We All Spit At Stars & Win An Arsenal T-Shirt!

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That Friday feeling, topped only by the tingling of matchday. The weekend is here, people and it’s foot…wait. OK, Monday night football doesn’t work for me. It’s not quite as bad as an international break but let’s be honest, it can be almost as brutal.

The Football Association has once again, got it arse about face when it comes to the fixture list. Is QPR’s encounter with Tottenham really the only top-flight game that could be scheduled for the weekend? With Arsenal’s trip to the grim heartlands of the industrial revolution not scheduled until Monday, it strikes me there is more than enough scope for others to play rather than having ten days rest not afforded to cup participants.

For once I’m grateful that #2 son’s match kicks off on Saturday afternoon. I know 1.30pm isn’t 3pm and to be honest, I prefer his games starting at 10am but needs must and this weekend, it fills an Arsenal-sized hole.

English football turns its spittle-fuelled ego toward the FA Cup this weekend with Manchester United’s denial that Johnny Evans was worse than Papiss Cisse making a mockery of the whole process. United are taking a calculated risk, probably confident that their denial won’t constitute a frivolous appeal and lead to an increased ban.

For me, the problem with the six or seven games being bandied around – a punishment prescribed by FIFA – is comparison with more serious offences. John Terry received a shorter ban whilst Suarez just one match more. Whilst the actions of Evans and Cisse were vile, they were nowhere near as heinous as racism.

It’s the imbalance that the FA never address, seemingly out of touch with the court of public opinion. I doubt anyone who views the incident at St James Park dispassionately, would disagree with the predicted sentence of six matches. It isn’t that which is the problem, it’s the unwillingness of the governing body to address other, more serious offences and put in place sterner tariffs.

As is always the case, it’s the inconsistencies which cause the problems.

It’s quiet on the Arsenal front, the players recovering from their exertions on Wednesday night. Gabriel has a bit longer than most, he will be out until April – a sensationalist way of saying the end of the month – with another hamstring-twang. The medical staff no doubt view the Brazilian’s woes in the same way that we do with a small graze. It’s routine stuff, they know what they are doing.

The manager’s mind will be racing through how to win at Old Trafford. Even before Arsène’s reign, we had a poor record at United and whilst there have been some outstanding wins during the past eighteen years, it’s still very much a graveyard of Arsenal dreams.

Some of it is ability. Recent seasons have seen lesser Arsenal sides fall by the wayside in recent years whilst even with the distinctly average Moyes squad, Arsenal still contrived to lose last season. The FA Cup is different for both sides, it’s the only realistic chance of silverware and with Liverpool the only real danger beyond complacency left in the competition, both will believe they are good enough to win the trophy.

Memories of ’79 are evoked whenever this tie occurs. I’d say 2005 but frankly we were so poor that day and the match so distinctly uneventful until Reyes dismissal, there isn’t much to remember. A couple of Lehman saves during the match and then Vieira with his final kick in an Arsenal shirt. Not a bad way to sign out.

It’s that spirit, obduracy – whatever you want to call it – which has so frequently been missing. A re-run of the spirit of 2003 and a touch of the luck we had when Ryan Giggs thundered the crossbar with an open goal at his mercy, is long overdue when you consider the feeble performances witnessed in three of the four cup meetings since.

Win! Win! Win!

henry v man u whiteThis morning, you can win one of these fine Thierry Henry tee-shirt’s courtesy of Art of Football, whose expanding range of exceptional Arsenal clobber can be found here. All you have to do is answer the following question correctly:

Arsenal won the first FA Cup meeting between the two clubs by which scoreline? Was it:

(a) 1 – 0

(b) 2 – 1

(c) 3 – 2

Answers to competitions@aclfarsenal.co.uk, with a, b or c in the subject line by midnight (GMT) on Thursday, 12th March 2014. Winner announced next weekend.

If you’re just too excited before then, you can get 10% off by using the discount code “Wenger” at the checkout. Arsène would wholeheartedly approve of such a saving…

’til Tomorrow.

 

122 thoughts on “We All Spit At Stars & Win An Arsenal T-Shirt!

  1. C says:

    @Phil

    Yea I think anything more than 20-25M Arsene would baulk at the price. I do think though that for 20M we could get him and be set for the next 8 years at DM to be honest, the lad is just that talented. I’m sure Arsene has some old pals at Monaco that he could call up and make something happen.

    Me personally, I wouldn’t have let Monaco leave London even after beating us without a deal in place for Kondogbia to start plying his trade at Arsenal come the opening of the summer window.

  2. C says:

    @Wavey

    I generally don’t disagree with you but I may just a little bit on this one.

    I think Chavs dealings with Courtious are a bit different, no? Bellerin doesn’t have a player infront of him that was one of the best in Europe in front of him still playing at a really high level winning them both the CL and Europa League. Also, and I know its the exception but I think Bellerin could be, Mourinho himself has let one Kurt Zouma not only play regularly as Terry’s CB running mate but since Matic got suspended, played him at DM which is a position that he has never played (partly because at International level he has Pogba and Kondogbia).

  3. Bill says:

    A couple of years ago there were smart people on the blog campaigning for us to let Rosicky leave and give his spot to Eisfeld because he was playing so well in the reserves that he deserved to get a chance. Now the same Eisfeld couldnt even make it with Fulham in the Championship. Thankfully we kept Rosicky it sounds harsh but thankfully we did not give Eisfeld a chance. There are literally dozens and dozens of stories like Eisfeld over the years.

  4. C says:

    Same could be said about Le Coq about his absolutely HORRIBLE loan spell in Germany. Glad we didn’t get rid of him either.

  5. Wavey says:

    C

    I meant more the model for the future rather than now. Not sure what Courtois cost, but I doubt it was that much. If he hadn’t been that World class player would Chelsea have lost that much on him? It needs a really good scouting network and it means going head to head with other teams who are already working towards that model. If football is a business then getting a return on sales by speculating on youngsters then putting them under the spotlight elsewhere must make sense. If we are not playing them no one is going to spot them in our reserves. If we don’t think they are good enough for Arsenal at the very least we should be putting them in the shop window for someone else to consider.

  6. Phil says:

    And how many games did Eisfeld play in the seniors? 1.
    Bellerin has had a far greater exposure to senior football. So the judgment is easier to make.

  7. C says:

    @Wavey

    I can’t disagree or argue with any of that.

    Its a fine line between selling and keeping. Bellerin up to this point, has shown he is capable and will only get better, Jenks the same. Problem is we have 2 players for 1 spot and both are really young. I think at this point we may already have a buyer(the Hammers) for one of them while the other doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.

  8. Bill says:

    Phil.

    Again Bellerin is extremely promising but no 19 year old is a sure thing. You have been watching football longer then I so you know that is true.

    C

    Which of those Barca prodigies that you mention are actually playing regularly in the first team right now and where will they be in a couple of years? Just like us Barca has had dozens of great prospects that we have heard about but the most end up moving on because Barca buys Fabregas or Neymar or Suarez or Jodi Alba or Rakitic.

  9. Wavey says:

    C

    Jenks is perhaps a case in point. We used him as cover for Sagna which didn’t work out too bad, but he was at a stage in his career where he needed to play. He has gone out on loan and now looks like he can play first team football, maybe not for Arsenal though.
    He should have gone out on loan straight away rather than joining our first team squad.

  10. Phil says:

    Bill,
    Theo, Ox and LJW were all younger on debut.
    There are plenty of examples.

  11. Bill says:

    Phil

    Correct me if I am wrong but I will bet that you would have said that both Wojo and Wilshere were sure things a one point but I would suggest the assessment made when they were 19 has not really worked out the way we thought.

    This whole discussion is not about Bellerin and focusing on that distracts from the main point. I promise that I think in a couple of seasons Bellerin will be our regular RB. However, I would have said Wilshere and Wojo were sure things at one point. You have no more certainty then I do about how his career will move on from here.

  12. Phil says:

    Wavey, agree re Jenks.
    I don’t think he won’t be back now.

  13. C says:

    @Bill

    Busquets has been the undisputed starter since he made his break into the first team with Pep, Rafinha has started to get regular starts more and more as the season has gone on, Sergi has seen match time as needed but has been brought through slowly, Munir El Haddadi was getting match time regularly at the start of the season prior to Suarez coming back and starting to find form, Montoya plays RB(Dani Alves plays damn near every match), Victor Valdes I shouldn’t have to discuss because we know what he did before he left.

    The point I was making is that they have youngsters in their squad that are coming through the ranks. I mean I could even talk about Thiago who left Barca to become a starter for Bayern with Pep prior to his injury. Barca are still producing top players.

  14. C says:

    @Wavey

    I do think that Jenks should have gone on loan as well but he played and his situation changed because Sagna was coming back who and still had a couple years left as top RB. I think Bellerin is a bit different as he has gone on loan but also Debuchy coming back, we simply don’t know to be honest. Yea both his injuries were a bit flucky but still.

    I do get what you are saying though and it does make sense.

  15. C says:

    Right, well I’m off mate, might chat with you later.

  16. Phil says:

    You are right there Bill.
    No crystal ball.
    Still think that Szcz and LJW are assured long careers, injuries aside.
    With Arsenal ?

  17. Bill says:

    Phil

    Last season Ramsey was one of the best midfielders in the PL if not the world. Nik B was an sure thing at one point. OX has been on the cusp of greatness for several seasons now. The list is endless.

  18. Jonny says:

    Ramsey will come good again (this season lost injuries), Oxo is only 21, Nik B was only ever a sure thing in his own head.

    I never, for one second, thought he would make it with us long term.

  19. Bill says:

    jonny

    You were one of a small minority that thought Nik B was over rated.

    I hope Ox will take the next step but I am not sure when and its going to be difficult for him to crack the regular starting line up anytime soon with Sanchez and Ozil in front of him on the wing. His best shot may be as a box to box midfielder in which case he competes with Ramsey and Wilshere.

    Ramsey is a mystery and his form has probably been one of the biggest single disappointments of the season. Hopefully the real Ramsey is somewhere between last year and this year. Blame injuries if you like but he was struggling before his first muscle injury this year.

  20. Phil says:

    Morning,
    Bill,
    Actually I would have thought Jonny was in an absolute majority in regards to NB52!

  21. Jonny says:

    Glad to hear you say it Phil. None of my friends rated him – Arsenal supporting or otherwise.

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