One Of Us Speaks: City Are A Sign O’ The Times

Big Al’s not overly impressed by United. He’s not that taken with City either but is it their fault no-one likes them…

When I was ten my class went on a trip to the Inner Hebrides. What had been packaged as the adventure trip of our young lifetimes made Lord of the Flies look like a picnic with the Just William boys. After a few days of crawling through sheep dung, falling into peat bogs and getting thrown head first into semi-frozen lochs I started to doubt my teachers’ motives. In the evenings we huddled in primitive cabins, listening to the wind and browsing the personal effects of previous visitors, poignantly scattered on the floor.

Amongst dog-eared Match magazines and half-finished letters home to parents was a woolly Manchester City hat. It predated the brand-spattered apparel of the Sky era – simple light blue, with the club crest. Since I imagined its owner was probably buried on the other side of the island, I kept it and brought it home with me.

I always kept half an eye on them. Until a few years ago I associated them with the management merry-go-round, Niall Quinn and Georgi Kinkladze. It’s never been easy to dislike them. One of the best reasons is that they’re rivals of Manchester United, and they always seemed more “real” than their bloated neighbours. Just look at their fans – City got Marr, Curtis, Mark E. Smith and the Gallagher brothers. United got Simply Red as well as half the kids at my school. When the club was relegated, and then slumped to the Second Division the fans stuck by them, breaking attendance records during those few seasons.

So how about them now?

To someone like Arsène Wenger another club winning the lottery must have been especially difficult to take – a bit like an expert artisan stepping out of his workshop to find a giant factory had started mass-producing his products next door. Nothing personal, of course, but as a club that runs on its own steam it was going to make life much tougher for us. City weren’t quite hip to the game at first and we’ve done good business with them so far, but after three years of ploughing hundreds of millions into the club and team, they can finally challenge for the title.

There’s no point whining about it; the situation is what it is, whether or not you find it distasteful. It’s clear that neutrals wanted the old top four to be shaken up, and that’s definitely what happening now. No better way to achieve it than with a member of Abu Dhabi’s ruling family opening the oil valve. The idea was that the top of the table had become a corrupt cabal fattened by Champions League money – with a canny manager in calling the shots a top four club the prize and TV revenue could help ensure an endless stay at the top, leaving the rest to wither.

Was it ever really that sinister though? If you look at the members of that group – all four, excluding Chelsea, are traditional big clubs. Even pre-92 Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool were in the top tier’s four most successful clubs of all time. And as for the longest current spells in the top flight? All three are in that top four as well. In the history of these teams there have been a few quiet spells, even a couple of relegations, but more often than not these teams have finished in the top third.

And of course there has never been a better time to be a big club than in the last 20 years. Geography, fan-base and smart administration were the criteria – combined with television money – that ensured they’d never be far from the pinnacle. And now these brands can reach people around the world – every day more people are converted to English football, and once they have an allegiance they won’t lose it.

The upward (or downward) mobility that football romantics dream of doesn’t exist; unless there’s appalling mismanagement, the big clubs tend to stay big, and the small stay small. And that’s not to say that Manchester City were ever small. But a bit like Everton, Newcastle and Aston Villa, they just haven’t always been the best managed. Still, being in the north’s first city and frequently getting capacity crowds made them ripe for a takeover from abroad.

If fans of these clubs are upset with the former G14, Platini or whatever else, they should probably redirect their ire at vague trends and phenomena like the growing popularity and commercialisation of English and European football around the world. They might also save some anger for the previous boards at their clubs that failed think ahead and get their act together in what history may show is a golden age for top-level football.

City threaten the old order, as Chelsea did before them. The sporadic implosions at Chelsea suggest that the routes to riches is indeed quicker with the GDP of a small nation invested in the squad but there is no substance to it. As soon as a team grows old, the investment required is no smaller to replace them.

With Premier League coverage around the globe at a peak, City are in a prime position to exploit the markets and gain more support of a new generation of supporters. They want the money that comes with them yet their failure in Europe this season underlines the problems that the Mancunians face; unless they win trophies consistently, they will always be a rich man’s toy. Or a Government department, depending on your viewpoint.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on December 16, 2011, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 238 Comments.

  1. Dude what timezone do you live in seriously?

  2. colney (@11Gunz)

    Good writeup again OOU. i don’t know where Inner Hebrides is, but it sounds like a “city from the Odyssey”. Anyway to digress a bit, i hope we draw Milan, that would be a fantastic match.

    Merry Friday to All.

  3. The owners of City maybe next to face the Arab Spring protest, as there is absolutely no democracy in that country. The citizens will one day wakeup. So city should enjoy the success while they still can. Anyway, if they look at the Chelsea model, they would know it is unsustainable; owners are expected to continuing invest hundrerds of millions to buy success. Chelsea had spend over 100 million this year, they don’t look like title contenders.

  4. Seriously – top drawer prose. Jaw dropping assemblage of words.

  5. Colney

    Have you not worked it out yet? BB never sleeps, his eyes permanently opened with matchsticks propping each eyelid apart.

  6. Meh!! Citeh can go suck at Utd’s tit for all I care. Just give me 3 points on Sunday, thank you very much. So there fans stuck with them when they got relegated, who cares? It’s what they deserved for supporting such a crap team. Now they have a ton of money and can afford to spend obscene amounts of money on players that are above average at best. We should have knocked them out of the CC but we did not, now we have to step it up a notch and close the gap to 6 points.

  7. YW – Bigbrovar has been pipped to the post (pardon the pun!) a number of times.

  8. colney (@11Gunz)

    YW,

    I always thought bigbrovar (please do correct me if I’m wrong) lived in Nigeria. If he does that would put him at GMT, whereas i am 6hours behind your time. That’s true dedication i must admit. Perhaps you can get him to write an article one day? 🙂

  9. A win against Citeh this Sunday will be a major statement not just to our rivals, but to Arsenal itself!

  10. A provocative post today, me thinks. The point is to turn it round and look at City from the perspective of the investor, not the club (or brand, which anyway is the EPL, whose partner is, in effect, the global media), and the trend of buying into the EPL brand. The parking of some surplus venture capital in the EPL is a pattern, alongside the explosion of global venture capital since the 1990s (another bubble of sorts). How fast are the returns, and where do they actually come from? What are the risks? What is the ‘real’ value of the asset? Can it be liquidated (ie turned into cash)?

  11. Good write up OOU,

    I’ve also not been offended by Citeh traditionally. However, they are now our clear competitors and therefore open to my fullest contempt. Such is my logic of support.

    I’d love Santos to have been fit for this fixture as I would Jack. However, it looks like we’ll man up with a Djourou/Mert/Kos/TV5 back four and that’ll probably mean that Citeh will press hardest at our flanks. Fortunately, they don’t seem to play the ball in behind as they don’t really have outstanding speed up front. They are similar to AFC 2006-2011 in as much as they try to play around and through their oppenents. They might match us in this aspect at this point in the evelution of a new team but I believe they lack our post-2011 speed. Hopefully, speed kills!!

    Gervinho and Theo will need to have good games (as will all of the team – full backs most obviously!). Robin felt he had a poor game against Everton and so I hope he also puts in a shift that he feels makes up for any failings in his last outing.

    COYG

  12. Musically speaking City would be the latest ‘boy band’, as in rapid media visibility of a ‘brand’, valued initially not be sales but by global media exposure, sales follow. It’s not about the music, it never was. Hire the best wongwriters and session musos, the best music video team, make it about sex and youth, and possibly violence. Hollywood cracked the formula some time ago, and stopped making films.

  13. @ Colney, i dont know where bigbrova lives, but i can at least correct the fact that Nigeria is GMT + 1.

    Its Accra (in Ghana) that is GMT in west Africa.

  14. At OOfUs.. well written as per usual! Good that YW has those around him that can keep the ACLF standard up.

    I usually do not mind Man City apart from there current attempt to outdo Chelsea in their attempts to buy trophies, as has been stated, there are our direct rivals now for the EPL title, so its a matter of grabbing those 3 points is key… that actually brings us to within 6 points in December which is hardly insurmountable….. we were leading with much more than that in 2007/2008 before we ended up 3rd via too many draws! (we still lost the least number of matches that season). its something similar i can envisage for city, this season, the onus lies with them to come back stronger from it next season.

  15. What a great write up, but all i care for is the 3 point and nothing less which is possible we have done it before man

  16. Spot on mate,there is nothing as good as any business being self sufficient,chelsea is a prime example..no matter how much the “sugar daddy”spends,he is bound to either get tired or demand outrageous stuff and their is also the concept of “diminishing returns anyway.that’s why the arsenal is the club of my heart…i hope we thump em on sunday to cap it all up….COYG

  17. Villa’s fractured his leg unfortunately. Out for 5 months. Surely, Barcelona, can’t manage without him. Maybe we should send RVP as a Christmas gift?

    We have played against them for 2 consecutive seasons now. Which is not too different to someone playing with them. So by that logic, Xavi can claim RVP has the same DNA.

  18. We defeated them last season even with the presence of tevez and silva, victory is highly needed so that clichy (who was always injurie when he newly joined arsenal and we kept faith in him but betray the trust) and Nasri (taken from nowhere, developed to world class footballer) cover their faces in shame

  19. OOU – Nice write us as always. Spot on as well; “it is what it is”. We can still be competative with the likes of city. They can’t buy all of the best players. The reason we have not done so well over the past few seasons has little to do with the quality of the opposition and everything to do with the make up of our own squad. Once we get it right, we will win things again. No matter how many superstars the like sof City buy.

  20. for an oil sheik,who is also the ruler/owner of a small mid eastern state,the line between a toy and a government department is seriously blurred/non-existent

  21. I bloody loved watching Georgi Kinkladze…. But – I fancy us to teach the tasteless, cheating cuntweasels a thing or two this weekened. Maybe a thing or three.

  22. I can see a 1-1 this weekend. I don’t think we will lose though. RvP to carry on his rididulous scoring run?

  23. Top class. Me too, had love for city for the some of same reasons. Least of all because Dickov and the Legend himself David “Rocky” Rocastle. (rip bro). Played there.

    City went to the darkest corners of the entire league and still had good support and Maine Road was a big place.

    All the same Van Persie, will get his brace and Theo and Gerv to hit the net too.

    Come Out Fighting.

  24. OOU a very interesting post today.

    Dgob totally agree with your point below.
    “I’ve also not been offended by Citeh traditionally. However, they are now our clear competitors and therefore open to my fullest contempt. Such is my logic of support.”

    Goonerdany I rarely if ever find myself agreeing with you but here I do.

    ” Once we get it right, we will win things again. No matter how many superstars the like sof City buy.”

    Limpar it’s so good to have you back, you were greatly missed. who else can come up with such sweet stuff?

    “I fancy us to teach the tasteless, cheating cuntweasels a thing or two this weekened. Maybe a thing or three.”

    Anything but a loss on Sunday will be very welcome for me but beating them would be the ultimate Christmas gift.

  25. On CL draw i have a feeling we may get the teams that kicked out the manchester teams or the Lyon

  26. Everton have got Landon Donovan on loan again. With that deal being finalised, here’s hoping AW’s craftily doing his thing with Henry. It’d be interesting to see what number he’d have

  27. Despite the quality of Big Al’s prose and the rigor of his logic, it won’t prevent the corruption of thought by many Arsenal supporters. How often we read and hear you have to spend big to win, you must speculate to accumulate etc. It is much like those witless fools elsewhere who spent most of their time in recent days arguing that the club should just spunk 250k per week on RVP to convince him to stay. Not that that amount of moolah did anything for Tevez’s loyalty.

    But I digress. Man City is a wounded animal psychologically. Those defeats in the champs league and to Chelsea have taken their toll mentally. They and Mancini in particular will be scared shitless of the thought of losing to that “crisis” team that everyone and his dog had written off. I won’t be surprised if hesets up defensively, determined not to lose and simply willing to hit us on the break. If he does he will be playing straight into our hands.

  28. @Idowu – Na$ri yes, but Gael, who can’t play on sunday; no problems with him at all – and we got Santos anyway.
    Yeah, OOU, nicely balanced; but if they poach RvP then the contempt will turn into hatred.

  29. If RVP takes the Oily 30 pieces of silver ,I will not only give up on football .but I will lose all faith in the decency of humanity.

  30. I fancy our chances against any one in this draw. if we get the russians then AA will have to play.

  31. Shotta – I have a slightly different view on the game. After those 2 deafeats they will be determined more than ever not to lose. So you may well be right in that they will set up to counter attack us. I would not go as far as to say that would be playnig into our hands though.

    I expect it will be a really tough game. We are well capable of winnng, but a draw would be a decent result all things considered. If we do win it really will set the cat among the pigeons though.

  32. george,

    we have invested alot in rvp, watched him grow into the player he is , watched him have injury breakdown after breakdown. as a man i would find it hard to leave a club having spent so much time injured and picking up wages and this is really the first time he has hit the real heights for a prolonged time and if he does leave then it would show that yes….humanity is really just as shit as we all know it is.

  33. I’d love to see us draw Leverkusen because that would be easiest for me to attend. On the other hand, even though they kicked out ManU, Basel must be the easiest opponent on paper and I would really love to see us play them so we can show them up north how it’s done. Just please let us avoid Zenit.

  34. RVP is Arsenal til he dies. He knows he is. He’s sure he is.

    Firstlady – I have always said it – you are a darling of the very finest taste and calibre. Thank you.

  35. Lets not kid ourselves about the love for the club (the RvP situation). Look at the players who have left or itched to leave in the past. Cole/Cesc/Paddy/TH14 all loved the club, but made moves to leave in varying degree’s. We all like to believe that the players are committed to the club as ourselves, but we should not lose track of the fact that it is their career.

    Money and ambition also play huge factors for a player, whereas for the simple fan there is no choice who you support. Maybe when we are very young and we “decide” who we are going to support there is. But after that, you are stuck with it, for better or for wrose.

  36. Another Friday delight, Big Al ! Thanks.

    Arsenal have a starting XI that are capable of taking points against any club – especially a club assembled in City’s manner.

    Arsenal are in the midst of a run of good form; City will be the next casualty.

  37. leave Henry alone… in his legend status. No need for his to come back… i think we can cope. I hear they are supposed to go for a tour in January

  38. Evil – Same here. Just down the road for me. A good day in Koln on the beer as well.

  39. Peace be unto this blog. It’s been a while.

    Good post OOU. It’s really nice to see YW sorrounded with some of the best around. Welldone to you too YW.

    Well, like others have said, I had no reservation towards Man City till they became a direct competitor. Infact I used to like them because they churned out interesting prospects from their academy (I guess thats outta the window already).

    I honestly think we can get a result @ City. Our wide men 3Gs and Theo will be critical to our success because I feel we play similarly, but are faster especially on the wings.

    We got Lyon in the CL draw rehearsal (not bad one). IMHO, we have enough to take on any of the teams we could be drawn with even Milan.

    No fear.. We are The Arsenal

  40. Oh fuck off! He’s Arsenal til he dies. If he goes to play for Adelaide Magic or whoever when he’s 33 and given us 270-odd games like TiTi then good on him. He’ll still be Arsenal til he dies, just like Thierry.

  41. Morning! Fucking hell Bendy really has gone right off the rails of late –

    http://news.arseblog.com/2011/12/bendtner-arrested-in-newcastle-for-smashing-up-cars/

  42. ” But after that, you are stuck with it, for better or for wrose.”
    I am not.
    I am a “johnny come lately”
    Arsenal might be like family to you but its more of a wife to me.In that If it behaves in a way that make me stop loving it ,a divorce could be on the cards.I fell in love with Arsenal,and I suppose I could fall out of love as well.
    I think that might be the difference between a “local” fan and a “remote”fan.

  43. On the way to visit the in-laws for Xmas, with a tummy bug to boot – it just gets better and better! Must admit I wasn’t of completely sound mind when I did this one. I set out to try to refute the idea that FFP is the work of the devil and that this was City’s last chance to break into the European elite, before YW kindly took over. I’d say Man City has had a huge effect on us, driving up wages and turning a few players’ heads, which has made it even more difficult as a self-sustaining club.They haven’t been to blame for our “lack of success”, but they’re a factor.

  44. The day I stop following Arsenal is the day I stop caring about football.

  45. Limpar – Oh I do agree, just saying that might not stop he wanting to leave at some point. Hopefully not anytime soon though. Cole was also in that category until he fell to the dark side. Both TH14 and Paddy were both die hard Arsenal but made moves to get away from the club prior to them actually leaving. Being Arsenal through and through does not mean 100% that you won’t want to leave. That much has already been proven.

  46. Bendtner is a toerag. Sunderland can keep him. Keying cars with Lee Cattermole *groan*

  47. Hm. We’ll see. I think Duke nailed it earlier.

  48. fukin el george you have come out with some crackers but that is a funny one. fall out of love with Arsenal…yeah right. you’d be back mate with your tail between your legs begging for forgiveness.

  49. PG – Really? I find that suprising. Bizzarely I started support Arsenal in the mid 80’s when we were a bit crap to say the least. It is not a choice, more of a calling. I have gone to ridiculous lengths (as most fans have I would imagine) to watch games. I remeber as a kid sitting in front of texletext screen which simply showed the score. Refreshing every 90 seconds. I would sit there for the full 90mins. My parents thought I was mental (or maybe autistic).

  50. Who are you telling to fuck off Limps?
    DB10 & TA were Arsenal till they die.To give someone who wanted to leave at age 29 that status diminishes it .Well,it does for me anyway.
    We all hope RVP will be that man.But as of yet?

  51. Man, that is so funny!! Bendy..and Lee Cattermole. Shows yet again what happens when players leave the Arsenal, even on loan; bad things happen.

  52. I agree george, thats while im a wee bit uncomfortable with the Henry statue coz he did leave us in the lurch, Adams, DB10 were true gooners till the glorious end.

  53. Really want to avoid AC Milan and Napoli. CSKA and Zenit too, just for travel reasons. Leaves Leverkusen, Basel and Lyon… hmm.

  54. Duke .
    My point is that when you meet your wife and fall in love it is an intense and all consuming passion.Not like the love you have for family.It can wain,if you don’t like what she becomes(of course in marriage it can be for many reasons and might be her choice not yours).
    But you are less likely to fall out of love with your family.

  55. Have no interest in getting into a religious debate, but sad to see the passing of Robert Hitchens, one of the finest atheist thinkers and polemicists to ever walk the planet. For those who like to question the world, he will be sorely missed. RIP.
    Christopher Eric Hitchens (13 April 1949 – 15 December 2011)

  56. bigbrovar, restored to your rightful place. Yesterday just wasn’t the same with your “2nd?” comment. I nearly shed a tear.

    I’m going to be controversial and say that neither Manc club will win the title this year.

    Us and Chelsea for it then! Woohoo. The two clubs written off after a month.

  57. Jonny – Agreed. A real shame. A brillient mind and a great speaker.

  58. absolute rubbish george, we all know football is more important then wives and family!!!!

  59. I’m going to play devil’s avocado here and side with George. Well a little anyway.

    I’m Arsenal through and through but if we were to get bought by Usmanov (or similar) and turned into a rich man’s toy. That would be pretty much the end of football for me.

    I have no interest in watching teams win by means of ‘who can spend the most’, with increasingly obscene displays of largesse and all that goes with it. In that instance count me out.

    Otherwise I’m here for the haul. In a relegation scrap I’d be front and centre – in fact in some ways I’m envious of those who have gone through that – lord knows they’ve seen some real drama.

  60. While I am not going to echo those sentiments — in my mind Hitchens was too much about generating headlines by being controversial for the sake of it and way too agressive at times (and that’s coming from a big admirer of Dawkins) — I am still sad to see him pass away. At least he stayed true to himself until the very end where I could see a lot of lesser men having a “change of heart” so close to death’s door.

  61. Ac Milan. Here we go. Tough.

  62. Oh shit does that pato play for them…are we screwed???

  63. fuck’s sake – of course we drew ac milan.

  64. we do well against the mummys boys.

  65. At least with Milan it will be about the quality of the football ,rather than the weather.

  66. Bring it on. I like playing the Italians.

  67. Madrid get a cold night in Moscow…

  68. Oh shit does that pato play for them…are we screwed???

    Ha ha ,really ha ha Dukey.Shame Gains is on his jollies

  69. Well, it just shows that if Barca had somehow conspired to come in 2nd, we would’ve drawn them for sure.
    So we will have to do it the Arsenal way, huh? Beat all comers. Just hoping for a decent ref … don’t need another Busacca debacle.

  70. AC Milan – easy ; )

  71. In a knockout situation, no Italian side has ever knocked Arsenal out – in seven two-legged ties & one final

  72. We will beat Milan over 2 legs.

  73. To be honest, I am not too afraid of their attack. It will just be another opportunity for Koscielny to show that he is already world class when he keeps Ibrahimovic, Robinho and Pato quiet over two legs.
    We can’t expect Cesc to score a wonder goal this time, but I feel that others will step up. And then there is obviously still Robin who can score against any opponent at any time.

  74. Well, well, well. AC Milan it is. Now we will find out out truth from fiction about that Pato boy. But on the whole aren’t they are just as old and long in the tooth as the original Chavs. H’mmm.

  75. Id be fairly confident of beating AC. Dortmund were a harder test in my opinion

  76. Fuck yeah! Best game in the second leg three years running.

    A.C. Milan played very well against Barcelona so it’s going to be a pretty interesting draw.

  77. Heh, after the discussion on Pato the other day this is very ironic. Lets hopes Gains is right and he is a bit shit.

  78. Shotta, Pato will not play against us. Allegri likes to pack the midfield and play with Ibrahimovic in Europe.

    The A.C. Milan representative says that we’re not at the top of our game and believes it’s due to our rebuilding. I’m glad they are still buying into that and, by the looks of it, seem to have not seen us recently.

  79. Niklas Bendtner arrested for vandalizing cars in Newcastle, most likely drunk off his ass too.

  80. No fear. We are the Arsenal.

  81. andy, you can go see Leverkusen beat Barca.

  82. Markus – I have considered this. Depends if it is the same night as our game though.

  83. Christopher Hitchens was an agitator for the Iraq war. I’m not sad to hear about his passing.

  84. @Gains
    Just let them underestimate us. Our midfield is getting better by the minute and with Kos/Verm we have an exceptional CB partnership at the back. SAgna will be back by then and Santos hopefully too.

  85. Gain – He was a bit. That aside I liked him though. His book “Why god is not great” is superb.

  86. A tough draw, probably the toughest we could have got but, Milan are an aging team; Seedorf, Van Bommel, Gattuso and of course Ibrahovich and maybe a return for Flamster.

    We will need to take the game to them, we can’t go behind, a typical canny (horrible) Italian team, they will bar, lock and bolt the door over the two legs.

    We will also have to prepare for the very real possibility of sending offs, they do like a roll about, card waving, etc.

    Still, have every confidence, draw/one goal win away and back to the Ems for a lesson

  87. Glamour tie of the round. Would Tevez be cup-tied if they brought him in? He didn’t play but was in the squad for City at Bayern.

    I see a chance for us to have a great moment like Cesc’s goal at the San Siro. Ramsey with a shot from the top of the box? Maybe Arteta.

    Second-leg at the Emirates, so it is all set up well. We should manage this. The only thing that looks strong is their performances v. Barcelona–away draw and narrow home loss 3-2. Otherwise, even though they are in 3rd in Serie A, we defeated Udinese who are above them and beat them. Milan’s results in Serie A aren’t that impressive–all he good teams they have played have drawn or defeated them while they have run up big scores on lower table sides.

    I am confident we can and will go through in Arsenal style.

  88. Milan wow what a mouth watering propect…

  89. agree re The Hitch goonerandy, he was a very intelligent and interesting man to listen to / read – i wonder did he repent on his death bed and turn to god??? ha ha ha 🙂

  90. @Deise
    Most definitely not. Even when he was diagnosed he turned away offers from people that wanted to pray for him.

  91. Deise – Ha, I don’t think he will have. Good for him.

  92. ACLF can be so confusing at times. Someone said we drew Lyon? Either way, you can bet they are dreading it, oh shit “Arsenal”. In the latter case Ibrahimovic is the bigger concern. He ain’t pretty, but he’s effective, he got striker’s smarts.

  93. Andy , apparently he said he was still a non believer but he also said he liked getting surprises

  94. Nik Bendtner what an idiot…….

  95. Nic Bendtner has just ensured he has no chance whatsoever at The Arsenal. And probably not Sunderland now either!!

  96. Hitchens warned those around him that if he started talking about believing in god that it would be due to dimentia.

  97. I’m the first one to critisize the manager and the board, but blimy, we are unlucky and have been for a while now.

    I was hoping for a good long CL run without jeopardising the league form. May not happen with the AC Milan draw.

    We need strengthening in the goal scoring department in January.

  98. The problem for Italian sides is Wenger out-thinks them every time. You’ll see Milan sit and sit and sit, try and control midfield, play slowish, knock it around, keep their shape and 5 in and around the back at all times, attempt to bore us to death and at specific points counter with great verve and speed, and some clean balls up to Ibra. They’ll play percentages, fall over a lot, man-mark RvP, and reckon they only need one goal and a clean sheet at home, and that should do it. They need us to take all the risks, then they win it. Block, block, block, rapier thrust. Wenger will counter with his own method of concentrated possession, speed down the flanks and 90 minutes of solid 10-man defence. It’ll be tactical, wait for the moment stuff.

    This is a complete and utter guess. But I guess I’m right too.

  99. There was a boy called Bender
    Who broke off someone’s fender
    He lost his mind
    Angry and blind
    That he’s off Arsenal’s agenda

  100. Lots of very sensible people agitated for the Iraq war with the most noble (albeit misguided) of intentions – doesn’t mean we should judge their character or contribution on that one thing. Could care less if you feel sad for his passing but please, lets not throw mud – I for one happen to admire the man for many of his contributions.
    Lets just leave it there. Thanks.

  101. Jonny – the world just got a little bit dumber when the Hitch passed away

  102. Not throwing mud, Jonny. I’m just thinking about the damage a smart, influential man like him did by cheerleading for the invasion of Iraq. As far as other sensible people agitating for the Iraq war, well they ceased to be sensible from that point on, if you ask me. One only needed a rudemnetary knowledge of the middle east to know that Hussein posed no danger to the west.

  103. Jonny,you are either hallucinating or looking for a scrap.
    Where are there any mud pies?

  104. “The day I stop following Arsenal is the day I stop caring about football.”

    Same here.

    I was hoping we’d get the teams that qualified instead of the manchesters, ooh well we cant always get what we want. We will do them though!

  105. Gains,Now that is really a matter of what you call “a risk”

  106. Jonny, has a thing for me George.

  107. Deise it’s not as though he was setting Sunderland afire anyway!

    This on the back of the excruciating pizza incident are just more nails in the coffin that is his personality.

    I don’t think he will ever come close to fulfilling his potential and I don’t think his potential was ever as great as he thought it was!

  108. No slight on Hitchens, I never even met him, but no “sensible” people agitated for the war on Iraq.

  109. What a great post – especially liked the analogy:

    “To someone like Arsène Wenger another club winning the lottery must have been especially difficult to take – a bit like an expert artisan stepping out of his workshop to find a giant factory had started mass-producing his products next door.”

    For me, for the last 20 years at least, the main point of having a Man City around was purely to wind up Manure, and they, from time to time, excelled in their role as the original ‘noisy neighbours’. (At least they had a point – I’ve never been able to work out why Chelski ever really bothered). Unfortunately, we have no choice but to wish City ill these days as, along with the Chavs, they are a club capable of creating huge market distortions in terms of perceived player ‘value’, salaries and other destabilising temptations on players who, once upon a time, WOULD have stayed for life at one club regardless of the size of their talent. The sooner the likes of Abramovich and the Sheiks lose interest, the better, in my opinion, not a day too soon.

    Would love it to be the case that RvP’s attitude to contracts is the same as Wenger’s – that it is what it is and it is something to be honoured until it’s time to negotiate a new one at the end of the old. But I suspect he will go for a monster payday and make hay while the sun still shines. I also always thought Cesc would leave us – but not this soon, maybe when he was 27, 28 …. At the end of the day, these days they are ALL professional footballers, after all.

    Disappointing news from Sunderland – I had high hopes Bendy would knuckle down there and come good (“do a Wilshire”); seems not. Better news on the CL front – eminently winnable tie for us and praise the lord it’s not Moscow (unless you’re Hitchens, of course, in which case marvel at the statistical improbability of it all!).

  110. Sometimes, if a crowd of geezers are getting a bit giddy,its best to give the one with the biggest mouth a slap to show his mates the error of their ways.Save a real ruck latter on in the evening.

  111. City, never heard of them. Otherwise another great write up.

  112. Spoken like a true kung-fu master George.

  113. 12.53 – I rather think it’s the other way round sweetheart.

    As I said – with respect, let’s move on.

  114. I didn’t address you with my comments about Hitchens. So who is chasing who, sweetheart?

  115. Milan that is.

  116. If you keep on flirting so much with each other, Gunnerjones might get jealous. After all, he is madly in love with Gains if you consider that whenever he posts here it is to send some nice words his way.

  117. On the side of the Iraq war opponents, among others:

    Jacques Chirac, former French president, recently found guilty of corruption.
    Vladimir Putin, Russian tyrant.
    Gerhard Schroeder, German political opportunist, currently is working as consultant for Gasprom.

    On the side of the Iraq war supporters, among others:
    Vaclav Havel.
    Lech Valensa.

    How someone can show this complicated isssue as clear cut is beyond me.

    The Iraqi people is better off and Iraq is a better place without Saddam.

    All I wanted for Christmass was Nasri and Nani in the Europa league.

  118. I’m not getting drawn into this! Laters.

  119. if we overcome ACMILLAN the next will be Barca hehe…… i love this game!! still in love with The Arsenal

  120. Jonny and Gains can you two find a thing not to fight about?All this back and forth between you two is getting tiring.

    About Bendtner I am taking the “innocent till proven guilty” stance but if it is true the boy has really lost his marbles which is quite a shame since i liked him alot.

  121. The Germans and French didn’t get into the war because their interests clashed with American interests. Not because they were peace loving doves.

  122. “The Iraqi people is better off and Iraq is a better place without Saddam.”

    Might be true but the powers that be killed him barbarically, I prefer when people get life sentences to pay for their sins.

  123. kulem or real madrid. I dont like playing mourinho, I’d rather we avoided his team till the final.

  124. @ firstlady
    “About Bendtner I am taking the “innocent till proven guilty” stance but if it is true the boy has really lost his marbles which is quite a shame since i liked him alot.”

    support your view……..

    AC Milan match up provides our squad a good test and the opportunity to boost team confidence going into the league home stretch.

    All this said, there is plenty of other football matters at hand.

  125. Nice write up OOU as always.

    AC Milan will be an excellent fixture. Disappointed that we get the toughest draw AGAIN. Nonetheless, I think we can beat them.

    City has not kept many clean sheets. I think we can get a goal and hopefully 2. I suspect they will blanket RVP so the goal will be rocket from the left by TV5. I love the idea of him getting forward more as a LB and bringing that left leg into play. Long term he is a CB but for games like this having him out left makes us incredibly solid. Love the back 4 of JD, PerM, Kos, TV5. Throw Sagna into that mix and it would be unbreachable. It would be truly sweet for us to keep the first clean sheet of the season against them and knock them out of first place. The way we are playing now I think we can do it.

  126. Lyon (Fra) v APOEL (Cyp)

    Napoli (Ita) v Chelsea (Eng)

    AC Milan (Ita) v Arsenal (Eng)

    Basel (Swi) v Bayern Munich (Ger)

    Bayer Leverkusen (Ger) v Barcelona (Spa)

    CSKA Moscow (Rus) v Real Madrid (Spa)

    Zenit St Petersburg (Rus) v Benfica (Por)

    Marseille (Fra) v Inter Milan (Ita)

    I have to admit to quite fancying the tie against Milan. Our most recent game against them was the 1-1 draw during the Emirates Cup. And of course there was our 2-0 victory there in 2008. The San Siro has been good for us in recent years, in fact we were the first English team to win there when we hammered Inter Milan 5-1 in 2003.

  127. Bill – Let’s be honest it is most definitely not the toughest draw, as that would be either Barca or Real. I would have said Real a few days ago but Barca did put them to the sword recently.

  128. Irish:

    Of the teams that we could have drawn its arguably the toughest. Since we finished first in the group Barca or Real were not possible in this round.

  129. I think Bill means the toughest of the teams we could have gotten.

    As pointless as it is at this stage I’ll speculate that the last eight, barring any upsets, will be:

    INTER MILAN, ZENIT ST PETERSBURG, REAL MADRID, BARCELONA, BAYERN MUNICH, ARSENAL, CHELSEA, LYON

    From those I’d take Lyon in the Semis in a heartbeat, with our Germanic link this season coming full circle and Per walking out at the Allianz in Munich in the red and white of the Arsenal.

  130. Lets have some annual awards !

    Like “nastiest poster”
    “Post of the year”
    “biggest gaff”

    That sort of a thing.

    Nominations, categories and votes please.

    Alternatively just ignore me as everyone on twitter did. 😦

  131. AC Milan are 2 points behind Udinese in the league, who we beat 3-1.

  132. And that was with Frimmy, Jenks and the rest of the ragtag army. We’ll be fine.

    Going to be a fantastic couple of nights.

  133. And with a half built team as well Limps

  134. george I would totally put forward some nominations but I tend to have trouble remembering what went down last week let alone all year.

    What was that awesome Friday post a few months ago that everyone went wild over?

  135. Bill & Markus – you are quite correct, I should have realised that 🙂

    Now back to ignoring PG!!!

  136. Why anyone is “scared” or moaning about the draw with AC Milan is beyond me. This is a fantastic football draw in all respects. I doubt anyone who plays for THE Arsenal is the slightest bit scared about this draw. Nervous, yes, but scared? Please.
    This is exactly what the knock-out phases of the UCL are all about, the best of the best playing each other. I can’t wait for this tie, it will be entertaining and a spectacle and played in two arenas packed with passionate fans screaming and singing their heads off. How can anyone not be excited by the prospect! As for the outcome, the lads and manager know their stuff, winning both legs is certainly not beyond them. Some might say the same about AC Milan, but that’s why you play the game. Either way this will be great fun, personally I don’t think these will be the last matches in the UCL that THE Arsenal play in 2012.

  137. “It would be truly sweet for us to keep the first clean sheet of the season against them and knock them out of first place. ”

    My memory is not what it used to be but I can remember us keeping afew clean sheets this season. What happened to facts these days??

  138. Firstlady:

    MY memory isn’t perfect either but I don’t thing anyone has kept a clean sheet against them yet in the PL. It would be sweet if we were the first team that they did not score against.

  139. The prize for most ignored poster goes to…..

    George

  140. Gris Gris, this is the kind of tie players like Arteta have been dreaming about their entire career. The fact that it looked like it would never happen for him will have him totally geared up for it. He and Song will own Gatuso and Co.

  141. We won 1-0 in Marseille FL, so I make that a clean sheet, and drew 0-0 with them at home.

  142. Just noticed that Gattuso isn’t playing much at all this season.

    “On September 9, 2011, Gattuso clashed with team-mate Alessandro Nesta whilst playing against Lazio in Milan’s opening Serie A game of the 2011-12 season. He was substituted off directly afterwards (in the 20th minute) and diagnosed with paralysis of the sixth cranial nerve, resulting in diplopia in Gattuso’s left eye, an injury that despite his own determination may spell the end of his football career.”

  143. Marcus, I was thinking exactly the same. A player like Arteta or Mertesacker will love the glamour of a tie against multiple CL winner AC Milan. It is a chance to show their quality on the biggest stage. That round all eyes will be on our tie.

  144. Limestone:

    Call me pragmatic but I would still rather have had us get the easiest draw rather then arguably the most difficult. I suspect the players and the boss feel the same way. Moaning about things we can’t control is useless but so is rationalizing.

  145. I definitely understand that pragmatism Bill but then I also love the Australian mentality of ‘back yourself’.

    We can beat anyone and should fear no one.

    Let’s ‘ave em.

  146. Bill, all due respect to the so-called ‘lesser’ teams but I doubt that our lads train their assess off every day then go home and dream about facing Basel in the Champions League.

  147. best double act.

    jonny n gains

  148. Markus:

    Probably true. I have never played professional football so I can only speculate on what they might think based on my own mindset. Given a choice, I would rather we had the easiest possible draw since it gives us the best chance to play and win more CL games and to sell more tickets etc etc, but whatever makes you happy is good.

  149. Markus, true but there are also plenty of players who would recognise the value of getting an easy draw and saving the big teams until you can’t avoid them.

    Put it another way, over 1 leg we would probably have had more of a chance of beating Barcelona, for that reason I would rather have faced them in the final last year.

  150. duke – glad you put my name first!

  151. The aim or main goal, of any competition is to win it, I would much rather avoid the top teams till they have to be played. Beating Barca in one leg of a first knockout round has no comparison to beating Porto or Ajax in the final. Perhaps to some it might but most certainly not to the team and Manager. Porto are CL winners, we still are not, thats what the history books will always read. I know this is just my opinion and I am pretty certain we will beat Milan, and yes it is a much more mouth watering tie than any of the others we could have got. But to wish for it at this stage of the comp does not fit in with my line of thinking.

  152. Most improved poster – duke.

  153. Cbob:

    How has Duke has improved? he is always good for a laugh. Very funny in his own unique way. My vote for most improved goes to AIC. Him not showing up anymore is the biggest improvement anyone could make.

  154. Nice post OOU. As for todays draw I’d been hoping for Basel or one of the ‘weaker’ teams. But we always beat AC Milan anyway!

  155. Unless its rearranged, Milan play at league leading Udinese on Sunday before the 1st leg. We’re at Anfield on saturday before 2nd leg.

  156. Bill/Jonny I guess there is some truth to that and the persective of the fan is not always going to be the same as that of the player. But if we got an easy path to the final I don’t think I’d be as satisfied somehow.

  157. Id be satisfied seeing Wenger holding that trophy aloft regardless of the path there, the man deserves it and its the one piece missing from his mantle piece. But thats just me, !

  158. Markus:

    To each their own. Never can be a right or wrong answer when the question is how you look at something like that. Individual as your taste in music.

  159. Wenger on why he played Santos: “”I took a gamble because I did not want to be accused of just throwing the game away and I felt that therefore you needed a solid defence,” he explained. “I wanted to be fair to the competition.

    “Analysing him he came [into the squad] later and played less games than the others, and that’s why I played him. But I had a long hesitation before I picked him, believe me.

    “I felt he was a bit tired in the game before, and he had problems finishing the game. The way it happened to him it could have happened to anyone. It was not a kick, there was no contact, he was just on his own. He ruptured his ligament.

    “It is very disappointing because it is first of all sad for the player and sad for the Club. It hits us in a position where we of course already have many injuries and where he improved from game to game.

    “The length of the injury is very sad as well because he is three months out. The only good news is that the surgery went well and so he should recover quickly.”

  160. Bill, of course, I would have been very relieved to get Basel, but I am glad we aren’t traveling a long distance to Russia, which would affect us and possibly our league fixtures on the weekend more. Bayer, Basel, Lyon, even Napoli perhaps would have been preferable but Milan didn’t win any of their away matches in the group stages and haven’t been impressive against any big teams in Serie A or Europe other than Barcelona, so this isn’t a disaster.

    I’d like us to progress far in this tournament and I still think it will happen even though we do have the toughest test of the group winners, it seems. At least there is some glamour, some romance to this tie. Financially it is important and in terms of morale to go further than we did last year. But, tbh in previous years when we got to the quarters or semis by defeating Villareal and Roma, I didn’t find it all that inspiring. The last big tie that we won was AC Milan in 08; that victory meant something. Before that, when we knocked out Real Madrid. We came close versus Barca but it has been a good while since we beat one of the powers in Europe. To my mind, games v. ManCity, United, Chelsea, Spuds, Liverpool are bigger than against some of those other teams. The mini-league among the leaders is like a cup competition. Lose both home and away and our chances in the league are really affected this season.

  161. milan

    get the fuck in there..

    dont have to travel too far and we are up against decent opponents so no banana skin attitude..

    first game away…come on..

  162. well, there is also the idea of getting some of the greater teams out of the way, earlier,

    in the fa cup for example, one of man u or man city is already guaranteed as out,

    as u progress, you can only beat what is in front of you. if we get Basel in the final, why not?. when we had to play Barcelona in the final, we didn’t beat them, but could have actually beaten then over 2 legs last season bit for the ref!

  163. milan are a good team but they arent a great team..

    we can win both legs..depending on our injury situation

  164. You might have a point Bill.

    In truth I have always liked duke.

    Good man.

  165. Incidentally, one of your fellow americans has gone missinbg. G4E.

    Not heard much since he moved to NY. Hope he can stand the pace!

  166. Podolski ruled out….

  167. i wouldnt take too much notice of what arsene says regarding transfers, but in this case i do feel he was never after podolski to begin with..

    in fact i saw the interview and it sounded more like he was open to henry returning but we’ll have to wait and see what hes got up his sleeve..if hes got anything at all..

    bad news on jenks too..back injuries are fuckers..

  168. Bob:

    Duke has always been one of my favorites. Never writes long posts but they are almost worth a chuckle, with an occasional LOL.

    Perhaps G4E is lost on a subway train somewhere and hasn’t figured out how to get off. I think they wrote a song about that once.

    Not heard from NJGooner either.

  169. Bob:

    I meant to say “almost always worth a chuckle”. I need to start proofreading these silly posts I type. Embarrassing sometimes.

  170. Yep. He makes me laugh.

    Don’t tell him though.

    All points bulletin for G4E.

    I’ve seen NJGooner on Twitter.

  171. Whatever happened to Poliziano?

  172. AC Milan’s an easier draw for us than Napoli.
    Or the Zenith trip in Asia!
    I expect us to progress…

    No Podolski eh?
    I’ll give up Jan 29th.

    Jenks?
    sad

  173. JonJon, I missed the update on Jenks – what did he say…?

  174. whats happened about Jenks?

  175. Aman:

    Don’t know for sure about Napoli vs. AC Milan since I don’t follow Italian football but certainly could make the case that the trip to Russia would have been the worst draw no matter who we would have played. Glad that one goes to Madrid.

  176. “on Jenkinson…
    His scan was not good news, the wait will be longer than expected. We have to wait four more weeks for another scan. His stress fracture is not a career-damaging injury but it will take a bit longer than expected”

    ..sad not the end of days guys…

  177. Personally I am glad we got Milan, the girls in the stadium are usually really cute so even if it is a bad game we will have something to look at B 🙂 🙂 BS!!

  178. Bill,
    Napoli’s style of play is harder to supplant than Milan’s.
    They’ve still got some dinosaurs & Pirlo’s an old lady.
    Lavezzi, Cavani & co. are quite lethal. Ask Man.Shitty

  179. Glen Hoddle is such a pussy!

    http://soccernet.espn.go.com/news/story/_/id/997585/glenn-hoddle:-not-much-hope-for-arsenal-and-chelsea-in-ucl?cc=3888

    With such a mindset about games that are TWO MONTHS away, he could never ever be a top manager.
    Too shallow

  180. oh snap, Cologne’s playing Bayern…later gents.

  181. Oh before i go, a thought…

    I believe Santos’s style of play has furthered an option AW always wanted but Cashley & Clichy never excelled at.
    We’ve learnt to protect our overlapping LB better
    Gibbs should enjoy this & “get back” to putting the ball in the net
    As I “heard” he used to before he became a 1st teamer…..
    Ciao fella

    i remain POSITIVE.

  182. Hoddle just beats out the same tired arguments about Arsenal, every time he speaks. Arsenal have been defending so well of late and he just comes with the same blasted rubbish. He offers no insight at all. Hater!

  183. Arsenal have kept clean sheets 40% of their Premiership matches this season .Best of top 6.
    (I think)

  184. Does anyone have a link for the Bayern Cologne? Wouldnt mind having a watch at that?

  185. Gunnerjones, try epliste.com

  186. Ribery, off! sillly young man!

  187. For those in the US, its on espn3.

  188. Thanx Paul, appreciate that, gonna give it a try now. Pity ribery is off..

  189. GJ, He lost his cool and got two quick yellows. Head butting, grabbing throats and all that.

  190. i am watching the Bolton v Aston Villa game. Please do not ask me why!!!

  191. @ irish, regardless of your appeal, we just still have to ask why, cos this is the very hour to join the the scouting of Podoski and you are watching what?

  192. Ts,are you calling Arsene a liar?

  193. George @ 8:00

    “Arsenal have kept clean sheets 40% of their Premiership matches this season .Best of top 6.
    (I think)”

    I remember a while ago you predicted that we would lead the league in clean sheets and I told you what a silly and utterly crazy rose colored thing that was to say. If you turn out to be right then you deserve the award for the most amazing correct prediction of the year and there will be George worship will breaking out over the entire Arsenal blogosphere.

  194. Podolski is a decent enough player, I have seen him play many times over the years but I am not convinced he will fit in with how we play. If he is meant as a direct replacement for RVP then I think he will be more effective than Chamak who, let’s be honest here, has really faded badly after a great start. I still think Park will come good but that we will have to wait and see. My real concern is with Gervinho at the ANC and AA’s form being what it is, who will play out wide left? Could Chamberlain play there I wonder?

  195. Im not sold on Podolski either, like him as a player but not sure about him in our system. I think Park will be bedded in on the left till he is needed to fill RVP spot. Then we have Yossi that can play left if Arsh cant pull his finger out. Also I am a fan of theo on the left cutting in and shooting with his stronger foot.

  196. Just how do people become Bolton fans anyways? I mean what is there to be a fan of? Kevin Davies? Pffft!! not getting relegated more like.

  197. Irish.
    Andrei will be fine when he is starting regularly with other top players.
    Class is permanent.

  198. I am a fan of Theo running around swapping wings with 3G’s too. Maybe Theo on the left then with AOC on the right?

  199. We have so many options. even Rosicky on the left for a few games. Give Ryo and few games there to when he is fit again. Its still that main striker position that need to be addressed, as much as I like Chamakh he is not filling me with confidence.

  200. GunnerJones.
    did we once cross swords?
    Because if we did I cant imagine why.Not from any recent posts anyway.

  201. Agree George, Andrei will step up, Im confident of that too.

  202. Of course we have George! Ive crossed swords with most on here, but its all water under the bridge. For me anyway.

  203. GJ,for me too mate.Clearly.As I cant remember what it was about.

  204. It definitely wasnt about Arshavin George, Im a big fan of his too. It pains me how he has fallen out of favor. After Cesc left I really thought he would become the big fish and take it on his shoulders to lift this team. Im hoping he still does. In my opinion he needs a couple good performances to lift his confidence and we will see him back to his best.
    Ill be honest George in the begging I used to let people get to me and responded in the same aggressive manner. But now I find it more fun to read the arguments and throw the odd snide comment in. Im working on becoming a better all round blogger, still have some ways to go.

  205. Are you fucking calling me aggressive you ………….oh dear I’m at it again ,sorry

  206. I thought we had all agreed to ignore our resident meerkat friend?

  207. Careful,we have not yet given the award for “Irish cunt” yet!
    Mind or I might nominate you.

  208. I got a good joke with regards to the Irish, ( no offense Irish, Im part Irish myself)

    What’s long, green, smelly and has over a thousand ass holes?

    A St Patricks Day parade !

  209. the best 1-2 i have ever read on ACLF was yesterday between PONYBOY & CONSOLSBOB. HILARIOUS.
    I NOMINATE THEM FOR BEST FUNNIEST TAG TEAM.

  210. keep it up you too.. HAHAHA. no pun intended.

  211. i had a feeling we would draw milan. o well. as long as we get a relatively easy opponent in the nxt round. still, WE ARE THE ARSENAL. FEAR NO ONE.

  212. bring on shitty. time for a footballing season to be rushed out to them. already down and out mentally from their failings this past three weeks, let hope we shatter their psyche for good this weekend. bustups in their locker room are not far behind. 🙂

  213. it would be the best new years in a long time if we can start 2012 in third or fourth place . couple of strategic add ons and i realy do believe the SKY IS THE LIMIT…… COYG

  214. Gunnerjones – Not bad mate and no offense taken 🙂

    Goonerkam – Yea Ponyboy and Cbob pretty much nailed it yesterday. A lot better than Jonny and Gains, getting really tired of their non-stop onscreen flirting!!

    George – B 🙂 🙂 B S!!!!

  215. hay irish,, how are you buddy.?sorry about last night. phone was acting up.
    yah man, those two gave me a good laugh yesterday. awsome since o humor. too much. starting at 530 or so to 545..
    i Cant wait to see how Mancini sets up against us. scardy cat like last year i bet.. hoping for a knockout but i think it will be 2-0 to the ARSENAL..
    IRISH, YOU EAT TOO MUCH PIZZA MAN. HAHAHA

  216. Theo often comes up big in the big games. I am picking him and Robin each to score. 2-1 to the Arsenal. Come on you Gunners!

  217. oh ya, ACMILANS GOT GOOD JEZABELS….

  218. LOL yes they do 🙂 Hoping for a 4-2 score, only because I can see a lot of goals being scored and want us to win.

    Mmmmmmm…….pizza sounds good!!! 🙂

  219. i realy can’t see us getting scored on. not with that back four.
    my be one ,like limestone says. maybe we can get one of their guys sent off, like last year.. we toyed with them after that…

  220. I would love to see Nasri getting sent off for bein a bitch 🙂

  221. perfect,,, get under his skin… or mario.

  222. Are Inter and AC Milan like Celtic/Rangers Dundee/Dundee? ? One Catholic, one Protestant?

  223. don’t think so. more like catholic/catholic but of the capitalist kind..

  224. “A group of Italians and Swiss were unhappy about the domination of Italians in the AC Milan team, and broke away from them, leading to the creation of Internazionale. From the beginning, the club was open to foreign players and thus lived up to its founding name. Internazionale”

    Bloody foreigners! Isn’t there a similar reason why there is a St George’s cross on the Barca badge?

  225. Markus has the right of it. Hence the name ‘Internazionale’. It was most definitely a Nationalist thing, I mean it was 1908.

  226. Per Mertesacker has the best pass completion rate of any Arsenal player at 90.5%. Put that in your pipe and smoke it 🙂

  227. ok,, will do

  228. i don’t think the celtics and rangers play in the same stadium though.

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