Barcelona 2nd Leg Ought To Be Fun & More

The most important fortnight of the season (© Hacks R Us PLC) is being disrupted by some transfer and contract talk which I suppose is better than the collective navel gazing about the strengths and weaknesses – real and perceived – of the second XI that played at Orient.

First in a long line of non-exclusives is Samir Nasri puts contract talks on hold – Arsenal set to lose star in Summer. Which is a nasty shock for Ivan Gazidis as he had only just adopted 147382BZ, just to the left of Ursa Minor, as a Christmas present for Arsène. That is, of course, not news. Not the star bit but the Samir Nasri stuff since it was actually announced by Arsène on Arsenal.com on 3rd February,

I have always said we would sort that out in the summer, so there is no news on that front

Which should have killed the story dead but no, it is alive and kicking. And getting more ridiculous by the minute to the extent that what little credibility newspaper football journalists have, is rapidly being shot to pieces by links to Barcelona when there is no mention of the club in any interview.

Nasri though is optimistic about Arsenal and his future there,

It takes time for a team to develop into a winning side, but I think the time is right now.

It helps that belief when a final is less than a week away, no matter how disparaging comments from the manager and supporters have been in recent seasons about the competition. Footballers at this level want to win and this will do as starting point.

Indeed, it is a psychological boost to win but will the reverse apply should they suffer defeat against an unfancied  – look at most them, they’ve got faces that even a mother would struggle to love – Birmingham side. Personally, I believe that if they lose on Sunday, it will be a test but one that will be positively responded to in the longer term.

There have been enough critics writing this squad off over the years, this time I believe they would prove them wrong. But as we are going to win on Sunday, it should not come to this. Defeat is not an option.

Talking of which, that is exactly what Pep Guardiola has admitted in his pursuit of Cesc Fabregas this summer despite an official rumoured to have said £38m will seal the deal. It won’t as I suspect this is more why Sandro Rosell threatened to give to Ivan Gazidis if The Sun is to be believed. Which if you do, is more fool you. Gazidis probably said, “1 Cesc Fabregas = 1 Andy Carroll + 1 Fernando Torres“.

The gist of the matter is, apparently, another youngster signing legitimately for Arsenal – Jon Miquel Toral Harper – rather than staying at Barcelona. His DNA is obviously not that well developed yet. A rabid ego such as a man wanting to Barcelona president would be sure to want to avoid another humiliation at the hands of Arsenal over players but he is not alone in that sense.

Despite having been at the club when Cesc left, Rosell must surely be used to Arsenal laughing all of the way to the bank where Barcelona are concerned. The club has, after all, sold them enough pups over the years. And then refused to cower in the shadow of evil, preferring instead to face up to the bullying that the Catalans publicly attempted last year. Only for them to end up with egg on their face as they admitted poverty prevented them from paying market value for the Arsenal captain. A poverty which still strickens their club and will prevent them from getting Cesc this Summer. On the cheap that is.

And none of this is linked to the Champions League tie between the two clubs. At all. ’til Tomorrow.

Posted on February 22, 2011, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 206 Comments.

  1. Morning all

  2. What a sad indictment of this country is that the Sun is the biggest selling daily newspaper. Not only do they get the Nasri story wrong as you quite rightly point out but they also have the wrong photo of Jon Miquel Toral Harper in their paper! Says it all really!

  3. Creative writing must be a huge part of a journo’s education. The stuff they make up would put a good scifi author to shame.

    Just seen this from optajoe

    “29 – @Cesc4official has created a chance from open play every 29 minutes, the best rate of any player in Europe’s top 5 leagues. Playmaker.”

    Who needs Xavi?

  4. I think we should all become Nasritologists!

  5. Always knew Shotta had a darkside. welcome my friend!!!

    I hope maybe in future to have you on myside for once in debates! how about the Almunia debate? come on you know it was a bad error. join me and jj in fighting the nice gooners.!!!

  6. Duke

    Bad error bringing up Almunia unless you’re going to criticise Szczesny for Villa’s goal last week…

    YW

  7. I actually feel sorry for these hacks who must be under enormous pressure to deliver sensationalist nonsense to sell copy and advertising.

    Why let facts get into the way of a paper selling headline. After Nasri, it will be Wilshere who Barcelona want. After Wilshere it will be Ignasi who the papers will suggest has Barca DNA and needs to go back to the homeland. This not with standing that Ignasi Miquel didn’t actually come from FC Barcelona, but from a smaller club which just happens to be in Barcelona. But who cares – it sells more papers if they were to say that we stole Ignasi from the Broke Back academy – something which to date, most people think is fact.

    I think that by keeping hold of Cesc, Arsenal has made a monumental statement that they are determined to keep this squad together. Even an act of parliament wouldn’t force Arsenal to sell their stars until we’re good and ready and the said players have reached the point of diminishing returns.

    And speaking of Stats, Wenger made a point last week of indicating that the average age of Barcelona was 27.6 years, while the average age of the Arsenal team that played them last Wednesday was 23.2. Technically, we’re 4 years behind them in development and the mind boggles as to what this Arsenal team will do in campaigns to come. That’s why it’s so important to keep this squad together.

  8. Nasri to stay nic togo and Arsenal to become kings

  9. We might as well get used to it; the more successful we become the more b*ll**ks they will write about us – if you thought it was already bad, think again!

    The headlines follow the biggest clubs, even on a quiet newsday and loo roll won’t sell itself even when there’s nothing of substance to write on it.

    Loved all the cricket stuff yesterday btw (was tragically out earning a crust); I was just waiting for someone to introduce googlies (nothing to do with search engines, our overseas friends), sliders and seamers, leg-breaks and beaamers!

    And STILL chuckling about the image of Botham’s cigars and beer bottles – thanks for that, priceless.

  10. * beamers (before anyone gets REALLY confused!).

  11. Duke regarding your comment from yesterday, I can say you’re being an idiot. I wouldn’t have told Jon Jon to fuck off for having an opinion different to mine, but rather for insinuating something quite wrong and offensive, which was actually quite apparent in my post. And yeah, I resent your accusation so I won’t need to type the two words I’m thinking of.

  12. see for me though i believe case 1(sczezcnys) was so close to the player it was impossible to react, but case 2(al)it was so far out a keeper should be getting down, it also was straight in the middle of the goal. This has nothing to do with reputation as i have said before i have no problem with Al and i’m not asking to get rid, he is a good keeper and a great penalty stopper.

  13. All this nonsense about Almunia is a waste of time. He will be an Arsenal player until the summer so should be supported when he plays. Just like any other Arsenal player.

  14. Bring on Broke Back Barca!!!!!

  15. Oh and Birmingham…

  16. Arsenal 4 ever no2

    Believ ne,it will be a different Arsenal in the second leg compared to 2010.
    The defence should,in theory,be better.Having said that,Barcelona will attack in waves. Every gunners must repeat must attack and defend as a unit.
    Then we will see how good Barca are.Btw a copycat version of LO’ s fighting spirit and never say die ill be great.THat’s how the red faced has won so many trophies. I forgot to add no ball watching the intricate mesmerizing skills of the Spanish.To do so will be suicidal.
    That’s why epl teams have learned how to cope with the free flow soccer of the gunners. They throw a monkey wrench into the gunners passing game.

  17. Orient goal at 55 secs into vid. While it might look like Al does have his legs a little too wide, this isn’t particularly so when you consider the stance you’d take to leap to either side. He anticpates the ball would be shot to his side and not directly at him which is fair enough. The ball is driven towards and underneath him, which he can barely re-adjust in time to attempt to block with one of his legs.

    This is why i can’t really blame Al for the goal. He anticipates a shot to his side, prepares for such, but the striker does something unpredictable in shooting low but directly at Al.

    The shame is that had it been saved, we would have glossed over it. The commentators would put it down as a bad attempt from the Orient player which we’d all take as truth, rather than actually realising it would have been a pretty good save.

  18. Why did I get sucked into that? Anger I guess. *sigh*

    2nd legs; well, the first legs mirrored one another (transfer window 1st leg vs champs league 2011 1st leg) so here to the 2nd legs going our way.

  19. Good christ almighty, it was a shot straight at him from 10+ yards away. He should have saved it and I’m sure he’ll de disappointed he didn’t. I don’t see why excuses have to be made, he made a mistake, move on.

  20. Who would be a keeper hey? Damned if you do and damned if you don’t. I would say, good shot. It’s becoming quite an effective striker’s option really, the straight, low, hard.

  21. Stoke first Maria.

    I’m willing to bet Shawcross makes several firm good ‘English’ challenges and goes through the entire match without picking up a yellow.

    Who’s the ref for tomorrow? Does that really even matter?

  22. The tabloids make Arsenal sound like a club of cradle snatchers! But I’m amazed by Barcelona’s academy really. They keep on coming out with gems. Despite recruiting Cesc, Merida and Miguel from them they still seem to have so many good kids to spare. And we are not alone. Spurs bought Dos Santos. Glenn Hoddle put it down to the fact that Spain has more sun than England. But that can’t be the only explanation! Probably also the limiting of how many kilometers a youngsters home from the club in England could be another limiting factor among many. Also remember Xavi bragging that the difference between Barca’s and us is whereas we recruit players from other academies they don’t. An exaggeration of course.

  23. Block4, not making excuses at all, merely stating why I don’t think Almunia is at fault for the goal. Therein lies the difference.

  24. Kenyan

    A pedantic point or two but we didn’t sign Miquel from Barcelona, it was from something like Cornella. He was at Barcelona for a while but spent more time at the smaller club. Dos Santos is Mexican, poached by Barcelona.

    The point with the Barcelona Academy is that they do exactly as Arsenal and sign foreign youngsters. However due to the immigration rules in Spain, those youngsters can become Spanish citizens very quickly, circumventing footballing rules. Which we have exploited to our benefit with Vela and now Wellington.

    YW

  25. Kenyan, Barca’s academy was something largely developed by Cruyff which took Ajax’s template, and given the finances and desire of the Catalans, they rolled with it in earnest. The productiveness they have is certainly something to be emulated and applauded indeed.

  26. Gadget – we can only assume these people just want an argument. No one would have saved that it was a great shot, end of story. Rise above it mate don’t give them what they want.

  27. KG, LA recently summed up quite perfectly the advantage that Barcelona have over us when it comes to recruiting young players. AW also pointed out recently that we have to compete with far more clubs before the 90 minute rule even comes into effect. I’m only a few miles from Highbury, but there are six league clubs closer than Arsenal to where I live, and they’re all on the lookout for young talent.

    Barcelona don’t have this problem at all; they can scoop up anyone they want across Spain (see Iniesta). Cesc’s local team had to leave him out of training sessions when the Barcelona scouts came by because they knew what would happen if they saw him.

    In Catalonia almost every kid wants to play for them – it’s a kind of dominance we don’t see in England. My other half is from Tarragona, and the local club, Nastic, are in the second tier and have been hovering around the promotion spots for the last few years, but in the playgrounds you’ll only ever see Barcelona kits. Here, just looking at the south – in Greenwich you’ll still plenty see Charlton kits, in Bromley it’s Palace, Bermondsey; Millwall etc.

    Miquel didn’t make the grade at Barcelona btw. He was at some other club when we found him.

  28. sirens have gone off,here comes steww, and he don’t like debate. discussion over.

  29. I think the sun in spain is a valid point. Obviously its only part of the reason. They dont have enough coaches in the UK either. Studying is not something brits like to do so they dontn learn how to coach properly. I wonder how many football managers who used to be players have their coaching badges in the UK. But look at people like bergkamp, he has his badges.

  30. steww, anyone ever told you you’d make a good police community support officer!

  31. Peter Walton is the ref for Stoke. Not the worst to be honest.

  32. Yogi and OneOfUs, I you both share a Spanish connection – as per better halves. I do find the dominance by the two big clubs in Spain quite stiff ling. But the extend it’s described by OneOfUs makes it crazy!

  33. The thing I find interesting about Spanish football – as per the national team – it wasn’t much to shout about a decade ago. In fact England was more of a threat for a generation!

  34. He (Almunia) should have handle that shot. it was directly to where it was standing

  35. Thanks Henristic.

    My issue is why should his word be taken for gospel while others who do the same to different players are referred to as doomers. I didnt think Rosicky was doing badly I guess that’s why I cant stomach him being overly criticized and I can remember other games this season where Nasri or Fabrigas or Wilshire played and we didnt do too well, infact some of those outing we were sh*tty.

    Personally i thought Song was poor, Al was at fault for not saving that goal, Chamakh and Bendtner should have buried atleast one more chance and eer… cant think of anything else as i haven’t watched highlights or rewatched the game and it has been afew days since then and my memory isnt what it used to be.

  36. Almunia gets blamed even for breathing. It’s infuriating to blame a keeper for the striker scoring in a 1-on-1. Too many fans off their rockers when it comes to Almunia.

  37. I officially dismiss those who blame Almunia for that goal. It’s painfully clear that you’ve never had a ball shot at you with pace. It’s like blaming him for not saving a penalty, only worse. A drilled shot that doesn’t get more than a ball diameter off the ground (taking the hands out of the equation) will not be saved unless it actually hits the keeper in shins…or if the shot is less than 18 inches to either side and the keeper can kick out (and is lucky). But every thing about the balance of setting up for a save makes it impossible to kick *in*.

    Sorry steww, you’re right to try to call this off. When Duke or Block mindlessly repeat the same thing over and over, impervious to data or argument, it’s not debate.

  38. Not seen all the comments from the cup game so can’t comment.

    I notice there seems to be some blaming Almunia. I am not his biggest fan, but I don’t think there is much he could have done abuot the goal to be honest. If there was any blame at all it would have to be with Miquel and Gibbs on the edge of the area. The ball was wells truck and faily close to the keepers body. A hard one to stop in my view.

    We did not do much wrong at the weekend, but we were in crusie control when the game was not out of sight, and that is where we came unstuck. Fair play to Orient for sticking at it I suppose.

    In the past week we have seen both sides to our team. Firstly the side that works hard for each other, has great spirit, amazing football, and is clinical; a joy to behold. Secondly a side that thought the game was over before it kicked off, was not clinical, and cruised through the game.

  39. On the subject of the geographic limitations, the EPL is looking to have this removed and the FA is generally supportive of it being removed.

  40. OG

    If that had been an Arsenal striker in the same position, we would have seen him lambasted for not scoring. It is my belief that sections of the home support like nothing better than to moan.

    YW

  41. haha very true Gahet Stoke flipping City first.

    AA or Nasri to start?

  42. For those in the know – explain to me how it’s possible foreign players from lower leagues can get working premits but we have trouble getting them for our players?

  43. Wenger should have been Obi Wan Kenobi!

  44. The interesting thing about Jack Wilshere is that any country would love to have such a talent. Even my beloved Brazil!

  45. Maria

    It depends on their nationality – only non-EU players need work permits, EU citizens are automatically entitled to them – and their international appearances, the club that they are signing for has to demonstrate that they are better than native talent and that includes cost. Those are the main factors. Most lower league clubs go for the EU route hence it seems easier for them to sign foreign players.

    YW

  46. @nolagunner, thanks for the smartarse comment. If you really want to get into the technicalities of goalkeeping, then the first mistake Almunia made was standing with his legs so far apart. Unless you are specifically going out to spread yourself (and you are doing so in a “starfish” manner a la Schmeichel or, now, Sczezsney) , you shouldn’t really stand with your legs more than about shoulder-width apart as if the ball is shot either side of you then you have to dive over your legs leaving a vulnerable corridor close in to your body. If he wasn’t standing with his legs too wide in the first place then the ball would most likely have hit him in the shins (notice I didn’t say definitely as there is still a small chance it would have gone between his legs, but then he would have only have had to move his legs an inch or two to kick it away).

    It’s obvious you know fuck all about it, so give up with the holier than thou attitude. All I said was that he made a mistake and he did, I wasn’t having a real go at him, in fact my original post was more in exasperation that people were still going on about it.

  47. Has the Guardian got nothing better to do?

    Is this how far the liberal, do goody left has sunk to in this country?

  48. And it also depends on international apperences. You could sign the Bolivian goalkeeper if you wanted, as he will have plenty of caps. Does not mean he would be any good though. The players we are trying to buy are young, and yet uncapped. You can apply for a special talent work permit, but that really is a roll of the dice.

  49. Uugh!! Van Persie and Kos out of Stoke game!!

  50. Shotta, I dont want you to take back anything. I respect you views overall but in this situation they seem imbalanced.

    Almunia is being blamed for the goal that was hit with so much power when the guy went by two defenders. Go figure that one out.

  51. Paul N, I wouldn’t say the defenders are totally blameless either. Two of them shouldn’t let him wriggle through like that.

  52. @ JD Gooner
    Short term injuries, says Wenger. Anyway, do we really want RvP exposed to the tender mercies of Shawcross and co? And Squilly and Djourou will make a good pair – both very good in the air. Just as well Toto got some match practice in at the weekend.

  53. Massive test for our young keeper tomorrow.

  54. For me the defenders were to blame for the goal. They are both young though, and hopefully will learn from that.

  55. Block4, I would say they are at fault.

  56. Paul N, I would agree. I would also say that the keeper is at fault once he does get through. Not the defence’s finest hour.

  57. Iron head Squilly and DJ against the physicality of Stoke. You know, they’ll be pumping aerial balls and really looking to attack the wings with pace.

    The real question is who starts upfront: Bendy or Chamakh? Bendy’s confidence is a real trait as he’ll have a crack from anywhere he feels comfy while MC29’s more of a passer. I have a suspicion MC will get the start given AW wants possession, with the super sub duo AA and NB to come on around the 60.

  58. Who does the manager start up front now??

  59. You’re far too slow MJ!

  60. Gadget, I say both!

    Theo—Chamakh—Bendtner

    This might help us defend set pieces & also, Theo could plant crosses from the right..

  61. While injuries are never good, it will at least give MC/NB52 and Squillaci the chance to play in a more confident team, which should help raise their games. All of the backup players are going to be needed sooner or later, and I’d love to see Chamakh get back to his early-season form.

  62. I would go with Chamakh for his work rate. We will need to close their defenders down quickly to stop them pumping long balls forward to whatever meathead they play up front.

  63. I think Szczesny is wired for the Stoke type of game. Sagna and Song will testify that Tech 9 doesn’t take prisoners in his box – and the boy has a tendancy to take out anything in his path to the ball, hopefully a Stoke City head this time round.

    And he has a fuck off punch too – who remembers the last minute punch at Newcastle in the Carling cup win. It was a last minute corner to the barcodes that Tech 9 punched from his 6 yard box right to the half way line.

  64. I’d go with Bendtner. For me he’s a better all-round footballer than Chamakh and deserves to be given his chance in his favoured position. Chamakh is horribly out of form at the moment. Other than that and Squillachi in for Koscielny the Barcelona team pretty much picks itself.

  65. Darius – I agree with you there. Our keepers have struggled for a few years now with the tactics of teams like Stoke. Hopefully Szczesny will prove that we are not such a soft touch in that respect any more. And I think he will.

  66. Who do I think is going to play. Who knows?

    Well, I do and the scary thing is I’ve already committed it to the page because at 3.45pm today I finished tomorrow’s post. It’ll be up just after midnight tonight.

    Now I’m off to lie down because that has been just too much for me to take.

  67. It’s not too late to change your mind Yogi.

  68. If I may be so bold, I envisage:

    Szczheny
    Sagna – Squilly – JDJ- Clichy
    ADSB – Jack
    Fabri
    TzoomW – MC29 – Nasir

  69. However, it all depends on what AW wants to do for Sunday. He may rest Song and play Denny. I think Denny is a capable deputy for Song as he certainly likes to sit back more than others, and i’m confident in his ability to shield the back 4

  70. He might even play Eboue for Sagna. With Etherinton possibly being out for, the right side might not see as much traffic

  71. Or he could play Rosicky for Nasri and give the former more time to heal.

  72. latter not former

  73. I agree with your team Gadget. There is no need to rest anybody for Sunday, unless they are carrying a knock maybe. Firstly the game is too important, and secondly…….well, the game is too important.

  74. Good lord! According to wiki, Etherinton and I share the exact same birthday. He’s letting the side down.

  75. Boom. North Bank tickets for the Orient showdown… Thank you, Manny, for leaping over the ball like a greased up baby otter.

    FOoooOOtBaaalll!

  76. Gadget, I can’t see Denilson playing this one instead of Song. Stoke are all about set-pieces and Song gives more height and physicality. I’m sure Song will play the next two games and Denilson will come in against Orient next week.

  77. Matthew Etherington was a beast on CM3 – except he always wanted to move to a bigger club.

  78. Apparently Stoke have traced the source of Matthew Etherington’s persistent injury troubles. His jaw is sort of lop-sided and causes strain on his shoulders, back, hamstrings, abductors… all sorts. Not even kidding. Bit like RVP having his wisdom teeth out over the summer. Although in Etherington’s case it may have less to do with natural, adult, teething problems… and more do to with his jaw physically succumbing to gravity on the rare occasion he receives the ball to feet in training exercises.

  79. Alternatively LA, it might be due to the fact that his parents were related before they got married?

  80. Gadget | February 22, 2011 at 11:45 am |
    – I tried myself to not get sucked in but as you know I felt j-j and company (I noticed duke is now j-j’s bosom buddy) were just reflexively scapegoating Almunia. They tried to conflate this with my observation that Rosicky’s legs seem to be going. But you have done a good job just exposing the general “f*ckeries” (an apt Jamaican curse word). Mindless criticism is one thing and a footballing observation is another. If we can’t do the latter on this blog then what is the point. Over and out.

  81. http://backpagefootball.com/top-50-players-in-the-world/

    So Cesc is No.1 surely…Messi is not human so he is definitely not making the list

  82. Related? Everything’s relative I suppose. That would account for those huge bug eyes of his too. And the webbed feet.

  83. I can’t agree with those reflexively scapegoating Manuel Almunia. His reflexes are amongst his top attributes.

  84. I find it amazing the scape-goating going on regards Almunia. The shot was perfectly placed and was hit with power, so shut up and accept that even Schmeichael would not have saved it!! Do you hear anyone deriding Valdes for RVP’s equalizing goal V. Barca? And yet he did make a mistake but the Barca fans accept it and move on, something a sizeable portion of our own fans could and should learn to do. Simple fact is Gibbs jumped in and committed himself, something he should never do when defending right in front of goal, thereby giving the opportunity to shoot.

    Anyways can’t wait to smash Stoke!!! RVP out but we have plenty of firepower with Chamakh and Big Nic with Theo flying down the right. Think Miguel could start at CB with Djourou. He played well in the cup.

  85. I thought it was Djourou who had a minor back problem. What is this, I don’t even…

  86. http://www.lequipe.fr/Football/breves2011/20110222_171413_xavi-absent-de-7-a-10-jours.html

    xavi has a hamstring,could be out for ten days,should be fit for arsenal.

  87. @irishgray, check this out: “As for Valdes that first goal allowed was completely inexcusable! He was frozen like a deer in headlights, a complete statue! And I agree with Kxevin that has distribution was horrible. I mean you have a critical save to make when for the most part you’ve had nothing else to do all night and you blew it. I know this may draw the ire of some of you but Casillas makes that save. ”

    http://www.barcelonafootballblog.com/6654/arsenal-2-barcelona-1-aka-people/#comments

    That’s a quote from the first blog I found, I’m sure there’s loads of that on Barcelona blogs. I still have no idea what makes people think that Arsenal fans or Barcelona fans are any different to any others.

  88. Interesting that this is a match that is being described as ‘crunch’ for Arsenal. Dare we presume that headline writers have a sense of humour or do you think this is a totally unintended pun?

  89. I think Almunia should have handlet that shoot but Chensy did not have to. Cos chesney is my favourit. Im 200% sure he would have saved though, why you say? Chesney is like Chuck Norris unbeatable and cool! Almunia is like Denilson and it was those two that lost us the match! deffinently! and Diaby ofc.
    But to conclude Almunia should have saved, Chensey would have saved and should Chesney have let it in it would not matter anyway cos we love him and hes so good that he can loose a few.
    Am i right ?

  90. Barcelona scored by putting the ball between chesneys legs in the last match. that is a ball i would expect Al to save, he would have been doing a way poor match if he let that happen. but since its Chesney its ok ….

  91. Migth be good that RvP is out until Saturday, means Nik gets to tune his shootingboot and we get another striker in good shape for the rest of the season.

  92. I`m hoping that the omission of RVP & Kos for tomorrow`s game are precautionary & if we didn`t have a cup final on Sunday that they would have played.

    Despite his lack of form I`d play Chamakh. He`s overdue a goal & his defensive qualities from set pieces are invaluable – he likes the `Vidic grapple`.

    Make no mistake Stoke will be wound up for this one. Only if it was away could it have been any worse.

    Still, if we play our football that should be enough to win.

    Finally, I`d like to appeal to all fans going tomorrow to make it as uncomfortable a night as possible for Stoke. Their behaviour on & off the pitch last February was disgusting & should not be forgotten.

    They hate Arsenal too (goes back to the 70`s) & will dish it out in spades when we go there.

  93. The future of arsenal


    wooot!

  94. No-one’s mentioned the Wembley pitch for Sunday. Will it be the usual “sticky dog”…….or has the last re-lay solved the problem?

  95. @ PW
    “I`m hoping that the omission of RVP & Kos for tomorrow`s game are precautionary”
    I think it’s more than precautionary but the injuries are very minor. AW said the “have a chance” to play on Sunday.

  96. evening guys..
    yogi..everyone ive spoken to at work and down the pub..think we will beat barca again…and most of them arent even gooners..
    they said that it looked like we worked out how to play them…like teams previously did to us..
    i have to agree i think..

  97. Nicky

    It’s Wembley; it’ll be good at the start, after 5 minutes be churning and by half time, a ploughed field. And to think that we might have played league matches there.

    YW

  98. haha nice dougie vid poodle ..

  99. I thought they’d fixed the turf at Wembley. I mean, it didn’t look so bad for the France game back in November.

  100. dont really care what the pitch is like to be honest
    it will just be nice to be back at wembley

  101. An early goal will expose Stoke’s limitations. I think I despise their style of play the most in the EPL, especially before they made Pennant a 1st teamer.

    At some point we might need both NB & MC on the pitch to provide ” header-cover” for our defence on free kicks & corners.

    NO Etherington is v.good news, only Pennant to worry our wingbacks. Walcott should be the decider in this one

    2-0 (or 3-1) to the Arsenal.
    Our 1st trophy awaits.

  102. we shouldnt fear stoke or brum
    neiter team has a pot to piss in when it comes to beating us..
    we’ll do em…its just the amount of games and the injury situation at the end of it all that worries me in the main

  103. Any links for Cardiff?

  104. Spuds one down!

  105. The Chavs 1-0 up against FCKopenhagen, Anelka 6 out of 6 in CL. Torres still looks like shit in front of goal.

  106. Another off the line by Blackpool.

  107. 2 – 0!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  108. Blackpool 2-0!!!

  109. Nice goal wasn’t it dups?

  110. all goals against that scum are nice steww

  111. Hahahaha well said Dups!!

  112. Not one to rain on any parades but weren’t Blackpool two up against United…

  113. JET provides the assist for Chopra to open the scoring for Cardiff against Leicester. Ramsey also playing.

  114. I was thinking the same. YW – and Spuds love to start 2 or 3 down, but at the moment all is well…

  115. Umbrella open and up Yogi, thanks 😦

  116. Can’t find a link for the Cardiff match which is a shame…

  117. YW – don’t ruin our hopes. Main game is tomorrow, as long as we win that I’ll be happy.

  118. Although living in NE Somerset it would be simple to go and watch them I suppose…. Shame Bristol Rovers haven’t got 6 or 7 Arsenal players on loan.
    Aaron scores YAY

  119. 2-0 Chavs Anelka again

  120. Wonder if Arsene would buy Bristol Rovers and use them instead of loaning everyone out. Put Ian Holloway in charge (where he belongs – back with the Gas) oh that would be a joy.

  121. Block 4 … I saw this quote of yours and i just had to pick you up on it because I think that you’d find that your coaching is not quite correct on this one.

    “If he wasn’t standing with his legs too wide in the first place then the ball would most likely have hit him in the shins (notice I didn’t say definitely as there is still a small chance it would have gone between his legs, but then he would have only have had to move his legs an inch or two to kick it away).”

    You’d be right in your criticism if we were talking about a normal situation or a normal shot from a distance a bit farther away, then you’d expect Almunia to take a normal shoulder width split- step but because he had to assume that the ball would be at a level above the ground he’d have been wrong to do what you say for the simple reason that he wouldn’t have been able to get enough of his weight behind the ball to counteract the force of the shot and make a good save without a firmer stance than normal. In other words you are criticising him for doing the right thing…

    The best goal keepers go very low when a shot is taken quite close them and they do it because they need to be as much stability as possible to deal with a fiercely struck shot from that distance and simple biomechanics tells you that for greater stability you need to lower your centre of gravity… and you cannot go low enough if you are as tall as Almunia without spreading your legs wider than the regulation shoulder length.

    And that’s why there can be no blame attached to Almunia… the shot straight at him at pace was the hardest shot for him to deal with in the circumstances but the funny thing is that people actually believe that it is the easiest shot to save… which probably proves Bob Wilson right about the cluelessness of most people when it comes to goalkeeping. Brad Friedel has also said that most people talk a load of bollocks when it comes to goalkeeping errors and this incident is a perfect illustration of the fact.

    To explain why Almunia can’t be blamed for this goal imagine someone blaming a tennis player for failing to return a good body serve because the serve was hit AT them. That would be palpably absurd. Or imagine someone blaming Sampras for not volleying a ball that was dipping at his at the net… or, as the guys said yesterday, a batsman being bowled by a yorker. Give Tehoue some credit. In most sports it is easier biomechanically to deal with a ball that is a bit away from your body because you need room to make a good catch or take a good swing. Fact.

    Once Tehoue got past Gibbs and Miquel it was in the lap of the Gods whether a save was made and Tehoue hit a damn good shot. End of… for me. Good night all.

    Ps. Nice post Yogi. It had me laughing out loud on the train. Thanks.

  122. Joshua – I applaud your patience and of course 100% agree, but you really did waste your time; these people really just want
    A) A fight, that’s why they talk nonsense
    and
    B) To slag off the usual suspects.

  123. Listen to cardiff v leicester on bbc lawd do I hate Steve Claridge- wasn’t he a manager for like 4 hours and 27 mins then got sacked? The pundits are hardly commentating on the game and are busy have a chat!

  124. Ramsey buy the sound of it is very heavily involved and almost scored a second. Not heard a mention of JET,not heard a mention of anyone really. They are now on a memory trip about a game Claridge played in the ice age!!!!

  125. Claridge said he got accosted on the way back after half time – and not in a good way so maybe we’re not the only ones who think he’s a nob.

  126. Benzema’s just scored for Real, seconds after coming on for Adebayor. He didn’t celebrate neither. And Ronaldo is still a diving bastard!

  127. Eddie Hitler as you may not have seen him before.

  128. Am really hoping Torres can start scoring tonight and turn his season around. Glad to see Anelka still has it too as it all bodes well for next Tuesday when the Chavs play Manure, would love to see them trash the Mancs!!

  129. Hope he got a wedgy!

  130. @Aman
    I fully agree. While most teams employ “route one” almost all the time, I feel that Stoke does it simply all the time. If they win a throw in ANYWHERE in the opposition half, even close to the centre line, it’s going to be a Delap throw-in. If they win a free kick anywhere outside their own box, it’s going to be heading straight to the opposition box. In any other case, they are going to kick anybody who is walking until they get the ball and hoof it forward or win a free kick/throw-in for some reason. They are the worst and unfortunately, by their own standards, they are quite successful as evident by their league position.

  131. Manure then play Liverpool 5 days later, looking good for us so long as we stay focused.

  132. Looks like JET is now upfront as a loan striker-shows how versatile he is. Good to see him getting in the first 11. From what I can gather Cardiff fans are giving him good ratings.

  133. Not sure if this has been mentioned, but the referee for tomorrow’s game is Peter Walton, the same referee who was present when Shawcross banjaxed Ramsey’s leg. I can’t wait to read Untold’s Ref Preview.

  134. Hugo Lloris nutmegged by Benzema, pretty embarrassing lol.

  135. Oh god, please not. Is the FA stupid? Didn’t they see that he was fully incompetent and unable to control the game when Ramsey’s leg got broken? If Walton had taken control of the game instead of letting Stoke get away with murder, Ramsey would not have had to suffer a tackle like that — full stop. Letting him referee this match shows a trust in him that I feel he does not deserve, especially not so close to that awful incident.

  136. @ Runebreaker
    JET got the assist for the first goal. Sounds like he is very involved. Both he and Ramsey sound as if they are standing out.

  137. Ha, Malouda’s just got booked for walking off the pitch! He was walking off to be subbed, just a little too slow for the ref’s liking

  138. Fuck me – how are Blackpool keeping this to 2 – 0?

  139. Ramsey just scored for Cardiff 😀

  140. Lyon equalize 1-1 against Real.

  141. Irish
    how did the birthday party go with the gf’s dad? 🙂

  142. JET having a stormer of a game- seems to have grown in confidence as the game goes on. Interesting if Cardiff make it as one of the top with JET,Ramsey and Bellamy on their books and each making telling contributions. Throws the spotlight on the loan system. Maybe there needs to be a limit to the number of premiership players a championship can have.

  143. Colneyblog – Long, boring, had to watch my F’s and B’s, but she has more than made up for it 🙂 she’s a good’un!!

  144. 3-0 blackpool

  145. @Irish
    hahaha good to hear!

  146. Haha, 3:0 Blackpool. Way to go, Mr. Holloway.

  147. Blackpool fans chanting shall we make a dvd, classic!

  148. I am from Ghana and sometimes Kingson can be shit, but he’s played well today.

  149. Holloway Holloway
    Holly Holloway
    He gets the ball
    He scores a goal
    Holly Hollaway

    As I used to sing at Twerton Park.

  150. well done blackpool i will definitely go to blackpool for my next holiday now, lets see the harry arse worshippers crap themselves now

  151. Colneyblog – Cheers mate 🙂 On a seperate note, is there anyone on here from Baltimore? I believe that the bar “Slainte” is the meeting place for Arsenal supporters in Baltimore and I will be there for the CC Final.

  152. If Peter Walton hadn’t been so incompetent Blackpool would have beaten United.

  153. any arsenal fans on here live in milwaukee, WI?

  154. My dad reckons we will obliterate Birmingham on sunday. Even though he’s never heard of Birmingham football club before (told him we’ve beaten twice this season already). His words, “such a team has no business being in the same stadium as Arsenal”. Gotta love Papito.

    On Barcelona’s website, it says Xavi has a slight leg injury which will keep him out for some 10 days. I’d settle for 15 days, if I had my way.

  155. LLLLOOOOOOOOOLLLLL
    Blackpool 3: Spuds 0

  156. Spuds fightback begins 3 – 1

  157. well now its an opportunity to put clear daylight between us and the spuds n the chavs. Hopefully we get a good rub of the green and get a couple of goals in the first half, but of more concern is the risk of injuries, stoke are the most cynical team in the pl

  158. the cream is beginning to rise to the top in the league. sp*ds, you are the weakest link goodbye!

  159. Ooops they ran out of time.

  160. Colneyblog !
    NO ! But I was there to see us lose to Man U earlier this season, I believe the pub was called the Highbury! There were way more United fans there unfortunately.

  161. Btw, Tottenham have had their butts spanked resounding by Blackpool. Pssshhhhhhhh! Take that!

  162. Yes Xavi has a small muscle tear and they are estimating he will be out for 7-10 days but you never know with these things. They don’t run much in la liga so when they come up against a team with pace like arsenal has, it causes them a lot of problems.
    Puyol has tendonitis which can be very tricky considering his age.

    *Barcelona have a home game against Zaragoza on March 6th before playing us on March 8th. If Pep rests his main stars he risks losing ground in La Liga and if he plays his full squad he risks fatigue. He doesn’t like to rotate much.

  163. And to all Spuds fans a very warm-hearted and well deserved AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAAHHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAAHAHHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAAHHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHHAHHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!

    WELL DONE BLACKPOOL!!

  164. TimmyT
    I know the pub you speak of, i’ve been there numerous times, i usually run into fans of teams from the lower leagues. The pub i try to avoid like a plague is Nomad, has a sh*tload of United fans who just repeat cliche after cliche they hear from pundits and read in the tabloids.

  165. Colneyblog

    They make one of the best bloody mary’s I ever had at the highbury! I have been there twice. I have a cousin who lives in WI ,, he usually has to work when the games are on so myself and his wife go watch the football together,, drives him nuts!
    Yea I walked into the Nomad once, walked right back out again. But thanks for the heads up! I really enjoy going up that part of the world, the girls love my accent,, South African,,, it works a charm up in them cold Northern States…Cant wait for my next visit.

  166. COLNEYBLOG – Valdes is out injured too(or simply working on his nearpost saves!) also Pique is suspended. Pep almost never rotates his players, you will actually see a lot of moaning and complaining on Barca blogs about that fact. It just goes to show how good AW is, I know we only drew against LO but still it means our top players are fresh for the Stoke game. Lets face it in as much as they suck ass they are not an easy team to break down, as for the ref being the same as last year, maybe, just maybe that is the best news for us because he will be terrified of the same thing happening and won’t take any of Stoke’s dangerous and reckless tackling.

  167. Ryo highlights, ladies and gents we have a superstar in our hands, what a player, a frightening talen

  168. after sunday we’ll have our first trophy in 6 years
    after sunderland we’ll be top of the PL
    and were gonna screw barca as well..

  169. TOMOROW WE FACE THE STOKE BASTARDS WITHOUT KOS AND SQUID BOY IS GOING TO PLAY. I AM GOING TO POO IN MY PANTS IF DENISHITE AND EBOUE ARE ON THE BENCH. WE SHOULD HAVE BOUGHT A MONSTER ENGLISH CENTRE BACK AS UGLY AS ROONEY IN JANUARY INSTEAD OF ADDING TO THE NUMBERS OF IMMIGRANTS.

    OUR SEASON IS NEARLY OVER.

  170. @colneyblog

    Against Zaragoza, Guardiola will probably play Pinto, Correia, Piqué, Mascherano, Keita Bojan, Afellay mixed with 4 of those who will surely start against us.

  171. The chavs beat a poor Danish cake then I hear pundits going a little bit over the top. They haven’t learned.
    This is what Arry said 2 weeks ago
    “If Wayne Rooney hits form then Man United will win the league and they’re red-hot favourites, but if I had to pick one team who might have a chance of catching them I’d go with Chelsea to be honest – and we’ve still got a chance of finishing above the others”

    “Arsenal and Man City have done great, I couldn’t knock them. I just think that out of those four teams, if we’re going to finish above any of them, it would be one of those two.”
    Is he illiterate or what? How did he work that out? Not a chance of catching Arsenal.
    Well done to the seasiders.

  172. @Muppet

    Squillaci really isn’t that bad, as i mentioned last night on another blog, he was actually 1st choice from the mid Sept until before the Chelsea home game. I have analysed every game in which he has started for us, since joining; he seems to perform better alongside Djourou than with Koscielny.

  173. Guys why are we watching out for Barcelona’s injuries. Are we scared? we will beat them with their best as long as we have our best available. Last season we got a goal at Camp Nou with half of the first team out injured. This year we can go one better and get 2 or 3. Our away form has been excellent and I’m hoping we will sting them hard and they know it. They will be scared of our counter atttacks. conseeding away goals will be on their minds.

  174. BORGES,

    YOU MUST BE BLIND LIKE YOUR LATE NAME SAKE IN BUENOS ARIES. SQUID IS SO BAD THAT HE MAKES CYGAN LOOK LIKE THE GERMAN KAISER. MY AUNT NELLY’S DOG IS MORE COMPOSED THAN SQUID BOY. THESE ARE DESPERATE TIMES.

  175. squidgeys very much the typical ‘clogger’
    he just gets stuck in but the PL has been difficult for him to adapt to..
    its different from the spanish and french leagues so hes struggling..

    he’ll works well with jD tho from what ive seen so far so he’ll do for stoke..
    hopefully our attackers will put the game beyond reach so the cb’s wont have as much pressure on their shoulders

  176. Muppet – At least stick to the facts if you are going to abuse our players the way you do, you know quite well Aunt Nelly does not have a dog!! It’s a hairless, 3 legged, one-eyed, buck-toothed, deaf in one ear pussy cat named “Beauty”.

  177. 1LC
    I don’t think anyone is scared of Barca, we have enough in our locker to win there. Remember if we score they will need 3, and would have to attack leaving themselves open to the counter.
    It’e eerily similar the last year’s game when Pique was suspended for the second leg except this time they are the one sweating about their players fitness not Arsenal. If they don’t get the core of their players back in time i think they could take a hiding.

  178. We are facing Delap tomorrow we should bring in Allardyce to teach Wenger how to defend them long throws.

  179. AUNT NELLY IS DEAF AS A POST AS WELL.

  180. “Wise men never argue with fools, because people from a distance can’t tell who is who” .

  181. TimmyT
    Oh yea i have heard of their legendary bloody mary’s, i am usually too drunk and focused on the game anyway to even order one lol. I will next time i am there. Possibly this sunday!
    Next time you are in Milwaukee try the bloody at the Wicked Hop, pretty good too!

  182. Borges
    nice Jay-z reference there lol

  183. Nothing but a 4-0 spanking will do for me.

  184. The key to beating Barcelona is to have Wilshere, Fabregas, RvP, Walcott, Nasri, Sagna, Song/Diaby, Clichy, Arshavin, Szszesny, Djourou and Koscielny all fit. If we lose 3 of these players in any combo to injury, we’ll struggle.

    Only way to guard against this, is by intermittently rotating the squad. An unpopular measure in some quarters, i know, but very necessary for our season objective.

  185. It’s an old saying @colneyblog

  186. This is how I see the Manure V Chavs game:

  187. Muppet – No need to shout mate, it’s Aunt Nelly who is deaf not us!!

  188. ARSENAL VS. BARCELONA 2ND LEG 😀

  189. Colney – Niiiiiiiiice!!! 🙂

    Muppet – Wasn’t Aunt Nelly once known as Uncle Neil?

  190. Salve o mestre quem me ensinou a mandinga de bater com o pé. Salve Brasil!!! Salve Arsenal!!!

  191. I am feeling better now, Muppet! 😛

  192. @colney
    To be honest I feel this is a very realistic reflection of what the game might end up looking like. Barca will obviously have a lot of possession and do some fancy stuff — in front of our box and without enough penetration. On the other hand we will have fewer opportunities on the ball, but when we do we will always look dangerous and threatening. I can really see us score one or two of those sucker punch goals after Barca had too much time on the ball without ever really being able to get past Kos and Djourou to test Szczesny properly.

  193. Colney, that last vid is from the movie ‘Never Back Down’, which is actually an unofficial gritty remake of the Karate Kid.

    I’m currently watching Scott Pilgrim and I am quite peachy! Invaders must die! (And by that I mean Stoke)

  194. gadget i just watched scott pilgrim the other day. wow that movie had me goin for a loop! granted i was pretty stoned but still its a great flick.

  195. the key to the stoke game will be the early goal…as is mostly the case for us..
    stoke are the kind of team who like to dig their heels in, mostly down the oppos shins, but they like to keep it tight and use the set pieces to score from…
    our box will most likely bombarded in a kamikaze style arial offensive…and we are likely to make a mistake or two in trying to defend it,so i can see them scoring at some point…. but if we take our chances when we get them and not take 20 shots to score 1 we’ll be ok…the early goal will make them open up a bit..leaving a few more gaps to play with so hopefuly by the time they might score we’ll already be out of sight…anything they could get will be merely a consolation..
    the ref will need to be tough from the first whistle…so i would recommend a bit of play acting from our players..any touch and we should adapt an ‘eboue’ technique topped off with a tad of ‘drogba’….fool the ref into a few early yellows and it will stop the shit before it gets out of hand..
    its unsportsmanlike i know but we need to fight fire with fire with those fuckers…cos they are coming to kick..

  196. The BBC has some audio of Harry Deputy Dawg Redknapp after the 3-1 defeat to Blackpool. Priceless.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/eng_prem/9398472.stm

  197. any lineups out yet?

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