Theo aims to prove Capello wrong and I’m glad Nikki B is unhappy, I wish a few more were.

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Theo aims to prove his omission from the world cup squad was a mistake, NEWSFLASH Theo, it wasn’t, you were hopeless.

Now that may seem strange coming from the man that once dubbed Theo ‘The saviour of England’ the same man that has never doubted Theo as a future Arsenal great, even when many fans thought him overpaid and over rated.

Let me explain my twisted logic here, Theo has always had bundles of talent, trouble is he’s rarely shown it for us or for England, this is the guy who scored a hatrick against Croatia and then nothing, playing him out wide hasn’t helped and if you saw his goal on Saturday, you may have noticed it was Owenesque and down the middle, where by the way I see him playing his best football.

However he wasn’t doing it for England and I think that Capello made the right choice, those that went ahead of him were even worse, but that’s another story, Capello not taking him was the toe up the arse this precocious and highly overpaid young man needed. Having spent his whole young life having smoke blown up his arse, he came down with a bump and probably realised he needed to start paying back those with faith in him, in this case, Arsene Wenger and me!

Well this season he started injury free and on fire, he has now added consistency to his repertoire and we are seeing the benefit of Capello’s snub, so a big thank you to the other overpaid person that is the England manager.

The great thing about having Theo is we have years of him to come and he will only get bigger and better, fantastic!

Nikki B on the other hand has dropped behind, I like Nikki but for me he won’t get better until he gets older, I think one day he’ll be a superstar, but I’m guessing he won’t wait that long, he sees the Afobe’s and the JET’s lining up and knows that he can’t hold them off and jump ahead of Chamakh, so unless he has a change of heart, I see him going in the summer, I like the fact that he’s upset though, perhaps if Denilson, Eboue and Squillaci weren’t happy being back up they might be better players for it.

If Wenger asked me to come over in the summer to wield the axe there would be carnage, he won’t though and I suspect few will go, I said in pre season that Denilson could have a Flamini season, sadly he didn’t and has proved beyond all reasonable doubt that he never will, shame, he wasn’t cheap, has cost us a ton and like Senderos, Hoyte and Aliadiere before him will no doubt just drift away into the sunset never to be seen again, I wonder how many points that lot have cost us?

So we have Djourou, Nasri and Vermaelen out, two of them our best players this season and one of them our best player last, what to do with Barcelona coming up?

Here’s my idea, what do you think?


Sagna Kozzer Clichy


Theo Wilshere Cesc Arshavin

Robin Bendtner

Flood the midfield and play three at the back, now Sagna and Song have played centre back before so we have cover at set pieces, but with that team we can keep the ball and save us from the horror of playing Squillaci again.

Dalglish played three at the back and had Anelka, Drogba and Torres coming at them and they won that one, so what have we got to lose trying it against Wolves, who knows, it may be enough to turn Barca over, we know the alternative, we had a glimpse of that against Newcastle.

Have a great day Grovers, I hope I have given you all food for thought.

Arsene, the standard of the league is a god send…

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You are very lucky, I would have taken a draw at Newcastle, but not after we were 4 up at half time. We now have to take all the stick of off every supporter we play as the only team in history to lose a 4 goal lead, thanks a lot!

Let me start by saying that because of a few weird results my shockng weekend wasn’t made worse.

We have said here on Le Grove that we are where we are because the competition have got worse, some may say that’s unfair but the Mancs going down to bottom club Wolves kind of proves my point, the chavs at Stamford Bridge used to be a scary prospect, now they don’t look anything other than a top 4 side, at best. Well Liverpool just beat them didn’t they, and they lost their best player, who by the way played for the chavs. But you all know that!

We may well have improved in some areas, Song, Djourou, Theo, Kozzer, Wilshere, Nasri and at last a keeper in Chezzer, but we have trod water as a team because we have gone backwards with the inclusion of Squillaci, Eboue, Rosicky and Denilson.

Diaby I have always said is one of the most skillful players I have ever seen, as well as being an awesome finisher, but he is also a crock, a thicko and a player who can have a mare as easily as he can have a blinder, after getting a red yesterday I have to question having him in the side, he didn’t act like Vieira like some suggested, he acted like a remedial child, like a spoiled brat who has no control and not only let his team mates down, he let us, the fans down. Squillaci, Eboue and Rosicky ensured we lost the 4 goal lead as did Wenger by sending them on.

Don’t forget it was the hapless Squillaci that passed to Diaby in the first place.

A mate of mine in Diamond club said he didn’t blame Diaby as he has had so many morons trying to injure him, he just reacted badly.

I said, have you ever killed someone mate? He said he didn’t think so, I said the reason you don’t kill people if they annoy you is because there are consequences, like going to prison etc, so when really annoyed or threatened you walk away.

I haven’t ever seen a player lash out and not get sent off (not since Charlton and Osgood anyway), no argument he had to go and he knew it, the only surprise was why didn’t Nolan go for his similar outburst against Chezzer, again shite refereeing, but we won’t go there, what’s the point? It doesn’t change the result.

Anyway as I said, by a freak of footballing nature we have  closed the gap, kept our invincibles tag for another season and aside from shitty and the spuds, no damage has been done, but mentally I am spannered, losing a 4 goal lead has made me a bedwetter again and I thought I left all that behind in my twenties.

Diaby won’t be back to bother us for a while, Squillaci, Eboue and Rosicky will though, I would sooner Miquel got a go rather than watching that useless bottler again.

I also pray that Song comes back from his little deadleg quick as well, the sight of Denilson trotting out again is enough to make me become a bedshitter, never mind a bed wetter.

Some of you may say did you see Torres, yes I did, but I also said I thought he was overrated and certainly overpriced, I didn’t want to break the bank Arsene, I just wanted a reasonable centreback and a tough DM to replace Denilson and Squillaci, and now we have Vermaelen and Djourou out. Once again we failed to act and once again it has cost us points.

It happens too often to say it’s just bad luck.

Yes we can still win the league, but why don’t we just make it easier, Denilson and Squillaci are not good enough, Rosicky has sadly had it and Eboue is a cheat.

But we go through this every year don’t we, I’ll have money you never saw Squillaci play before Gilles Grimandi told you he was worth a punt, because if you did, you must have had a bag over your head.

So next up, Wolves at home, a sure fire 3 points is there ever was, but I really hope you bollocked them Arsene, and I hope you docked their wages, because losing a 4 goal lead at this level is totally unacceptable and was right up there with some of the classic collapses over the last 3 seasons, Tottenham 4-4 and 2-3, Wigan 2-3 and now Newcastle 4-4, still at least we didn’t lose. At least we’re still in with a very real chance of doing something injuries pending.

On a very positive note it was great to see Ramsey get the assist in Cardiff’s win over rivals Swansea, great to see him smiling again, get him back boss, a one legged Ramsey beats a two legged Denilson anyday, or maybe we should play 3 at the back like Liverpool did and flood the midfield, could be better than Squillaci in there again. And safer.

Have a great day grovers, it’s going to take me a while to get over this, it was all so unnecessary, we should have been purring after the fantastic play of the first half.

P.S. Pedro has just had the pleasure of Irani and Brazil in the car. One of the presenters of Talksport is the most regressive, ill informed pundits around (that really is an achievement in our media), the other is there just to be the muppet. Imagine the indignity of letting another bloke call you Chicken Biryani? Humiliating. Mind you, nothing is more humiliating than listening to the average ex-cricketer talk about the beautiful game…

I digress…

The jist of today’s ‘debate’ was that bad tackles were ok in the seventies and Diaby is just a moaner. It was a great tackles.

So, today, I’m condoning drink driving, the removal of seat belts and I’m also encouraging players play football smashed out of their brains on drink and other illicit substances.

Just like in the good old days…

Anything else we were doing in the seventies that you’d like to bring back? Let us know in the comments section, we’ll put together an e-mail and fire it over to Talksport in the morning!

P.P.S Fair play to Darren Lewis for sticking up for Arsenal and saying that the presenters wouldn’t have the same opinion if United were on the recieving end of such a tackles. He also said, ‘there is this idea in the media that a bad tackle on an Arsenal player is acceptable, that’s not on.’

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Disgusting Dowd ruins game but Arsenal let themselves down badly

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Yesterday’s result will do one of two things to us.

It will build resolve into the squad and we’ll use the injustice to kick on and win the league.

It will destroy our confidence and we’ll stutter to a top 4 finish.

This is a tough match report to write. There are 3 areas I’ll discuss.

1) Our superb 1st half

2) The terrible officiating

3) The collapse

Arsenal started off with a bang, we were one up within about 40 seconds. Diaby passed to Arshavin, he guided the ball through to Theo who beat his man and slotted past the keeper.

A few minutes later Arshavin slipped a delicious freekick into the path of JD, the Swissman powered a high header just under the bar. A great delivery, a great finish. 2-0 up within 5 minutes.

In-between this early demolition, Chezzer made a superb catch from a high looping cross, he also dealt with a shoddy back very well.

Theo was tearing Newcastle a new one with relative ease, he sauntered into the box, picked out Robin who buried it past the hapless Newcastle keeper. This was incredible. 3-0 up with ease!

Sagna was next up with the great deliveries, he fired a cross into Robin with Postman Pat like precision and the Dutchman made it a brace with a simple header past Steve Harper.

Could you hear the Geordies sing? I couldn’t. Not a bloody word.

Koscielny made a couple of super clearances.

The half ended on a bit of a sour note. The filthy pikey that is Joey Barton took time out to Pole axe Andrey Arshavin, the little Russian didn’t seem too bothered, nor the referee for some reason, a sign of what was to come.

The second half kicked off and we were immediately in trouble. Our rock at the back JD pulled up immediately with an injury. We took him off and brought on the hapless Squillaci. Cue immediate panic.

For all those people who naively asked how we’d possibly cope keeping 5 centre backs happy, well, there’s your answer, most of us with half a brain saw this one coming.

Anyway, it didn’t take long for the dopey Frenchman to put us in trouble, his sloppy pass to Diaby created a loose ball, Diaby made it there first, Barton launched himself at the Frenchman’s leg, connected nearly snapping it in the process. Abou jumped up, grabbed him by the neck and pushed him to the ground, then a snarling Kevin Nolan ran over and Diaby shoved him.

Straight red as expected. Joey Barton, not even a yellow, as expected.

No we were missing out best defender, we’d just lost an important midfielder and the referee had taken his Arsenal hating pills.

Leon Best scored the first goal for Newcastle goal in their come back, he beat Clichy at the back, the second ball bounced nicely and he reacted quickest and finished.

The next goal came from a penalty. Koscielny was jockeying best in the box, the Newcastle man was leaning into him, a stray leg went through his leg, Best went down like a hooker on a promise, Dowd blew up instantly. Joey Barton of all people buried the penalty.

The Newcastle fans woke up after realising they’d scored a couple of goals. Greatest fans in the world if there is a chance they might get something out of a game.

Arsenal were in free fall, the loss of JD was evident, we couldn’t win anything in the air, the organisation at the back had disappeared and no one seemed to be taking the team by the scruff of the neck and dictating how we should play. We have superb on the pitch intelligence for breaking down teams, not for defending leads.

Their third goal came from a horribly bad decision. A high ball flew into the box, everyone missed it, Thomas Rosicky and LK challenged for the ball and the referee blew up and pointed for a penalty like he’d just seen someone bottle a Newcastle player in the box.

The most bizarre decision I’ve ever seen. Someone from the referees association needs to sit down and explain how that was given. It was the decision of a man on the take, someone so petulant and pathetic all he cared about was ruining Arsenal’s season. Truly awful.

Barton stepped up, and slipped it down the middle. Of all the scumbags?

Finally, our afternoon was killed off when Tiote, an incredibly average footballer, volleyed a cleared corner back past Chesney from about 25 yards in most spectacular fashion.

Robin Van Persie had time to have a goal disallowed for offside, obviously.

Our afternoon was already over. What a shocker. What a disgusting display of refereeing, what a piss poor display of shutting out a game, what a great example of why signing players when you need them is a great idea and what a bad day for injuries.

The Rant

The fact is, sh*t happens in football, things go against you, you pick up injuries, unnecessary red cards and the referees sometimes seem like they’re being paid off by undercover NoTW reporters. It’s how you deal with those issues that decides whether you’re a champion or not.

Arsenal fans have a habit of being excuse makers and angry excuse makers at that. Lets look at the facts, how many teams in Premiership history have conceded a 4 goal lead? None.

Squillaci has got to be one of the worst signings of Wenger’s reign, he doesn’t even have being geriatric as an excuse. It was his poor pass to Diaby that led to the Barton challenge, it was his introduction that led to panic across the backline. He’s an awful player and I can’t believe we’re now facing an extended period of time with him at the back (Like I predicted).

David Wheater would have cost us £3million, he’s 6ft 4, Premiership tried and tested, a potential international and he’s super in the air. Would we have been dominated in the same had we had him to call on? I’m not so sure…

Phil Dowd is a major talking point as is the standard of Premiership refereeing. Last week against Everton we were on the receiving end of an outrageous offside goal. Not to mention all the poor decisions that went against us during the game. Luckily we won, however, that didn’t stop David Moyes coming out and making false accusations against one of our players.

Was that on purpose? You bet your bottom dollar it was. There is an old boys club that bend over and take it from United (and enjoy it, ‘What can you do against United, they’re just superb’)… then when it’s us, they take it up the back passage because they have to, but then their managers use the press conference to level accusations against us. Have you ever seen that happen to United? Of course not, Allardyce, Moyes, Pulis, Steve Bruce, McCarthy, Hughes and Mcleish all eat out of Ferguson’s backside as does everyone in the media.

Remember how badly Rafa Benitez was mocked in the media for taking on Ferguson when he was bang on the money?

Sadly, this United old boys clubs extends to the referees. When was the last time you saw a shocking result go against them? What happened against Blackpool last week? A scandalous penalty they didn’t deserve kick started their victory.

What happened against us yesterday? Well, Phill Dowd for starters. The same referee who awarded Spurs the penalty from a Cesc handball. Ok, the handball was the right decision, was the freekick in the build up? Definitely not. How about the Sunderland goal in the 95th minute? The one where he let play roll on and on until they scored.

Yesterday, to me, he looked like he was on the take. His standard of refereeing was so shocking it was tantamount to cheating and apparently they said as much on Irish TV. Arsene Wenger should have come out after the game had a proper rant and took a fine because truly, refereeing like that shows the game is rotten to the core.

Questions for Dowd

1) Why didn’t you punish Barton for ploughing through the back of Arshavin

2) Why didn’t you send Barton off for his horror challenge

3) What were you thinking for the 1st penalty?

4) Why didn’t you send off Nolan off for head locking our 6ft 5 keeper to the ground

5) What in god’s name were you thinking for the 2nd penalty? Singularly the most bizarre penalty decision I’ve ever seen.

You’re a disgrace Dowd and the sad thing is, nothing will happen to you except a big pat on the back from your Man United loving old boys club.

For me, the referee should be accountable for his decisions. He should be forced to answer question about his performance and after a shocking game like that, he should be suspended for 6 weeks. It’s simply not acceptable to call yourself a professional and embarrass the Premier League like that with amateur decisions that smack of bias. Failing that, our game should be opened up to European referees. There is far too much United cronyism and there is clearly a dislike for our foreign players.

Joey Barton’s challenge on Diaby was disgusting, that could easily have been a sending off. If Joey Barton had done that to me, I’d have punched him. However, it has to be said, I’m not paid £60,ooo p/w (I know, can you believe he’s on that?) to be professional and not react. Ultimately, his sending off played a massive part in us dropping the 3 points.

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Still, Barton’s just a bit passionate, he’s not that sort of guy and he thinks challenges like that are fine. So maybe I should leave this one alone? I wouldn’t want to dirty his character.

Leadership was once again raised as an issue on the pitch. We don’t have  it when our backs are against the wall. We absolutely were on the receiving end of some shocking bits of misfortune, however, you make your own luck in football. We should never have been under that much pressure and a team as good as ours should be more than capable of holding their own against an average team with one more player than us.

Wenger had a need that was well documented by him. He had £40million to spend. He didn’t spend it. We’re 6 days past the closed transfer window and guess what? We’re down to 2 centre backs, one whom I struggle to recognise as a proper player. This situation was entirely predictable and for me, Wenger’s inaction amounts to footballing negligence.

Still, like I said, it’s all on his head. There can be no excuses now. There were players available, like there always are and we chose to sit on out hands… like we always do.

The Good News

Thomas Vermaelen is doing really well in training. The bad news? Well, when we had JD and Kozzer doing fantastically as a partnership, there was no rush to bring back the powerful Belgian. Now we’re facing 3 weeks with Squillaci at the back, there is every chance we’ll rush his rehab. That’s a very dangerous position to be and there is no avoiding the cold hard facts… this is all on the manager and he was warned.

Alex Song was out yesterday because of a dead leg, he’ll be back for the next game. Samir Nasri will be fit for the Stoke game at home and hopefully JD won’t have a serious problem. Did I not mention Denilson? Oh right…

With a little bit of luck, we can avoid an extended amount of time with Squillaci in the side.


United posted a loss. Incredibly, they actually lost to Wolves and they fully deserved to. There’s more though… Rio Ferdinand pulled up before the game and could be out for a number of weeks! That my friends is fantastic news.

We all know what losing a winning run does for confidence, United have Man City, Crawley, Marseille, Wigan, Chelsea, Liverpool, Marseille and then Bolton.

Those are some tough games and if things go the way they went with Cheslea, we could see points dropped in a few of those games, then we’re right back in it.

Basically, United losing restored our chance of winning the league in one glorious swoop.

Keep them crossed for the injured players, keep them crossed for the boys gaining an us versus them mentality and for gods sake people, keep on believing!


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