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Thursday, 24 February 2011

Big Game Sunday

Last time Arsenal won the league cup my parents were expecting a child and living in one of the roughest areas in the Wolverhampton, last time Arsenal won a trophy I was there and living in a not so bad part of Wolverhampton. Point? There is none, its just its my blog so I must be included in everything.

On Sunday I shall be attending the Carling Cup Final, and despite not being old enough to remember what it was like to care for the League Cup, from listening to Alan Davies and the Gang on “The Tuesday Club” it used to mean something. This of course was probably helped with the incentive of a possible place in the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup a tournament I proposed be reformed to help the FA Cup and also the fact that one team got into the European Cup and another the UEFA Cup.

Despite some people on that other show saying they’re not bothered and some (like Matt Lucas) saying they’re embarrassed by getting to the final, I am still content and happy with this final appearance, and with wins against Chelsea and Barcelona this season, and addition of this trophy to our illustrious cabinet, is by no means embarrassing, in fact, its a massive help.

For you see, for several years now many of these first team lads are young enough to be fringe players at other clubs and even be let go to go rot in the never regions of the French first division only to come and bite their former club in the arse. However, Arsene has kept these lads (despite our pleas for them to feck off back to whence they came) and has told them “You can win trophies” oh, and look we have a trophy in our sights. This trophy is a stepping-stone, a stepping-stone for greater things. Once you know how to win one trophy, you know how to win another. Its like FIFA, once you know what formation, what tactics and players to use for Arsenal, you’re invincible.

However, despite the fact we may win everything some day, there is some bad news, captain Cesc Fabregas and playmaker Theo Walcott will play no part in the final, and emotionally, Cesc did tweet this the other night:


Now you can say he wants to go home, but his sudden desire to play for the best footballing club in the world (and who can blame him) has not calmed his passion and burning desire to captain this Arsenal side to silverware something unlikely to happen at boyhood Barcelona.

I really hope Cesc is allowed to lift the trophy as captain like Patrick Vieira did in 2003 despite being injured/suspended with whoever the captain of the day (probably Robin or Samir) is. Although, maybe a positive we can take away is perhaps Cesc’s burning passion to win trophies as Arsenal captain may warrant him staying for longer and for a long enough time where the business-mind of Arsene Wenger gets £30 million for a finishing Fabregas instead of £29 million for a reaching prime Fabregas.

Either way, bring on Sunday and come on you Gooners!

P.s. Lets win it for Cesc AND Theo.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

The idiots who keep me annoyed – Arsenal Vs Stoke City preview


Its almost a year since prosperous Arsenal & Wales midfielder Aaron Ramsey had his leg broken after a malicious challenge by Stoke’s Ryan Shawcross, I remember watching it on TV after eating my tea, and turning away in disgust when I saw his foot dangling down. I said the words “Shawcross has cost us the title” – of couse, indirectly it was the game against Barcelona when Gallas, Arshavin and Fabregas were struck down injured that ultimately seemed to cost us the title. However, after what happened in 2008 with Eduardo, I wouldn’t put the tackle passed it.

There were two things I took from that day, the leadership of Sol Campbell and captain Cesc Fabregas with that huddle at the end of a emotional 3-1 win and the words after the game. When for 115 minutes plus adrenaline and emotion is pumping through your veins, seeing a horror challenge for the third time in four years to one of your most valuable future stars is very aggravating and upsetting. So, I never took the comments of it being a “disgusting” tackle to heart that much, I knew he would not go back and retract his words (which I think he did for the Eduardo one) but I did not expect it to cause a fuss, but to Tony Pulis, it did.

At first, I respected Pulis’ comments, they seemed fair, but after watching them again, seems like he was defending Ryan Shawcross more than he was sympathising with Aaron Ramsey. First of all, he never apologised on behalf of his player, yes, he said the basic “Are condolences to Aaron”, but there was never a sorry, there was no “It was a stupid challenge, it should never happen in Football, we’re sorry, Ryan’s sorry and we wish Ramsey all the best”. Take into account the Wilshere tackle from this season on Zigic, a tackle which (easily could have) didn’t break Zigic’s leg, Wenger straight away apologised and said his player deserved the sending off, to be fair, Wenger did (like Pulis) defend Wilshere (which is an instinctive move for any manager) however, Wilshere has not been reckless since, unlike Shawcross who’s been sent off twice already this year and ranks with 3 others as a player with the most number of reds (along admittedly with Arsenal’s Laurent Koscielny (who was sent off for 2 yellows for nothing fouls and bringing down a player 30-40 yards from goal as last man)).

Pulis was also quick to say Shawcross was not malicious, a player already notorious for breaking Francis Jeffer’s leg and attacking Emmanuel Adebayor off the pitch. I don’t buy into all the “Shawcross cried” crap either, he cries off the pitch then later says he wont change his style, very quick to turn on the waterworks when a player lies in hospital with the chance of never playing again, but you don’t mind doing it again.

I’m not against tackling, Wenger’s not against tackling, Arsenal are not against tackling, we are against clumsy kicks to the leg on the half-way line like your Johnny Wilkinson.

To my final point, Stoke fans trying to get #dirtyarsenal as a TT, this is why I don’t like ignorant fans, firstly, the Fair Play League (won by Arsenal several times) is down to a inconsistent refereeing, referee’s differ, some will give a team a foul, some wont, some warrant it as a yellow, others don’t, others send the player off, others don’t. Just because Arsenal have got X amount of fouls doesn’t mean a team above them have tacked more fairly, they may have got away with it. Anyone taking the Fair Play league stats all to heart needs to compare the way teams play.

Overall, I and many other Arsenal fans don’t hate Stoke, the place, the people or the club, its the ignorant fans who sound like they accept Ryan’s tackle as just a kick to the shins and because he plays for that pompous pass-happy team Arsenal he somehow had it coming. Like if you see a middle-class man get mugged in the street you don’t do anything because you believe he’s done something that warrants him getting beaten up and having to drink through straws. I’m sure (and hope) most Stoke City supporters are lovely people who actually wouldn’t mind seeing their team keep it on the deck a bit more and actually hated seeing the Shawcross tackle. Its just that minority (and I hope its a minority) that keep me thinking twice about going to do that Sports Journalism course at Staffordshire University.

Monday, 21 February 2011

The FA Cup – The epitome of Football’s Problem

A few days ago I wrote why seeding would be a major step backwards for the FA Cup and how the tradition of it supposed to be the only Cup where anyone from Arsenal to Chasetown can win it would be broken with silly new laws like it. Today, I’m going to write the ways to which you can improve the FA Cup and make it the top domestic cup competition again.

1) Bring back the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup – I know this isn’t a ‘FA problem’ so to speak, and there’s nothing they can do to stop UEFA making tournaments defunct or merging them with other tournaments, but I do believe this would make the FA Cup a bigger priority for some mediocre Premiership Clubs who finish 8-14th ever year. UEFA and The Premier League will never warrant the 4th or 5th Champions League spot ever going to a winner of the FA Cup, its just not seen today as plausible. Unfortunately, prospects of seeing clubs like Cardiff, Portsmouth and Millwall (just to name a few recent finalists from standards below the top 4) in the overly-prestigious European Cup (however wrong it sounds) is a recipe for disaster. If it came to Portsmouth or Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League for the following season, UEFA will be starting riots that Portsmouth (again, these are not my views, just my assumptions of UEFA) got in over Tottenham. However, UEFA will not argue if Portsmouth are in the CWC playing against other Cup winners as much because to reform that tournament now will make it 3rd rate, despite its popularity and it being put over the UEFA Cup/Europa League when it came to Super Cup.

2) DON’T schedule England friendly matches when teams are playing replays – Whoever was on the phone to the Danish FA and said “Yeah, we can put you in 9th February, don’t worry” should be hung, drawn and quartered. Surely, in BOLD letters it said “4TH ROUND REPLAYS” for that midweek? In fact, is it even 4th Round Replays? I’m so confused who’s playing which fixture. How could the FA mess up that much to schedule pointless internationals that week? Or even worse (seeing as it was an international week for internationals) why did they put the replays that week?! It baffles me how stupid they are in that place.

3) DON’T put the draw before games are played – I’m 17, I’ve loved Football properly since 2001, yet even I know more about the best traditions then the TV does. I remember running home from school in 2005 after taping the draw on a Monday Lunchtime to find out who Arsenal and Wolves had (funnily enough, they had each other). It was a tense experience, it was an experience I cherish, because it felt right, no-one had internet access through a PC or smart phone so you waited (I don’t mean don’t post the draw on the internet by the way). The only draw you had on a Sunday was after the 2nd round games were finished and they did it for the 3rd Round. I find it ridiculous that they schedule the draw before TWO games are played, where’s the fun in that, Leyton Orient yesterday could have decided to hand the game to Arsenal if they didn’t fancy a trip to United (which would be silly), you shouldn’t know your future opponents before you’ve at least played once.

4) Give the rights to the BBC and Sky – ITV made a mockery of the Premiership rights, they made a mockery and almost forced the Football League to implode when they had those rights, why did the FA ever consider their bid for the FA Cup? One thing worse, is they’ve gone to ad breaks and missed two crucial goals in an FA Cup Merseyside Derby replay and FIFA World Cup and yet the FA still like them and worse is they have the worst pundits on the box, Adrian Chiles, no-one cared for him on the BBC Match of the Day 2 program, people only liked his dull dingle voice when he was on the One Show, so ITV here’s a thought, give Des a call and keep Chiles on DayBreak with Christine Lampard where no-one can see him. I may get annoyed at Hansen’s annoying comments like “Walcott doesn’t have a football brain” or Shearer's leaching mentality but at least I can stand them and I can watch them. I also may get annoyed by Jamie Redknapp and his terrible punditry, but at least he’s not worse than Andy Townsend. Bottom line, give it to the BBC and Sky and leave ITV and ESPN to cover Volleyball with their poxy £2 tables from the Aldi at pitchside.

I think those 4 points sum up the problems and solutions fairly well, anyway, enough of FA Cup trauma’s the Carling Cup Final is Sunday (I should be there) and I shall give you a nice little report on the Monday afternoon.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

One change to the FA Cup, drop some prices.

Last Sunday, the TV rights holders and the FA announced plans to change the FA Cup with several radical ideas, a 5:30 final, midweek games, no replays and seeding.


People like Mike Parry somehow make lots of dough talking bullocks on two national radio stations (although I assume he is paid to talk bullocks to get callers in and make money) and yet I sit here unemployed and writing stuff on the internet. He is basically saying “the best teams should play the final”, “lets seed it and rip up the glory in pieces”. This makes me mad, why? Why should the Cup be seeded? I went to the 2005 Cup Final and remember nothing, except Vieira scored the winner and we won. I probably remember more about Barnsley’s 2008 Cup run and how it could have ended in ultimate glory. Parry implies it should be about the best two clubs in England, and it should be about the TV audience saying people will “switch off” if its Portsmouth/Cardiff over Chelsea/Manchester United. I’m sorry, who remembers that Chelsea/Manchester United game from 2007 over that Liverpool/Wimbledon game or the 1976 game Manchester United/Southampton. That’s what the Cup is about, its not about your two of top 6, its about seeing the little underdog getting to a final and take on the massive giant. Like 2010 when Chelsea played relegated, administrated, 10 pounds away from death Portsmouth. I was on the edge of my seat all the way, how refreshing was it to see Portsmouth/Cardiff in 2008 over Manchester United/Chelsea. I doubt a seeded tournament would ever see great finals like 1988 or 1976, or runs like 1997 with Chesterfield, Wolves in 1998 or even Barnsley 2008.

I want to see teams like the Dons, Cardiff or Pompey getting to finals and having days at Wembley with a big chance to win trophies. It does not matter how you get there, you deserve to be there, enjoy it. Mugs like Parry saying “Its selfish to see fans like Millwall and Portsmouth dare enjoy their day out instead of TV audiences watching a good game” – No, shut up. Millwall, Portsmouth, Cardiff, whoever, should be allowed to enjoy their finals over TV audiences. Its not about how many neutrals watch a mediocre final and the figures, its about seeing Southampton stuff Man Utd from the 3rd tier. The day you seed the FA Cup, the day it loses the magic that makes us fall in love with Football.

The only change the Cup needs, is to have small ticket prices up to the Quarter Finals to get more fans in and give it the brilliant atmosphere it deserves. 

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Nights like last night happen once a few years

I’m getting tediously lazy with blogs, I was supposed to write my one on Saturday on Sunday, but never got to it, however, instead of doing English homework, I’ve decided to write a blog on the Arsenal instead (as you do).

In probably the most celebrated European night since the disappointment in 2009, Arsenal went the whole hog to make it a night to remember, everyone was waving those petty flags, and as much as they were a lovely touch, they looked like a piece of tissue paper on a hilariously over-sized toothpick. Sorry, they just seemed so petty, however, it was a nice touch but not as good as after the goal, which I’ll get to.

We outplayed them, they had 10-15 minutes of play when they scored and when we scored, why does everyone say “Barcelona outplayed Arsenal”? Arsenal had most of the ball during the game, and seriously should have been 3-1 ahead at the break, if we took our chances. Of course, they scored first, Messi (who is and was terrible in London) put through Villa to slip it through Chesney (who was Co. MotM with Jack, Kos and Djourou) and put them in front. In typical negative Gooner fashion, I will say that goal could cost us the tie and they’ll still be positive going into the game 2-1 behind, rather than a 0-0 draw.

After that, they did have us dangerously close to the ropes, and if it was boxing, they won the first half, however, they must have drank something bitter at half-time, because we murdered them.

From minute 45, we had them on the ropes, we threw the kitchen sink at them and if it wasn’t for our reluctance to score, it could have been a rout. One thing I loved was seeing Cesc (a Catalan) try and rise the Emirates crowd before a free-kick, he knows that if that crowd sing for 90 minutes we can beat anyone. And deservedly, Robin Van Persie put us back on level times, with a smashing shot, I honestly thought the BGB had tapped that in but on the replays that is a fantastic low shot which no keeper could save.

Then, that second, a quick break, and a fantastic shot by Stuart Little who’s been shocking for most of the season, and we were away. The referee was asking Barcelona if they wanted this fight stopped. Back to the crowd, the one thing I loved (I even mimicked in the room) was everyone holding up the scarves, it lifted us, and probably helped us through those ten minutes. Just to see a normally dormant Emirates rocking like Highbury is magical.

As much as it is possible we will go out, I have hope, here are the differences from that game last year and this.

1) Keeper – Wojciech is immense, say no more.
2) A defense to be proud of – Kos and Johan look as good as the Verminator and Gallas
3) Jack Wilshere – he is not 19.

See you in 2 weeks Catalans.


P.s. Which retard voted Tottenham to win the Premier League?

Saturday, 5 February 2011

The greatest advert for the Premier League…well mostly

Its very cliché of any commentator to say in a commentary “This is a great advert for the Premier League” but on nights like tonight, you can clearly say that it is the great advert for the Premiership. Yes, I am massively, massively, hacked off that Arsenal cannot win a game when four nil up, but I am massively, massively, overly joyous that Wolves beat the Faux Invincible.

Lets start with a negative, 3-0 up in 10 minutes and 4-4 at full time is ridiculous, how this team cannot close the game out is beyond me, but if you factor in many things it makes some sense. Firstly, I will not defend Diaby for being a prat and throwing over Barton, other than Barton is a C U Next Tuesday and also could have broke his leg…again, but for that tackle Joey Barton should have walked too. Secondly, the penalty decisions were atrocious, the second one was for nothing and the first one minimal and thirdly, WHY THE FUCK WASN’T NOLAN SENT OFF FOR ASSAULTING CHESNEY!? If him and Joey Barton aren’t disciplined by the FA for their parts in that then I may as well start attacking people too. By the way, Stan Collymore, I don’t know if you like being known as a Cnut and would like to continue that reputation, but in what dimension should Barton play for England? The game from my perspective should have ended around 4-1/4-2 but well played Newcastle for getting back into it, even if you went about it like wankers.

Well away from the negative, now the positive. Wolves beat United…now laugh…..that’s enough….I said that’s enough….oh I guess it is pretty funny. Now if you follow me on Twitter you’ll see me and Ben Cole have a little back and forth the other night in which I said (and I’m changing it now) “Wolves will beat United, I will go to Arsenal Vs Wolves twice, and Arsenal will win the league, just like 2004”. stage one is complete, stage two is in progress (assuming I don’t die in the next 6 days), so according to me, we’ll win the league. Anyway, what a game, and what a lovely time to live in Wolverhampton, I also love how everyone is going mental and I said this would happen weeks ago. I was there in 2004 and we battered them (admittedly Ferdinand got injured…coincidence?) and we did it again. If Wolves go down, it will be a massive shame because they have taken points from United, City and Chelsea at home and were unlucky against us (QUICK STAT: We’re the only ‘Top 4’ team to beat Wolves away this season and keep a clean sheet). Well done Wolverhampton, proud to call you my second team, I hope we kiss the shoes of George Elokobi and Kevin Doyle…as long as we beat them of course. Quickly, though, Wayne Rooney should get disciplined for kicking Hammill and someone else in both halves, Smalling should get banned for punching Doyle in the face (he knew what he was doing), and Mr. Giggs you have gone down in my estimation for kicking Doyle off the ball and getting away with it you mug. Although my Dad’s xenophobic comments were hilarious “Giggs you tosser, I liked you until now, you Welsh twat!”.

Anyway, one point closer, hopefully, I’ll have a lovely blog to share as I shall be at Arsenal Vs Wolves next week.