Power, Corruption And Lies Invade The Arsenal Brotherhood

In the immediate aftermath of Wigan, there is little time for reflection with Chelsea’s visit to The Emirates on Saturday lunchtime. An air of negativity pervades Arsenal with the most minor perceived indiscretion magnified out of the correct proportion. Robin van Persie is at the centre of this, the elevated status he holds in the English game not just in the club guaranteeing media focus. His choice of dinner companion; an apparent refusal to shake hands; walking out of the Barcelona team hotel: grist to the media mill. Visiting friends is now a crime against your football club but surely were subterfuge is ruled out by wearing an Arsenal tracksuit? Isn’t it? Apparently not.

The same applies to Jack Wilshere. Not only is he letting the nation down by not being part of England’s ill-fated Euro2012 squad, he is now unlikely to be part of TeamGB which is just a heinous crime for the host country. Yes, I know that the Euros have not taken place yet but this is England we (I) am talking about and since 1970, every campaign has ended badly. And yes I sympathise with Wilshere over the Euros and potentially the Olympics but he is young enough to have more chances. Well, not at the Olympics with the Scots likely to secede from the Union, it will be a TeamEnglandWithOneFromWalesAndABallboyFromNorthernIreland and the EBS (Everyone But Scotland) Olympic Committee will go back to ignoring the football tournament. And this is before we consider Jack’s apparent admiration for Jose Mourinho. This is from a society that thinks little of pressing the ‘Like’ button to open a deluge of spam advertising on social media networks.

The truth is the negativity from outside the club is minimal in impact, the real problem is inside.

And results have not helped. In fact, they are the root cause in particular the stunning ability that the squad has acquired to drop points when you least expect them to. Not that this is particularly new since many an Arsenal side prior to the arrival of Arsène Wenger was adept at this as well. The squads from 1971 – 73 could pull that trick off quite well but were pale by comparison to Don Howe’s squad of 1984 – 86. Ultimately the manager is responsible for the season’s results with a snideness creeping into comments about him being overpaid regardless of the fact that Arsenal managers since the early 1900s have been well paid by comparison to their peers.

The politics of envy spreads its poisonous tendrils throughout the land.

Levity is not readily available. Mikel Arteta has the results of the scans on his ankle made public today, Arsenal bracing themselves for the worst with the manager’s post-match prognosis initially depressing. The Spaniard has been pivotal to the side, missing in five of the eight defeats suffered since he joined late last summer. His experience has proved valuable to the midfield with the deeper lying role giving him a great view of the play and able to influence matters more.

Even this has a downside, the Spaniard’s spell in this country has brought the issue of Premier League experience to the fore which is taking priority in some quarters over actual abilities.

And I understand where this comes from. The midfield has been ravaged by injuries in previous seasons with the effects felt this time around. Wilshere’s absence is compounded by that of Abou Diaby. The Frenchman is infuriating some which is the Arsenal equivalent of starting a fight in an empty room. Where no quarter is given on either side misses the point; that frustration is borne out of the knowledge that Diaby is one of the most talented midfielders that has played for the club. Or potentially was since Dan Smith’s tackle has done its worst to ensure that may never been proven.

Which is before we start with the unforgiving nature of football supporters when players return from serious injuries. Jack Wilshere beware the reaction to Aaron Ramsey.

And all of this will pale into insignificance if Chelsea are defeated on Saturday.

If it is too much to wait until then, Arsenal On This Day tells how the club’s first League title was delivered.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on April 18, 2012, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 119 Comments.

  1. First?

  2. Now for the read.

  3. Closer than the Grand National, eh goonerton. Close but not close enough…

  4. Don’t wanna doom but, I hope whatever happens on the weekend Ramsey isn’t made a scapegoat. Because of all the injuries again he will be expected to boss this game an I know he can do it because he done it before many times before his leg break.

    Don’t what to make of RVP right now an I never mentioned that dinner pic when I seen it days ago but it does look fked up if your Gooner witout tinted bins on. I mean wtf was doing hjavivin din dins wid them? Who knows but I didn’t like it. We need MDs in the sales and a CB an striker which I thinl has been dealt with already. Shane about the momentum but, hey we can do this.

  5. Goonerton – I do think that we look a bit misty eyed at Ramsey “before” his injury. There was no doubt he was starting to play well and was looking like starting to tie down a place in the starting 11 down, but I don’t think he was ever “bossing” games.

    He is probably at the level which you would expect for a player of his age and experience, and currently is having a run of bad form (as most young players do).

  6. goonerandy,

    We have agree to disagree on this one. Before the his leg I witnessed it myself for a handful games where he dictated the pace of games and was going for challenges that made me squirm because it makes you think about his leg every time he went in. It’s times like these I wish took note of these games for proof. He was really starting to show what he was all about and it breaks my heart to hear some of things said about him and its like he knows how some of us feel and I can even imagine what it must be doing to him.

    OK maybe he wasn’t setting the world on fire but, before the break he had me thinking that he’s going to be in the world class bracket in the next few years if he keeps this up!

    I just feel he’s getting it right now because Diaby, is out of sight and I’m worried this will intensify if things don’t go our way come Saturday.

  7. Yogi, Close but no cigar!

  8. Half my text missing and the rest jumbled up. damn you BB. Damn you all to hellllllll!

  9. Goonerton – I feel for him also. He is not playing well, but there are no other real options at the moment. That said, he never hides and is always comitted. That goes a long way.

  10. So now Ramsey is Denilson in disguise. Two years ago Denilson was being ripped for being a crabby, sideways passing journey man stopping the progress of Britain’s most talented attacking midfielder. Now that Arteta is injured, having played the very same Denilson role, albeit with more maturity and panche, poor Ramsey is now derided for not being as good defensively (retaining possession) and being ineffective offensively.
    Such sweet irony.

    PS: I agree with goonerandy. When did Ramsey prove that he was ready to become the fulcrum of our attacking midfield? Oh, now I remember; about the time when Cesc was preparing us for his departure by bigging up Ramsey

  11. I think Ramsey will develop into a very good box to box midfielder. not an attacking midfielder, not a defensive midfielder. And all round midfielder, and a very good one at that.

  12. Yes he’s still young but Rambo’s has been a better player before his injury. Way ahead of jack. I remember him so well. Thats whats pissing me off some times because i knew how much we had in him then. Even during the cups he plays he takes most of the set piece then. People tend to look who to blame. If diaby’s been around i guess he would have been the culprit for our losses. I know he get there. I think we need to win at least two games to secure third place. Am i right?

  13. And here I was rushing to read the post after such a sensational headline Yogi.

    I was thinking finally, we have a conspiracy. One that has suspense and drama with the paparazzi catching the protagonists in full flow. And without fail, Domingo Chavez of the Rainbow fame is firmly posted on his perch opposite the restaurant with his sniper rifle all geared up and his cross hairs firmly locked on Darren Dein’s mug as he smirks like the used car salesman he is.

    Alas. It’s only the diatribe by the British media. Disappointed.

  14. Darius

    Your musical knowledge has gaps that need filling. Mind you, you’re not the only one since nobody picked up on the other two last week,

    Guess Who? The Old And The New Bring A Force That’s Good Together

    Arsène On Good Technology: Fact, Dive Or Seven Types Of Ambiguity?

    Improvement might come about with our resident Smashy, Mr Stew Black of Somer Valley FM

  15. I don’t recall Ramsey being way ahead of Jack at all – I know a few disagree, but regardless, if he was ahead at any point it was hardly by a gulf.
    I do recall Ramsey having a few very impressive games (prior to injury) but I also recall a few people going over the top at the time and predicting he would go on to be better than Fabregas and other such Nostradamusesque hyperbole.
    Let’s face it both players are still VERY young – 21 and 20. We most likely won’t really start to see what their career arcs will hold for a few years yet. It’s amazing how easy it is for many to forget this detail.
    The injuries will have set back their development a little but it will also have increased desire to play, hunger, attitude and mental fortitude.
    Early setbacks have often proven to be a key part in the very most successful of careers just as many players who seem to have it all on a plate often go the opposite direction because they never had to fight for it before.

  16. I think Stew was once kicked out of the station for telling Sky news what they didn’t want to hear. Or maybe he interrupted the news anchor on his station to object to the spin the was being given by the Sky news feed.

    Stew, what was it?

    I suppose I better pull my finger out and fill in the musical blanks.

  17. jonny

    My own memory of Ramsey was that he was building slowly into good form ahead of the Stoke match and that it was looking very promising – people talking of him being a long-term anchor for the midfield. Great potential then still unrealised now.

  18. RVP and Arsenal, poor losers?

    I bloody hope so.

  19. YW,
    Arsenal have always had the “stunning ability” drop points when this is least expected.
    I can (barely) recall the FA Cup disaster of 1933 when Walsall beat us, at the very time we were winning our second consecutive Div 1 Championship. We won again the following year to make it 3 in a row!!
    Historically, though, the way that we continue, every now and again, to clutch disaster out of the very jaws of victory, makes the support of our great Club NOT for the fainthearted. All Gooners can therefore consider themselves to be the most loyal and true in football.

  20. Please would winning two matches secure us third place

  21. anyone mind updating me about arteta’s injury?

    and what exaclty is the hoohah over rvp, and his dinner companion whatsoever??

  22. Limestonegunner

    Lest we forget:

  23. Love,

    actually if spuds or newcastle win their game in hand, the only way to make sure would be to win all 4 remaining games..

    before the wigan game, we were 5 points ahead with 5 games to go. so that meant we needed 11 points to make sure it doesnt come down to goal difference.

    so that meant 4 wins out of 5 games.

    so now it is 4 wins out of 4 games.

    unless the spuds cock up.

  24. We have a couple of tough games as well. Chelsea and Fulham are games which we could easily drop points if were are even slightly off the pace.

  25. we are not playing fulham. already played them twice. chelsea, stoke, norwich, west brom

  26. Limestonegunner

    If you watch the video, and I understand how misleading a clip compilation by a fan can be, Ramsey looks a lot more decisive in playing balls forward, is very dynamic with his movement, and can really finish from distance with a quick shot before the defense has settled.

    Actually breaks my heart a little to watch that video. The music is moody and to see the exuberant youthful joy and passion just reminds me of how much he’s struggled since then with the injury, coming back and straight away carrying the creative burden in a side that lost its core midfield attackers and was in quite a bit of turmoil at the beginning of the year.

    He lost a year and more of his development, but hopefully we’ll yet see a player even better than the young dynamo pre-injury. I think next year will be a big year for him.

  27. Oh, my bad.

  28. @Love

    I share your concerns about the 3-rd place.

    I think if we lose to Chelsea, it will give both them and the Tots the massive psychological boost, and they may be able to put together a winning sequence. In this case, 2 wins in the last 3 games may not be enough even for the 4-th, and another end of season collapse will become a major media story which will not help us.

    I also do not see us going to Stoke under intense pressure and getting all 3 points. Pullis and his friends will immensely enjoy turning the knife I think, with the refs helping them.

    So, the Chelsea game indeed becomes huge. And how this one will turn out after the CL game midweek and our loss and customised midfield, is anybody’s guess. A big test for the manager and the players.

    I know I sound pessimistic, but that’s my usual approach. What do you think?

  29. Don’t forget Newcastle either. They have just as good a chance of 3rd as the Spuds or the Chavs. Many (me included) just expected them to fall away, but with five games left they are still there and are playing well. It would be perfect if we finish 3rd and them 4th.

  30. YW @11.16 yup that was pretty much my reading too.

    I just think we need to not get to far ahead of ourselves – fans though we may be!

  31. The good news is that my weight loss is right on track. From 92 kgs {203 pounds} I’m now 73.5kgs {162 pounds} as of yesterday. I’m using the Deviner method and the recommended range is 60 kgs {132 pounds} to 79 kgs {174 pounds}. I’m in a weight paradise!

  32. one game at a time.

    newcastle have got a tough fixture list. chelsea and city (though by the time they play city, city might have nothing left to play for and be easy meat)

    spuds play villa, blackburn, qpr, fulham and everton(i think). villa blackburn qpr are fighting for their lives.

    chelsea play us, liverpool and newcastle.

    it is really up to us. i am glad koscielny should return against chelsea. but ia m concerned about arteta, because obviously he has been our most underrated player. he is the reason why song can play his game, because he covers for song.

    the first goal for wigan, he was coming down injured while they broke away. 2nd goal, he was off the pitch, we were 10 men, and he wasnt there to act as the first line of defence, resulting in wigan getting into the position on their left flank which eventually saw the ball played in.

    anyone knows of his status?

  33. This is ace bloke didn’t know the CL theme tune was being sung by the choir at his wedding!

  34. The Spuds have the easiest run in. Villa and Blackburn really are rubbish, and whilst QPR pulled it out of hte bag against us they are in all reality a poor side. You would expect the Spuds to win those games.

    As long as we do our job though it makes no difference. 3rd Place is ours to lose.

  35. Thanks guys..i’ve checked also. I think new castle has more difficult matches than us. But i’ll keep my fingers crossed. It all depends on the result on saturday. But i wont be happy if after how we turn around this season for us to slip back to 4th. I’ll take a draw than another loss.

  36. My observation of Ramsey is that he is a very promising attacking midfielder who, more than his peers at Arsenal, seems to have a real talent for getting into goal scoring positions in the opponents 18-yd box. Obviously his being Shawcrossed set him back a year in his development. But unlike the prognostications of Cesc, who, in hindsight was simply being a slick politician preparing to move on, he was nowhere ready to take on the responsibilities of being the fulcrum of our midfield.
    My pet peeve, when he emerged and now, is he never was competing for Denilson’s spot as a deep-lying midfielder who, as Wenger describes it, provides technical security just in front of the back four. The other troubling thing is those who now plead for Ramsey to be given time to hone his game were simply intolerant of Denilson and the role he played. Hypocrites.

  37. @goonerandy

    I terms of the dropped points, we are 2 points better off than the Tots. Analysing their run in, it’s not inconceivable that they could win all their 5 games. In this case, to finish ahead of them we would need 10 points out of 12 which in my opinion is a big ask. Our away games at Stoke and West Brom are no formalities at all.

    To continue fighting for the 3-rd, we have to win against Chelsea I think. Anything else will make us contenders for the 4-th with the fans praying for a Tots’ and Chelsea collapse.

  38. OK then. My forecast is that we will finish 5-th.

    The good thing is that usually my forecasts are overpessimistic and rubbish anyway. What do I know?

  39. And my reasons for being pessimistic are:

    1. Our most important player out of form with no options to replace him.
    2. A disrupting injury in midfield.
    3. Tough fixtures.
    4. Club’s officials coming out and claiming that finishing 3-rd is a success.

    There may be more compelling reasons to be optimistic of course.

  40. Wigan is past us, our destiny is in our hands vs. having to rely on other teams to falter.

    I’ve prepared myself to the likelihood that Arteta will miss the last 4 matches. Someone will step up and deliver a good shift.

    I don’t know what Coq’s status is…..but since he pulled his groin, I don’t believe he’s played one minute; highly unlikely to head the list of options (for Arsene) for mid-field.

    Certainly the success of Rosicky, Arteta, and Song is that the three seamlessly rotated to fit the match circumstances. All three provide experience that raises the play of those around
    them. Primarily our defenders.

    Whomever makes up the mid-field with Rosicky and Song will need to duplicate their work ethics and excellent ball management.

    It would not worry me to see Chamberlain utilized in the Arteta slot for the balance of the season. A style of play that seems to fit Rosicky and Song; hard to knock off the ball; direct play; vision to find open players; unselfish; can score from most situations.

    As for Chelsea,
    they seem to be gathering momentum. With an inform Drogba in their line up, they can beat anyone, including Barca.

    I’m hoping that Barca can deliver a result that impacts their attitude coming into our match at the Emirates.

  41. Ramsey has been playing awful. He’s the not the player he was pre-injury. Still has a long way to go. Hopefully he will improve with time. Good to keep him a squad player

  42. We have to win against Chelsea this saturday! Chances are they’ll be fucked by the end of the barca game. Koscienly and Gibbs coming back are huge boosts! Their arrivals should totally transform the back four. However arteta is going to be a huge blow llno matter what. His work is crucial to us dominating midfields! Pray his injury won’t be too bad! And he’ll get the last two remaining games in. Now if diaby was fit that would be huge! Fingers crossed! ACLF a blog with sense! its still in our own hands ! Cheer on the lads at the emirates I got a feeling whatever happens we’re gunna give 100%

  43. Totts have 5 matches remaining, 3 of which are away.

    Last 10: D-W-L-L-L-D-D-W-D-L (average 1 point/game)

    Last 10 AWAY: L-W-D-D-L-D-L-L-D-D (average 0.8 points/game)

    I suppose anything can happen, but I’m not sure why anyone expects the Sp*rs to take more than half the points from their remaining matches.

  44. YW, good post. There seems to be some confusion about your headline – was it inspired by our blue Monday against Wigan? We must fight the temptation to read too much into one result; our hopes haven’t been ruined in a day. The race for third was never going to be a procession. I’m sure the players regret the poor performance which has led to some having doubts, even here. I have a feeling that they will face up to what went wrong sooner than you think. They can’t afford to stand on ceremony against Chelsea; at this stage of the season, every little counts. Most of our recent winning run has been fueled by revenge; we need to be wary of Chelsea – I’m sure they would love to tear us apart. [Enough already!]

  45. billysboots

    1 down, 2 to go – see my comment to Darius earlier

  46. Another good post Yogi:

    Who did RVP go to dinner with? I guess I need to read something besides ACLF occasionally.

    Bottom line is that we are in control of our own destiny with regard to 3rd place. If we play well we win, if we don’t play well we will struggle. It comes down to the whats happening between the players ears and the size of our cajones. I really had mentally given us 3rd place after the City game and was beginning to prepare for a full blown title run next season. Every time I think we have finally figured out this consistency thing we go and drop 2 out of 3 including losing at home. I didn’t expect us to take 100% of the points the rest of the season but I honestly didn’t expect us to lose any games. All this positive thinking I was doing had to come to no good. Its inevitable. I still we will hold on to 3rd and I would love to see us finish the season with 4 wins on the trot but we definitely should not lose any more.

  47. I think Rambo will be fine. Before this season I thought he would be a break out star this season and cement his place in the starting 11 and go on to international superstardom. Last summer I had thought that his ability to score goals would put him ahead of Jack even before Jack was injured. The season hasn’t really worked out that way. He was asked to take over the Cesc position and he was not ready for that. He is still very young and time will tell how it all ends up for him. I hope things work out a bit better for Jack next season because unless we add another top notch midfielder we will be expecting a lot from him. TR7 has proven that he can be our creative hub but I don’t think he can be expected to play every game if we make the CL and our usual fixture congestion is back.

  48. For me, Wilshere looks the better prospect (between him and Ramsey).

  49. Andy:

    “For me, Wilshere looks the better prospect (between him and Ramsey”

    I didn’t think so. I still think Rambo will be an excellent player.

    He looked so good in a few cameo’s before he was injured that expectations were probably too high and the pressure that was put on him when he had to take over Cesc’s position was too much for someone his age and experience. Hope the same thing does not happen to Jack next year.

  50. I don’t think it has helped Ramsey playing as the advanced midfielder. He is not that type of player, but needs must I suppose.

  51. Andy:

    Evil pointed out yesterday that most of his time pre-injury were filling in for Cesc and he had some very good moments. Coming back to full strength mentally after an injury like his has to be tougher then the physical recovery. I still cringe when I think about the slow motion replays and the angle of his leg. Still high hopes for him although tempered somewhat. Time will tell.

  52. Well, I have to say I was convinced when Ramsey first started making semi-regular appearances for us that he would be the second Cesc. I still remember that there was one game where he came on in the 70-odd minute for Cesc and he virtually played the same passes that Cesc would play. But after his injury something has changed. I do not know what it is, but at present I am not sure where his best position would be. I still think he is an excellent passer of the ball with a fantastic engine and a decent shot, despite his wasteful finishing.

    Maybe because of the changes made to our formation post-Cesc the requirements are slightly different for THAT position so that Ramsey does not fully fit the bill any more? In times past we would have DenilsonWilshere normally playing next to Cesc, who’d create space and time for him so that he could concentrate on picking out a pass and just had to play it once he got the ball back. It’s different this season, but I can’t really put my finger on why that might be. But playing as the midfielder furthest forward you definitely have less time with the ball, as evident by how often Rosicky ends up being forced to charge through midfield and take on players.

  53. Diaby played 45 mins in a friendly game today. I hope he is fit enough for the Chelsea game even if only for 30 mins as a sub.

  54. http://www.musictory.com/music/Numb/Seven+Types+Of+Ambiguity

    Since no one else apart from billysboots has taken up the cudgels and it’s been raining here all day which has put the kibosh on my dry stone walling.

  55. They can both go on to be ace – we don’t have to choose do we?!
    However, someone mentioned Jack in the same breath as Gascoigne recently and I have to admit – the first time I saw him in the flesh (a 3-0 destruction of Wigan’s first team by a team of embryos playing in the CC) that was my first thought. The ability to receive the ball in a crowd of players and suddenly, with one touch, burst into space. It was eerily redolent.
    For that reason, and the gut feel that came with that, I’m of the belief that it is JW who will go on to be something truly special.
    Long way to go yet!

  56. As for the other one, I can spot the reference to the band but can’t make a connection to the song.

    Good band though, forgotten about them.

  57. Any of my American brethren have a suggestion on how to keep rats or squirrels from sitting on the car’s engine block and crapping all over it (and leaving apple cores etc that eventually get toasted)?

  58. Paulie Walnuts

    Good stuff as ever YW,

    Ramsey joined us when he was barely the Age Of Consent, so he`s got plenty of time to become the player we all hope to see.

    I believe his injury still casts a shadow over his performances even more than 12 months since his return – he certanly doesn`t tackle with the gusto of his early appearances.

    Will he ever get the Shawcross-C&nt donkey off his back ? I really, really hope so

  59. I wonder if Rambo would make a good centre forward in future. Wenger mentioned that he finishes like a striker. Might be an idea to throw him on up front and let him off the leash from time to time.

  60. I’m not American, MD, but I just shoot the buggers.

  61. I’m not either CBob. I do, however, possess a fairly valuable rifle that was left to me in a will. No ammunition though, which is probably just as well as the result could be some extensive damage to the car.
    As a last resort I guess I could put down some of my out of date pasties or post pictures of Bale and Jay Spearing

  62. am glad wilshere will not be any near the team gb circus

  63. MD

    OBVIOUSLY, the answer is to be found at –


    It’s a riveting read and no mistake, ‘cougar urine’ is my favourite solution.

  64. Messi has so far this season scored as many goals (63) as Chelsea’s top-6 scorers Sturridge-Lampard-Mata-Drogba-Torres-Kalou.

    Still he’s only playing in a mickey-mouse league so there is no way he’ll score on a cold Wednesday night in Fulham.

  65. Thanks Jonny, but is that cougar urine as in the wild animal or as in cougar town (Courteney Cox)? I don’t mind trying to collect it from one of them….

  66. @ YW at 2.05

    Would that be a case of shutting the doors after the horse has bolted?

  67. Good post..
    Lots of good observations..

    Rambos going to come good.
    The talent is there, weve seen it..
    He just needs to explode into consistent form..

    he started off learning deep and he can play there but this season he was asked by wenger to replace cesc..his games been altered, if those passes start paying off then hes looking world class..
    anyone seen him play for wales? where do they play him??
    and is it just me or has he had a last minute growth spurt, ??

    the worlds his oyster still but this bad form is being topped off with bad form..
    hes trying to push the issue too hard i feel when he should just relax and enjoy the game..
    he just needs to calm down, remember what hes learned and enjoy the game..he’ll find a whole map of the game will open up in his head and all those things he was trying before that wasnt working are now working and hes looking a top player…

    he’s playing high on adrenaline at the minute but he would play better if he used his instincts more

    confidence is crucial..a goal will help..

  68. MD – I greatly look forward to the news reports of you, after your arrest, having being caught trying to ‘milk’ Courteney Cox for her urine.

    “But it’s for the squirrels under the hood of my car!” he cried to the Beverly Hills Police.

    To no avail.

  69. Arsenal star Robin van Persie admits that he never thought he would one day lead the line for the club, as he is now doing in such spectacular fashion.

    The Dutchman is odds-on-favourite to be named Player of the Year, as he is on course to break the 40-goal barrier this term.

    However, Van Persie admits that he worried about moving to the focal point of Arsenal’s attack following Emmanuel Adebayor’s sale to Manchester City nearly three years ago.

    “I never really thought that I would end up as a main striker,” Van Persie told Arsenal’s official website.

    “I actually never played there before – I did it a couple of times at youth level but it was nothing really special. We only tried it when Adebayor went.

    “The boss didn’t buy someone else because he was convinced I could do it.

    “I wasn’t even convinced about it. I wasn’t so sure, because I didn’t really play there so much.

    “Then, in pre-season, we had a game against Inter Milan. I scored a good goal, played well and he told me after the game, ‘You see? It will work’.

    “That was the first step to being a main striker.”

    He added: “Sometimes, you just question yourself, if you’re good enough at it. Those answers came.

    “I have been for a while now convinced that I actually can play as a main striker. I just didn’t know, and now I believe.

    “Let’s see where it ends. Let’s see how far I can push myself, see where my maximum lies.”

  70. I know a someone who wrote some software to help with building dry stone walls.
    ’twas an exercise that had a sense of humour. And it got her a cool job!

  71. I agree with JJ.
    Thanks for sharing the story about your friends youth team the other day JJ , that was nice.
    We just need to keep you off the topic of Eboue & Senderos!

  72. Software? Dry stone walling?

    Two concepts seemingly at odds.

  73. Chelsea fans getting outsung by Barca fans the whole game. Aren’t they ashamed?

  74. Limestonegunner

    Markus, interesting suggestion about Ramsey playing centre forward. I can actually see it in a team like ours. Right now with no apparent confidence in Chamakh or Park, it may be something to try when chasing a game to add him up top to RvP.

  75. Limestonegunner

    I don’t know who exactly Shotta means, but, for the record, I haven’t ever slated Denilson but am saying the same thing about him that I am saying about Ramsey this season–he was thrust into a higher level of responsibility than he was quite ready for. In the case of Denilson, because we didn’t replace Gilberto and Flamini, and in the case of Ramsey because we had no one ready to play where Cesc did once Nasri left, Jack was out, and Rosicky was not yet fit. Even if Jack was fit it would have been a new role for him as well. He might have been this year’s Ramsey instead and may yet be next year’s. Maybe they will develop but right now we have to hope Rosicky can maintain this form and fitness for next season.

    I had a comment to OoU’s most recent column on young players in which I expressed these views about Ramsey and about Denilson and Song. Denilson would have developed better if we had had an Alonso or an Arteta to play with and learn from for a couple of years. They played too much too early in their development in our leanest years financially with the balloon payments on Highbury real estate. Happily now we have some veteran players, but not in the creative attacking midfield role other than Rosicky whose form and fitness was wanting at the start of the season. That’s one area we might get by with what we have next year but we could strengthen there.

    I am of two minds about what is the priority in midfield. Cover and competition for Song? Attacking creative midfielder? Obviously a striker is helpful and maybe someone like Vertonghen who seems comfortable playing DM, CB and LB. But we have lots of midfielders but are lacking a tried and true creator apart from Rosicky. If he is injured or out of form we can try JW or Ramsey but it is a gamble.

  76. Limestonegunner

    Evil, well here you go (from Guardian MBM):
    “Am I the only one who finds Chelsea’s attempts at drumming up a pre match atmosphere as pathetic and everything that is wrong with the modern game,” growls Paul Jaines. “They basically hand out a load of cheap blue and white flags and play a dull track in an attempt to recreate an Anfield-like atmoshphere – when all it comes across as is the horrible, corporate idea that it really is. If you have ever been at the stadium ahead of a Champions League game is really is one of the most embarrasing and degrading things.”

  77. consolsbob
    The first part of the process was to scan each stone!

  78. But they take the lead. Drogba, after hobbling around the pitch and going down at every contact like he has been shot, suddenly finds himself completely healed and strikes for them. On one hand I do not want any other English team but us to beat Barca (and honestly, I don’t want the risk of Chelsea winning the Champions League if they go through) but on the other hand, Barca are twats and I’d love to see them humiliated. I guess I am a proper neutral for this game.

  79. 1-0 Chelsea. Very enjoyable to see those cheating Catalans losing. It won’t last, but I’ll take what I can get.

  80. How did Drogba stay on his feet long enough to score that goal. He spent most of the 1st half on his backside.

  81. Drogba scores just before HT after Cesc F Word has two earlier chances.

  82. Bloody hell Finsbury. It would have to be in 3D to have any chance of working!

  83. Where is Diaby?

  84. Limestonegunner

    Evil, how about Chelsea get a 1-1 draw and for the return and Messi is ineligible or out with a small injury so they have to sweat a bit when Chelsea gets an early goal at the Camp Nou? Chelsea eke out on away goals after a 2-2 draw but get hammered by Bayern Munich in the final? However, it takes so much out of them today that several Chelsea players have knocks that prevent them from playing us Saturday when we defeat them.

    That’s my ideal scenario.

  85. chelsea ahead 1 – 0 at half. Hard to believe.


    “But we have lots of midfielders but are lacking a tried and true creator apart from Rosicky. If he is injured or out of form we can try JW or Ramsey but it is a gamble.”

    Agree with your entire comment at 8:29 and most notably the last couple of sentences. Rather then spending the money to add another “true creator” I still think we should become more “tactically flexible” so it does not always put that burden to create on one player or a specific position. ManU after Scholes got older and Chelsea in their better years never had a true creator yet outscored us consistently.

    Your comment at 8:32 leads me to doubt the conventional wisdom that Arsenal has the worst fans in the world.

  86. Drogba scores on the counter. Seen this movie before.

  87. Consolbob,
    Yes it was in 3D. It was a student project playing with traditional techniques and new process’ if it helps.
    I think she had two intentions:
    To learn the techniques involved in the process, and to build her own 3D scanner which is now relatively easy and cheap!
    And to show that sometimes you don’t need a computer, even if her work produced some nice work (3D models and studies).

    1-1 is my preferred result too.

  88. Worst possible scenario would be for Chelsea to win the CL. Can’t believe it could happen but they seem to be doing well today. Still expect Barca to get a goal or may be 2 in this game and then win 3 – 0 at home. If Chelsea really think they still have a chance it will distract them this weekend so hopefully todays game will be 1 – 1.

  89. Mata off. Can’t remember the last time I’ve seen a player be that anonymous in a match.

  90. Just turned on ITV. 77 mins on the clock Call that an atmosphere. The “bridge” is silent. And their team are leading. What a sh*t club.

  91. Cesc off. I think you could see in this match that he is not our Fabregas anymore. Shying away from any sort of responsibility, always looking to pass it around instead of trying to grab the game by the scruff of the neck, just another part of the Barca collective.

  92. And after Bisquits misses a sitter Chelsea win the game.

  93. Barca only created 1 or 2 decent chances in the 2nd half. They were not very good at all.

  94. And this is the weakest Chelsea side in almost ten years.

  95. It’s 1:0 then. A perfect result for the home team.

    Football does not stop surprising (today in a sickening way).

    And defence does matter.

    With the probability of the 4-th place being useless this season rising, so will rise the importance of the 3-rd.

    Interesting which team Chelsea will play on Saturday. A must win game for us.

  96. Chelsea will treat the match against us on Saturday as a rehearsal for their second leg at Camp Gnu. They will play exactly like they did tonight. Hoping to catch us on the break….like Wigan really. How to break down their 11 man defence. They’ll be playing to conserve energy and maybe nick a win or a draw, Can’t see much room for Theo. Can’t see much room for the Ox. Can’t see much room for anyone really. Don’t know what the answer will be. But I expect it will be a frustrating match. Maybe playing like a whirlwind around them, so fast that they can’t see what we’re doing, will do the trick. Amyl Nitrate-style, angry and clinical. For 90 minutes. They won’t know what’s hit them and they won’t want to get injured for fear of missing out on the trip to Barca. We will have to play with anger in our hearts. Like Robin at his best. And Tomas V. And Theo. Yes that’s it. An angry Theo will win it for us.

  97. Good game from an Arsenal perspective. Chelsea players:
    1) Are now tired from such a game
    2) Have something to hold on to for the second leg

    Also, it was great to see those arrogant twats lose.

  98. I really wonder how much Chelsea are going to give it against us. They can grab fourth with a good victory against us, but do they really want to tire themselves out too much when the ultimate prize is just two matches away? I do think that this victory is actually beneficial to us and we might see them rest a couple of players. Nevertheless, I fully expect us to win.

  99. I don’t see how Chelsea players are tired having spent most of the 90 mins in their own half. Drogba can’t be tired as he spent most of the time laying down.

  100. Drogba is coming into the game against us in goal scoring form. That worries me as he has been our nemesis too many times before. Usually when we beat chelski lately, it’s when Drogba is not on the pitch. We may regret those points thrown away against QPR and Wigan.

  101. Drogba, Lampard, may be even Terry and Matta may be rested on Sat.

    However, with Torres, Sturridge and Kalou upfront, they still will be dangerous.

    Midfield may not be such a battle place on Sat with Chelsea sitting deep and trying to counter. So, our cutting edge up front will be decisive. I’m not even sure we can expect something from RVP. He is tired and will be covered. Can someone else deliver? Rosicky? Theo who loves scoring against them?

    No idea what to expect from this game.

  102. Diaby played 45 minutes in a reserve match today. He could be the man on Saturday. We so know they are going to try and hit us on the break. And we’ll be wise to that, with Song keeping an eye on their quick breaks. And Kos too.

  103. I doubt Arsene would take the risk of starting with Diaby. But even having him on the bench would be helpful.

    Still no news on Arteta. Strange.

  104. If you compare our performance last year with Chelsea’s tonight, we didn’t allow Barca as many clear cut chances, nor did Chelsea get as many opportunities that we did. They were lucky, but they worked hard for their result. We are still by far the better team.

  105. If Chelsea win the CL and we finish below 3-rd, my heart will be irreversibly broken. I’ll start thinking about following Edmonton Oilers, who have a history but are rubbish at the moment. So, a no lose.

  106. Passenal
    Chelsea will be sky high in confidence. One can hope that they are distracted by their
    Tuesday match at Barcelona. I can see Drogba getting a rest and Torres starting.

    In the first match, our back line was Dj – Kos – Per – Santos and thought they gave a respectable performance.

    As RvP seems to be showing the effects of trying to make up his lost minutes from past seasons. I don’t see a hat trick from him (hope to be wrong) and would prefer gervinho on the left.

    The only time I’ve seen Theo mad (during a match) was at his own teammate for a wayward pass to him.

  107. pedantic george

    “Chelsea will be sky high in confidence”

    Really? They got pasted..

  108. Why wouldn’t they be confident ? They’ve continued a winning run and have just beaten the best team in the world. I’d settle for being pasted like that on Saturday, wouldn’t you ?

  109. Limestonegunner

    I agree with Passenal. It’s not a good sign that Drogba is in scoring form. Hopefully he’ll be tested for the return.

    I’d say they have confidence and if they play this way, will be difficult to beat. If they come to play, we’ll turn them over. If they sit back it will be a frustrating game. I’d start the Ox, come to think of it. He can find space and make space from wide areas.

  110. LSG – I am thinking along the same lines mate. They will not be a push-over at all and Drogba has made a career out of scoring against us. I know we beat them last time but even then they managed to score 3 goals against us. Yet in saying that, I was not too surprised to have lost to Wigan, more disappointed that we were sloppy in defense and did not manage to score a second ourselves despite several chances. They were well worth their win though and credit to them for it. The Chavs on the other hand are halfway to bdefeating Barca and as such may be a bit distracted. Or at least I hope they are! 3 points for us please, thank you very much.

  111. I would also like to see Chamakh start as, if like LSG says, the Chavs decide to sit back wecould use someone of his aerial ability. I think RVP could use the rest too to be honest and would make one hell of a substitute for the last 15 minutes or so.

  112. It was like watching Arsenal play Stoke. Bloody awful. Just what the media admire. They couldn’t make up their mind in the commentary whether they loved ‘Barca’ more than Chelsea’s ‘grit’.

    Expect the same on Saturday.

  113. George – ““Chelsea will be sky high in confidence”

    Really? They got pasted..

    Heh, they got pasted? Yet when we were even more against the wall playing Barca we had them just where we wanted them, and it was all part of a master plan. 😉

  114. Drogba is back on scoring form, but he truely was an embarrasment last night. Even single ball he contested ended up with him rolling around holding some part of his body. Is he not ashamed when he watches the match later on in the evening?

  115. GA

    We did not play like that at home against Barca though.

  116. Bloody hell Yogi! The Red Guitars!!!!

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