Today is carnival day, the sun is out and the beer will flow.

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Who invited that Bud?

Who invited that Bud?

So this is it, the last game of the season, the one where we meet up and drink copious amounts of alcohol outside of pubs and celebrate being Arsenal fans, this is the day we all decide on which players we want, how the season has gone, what we would do about it if we were the manager and how many goals we are about to put past our opponents, Stoke City.

This was traditionally the day we paraded our silverware, but not today, today we meet a team that has done well to survive, under Tony Pulis they have played the long ball game, more notably the long Delap throw and they have made some crunching tackles but I feel they are an honest side and deserve to stay up, unlike the anti-Christ, lying spiv, perma tanned friend of fat bung taking Sam, Phil Brown and his team Hull City who if results go against them could see them in the Championship next year. So fingers crossed!

It’s a dilema because I really want to see Newcastle go down, but Boro need to win by 3 clear and Hull need to lose by a similar amount, but if Newcastle win and Hull lose then Hull go down, tough one to be honest, but if I had to chose, it would be Hull, what they did to Cesc was nothing short of defamation of character and for that alone they should go down.

Stoke will come to the Grove today expecting a weakened team, I think they’ll see a weakened team but no kids, they will be saved for the Anfield game on Tuesday, so I expect to see a mixture of fringe players out there with Mannone in goal, not sure about him but hell, it’s the last game of the season so we’ll be cheering whoever plays along because it doesn’t matter anymore.

Arshavin wants to renegotiate his contract as the budget has hit his £80k a week, although few will sympathise with his financial dillema, £40k a week towards MP’s expenses must hurt!

Arsene spoke about his transfer budget and had this to say,

‘But as well I do not accept people to think that I am stupid enough to have £100m at my disposal and put it in the bank because I am scared to spend it’

I’m glad he said that because earlier in the season he said the opposite!

We have argued amongst us all season do we or don’t we have funds, is it Wenger that won’t? Or is it the board have none? Well I think with the Real Madrid threat and the shareholders Q&A the board have finally given him money and this time he will spend it.

Two things though Arsene, many of the shareholders have 1 share each, and yes they may be worth considerably more than they paid for them, but you have to understand they would no more sell them than you would sell your wife, they have no monetary value, they are their little bit of Arsenal.

They only have them because they love Arsenal, so to say they cannot question you is a little ‘do as I say not as I do’… it’s a little dictatorial Arsene, football is all about having an opinion and a Q&A opens up that pandora’s box, so if you don’t want to be challenged, don’t have the Q&A.

It has nothing to do with disrespect, the fact that they turned up shows they respect you, they just don’t agree with you. I would though also like to know why you bought an aging crock from the Mancs because I’m not sure you answered that question!

Anyway Arsene, we all love you so lighten up, enjoy the day, there will be plenty of people singing your name today but please, please don’t think they are endorsing project youth, they are endorsing you as a truly great manager, but one they can relate to, why? Because you too make the odd mistake.

So today is the last chance to see our beloved Arsenal for a whole year, well not a year, but it will feel like one, 3 months cold turkey is a long time out, but we’ll be here on Le Grove trying our best to keep you all going, trying to give life without Arsenal some kind of meaning, a direction, a beacon if you will to take us through the darkness toward the light that is the pre-season friendlies and the Emirates and Amsterdam cups.

I reckon we’ll be thinking revenge today, and I think the players that were so appalling at Victoria road, will keen to set the record straight, so I’m going for a big win, and I mean 5 nil or better!

Have a great day today Grovers, it will be a long wait until we play again, but hey, we have a whole summer of speculation ahead and a shed load of money to spend!

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Steve Bould for manager? Match review and I think we have the next Vieira.

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Oh yes… I got Arsenal TV… and I’ve decided to give Young-guns a run for their money and review a youth cup match!

I’m not overly familiar with the players, so Geoff and I will do a joint post today – the Ying and the Yang! Good cop, bad cop, the shield of the blogs.

I would like to start by saying that I believe that Jay Thomas is the next Patrick Vieira, and I really mean that, I had hoped that would be Diaby, but this kid has it all, and that special ability to keep the ball with his strength, hold on to it with his skill and finish the move with his footballing intelligence, none of which Diaby seems to have, oh and yes he can defend, a real leader and a future Arsenal and England captain.

First thing to note about Arsenal and their woeful support is that we managed to attract 35,000 for a Youth cup final. I know a lot of people complain about how poor the support is these days, but nights like tonight prove otherwise. Fans are madder and more passionate about football than they’ve ever been… the intensity sometimes manifests itself in a bad way, but that is a by product of 24-7 football.

Onto the match…!

Shea
Eastmond Ayling Bartley Tom Cruise
Frimpong (Watt) Coquelin

Lansbury Wilshere Thomas
Sunu (Murphy)

The team picked was undoubtedly the right one… Steve knows, and I’m not ashamed to admit I’m an SKB. The question I asked at the top was a serious one though… if Bould can recreate the same football as the first team in the youth team… would it not make sense to promote from within when the coach hangs up his rain mac? Liverpool used to do it with great success. If we are aiming to grow our players… why not our managers?

The game kicked off with a carnival atmosphere… I love the boos and the cheers depending on who has the ball. You could tell it was a young crowd, the noise was so high pitched! I did notice a few of the blighters standing though… (Mental note: Write stern letter of complaint to Stadium manager).

The first major move of the match came when Jack Wilshere played in Tom Cruise who crossed poorly, Liverpool failed to clear, but Thomas couldn’t get a shot off. The Jack through ball had Bergy written all over it!

It didn’t take long for our mini Brady picked the ball up on the half way line, threaded it through to Lansbury, who laid it on for Sunu… who buried it in clinical fashion! Lovely goal! High pitched screams all round!

Arsenal dominated possession… we dominated so badly that at one point, we were up to 83%.

Watt came on for Frimpong early doors through injury, shame for the boy, but sometimes these things have a habit of working out. The next talking point came when Emmanuel Thomas hit the post from a beautifully placed free kick, the ball rebounded out, Watt got to the ball first… the Liverpool defender hacked him down… Penalty!

Jack Wilshere stepped up… and buried it low and hard! 2-0!

Wilshere then turned villain… he failed to clear the ball, da, de, da, then a scouse kid hit a shot with one foot, the ball hit an Arsenal player, rebounded back out, scouse kid fired a volley with the other foot and scored a belter! 2-1… a real disappointment… they didn’t deserve it.

Stadium announcer: ‘Could Rebecca please meet her grandma at gate 14′

How embarrassing!

Second half started like the first left off, It didn’t take Watt long to get amongst it… Jack Wilshere started the move again by sliding him through, Sanchez sprinted on… looked up… dinked it over the keeper! 3-1… we were dominating Liverpool in a humiliating fashion!

Arsenal continued to keep possession well, knocking the ball around with a pace and menace… the first team could learn a few tricks!

Our next goal came from a set piece. Lansbury launched a corner at the near post, Emmanuel Thomas got there first and looped a glancing header over the Liverpool keeper.

The Arsenal boys wanted this final… they were beating Liverpool 4-1 but it could have been 8-1, in truth Murphy, the second sub scored a top, top goal, but the lino wrongly judged it offside… the hunger I witnessed is very encouraging. I also liked the Steve Bould set piece accent on the team, just like the George Graham days!

Ratings:

Shea – Very short for a goalkeeper and not particularly great from crosses. The commentators say he more than makes up for his shortcomings in the air, with shot stopping ability. We didn’t get to see that side of his game tonight… Liverpool were little threat really. I thought he was a little flappy tonight and he came out almost to the half way line very Fabianskiesh, oops!… 6.5

Eastmond – Fairly quiet game from him… again, difficult to judge when Liverpool were so poor! 6.5

Ayling – Looks pretty solid in the air and on the floor. Very tall and I would imagine he’ll develop into quite a powerful player. 7

Bartley – Another imposing figure. Tall, clever on the ball and a good reader of the game. Bolton lost a star in the making when they let him go! What I will say is I don’t believe either of the centre backs are strong enough for a first team place yet… you have to have a different level of strength to deal with the likes of Kevin Davies and Drogba. 7

Tom Cruise – A quiet game from our right back. He looks like a handy player though… he is eager to get forward and quite powerful in the tackle. 7

Frimpong – Not a lot to say as he went off so early, his loss though was Watts gain. 5

Coquelin – I wasn’t as impressed by him as I was when I saw his debut at Barnet, but I was still impressed. He quietly gets on with his job, mopping up like his idol Claude Mak used to. I like his fiery temper and his Flamini like tenacity. 6.5

Lansbury – I really like this guy. If he fulfils the hype… he’s got David Beckham like appeal… the marketing department at Arsenal are probably well aware of that! I thought he played quite well. He does the basics really well, he isn’t too flash and he doesn’t waste much. He also got an assist. I rate him… he looks like he’s bulked out a bit since his loan move. 7.5

Wilshere – Sublime going forward… Bergkampesque with his vision… he is creative, aggressive and a real goal threat. I think he needs to work on the defensive side of his game… he is a bit sloppy… kind of like Paul Scholes. He’ll be a real star for us… I can’t wait to see him in a few more games next year! 9

Thomas – This guy seems the most ready out of the Youth team. Big, strong and very skilful. He doesn’t seem to have that much in the way of pace… I think he’ll be a real useful player and he could develop into that versatile midfielder we need at the moment! I’d take him over Diaby right now! 8

Sunu – Probably the man with the most pace in the team. His finishing was pretty clinical tonight and his ability to run wide and get in behind defenders is good. I never get too excited about youth team strikers… they rarely make the grade (Rankin, Aliadiere, Lupoli, Fonte, Barrett, Stokes)… but I’ve got high hopes for this one! 8

Subs:

Sanchez – Electric pace and bundles of heart. He won a penalty and scored a great goal after coming on… his pace and hard work caused Liverpool lots of problems in the second half. 8

Murphy – I like the look of this chap. I thought his celebration at Spurs deserved some sort of award for how great it was… his performance was promising tonight. He looks great on the ball and he is always looking for and angle on goal. He is fast, very aware and creative in how he fashions his chances. He had a goal disallowed late on which should have counted… it was a super finish as well. 7

Summary:

A top performance from Bould’s boys. The desire to win was a joy to watch and there are definitely some stars in the making. I loved listening to Jack in the interview after, ‘We’ve all got talent, we can all get into the first team… we know that’. I also liked hearing Emmanuel-Thomas telling Sky that the set piece goal he scored was a result of working on tactics in training.

My tips for the future?

  • Emanuel Thomas
  • Jack Wilshere
  • Rhys Murphy

Now over to the big boys… some of them might be waking up in cold sweats tonight!

P.S. Did anyone see our plastic manager leave 15 minutes before the end… I hope the ‘real’ fans give him a ribbing about that (I jest…)! Oh, and it was nice to see Jack having his picture taken with the fans… nice touch son! Did you hear the cheeky scouse kid say, ‘We can create chances becuase their back four isn’t that good!’. How dare he!

So following on from our plea to Arsenal to show us a bit of clarity and at least agree that we have money or we don’t, that way we said the expectation of the fans is not constantly battered, well yesterday the boss told the board to stop telling the media they have £70 million to spend on players and that Wenger can buy a £30 million player if he wants to, because he can’t, he told them to SHUT UP! Good for you Arsene, that’s all we asked for here on Le Grove, honestly and clarity.

And good to see you are still reading Le Grove! Have a great day today Grovers, tomorrow we celebrate and hopefully sign off in style, a bit like the youth team.

Finally, one of our Grovers Gooner-pak has asked us to post an link to an appeal. Whatever your politics the government of Pakistan are trying to rid their country of terrorists and the ordinary people are suffering. I applaud that, terrorists of any kind and from any country will never be welcomed here. So if you have a spare £ these people would welcome it.

 

 

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We are close to signing a South American sensation, the new Maradona?

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Apparently another stalker site out there in blog land wrote most of its post yesterday referring to us, Le Grove, how nice! Join the club, you’re not the first and you won’t be the last blog to use Le Grove to get your own post read, as usual I won’t mention your blog name, to be honest I don’t even know what it’s called, I haven’t read it, two of our  Grovers did a cut and paste. I know their names though, Franchise and Adbeadhair. Oh and Irish mentioned it too.

This is what they said – ‘Arsenal fan site Le Grove organises a mass dirty protest demanding Wenger sign that Uruguayan fella from You Tube that can do ten kick ups with a tortoise lest they all stop bathing for a week’

Listen if we could find a player that could do 10 kick ups with a ball he’d have to be better than Diaby and Denilson as they can’t do two, so if there really is a player like that out there, I suggest you get in touch with Arsene Wenger.

Le Grove reserves the right to say we think Denilson will be a great player one day as will Diaby, but not yet and we need good now, so adequate back up, but not more and certainly not at the same time.

Again I don’t know for sure, but one of our Grovers told me that as of 8.45 last night this other stalker blog only had 3 comments, perhaps you’d like me to start writing your posts mate, your advertisers may like to feel your blog gets read, don’t send them here though as I don’t take advertising space, this site has integrity and we do it only for ourselves and our Grovers, no money changes hands.

Onto all things Arsenal, I saw the new kit today as I’m sure you all did and whilst it’s a little dark, it’s not green and it may look better in the flesh, so let’s wait and see, I’m one of the few that didn’t like this years away kit, I loved the ‘Invincibles’ yellow kit though.

Someone is trying to organise a march on Sunday to pay homage to Arsene Wenger, I’ll be drinking outside the ground enjoying our traditional last game at home – knee’s up, so I’ll be missing that one, someone else is organising a petition begging him to stay and some else is having a 10 minute sing-a-long singing , you guessed it, ‘One Arsene Wenger’

I think you have to be a little careful on this one people or he’ll think we are all endorsing project youth and he’ll buy no one. Also, he’s said he’s staying and that may come across a little toady. Still, each to their own.

We all agree he is a great manager and we all love the brand of football, but the team we all support is in fact Arsenal, what will all these people do when he eventually leaves? Become Madrid fans? I will follow my team blindly, whatever they do, and whoever manages them, why? Because I love Arsenal, get a grip people and keep it all in perspective.

I read the chart of the EPL’s cheapest and most expensive seats, well of course we won that hands down (does that count as a trophy?) but what I found astonishing was, our cheapest were almost the same as the Mancs most expensive, and they just won the league three times on the trot so that really rubs it in.

I understand we may be fielding Mannone in goal as Fabianski has a knee problem, wow some leap, if he does, good luck Vito, we’ll give you a huge cheer, that’s for sure. Nasri is also out so I expect he’ll play Arshavin out wide, let’s hope he gives Theo a go up front with someone and puts Vela out wide instead. Or Vela left and Arshavin right, it’s Stoke and it’s our last game, lets attack, I think I can remember the team that played at their gaff and that really didn’t work, so I hope the boss goes all out and tries to score more than they do, like we did against Wigan on that last day of the season and our last game at Highbury when we won 4-2 and pipped the spuds.

It will be interesting to see if he recalls Traore next term as he’ll have Gibbs, Clichy, Rosicky, Nasri, Vela and Arshavin all capable of playing down that side, still we can never have too many in my book.

I think the consensus on here is we sign Cana, maybe I’ll try and get a song going so the boss can hear that, I read about Matuidi but he seems to be in the Diarra mould and Cana is like a beast version of Flamini and with no conscience, and that for me is exactly what this team needs, we’ll see.

Hopefully Gazidas and Wenger will get in quick, like that time with Rosicky, but with a player that isn’t broken though this time, I don’t care where he’s from, I’ll even take a Uraguayan if he can do kick ups and he’s a big centre back or a tough tackling defensive midfielder.

Have a great day today Grovers, I won’t be around until the afternoon.