One Of Us Speaks: Never Kick A Man When He’s Down

Big Al’s reckons Obi-Wan Wenger might just be enjoying himself. Ewan MacGregor as a young Arsène might work but Sir Alec? Oh, yeah, that’s the one

When you see Arsène Wenger in a few press conferences, you get to know his mannerisms, figures of speech and facial expressions. And there’s one look that he pulls as often as any other. You probably know the one – it’s a knowing smile from the corner of his mouth; not quite a smirk. We saw it a lot in the build-up to the first leg against Barcelona when facing questions about how he’d cope tactically with the best team in the world, and whether Nasri or Walcott had any hope of recovering in time. Wenger now counts that match as one of the best in his career.

This is a man who gets a kick out of overcoming external doubt, and springing surprises on people. That’s to say he’s used to going his own way, and trusts his intuition. And why not, when you’ve helped launch the careers of more world-class footballers than almost anyone else in the game today: George Weah, Lilian Thuram, Emmanuel Petit, Youri Djorkaeff – yup he discovered or nurtured them. And that was long before he took over at Arsenal. After his pre-1996 achievements, he still had to deal with the Arsène-who headlines, and Ferguson calling him a nobody.

So, at the start of the season when he faced a flurry of sustained opprobrium, he bore the abuse with all the pride and class you’d expect. And let’s face it; much of what he was dealing with was obscene. Seriously, he was getting slaughtered in the media by touchline failures or, even worse, people who never had the guts to try coaching in the first place. He accepted some of the more reasonable appraisals with class, subtly swatted away the ones by complete morons and pretended to ignore most of the rest.

But don’t think he has forgotten those few weeks.

Because that’s the problem for the rest of the Premier League; Arsenal was in a bad way in September; Manchester United inflicted a deep wound, blasting us into a tailspin and almost burying us before the season had begun. Sir Alex piled it on after that game, slurring with patronising sympathy. And that was definitely a smirk.

Arsenal was left for dead. But, uh-oh; amid all the rejoicing and the insincere concern for Wenger’s wellbeing, they neglected to land the killer blow. And after skulking off to our lair and patching up our wounds, the club is rising like a pissed-off phoenix. How far we’ll go is hard to say, but one upshot of those dreadful opening weeks is that we now have a season-long antidote to complacency.

After you lose 8-2 and get back to within three points of the top four in the space of eight weeks then there’s not much that’s going to scare you. And that score-line will have stuck with our players ever since – it should remind them of how they can be punished if they’re not prepared. The ridicule will still be gnawing away, but now they’ve demonstrated that they can get results against the financially doped teams, it should help to fortify their resolve and perhaps define their goals more clearly.

Because you can’t help but take stock after a setback like that, and as the season unfolds we might end up grateful that such a jolt happened so early on.

At this stage of the campaign, and apart from goal difference, our league performance in 11-12 doesn’t differ too much from last season. What’s changed is the boss’s language. He’s conceded the title and started focusing on short-term goals.

We were still battling through the ‘Nam-style sh*t at the time so it didn’t seem appropriate to remind anyone of this when he ruled us out, but Arsène Wenger’s second title for Arsenal was won after conceding before the New Year. Considering the players in the squad, and the quality of the rest of the league at the time, we weren’t up to much in late-2001. Almost exactly ten years ago we lost 2-4 at home to Charlton Athletic a couple of days after getting beaten 3-1 at Highbury to Schalke. Then followed a now famous team meeting, an international break, and a new Arsenal slowly began to emerge.

It probably still isn’t appropriate to bring that up, because it seems very unlikely that we’ll win the league at this stage. But what that 8-2 score-line also gives us is humility. After seeing them recover from that mess he’ll hardly be worried about how they’ll deal with less than glowing public comments. We all know that Wenger’s press conferences are another channel to send messages to individuals or the team. So this kind of raises a question – after years of talking up his side’s chances until the very last weeks of the season, is it significant that he’s suddenly taking a cautious tone?

Well, obviously you could say it’s a response to our appalling start, but if you look at the characters in the squad and its average age, you might conclude that Wenger feels he’s assembled a group that doesn’t need the emotional stimulus of getting talked up every couple of weeks.

In the meantime our run continues, and to my eyes the Premier League is looking like a far less daunting competition for our squad.

Arsène’s men are bloodied and have lost their sense of prestige and superiority. Until just a few weeks ago the style had gone as well. What’s left is an imperfect but resolute bunch. Perhaps a little less technical than their forerunners, but definitely more worldly and maybe already a little more cohesive.

And let’s not forget that they’re angry – and it’s not overt rage, but the altogether more sinister, quietly seething fury of an aggrieved underdog. In ten weeks’ time when they step into our joint Manchester United might come to regret kicking us when we were down at the start of the season. But most of all they should fear the master who kept his counsel throughout.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on November 11, 2011, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 166 Comments.

  1. First? Surely that can’t be

  2. OOU,

    Beautifully written.

  3. In Wenger we trust.

    Surrounded and hounded by a dirty group of racially motivated scum who go under the banner of “The Media”.

  4. Well said Yogi! Just hope that they continue writing us off.With Arsene expect the unexpected.Up the gunners.” Aruta Continua”

  5. Very nice piece Al. I like how you find a new slant to things Arsenal, giving thought to topics that don’t otherwise have a light shone on them.

    An angry Arsenal. Yes, waited a fair time for one of those. No excuses.

  6. Great blogging there. Enjoyed reading very much, thanks

  7. You’re spot on there,and may the homophobic media keep hyping up the average Joes at Manure and Chav bridge and keep helping the Arabs to think they are invincible, whilst boosting the ego of Del boy down the road as the best Manager bar Fergie,with his team believing in their own hype.We the goons, will slowly and humbly go about our business and come Mid April, we will just laugh at the panic others will be experiencing.The season is a marathon not a sprint.

  8. OOU – Nice post mate.

  9. ‘BEAUTIFUL’. It was just amazing. I’m happy i read that. ‘ALWAYS HAPPY TO BE A GUNNER’

  10. I think it is too early to talk about our team competing for epl top price now as you ve said .again we ought to focus on our team and keep supporting our boys 100%. One thing is certain , the two Manchester club are going to drop points as they will be visiting us at emirate though we are yet to met city and i believe that we can get maximum points from them or any team that come our way. By the way the two last matches that city played , they are lucky to get maximum points.

  11. so eloquent,a great read.thanks OOU

  12. fantastic piece Al

  13. Absolutely Brilliant, Gripping and Riveting from beginning to end, and more of those book review style plaudits..

    Excellent article Big Al..

  14. the paragraph took me back to 2005 when we lost 2-4 to united at highbury.it was billed as a revenge fixture because united it was that ended our unbeaten run at old trafford helped of course by match officials who refused to punish united rugby styled tactics and a diving rooney.that night highbury was electric with vengeance.we couldn’t even blame the ref after the match.
    come our next match with united,i definately won’t be on the revenge train.a good match is what i’d be looking for.a win’d be a nice bonus.i hope by that time,our season doesn’t hang on the outcome.let it just be a game to enjoy against a worthy adversary

  15. ‘last paragraph’ sorry

  16. Must admit that this is the first time i’ve read this blog, and what a joy it was to read such a good article. Agree whole heartedly with everything you have written. We’ve definitely got the right manager to lead take us forward. Arsenal for life!

  17. A classic piece of work YW, just the thing to start the day with.
    Well done.
    Funnily enough i was thinking of 01-02 yesterday.
    In particular the 2-1 win at Anfield over the Christmas, when Gio Van Bronckhorst got sent-off if i recall. A seminal result…

  18. Wow.

    Perhaps worth appreciating that the coming phase, targeting 4th from 7th (I have no idea, except we are not staying 7th), although the gap is less (3 points as it stands), is harder than the last big push, 17th to 7th. I imagine there will be setbacks. It’s vital to look medium term, the bigger picture, ride the setbacks, and as YW said before the toughness to get back up after falling down. All in all, the current impetus will continue, because from what I’ve seen of late, Arsenal is not worse than teams jostling about from 2nd to 4th. For Arsene, as always, it will be about consistency.

    I notice Udinese now share top spot in the Italian log, and Dortmund were 4th in Germany weeks back after their own poor start.

  19. Bale to Spain? It was always going to happen at some point. He should do exceptionally well.

  20. Arsene has been touted the 1 game at a time mantra since Old Trafford. But despite media claims AW hasn`t written us off for the title just pointed out (as obviously needs doing for the media) that currently we too far behind the leaders to be challengers. Lets not worry about a game in 10 weeks time, the most important match of our season is currently Norwich

  21. I just hope – and I think it’s only happened once, and we won – we have the spine of our team available – Szs, TV, Kos, Song, Jack, RVP, then lets see how good they are.

  22. Thanks for taken us down the memory line.

  23. Lovely article OOU. However, as longblackcloud mentioned, the last comment I heard from the Boss was along the lines of ‘at present’ we are out of the running. My shout is still finishing 2nd and winning the CL!

    Wenger is a saint and a scholar. Those who called for him to go on this very blog (comments) are notable by their absence in the last 2 months. Ashamed no doubt.

  24. That wicket in CApe Town’s not looking so bad this morning!

    What do you make of that then Jonny?

  25. Lovely!. A well thought out & brilliantly written post. Definitely inspires & strengthens my faith in the Arsenal. Looking forward to see how the season unfolds, hopefully we’d be pleasantly surprised, come next May.

  26. “pissed-off phoenix”–Loved it OOU

  27. There is something about Arteta, different to TV – under-stated, less effusive – but same result, that radiates ‘consistency and tenacity’ and affects players around him, especially Song. Most would say ‘a very good player’, few if any would say ‘genius’. Could it be, I ask in a sincere way, that his all-round basics of midfield possesion and distribution is of far higher quality and influence than it appears?

  28. Oh, CBob, I am not a big fan of SA, I like some of their players individually, but that 47 all out got me all cheerful and hopeful for the future of almost everything.

  29. ZimPaul: Arteta appears to be one of those players that is quietly efficient and far more appreciated by those who play with him and against him than spectators. Like Gilberto who many of us (I hold up my hand up as gulity) only learned to really love when he wasn`t there for a prolonged spell – that was when we finally realised how much unsung work he did. Because of this I think we (as Arsenal supporters) see the quality of Song more than outsiders.

  30. Well done, thank you.

  31. Zim, I’m impressed with the partnership of Arteta and Song. Our calm centre. Each benefits the other tho, and Song’s influence on Arteta is as important as vice-versa. I think they have an understanding and balance that Song and Wilshere struggled with at times. Not criticising Jack but his immaturity meant that he sometimes looked to get forward when he maybe shouldn’t. Hopefully when he returns he’ll be given that little extra freedom to get forward, like Ramsey does now.

    Bit of a masterstroke for Wenger to use Arteta in is original central midfield position. Some would have said he lacked the physical presence to play there in the PL.

  32. Good work Al and like Mumbai Gooner I also thought the “pissed off Phoenix” was a little gem

  33. Big Al – nice perspective (as always).

  34. Hear! Hear! to that Zimpaul.

    It’s always good to see the Aussies stuffed.

  35. Arteta is a very intelligent and selfless player. He has curbed his attacking instincts to be the continuity player in the middle of the park and an extra shield in front of the back four that we needed to did our way out of the mess we found ourselves in. I think it no great surprise that we have seen some of that ethic rub off on Song and Ramsey, two young players who can see what they need to be doing from watching Arteta. So while Cesc is the better player Arteta is the player we needed.

  36. Consols – It’s partly a reflection of the quality between the two teams (Australia’s bowling attack is not that special and SA’s openers are doughty especially Amla) but yes, I’ve been watching the highlights and post match discussion and the pitch has certainly ‘becalmed’ on the third day. I think Morkel would have made hay on the third day had Australia batted last.

    It’s unusual for a pitch not to continue to deteriorate but it does happen – I’s still say the wicket had too much top on it from the start, it was spitting from a length at the end of day one and then was unplayable on day two.

    I stand by my assertion that SA have recent history in preparing poor quality wickets with matches lasting 3 days. Its partly to do with climate but they do have a reputation for falling apart.

  37. Another cracking read big Al – I love your writing style.

    Uplifting.

  38. morning all, and a nice writeup BIG AL..
    we all know and have known the lowclass statues exhibited by manure through the years ,in running up the score on their opponents, and im pretty sure the result from that game is smoldering like coal underneath ashes in the minds of AW and the team. I’m certain we will spring a nice surprise on ferret face ferguson and his bunch of red mancs come the return visit. but I’m also we longblackcloud, that is fast becoming glorious sunshine, that we should approach each game as most important and take it ONE GAME AT A TIME. i see the ARSENAL in amongst the top four spots come january and i hope they will be in full metal jacket mode by then. as for now, let’s take care of business against Nowrich . I’m in the mode for some canary fahhitas right about now. have a great wknd everyone….

  39. Sorry to miss out on the religious ding-dong last night, my favourite quote is below, for it succinctly sums up one of the paradoxes that religious people always quietly dismiss as though irrelevant.

    “I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”, Stephen Roberts.

  40. I watched England play at Cape Town back in about ’05 Jonny. That wicket was pretty good although we did lose.

    Do you think this dodgy wickets business in SA is new?

  41. Absolutely loved reading that!

    Agree with all the Arteta comments, his calming influence has helped us massively in a time of huge uncertainty, the biggest we have faced under Wenger.

    Like Song, he is consistent and composed. This composure has spread throughout the team, for me they have been the basis of it. I was a critic of Song last season, he was making silly fouls far too often, but he has been exceptional in every game this season so far.

  42. i forgot…

    UP THE GUNS!!!!!!!

  43. Excellent Big Al. You are a true wordsmith and a proper gooner to boot. Too early to challenge for the title eh? Well as the old people used to say “time is longer than rope.”
    As for the top-four spot, I think Newcastle (aka Sports Direct), ‘Pool and the Spuds should be worried, very worried. Admittedly I am biased but it is my firm belief that, like Aston Villa two years ago, they may have a good 1st XI but they don’t have enough quality in depth to last the distance.

  44. Interesting that Alex Song has just come under the wing of Darren Dein. Wonder when his contract is up?

  45. Seriously Yogi? The idea of him leaving is one that I’ve often worried about but never mentioned for fear of it causing a panic! I think he is under contract until at least 2014.

  46. When I read today’s post title I did wonder whether Big Al was talking about Diaby.

    Off to read the post now.

  47. Here’s the thing Cbob, my flatmate plays county cricket and he called it (“bet its a dodgy wicket”) before the test even started. He think’s it’s down to them sometimes giving too much grass to try and hold the soil together and the fact they have such torrential downpours.

    In some ways it is a good thing as the rest of the world (England excepted) have gone far too far in creating ‘batsman’s paradises’ so that they get 5 days full play and the money rolls in. The pitches in Australia used to be marvellous – they dug Perth up – one of the best bouncy wickets in the world and deliberately deadened it and they doctored the others in subtle ways too. It’s nowhere near as much fun.

    Even the West Indies got in on the act killing the fun for the fasties.

    I don’t know how recent a phenomenon but recent tours to SA there is usually at least 2 games from 5 that last 3 days or little more. It’s further complicated by the fact there is usually more swing in South Africa than in Australia (and certainly more than the subcontinent).

    I think there aren’t enough ‘bowler’s wickets’ in the world these days (it really has become a batsman’s game) but that said, what we want is ‘livelier’ wickets not ones that are showing inconsistent bounce on day 2…

    I’m just watching the Australia fall of wickets – shot selection?? Terrible!

  48. southafricanscot

    consolbob & jonny. I fancy your test match at Newlands in 05 was around the new year period. Very rare for SA to paly test cricket this early in SA season. Almost the equivilent of playing in England in early April. Also extrremely rare for a test to last only 3 days in Cape town. Loved the post YW I read every day, but first time posting. Up the Gooners

  49. Jonny @ 2:13 – I believe that is known as “game, set and match”.

  50. consolbob & jonny. Also lovely to see the Ozzies dropping some catches, in their pomp the fielding was alway imaculate, maybe a sign of decline in all aspects of their game (hoo fuckin ra!).
    In the 70s & 80s didn`t they used to play on drop in artificial pitches in SA (& India), think with advances in pitch technology they could produce really good artificial pitches now. Could possible make all pitches accross the world the same standard. Although I think that would eliminate a lot of the fun of the game by evening out the home advantage etc,

  51. Have I lost the plot – its not yet 2:13 pm. I know I’m having a dodgy day.

    @Big Al – thank you for a great article.

    @Yogi – I’ve suggested here before that Paulie or Sil should be unleashed on Darren Dein – you know, just a small token of our appreciation sort of hiding behind the shed.

  52. Andy – did you ever see this?

  53. Jonny – Will have to check at home mate. Can’t see that at work.

    Will discuss it later as I have a meeting to go to now. 😦

  54. @ jonny

    Bring on the Dustbowls 😀

    They also produce great test matches, but are really good for batting on days 1-3. After tea of the third day is the great “test”..its just sad that sometimes spinning tracks are not recognized as “sporting” wickets or an even contest between bat and ball, because it is..and spin bowling is a dying art 😦

    But great to see the return of genuine swing bowling with Steyn, Anderson and Zaheer…

  55. I usually never quite united players past or present but this quote from George Best I felt was brilliant

    “I was with (Bobby) Charlton, (Denis) Law and Puskás, we were coaching in a football academy in Australia. The youngsters we were coaching did not respect him including making fun of his weight and age…We decided to let the guys challenge a coach to hit the crossbar 10 times in a row, obviously they picked the old fat one. Law asked the kids how many they thought the old fat coach would get out… of ten. Most said less than five. Best said ten. The old fat coach stepped up and hit nine in a row. For the tenth shot he scooped the ball in the air, bounced it off both shoulders and his head, then flicked it over with his heel and cannoned the ball off the crossbar on the volley. They all stood in silence then one kid asked who he was, I replied, “To you, his name is Mr. Puskás.”
    – George Best.

  56. that should read *never quote united players*

  57. Darius

    Are we stuck in a time warp or something..cos its not 2.13 for me either 😀

  58. Jonny, the last bit reminded me of Bill Hicks’ story about being confronted by a couple of tough-looking angry Christian guys after a show, who didn’t like what he had said about them.

    “Then forgive me”.

  59. longblackcloud – I wouldn’t like to see uniformity – part of the interest in the game is the variety of wicket and the individual challenges. I’d just prefer it if the game wasn’t so skewed towards batsmen. Averages continue to climb and totals get ever higher with less 5 fers.
    Almost all of the most exciting test matches I recall are an even contest between bat and ball and most of the most exciting sessions are when the bowlers are on top.

  60. Nice post OOU. Always enjoy Fridays.

  61. anirudh @ 1:21 pm

    thanks for sharing that story……

  62. Thanks for the nice comments. And check this out:

    This guy’s got the Youtube account from heaven – just look down his list. Would be perfect if it just had some Arsenal.

  63. I agree Jonny, some of the greatest innings I remember are batsmen battling through when conditions favour the bowler and the bowlers have their tails up. Like you I would not like to see universal conditions in the pitch as it adds to the colour of the game, also who would decide what the wickets are like? India traditional would like it to suit spinners but currently England would want it to be more similar to Perth in the 80s (like you I remember so great fat bowling spells at the WACA), due to the surfiet of quality quicks, my beloved NZ on the other hand would want slow low pitches.

  64. Anirudh – yes the dustbowls bring on a very different challenge and, on the whole, I’m all for it. Nonetheless I still think, for sheer variety, you can’t beat England’s wickets for cricket. Often there is something for all types of bowler – keeping them interested throughout.

    It must be a real drag as a bowler when you know that if you don’t breakthrough in the opening 30 overs there isn’t going to be much there for you. Viewing wise it’s less exciting too – waiting for a hint of reverse.

    I’m not sure spin is a dying art – if anything fast bowlers are a bit of dying breed. They live such short careers these days too – a result of there being too much cricket.

    I miss the days when the facing West Indies quartet was like a bit like facing an angry lion, being armed with only a toothpick.

  65. I toured NZ with the Barmy Army back in 2002. Wonderful series – wonderful country.

    Thanks to the crazy exchange rate, 5 whole days on ‘the mound’ in Wellington cost about £35.

  66. I think that fast bowling or genuine swing bowling is a recovering art with people realising that however good a batsman is, genuine swing especially at decent pace is always going to be problem

    But after a generation of warne, kumble, vettori and murali, I do not see the next line of spinners anywhere close to that level unfortunately

  67. Ha, got me all nostalgic there, I used to cut across the Basin Reserve (the only test ground set in a roundabout!) on my way home from work. 1 evening in the 90s AC/DC were due to play but had to postpone due to the wind (surprise surprise in Welly!), walking home late that night cut through the Basin and the whole ground was covered with heavy metal fans wearing black asleep on the pitch, in the stands, on the mound on score-board must have been 3000 or 4000 of them. Thing was no damage was done to anything, Wellington played C.D. 36 hours later with no problems

  68. In England I always felt it was more to do with the weather or atmospheric conditions which produced good cricket, more than the actual pitch itself..but this of course is from watching on TV..

  69. Unbelievable cricket match. Never seen a double turn around like it and so many records falling. The groundsmen had a few technical reasons why the ball might have moved around a bit, but maybe it is just the law of averages………or God.

    Religion describes God and lays down the ways that we should worship. But the invent of one does not necessarily lead to the other, see Sunny or Shiite or the Catholics and Proddys etc, we have our different ways of worshipping the same Gods. If football is God: Arsenal club is the religion and Wenger our Christ/Muhammed figure. Tottenham would be the worst religion – the denial of all things human and Harry would be….Buddha.

    The Doomers on here have been espousing other religions (if only they could have backed it up with a credible messiah we could have been more ready to follow). Over the last few months it has been like the crucifixion and resurrection, with Judas and Peter figures a plenty.

    So maybe there is something in us, that old tribalism thing, we need to support something, even if it is only Stoke or $hiite-y, it is the way we do it and they are affiliated to us so even if they get it all wrong – patently wrong in the case of some, we support ours.

    I learnt recently that I am not an atheist. It was a shock, but the problem is that whilst I am in no way religious, I am too insignificant to know whether there is such a thing as God or not. I can arse around with conjecture and reasoning, but that is about it and frankly it may seem big, but it is equivalent to cosmic tinkering.

    I do like a bit of tribalism though, and you can make much greater headway talking footie finance and tactics than you can about the trinity……and frankly it is just more relevant.

    Off to PE tomorrow to see Cote D’Ivoire vs Bafana Bafana so I will get a chance to see one of our disciples in action.

  70. Anirudh – yes, but then two of those bowlers were absolute freaks of the game. It’s like expecting another Bradman or Tendulkar – they just don’t come round very frequently.

    We are in a bit of a lull at the moment but the next wave will come through Rashid looks promising for England and there is a marvellous Lancashire prospect, you heard it here first, called Simon Kerrigan. From what I have heard he could be huge in a few years time.

    Panesar might yet blossom, a la Swann, towards the end of his career.

    Jenner says there is a good crop coming through for Australia – but they are still too young. It might be a while till we see the next great leggy – but the effort is being put in to find them that’s for sure.

  71. OOU- Amazing point and like the others the thing I liked the most was the “pissed off phoenix”, who knows what is going to happen, but I’m silently confident that come the business end of the season, we will be more consistent that we usually are!

    Jonny- Can’t accept to everything that Jim Jeffries says in that video but he brings up a nice point there with that “try not to be a c*nt” thing!

    Btw, check that site he mentions about Ask God, the God who replies to the questions is a God of arrogance and he even uses words like Dude! 😀

  72. Sriam – that’s my favourite line – everyone should say that to themselves first thing in the morning. 😀

  73. Jonny-yep certainly one of them, the one and only Shane Warne, who was my idol while I was still trying to make it as a leggie myself, but my point was that apart from the 4 I mentioned earlier, you had a generation of very decent spinners like Saqlain, Roger Harper, Tim May, etc and my all time personal favorite – PHIL TUFNELL 😀

    Whereas now you have no one even comparable to those guys..but ok if you say Mr Simon Kerrigan is the next big thing, I certainly hope so 😀

    But yes watching Swann bowl is really enjoyable..classical off-spinners

  74. OOU – Xcellent as always mate, and just like you I have had the feeling that they did indeed forget to land the killing blow. A victory at Norwich should set us up for a nice run of form but I must admit to taking a second look at fulham last night as they are a lot better than their recent results would suggest. They came very close to getting a result at City and at Tottenham.

    Jonny – Jim Jeffries ain’t bad but Eddie Izzard is a lot better. In fact at the end of Jeffries vid there is a selection of similar videos, one of which is Izzard’s take on religion, much funnier in my opinion. My grandfather was a huge cricket fan and would often try and get me to watch but I could never see the attraction myself. First chance I would get, I would be out the door and gone!

  75. SA Gooner, you’re probably an agnostic then? Aetheists and hardcore Christians have more in common than they’d like to admit. Both fundamentalists.

  76. Jonny- Had a nice round of laughter for that one! And try this, this is hilarious- http://www.askgod.biz/#bn-guestbook-1-1-1580643109/next/12

    And pls mate, it is Sriram! 😀 Everyone gets my name wrong over here, but I’ll give you the benefit of a typo!

    On to the footballing side of things, Arteta has been a hot topic during the lull, because of his goal at West Brom and his calming influence in the middle of the park.

    I was one of those, who was wishing that Arsenal sign Arteta for the last two years. We really can’t compare him to Cesc, they are just different players, Arteta has a bit more steel about him, maybe because of his time at Rangers and Everton. He sits deeps and keeps us ticking. He is coming out of his shell right now and the gelling effect is beginning to feel for him and the side, I am hoping we bump up the goal difference in the next 5 matches before we face the blu half of Manchester in the league.

  77. sascot, yes it was at New Year. A great time to be in Cape Town.

    I agree about the bias towards batsmen. They have it wrong, it’s not run scoring that is exciting it is bowling. Better, any battle between batsman and bowler.

    Hitting sixes leave me cold, unless it’s in a Test of course.

  78. Steel indeed Sriram. Arteta was coached by Alex McLeish at Rangers, so he’s no softy.

  79. Actually watched some of that vid there Jonny. The guy is a fool according to scripture(Psalm 14:1 The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”).

    I have also read that quote and you should be offended buy such nonense for Atheism has but one meaning, it is not specific to one God or the other.

    I am ok with not believing, but I figure that respect should be due.

  80. Sriram – apologies sir, a genuine typo – you’d be amazed how often people type my name Johnny on here!

    Anirudh – I’d rate Swanny as a better bowler than Tuffers. Just not as much attitude and came good later in his career.

    Irish – sure – I followed Izzard from his earliest days – I have everything he has done. I think he is a bit repetitive these days – and he has gone off the fucking pier in terms of what he charges. £75 for stand up?! Fuck you.

    Jeffries offers a coarser laugh but only got into him recently and he does have some excellent shock value.

  81. Paul N- fair enough, you cannot accept everything he says, but the comic aspect of it can be enjoyed, without taking it as an offence. You yourself claim that he is a fool, why not laugh at a fool’s words than get offended? He abused one of our Gods too, but that is just him, it is his belief and our belief is ours.

  82. If you are insistent on this you tube thing try Stewart Lee’s: ‘Vomiting into the gaping anus of Christ’

    Can I call for some Moderation please and this one was definitely off topic.

    I thought agnostic was a type of Dutch cheese.

  83. Sriram, I am not offended by what he said at all. I also made no claim that he is a fool.

  84. Paul N- Sorry mate, just a loud opinion!

  85. Also, as I got older, I didn’t find a comic that relies on a bunch of bad laguage funny.

  86. Jo(h)nny- haha! Have you seen the Swann Murali coin challenge?

  87. Jonny ,just want to say I was not talking about you when I mentioned people who advocated the dropping of Theo for the OX .
    I had some proper scoundrels in mind.

  88. Paul N- I haven’t grown old yet, but nothing is comic about swearing over and over again on the stage! Swearing at times when it is really necessary is fine with me.

  89. If we are going to post and talk, by all means we can do it from all points of view without offense. I do hope.

  90. It depends on the way how the counter point is made, like Yogi and Henristic pointed out last night!

  91. I am 40 bro, is that old?

  92. Did I say something wrong?

  93. Paul- Chill, you didn’t say anything wrong. 40 is not that old I guess, just 19 years older than me.

  94. I am chill, trust me. I am not trying to come across in any bad way. My apologies if I did.

  95. I am chill too mate, trust me, you did not come in a wrong way at all.

  96. Paul – horses for courses – my inner child always finds swearing funny. I would say Jeffries offers more than just swearing but that’s my taste – nothing strange about a differing of opinion – as you say it’s important to not resort to offence.

    Was watching Stephen Fry’s language programme the other day and the episode on swearing was fascinating.

  97. Sriram – yes I have. Amazing.

    PG – thanks – no worries its all good! Did you see the AA link I sent for you yesterday?

  98. What about Diaby? No Diaby today?

  99. Yes, totally, Murali is just world class, beyond doubt the best of the best!

    Anyway, going out guys, see you at night!

  100. Jonny, as a comic, people offend to make people laugh. The vid is offensive but you have the right to post it, I just would’ve thought that you wouldn’t. I know you can handle yourself in a discussion, you are a smart guy. As far as the guy, he is ignorant of truth so I understand his view, but with that his state the same.

  101. Diaby is an icon.

    To be revered.

    …….and worshipped.

  102. Good deal Sriram! be safe!

  103. Darius, Your pal John Cross is on the Fans Forum tonight .Do you have an awkward question for him?

  104. When I say “your pal” in don’t actually mean ………:)

  105. Like SA – I’m not even sure I am an atheist, I am just dismissive of the man-invented Gods which always come (hilariously) in male form (cos God looks just like us yeah?) and carry a history which is easy to casually debunk. I think it is a form of arrogance to suggest I could understand or comprehend the creator.

    Many dismiss evolution as an idea – but most of those have either not actually studied it properly or have chosen to wilfully ignore scientific fact because it does not fit with their faith. It is certainly not ‘an idea’, any more than the science which gives us understanding of DNA is a just a theory.

    Evolution is as provable a fact as that the earth goes around the sun: the sun is not – as was once thought – the centre of the universe. For discovering/proving that the earth was not the centre of the universe Copernicus and Galileo were imprisoned and tortured (by the church), yet now we have all come to accept them as factually true. It is the same for evolution and the age of the universe – we know through fossil evidence, through the scientific marvels of DNA and carbon dating a lot about how we came to existence. We just cannot say ‘why’.

    In time, I hope the religious will come to accept that evolution is much, much more than ‘a flimsy suggestion’, and that childish attempts to subvert science through such hokum as creationism will fail. The only objection that makes any real sense is that it does not fit what they have been told by ‘the book’ (which was written by men before they knew of such things) for unlike the church scientists and modern man relies on ‘evidence’, not solely on faith.

    I’m still never sure how Christians can adhere to a text which treats homosexuals as an abomination and treats women as second class..?

    I’d sooner accept DB10 as the one true God than take that evil into my heart.

  106. Fantastic post, OOU. Laughed with delight.

    At times there is something snake-like about Arsene, with the cunning and misdirection he can employ.

    Anyway, totally agree about the team. The 8-2 and the subsequent treatment was their equivalent of being stuck in a lift together. It’s what made them stronger.

    @ Shotta
    “Time is longer than rope”. Very wise saying.

  107. And still no sign of Jabba, AIC and Suga3.
    Not even gooner2 for our amusement.

    And where the hell is Northbank69.He was here through the bad times and is missing all the fun?

  108. Appropriately on the day of OOU’s guest post, I would like to ask for a contribution to mine. I hope (it’s 90% certain) to be able to chat on the phone to a non-Arsenal, ex-Premier League footballer now playing in another league – he’s quite a young guy, not someone whose career is behind him.

    Left to myself I’d probably just ask if his shirts chafe, or something. So please make it worth the guy’s while talking to me. Send any questions you would like to put about the Premier League, or about a footballer’s life in general, to this address:

    fungunner@hotmail.co.uk – with Questions in the subject line.

    Thanks.

  109. @ pedantic george | November 11, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    Please don’t even mention their names – it’s like calling up goblins or sprites. And not the cute kind.

  110. Pedantic George – or Spectrum – god (or unimaginable universal creator) forbid!

    No response to my AA question…?

  111. Yes Jonny ,thanks I saw it .I have seen it before,not much Andrei stuff passes me by,but thanks anyway,

  112. Spectrum has decided to stop posting for a while because people have been disrespecting him.
    Honestly.Can you believe that?

  113. A Cultured Left God…

    A Cultured Left Arm Spin….

    Where has A Cultured left Foot gone??? 🙂

  114. Who told you that about Rectum George?

  115. He posted it on Arsenal Vision just prior to his disappearance.
    And as of yet he has been good to his word.Thank fuck for small mercies eh?

  116. Absolutely, although maybe his Mum has seen her electricity bill and stopped him using his Computer.

  117. Where has A Cultured left Foot gone???

    To twitter by the looks of things

  118. Jonny, There are many educated religious people who reject evolution while some religious actually agree.

    Homosexuality is a touchy issue in these times. The bible says homosexuality is an abomination and unnatural. We are to condemn no man, but must still adhere to what we believe.

    While men are the head in Judiasm and Christianity, that is no a license to abuse or mistreat women. If a man did that, he wasnt following the law at all.

    Ephesians 5:28
    So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.

    Ephesians 5:28
    So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.

  119. Mr. Laurent Koscielny gets his first cap for Les Bleus tonight.

    Well done my son.

  120. Discussing religion can bring no good to a football forum.

  121. Great post.anything is possible in this league.chelsea had run away with the league but lost it.at one point if my memory serves me correctly,we led chelsea by about 12 points but ended below them and city.consistency will be key and we can only hope.

  122. Spectrum is the guy with In Arsene we rust behind his name always right? Oh my God, such a bad influence..

    Anyone remember the Jaguar guy who used to slate Diaby for everything even when Diaby is not in the team? Diaby this, diaby that!

    Nowadays, its gambon calling us don’t be fooled that this team is world class, this that, whinge on. It totally puts you off when you read such a comment, especially after Arsenal have won a game.

  123. And there is another guy Sameer or something, Indian dude, he was crying that our team is not world class anymore after the Chelsea game.

    Can anything lift that poor bastard from his misery?

  124. Paul – for me I could not trust, let alone selectively quote, any text which states that ‘homosexuality is an abomination and unnatural’ but as for women’s inferiority elsewhere the bible writes in somewhat less reverential tones of the fairer sex –

    “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” (I Corinthians 11:3)
    “For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.” (I Corinthians 11:8-9)

    There are others, but I think Judges 19 is amongst the most abusive towards women, in that it tacitly encourages it.

    It describes a father who offers his virgin daughter to a drunken mob. When the father says “unto this man do not so vile a thing,” he makes clear that sexual abuse should never befall a man (meaning him), yet a woman, even his own flesh and blood, or a concubine belonging to a perfect stranger, can receive punishment from men to do what they wish.

    “Behold, here is my daughter a maiden, and his concubine; them I will bring out now, and humble ye them, and do with them what seemeth good unto you: but unto this man do not so vile a thing. But the men would not hearken to him: so the man took his concubine, and brought her forth unto them; and they knew her, and abused her all the night until the morning: and when the day began to spring, they let her go.” (Judges 19:24-25)

  125. Sriram – I think Gambon is the lowest form of so-called Arsenal fan.

    Scum.

  126. I dont know these people because I know better than frequent the blogs that they go on

  127. Have a good Friday night y’all.

    BOOBS. 😀

  128. Pretty poor effort today I have to say OOU/Big Al. You dont seem to be bothered any more man, really lazy and contrived excuse for a post.

    Hahahahaha! Tadaaaarr! Only messing, top stuff dude. 😀

    Well, its been fun, seeya everyone.

    George

    Why on earth would a manc twat like jibba come on a Gooner blog when we are doing well man? Same goes for that rektum fucker too.

    Hope thats cleared that mess up for you Georgey mate?

    Bye have a great weekend

  129. I read the article on Le Coq and he’s making no fuss about leaving. He is just a bit dissapinted that he’s not getting into the first team. I hope Wenger signs him until at least 2015 as he’s going to be a monster. Plus if Alex Song takes off we have his ready made replacement.

  130. fukin el..not again

    who can come up with the worst arsenal 11..winner gets lunch with stephen hawking to talk about god.

    richard wright
    vivas stepanovs gus ceaser cygan
    helder jensen mcgoldrick
    kiwomya chapman jeffers.

  131. and le park scores his eight international goal in 5 matches…

  132. News from the Dutch team: van Persie will play tonight against Swiss but NOT against Germany on tuesday. van Marwijk, the dutch coach just said on dutch television that Wenger called him and urgently asked him not to use van Persie and he obliged, well only partly. So let’s hope he will survive tonight!

  133. Great post as always OOU. I share your belief in thinking that they never delivered the killing blow and they shall be made to regret that. I think a reckoning is in order.

    Jonny – Nice little topic you found yourself involved in there mate. It’s crazy the things that get discussed on a football blog!! Taking it just one step further, have you ever read a book by Zecharia Sitchin called “The Twelfth Planet”? Written in the 70’s it is based n his translation of thousands of clay tablets that where found in the middle-east dating all the way back to ancient Sumer. He spent almost 30 years translating them. I believe it is one of the books that every thinking individual MUST read, even if they dismiss it after having done so. The following link is to the E-book version which somebody quite brilliantly uploaded to YouTube, quality is perfect and is of course free. Would be interested in what you think of it? Any time I am asked to recommend a book to someone it is always first on the list. C’bob too I think would enjoy it actually.

  134. Nice one, OOU. The man is above question for me. Arsene knows best and always will. All these what have you done for me lately armchair managers surfin the net can do one. Call me a communist or whatever you like, but his record speaks for itself.

  135. Check out this video on YouTube:

  136. The one sobering thought about ALL sport is that it can be a very humbling experience. We can all recall the snatches of defeat out of victory. As well as vice versa.
    For that reason alone, to crow over a grievously wounded rival is a very dangerous thing to do……and patronising sympathy even worse.
    This was soon brought home to Ferguson by his devastating home defeat by his closest rivals.
    Best to keep counsel and concentrate on your own ability.

  137. YW,

    Pedantic w*nker that I am we lost in Gelsinkerkin to Schalke 3-1.

    We beat them at Highbury 3-2

  138. The more I hear Arteta talk the more I like him.
    I think he will prove to be the top top quality that Le Boss speaks

  139. The worst team i can think of since I started watching in 1972/73 season

    Wood
    Cork – O’Shea – Blockley – Kay
    Helder – Carter – Malz – Heaney
    Hawley – Chapman –

    Subs: Ceaser, Lyderson, Diawara, Silvestre, Flatts, Caton, Clarke & possibly Hillier

    Lot of centre halves in that team, the captain would have to be Helder and the worst player of that bad bunch is Blockley.

    I couldn’t even find a place for Squillachi!!!

  140. Nice to see Rosicky getting both assists in Czech Republics 2-0 win. Ireland 3-0up over Estonia too!! Don’t you just hate the Interlull thingy? 🙂

  141. Oh and Ray Hankin was a wee bit naff, but never saw him play for us! – although he was good at Leeds

  142. Good points nicky @ 8.40 pm

    I still think some of you overplay Arteta’s role in the overall improvement of the midfield. He’s a good player who has brought some important qualities to the team, but equally has made a few schoolboy errors early on that had me wondering if he was a double agent. Arsene is the one who decides the tactics and how he sets up the team. Song is also another year more experienced and I’m sure getting sent off against Newcastle and not being there to help his team through 3 crucial matches would have taught him a valuable lesson. Why not credit him with his own improvement rather than suggest that somehow Arteta is responsible? The same goes for Ramsey who has improved as he has played more regularly.

  143. Ireland win 4-0, should be enough to get us into the Euros. Robbie Keane second only to Raul and Jan Koller for most goals scored in European qualifiers.

    A hahaha Van Der Vart subbed clutching his hamstring. Stupid spuds!!

  144. I wonder if we will get France in our group? Now that would be something, especially considering ho bad they are playing against the USA right now, albeit they are 1-0 up.

  145. Passenal,By the same token we should credit Arteta with his own,not inconsiderable, improvement.

  146. You’ll get no argument from me pg

    congratulations Irishgray, but let’s not laugh at others misfortune lest it befall us too.

  147. What? 10:35 pm and no Diaby? What the hell is happening to this blog?

  148. Oh there you are Darius.You have been avoiding me all day WTF?

  149. Well George – if you learn how to read your private twitter messages you’ll find a question for our mate John right there. But Clearly you haven’t found out yet, have you?

    And I got pointed to some available tickets for the Fulham game. There’s a few tickets left.

  150. Well how do I find them?

    Stop teasing I have been asking all day !!!!!

  151. I use the messages link next to the ‘Profile’ link and the direct messages are listed under that menu item.

    They’ve gone all FB on twitter – doesn’t help at all. useless infact.

  152. Where have retweets gone then?

  153. I have no idea – try the activity link – retweets are an activity and since they’ve gone all Zuckerberg then it probably is bundled in there.

  154. Did you catch the Fans Forum?

  155. No, not yet. I’ll download it tomorrow and listen to the podcast.

  156. Did you ask the hard questions or did Watt’s producers kick you out when you started asking difficult questions.

  157. Trevor Bailey. Freddie Ttimus. Ray Illingworth

  158. MDGunner – Are they names for your new “Variety Pastys”?

  159. For the last time it’s ‘pasties’ not ‘pastys’. Heaven help us.

  160. @ nicky | November 11, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    Very wise words – recalling Kipling’s “If”.

    It’s why I never gloat (not out loud, anyway) at the troubles of other teams to their supporters. I did make an exception after Man City thrashed ManUre, though. That was just too deliciously ironic to let go. And yes, patronising sympathy is worse than anything.

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

    If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
    If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;
    If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
    Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools…”

    Very apt for AW especially over the last 12 months.

  161. Yes ‘heaven help us’ – I don’t know that standard of spelling these days! I blame the parents.

    Irish – interesting stuff, I listened to start of it last night – my initial take on it is that it bases itself on a shaky premise and then moves from there. “If we accept this is true…then we can speculate xxxx is true”.

    Mankind did progress apace in a short period of time but that advance is surely most likely to do with our increased powers of communication. I would guess the lack of fossil evidence for that period is just due to the fact that it’s, in geological and evolutionary terms, a remarkably short period of time.

    So my issue is I don’t accept the start point of the thesis.

    One should never read too much into wiki – but a bit of digging on the marvellously monikered Zecharia Stitchin yielded this –
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zecharia_Sitchin#Criticisms

  162. Just watched a commentary in which the last minute discussion about athletes and fans rang bells: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mx0P9QckqHw&feature=related.

    Thought it might prove interesting with our recent history

  163. http://wp.me/p1aPg-1VU

    Today’s post, delayed as No. 2 son opened his birthday presents

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