Today I want to propose a new legend. Our very own man of steel.

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Today we go back to our ground zero, the scene of our devastation two years ago, the game that had we won, would have sent us 8 points clear in the EPL, then we got the bad breaks, Eduardo was one and the penalty that wasn’t, the other.

Gallas showed us why he wasn’t a good captain and Arsene showed us why he lacked judgement by leaving him as captain for the rest of the season.

I think we just collapsed from that point on and the season ended, and with it any chance of silverware.

Two years on and the same thing happens at Stoke, another poor boy who picks wild flowers for his mother, goes to church every Sunday and wears a hair shirt if he thinks about naked girls is the victim, this time his name was Ryan Shawcross, the Brittania beast.

Only this time they faced a different Arsenal, this time no sulky brat for a captain, this time we had a monster of our own at the back, this time we had Sol Campbell, his reaction was not just one of horror, but one of anger, this was the reaction this team needed, this time the captain was a lion (Cesc Fabregas) not a pussy, this time we fought back and have been fighting ever since.

Now we return to where it all started, to where the world said Arsenal can be bullied, this time though it will be different, this time it’s personal.

I now want to spend sometime talking about Arsenal legends, this last 40 years has thrown out a few, Charlie George, Frank McLintock, George Graham, Tony Adams, Lee Dixon, Steve Bould, Martin Keown, Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry, Paddy Vieira and more recently Cesc Fabregas, I would now like to nominate Sol Campbell.

He joined us from the Spuds at Shite Hart Lane where he was their captain, he joined a team where he was neither captain nor vice captain, he won the league, the FA cup and did something that only one team in football has ever done, went a season unbeaten, he went on to score against Barcelona in the Champions league final when we only had 10 men, and shortly after that he left, he was seemingly finished.

Then, when we were 11 points behind the leaders and he was 35 years old, he came back, one of only 4 players ever to return, Keown was another, he came back and now we are within two points of the summit, much of that is down to him, not only for his ability, but for the grit, determination and experience he is bringing to this young team, he’s not first choice but up he steps, I would like to elevate him to legendary status. Sol in my eyes you will always be a gooner!

I left out Ian Wright for all the crap he spouts about us on Talk Shite, for me he lost that privilege.

I’m expecting a win today and a good one, for 3 reasons, one to up our goal difference, two to send a message and finally three to avenge our fallen, and he will put the cherry on the cake, yes I’m backing Eduardo to show us what he still is, a goalscorer, and at the scene of his worst day in football.

Today from now will be known as ‘Eduardo’s revenge at St Andrews day’ today will be our day.

On a personal note much has been written about the different styles of writing you see here on Le Grove, occasionally you’ll see the vibrant penmanship of the modern man Pedro, (who buys his love with T shirts) mostly you will see the guile and wit of the stylish ME. I think I should be awarded the Pulitzer prize for journalism at the coal face, for bringing you the facts day in, day out, but I can’t nominate myself, that would be a little conceited, a little up myself and enough blogs think I am that already, though I can’t see why.

So if you all agree that my writing style and bravery deserves a Pulitzer prize, please write into Mr Pulitzer, and tell him, but don’t say I asked you too or it won’t happen, seriously, do it discretely.

Mr Pulitzer, The Daily Planet, Metropolis, America.

Finally my team for today, if fit.

Almunia

Eboue Campbell Song Clichy

Nasri Cesc Diaby

Walcott Bendtner Eduardo

Subs Rosicky Arshavin Denilson Silvestre Fabianski

Enjoy it Grovers, I have a feeling we’ll see a sign of the week to come, next up Barca.


Higuain for Arsenal? / My striker for Brum / What’s your superstition?

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Stunning

So, a bit late, but above is the picture of the ball as it crossed the line after the Cesc penalty. I took a friend to the game who is new to the game of football. Last time we went, Arsenal beat Blackburn by a massive margin, what an opening game! Saturday was different though, this was when he morphed from casual fan, to official Gooner. He turned round to me after the penalty went in and said, ‘This is a proper football game, so much better than the Blackburn game, I completely get the passion now’. Watching the conversion drew a small football shaped tear to my eye!

Which leads me nicely onto my next topic. I slummed it this week with my boss and headed over to Leicester City versus Reading game. We sat in the away end and I had a two gripes.

  1. Where the hell was my cushioned leather seat?
  2. Where was my half time salt beef sandwich?

Jokes aside, I thought it was interesting to note that despite some sections of the blogosphere trying to depict our fans as the worst (yawn), the Reading fans behaved almost identically. You had the crazy fist pumping 65 year old man on one side, the chronic muttering moaner on the other and a large dollup of mad young fans who spent more time abusing the home support than they did watching the game. Football fans are the same the country over, making out Gooners are a different breed is boring and a load of rubbish.

That said, I’ve never sat near a moaner, the worst I had was at the West Ham game at the weekend. The guy behind was giving Bendtner jip, I told him to lay off… then he lent over and said he’d had a wager on him!

Forgiven!

It’s a shame the great Dane wont be in the side this weekend.

What would I do against Birmingham if that’s the case?

Well, I’d stick Diaby up front. He can hold the ball up, he has the height to cause a problems aerially and he’s a great finisher. I think we’re going have a tough game against Birmingham, however, I think we’ll turn them over 2-0. God told me in a dream.

Talking of strikers, I hear that Madrid’s top scorer for two seasons is going to be offloaded this summer. He missed an open goal against Lyon and that is enough to get him the boot.

Arsenal players don’t know how good they’ve got it!

Would you have the Argentine? Spacially aware, technically gifted, nippy, clinical and proven at the highest level… could be an Eduardo replacement should we shift the Croatian on this summer. I’d take a £20million punt!

Arsene Wenger has warned us not to expect miracles from Robin Van Persie. I’m inclined to agree with him there. Arsenal return dates are about as reliable as the annual ‘it’s going to be a sizzler this summer’ story in the media (cruel basta*ds!). In my mind, he’s not coming back this season… I suggest you play it the same, it avoids ETRR (Estimated Time of Return Rage).

Andrey Arshavin seems to have made himself about as popular as Bob Crow in a train station waiting room. I’m not sure how I’d feel about training if I’d told the newspapers 36% of the first team isn’t good enough. However, we all know that our special Russian is a touch dim. He was probably given a bag of Haribo to say something controversial.Wenger seems to think it’s an old interview rehashed, I’m inclined to believe the same out of nothing more than pure love for the man.

What does interest me is how he is allowed to use his personal website with such regularity? No one else in the team does. I would have thought he’d be collared for that… he needs to be careful though. I’m not sure how long Wenger will allow a media whore in the squad.

So, it was flagged to me that I didn’t used to like Eboue and now I do. Apparently some sort of crime? This attitude, that if you have an opinion it has to stay your opinion forever is completely new to me. I used to love Ashley Cole, now I don’t. I fell out of love with Sol Campbell, now I love him again. I used to croon to  Celine Dione…

Opinions are variable. For me, you judge what you see. I didn’t like Eboue because of his spectacular gamesmanship and complete lack of product. This season, he’s shown a different side to his game and as a fan, I appreciate that.

Like someone said yesterday, reputation is earned as is fan love. Just wearing an Arsenal shirt doesn’t put you up their with Thierry, Adams and Paddy. I’ve listened to Martin Keown and Lee Dixon say as much in interviews. Just ask Nik Bendtner. He’s won everyone over this season with his hard working attitude on the pitch… that’s the way it should be and I couldn’t be happier with his turnaround. I’ve always supported him as a player, but he’s never been beyond reproach.  No Arsenal player should be, we wouldn’t want to see complacency would we!

Talking of hard work, I read that in life, very little success is down to luck. It’s down to hours you practice. According to Malcolm Gladwell, once you hit 10,000 hours of practice, you become a master of whatever activity you train at. Which kind of fits in nicely with this approach Wenger has had with playing someone till they come good. If the basic ingredients are there (technical ability, work ethic, youth) and you have 3 years on your hands to suffer the bad times, a player should come good. We’re seeing that with Eboue, Bendtner, Song and hopefully, we’ll see it with Theo.

Personally though, I hope Arsenal have finished this transitional period team growing stuff. I hope if Alex Song and Nik Bendtner leave us this summer for £40million, we spend that money and buy 2 players to replace them… instead of trying to be clever and promote within. We’re in great shape now, we can’t have a 3 year transition every time someone decides to leave.

This summer, I hope we build on our squad regardless of trophies because the Premiership is going to be spending as crudely as John Terry on a cover up. Our squad from now on should be complimented each season with two youth players and a marquee signing if it’s needed. That way, we get the best of both worlds. Young players learning from great players and nice blend of youth and experience.

I saw Alex Lebedev has bought up another newspaper (The Independent). I must admit, as much as I thought this was going to be a bad idea, I think the Evening Standard (Gooner friendly) is still excellent and RT Today is a top news station. Lets hope he keeps free news alive and he goes against Murdoch new plan to monetize the web.

Who’d have thought it? Russians saving the free press!

P.S. If you haven’t seen our very own range of Gooner shirts, check out Tatty Nut Nuts range here. All the shirts are now in stock, Geoff went for the Marmite version, I’m wearing the Vermaelen one! They look ace, buy one, people will think you’re cool.

If you have any spare tickets, e-mail them in. Surprisingly, people are anxious to get them now! Where were you all for the Liverpool and West Ham games where I had a bundle, eh?! I have one spare for tomorrow.

The Marmite's

P.P.S. What’s your superstition? According to the below Grover (Jock), if he doesn’t eat his battered burger from the Chinese on Gillespie road before every game, we don’t win. He’s so sure of this superstition, he’s going to have one pre-battered for the Barcelona away game! My superstition is not to buy lucky gloves… they’re never lucky. What’s yours!

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So unhealthy, the Government are thinking of classifying it as a class B drug.

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We lose 2nd spot but we’ve closed the gap, can we buy Arsenal after the budget?

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Ok a few things, the latest rumour is a swap deal with Inter’s Mario Balotelli plus cash for Cesc Fabregas. What a load of rubbish, of all the deals we could do, why on earth would we go after an egotistical trouble maker that has Adebayor stamped all over him for our captain.

Other news is we lost our cherished 2nd place but the chavs and mancs have all played 31 games and there’s a 2 point blanket over the three of us, that means one draw and we are in front, providing we scored a few more goals of course, 8 to be precise!

Birmingham won’t go into the weekend full of confidence after their poor week but we will, and with Barca up next, this could be one of those great weeks. I watched the Barca vs Osasuna game last night and although Barca won, they were crap, Messi got booked and they looked shaky at the back, I think they’re there for the taking.

Having watched Alister Darling’s budget yesterday where he taxed the people that work hard to give it to the people that don’t, as usual, I was wondering if we could lobby the government to let the Arsenal fans buy Arsenal, for nothing of course, it’s only fair, why should we not own something we haven’t worked for, why should rich people have everything, just because they work harder, sorry, but that’s just not fair.

I also think that if Labour paid our fares to the ground and found it in his heart to make a contribution to our season tickets, it would be a real vote winner, and it’s only fair, why should people that work hard always get the nice things in life.

LE GROVE IS NOT A POLITICAL BLOG, THIS WAS A REQUEST FOR GOVERNMENT MONEY, NOTHING ELSE. IT’S OUR RIGHT.

Jay Simpson wants to come back to Arsenal in the summer, I think Wenger should play him or sell him, the boy is so loyal and we keep shoving him out on loan, the manager knows whether or not he wants him, stop messing him about Arsene, tell him one way or the other.

So the way I see it, we now get to play 4 consecutive matches against teams that like to play football, so in theory, that plays into our hands and we should win them all, Taylor went to Watford so there’s no chance of Eduardo meeting up with him should he play at the weekend.

Maybe we should try him up front with Theo and Nikki B, or Rosicky and Nikki B and rest Arshavin, at least until the second half, maybe this is the time for Eduardo to show his worth.

Have a great day Grovers, tomorrow is Friday.