Defensive Clarity Will Bring About Third Place

This season will be a tough one to judge, the season context and longer-term view give rise to differing perspectives. Those judgements are for another day though; this campaign still has legs left in it. The title race opened ajar to entice Manchester City into daring to believe; the cruel fates of football though seem sure to laugh in their faces as they succumb to their neighbours in a daring display of counter-attacking. Or so the feeling goes.

For Arsenal, despite recent dropped points – and to be honest, it only feels like we dropped points against Chelsea because of the Wigan result and them being so unadventurous on Saturday – their fate is in their own hands. The outcome allowed Newcastle to dare to believe and neutrals some romance, a reminder of a bygone era when a team could emerge from nowhere to be successful. That is all smoke and mirrors mixed with the tricks of time; Liverpool’s successful teams were not cheaply assembled from the council estates of Toxteth but bought in from all corners of these sceptered isles.

The players are aware that they are in control of the situation. Games in hand can be a delusional currency, offering hope until the games in question are viewed. Newcastle’s is a trip to Stamford Bridge against a post-Barcelona Chelsea. Even in victory, it is hard to see that South Siberia’s finest will not want the cushion of fourth place to ensure Champions League football of some sort next season. Which is before Newcastle contemplate their encounter with Manchester City.

That said, Arsenal’s fixtures are tricky. Stoke City offers a culture clash that we should know how to handle but recent times show that when we get it wrong, it is horribly so.  The inability to deal with the route one football is not going to be eased by Peter Crouch’s arrival at The Britannia Stadium. Yet the Arsenal defence is more streetwise at the moment, attuned to the routine football offered by teams in the lower half of the table evidenced by five of the last seven Premier League fixtures resulting in clean sheets.

Much of this is due to the relatively settled nature of the central partnership. I know Robin van Persie will romp home in all of the Player of the Season awards but to my mind, Laurent Koscielny is equally deserving. Even before a ball was kicked last season, he was ridiculed because of his career. He was not the internationally-renowned central defender demanded. I thought his opening season went well, adjusting quickly although capable of making high profile errors. This season he seems more settled, more assured in his touch, positioning and overall play.

This is not lost on his colleagues, Thomas Vermaelen as effusive in his praise of the Frenchman as Robin van Persie was of Theo Walcott:

He has done amazing this season and I don’t understand why a lot of criticism was there in the first season. The first week I saw him you could tell he was a great player and now it is all coming out in his second season. I am really happy for him.

He is [good] all round. He is quick, strong and good with the ball. I think we are quite similar players as well. There are just a lot of things about defending that he is really good at and that is why I like him.

We want to play from the back of course, that is how we always want to play. He is really good in that as well so that always gives you more confidence at the back.

Recognition from peers and colleagues can do his confidence no harm at all and looking at the longer term view, Arsène’s first choice central defensive pairing might not include the experienced German international which was previously assumed. Mertesacker’s arrival certainly put pressure on Koscielny and to a lesser extent, Vermaelen; both have risen to that challenge but Koscielny’s performances have been the more impressive.

If there was an award for Most Improved Arsenal Player of the Season, that for me would be as much of a one-horse race as the major partner. Three more performances of the standard seen thus far this season and the required points to finish third should be achieved.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on April 24, 2012, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 276 Comments.

  1. Hope we get Vermaelens mate. First?

  2. Good stuff yogi, you covered every issue i had on my mind.

  3. Vermaelean hit the nail on the head, him and koscielny are quite similar, i was worried that it could have been a problem but i have been pleasantly suprised.

  4. I know we are biased as we see him week in week out, but Koscienly has been aruguably the best CH in the Prem this season, you might be able to make a case for Kompany, but our man has definately been there or thereabouts.

    How Coco the clown from Newcastle got in the Team of the Year ahead of Kozzer is pretty amazing really.

    You are totally right, if you take out RVP, then Kos would of been player of the season.

  5. Matt, so is it safe to say koscielny is a better defender than vermaelean.

  6. said from day one koscielny is a brilliant defender. impressed me already on his debut against liverpool…

    clever defender who reads the game very well. classy defender. maybe the new laurent blanc?

  7. if robins goal have dried up it will be our defence that does indeed get us third..
    a couple of one nils to the arsenal will do us nicely..

    TV and koz are not that similar..
    similar builds and simliar mentality (nutters)
    but other than that TV loves to attack koz loves to defend so its a nice balance..

  8. Good stuff YW.

    So RVP is double player of the year. Well deserved to.

  9. Khalifa – Yes, in my opinion, Kos is a better defender than TV5.

  10. Not sure it is as cut and dried as Kos being the only alternative candidate – one could as easily make a cogent case for Sagna or Song.

    TV & Scz are right up there too.

  11. TV5 inevitably get’s the headlines for his goal-scoring and his ‘blood and thunder’ approach to defending, but I think if you looked at stat’s and analysed our game from a purely defensive perspective, Kos would be the better player.

    Maybe controversially I thought that TV5 would struggle to get back in to the team in the middle when Mertesacker and Koscielny were playing together.

    Just prior to Per’s injury I think those 2 were looking really solid.

  12. FWA Player of the Year, RVP. 2nd Rooney. 3rd Scholes.

    Scholes FFS. Only played a few games.

  13. I think Sagna is the best RB in the division by some distance Jonny, but not sure he would warrant player of the season having missed 3 months of it, harsh maybe, but fair.

    Song and Scz have been excellent, as has Rosicky, but RVP and Kos have been brilliant pretty much every game of the season.

  14. Jonny

    Sagne missed a lot of games through injury though.

  15. id second that opinion..
    kozz is better than most in the league..

    probably level with kompany..

    once we stop conceeding 4-50 goals a year he might start appearing in teams of the year…

  16. It’s a pity this is not the full table.

    http://twitpic.com/9d5tpd

  17. id second that opinion..
    kozz is better than most in the league..

    probably level with kompany..

    once we stop conceeding 40-50 goals a year he might start appearing in teams of the year…

  18. arteta should have been in there as well…

    koz arteta rvp

  19. You do know there are ladies right here on ACLF who would willingly have Koscielny’s children. Looks like it might be a love-fest for the young Frenchman today.

    And the praise is long overdue, he is without a doubt one of the best defenders in the game right now and in my opinion, a definite starter for Arsenal when fit. he will also do no harm when he performs for France at the Euros.

    What is very interesting to note is how solid our defence has been when Szczesny, Sagna, Koscielny, Vermaelen and Gibbs have started as the back 5. And I think that its also important to recognize the role of Song and Arteta in that solidity. That surely is a great platform of defensive solidity to build on.

  20. What’s all this nonsense about “Chelsea deserve to win the Champions League”. Fuck that – let them work for it if at all. What do you mean deserve?

  21. Well if they can include Scholes surely I can have Sagna!

    Kompany and Kos being overlooked in favour of Parker and Scholes is a joke.

    Still who cares about the runners up – the right player won it.

  22. Has anyone noticed that JonJon writes one liners like Piles the Farmer?

  23. Very true Jonny – Scholes 3rd in player of the season is a joke…. What about Silva, Aguero, Kompany, Kos – player’s who have been doing it all season…

    Just goes to prove how lazy and jingoistic journalism is in the this country.

  24. As someone wrote elsewhere, when players can vote turds like Parker, Coco the clown and Kyle Walker in PFA team of the year, and said same players eventually become pundits and managers, it is no wonder the level of footballing ignorance spewed by the media and blogs day-in day out.

    Big up YW for making the case for Kozzer. Unlike you, it is rather strange how few of us can recognize quality from the outset rather than joining the herd for confirmation. Cest la vie.

  25. Agree about our settled back five. (Gibbs being first choice at the moment?) With that stability, we can go on to challenge next season. Kosielny has had an awesome season. Those masterful performances against Barcelona last season was his own personal turning point. This season he’s been consistently doing that.

    That “table” dups, proves that Redknap being linked to the England job affected Liverpool far more than the Tinies. It’s a tired excuse that it was the distraction that caused their slump. They just couldn’t keep it up. What with their thin squad. And…a very interesting article in today’s Express from Matt Law which talks about Redknap’s disastrous wheeler-dealing in the January transfer window.
    Have a read here: http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/316252/Transfer-flops-are-blamed-for-Tottenham-slump

    Well done Robin. Fully deserved.

    I’m liking this squad more and more. Like Frank would say, best squad I’ve seen.

  26. True Shotta, nonetheless my recollection is that he had decent support right from the start amongst the ACLF collective. Most of us could see he was a class act – he just needed a little time to settle.

    I do recall incessant bitching on Le Grove, but there is nothing new or interesting about that.

    What’s annoying is the suggestion in the media that this season has seen him undergo some kind of transformation – had they been paying an iota of attention last season they would have noticed his progress and improvement was consistent and steady.

  27. I wonder if winning the two Player Of The Year awards will add just that extra spring in Robin’s step (and Theo’s for that matter) that will bring about a sparkling end to the season. I wouldn’t be surprised.

  28. Jonny, it’s unlikely any journalist would pay as close attention to our players as we obsessives would! It made me laugh the other day when (Mickey Quinn, I think) described Song as a purely defensive midfielder. I think he said how unusual it was for him to get forward.

  29. Mingus – it’s their JOB to watch and analyse games! I know a fair bit about players at teams outside The Arsenal. It’s really not that hard to keep your finger on the pulse and to look with your own eyes.

    It’s just lazy journalism – parroting the same crap as ever.

  30. koz wasnt our best defender though last season..
    JD was..
    Tv only became our best CB by default because gallas left..and he was injured

    It was a baptism of fire last year..our CB’s were koz, jd, squillaci..

    hes stood out this year though, even if he has better players around him than last year..

  31. Agreed Jonny.
    Micky Quinn being one of the laziest, our of a boat-load of other lazy journalists.
    To be honest, I don’t bother watching other teams all that often. My obsession goes as far as Arsenal. The others are a mild irritation. But if it was my job, then yeah! Can’t be anything other than laziness and pre-conceptions. And probably other things too.

  32. Nobody said he was the best last season JonJon…

  33. Since we’re talking about the defence, i have to give gibbs his due praise, the guy has been excellent ever since he returned from injury both in the attacking and defensive side of the game, it beggars belief when some aclf bloggers expect santos to be in the first team ahead of gibbs – for fuck sake are we watching the same matches? Gibbs is number one, numero uno, un, no arguements – End of story. 😐

  34. im just pointing out..

  35. gibbs is better simply becuase he fits the system more..
    santos aint no left back..but hes still good..

  36. Vermaelean will always be my favourite defender, him and koscielny just have a get the fuck out of our way look about them, stonecold defenders. 😉

  37. Is darius arsene wenger? Since we are having a guessing game, i might as well join in.

  38. heavy dose of paranoia again today darius??

    chill dude..

  39. Jon jon, santos is quality, no doubt about that.

  40. Is it just me or ever since fabregas signed for barca they lost their swagger, he slows the play down and looks like the least technically gifted player, but its not all negative the stupid turd adds more penetration and directness? to their game i.e through balls, i hate watching him now – too boring.

  41. Limestonegunner

    Kos needed a year to adjust fully. He has competition with Mertesacker’s arrival and he got physically stronger as well. Next year, I think Mertesacker’s will also be better, though a return from an ankle injury won’t be easy.

  42. Anyone labelling Mickey Quinn a “journalist” does that already disreputable profession a great disservice. Buffoon ex-player is about the extent of his “talents”. And his sidekick Mark Saggers has turned from a decent BBC presenter into a radio wind-up merchant second only to Adrian Durham in that category.

  43. Had a very vivid dream last night that we drew 3 all with stoke. That’s about a exciting as my dreams get!

  44. Jonny You like a bey man, what odds on that score line dude?

  45. bey = bet

  46. I think with Mert, Kos and Verm we have 3 world class centerbacks all in their prime that fit our style of play perfectly. Not only that but they all have that no bs approach but in their own individual way. Whether its the brute strength desire and heart of Verm or the agile quick smooth defending of Kos or the futbol IQ guile and poise of Mert. Its great their great and with Sagna and Santos along with the developing Gibbs, Jenks and Miquel we are set for years to come.

  47. Block4 – unfortunately, Mickey Quinn doesn’t hold the monopoly.

  48. sorry gents didn’t mean to post as Anonymous

  49. @khalifa: it’s just you. Whatever Barca’s problems are (which aren’t many), they aren’t about Fabregas.

  50. C

    I agree. I am really interested to see what happens with bartley. As Per usual, I have been following his progress and hoped he would get a chance with us. I think Miquel will be loaned out to a Prem side next season, along with a few others and perhaps that’s what might happen to Kyle? I hope so, would be good to see how he copes in the top flight. The thought of us having Koscielny, Vermealen, Vertonghen, Mertesacker and Djourou is effin awesome, but we have to balance that out with bringing through the yute dem.

  51. For those who wonder just how much of The Establishment Club Arsenal really used to be, pop over to Arsenal On This Day

  52. @Dexter

    I agree and what makes it even better is that they are all versatile and are all skilled. I do think Kyle will be loaned out and maybe even Miquel but the thing that me and a friend of mine were talking about is if we do sign Vertonghen and Miquel and Kyle Bartley keep growing and showing their skill (Miquel played well when given the chance in the middle of the season as a LB) then what is the fate of Djourou. While i would love to have them all I think he is the 1 that would for me suffer the same fate that the both beloved and maligned Arshavin suffered to where he would ultimately get “fazed” out. the best part about the whole thing though is that once a position of weakness has now turned into 1 of the best in the EPL and when healthy the world.

  53. Dex – average looks about 66-1. However Betdaq are offering 84-1 with a £10 maximum bid.

    Mind you given that Stoke have yet to score 3 goals in a league game this season I wouldn’t be giving your dreams to much credence.

    :0)

  54. Actually nola – there have been comments from some regarding Fabregas compromising the midfield. It was mentioned on Revista a while back – Guilleme Balague said that changes in formation from trying to shoehorn Fabregas into the team had caused problems.

  55. Jonny

    Ha! True mate, and I think we will beat them TBH. It’s just that, it was so vivid, I think I might just have to stick an Ayrton on it.

  56. That’s an interesting question: who has Cesc’s move helped more – Barcelona or Arsenal?

  57. I would say the latter.

  58. I wonder if any more twists are to come in this unusual season; must be surely. If Arsenal capture 3rd spot, even with a dark periods and missed opportunities, it will be perceived as a major step. To have built stability (the newfound defensive and midfield solidity, a far cry from 2 seasons back), and the overall consistent performances hence movement up the table from the lowest point is a big achievement.

    The battle for 4th is most intriguing and we are not out of it at all.
    Despite their 3 point advantage, Newcastle’s task seems the most difficult now and a good test. It’s been a great season for them. It could get awfully uncomfortable for us if we fail away at Stoke, assuming Spurs can win their remaining fixtures, very do-able, it’ll come down to the wire!

  59. Not that I necessarily agree but this is what Ballague had to say –

    “As for Barcelona, it`s interesting how they are changing their tactics all the time and almost two or three times in every game. That`s basically because they are trying to find a way to get Cesc Fabregas into the side and that is causing them problems.”

    Zimp – if we look at form you’d have to fancy Newcastle for 4th – they are playing like a dream at the moment whilst Spurs have been looking completely lost at sea. Harry has royally fucked it up – they are right to single out his incredibly shoddy work in the transfer window. Letting Pienar leave was idiocy and Saha has added next to nothing – he essentially brought in injury-prone gambles whilst letting some reliable players leave.

    Funny as fuck to watch it all unravel – half a decent season does not a great manager make.

  60. Nah, we won’t lose to Stoke. Robin (and by association Theo) will have a renewed spring in his step after winning the two Player Of The Year awards. And Stoke, with little to play for apart from Pulis’ dislike of all things Arsenal, will not be as tough an opposition as they otherwise might be. It will still need commitment, but a handbrake-off performance will do it.

  61. Plus…on-topic…our defence will anchor us to the 3 points.

  62. i am arsene wenger’s middle finger on the right hand.

  63. blackburn will be fighting for their lives against the spuds.

    hopefully bolton will get something out of their next game, so that they will still be fighting for their lives when they play the spuds.

    and hopefully, villa will screw up their next 2 games so that they will have to fight for their lives when they play the spuds.

  64. newcastle’s fixtures look the toughest on paper.. but we don’t know which chelsea and man city will show up..

  65. Mingus

    Theo’s out mate, but I get you. Chamberlain is fit isn’t he? Demolition Diaby should start IMO…. and smash into Shawcross, Huth, Pennant, Delap, Pulis, the potters mascot, chairman, tea lady.

  66. Chelsea will burst newcastle’s bubble am sure of that, so no worries there.

    I have been following bolton’s matches in order to see how our young japenese star is doing – this is what i have been able to gather.
    Miyachi is not as comfortable on the right wing as he is on the left wing, he sometimes relies too much on his pace when trying to go past a fullback when playing of the right – he prefers cutting in from the left to give a pass or take a shot, ryo has pace to burn has very good technique, he is also very highly rated by the bolton players and manager, their rightback gretar steinnson has gone on record saying that he is going to be a premier league star, he added that having played with wilshere and sturridge there was no doubt miyachi has the same level of talent with the aformentioned players.
    In conclusion, i think miyachi will be better served to stay with bolton on loan for another season in order for him to perfect his craft and challenge for a spot in our team in a couple of seasons. Personal rating for his loan spell will be 6/10

  67. So what do you guys think? Would i make it as a scout 🙂

  68. khalifha, if Bolton stay up it’s as good a place for him to gain experience as any. But eventually the lad will have to come back and train with us. Being around our players and the club will be important, even if he doesn’t get too many games.

  69. Dexter, how could I have overlooked a slight hamstring strain?! Yeah, well spotted. But (as you said) you got me. And yes, Oxlade-Chamberlain will adopt that same spring in his step, taking inspiration from his captain, and his accolades. And our solid back five. Solid, but springy too. We’ll be alright.

  70. Markus, you make some very good points but i am adamant that another loan spell will be better suited to improve ryo’s overall game, his competition on the left wing will be chamberlain, gervinho ,podolski … You see where am going with this

  71. Yogi,
    Mark E Smith and Peter Hill-Woods sister? Nah. But if only.

  72. It couldn’t get anymore cryptic for 4th. Spurs with the easiest (on paper, ha ha) run in, but 3 points adrift and playing rubbish with form close to a relegation haunted team (but I forgot, they have comic strip hero Scotty Parker, one of the great midfielders of the modern era, ha ha ha ha ha). Newcastle with the hardest run in, Chelsea plus Wigan plus City, but playing above their weight with their best (?) winning run for what seems like forever, 5 on the trot now is it? Chelsea, the canniest team (on past form) and renewed zeal with di Matteo, 4 points adrift which they close to 1 point IF they beat Newcastle. I do hope we can enjoy the blood and guts spectacle from the surrounding hilltops of safety. A win at Stoke would do just that, for now.

  73. Khalifha. I’m of the opinion Ryo will be “coming home” next season to truly start Wengerball training in reserves and a few sub appearances for a season before being unleashed on the unsuspecting victims.

  74. Due to the slip up vs Wigan we have made things a lot more difficult for ourselves, which, after all is the Arsenal way! 🙂

    A win on Saturday will aleviate any nerves, making the Norwich game a lot more enjoyable as that victory there wil coincide with 3rd spot being confirmed. Bolton will beat the spuds, city will beat Newcastle and the chavs and toon will draw.

  75. ZimPaul

    Ryo and the rest of the loanees will return for pre-season (well, apart from those who don’t want to play for us that is) and I bet there will be one or 2 who surprise the boss and coaching staff with their improvement. Maybe Ryo will be deemed good enough to be part of the 1st team squad? Or Bartley, Miquel, Yennaris.

    It’s such a shame that Connor Henderson got that bad bad injury as I feel he would have done a ‘Jack’ this season. He may well need a loan now, unfortunately.

  76. Limestonegunner

    Just listened to the Game podcast from the Times. Oh joy, Robson was on. He kept referring to the frailties of the big teams in the PL and using his familiarity with Arsenal matches to provide all his examples. The most annoying part was when he went out of his way to debunk the idea that mid-table teams with nothing to play for might be unmotivated by bringing up the Stoke v. Arsenal match. With palpable relish and delight he said that Stoke would be totally up for the match because Pulis absolutely hates Wenger. Perhaps he is right. But there was something very crude about how he made the point that suggested he was very happy about Pulis’ attitude and almost seemed to imply that there was good reason to despise Wenger. It certainly didn’t come across as a criticism of Pulis for harboring a ridiculous hatred for AW. What is wrong with this tosser?

    Mattgooner, I haven’t heard from you about the petition. I think it is high time to send it in.

  77. Denilson to come back for a brief bit?

    http://news.arseblog.com/2012/04/denilson-set-for-sao-paulo-exit-brief-arsenal-return/

    With Arteta out I honestly think he could have done a job for us right now. Still, if we ever see a fit midfield we’d have little space for him.

    I really hope Diaby is fit to start on Saturday.

  78. Jonnyneale it really makes you wonder what type of wages he’s been on at Arsenal.

  79. pedantic george

    “billysboots | April 24, 2012 at 1:30 pm
    That’s an interesting question: who has Cesc’s move helped more – Barcelona or Arsenal?”

    I think the answer is…….wait for it…………Real Madrid…………..ta ra

  80. Denilson coming back would just be awkward. Nothing against the lad but I wouldn’t want him around the first team.

  81. mingus

    Indeed, check out the link. Actually all you learn is that the Hill-Wood’s and Cobbold’s appear to be related via marriage.

  82. @billysboots | April 24, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    I think he has helped Arsenal more while actually messing up the natural flow of Barcelona(not that i’m complaining). and George was right he is really helping Real Madrid because Pep is trying to force him in the lineup and not using him like he was early in the season when he would come on as a super sub or when Inesta or Xavi were out.

  83. mattgoonerknight

    LG

    This may sound stupid but I can’t figure out exactly how the best way is to send it?

    As I said before, I’ll happily send you the log in details; are you on Facebook or Twitter?
    I could private message you then.

    Cheers

  84. Limestonegunner

    Maybe we send the link to feedback@arsenal.co.uk and give them the log in details so they can see the messages. I’m hopeless with this stuff myself!

  85. mattgoonerknight

    It would be interesting to see how Chelsea would celebrate a F.A cup win if they were to be knocked out of the CL tonight and subsequent events meant that they were too far a drift to make top 4 come final day.

    Personally, I would imagine that the senior players (or those who believe they are the next “big” players) would find the ignominy of settling for Europa League football to have a somewhat dampening effect on their cup winning celebrations.

    The media are forever asking Arsenal players; management; fans etc “wouldn’t you rather have a trophy in the cabinet than qualify for the Champions League”; I’ve not yet heard this being posed to the Chelski contingent. Perhaps the media are in a state of denial, caught unaware’s by the chavs predicament.

    There are a lot of “if’s” for that scenario to come true (they could do a qualification treble of some sorts, or lose the F.A final), but it would be interesting to see the whole “silverware versus Champions League” debate truly put to the test, and not at the expense of our well being.

    I would actually prefer Chelsea firstly to be knocked out tonight to provide us with a safety net of 4th; for them to finish 5th, above the spuds but out of the top 4; and for them to beat Liverpool for the F.A cup, as Liverpool winning both cups would be extremely irksome and as alluded to above, Chelsea would surely not perceive winning the cup as a major victory.

    Is that asking to much : )

    OTBAG!!!!

  86. Limestonegunner

    I like your scenario Mattgooner. But I am fine with Chelsea losing in the final as well!

  87. Limestonegunner

    I mean in the CL final but come to think of it I don’t mind so much if Liverpool wins the FA cup for a cup double. Having no success in Europe or immediate prospect of CL football and being in mid-table in the league won’t really make up for two domestic cups, I think. It might convince the owners to stick with King Kenny, and so far he is doing a wonderful job spending money without challenging for CL places.

  88. Limestonegunner

    I am not sure Stoke away is the best game for Diaby to make a start: poor pitch and very physical long ball play to contend with. Then again, I’d be very happy to have Ramsey on the bench. The prospect of those baying neanderthals heckling him for having the temerity to allow his leg to be broken and cause all the awful attention and feelings Shawcross endured and suffered through–well that will be unpleasant. I think he will start and will just have to be strong, but in an ideal world he might be spared such ugliness.

  89. mattgoonerknight

    LG

    I hear you, but I can just hear the scouse gloating now “aaiii, we might of come mid table, but fuck it, at least we won two trophies” and so on. It will garner them an undeserved reprieve when in reality King Kenny et al should be getting slaughtered for their mid-table mediocrity.

    If Chelsea fail in their quest in all things Champions League this season but win the F.A cup, it still would be a massive failure on their part…

    How much patience will Roman have?

  90. “The Manchester United boss insists his side have won their trophies by nurturing young stars and not just by splashing the cash.”

    Yes, right Mr. Fergus, like 30 mil Berbatov-olos for example.

  91. mattgoonerknight

    Sorry LG,

    just seen that you meant CL final not F.A.

    Well, although I’d obviously bet on either Real or Bayern beating Chelsea in the final, to me it would represent an unnecessary stress, they could get lucky…no, let’s just dump them out tonight for my anxiety’s sake! 😉

    Chelsea winning the CL…horrible thought

  92. All the talk about the nou camp pitch been extremely large is a myth, it is the same size as the emirates and only 2metre bigger in diameter than stamford fridge.

  93. Exactly the scenario I’m hoping for MGK.

    The question refuses to go away for us, because of the amount of time that has elapsed since we won anything. For Chelsea – winning the FA Cup whilst falling out of the CL would represent a spectacular failure but it’s ramifications could be even more severe than that. This is a club in need of significant overhaul but, as FFP looms into view, the loss of CL income (which they take for granted) could be disastrous.

    Many of the players they might wish to offload are on exorbitant salaries and they may face the ignominy of paying for them to play for other clubs. [As an example I learnt today that Ade’s salary is paid 100K a week by Man City to the 70K a week by Tottenham]

    Wenger hasn’t always been his own best friend – stating bullishly that 4th IS a trophy, and that kind of thing, but then, this season, I imagine some are genuinely seeing the truth behind those words for the first time.

    Who would swap places with Liverpool – even if they do take the cup double? Not me. No thanks.

    Should we take third, and have Spurs miss out on CL qualification in the process, I think Wenger will be under a little less pressure than in some previous years – the continuation of CL football next season coupled with gloating rights over our own noisy neighbours will have been secured (which I swear is all some care about). The fact that they threatened to take it from us will have made the schadenfreude taste all that more piquant.

    Still, for many, everything hinges on not only securing that but ALSO capturing RVP’s signature and showing intent and ambition with a well handled summer in the transfer market.

  94. Mattgooner, i would prefer to run around nude with only a john terry jersy on performing the hawaii rain dance than watch chelsea win the c.l, please not in my lifetime.

  95. LSG-

    I once heard Ro bison say he had faith in the arsenal players but not in Wenger. That was earlier this season. Tells you all you need to know really.

  96. Robson

  97. Yogi:

    Great post as always. The Kos has turned out to be a true star defender. I worried last season that he and TV5 were a bit too much alike and be like Gallas and TV5. However, when Kos is playing with TV5 he seems to understand that he has to be a little less aggressive. I am more confident in our team defense now then I have been for 5 years. We still stuggle with consistency and no matter how you slice it we are still conceding too many goals, even during our 7 game win streak. However, the future looks more promising from a defensive standpoint then at any time since the invincibles. Hopefully the Kos can stay healthy because I think he is the key outfield player in our defensive scheme.

  98. Kenny can have the two trophies – so long as it it convinces the board to stand by him and give him even more money to fritter away.

    For similar reasons I’d happily have City win the league: I’d rather Mancini in charge for next season because he’s a decidedly ordinary manager. Heaven forfend they find someone competent to work with those riches.

  99. That stewart robson fella is of the le grove ilk, surely it should not come as a surprise

  100. MattGoonerKnight and Limestone.

    I would suggest the best way to notify Arsenal about the petition is to send an e-mail of the link to ask@arsenal.co.uk but copy it to to Ivan Gazidis. I would also suggest emailing Kate Baldwin the senior press secretary. I’m sure such a petition will “interest” them. If you call Highbury house you can find out the format of email addresses though I think its initial+surname@arsenal.co.uk – e.g. if Joe Bloggs – jbloggs@arsenal.co.uk

  101. @ pedantic george at 4:25 pm (and C)

    Ha ha – good answer! In terms of silverware, you may be right (although I’m not sure Cesc’s arrival made as much difference as David Villa’s injury). Looked at in another way, both Real and AFC may be one place higher in the league this year. Although we miss some of what he offered (on his best days), I think that, as a team, we are better off without him (and with Arteta and the money). It’s not all about skill; Arteta (and most of the other late arrivals) seem to show more consistent leadership and heart than Cesc was able to muster last year.

  102. pedantic george

    Goonerwife.
    welcome home.
    If Robson did say that he should never step foot in the Emirates again.

  103. Goonerwife @ 6:09:

    Questioning the boss, the ultimate mortal sin. 🙂

  104. @billyboots
    I agree with you about the David Villa’s injury hurting Barca but i also think that Inesta, Xavi, Messi, and Cesc are all the same type of player and Cesc has messed up their timing and chemistry. For as talented(yes i will admit he is a world class talent), his talents are the type that need to be the focal point. I have watched a couple of Barca games with a friend of mine who lives and breathes Barca and i think his assessment was spot on: Cesc doesn’t have a role on this team because he is used to being the orchestator like he was at Arsenal and their they have Xavi and Inesta and Messi who are all IMO better than him and ecspecially playing that style thus he looks lost and thus is causing problems. He continued to say that even for the Spanish team many times he looks lost because he is no longer the focal point of the team’s plans but is a cog and that doesn’t seem to suit his game or personality.

  105. pedantic george

    Bill,it fucking well is if the club pays your wages.
    Fuck him

  106. pedantic george

    Fuck Cesc and his problems as well.
    He is not even man enough to admit he is not “all that”.This guff about him being a more complete player is just that.
    Little political turd,is what he is.

  107. They have given Cesc a free role of late but that does not seem to fit the rigid, ‘everyone knows their job’ style of play Barca have developed.

    That said had Cesc had his shooting boots on against Chelsea he could have nabbed a couple and we’d all be singing a different tune.

    He’s in the starting 11 tonight –

    Valdés, Puyol, Mascherano, Piqué; Busquets Xavi, Iniesta, Cesc; Alexis, Messi & Cuenca

    I know some of you hate FCB but personally I’m hoping they give Chelsea a truly embarrassing schooling. It will be a worthy reminder that we are still the only English team to have given them a decent challenge.

  108. And PG is off on another Fuck Cesc Tirade!

    RAAAA!

    🙂 😀

  109. George:

    Calm down. I have studied your writings extensively and although I never hope to be anywhere near your level, its fun to have a little mischief.

    I don’t like Robson either and I have no clue why the club hires him. I signed Limestone and Matt’s petition too.

  110. Limestonegunner

    Jonny, with heavy heart I do hope Barca stuff Chelsea. I can always root against Barca in the final but it would be unfortunate to have another English club have bragging rights over them. Right now we have pushed them as hard or harder than Chelsea, though they do have a case to make in their previous semi-final.

    I am hoping Bayern make it and defeat them in the final.

  111. pedantic george

    Yes Bill It is.

  112. Limestonegunner

    Why no Alves? Is he ineligible, injured or benched? Anyway, it will be more pleasant to watch the game as he is one of the chief divers and whiners in world football. He talked up quite a storm before the first leg.

  113. I do hope the Chavs get beat to shit but at the same time I have before and have said now adn willl continue to say. I have used my alotted # of uses of his name so enough of this talk of our former player

  114. George:

    Imitation even when poorly done is the sincerest form of flattery.

    Limestone:

    I my heart I would like to see Barca get beat and then Bayern stuff Chelsea in the final. However, Chelsea winning the CL which is the worst possible scenario so I guess its tepid support for Barca.

  115. I need to proofread my typing before I hit the post comment button.

  116. pedantic george

    Bill,you go for it mate.

  117. Welcome back goonerwife,how is the little goonerette doing?
    I really cant stand the thought of chelsea going through tonite as they may just go on to lift it.any tem that has beaten barca in the recent past has gone on to win it,i would like beyern to lift it in the end.

  118. Update to Finsbury’s survey of London N17:

    Well. It’s not pretty.
    There are some nice old buildings near a football club but I think they’ve been marked for demolition to help build the stadium that nearly wasn’t and that may yet not be there. A shame. I hope they survive the spud progression.

    Some readers may disagree with these initial impressions. I’d suggest wearing these ruby goggles as they walk around. The refractive index may be disconcerting but for me it works fine.

  119. Thanks guys, little goonerette is great. I’ve been around just reading. Too tired to type. And the media was really pissing me off so I took a mini break. But always kept in the loop with aclf.

    Chelsea must not win this. It will really piss me off if they did. Plus Arsenal dont need the grief. Not too concerned with Cesc, seeing as how he is dead to me.

    Congrats to PaulN on your little girl.

  120. interesting tidbit already. Gary Cahill off Jose Bowingwa on

  121. “…there have been comments from some regarding Fabregas compromising the midfield. It was mentioned on Revista a while back – Guilleme Balague said that changes in formation from trying to shoehorn Fabregas into the team had caused problems.”

    Serves them right – their eyes were figuratively bigger than their bellies! They really didn’t need him, but they were so arrogant they thought they should just take what they want. If they were not playing chelski I would want their smug faces stamped into the dirt. But hopefully if they weasel their way out of this one, Bayern or RM will finish them off.

  122. Thanks Goonerwife!

  123. I honestly believe Bayern is going to win the CL at Barca’s expense. Ribery Robben Gomez Mueller and Schweinsteiger will be to much for Barca

  124. I am glad Drogba sat out the game against us. Would not put it past him to score 1 or even 2 as Barca have to get more and more aggressive.

  125. Credit to Chelsea. Instead of hoofing it clear they actually try to keep the ball for a bit when they win it. Free kicks go long to Drogba, but in other situations they are trying to counter with speed.

  126. Jeez. I thought Abramovitch wanted sexy football for Chelsea. If he carries on this way and gives Di Mateo the job he’ll soon get bored and pack it all in. The task of rejuvenating the side would seem to be an impossible one. Or at least one fraught with institutional dangers!

  127. Really, Evil? I must be watching a different stream!

  128. This is an embarassment to English football.

  129. @mingus
    They just get mugged off the ball so quickly. But in essence, they are trying the right thing. It’s important not to instantly concede possession to Barca.

  130. what stream are you watching mingus?

  131. mattgoonerknight

    Foil hat time 🙂

  132. Limestonegunner

    Hahahaha, Terry, you oafish thug!!!

  133. It was one with Arabic commentary, but it just crashed! If I get it back I’ll let you know. And on it, Barcelona just took the lead. Is that the same match you were watching too Evil? 🙂

  134. @mingus
    On my stream Barca just got their customary opposition player sent off for who knows what.

  135. Limestonegunner

    Chelsea haven’t watched many CL games. Any excuse to give Barca a man advantage will be taken. UEFA rule, of course. The plus side is that JT won’t be available if it goes to penalties!

  136. well well the refs bail out barca again.

  137. Evil

    Sorry, it was John Terry. Fairness just doesn’t come into the equation.

    A surreal experience is listening to Stew on his feed whilst watching Chelsea crumble: http://www.somervalleyfm.co.uk/audio.html

    God only knows indeed is what di Matteo must be thinking.

  138. Evil, can you post your stream?

  139. mattgoonerknight

    That was very good

  140. I missed all that trying to find one that works. What happened?

  141. sop://broker.sopcast.com:3912/106723

    It’s a sopcast stream.

  142. Limestonegunner

    Don’t let Terry off the hook. He’s a major idiot for gratuitously kneeing Sanchez in the back.

    Now 2-0 and Barca on its way. Performed much less valiantly than we did against Barca so far.

  143. Clerkenwell Gooner

    God, is there enough tin foil in the world? Unbelievable.

    Ooooh, away goal. I take it all back.

  144. mattgoonerknight

    That was very very good….

  145. Limestonegunner

    Well, scratch that, Ramires scores with a chip over Valdes. Right now they are going through on away goals.

  146. fukin barca crooked c*nts

  147. Amazing seeing some Arsenal fans defend JT on Twitter. People are funny.

  148. Seems like i am in the minority here, but I want Barca to lose. They are way too full of crap for me. A good does of humility is what they need.

  149. ”Seems like i am in the minority here, but I want Barca to lose. They are way too full of crap for me. A good does of humility is what they need.”

    This. Enough’s enough, the Barcelona love is unbearable.

  150. Jonny i hink its more to do with barca paying the ref to do help them out when the easiest first situation arrises…fukin stinks. whenever barca are up against it up steps the ref..

    Im with Paul.

  151. John Terry : Captain, Leader, Thug

  152. A brilliant goal that was. Credit where it is due.

  153. If Terry had kneed one of our players like he did Sanchez we would have been screaming for red. Ramirez goal makes this interesting. Can you imagine all the balls licking that will go on if 10man chelsea beat chelsea.Please please barca i hate you for how you handled the Fabregas saga but dont go out to this scum!!!

  154. Fabregas for me has lost some of his quickness of passing

  155. RVP is watching the game with the great Ronaldo – https://twitter.com/#!/Persie_Official/status/194874280180326400/photo/1

  156. Duke I get that, but – by the rules – there can be NO defending what JT did.

    He had to go – the ref got it right.

  157. What’s going on here, if any club deserves a spanking, its Chelski, who cares how it happens.
    Meanwhile, miyaichi is getting mugged on the field by aston villa thugs, they are trying to get him stretcherd off

  158. Chelsea fans accusing a Barca player of going down easily is a bit rich after the Drogba antics in the last game.

    Still hope to see Chelsea smashed.

    If they go through though, will Terry miss the final?

  159. Duke

    As straightforward a straight red as you can hope to see..this time there can be no arguement

  160. mattgoonerknight

    Jonny

    That’s a fucking awesome picture!!!!!!

  161. Dammit, miyaichi just got subbed for kevin ‘long ball’ davies, i guess the villa players are proud of their thuggery

  162. Sorry Khaliha but Barca are the team that disrepected the Arsenal for two summers running. They dive and cheat there way to the CL finals and get lauded as the greatest ever. Can’t stand them.

  163. yep just seen a few replays and yes it was a sending off.

  164. Penalty?heheheh chelsea

  165. mattgoonerknight

    fucking running out of foil fast

  166. mattgoonerknight

    oooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

  167. Fabregas has caught the barca bug, what a fantastic dive.

  168. Limestonegunner

    Unbelievable miss from Messi–didn’t look comfortable taking it.

    But was it a penalty? Or has Cesc become a big diver?

  169. Having seen the replay … well … I think in other cases we’d only see a yellow card for that kind of foul, but it’s stupid and a red can be justified. How can you do something like that in a decisive semi final?

  170. Messi misses…shiiiiit!!!

  171. Has the greatest player in the world ever, finally run out of steam?

  172. Well, just 40 minutes to go. I hope Chelsea make it, with all their players banned for the final there is no chance they will win it.

  173. Lol, fabregas never liked lampard according to wilshere, i think i just saw the proof

  174. Routine Spanish dives from Fabregas; Lampard should have lamped him there.

    At some point a Chelsea player is going to completely lose it and hurt someone bad.

    And who’d blame them?

  175. This is giving chelsea alittle swag and I dont like it!!

  176. Damn barca, damn them to hell.

  177. Limestonegunner

    So no Terry, Ivanovic, or Ramires available so far for Chelsea if they make it to the final.

    Party and Neville call Cech’s time wasting yellow “strange”. Have they seen RvP’s secon yellow from last year? I’d call this one mildly predictable!

  178. This is the ultimate conundrum. It would be great for either team to lose, but crappy for either one to win. Glass half full or half empty?

  179. Are UEFA teeing up a Madrid win in the final?

  180. Not sure about the status of the glass but suspect the pub is empty.

  181. Clerkenwell Gooner

    Don’t care which team wins, but a Barça loss to this mob would put another dent in the FCB invincibility myth. Which will make it easier for us, when we get drawn against them again next year.

    If RM gets to the final, suspect they’ll be the ones to win it. They are insanely motivated, since it would be the long sought-after 10th, La Décima. Özil said Casillas never shuts up about it, and I imagine it would cap Iker’s career as a captain (following WC 2010, Euros 2008 victories with Spain).

  182. Was pissed off alot by cech’s timewasting on saturday,good to see him punished for it here.Looks like chelsea may be going through …ooh well, we cant always get what we want!!

  183. chelski are so jammy to come up against barca as they are on their way down, while we had to face them at their peak and each time our key players were missing. If they win, the media love-in will be unbearable!

  184. Spanish cheats starting to look anxious and edgy; they could end up winning nothing this season – how funny would that be given their unlimited £millions?

  185. Messi is having a terrible game

  186. Barcelona tiring?

  187. Limestonegunner

    Barca frustrated. They see no way through, out of ideas. Doesn’t look good when you are subbed for Keita and you desperately need a goal!

  188. Limestonegunner

    Yeah, but as Passenal said, the media love in will be nauseating if Cheksea make it through.

  189. Another Chel$ki goal would be the funniest thing; Spanish heads would sink faster than their economy.

  190. This is just like the part 2 of spain vs england

  191. Limestonegunner

    Where’s the Messi magic?

  192. I couldn’t fucking care for the love-in when Chelsea finish 6th and end up losing by a huge margin in the CL final.

  193. That’ll do me very nicely, Evil.

  194. think positive….lets not dwell on chelsea getting to the final lets just laugh at barca getting knocked out.

  195. Limestonegunner

    Torres on for Drogba–why? Guessing Drogba is close to getting himself a second yellow.

  196. I am so sick and tired of the constant Barcelona love in as it is. “Messi is the greatest player ever”, “the greatst team ever”. Them can move with that blow wow.

  197. Limestonegunner

    Good advice, Duke!

  198. Wonder what the 5th official behind the Barcelona goal is doing to keep himself awake.

  199. best case scenario is chelsea knocking out barca and then losing the final.

  200. Limestonegunner

    Now Meireles out for final. Keep it going!

  201. Another floaty dive from the former Scouser.

  202. Limestonegunner

    Looks like di Matteo is the new Avram Grant.

  203. Well done Torres – how funny is that – just look at their heads fall over their cheating bodies.

    HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HAAAAAA.

  204. Clerkenwell Gooner

    Wow, Torres just paid his entire fee back. Well done.

  205. I feel the slighest bit of joy for Chelsea. F*ck those Catalan c*nts. Chelsea will lose in the final, and they will lose big.

  206. What this means is that chelsea are winning the final, mark my words!!!!!

  207. altogether now.

    ha ha ha ha ha ha …

  208. One of the great English performances in Europe.

    Hate Chel$ki like any other normal person.

    But loathe Barcelona more. Much more.

  209. fabregas needs to work on his training.

    messi has done alot of crying lately.

  210. On the plus side Fabregas wont be winning any trophies this year,how is that for karma?

  211. Credit where its due..it was a truly wonderful performance from Chelsea…

  212. Barca deserved this. They have been so lucky in the past, their players have been an annoyance to the general public, that’s karma for you.

  213. And to think that some thought we could not beat them with 11 men on the field!

    Barcelona play in such a way that they have to win early or get help from the refs late. If Messi doesnt show up, Barcelona don’t show up.

    Cesc is being wasted but atleast he will have the copy del rey and his mum to soothe him.

  214. lets not forget how barca keep shafting us. they knicked our cl final in 06 and they have been knicking our players since 01. fuck em.

  215. In 4 days Barca have choked away their chance to win La Liga and the CL both at the fortress Camp Nou. Ha ha ha.

  216. hah no trophies for cesc this year then….

  217. I guess Cesc and Nasri are happy with their 60 odd minutes a game

  218. @firstlady then we better get that 3rd spot!

  219. Chavs should play their kids in the final; all their first team have been booked, more or less!

  220. Barca in decline…As for John terry it couldnt have happened to a better bloke

  221. evening poodle.

    those chelsea fans will be having a great night tonight in barca.

    lets hope they dont all get pickpocketed down dark alleys like george.

  222. Newcastle had better watch out; Alan Pardiola will be on Farca’s wish list …

    Along with Modric, Bale, RvP, Song, Vermaelen, some bloke I met down the pub who scored recently ….

  223. Chelsea fans outside going bonkers and screaming their heads off. Well credit where it is due, chelse defended for their lives and got two break away goals. Messi must be kicking himself for missing that penalty.

    I hope whichever team wins tomorrow goes on to lift the cup, would be a shame if a team that was so defensive (even when they were 11vs 11) was to lift it.

  224. What the fcuk guys, chelsea are going to win the final, whats there to be happy about?

  225. How an Arsenal fan can be joyful over Chelsea winning the CL is beyond me.

    And btw, the 3-rd is far from secured.

  226. We just watched Chel$ki’s ‘final’; they won’t win anything else.

  227. Ah well, so be it – let’s wait and see what happens next

  228. wiz, calm down do you think the special one will let them!

  229. Goodnight fellas and ladies.It is almost midnight this side of the world.

  230. @khalifha
    How are they going to win it? They’ll be without Ivanovic, Terry, Meireles and Ramires, all very important players for them. Madrid have the quality to beat them like they haven’t been beaten since the 5-3. And Bayern have a lot of class, too. Despite beating Barca, Chelsea are really the underdogs, no matter who goes to the final.

  231. Hats off to Chelsea. Perfect game plan, rode their luck more than a little, but wow! I did not see that coming.

  232. So Cesc Fabregas. How does it feel going to Barcelona, or as you say, going to your home club so that you can win trophies. The trophies must be spilling all over you.

  233. Let’s not gloat too much – we still have to win our games to secure 3rd and if we don’t it might just be that this is chelski’s year and then 4th is no use to us. Let’s hope it focuses the minds of our players and supporters for the next 3 games.

  234. The same reason I don’t want Citeh winning the EPL, Darius; the idea of Na$ri and Cesc winning nothing whatsoever is just a delight.

  235. I said I had a bad feeling before the they played first round with barca, that feeling still persists but hopefully it is a reverse jinx. nothing good about them winning tonite (well other than Fab can going home to cry for he wont be winning anything this season).

    Beyern would be my preferred choice!!!but if worse comes to worst I hope Mourinho gets it.

  236. Evil | April 24, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    They may have a few players missing, but if they have nothing else to play for, they could easily defend for their lives and get a lucky breakaway goal to win it. Anything is possible once you are in the final.

  237. Evil:

    Have to admit that as the game went on I started to support Chelsea but the truth is that stranger things then Chelsea beating Real or Bayern have happened. Chelsea winning would not even be close to the shocker that was Liverpool beating AC Milan after they went down 3 – 0.

  238. If only we played barca with cesc in their team!!

  239. And interesting that the great Messi, once he gets properly tested, for the first time this season, fails to deliver …

  240. we really have to laugh at how barca fucked us over the cesc saga and now they both will win nowt…ha ha fukin har dee ha.

  241. If Chel$ea win the CL and we end in 3rd place we would still have to qualify for the CL.

  242. In which parrallel universe will the Chavs be winning the CL?

  243. I must say that I have a lot of pain accepting that Chelsea beat Barca. I hate Chelsea with such a passion, I feel like throwing up whenever any of their players are mentioned or when they’re on the pitch. I hate the fucking cunts – there, I said it.

    But this is the thing though. I hate Barca more for being the lying cheating scum bag bullies and ball scratching mother fucking cunts they are. And I love the fact that cesc Fabregas is winning shit this year. Serves him right thinking that by bailing out on us he’ll walk into a guaranteed trophy haul.

    Most of all, I hate the thought of Chelsea winning the Champions league before Arsenal and the media lovin that we will have from here on until they’re bitch slapped in the final or they miss another penalty (Oh wait, Jonny captain fantastic the thug ain’t playing)

  244. Evil, the script has already been written, you don’t win this type of match without getting the glory, think inter milan in the 2nd leg semi final against barca with ten men, henry scoring against leeds, the script has been written ma man, we just have to live through the nightmare.

  245. If Chelsea would truly end up winning it … no, I just refuse to believe that it’s possible. They just can’t.

  246. Chelsea will win nothing this season.

    Hate ’em as much as I do, they did well tonight.

  247. In other news Villa are getting closer to the drop zone. Seems Mcleish really is a crap manager.

  248. well no terry, ramires, ivanovic and merales has to fuck up their balance. will be even tougher without them then it would have been with them. cant see a jose led madrid losing to a weakend chelsea or even a tough bayern side.

  249. Darius:

    I think I remember you saying your wife is a Chelsea fan. I play golf alot with my wife and I have always thought that if she wins I am still happy because in the end if she is happy then I’m happy. In a strange way Chelsea winning might be a good thing for you. As long as we hold on to 3rd, which I think we will.

  250. bollocks wiz,

    we were supposed to win in 06 our last season at highbury the great results in madrid and like,but were robbed. that proves there is no script…

  251. Dukegooner, i stand by what i said, am getting wasted on the final, some chelsea fans have already called me to start gloating, God please restore order. Am losing my mind here and i hate barca with the same passion 🙂

  252. @dupsffokcuf
    “If Chel$ea win the CL and we end in 3rd place we would still have to qualify for the CL. ”
    whaa? are you sure? ah ofc since Chelsea will be directly qualified?
    bastards! well if they are up against murinho they will loose for sure. I hope….
    And imagin poor Newcastle if they get that 4th spot and they wont even be allowed to try to even qualify for the CL.

  253. Bill.

    She was too scared to watch the match tonight and recorded it instead. She’s watching it now with a huge fucking smile on her face.

    I understand the logic of keeping her happy and making my life easier, but for fucks sake, I still hate Chelsea…LOL! The things we do for love.

    I’m still going on a media blackout until 5 minutes before kickoff against Stoke and it’s Arsenal Player commentary (not Stewart Robson I might add) only. I get sick listening to any commentary whether Sky, ESPN, Talk Spite, Radio 5 – or whatever.

    I’ve actually managed to convince many people to turn down the TV volume and synch the feed with Arsenal player. It sounds fantastic when you link up the laptop to the home theatre system and surround sound with a HDMI cable – the sound of the support from the stadium in surround is mind-blowing and gives you a hard on every time.

    I blame Stewart and FunGunner though for pointing out one of the ecommentatorswho responds to everything by saying “very much so”. Our Steven Hughes now gets to my tits with that “very much so” catchphrase. I wish the main commentator Dan Roebuck can say something on the fly like “That Van Persie, he really is a crap player, totally useless for Arsenal” and I would love Hughes to do his customery “very much so” in response.

  254. @dupsffokcuf

    If we’re 3rd and Chelsea win, they’re the ones who have to qualify. England loses the 4th place, but maintains co-efficient priviliges of automatic qualifications for top 3.

  255. and lets all rise above adrian durhams impending goading the gooners with his “chelsea done what arsenal couldnt do shit” its pricks like him that just want to create hatred.

  256. Darius I didn’t see the match but I feel your pain. How can a gooner not feel agog (haven’t used that word a while) the arrogant, hyocritical, lying, cheating Barca lose is beyond me. Have we forgotten the circumstancial evidencee linking a payment by Rossell to Texiera Brazil’s former bigwig in FIFA and how it coincided with referees Buscassa’s (spelling) meteoric rise in FIFA after sending off RVP?

  257. My tablet is running low on juice. My grammar is horrible.

  258. Thats what I am saying Shotta. I agree they are talented but they keep up way too much rubbish. They have won 2 CL championships by cheating and they are looked upon like they accomplished something great. Forget Barcelona.

  259. pedantic george

    You have to take your pleasure where you can.
    I am hugely happy that Cesc has gone to a team on the decline ,horrible little weasel that he turned out to be.

  260. lol @ ” It’s the biggest night in Chelsea’s 8 year history”

  261. @ Darius Stone (@DStoneArsenal) | April 24, 2012 at 10:39 pm
    If we’re 3rd and Chelsea win, they’re the ones who have to qualify. England loses the 4th place, but maintains co-efficient priviliges of automatic qualifications for top 3.

    That’s a big relief!

    The only good thing about this and about Newcastle’s form is that if any of our players’ minds were unfocussed they will surely be focussed now. It has to be third place. Nothing else will do.

  262. @ Deano
    ha ha

  263. feck..chelseas bus parking was too much for barca..

    i didnt give a shit who won..i hate them all that much its making me support the germans..

    it turned out nicely though..
    barca get royally fucked and chelsea lose half a squad..

  264. Limestonegunner

    I echo Passenal. Our task is before us and this result means we have to be focused to hold onto 3rd.

    Also, of Chelsea win the CL they will be the first LOndon team to win. That would be a big shame. Arsenal deserve that honor.

  265. Clerkenwell Gooner

    Well, I’m convinced RM will walk it both tomorrow and in the Final – except that Alonso, Coentrao, Higuain and Ramos are all already on yellows, and if any of those get another yellow vs Bayern, they too would be suspended for Munich in May. Would be gutted for Alonso if he misses out (and Ramos, actually).

    Not sure who is on yellows for Bayern. Anyone? (And is it just me, or is this rule a bit nuts in any case?)

  266. Koscielny has most certainly been the most improved defender in the league this season but if I was Wenger I would still want to bring another one in, I know he is getting on a little but Coloccini from Newcastle would be the right sort of player

  267. Darius
    “….the sound of the support from the stadium in surround is mind-blowing and gives you a hard on every time.”

    You and your Chelski-supporting wife have a very strange relationship.

  268. And it gets ever more cryptic. What a season. From our point of view we now have to assume Newcastle will win their game in hand, and thus level with us on points but way behind on goals. We must assume from there that Newcastle will garner a minimum 7 points, maximum 9. We must assume Chelsea will gain CL 4th spot by winning it. Therefore, the absolute minimum for us is 2 wins and a draw, and even that is a mighty risk because it takes us out of the “it’s in our own hands” zone.

    It wouldn’t be nice watching the CL final hoping that someone else does a job to ensure we get the 4th spot.

    The odds are stacked heavily against Newcastle, come what may no matter any other result City will go absolutely hell for leather to win that match and they have the means, ditto Chelsea, ditto Wigan; but look at what Wigan have recently done!

  269. ZP

    I don’t think Chelsea will risk missing out altogether. If anything it makes them more likely to pursue that with vigour, an insurance policy.

    Anyway on a different subject, today’s post is here,

    https://aculturedleftfoot.wordpress.com/2012/04/25/jack-the-olympics-time-for-that-chapter-to-be-closed/

    And a reminder that the club has not always enjoyed the best of times,

    http://afchistory.wordpress.com/2012/04/25/promotion-heartbreak-for-arsenal-on-this-day-25th-april-1914/

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