Arsène’s Holy Grail

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I am sure Nicklas Bendtner could give Arsène advice on how to quench his thirst if the manager asked politely enough. The Dane after all, has shown greater prowess in the bar than on the training pitch as his Arsenal career winds down to an ignominious end, injury bringing about a similarly undistinguished departure from the club as many before him. And frankly, not many tears are being shed, certainly not in this household anyway.

Arsenal are onto better things, the FA Cup has suddenly rediscovered its glamour and like the Holy Grail, it shines like a beacon for the knights of the boardroom table to bring home. The scent of Wembley has changed perspectives and fourth place no longer feels like a trophy when Arsène can sense he is close to getting his hands on a proper one; the FA Cup is now a priority. Anyone who says that the romance of the competition is dead hasn’t spoken to the manager but you sense he’s missed a trick. There haven’t been many shock results this season where the big clubs have fallen by the wayside. Except for Wigan’s win over Manchester City, the rest of the top seven or eight in the Premier League have been knocked out by teams in the Premier League. Indeed, Manchester United are the only team in the top six not to have been knocked out by Arsenal or City. It’s more a case of pop has eaten itself than anything else.

It wouldn’t be a big game if there weren’t injury worries for Arsenal and this weekend is no different. Arsène’s optimism that Laurent Koscielny proved to be as misplaced as any of Bendtner’s shots with the Frenchman now not likely to return to action until Tuesday at the earliest. Meanwhile Mesut Özil, Jack Wilshere and Abou Diaby all look to be returning in time to prove their fitness for the World Cup in Brazil and a vague hope that if the rest of the squad don’t screw it up tomorrow, they might get an FA Cup final thrown in for good measure. It doesn’t help with the semi-final though and you sense that excuses are being readied if it all goes a bit pear-shaped against Wigan.

Talking of the 2005 final, Wenger’s pragmatism on the day won the trophy. It doesn’t matter if you deserve to win the match when you get to that stage, just that you do but what a contrast to this season he offered,

It was the only way we could win it. At the start, I didn’t set up like that and suddenly they were all over us. I realised that physically we were not able to compete, so I said, ‘‘OK, let’s defend as long as we can’’.

Would that he had shown such adaptability at Stamford Bridge or Anfield. Had he done so, there might be whisperings of a double. Of course the performance was the antithesis of the beautiful game in which he believes so firmly and being that principled is an undeniably admirable trait but when there is a flexibility to stray from that path, to adapt strategies to resources available, there is a better chance of winning. This weekend, Arsène will have to re-adopt that approach with injuries dictating who is available. It appears that there may be one or two less than hoped for. Rosicky, Gibbs and Oxlade-Chamberlain are all struggling with knocks and rated 50/50. In Wenger-ese, that means that they can be aware from a slight limp to having their legs hanging off, it doesn’t really tell us anything and more to the point, leaves Uwe Rosler wondering what they are smoking at London Colney to have such bad injury luck.

One bright spot is Aaron Ramsey’s recovery. According to the manager, it is complete and the Welsh international is ready to start a match. More to the point, he is starting the match as Mathieu Flamini is suspended. Cardiff City may be worrying about a spy in the camp but Wigan can happily plan today knowing that the line-up has been told to them bar one place. Unless of course, the mind games have begun and surreptitiously, players have regained fitness and tomorrow sees the strongest Arsenal starting line-up this side of Christmas. No, I’m not willing to hold my breath for that one or wager any money on it. I think the manager has told the truth on the state of the squad.

But I wonder if he is trying to instil a siege mentality in the players. Those of a certain age will remember how good George Graham was at creating that atmosphere. Of course, the players helped by having points deductions and fines levied on them every now and then. Talk of how the officials were against Arsenal at Stamford Bridge and Goodison Park is so wide of the mark and at odds with the reality, that trying to create a ‘them and us’ scenario is surely Arsène’s ploy. He cannot genuinely believe that the matches were decided by poor decisions; Arsenal’s performances were so bad on those days as to be consistent.

That he was able to identify another common theme in those big matches suggests it was a genuine attempt to deflect pressure from the players. Wenger noted that “when you don’t start strong you always put yourself in a dangerous situation” and that is exactly the position they have found themselves in during the four games since Stamford Bridge. In the case of City and Swansea the squad had the strength and took the opportunities presented, to fight back to take a point in each match. Welcome as those points were, especially against the title favourites, they have not stopped the rot which has set in and which baffles Arsène,

What has been strange in our season is that for a long time we looked very strong defensively, we had an outstanding defensive record, and we lost it suddenly. That’s the surprise of the season for me,

It’s an unwelcome gift from the players and one that he has yet to understand the causes. Whilst that is concerning, the root of it all is the dismemberment of their confidence and the failure to regain any semblance of belief. The players are struggling and whatever message he and his coaching staff are trying to impart, quite simply Arsène, it isn’t getting through. Only the players can answer that and the reasons for it don’t have to be public knowledge, there is no case for it to be so. What should be public knowledge is the resolution of the problem and we will know that by the results, by the performances on the pitch. A good time to start with that will be 5.07pm BST, tomorrow night.

’til Tomorrow.

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92 thoughts on “Arsène’s Holy Grail

  1. We’ll said Yogi,

    We have to win that FA cup. We just Fucking HAVE to. At this point, no one gives a shit about footballing philosophy. Just win the damned thing.

  2. Howdy Jonny!

    Regarding the convo yesterday. I still think the criticism is slightly unfair. Nothing wrong with wanting to keep your squad together, even at this low point. He can’t say everything in one go. Eventually, he’ll get to saying stuff like adding “top, top, quality” to the squad 🙂
    But I doubt if that would make anyone happier because we’ve heard it all before, haven’t we?

    Me thinks there is little that he can say at this point that won’t piss people off. But the guy is over 60. He’ll hardly change the way he talks.

  3. I could easily have got 1st place today, but I thought fuck it, why go for 1st when 4th is good enough

  4. Henristic

    Don’t knock the over 60’s….. well nearly anyway 🙂

    Ras…. Jackanory…. are you back in Montpellier?

  5. Fear not friends!
    I am adorned with body paint and tasselled nappy practising my hakka stance as we speak!
    Due to clicking joints this is no mean feat and could mean I will remain squatting till kick off!! But the holy grail will be ours!!

  6. Clock-end

    Be carefull, by the end of tomorrows game your tasselled nappy could be full 🙂

  7. Morning Henristic, I see your points, of course…it’s just worrying to hear him speak as though he is unaware of the amount of work that is required. Everyone can see this squad is going to need significant additions, so it is hardly ‘a secret’. By his age he should have learnt to play to the crowd better – instead he seems intent on doing himself no favours at all. Maybe you cannot teach old dogs new tricks but, if so that’s one more thing to worry about. 😉

    The very worse thing, for me, would be for Wenger to stay, do the minimum required transfer activity in the summer, declare himself happy with his squad and then – when we get off to a wretched start – scramble around in the bargain bins again. I dread this happening – nobody would come out of that well.

    Perhaps it’s an elaborate bluff in his mind, but his words do not fill me with confidence and, if so, I think the bluff is one that serves no useful, understandable purpose.

  8. It’s unusual to have the icing before the cake, but that’s what we have. The FA Cup is clearly a piece of the decoration, although of much greater importance is the cake i.e. qualification for next season’s Champions League.

  9. Team selection for tomorrow:

    ………………….Crutch Flaps………………

    Gone……………what?………..leaving………………..trying…

    ………………own goal…………..trying very hard…

    Angry of islington……..oh my back hurts………. big mouth

    ………………………I got me end away last night………………

    Manager: Don’t worry boys, you can judge me at the end of the season

    Name that squad???

    Now name that squad.

  10. The FA Cup tops a CL league position finish for me. What exactly is the point of Arsenal in the CL these days? Second place in the group followed by an early exit in the knockout stages, so the point is what? The only benefit is more cash in the coffers, more cash that probably will not be spent anyway. But wait! Top players want CL football don’t they? Well that only matters if you’re aiming to sign top players and based on Arsene’s recent comments we are more likely to see another Sanogo than an Ozil this summer.

    At least winning the cup gets the trophy monkey off our backs and could lead to bigger things. A year without CL football could help our league challenge as it has for Liverpool this year. I’m not against us qualifying of course, but the competition really has become a bit ‘meh’ for me as we go through the motions year after year. FA Cup > CL Qualification.

  11. Jonny

    A good analysis of Wenger. It’s like making love to a woman, you can do it with style, you can move your balls around a lot, pass it left, pass it right… put in front and behind, she may swallow everything you give her, but when you’ve finished, if she hasn’t had an orgasm, what was the point!

  12. Looks like our players are yacking about winning this and believing that…..

    Just shut up and do your talking on the pitch.

    Honestly.

  13. Also from today’s 365 –

    The worry is that we have been here before. As Nick Miller mentioned in his profile on Ivan Gazidis, the most frustrating aspect of Arsenal’s season is that they (again) made their fans believe that this truly could be their year. It’s the hope that kills you, and the club’s ignominious displays against the rest of the top four were each like a body blow to a footballing soul left exposed to the elements.

    In the cups too, Saturday’s opportunity is nothing new. 2013 was Bradford and Blackburn, 2012 was Sunderland, 2011 Birmingham, 2010 Stoke and 2009 Burnley, each year the club managing to find another tortuous way to disassemble the hope of fans against an inferior opposition.

    This time, we may finally be at the crossroads, the ‘do or die’ for Arsene at Arsenal. If his side throw away the opportunity for FA Cup success against Championship Wigan with Hull or Sheffield Untied waiting in the final (with no disrespect to any of them intended), this truly would feel like the last days of Rome.

  14. Not true Henristic. He could say that he wants to keep his players and add top class players in key positions this summer. Since he seldom ever announces an intention to strengthen the team, I would be inclined to take it a bit more seriously.

  15. And if we don’t win FA cup and make it to fourth, judging by Santi’s comments, we will have great difficulty keeping our good players. Announcing that we certainly will be enhancing it with big purchases is one of the only ways he can keep the best players since they all have been calling for just that for the last 3 or 4 years.

  16. So – Chelscum get Atletico. I suppose it’s the tie they would have wanted but I fancy Atletico is no less of a test.

    Wouldn’t it be marvellous if they did the league/cup double?

  17. NB1969 wow !?!
    My feeling is we will scrape 4th but chelsea will win the champions league and we will choke again at the final hurdle in search of that elusive trophy.
    The hard decision has to be made regarding wenger I feel that he will walk regardless he must feel the sway of public support moving in the opposite direction.
    The problem is the next coach, the best coaches already have great jobs why would they want to move to a club that has stagnated for over half a decade?
    I hope I’m wrong but I don’t want us to turn into a club that changes managers as frequently as the weather.

  18. That list of clubs we lost to is pretty chilling to read on the Fri before our FA cup semifinal on Saturday to Wigan.

  19. I heard that Chelsea will let Courtois play if they pay them £2.5M per tie.

    Are Chelsea even allowed to make that decision?

  20. Heh – sorry abou that Limestone.

    If it helps, I imagine that, in many of them, we were not fielding our ‘first team’.

  21. I think she may gag a bit tomorrow, but she won’t choke! This is the time to stand up proud and erect, a big ego needs to withdraw with grace having finally given satisfaction to his mistress of style and pace. Even if he needs a couple of tabs of viagra to get it done…… the end justifies the means. If the woman can’t be satisfied with tippy tappy softly softly, then a bit of rough and hard should do it. Get his tactics right and it could be a joint orgasm. Get his tactics wrong then a sorry soft wet thing will be disapearing down the tunnel at full time.

  22. LG, but Arsene ALWAYS says he’s looking to add quality to the squad. Every single transfer window I can remember he says that. I would look for those quotes and post them here if I could be arsed, but surely you remember him saying things like that?

  23. Hey Northbank,
    Hear hear. If 4th is good enough for Arsene, it should be good enough for you. After all, you can hardly match the big spenders like myself and liverpool.

  24. Your fear is well justified Jonny. Not that I think Arsene won’t want to spend, but that (as I’ve always maintained) he’ll wait until things line up just right, like the Ozil and Cazorla situation before he makes a move. We’ve seen that he won’t be aggressive or proactive in the market.
    It’s not his or the club’s style, particular for world class players. We are often pretty aggressive for youth players and 2nd tier players, but we won’t do it for top talent.

  25. Hen rustic, no, he always says that the club is always looking to add quality players. He doesn’t say before a specific transfer window that he plans to add top players–that he will do so.

  26. LG,
    I don’t know if any manager can claim he WILL add top players in any particular window. I cannot remember Fergie, or even Mourinho, being that categorical.
    It’s actions that differentiate these two from Wenger, not so much the words, especially when it comes to something like transfers.

  27. so if Fabainski joins Dortmund as first choice and we keep Chesney. What keeper will be the match winner when we meet them in a semi next year i wonder 🙂

  28. Why not? Mourinho already has said they will buy a striker. AW doesn’t have to tip his hand on specifics, all he has to do is be positive about adding good players. He doesn’t have to say we WILL if everyone is scared that such a guarantee might not be fulfilled. He can say we will pursue top players or we fully intend to enhance our quality.

    The point is he could say something different from the usual. And he should for everyone’s sake cultivate a sense of determination to improve this team’s quality because it is evident that it will need improving to succeed.

  29. I also wonder if keeping Sanga can very quicky become the same as keeping Evra has turned out for United.. A disaster, though two years ago Evra was very very good…

  30. @lime well at one point he did tell everyone that the team lacked mental strength.. not often he criticises them in public…

  31. I’m not swinging one way or the other at the moment….. either about Wenger or tomorrows match. Sitting on the fence can be quite comfortable! Not sure if I want to get off.

  32. Yogi, good way to kind of try and switch the mood a bit.

    We have to win the FA Cup, there will never be a better chance than this moment right now to win the FA Cup. No other EPL teams, pressure the weight of the world on Arsene’s shoulders, we end the trophy drought and heading into a new financial era for Arsenal. Win the FA Cup and build on it.

  33. @Moe

    For me, its not about the players saying they want to win it for the fans and all of that, the issue for me is who is saying it. The very ones that have been playing the worst.

    Honestly I wouldn’t have a problem if it was players like Sagna, Mert, Podolski, Mozart that were saying it but it is Giroud, Arteta, and Verm and they have been the ones playing the worst.

  34. I want us to come out lined up:

    Fab
    Sagna—–Mert—-Verm—-Gibbs/Nacho
    ——-Kallstrom——Ramsey———
    —————Santi————
    Ox/Gnabry——-Yaya——-Podolski

    Come out and have a go at them and not start off slowly. Arsene talks about how he can change tactics if needs be, well no better time than the present. Come out and attack them and high pressure them and stop letting teams do it to us and force us on the back foot.

  35. @C

    We might see from youth on the bench what with Hector Bellerin, Thomas Eisfeld and Jon Toral all being involved in training today.

  36. @MA

    I wouldn’t be adversed to seeing the likes of any of them end up on the pitch as subs especially Toral and Eisfeld. Bellerin is no surpise though as he has made the match day bench several times over the past couple of weeks if memory serves me correct.

  37. @GA

    The thing, at this point we really don’t have a choice if Ox, Mozart and Gibbs are all out. As Yogi points out, 50/50 at Arsenal could be just a minor limp or out until next season.

    Bellerin wouldn’t play because Jenks would be the first defender off the bench. But if you look at our midfield and attackers, are depth is limited.

  38. Yogi

    Another great post. Even on slow news days you manage to bring something new and interesting each and every post which has always amazed me. The average human being would have long ago surrendered.

    I honestly think we will win the FA cup. Even a team like ours which occupies the extreme far reaches of the wrong end of the Gaussian distribution for screw ups and bad luck has to get an occasional favor from the law of averages at some point.

  39. Poodle – evra was very very good a couple of nights ago! Superb goal! – head back under the parapet now :o)

  40. @GA

    I thought he had recovered, thanks for that mate.

    Well then there is even more of a chance that you might see Eisfeld. Good to see Mozart, Ox and Gibbs participating fully in training. So our bench I imagine given my lineup from my earlier post would look something like:

    Sczny, Jenks, Bellerin/Nacho, Arteta, Giroud, Eisfeld, Mozart

    If you look at that, Eisfeld and Mozart would be the first wingers off the bench should something happen to Ox unless Arsene moves Santi outwide, bring Arteta in and pushes Ramsey higher up the pitch.

  41. Anyone have James McNicholas as a pseudonym? There’s a report on bleachers yesterday that is pretty much word for word match for any post on here – whilst this does not surprise me, as the populist view on Wenger staying or going appears to be widely held I would love to know if anyone working for him/ with him would dare to even broach the subject of change with him?? And stick said article under his nez!!

  42. @GA

    You are probably right that it is not the time to be giving youth a chance, but then again, given the senior players aren’t getting the job done either it doesn’t really seem to matter.

  43. C – We are much more likely to see the likes of Ramsey (or even Gibbs if fit) shunted into a wide posiiton that a youngster be given a game. AW does seem to stick to a players seniority when picking his teams.

    YW – He is. A good bloke as well.

  44. @GA

    And that is the problem, he is playing players out of position. I understand them being youth, but Eisfeld is 21 years old and thus I would rather see him put outwide right with Sagna playing behind him then to see Arteta and Kallstrom at the pivots with Ramsey pushed out wide right. Putting a youngster on the wing can work because should they make a mistake you are less likely to get punished as opposed to playing them centrally like he does with Ox and us being punished.

    Not to mention our senior players haven’t been getting it done and at the least you know a player like Eisfeld will work extremely hard and not be afraid to attack a defender.

  45. I know its probably all rubbish but from reports, we are trying to swap Arteta or Chicharito. If that was to happen I would be over the top excited.

  46. Bound to be nonsense. Swap deals, often mooted, but almost never actually happen.

    Also he doesn’t play for Man Utd because he offers so little, other than goals. Hard to see AW wanting that either.

  47. @Jonny

    I actually wouldn’t mind Chicharito to be honest. We have plenty of players that offer everything but we don’t have players that offer goals. Again he wouldn’t be in my top 5 but at the same time I would be joyed to have a pure finisher playing on the shoulder with Ozil feeding him, Theo, Podolski and whatever other winger/striker we brought in.

    But at the same time, I know its probably rubbish at best and will amount to talk on the blogs.

  48. so what are we saying then?
    wengers a quality manager and has the ability to change tactics mid game?
    so its the players who are crap then….

    but..everyone knows the players arent crap..we have made top 4 for many a year and we are in semi finals of fa cup after a series of difficult pl teams being brushed aside..

    so the managers not crap…the players arent crap..

    so whats the issue? are the good players not playing for the good manager? is that why we constantly fuck up when it matters?

  49. From today/’s Mediawatch – zing!

    “What has been strange this season is that for a long time we have looked very strong defensively – we had an outstanding defensive record – and we lost it suddenly. That’s the surprise of the season for me.”

    Suddenly, Arsene, or in an entirely predictable pattern? Considering Arsenal have conceded three or more goals on only four occasions this season – each one away to a top-five rival – Mediawatch thinks it shouldn’t be so tricky for Wenger to put his finger on the reasons for his team’s defensive collapses.

  50. C – I like him too – I think we have been crying out for a bona fide ‘finisher’ for years and on that front he is brilliant. Certainly more clinical by a long chalk than Giroud.

    In some respects they are opposites: Giroud’s all round contribution is excellent but he’s not clinical whilst…

  51. @Jonny

    I completely agree with you. The thing with our current side is that we DON’T need anymore players that can pass or player intricate 1-2’s, we need players that are finishers and have pace and quickness and make great runs to get into dangerous positions and then finish when you are in those positions. We have Ozil, Santi, Mozart, Jack, Ramsey, Podolski, Ox, Theo, Gnabry just to name a couple that can do everything else, we need plain and simple, finishers and he checks the box.

  52. @JJ

    I don’t think anybody is saying anything that we don’t already know about Arsene but we are definetly not saying that he can change tactics mid match because we all know that he doesn’t.

    I don’t think its the players are crap because if they were crap then we wouldn’t be sitting 4th and in the semi’s of the FA Cup

  53. Agree Jonny,C, Little pea is a true game changer – heaven’s if we bought him to put on at Arsenes 70 minute spot, he must be worth it?

  54. @C

    Eisfeld on the right would be a terrible decision, at least that is my opinion. I cannot see Eisfeld making at Arsenal due to the fact his best position is the no 10. type role. A position we have so much depth at it begs belief. Toral is another that can excite but again his best position is not from the wider areas of the pitch. This is what we have been saying for some time, the squad lacks depth in wider areas (wingers). Gnabry is the most obvious to fill the role, but even he is best in the no. 10 role. Arsene loves to have a certain type of player and then from there try and mish mash them in to what he needs. We joked a while back about this summer’s business, but truth be told there is a fear we’ll get more players best suited for the advance attacking role in the middle and then try and play them in other areas. We have ignored the balance of the side in favor of acquiring a particular type of player. Di Maria was a dream in the summer when the news had us linked, a threat from a wide area. Theo out and we have none, though credit to Podolski for trying as hard as he is to provide that type of quality.

  55. @MA

    Honestly against Wigan, I would rather have Eisfeld wide right then for the alternative which would be Arteta and Kallstrom at pivots with Ramsey pushed higher up the pitch and Santi wide right. Plus atleast we know that he is not afraid to take on defenders and have a shot on goal. Toral is a interesting prospect because his probably best and favored position is as a #10 but when you watch him play on the flanks for the youth even, he looks so natural out there in a Ribery type role to where he is able to drive and then cut inside. With that being said though, both players best positions is in that ACM role that basically outside of Akpom, and Olsson, the majority of our youth are.

    I agree though, we have sorely lacked wide players over the years and have and that needs to change because the balance terribly off. Di Maria would have been a dream signing, I can agree with that and I love all the links now have us after wingers but the question is as always, will Arsene pull the trigger. Podolski has given us width and quality on the flanks and has been dangerous but teams are starting to just overload that side of the pitch and with no width on the opposite side it will continue.

    Yesterday I posted and I still feel really strongly about it. Arsene should go to Remi Garde and Lyon and say give me Gonalons and Lacazette and I will give you 25-30M for the pair because that will be enough not to mention it will give us 2 players in 2 positions that we so desperately need. Gonalons to replace Arteta and Flamini and Lacazette to play either on the RW or LW or in a front 3 with Theo/Podolski or whatever mobile striker Arsene buys.

  56. well we all know that all our players on skill alone would get into the Wigan team in every position. We are by far the best team “skill wise”. That matters nothing though if the opponent wants it more, if they are psychically and mentally more interested and prepared to win.
    Tomorrow is all about confidence, self belief and “going for it” attitude. Which is why we probably should start Yaya as an example. He’s totally up for it, he’s skill wise better than any Wigan player and he is really up for it. Giroud just looks lost and mentally totally out of it, even if he is a skill wise better striker than Yaya.

    Sometimes it feels like our first team has to much to loose, they have so much to loose tomorrow they seem to mentally frighten themselves into loosing. Maybe some kids, which have nothing to loose and every thing to win would change our mental approach to the game? After all skill wise our best kids match all of the Wigan players. And mental wise our first team if we are unlucky will be blown out of the waters by Wigan. Cos they got so much to loose in this game.

    If we mentally turn up tomorrow we will wipe the floor with Wigan. It is that hard and that simple. Because skill wise we outclass them.

  57. and may i remind us all that City never turned up.. lets hope the lads learned from that..lol
    Imagin Wigan vs Sheffield United in the final.. what an anticlimax!

  58. PS i did see Sanga and his family at the airport btw. His wife is very beautiful… I mean she looks nice on pictures but in real life she’s is really good looking.

  59. @poodle

    But if we had mentally turned up we could have beaten Everton or Stoke but we didn’t and thus is the problem with this team since the beginning of Feb, they just aren’t mentally or physically turning up.

  60. C

    Lacazette’s goal scoring stats are much better then The Drax which is encouraging. We desperately need any “winger” we buy to be able to score. We can’t assume Walcott will come back at full speed and start scoring again. Without more goals from the wide forwards we will have the same issues again next season. My major concern regarding Lacezette is that we have not had much luck with the goal scorers coming from Ligue 1. You can down play that concern but Chamkh, Gerv and Giroud have all struggled to hit the target in the PL. As you know both Gerv and OG lead their league in scoring and lead theirs teams to titles. The goal scorers who come from Ligue 1 are less expensive when you compare them with players having similar stats in Germany and Spain which is why Arsene loves to shop there. However, they have been less expensive for good reason. Unlike some of Arsene’s greatest success stories from the first few years of his reign, in today’s transfer market you generally get what you pay for

  61. @Bill

    I agree with everything you say there and can’t argue with any of that. The thing though that I think might separate Lacazette is his willingness to just simply run at defenders while also be comfortable playing up top alone. He has also for the most part been Lyon’s only danger man. I think that Draxler has more potential thus I would want him but should we not be able to get him then Lacazette would be a great alternative.

  62. Well, I’m bloody knackered.

    Weather means the garden gets priority, so planting all the things delayed by the weather. Onion sets, shallots, roots and spuds. Plus all the polytunnel usual sans planting on the propagator. Never mind that I’m still finishing the scullery.

    Plus the grandsons are here and I have been bought a bike and so must now go riding with the boys. Haven’t ridden a bike for 30 years and so falling off now becomes my most likely cause of demise, taking over from cutting my hand off with the circular saw.

    Must find time to watch Arsene drag our chestnuts from the fire.

    Come on Arsenal!

  63. i can’t help being excited though. if the team cannot turn up tomorrow they never will. If they do not turn up tomorrow it is not Wengers fault. Hell if playing a semi final in the FA cup at Wembely does not motivate you then nothing will and you probably should not play football in the first place. It would be an insult to all lovers of football if the team did a”blackburn” tomorrow.

    If 70% of them turn up they will win..simple as…

  64. @consolsbob biking is very healty…. gives you a nice six pack for the summer 🙂 ladies love that..lol

  65. btw can you guys imagine though. even if we should win the FA cup this club will still be in a “crisis” in the media.. such is the word we live in.

  66. They love me already, poodle!

    And, re your other post, well…. They’d have a point.

    Over, cracks, papered.

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