Third: Final League Placing And Rhyming Slang For The New Home Top.

Come back Arsène, you can still finish in 3rd place

So third place is once more in Arsenal’s hands, the reluctant Masters Of Their Own Destiny. The combination of results yesterday was barely credible and yet unsurprising with the inability of either Newcastle or Tottenham to take advantage of Arsenal’s draw on Saturday indicative of the lack of mental strength, certainly of the latter.

Throughout the season, the squad has shown the character to comeback when results have gone against them. That mental strength needs to be summoned once more, for one final match to ensure Champions League participation for next season in their own right rather than waiting on the failure of others. And that cannot be relied on for as much as FC Bayern are favourites to beat Chelsea with the pressure on them to win in their own stadium is immense, circumstances which may counter-balance the home advantage.

Quite why there is such reticence on the parts of Arsenal, Newcastle, Tottenham or Chelsea to finish third is baffling. Each has had the opportunities to make the position their own, none more so than Tottenham. Is it a question of quality or are today’s footballers incapable of managing the pressure? Perhaps some of the club’s wage bill would be better spent employing a set of sports psychologists. They do? Oh…

Football is littered with teams labelled as ‘bottlers’. Manchester City in 1972/73 faltered with the signing of Rodney Marsh, Newcastle with Faustino Asprilla’s arrival and any number of Manchester United sides post-1968 and pre-Premier League era. Who knows will Mancini’s City join them? Certainly none of the teams in the hunt for 3rd to 5th are in this category but relatively speaking, failure could be quite damaging. Noises coming from all of the clubs are of Summer clearouts or key players leaving. Not shouting out that you are staying means Mr Star Player that you are leaving. Sign your new contract in blood for added loyalty.

Routinely we are told that this is the Worst Squad In Living Memory. Those making such claims haven’t been alive that long, this is still light years ahead of the mid-1970s, post-Brady pre-Graham 1980s and 1994-95. Finish third – yes that is progress if last season was fourth – and goals conceded will be the problem. Remove the freak occurrence at Old Trafford and they have actually conceded less goals per game than last season, barely creeping over a goal per game.

A point will equal last season’s points total. Even now with one game to go, the squad has equalled the lowest points total of Wenger’s reign. Match Tottenham’s result on Sunday will give them third place such is the vast superiority over Newcastle’s goal difference. Not even goal average could save the Geordies on that occasion.

The solution to all of this is Clint Dempsey. Possibly although this seems to make little sense with attacking midfielders not a high priority surely? Unless the American is deemed to be more desirable in footballing terms than Yossi Benayoun. Quite simply unless sales are made, there will not be space for him. Equally goalscoring is not the issue at the moment with the Worst Squad In Living Memory on course to score more than The Invincibles. All of which underlines the futility of making historical comparisons, the only statistics that matter are this season’s not last. And no judgement can be fully passed until the final whistle next weekend, statistically speaking at least and a lot of these are being thrown around at the moment.

To paraphrase Blur, modern football is rubbish and Arsenal are intent on proving it with the new kit reverting to 1993/94 season’s sleeves. They weren’t very popular at the time either. Beware Arsenal playing the long ball game next season, it would be a historical forewarning of the end of the Wenger era, following the path trodden by Don Howe and George Graham.

A moment of clarity where clarity most often strikes, pinpointed my discontent: the blue colour just ruins it, providing the visual focus as to why this is simply not an Arsenal shirt. Looking at the long-sleeved version, I should imagine that even the Fancy Dans who wear gloves in cold weather will be praying that the tradition of the Arsenal captain wearing the sleeves involves the shorter version; they are quite simply ghastly. Oh, and when you have explain that the obsidian hoops on the sleeve are blue, it is blue unless of course you are disappearing up your own arsenal-hole at a rapid rate of knots. Ask Bono, he’s an expert on that one. One final thought; why is AFC printed on the back in the embroidery style of you gran’s 1970 knitting patterns? What next, Arsenal Rally jackets?

The club’s contract with Nike is often cited as a bone of contention, particularly with other clubs profiting from their largesse. Nike are not stupid; this is clearly a ploy to draw attention away from that by coming up with an abominable design. Quite what Ken Friar makes of this is unknown; he was vocal in the 1970s in criticising clubs who change their kits to incorporate commercial designs, quite rightly believing it would be exploitation of the fans to change the kits on a whim. Which is exactly what clubs do now.

Finally, over at Arsenal On This Day it’s a title celebration once more. And in keeping with this week, it’s last day title drama. This is Arsenal after all and we never knowingly do things the easy way.

’til Tomorrow.

359 thoughts on “Third: Final League Placing And Rhyming Slang For The New Home Top.

  1. FG, it’s a fascinating article I read several years ago. Genuinely worth a look. They are very social animals and the problem with those bulls were that they have become incapable of integrating into herds and socialized the normal way because of the incredible trauma they have suffered.

  2. @ LG
    I’ll read that, thanks. Damaged and traumatised youths rampaging, eh? A big part of the reason why elephants hold such a fascination for me is that they are so like us. And of course I love the fact that they are essentially matriarchal societies, of course.

  3. Oh and when you compare the limp, feeble attempt to break down a defensive uninspired Villa with the battering our lads gave a vibrant and positive Norwich only one team looked like they really wanted it anyway.

  4. What do I think? OK, thanks for aksing? FIrst of all, I really like the new kit.

    Secondly, GIbbs is quicker than Santos, and can cover the usual quick break-away tactic that teams like to utilise against our a**es.

    I’ve only seen Sagna’s leg-breaking stamp from one angle and it’s almost impossible to tell from that. Which is why there is no media uproar! Their narrative only gains traction with images. However, a (public) apology from Johnson would be decent. I doubt he’s rung Bacary up with a private one.

    I really want a BIll-style, solid at the back, patient and efficient performance v West Brom. I don’t want gung ho. We just need to get the balance between attack and defence right. Just for this one game. Then we can forget about it! WBA scored in the last minute against whoever at the weekend. They’ll not be taking it easy and will play right to the end. But then, they’res no way they are going to park the bus. They’ll come out and play. We just need to get the balance right. Or have I said that already?

    M’Vila? I dunno. Never seen him play. Oh wait, I tell a lie. I did see a Youtube clip a few weeks ago….and for me, it was a meh! But if he seriously does add to our spine, provide a shield for the back four, and frees up Song…as people are saying…well that sound effing great!

  5. Scary article. And because elephants are so intelligent, much harder for people to avoid harm.
    If it carries on we will lose the elephant which would be an absolute disaster not just for them and us but for the environment they control and the other wildlife that depends on it.

  6. I understand that now Stew,Just don’t understand why its there.
    Not that I am not happy to see the little fellow.

  7. Anopheles certainly is an animal and as for the status of plasmodium vivax….it is debatable

  8. Mingus @ 9:03:

    “a Bill-style, solid at the back, patient and efficient performance v. West Brom.”

    I like you too. I am blushing with pride. 🙂

    BTW Yogi, forgot to mention how much I adored the meerkat in your post. If that does not win you the award for the best football blog in the history of the world then the voting is rigged and we actually do have a real conspiracy to talk about.


    Enjoyed your story about elephants. I know you don’t like me very much but I’m not all bad. I love animals too. 🙂

  9. Bill,I don’t see how anyone would not like you.
    I don’t often agree with you ,but I cant think of one occasion where you have been disrespectful to a player or the manager.
    I am sure FG holds no malice towards you.

  10. Good. Get the hell out of here BLACKBURN.
    enjoyed watching you getting sent down. Learn how to play assholes.

  11. Now, if only the jerks from QPR or Bolton or Stoke(next year ,god willing). Would join , could get a pretty clean and decent league going.

  12. @goonerkam
    Rather QPR than Bolton. I haven’t found Bolton to be as annoying as they used to be ever since Coyle took over. + they seem to be a decent team to send our youngsters to to develop.

  13. Wow – my bad. I remember being taught that at school and have been operating under the belief that insects were creatures but NOT animals ever since. I feel betrayed.

    You really do learn something new every day.

  14. Here you go, Jonny

    Animal – ‘…a multicellular organism of the kingdom Animalia, differing from plants in certain typical characteristics such as capacity for locomotion, nonphotosynthetic metabolism, pronounced response to stimuli, restricted growth, and fixed bodily structure’…

    By that definition of course plasmodium vivax is also an ‘animal’ and so if anopheles is considered only to be the vector of malaria, then plasmodium is the direct cause and plasmodium may be considered to be the most dangerous ‘animal’.

    Either way even an epidemic of hippos sitting on people is unlikely to scratch the surface of the deaths dealt out by the mozzies/plasmo combo…

  15. @ goonerkam

    Well done, Wigan. Bye-bye Blackburn. So if Man City beat QPR – likely – and Bolton beat Stoke – tricky, but not impossible – you’ll get your wish.

  16. Please, please, please let it be Stoke relegated next season. I’d just fucking love it if they went down.

    Sadly I think it’s extremely unlikely – it’s awful – they have less shots on goal than any other team – but season after season it proves to be effective.

  17. @ Frank
    Technicality – the plasmodium vivax parasite is not the one that causes the lethal form of malaria. That is caused by plasmodium falciparum. However that is an animal as well, obviously.

  18. Right. QPR it is. I’ll try to disassociate Bolton with the nasty , shit team under fat Sam. And what they did to Freddie. SPARKY AND JOEY. couldn’t have happened to a better couple, ( of bad dudes). 🙂

  19. Well that was a first for me! Just listened to you, george, on the fans forum podcast! If you’re always on, I’ll be listening in more in the future.

  20. Indeed, FG. Plasmodia are tricky fuckers though and at the risk of appearing racist, to me they all look alike. As for humans, dups…mere amateurs when it comes to killing people.

  21. Guys i wish blackburn stayed in the league, they always receive a good trashing from us, o well norwich should be prepared for a good pasting next season. Ah, good times

  22. All compound leg fractures suffered by Arsenal players over the last five years have been caused by English players

  23. What the heck you guys discussing. Is it Entomology week. ?
    Dissecting insects?
    we might have to start another petition regarding these future kits. Ffs, we can’t lift the trophies next year wearing this stuff. The away kit looks like garbs from a maximum security institution.
    What ever happened to tradition?

  24. sadly, it looks like Norwich we get away with that direct assault on BACARY
    yet another case of referee,FA and media incompitance and impotence.
    But there is no conspiracy against my ARSENAL. This is seriously. F•••••• up.

  25. Frank,and 2 out of 3 humans who ever lived died of infected teeth.
    So how anyone is left beats me.
    Mingus.Most weeks.Try not to pontificate on tactics as most do,You just make yourself look a fool

  26. OK I agree. This preoccupation with the insect thing has been done to death. Lets discuss snails or more particularly snails which transmit Schistosoma haematobium…or schistosomiasis..or bilharzia. Lots more deaths are caused by the snail/schisto combo than hippos. In fact I think that hippos are frightened of snails for that very reason. Some sort of evolutionary subconscious terror has hippos weeping with fear if they see a snail. So much so that if they see one they have a tendency to jump into the arms of any passing human in an effort to keep their feet off the ground….with the obvious consequences.

  27. All compound leg fractures suffered by Arsenal players over the last five years have been caused by English players

    hahahaha …..nice one !!!!
    no penalty in 19 home games
    last year at newcastle we are top of the table at half time but dowd discovered two penalties a sending off and offensive foul on rvp while he is getting cluttered by two newcastle players
    the year previous to that they cancel arshavins goal against sunderland
    the year before that adebayor scores good goal disallowed..tuncay scored from offside allowed. in same year we turn back in st andrews after eduardo freak and again the ref saw penalty from clichy ( ridiculous) ….
    media constantly trashing wenger
    opposition managers (mainly english) also mock wenger
    ex english players and pundits all know better than him.
    it is a case of our players being pansies and not the neanderthal english culture in football that is at fault
    wenger is called a paedo in stoke and lineker instead of being embarassed that such mentalities exist in his country takes his opportunity to also mock wenger……

    no there is no bias against arsenal no “conspiracy”” …nothing..everything is nice and clean… they all love us , appreciate us, and recognise what we bring to the premier league and the nation cant wait for wenger to reap the rewards of his stellar work. england is with you arsene wenger!

  28. Anyone is left, george, because on average each fatality happens after procreation, whether the cause is tooth ache or malaria or being squashed by a hippo

  29. It is very 90’s, i like the 90;s..still wear a bumbag and shellsuit whilst listening to brit pop on me walkman.

  30. You’re right, Kam, it is serious! We are too classy to wear such terrible uniforms. This year and last year were good, though this year’s away is another tragedy.

  31. Mingus, George is a real regular on the forum. I identified him last year when listening–I knew right away that “George in Blackburn” was our very own Pedantic George! Although, I don’t think it was pedantic then–I forget what he went by.

    He regularly roasts John Cross, which is the most fun. Tom Watt is a delight, but some of the journos are fairly poor. I liked it better when there was a journalist and a fan with Tom, but they canned Iyare–maybe to get more callers on.

  32. FG, yes, that article really affected me when I first read it 5-6 years ago (can’t believe it has been that long!). Bill, you might like it. It really challenges ones preconceptions about animals to realize that it is possible to have a sophisticated anthropological reading of their mourning rituals and sociological analysis of how a generation has been affected by traumatic violence. Amazing stuff.

  33. How I would love it if Stoke went down next year. Truly. My second cousin grew up in Yorkshire and somehow ended up a Stoke fan. When I visited him in London in March, it was interesting to talk football with him, but I still don’t understand how he was stuck with such an insane team. His and his sisters’ boys are Liverpool fans. Lost souls. Next time I go, I’ll try to rescue them by taking them to see some real football at the Emirates. My cousin is a hopeless case and enjoys the fact that he has stayed true since his childhood to an underdog team.

    At what age do you have to declare your permanent affiliation? If the boys are under 10, are they fair game for an uncle’s influence and tempting with tickets and kits (won’t be buying them the new one’s though!).

  34. Mdemba Ba of Senegal just scored the first goal for a professional football in Kingston. Edward Sagalo just scored the second! Kingston FC still trailing Toronto Academy 3-2 in the second half, at the Invista Centre in the Canadian Football League, but this is the start of something here. I think. Congratulations to the Limestone City!!

  35. Just read (who kows why?) Myles Palmer’s most recent offering. He really does have it in for Arsene nowadays. What a prick.

  36. Im a physio and dont want to sound pessimistic but im very concerned over jack wiltshires ankle injury. This could be a career defining blow to the kid, if he has damaged the cartilage like i suspect he may play with an element of pain.He has been out way too long for a calcaneal stress fracture! They never release accurate medical diagnoses to the media.I hope im wrong about the lad but im concerned.

  37. 22 million euros ? for mvilla…..does wenger have a ” eff me” tattoo on his forehead ? stop dreaming…if wenger actually pays 22 million euros for some guy from rennes then he has trully lost the plot..and i dont think he has.

  38. Arsenal should buy either the Manchester City number 2 keeper PANTILIMON or the Newcastle keeper KRUL or. Both excellent.

    And while I am at it the official away jersey should be the FA Cup winning Yellow and Blue jersey. But apparently the world wide fanbase of Arsenal do not like it? Which is the same as saying that Arsenal fans do not like the Red and White shirt so we should change that as well. In fact, Nike, should be a little courageous and simply bring out the retro version of the Yellow and Blue of next season.

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