Arsenal will never be the best…

by & filed under News Review.

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It’s Champions League draw day. Give me someone good, please. Would love a Bayern or a Madrid. Why? Because if we’re good enough, we’ll win. If we’re not, we don’t prolong the agony of proceeding to the next round, giving us some serious head space for the Premier League and the FA Cup.

Liverpool took a beating yesterday. Their defence really is a total joke at the moment. United, once again kept in the game by the outstanding keeping of De Gea. I’m not a fan of him, but I have to eat humble pie. He might look like a McDonald’s drive through attendant, but jeez, he knows how to keep that ball out of the net. What a performance.

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Arsenal fans guilt song is so counter productive…

by & filed under News Review.

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Well, well, well… that’s what it feels like to have a nice day out at the Arsenal?

Met up with family before, drank some beer, ate some kebab then hit up The Grove not quite sure of what to expect. The starting line up, Flamini forward looked pretty spectacular. Flamini and back, well, it was hide behind the couch type stuff. Debuchy was playing at centre back for the first time ever flanked by Bellerin and Gibbs.

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Newcastle preview, Ray the Egg and Press Conference bantz

by & filed under Match Preview.

Now that I have your attention

You better believe it

Bonjourno and good morning! Alex here under strict instruction to deliver a blog of exceptional quality to you after I failed to turn up to training yesterday.

I know I let you all down. But more importantly, I let Pedro down, who is twice the haircut any of you are. So this one’s for him.

There’s a lot to discuss ahead of our late kick off against Newcastle so please turn on, tune in and cop out (but obviously keep reading):

Press Conference piss-boiling

Let’s start with the manager’s latest bantz-laden presser which has caused consternation amongst many, especially this quote:

“If everybody is fit and available, we don’t need to go on the transfer market. But we have to consider that there could be a question mark with Koscielny’s fitness and we have to go out on the transfer market.”

An absolutely ludicrous concept at Arsenal, which hasn’t been injury free since the original Sugarbabes were still together. Even with the qualifying sentence about Koscielny’s fitness, the fact that the manager would rather play players out of position than use young deputies like Hayden is clear evidence that we’re in desperate need of another option at CB.

Some more belters include:

“There will be very little activity [in general], because all the big clubs want to keep their players, and it will be as usual quiet in the first three weeks and a bit frenetic in the last three or four days.” 

How many times have we heard this one before? The world’s worst negotiating tactic. What’s so embarrassing about this statement is; it doesn’t fool anyone (except Geoff Arsenal), it doesn’t strengthen our negotiating position and everyone knows Arsenal’s transfer activity is frenetic in the last few days because we CHOOSE to wait until then to close deals because we think it’ll save a few £million.

While its difficult to assess whether it has saved the club any money, we do know it has cost the club a lot in terms of missed opportunities and ensuring we enter each season with the resources we need to effectively compete for the title.

So let’s ditch the last minute panic buy strategy and take a leaf out of Alec Baldwin’s book (sorry I just wanted to shoehorn this in again):

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Stoke booiness

The manager has also spoken about the barracking he received from some fans on the way back from the Stoke game:

“It’s a permanent tribunal from everybody, and it is as it is. You have to cope with that. I believe that you want zero tolerance for no respect. You want respect in society and you want to legally make sure that respect is applied to everybody. Everybody has the right to be respected. I don’t think that anybody likes not to be respected.”

I’m sorry what? Zero tolerance for no respect? So are we going to fine Theo for making the 2-0 gesture to Tottenham fans or Arsene for pushing Mourinho on the touchline?

What a load of nonsense.

For what it’s worth, I thought the Stoke incident was unpleasant and not deserving of a man who has given so much to the club, but I am struggling to see what choice dissenting fans have these days to voice their objections.

Banners aren’t allowed if we are winning or losing. Marches are laughed at. Booing in the stadium affects the team performance. Complaining online means you’re not a true fan. Worst still you know if the manager gets it wrong the board stay silent, so there is absolutely no pressure on him from above to reassess his approach.

So if you’ve just spent a lot of money travelling to Stoke (Stoke for chrissake) to witness one of the most diabolical football performances of all time, that unfortunately is pretty much par for the course nowadays, and you see the guy who has responsibility for it, what would you do?

That’s right you’d smile and wave.

Training

Arsenal’s training methods have been savaged by Dutch fitness rent-a-gob Raymond Vehierihejjjjn. He tweeted:

“Sad to read the news about yet another muscle injury for Aaron Ramsey. His injury record at Arsenal is simply shocking for such young player. 

“Robin Van Persie is only 31 but more and more starts to look like an old man on pitch because of all damage done to his body during his Arsenal period.

“The same career-threatening process takes place at Arsenal with Ramsey, (Theo) Walcott, (Jack) Wilshire and (Alex) Oxlade-Chamberlain who are structurally injured.

“Players who are injured season after season develop all kind of weak links inside the body so a vicious injury cycle develops during career.

“Thankfully, (Cesc) Fabregas was able to escape Arsenal after a few years so the amateurs in London did not get the chance to also destroy his body.”

As annoying as he may be the only question that really matters is, is he right? Is what he is saying corroborated by any other evidence available to us: statements from ex-players, journalists in the know, and our absolutely appalling injury record?

Look at Laurent Koscielny who has been played through an Achilles injury for the last 8 months; compare the injury record of Fabregas during and post Arsenal; and look at the injury records of Gibbs, Wilshere, Ramsey and Walcott – players who have been with Arsene since they were very young. It ain’t pretty.

Rather than looking for great media conspiracies against Arsene, blaming refs or hair pills or pitch surfaces, surely its time we accept that the simplest explanation – that Arsenal’s training methods are out of date – is the right one (hat tip to William of Ockham).

People might not like what Ray the Egg has to say but has any of it contradicted what we already know about Arenal’s injury record? No.

Newcastle today

Alan Pardew has come out in defence of Arsene. Wow talk about getting kicked when you’re down. That’s like Jimmy Saville acting as a character witness for you over a parking ticket.

We all know Pards is one of the lads, who, when he isn’t turning up unannounced at women’s houses with a bottle of Jacob’s Creek and Kenny G’s greatest hits on CD, likes nothing better than an evening in with a few beers, a copy of Zoo magazine and a good cry. However, I never knew he felt this way about Arsene. Total bromance overload.

Nonetheless, despite being an absolute weapon, he’s just won manager of the month, and Newcastle have just beaten Chelsea. Coupled with the fact we are likely to be playing our kitman at the back means today will be a tough test.

Out injured for Arsenal are… oh sod it, its so long I’ll just print screen it instead.

Sad Forsythe

Sad Forsythe

Ramsey’s injury is another massive setback as he was just finding form. Defensively, we look a gazillion times better when we have LK6 and Arteta playing. And what the hell has happened to Walcott? He came back for one game, looked amazing, and has now disappeared again.

All this means today will be a tough test, however my gut is still saying we will win today (Caveat: my gut is almost always wrong).

How do you think we will line up today? Would you like to see a youngster get their chance? Let me know in the comments.

Right thats your lot from me! Please give me a follow @aldo_doel and UTA xxx

Ps Arsenal are donating their wages from today’s game to The Arsenal Foundation, which supports projects that transform the lives of young people in the UK and overseas. Players have been taking selfies wearing the official Arsenal Christmas jumper (look how suave Rambo is, what a lad) and are encouraging supporters to take their own Christmas jumper selfie and post them on the Arsenal Foundation’s Facebook or Twitter page using #AFCFoundation.

So go on support a good cause!

Football hipster

Football hipster