC medical team are amateurs (he’s not a football fan, so no bias there). And I also assume that they know a little Greek mythology.

  148. Good call on James Richardson OneOfUs – i loved watching Gazzetta back in the day – used to fall asleep on a sunday after the roast dinner watchin Seria A game though ๐Ÿ™‚

  149. flying dutchman

    If Arsenal come out of the blocks with all guns blazing, the final will have been secured by halftime. So I expect Arsene to field the strongest 11 and take off Samir Van Fabregas after 60 mins. The same against Huddersfield please.
    Prediction: 3 or 4 goals by halftime, 5 or 6 goals final whistle – none conceded

  150. Just saw this little headline:

    “Ian Holloway’s the best, says Sir Alex Ferguson”

    That sniveling little toad, Ferguson. Everyday I throw up a little more bile when I see his name. I hope to god Holloway doesn’t roll over and spread his cheeks like McLeish and Fat Sam simply because Ferguson beckons.

  151. I’m afraid that you are probably correct about Redknapp, els.

    Limpar, Big Al? I’m surprised that you are surprised about the way that Gray fell. It’s just dog eat dog. Controversy feeds off itself. I ‘read’ through the ‘Mirror’ today, just one long diatribe about soaps, scandal and anything at all that ‘the man in the street’ might see as a bit out of the ordinary.

    Puritanism? No. These people are not puritans. They are as likely to be down the sauna parlour, getting pissed on Vodka, and watching East Enders when they are not saying how disgraceful Gray’s behaviour is.

    The lynch mob is back. Witches will be burnt.

  152. Limestonegunner

    OOU, back to your 3-5-2 discussion. We may have to adopt it this season if Kos or Dj get injured! But seriously, I think the Udinese (and a couple other Serie A teams) version is really very different from the Chile edition, which really was out and out attack. Udinese essentially have three CB’s back there. So I don’t know what version would suit us. But I have heard some discussion of this formation on general and tactical blogs. We just adapted to the 433 and have lots of players designed for this system. But since we have so many players who like to get forward and play centrally behind the striker, maybe it could suit us? Fewer defenders and more attackers always sounds good to us, doesn’t it?!

  153. Irishgray, I second you on the 6:0 score.

  154. Limestonegunner

    ZP, find us a succubus, please. Anyone see When we were Kings about Ali-Foreman’s Rumble in the Jungle? We talked about Ali a couple months ago, but in that documentary (brilliant btw, imo) the late George Plimpton talks about his theory that a succubus, a tribal sorceress/witch, got to Foreman. Actually, save it for Barca, where we are the “underdogs”.

  155. Limestonegunner

    Henristic, I am not going to pretend that I understand what that must involve, but I suspect if you have found something new in that field you will become a rather wealthy person! Best of luck completing it and here is to you celebrating a double–Arsenal Champions League victory and successful dissertation defense!

  156. 352 can’t cover the flanks well enough and can only really work against formations like the 4312 inter and milan have been playing recently. Chile played a 3313 which is more promising. Been hoping someone might try something similar in England, but I’m not holding my breath.

  157. Thats the best news about Andy Gray what a tw@t. Obviously the collective shites of football will say hes not that sort of bloke. Why say it then?He will not be missed. As for the Gooners I predict an annhilation of ipswhich 5 -0 to the Arsenal. wenger will be bold with his selection I think.

  158. Szczesny; Sagna, Djourou, Koscielny, Clichy; Fabregas, Denilson, Wilshere; Bendtner, van Persie, Arshavin.

  159. Oh my, VP starts. Who’s the keeper in Ipswich’s goal and to which address can I send my condolences? The 6:0 score line seems quite realistic now. He scored 2 against West Ham, three against Wigan, four against Ipswich?

  160. Time is dragging itself.

  161. Good things come to those who wait.

  162. Subs:
    Shea, Gibbs, Eboue, Song, Walcott, Nasri and Chamakh

  163. Strong line-up with only 3 changes from last game…

    Hope AA plays on the right and Big Nic on the left..

  164. That looks plenty good enough dups

    No complacency in the selection. It’s upto the players now.

    I wonder how much this match means to them? Is it a trophy they really want to win? I would think so.

  165. Dups true bv today has been really long,pretending am watching a movie as i count the mins to the game.whats up between you and maria anyway?

  166. Strong squad, bloody strong squad, just what I prayed for. COYG!

  167. That line-up is good enough to beat anyone.come on boys!

  168. Cheers Limestone!


  169. @ Firstlady

    Nothing up between me and Maria to my knowledge.

    Come on Arsenal!!!

  170. Dupsffokcuf – Me thinks Firstlady may be a little jealous hmmm? What exactly have you been up to Dups?

  171. Media lock-down till after the game. Later people.

  172. A beautiful article:

  173. three letters
    they will park the tractor….that mans got the keys to move it….
    it will be over at half time

  174. Indiangunner – thanks man like that a lot!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  175. Irish,


  176. English studio plundits. One of them actually said Arsenal needs some of that good old ‘bulldog spirit’. All the establishment cliches about Arsenal in a couple of minutes. I’m sorry Muppet, but this is beyond sarcasm. Why isn’t it possible to watch games without commentators? Or be able to watch one with ACLF commentators? I’d pay a euro or two for that.

  177. Urgency is evident.. Need an early goal to settle the nerve..

    Blackpool score against ManUre..

  178. Fantastic call to arms IndianGooner – thank you.

    Come on you reds!

  179. Mongolian Gooner

    anyone got a link?

  180. hmm they look bit nervous today…but im sure that will vanish ones we get that 1st goal…

  181. Cesc looks desperate to get a early goal..

    Shouldn’t have gone down so easily..

  182. can someone please explain if they are away goals or not?

    apoligies for stupidity, etc

    many thanks

  183. “people forget cesc is only spanish afterall…”

    from andy grays twitter

  184. Sagna coming out after a collision Chesney due to concussion I guess.. Eboue coming on..

  185. word,
    away goals after extra-time…

    RvP and AA looks the liveliest.. Nice move but weak shot from Cesc..

  186. what up with our midfied? why does Ips get to play so much? ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

  187. and where is bendtner? Or he been taken off?

  188. Ah i see him now….

  189. Gr8 cross from Big Nic and RvP hits the bar..

  190. RVP and his goalpost/bar obsession …

  191. Hating the fucking commentatorss and the ref..

  192. IG – cool cheers, had the seeds of doubt planted for a second there by some scum supporting ijat. ungloriously rebuffed, ill thank you.

  193. Ipswich playing rugby…

  194. The passing game is showing glimpses… Early goal would settle slightly nervous players..

  195. Blackpool 2-0 up….

  196. Are the “Invincibles 2.0” already done for?

  197. manure 2-0 nil down off 2 corners from adam!!

    unbeaten run done in by a bunch of hip shooting northern seasiders. fingers crossed, get in!

  198. comeon arsenal, lets make this a perfect midweek night in

  199. Cesc hots it wide after a lovely chip from Lil Jack..

  200. if Ips wins this 2 leg match with 1-0 im gonna die….

  201. Is the crowd getting impatient??

  202. Blackpool has a chance to be my second team.

  203. NB and RVP playing piggy in the middle…

  204. What happened to Sagna?

  205. RvP and Big Nic playing headball??

  206. maybe they feel the team is not playing up to its potential? this is a rather strong lineup remember… ips defence prove hard to break trhough…. either they play well or we play poor…

  207. oh I just heard, damn!

  208. Paul N,
    I too like them…

    Sagna went out after a collision with Chesney..

  209. Getting nervous now… There is hope but the nervousness increasing with every passing minute…

    Hope we get an early goal in the 2nd half..

  210. According to Sporting Life, Adebayor has gone on loan to Real Madrid.
    Just taking my mind off things at half time ๐Ÿ™‚

  211. i think sagna has a concussion, i hope he will be fine for everton. ipswich being overly physical against our players

  212. Talk about a ware of attrition, Tactics which are not unexpected, Park the bus or what. Now cesc is a diver?Forget that the whole UTD team are a load of diving, cheating, c@nts. COYG.

  213. time to settle some nerves, the goal will come, the players should learn not to panic and trust each other.

  214. I don’t like the look of the referee at Blackpool. Very dodgy.

  215. well we met overly physical teams before, it has not stopped us from winning games. Also physiq is the only area ips match us so they got to use it. its their only weapon.

    The fact we cannot score is worrying. if we go out cos we have not managed to score against Ips over two matches. that is not good. that should not be the reason we dont go to the final. it would be very bad if that turns out to be what crushes us…

  216. We still have options. Nasri and Walcott can come on to do some damage. We did not play badly, but we did not create the best of chances either. We got close a couple of times, but the last bit of skill and luck is missing right now. This will change in the second half, I hope.

  217. I think Blackpool shouldve had a penalty, Rafael ploughs into the dude.

  218. I think the ref at blackpool got a talking to at ht, united are getting some generous calls.

  219. United getting the usual good calls!

  220. The team have been playing with desire, but if I may be so demanding, may I plea with RVP to end his relationship with the post. She’s no good for you Robin, all cold rejecting your advances like that, and she’s far too skinny. The net may be the larger of the two but she’s far more forgiving and she’ll give you some slack.

    I thought Bendy has been quite brill tonight only to hear Shearer criticise him. He’s been working his socks off and putting in some nice balls, and Arshavin looks like he’s focusing on the basics in trying to get back into form – I appreciate the effort AA!

    Keep up the focus men, and none can complain, but go get that goal.

    Kos’ yellow was ridiculously tame, especially considering all the barges for the field ploughers. The ref gave that for Deni’s earlier challenge, so I hope he bears that in mind if Ks is involved in a controversial tackle

  221. Ref’s calls as expected in both games.. Call going against us and going for ManUre..

  222. This is as I feared. Risking first team players in a reserve team tournament. Sagna already out Djourou lucky to be walking Cesc targeted throughout. Watching from behind the sofa.

  223. effan okoku must really want united to win, he’s going on and on about blackpool’s attacking style becoming their downfall against united. i’m sorry but the best form of defence is attack.

  224. Now having to suffer a walk down memory lane care of the BBC – not that they’re trying to will on a giant-killing … No, of course they’re not.

  225. ipswich are kicking us all over the park.

  226. Keep up the work rate and we’ll be fine.

  227. I hope they saw the ManU score in the dressing room.

  228. I FUCKING LOVE BLACKPOOL!!!!!!!!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

  229. Desire alone does not win you matches though gadget ๐Ÿ˜ฆ And if we play with desire, ips are playing their match of their lives! We will look like Ips when we play Barca. When it comes to grit and determination i mean. We will want it so much that we can beat an otherwise overwhelming oponent.

    Man i hope we score soon,…..

  230. im sure if we score and it goes to xtras we will winn…

  231. somebody give the ref a Ipswich jersey..

  232. Grr Mark Bright is doing my head in.

  233. What was that for? Denilson takes the ball cleanly. Halsey should f*ck off.

  234. Do we ever score from a corner?

  235. A decent cross from a corner please..

  236. ~_~ ManU draw level.

  237. 2-2 at Blackpool

  238. 1-0..

    Big Nic.. beautiful curler..


  240. Brilliant from bendy

  241. Class is class. Spread them out. Nice finish by Bendtner.

  242. Take that shearer you monge!

  243. Mongolian Gooner

    Good good

    How did Manures draw level??

  244. Big Nic plays well from the left wing.. Wonder why Arsene shifted him to the right wing this seaosn..

  245. Nicklas has an excellent right foot shot when coming from the left. Does it over and over again.


  247. Kos6… 2-0….

  248. Kos. It was coming.

  249. Now Kos yes

  250. Game on now!!!

  251. 6 – Nicklas Bendtner has scored six goals in his last seven Carling Cup appearances. Specialist.

  252. Poodle, that’s what playing with desire gets us!

  253. What a 3-minute spell… the joy and satisfaction on the faces of the players aer worth the nervous 60-minutes before that..

  254. So we do score from corners!

  255. what the rule on away goals guys?

  256. great goal by NB! cutting in from the left, again.

  257. Only counts after extra time, mj. So if Ipswich score one, we still go to extra time.

  258. Keep it simple guys…. Play the usual game..

  259. mj, I just heard the commentator say that if Ipswich got another goal, the match would go into extra time.

  260. ok, relief for me Evil

  261. There you go – pure bias from the ref.

  262. Bloody ref……

  263. What a Joker, the conspiracy against us is out in the open!

  264. isnt the ref a part of the match?

  265. This ref is a joke!

    “Since when?”, Cesc correctly asks, “I’ve never seen that in my life”.

    Answer that one FA

  266. Blackpool crumble!

  267. WTF. What bush league refereeing is this?

  268. 2-3 to United

  269. So what exactly did the ref decide? Us winning the ball in the opposition half is illegal?

  270. manure are 3 up :’-(

  271. Bush-league commentatot. The ref is under no obligation to stop the game because the ball hit him.

  272. 10 min extra time @ Bloomfield. Hope Blackpool can somehow get another goal.

  273. 3-0…

    Captain Cesc.. gr8 ball from AA….

  274. Fabregas converts!

  275. Class is class.

  276. Yessss

  277. Going home on a Tractor!

  278. Gr8 Interception from Deni which lead to the goal..

  279. Great interception by Denilson to initiate the counter attack. 3:0!!

  280. Lovely inception and pass from Deni, lovely pass from Arsha (the faith is enduring 23 – we won’t give up as long as you don’t), lovely finish by Fab 4

  281. Gr8 chance got Lil Jack to make it 4-0.. Should have taken it early..

  282. The ‘Oles’ have started again..

  283. Nasri and Theo on??? I would have kept one of them fresh for the weekend..

  284. 2 assists by Arshavin tonight, right?

  285. Evil,
    Yes… The same AA who most Arsenal ‘fans’ wanted to be sold this month.. 2 assists for a out-of-form player..

    RvP and AA off for Theo and Nasri..

  286. What’s the favourite “board” game in Ipswich?

  287. It’s funny, whenever Denilson somehow got dispossessed, he got the ball back again. The third or fourth time I see it happening tonight.

  288. NO worries about the United game: you can’t send Blackpool to do Arsenal’s job.

  289. For a sec, thought JD20 was playing for Ips..

  290. Man U win ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

  291. I forgot to say good effort to Blackpool though!

  292. Wembley here we come. It’s been a while!

  293. What effort by Nikki B!

  294. The dream of the quadruple lives on…

  295. She wore, she wore, she wore a yellow ribbon…

  296. A final at last a final at last thank God a final at last!

  297. And it all changed at Bloomfield when as usual the ref refuses to give a penalty to Blackpool, surprised? Looking forward to Halloways rant in regards to the penalty. Still fair play to them for having a go. Most teams just got here and roll over(Blackburn anybody). Wembley here we come!! COYG!!

  298. we are going to wembley, i am not worried about united, they will come crashing down soon enough, right now i am enjoying this win. WE ARE GOING TO WEMBLEY!!! ๐Ÿ˜€

  299. A R S E N A L

  300. I am confident, we’ll land the Mickey Mouse Cup


  302. 3 words.

    big bendy bollocks

  303. Arshavin worked pretty hard, and is it just me or did Deni play a role very similar to Mikel *spit*?

  304. I agree with you Irishgray, that one was as clear as it gets..

  305. All the usual-targets of the D**Mers played a huge part in the 3goals..
    AA – 2 Assists and worked his socks off..
    Big Nic – Wonderful curler to open up the scoring.
    Deni – Wonderful interception which lead to the 3rd and kept it simple and clean in the middle.
    Kos6: Had a gr8 game and the yellow card was harsh.

    Loving the JD-Kos partnership.. Would be difficult for TV5 to break this partnership in 2months’s time..

  306. It’s just you

  307. The referee did manage to give manu a crucial assist by failing to give as blatant a penalty as you will see this season.

    Compare that with Halsey’s performance at Arsenal which was just bizarre.

    We are on our own. We are the Arsenal.

  308. Zonal Marking on twitter:

    Arshavin movement on the ball for Fabregas’ goal reminiscent of Gilardino to Del Piero v Germany in 2006.

  309. WEMBLEY…..Great performance…Onwards Forwards

  310. another clean sheet another pundit or 3 saying we need a keeper and centrehalf cause none of the ones we have are much good


  311. cbob,
    I’m used to it now…

    And as we famously say on this blog: “Fuck them all. We’re the Arsenal.”


  313. im so pleased
    i cant describe how i feel….
    arsenal at wemberly isnt a phrase thats been used that often recently
    how fucking good does it feel…
    this is it this is the season…i dont care if its the least of the priorities its wemberly its a final and we are going and we need to win it
    lets get this one in the bag..lets bring a trophy home…then lets go after the rest…knowing we are winners and not just thinking we can be….

  314. First visit to the Wembley booked… Can we do it 2 more times this season??

  315. yeas FUCK THEM ALL WE ARE THE ARSENAL! Halsey’s performance was indeed strange, especially stopping play and having both teams go for a dropkick. I’ve never seen a referee stop plya because the ball hit him.

  316. can you hate man utd more then with a passion. anyway fuck them we all knew they were gunner win tonight so no suprise. too tonight, denilson great, djourou also great, and big ol bendy bollocks was great, well done viking.

  317. I’ve said it a 100 times, referees (intentional or not) direct the course of a season and it’s never in a fair way. It seems that teams like ManUre and Chel$ki always manage to get the best of all deals on referee “gaffes” as they so loosely call them.

    Actually, I’m happy Man Ure didn’t lose today, save that for their game at the Emirates so we can end their unbeaten run…Pay back is a bitch.

  318. if we can keep pace with united and then win the carling cup, i think we’ll win the league.

  319. Well, them winning is putting pressure on us, but I hope the players do not worry too much about it. That’s something for us fans to have sleepless nights over! I hope the team just continues to do what they do best: win 3-0.

  320. I think especially the loss to Sp*rs taught this team an important lesson: score 3 goals before you start taking it slowly.

  321. Who got MOTM?

  322. Mongolian Gooner

    Arsenal score 3 goals for the fourth game in a row and it’s next stop: Wembley!

  323. I wouldn’t mind wholesale changes against Huddersfield (no disrespect to them), so the “big guns” can rest up till the game against everton. That will give them a week to recover, i also wouldn’t mind seeing Miquel play alongside Koscielny on sunday.

  324. I wonder what happened to Miquel anyway. Is he back to the reserves? ’cause he was in the squad for the first two games against Leeds and Ipswich, but not for the replay and not tonight either.

  325. Irishgray
    that’s a tough one but i think i will go with arshavin or koscielny. what do you guys think.

  326. Evil,
    I hope the targets increase to 4-0 with 3 coming before the 60th minute.. The nail biting moments isn’t doing good to anyone’s health..

  327. Miquel played against Chelsea earlier today.

  328. I think Miquel was in the reserves game earlier today against Chelsea

  329. @IG
    True, tonight was really nervy … but when the goal finally came it was much more enjoyable, though!

  330. If รถnly manure had lost it would have been the best early birthday present for me,ooh well going to wembley is more fun and sweeter.wembley here we come!

    irish am not jealous of the two,jus concerned that’s all.

  331. How serious is Sagna’s injury?

  332. Miquel captained the reserves game earlier in the day against Chelski reserves..

  333. Hows the Wembley pitch theses days?

  334. mj,
    Because it is concussion, my guess is atleast couple of weeks.. From what I saw, Sagna landed heavily on his head.. He’ll be under observation for few days to check for any side-effects from the hit.

  335. fingers crossed ๐Ÿ˜

  336. I believe Sagna has a concussion, and i remember the commentator saying during the game that he wasn”t taken to the hospital so that is good news.

  337. Maria will be happy that Vela scored the winning goal for the reserves tonight

  338. well well well

  339. Can I just say a quick thank you to Ipswich for not putting a player on the near post to defend the corner from which Kos6 scored. Because lets face it if they had it would easily have been blocked and the game could have(though I doubt it) changed. Great win. Great team effort. Next up Huddersfield. I just hope the team has learned its lessons and does not show complacency against an opponent that we should sweep.

  340. Firstlady – was just tongue-in-cheek ๐Ÿ™‚

    Evil – Miguel was playing with the reserves today v. Chelsea

  341. before the match those Plundits were saying that we need more CB’s. Honestly do those so called experts watch the games or just read the lastest gossip and regurgitate. I think we’ve put together 3 or 4 clean sheets in a row!!! They say that we are open to attack from long balls. That is the only way some teams can have a chance because we are pressing so hard. Also screw those people who hate on our players! Keep the faith yall, COYG!

  342. colney,
    I thought they said that Sagna WAS taken to a local hospital for scans and preliminary checks..

  343. more clean sheets please

  344. Eboue played very well I thought, but I would give MOTM to Wilshire. He was everywhere and played some wonderful passes. A big shout out to NB52, he worked his socks off, got the opening goal, and was everywhere. He even filled in as RB when Sagna was off getting treatment. Arshavin played his best game for a while, can see him destroying Huddersfield all by himself.

  345. IG
    either way let’s hope he’s doing well, a week off should help.

  346. Bill – every team is open to long balls. That is the reason the long ball is so popular with “lesser”teams as such because it not only instantly relieves pressure but can put pressure on your opponent where there was none. I can’t blame teams like Ipswich who are a full division below us but when it comes to teams who are established EPL teams it really is pathetic. As for the commentators, I had the sound off today and had to say it was a nice change.

  347. The four players who were getting grief from the AAA at half time won us the game. I missed first 30 minutes, logged on to Twitter at half time. The usual suspects were out in full force calling Koscielny shit, Denilson to be subbed, Arshavin to be subbed, Bendtner to fuck off….

    Guess what, they got us the goals we needed

  348. Bendtner once said he is the best striker in the world and I can see why he said it. that goal was pure class, a bit of henry in that finish. Wonderful goal. This is why we need all our players, no loans or any pathetic talk of transfers to West ham or Bolton, at anytime these players can come up with the goods. Even Vela should Stay you just never now.
    The Manure loving is in full swing but we will put a stop to it when they come to the Emirates. Blackpool deserved at least a draw if not all 3 point for their bravery. Like I said it will have to be us who are going turn them over. Plenty of football to be played but I just can’t wait for that game. In the mean time Wembley is waiting. A dress rehersal for the C.league final.

  349. Ole Gunner – I could not agree more, well said.

  350. That’s five clean sheets in the last seven matches, Bill will be ecstatic. Well done to all the boys tonight.

    Less tan 32,000 tickets allocated to Arsenal for the final. That is less than the number of season ticket holders. More for the ‘neutrals’ to sell at inflated prices.

  351. 3-0 seems to be o our preffered margin of victory. Well done to the boys.
    Gutted that Blackpool fell apart.

  352. Gutted about the Blackpool result. absolutely gutted. Took the shine off a fun evening.

  353. Steww – I told you the ref help them win.

  354. I don’t know whether it was just the awful Beeb coverage but the crowd seemed quiet tonight. Can someone explain why you need 2 commentators and 4 pundits for a CC game. What a waste of the licence fee.

  355. ive recorded the game…
    im having a media lockdown..
    im not bothered about man u fuck them…
    dont care about what ppl have said or what the refs did or whatever else…
    im having a media blackout for the rest of tonight and im watching the game again..
    tonights all about us and our first final at wembley in ages…
    i’l listen to the fallout tomorrow from everything else, tonights about us…
    til tomorrow ๐Ÿ˜‰ see what i did there yogi? lol
    enjoy your night guys…

  356. Djourou needs a song! He was outstanding tonight – nothing got past him. MoTM by a Country Mile!

    Understandable nervousness in the first half given the pressure to deliver, but they boys did not give up and got their reward in the end. Hopefully the confidence from this win will keep us on track for the rest of the season.

    It’s just a shame we couldn’t get the icing on the cake with a manure loss or draw, but as long as slur alex has the FA in his pocket, they will keep squeaking out these ‘wins’ with the help of ‘friendly’ referees. The wheels have to come off their wagon soon.

  357. Steww, you out from behind the couch yet?! You can still celebrate when we get to Wembley. Happy times for Arsenal!

  358. “I donโ€™t know whether it was just the awful Beeb coverage but the crowd seemed quiet tonight”.

    It must have been the Beeb’s coverage because it was certainly not quiet. I was in the lower tier tonight and the stewards gave up trying to make us sit down eventually!

  359. More fallout from the Keys/Gray nonsense.


  360. I love Arsene Wenger!

    On being aware of Man Utd’s win at Blackpool…
    “Not really. I thought before the game that they would get three points tonight. I have heard that at 2-0 Blackpool had a penalty turned down. But I see from your smiles that you are not surprised.”

  361. Thanks Passenal, I reckon they only had effects mics at the Ipswich section.

  362. RVP:

    “Yes we are in the Final!!! I’m sooo happy!!! Was a great win today. Lets bring the Cup home!!!!!

  363. Good news, Sagna had some tests and results are all clear.

  364. Which block was you in Pass, I was in lower 1 and was shouting, swearing, waving arms jumping up like a clown all game until the third goal went in! I am shameless when it comes to the Arsenal. There was a great atmosphere I loved it lots of red members etc

    All I can say it’s wevare going to WEMBEEEELLLLYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!

  365. I think this competition means something to these players. Sure they would rather win the league or CL, but you can’t choose your opportunities. You can only seize the ones before you and that is what this team is doing. Wembley final–the boys are ready and want to be winners in every way they can. More to come from this team that is growing before our eyes.

  366. From twitter:

    “we got to the final and Ipswich fans got to take home all the police horse shit. Everyones a winner!”

  367. Lmao Duff love that!

  368. glad Sagna is ok

  369. It’s so funny that muppet (geoff) from le-grove said he didn’t want, eboue, bendtner and denilson anywhere near the team tonight, and yet 2 of the 3 got us to wembley. I wonder how he feels now after making that statement.

  370. colneyblog – I get your point but it was the entire team that got us to Wembley.

  371. Colney,

    That muppet, has no brains whatsoever. He’s just an entertainer for all the Arsene hating supporters that’s all. His match analysis is always the shittiest in the whole blogsphere, and his suggestions are the most idiotic. I mean if you’re going to have a blog, atleast don’t make a fool out of yourself. But time and again, he makes a complete fool out of himself, not apologetic about his predictions, and then DEMANDS Arsene listen to his transfer targets and team formations.


    HAHAHAHA. You wanted RVP out? And actually thought Arshavin was the next best thing since Henry, and we should ship RVP for him. No offense to Arshavin, but RVP is a class apart. And guess what? They can play together.


    Loved Arsene’s comment on the Blackpool game. It can’t get more obvious than that can it? Biased refs. Hope pretty soon Newsoftheworld can catch one of these refs, doing something illegal, with the rednose being part of the conspiracy e.t.c. That would be amazing. Pricks, the whole lot of em.

  372. PaulN on the article you linked about the best clubs in the world.. bloody bollocks!!we dont even make the list, are these people serious!!

  373. Maria | January 26, 2011 at 12:25 am |

    I was in block 9 Maria – behind the goal where we scored. I was jumping up and down like a lunatic each time the ball hit the back of the net!

  374. Great win. Couldn’t see the game but followed the results online. Its almost as much a pleasure seeing the level of joy expressed by other gunners, be they optimists, pessimists, realists or whatever. I’m yet to hear a fan say ‘its just the league cup’.

    So happy right now…

  375. Great stuff, make no mistake this was a TEAM effort. A final is a final and hopefully just the beginning of this seasons achievements.

  376. Excellent result, and a very good performance. We kept our nerve in the face of a organised team, and got what we deserved in the end. MotM for me was Wilshere; I thought he was superb. Very good goal by Bendtner as well, his first touch was pure class. He really worked hard last night (one of my critisisms of him usually) and played well.

  377. And waht on earth was the ref doing giving that drop ball? Wierd.

  378. I thought Bendtner had a very good game ALL game and didn’t understand the half time criticism of him. He worked tirelesley all match, his crossing was excellent and he never lost the ball.

    Clichy back to his best also and playing with a bit of swagger again.

  379. deano,
    Big Nic is one of the easy targets at Arsenal.. So no matter how hard He plays or tries, the fans will be on him or one of other whipping boys if we dont have the result we want..

  380. Henristic | January 26, 2011 at 7:31 am |

    Calm down mate, it’s just the milk cup.


    We can still make it 4 Wembley trips this season. I hope the boys focus on bagging the main targets

  381. Passenal, Maria, sounds like you had a riot! I was East Lower 18 and it was excellent! It’s rocking down there… standing throughout… and a block away from the Ips (who were great craic actually… “Swing low Sweet Chariot” had us laughing… but “3 nil to The Football Team”, “You’re going home on a combine harvester”, “Just a Shit club from Norwich”, “1 nil and you fucked it up” and “You’ll never play here again” shut them up eventually). Strong support considering all the season tickets were jumbled up. When Super Nik struck we tore the roof off the place! Magic.

  382. I just received a rather eloquent bit of Bendt-doom from a friend:

    “…I wasnโ€™t slagging him off, but I still donโ€™t think heโ€™s right for us. Yeah he scored a good goal, but if Arsenal were on a boat that sank, you imagine most of them gracefully treading water or maybe partaking in a spot of synchronised swimming, whereas Bendtner would be outside the crew, flailing arms and legs, struggling to keep his head above water, every so often, for a few seconds heโ€™d get it right and would look calm and casual or his legs would be in the air and his head would be submerged and youโ€™d think โ€˜is that guy part of the synchronised swimming team?โ€™ but the rest of the time, heโ€™s drowning.”

  383. I’m a bit pissed off gold and plats are hogging the Wemberlee allocation. Where’s the loyalty to us Carling Cup vets? There’s probably golds who haven’t been in years… pimping their card out and moaning about trophies… and they’ll be front and centre when the reds come marching through. Wankers.

    Bitter, me?

  384. Well LA, it’s actually Gold and Platinum members who have 3 at least away credits first, can’t really argue with people who go away getting first dibs.

  385. Is it just me or after Cesc’s dive, did he look a bit disappointed in himself? He seemed to marshal himself by not claiming blatant fouls he received.

    Limpar, I have to say that before yesterday I was thinking that out of the forwards Bendtner seems to be suffering the most. He must be 3rd choice behind RvP and Cham for the central role. So that leaves him for the wide roles. I thought out of Walco, Nas, Ros, AA even Vela NB was the least suited to this role. But last night shows you what I know. He had a relatively slow game but that goal was awesome. Hopefully that will fire him up again. The guy may have less natural talent (perhaps) but he’s a proper tryer (how do you spell that).

    I want him to do well all the time, and think he could still be a regular. But I do see what your eloquent friend means.

  386. I have to say I did meet a couple of lovely Ips after the game. They confused me at first; no burlap, no hessien, no worn leathery feet… no ear of corn stuck to sun parched lips. They were upmarket Ips. Landowners perhaps. Anyway… one of them works for The Arsenal! He is a life-long Ip but said he has fallen for The Arsenal since working there (obviously). I am not easily made jealous but… well… I want his job. He goes to all the home games … and knows most of the players really well. I’ll post some nice little insights he gave me in a bit…

  387. Oh, that’s quite good then, Block4. If they can check that it’s the guy on the ticket that’s been going. We want all the away crowd there.

  388. No, I agree with you, els. I’ll need to watch it again but that goal made me immediately think of a couple of Henry strikes that seemed to take the same lightning curvature to the bottom corner. Coincidence? I think not. The Thierry Effect is beginning to come into play.

  389. Yeah, I hadn’t thought of that. He opened up his body and stroked the ball round and into the far corner. Very Henry indeed.

  390. Watched Blackpool-ManUntd last night and once again they were royally shafted by another member of the ManUtd Referees Association. The worst part was to hear the commentators for Sky reflexively declare there was no penalty even after replays showed that Rafael deliberately clattered into the Blackpool player to prevent him going in on goal. What a travesty.

    Blackpool is in trouble. They may play with attacking intent but they don’t hold the ball very well and their defenders are slow and lumbering and were twice mugged by Chicharito despite ample warning that he was going to use his speed playing off the last defender.

  391. Limpar, go tell your eloquent friend to watch Drunken Master!

  392. I’ve just re-read my last post (10.07). It came across as very negative and anti-bendtner. In actual fact I am a big fan and think the last two seasons he offered something no one else could. He has a fight on his hands with Cham for a place but hopefully they will push each other and both benefit. So apologies for the negativity.

  393. LA, I don’t know that it will be possible to tell who has been using the ticket to go away, but I don’t really see any one fair way to do it. If they’re not given to the away fans (as they have for several years now), then they’ll moan, but you are advocating those who have bought tickets for League Cup matches. I don’t see how one trumps the pther in this case. We’ve played three away and two home League Cup matches this year just to muddy the waters a little more!

  394. Excellent shout, Gadget!

  395. yeah Limpar….Nikki B isn’t out of sync…he’s a bonafide maverick.

  396. Big Nic plays well on the left wing from where he can cut in and use his stronger right foot to good use.. Yesterday again showed that..

  397. I would love to see the away fans at the Wembley for the final.. They know how to get behind the boys from the kick-off till the end..

  398. look out for the embrace of Arshavin. A tender moment indeed.

  399. Looking at it again I think that is the fairest way, Block4. I’m just saying, for selfish reasons, I would have liked a little allocation for those who were there for the the cup run… and last year, and the year before that. I guess they’ll be a market for unwanted corporates for us to go for.

  400. Good video Deano.

    Also a good reminder of how good Arshavin is when on form. Excellent player and a joy to watch.

  401. they’ll? there’ll.

  402. Honestly I think we can no longer sit around while refs, FA, and other clubs help Man Utd. It’s become ridiculous.

    I remember thrice this season when they were going to drop points or lose, that refs saved them.

  403. As you can imagine I had a productive and I would say interesting tete-ta-tete with the one-horned goat yesterday, who trust me is not to be trusted (he drinks way too much for his own good) but sometimes keeps his reputation intact with his bursts of imagination. All good. I could have sworn when I said “Ipswich” he asked “which witch!?”, which made for a most confusing exchange, because at first I thought he had said “witch-witch”, as a kind of double-trouble warning. All this multiple meaning made more nonsensical since he communicates only via a kind of sorceror (nganga), who teases stuff up. In any event he provided insights into some patterns and dynamics of Arsenal’s challenges to come, but, deary me, I am sworn to secrecy and dare not jinx matters. Suffice to say at the mere mention of “Barcelona” in conjunction with Arsenal he demanded ever more alcohol, becoming quite animated and verbose (“oh, the adventures to come” he cryptically said before he passed out, I thought with a kind of goat-smile, but you never know with goats). We waited in high expectation but the nganga just pompously refused to reveal his dreams, rather making me promise to return “in a few days”, which I thought was all a bit dramatic. All one could conclude is that this is starting to get really interesting.

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