Arsenal 125 today! – Thierry Henry tear jerker – Where Tony Adams was + Everton Preview

by & filed under News Review.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ARSENAL!

125 today (well, for celebrations purposes at least). You old fart. Jeez, I remember when you were 110. Seems like an age ago. My how you’ve grown up. Remember that tiny little stadium you had for your first home? My how you’ve grown up. There have been some good times. Yep, the Invincibles year was pretty amazing. That game against Liverpool, you remember, with Michael Thomas. The Cup Winners Cup… Your first Premiership title. It hasn’t all been plain sailing. It never is. We’ve had to watch some of the people you’re not too keen on do well. We’ve had a few nasty holidays, that one in Paris was a bit of a gut wrencher and the day trip to Wembley wasn’t the best… but we still love you the same.

Here’s to the next 125 years!

Yesterday saw the worst kept secret in football unveiled. 3 statues of Arsenal legends were unveiled. Herbert Chapman, Tony Adams and Thierry Henry have been immortalised in bronze for the rest of time. Tony Adams is striking the pose from that game against Everton. Truly one of my favourite moments as an Arsenal fan ever. It was pretty much the first title win I’d ever been absolutely engrossed in from start to finish. To win it like that was perfect. The celebration was legendary. Now it’s captured forever. He sadly wasn’t in attendance yesterday, but Alan Smith took time out to speak to the great man on the train to Romania here.

The Thierry Henry statue was maybe a slightly more contentious choice. No doubt the guy is the greatest goal scorer in our history, but it seems a bit strange to immortalise a 34 year who is still playing in the game. He’s a legend, I love him dearly, but like a few others, I can’t help but think Dennis Bergkamp is the guy who kick started this next-gen Arsenal thing. Everything turned on its head when he joined. He was the superstar signing we’d all craved. He was a technical genius on the ball and after he joined, we never put a season ticket on general sale again.

Anyway, Thierry is still one of my heroes. He was a genius on and off the ball. He took expectations so high that a half chance was deemed a great chance if he was involved. He made the impossible possible and he electrified the fans. A once in a generation player. A genius. It was very sweet to see how emotional he still gets about the club. Shedding tears of for girls though Thierry. Girls and John Terrys.

Herbert Chapman was also revealed. A manager of a generation and a true visionary. From floodlights to hooped socks to naming the station after the club… to personal branding. The guy had it all. Not to mention titles to boot. I think it’s always hard, particularly for the younger generation to tap into the history of the club. It’s well worth doing so to truly appreciate the intelligence and forward thinking of that man.

I think today will be a very emotional day for a lot of fans. It’s a massive land mark and to look at where we are now as a club compared to even ten years ago is quite amazing. We’re now established as an elite football team forever. We have amazing infrastructure, superb training facilities and a world class stadium. Teams like Spurs now have to risk their future to catch up with us. Things might not be perfect on the pitch, but we’re in amazing shape for the future regardless.

Team news…

‘The present is very important for us, we are in the middle of a season where every point is important now.’

Absolutely bang on the money there. Today needs to be about focus on the task ahead. Everton are a very good team with some very good players. We know they have a terrific work rate and that David Moyes is one of the best managers in the business. We can’t afford to go into the game in relaxed party mode. We need to continue our league form and we need to make sure we don’t lose ground on the teams ahead of us. I have a feeling there will be a wobble from City and United this month. If we can capitalise on that, we could be in a superb position come January.

We have major problems in defence still. Andre Santos looks set to be sidelined for longer than the initial 3 weeks put forward. That’s a bit of a gutter as he’d started to find his feet and he has often been key to starting attacking moves for us. The boss seems to think the back line will consist of 4 centre backs today. So that mans he’ll be putting Vermaelen in at left back and moving Koscielny and Mertesacker into the middle with JD at right back. Probably a better move than slipping Miquel or Yennaris into the side.

Our French centre back has to be super aware today. JD has a habit of forgetting which sport he’s playing, so the chances are he’ll be letting players slip in behind him all day, Baines in particular needs to be watched. Mertesacker doesn’t have the recovery pace to deal with those type of mistakes, so super vigilance and robust performance has to be on the cards for the in form Koscielny.

In midfield, it’ll be the rested trio of Alex Song, Ramsey and Arteta. It’ll be an emotional day for our Spaniard. He spent many a year in the Everton midfield where he built a fantastic reputation.

“Mikel has adjusted very well and he has the mental level to be at this Club. We watched him many times before he got his cruciate injury [a few years ago]. It took him a while to get back to his normal level. Now, he is back to normal.”

It took Mikel a few months to adjust to the Arsenal midfield as well. I don’t think any of us were sure what position he’d take up, but he seems to play a few yards in front of Alex Song and he dominates possession from there. I love his attitude, if he didn’t have the stereotypical Spanish looks, you’d mistake him for a British player out on the pitch. He has a fantastic range of passing (90% success rate) and he mucks in both ends.

Up top, I’d imagine it’s going to be G.R.W combination. We’ll be looking for Robin to contribute at least one goal to the game and hopefully the other two can continue their impressive form with at least a goal and an assist each. I think having two proper wide players this year has really benefitted us. Theo looks the most comfortable he has in his whole career on the wing and Gervinho, despite a few flaws with his control is a very exciting player. It’s such a shame he’ll be off to the ACN.

If you’re interested to know how Everton are going to play, may I recommend this excellent Everton blog for all the insight you’ll need.

Remember to head down early if you want to see what Arsenal are doing for the day. Sounds like legends and marching bands are the serving suggestion for the afternoon.

Follow @LeGrove

Right, I’m off to book Arsenal a pink limousine and stripper for later on this evening, have a ripping day everyone and enjoy the 125th celebrations!

 


We qualified for the knockout stage and we’re 5th in the league, so why am I not celebrating?

by & filed under Uncategorized.

The reason teams fire their managers is because they are not doing a good job. That’s why when the Chavs are having a bad run, their manager is questioned, just like an unsuccessful manager in any line of business would be, let alone one that gets paid so much when he gets fired, he doesn’t need to work again (any EPL manager) .

Steve Bruce gets fired and Wenger sticks up for him, oh there’s a surprise, a £7mil man sticking up for another highly paid flop.

Thing is for some reason we all think to be a great manager you have to be a successful ex top pro footballer.

Why is that? Most ex pros aren’t that bright and would be incapable of running a business, that’s why in the old days, most of them had a tax free testimonial and bought a pub with the proceeds, nowadays they either become pundits like that dipstick Neville, chat show hosts like the muppets on Talk Shite or managers like Steve Bruce of Phil Brown.

Alf Ramsey, Herbert Chapman and of late Mourinho are all examples of great managers that were not top football players, that will tell you something, yes they all played at some level but so did most of us.

So here we all are lapping up our recent run, I’m not, yes I’m happy we are winning and playing some great football again but I’m unhappy we lost two of the worlds best footballers and didn’t replace them, in fact I’m feeling conned.

And someone still needs to explain to me why we let Cesc go on the cheap when he still had 3 years left on his contract, how is that good business or good management? Please, someone explain that one away! Even Barca had a laugh at that deal.

I watched us against Man City and marvelled at Chamberlain trying his best to rip them a new one, then I watched in horror as Wenger took him off, the worst excuse for a player I have seen for years, Chamakh stays on, he did nothing and he repeated the feat on Tuesday, he like Squillaci is hopeless, but he still gets played, why?

It’s because the manager doesn’t want to admit he screwed up. That’s not stubborn, that’s childish.

We went through this with Denilson, Bendtner, Clichy and Senderos, now we have to endure it with those two, and don’t even get me on the merits of Park.

The reason I’m not celebrating is because if he went out and bought 2 decent replacements for the two we lost, a goal scorer to replace Ade which he never did, and world class centreback, yes Cahill would be perfect (forget Bolton, they are a shite team, even Henry would look crap if he were there as well) then we would be in with a chance of winning the lot, right now we look like the only chance we have of qualifying for next year’s ECL is to win it this season. And we all know that won’t happen.

In January he should sign Hazard, Goetze, Cahill and anyone that can score goals in abundance.

We already have injuries and the reason we are in trouble is because we have no decent back up, we never do, this is groundhog day.

So this panacea that is Champions League means what exactly? The main reason it seems we exist is to qualify in the top four, in order to play a team in a few games we will eventually end up out of because we don’t have enough top players.

That’s it, it seems that’s our only target, it’s all Wenger talks about, he never talks FA Cup, he fields a weakened side in the Carling and he admitted we were out of contention in the League last September.

And now the Mancs are out of Europe we will probably need to finish top three to qualify. Yes they have top players but if we did we’d be better because Wenger is a better coach, not a great manager, but a top, top coach.

Anyway so now we may find ourselves having to raise the bar because we need to be in the top three, and with this squad, we have no chance, the purse needs to come out this Christmas or we’ll end up with nothing and lose our best players, again.

Follow @LeGrove

Have a nice day Grovers, this’ll give you something to muse over!

Geoff


We qualified for the knockout stage and we’re 5th in the league, so why am I not celebrating?

by & filed under News Review.

The reason teams fire their managers is because they are not doing a good job. That’s why when the Chavs are having a bad run, their manager is questioned, just like an unsuccessful manager in any line of business would be, let alone one that gets paid so much when he gets fired, he doesn’t need to work again (any EPL manager) .

Steve Bruce gets fired and Wenger sticks up for him, oh there’s a surprise, a £7mil man sticking up for another highly paid flop.

Thing is for some reason we all think to be a great manager you have to be a successful ex top pro footballer.

Why is that? Most ex pros aren’t that bright and would be incapable of running a business, that’s why in the old days, most of them had a tax free testimonial and bought a pub with the proceeds, nowadays they either become pundits like that dipstick Neville, chat show hosts like the muppets on Talk Shite or managers like Steve Bruce of Phil Brown.

Alf Ramsey, Herbert Chapman and of late Mourinho are all examples of great managers that were not top football players, that will tell you something, yes they all played at some level but so did most of us.

So here we all are lapping up our recent run, I’m not, yes I’m happy we are winning and playing some great football again but I’m unhappy we lost two of the worlds best footballers and didn’t replace them, in fact I’m feeling conned.

And someone still needs to explain to me why we let Cesc go on the cheap when he still had 3 years left on his contract, how is that good business or good management? Please, someone explain that one away! Even Barca had a laugh at that deal.

I watched us against Man City and marvelled at Chamberlain trying his best to rip them a new one, then I watched in horror as Wenger took him off, the worst excuse for a player I have seen for years, Chamakh stays on, he did nothing and he repeated the feat on Tuesday, he like Squillaci is hopeless, but he still gets played, why?

It’s because the manager doesn’t want to admit he screwed up. That’s not stubborn, that’s childish.

We went through this with Denilson, Bendtner, Clichy and Senderos, now we have to endure it with those two, and don’t even get me on the merits of Park.

The reason I’m not celebrating is because if he went out and bought 2 decent replacements for the two we lost, a goal scorer to replace Ade which he never did, and world class centreback, yes Cahill would be perfect (forget Bolton, they are a shite team, even Henry would look crap if he were there as well) then we would be in with a chance of winning the lot, right now we look like the only chance we have of qualifying for next year’s ECL is to win it this season. And we all know that won’t happen.

In January he should sign Hazard, Goetze, Cahill and anyone that can score goals in abundance.

We already have injuries and the reason we are in trouble is because we have no decent back up, we never do, this is groundhog day.

So this panacea that is Champions League means what exactly? The main reason it seems we exist is to qualify in the top four, in order to play a team in a few games we will eventually end up out of because we don’t have enough top players.

That’s it, it seems that’s our only target, it’s all Wenger talks about, he never talks FA Cup, he fields a weakened side in the Carling and he admitted we were out of contention in the League last September.

And now the Mancs are out of Europe we will probably need to finish top three to qualify. Yes they have top players but if we did we’d be better because Wenger is a better coach, not a great manager, but a top, top coach.

Anyway so now we may find ourselves having to raise the bar because we need to be in the top three, and with this squad, we have no chance, the purse needs to come out this Christmas or we’ll end up with nothing and lose our best players, again.

Have a nice day Grovers, this’ll give you something to muse over!