Suing The Arse for Section 5 of the Public Order Act….

Let’s be honest, there isn’t really anything else I can write about is there, other than the Semi……..hrmph.

I sit here, ensconced in sweat.  It’s Monday, early evening & I’m typing after just finishing exercises that my lungs & heart, after a lifetime of smoking & a staple diet of battered Mars Bars & questionable sheep offal, are struggling to deal with.  Much like Oscar Pistorius’ Defence Attorney.  The strange thing is, if I rewind my mind to Saturday & the Semi ( Ha! ) I was in exactly the same physical condition, minus the typing.  I was too busy intricately lacing my rosary beads around one hand & painting Henna tattoos that enhance luck on the other ( I’m fucking talented with my hands ).  At one point in the game, I think it was about 10mins after conceding & watching another attack crash upon the jagged cliffs that were Crainey & Boyce ( Marleeeene!! ), I attempted to place my head inside the carpet.  Seeing as I have a bald spot the size of a small principality, I thought carpet burn to the scalp would be the least of my worries.  Besides, the carpet seemed warm & comforting, an arm wrapped around my disconsolate shoulder as my wracking sobs filled the empty room.  Ah, carpet, you’ve always been a good friend, let me escalate this friendship by inserting my head into you.  Obviously it didn’t work.   One, I looked up after a minute of trying as The Ox went on a run in an attempt to crack open the World Class defensive unit that is Wigan, Two, the carpet shunned me.  It won’t respond to texted offers of a quick Shake ‘N’ Vac either, the fucking harlot. 

At another point in the game, we started having a promising spell.  It certainly wasn’t the 1st half.  I thought to myself, the position I’m sitting in right now, with my hands under my thighs yet gripping my ankles as I sit cross-legged, must be karmically-correct.  Sort of a Feng-shui, approved by the Universe sort of deal.  I will sit like this & this scoreline will change in our favour.  After five minutes of sitting like an amateur Dhalsim I realised that I’m a fucking idiot.  A desperate idiot.  That is a dangerous combination. 

When Per ( who my love for has really escalated, to the levels where I would find out where he gets his hair cut & collect his hair clippings, thus completing my BFG shrine ) scored the equalizer, it was one of the most cathartic moments I’ve experienced.  My guttural screams, so primal, were so vociferous that my dog scarpered & my neighbour banged on the wall.  I think, in the process, I broke a part of my throat.  Whenever I get to a game, the day after my voice takes on a husky tint as it attempts to recover from the ravaging of singing ” We love you Arsenal, We do ” repeatedly.  It’s not very often I break my throat when at home. 

Then we come to the Penalties.  Spot Kicks.  The Lottery.  Except it isn’t down to luck.  It was pointed out by a greater mind than I that when it comes to PK’s, technique, coolness under pressure & a talent to perform under such rigours all add up to a winning combination.  So true.  If that was the case, why were 99% of us Gooners praying to whatever Holy Entity that seemed applicable ( I uttered some swear words & a heartfelt ” FUCKING PLEASE”!!!! to the guy from the Scotch Porridge Oats ads ).  On paper, our squad of established internationals & thoroughbred Premier League stars should be able to flick it in the onion bag with one fucking testicle.  Not until our diminutive Spaniard knocked in the decisive spot kick did I stop contorting myself or articulating expletive-laden prayer mantras.  What followed was a thing of pure majesty.  I double-fist pumped & let out a roar from the soles of my feet that blazed up through me until it blitzed through my cracked oesophagus.  The noise, coupled with my broken voice, was loud enough to render all family members to hate me simultaneously. 

We’ve all witnessed titanic tussles, games that hung on a knife-edge, matches that had so much in the balance, really carried weight etc.  Every fan can tell you of an experience that runs in tandem with being put through the wringer by either incompetence from a former hero or an opponent that seems to have forged an alliance with the Lucky Charms Leprechaun prior to kick-off.  I honestly can’t remember feeling so exhausted & rinsed by a game before.  Also, imagine how the people lucky enough to be present at the match felt?  They didn’t have the luxury of fondling carpet or practising fucking yoga.  They had to either stand or sit & watch the drama unfold.  I salute you for that & I hope the many tankards of ale you imbibed post-match healed the psychological wounds you suffered.  I was at work the next day, starting early.  I didn’t exactly win Communicator of the Year.  I was a husk of a man.  Is there justification to explain why this match raised so much merry hell?  Why it left so many of us in a maelstrom of emotion?  I was so elated by the progress to the Final, that is all that mattered ultimately.  I was also the fucking Hulk, so enraged at points in the match, especially just after conceding. 

There are stock phrases that are synonymous with our club.  One of them is that ” We never do it the easy way “.  Fuck me, that phrase should have sponsored this game.  I can honestly declare I didn’t enjoy the occasion, but the high points will stay with me for quite some time. 

How long did it take me to start worrying about the West Ham game?  About half an hour.  Our talismanic players looked shot, like they had just done the marathon with Michael Owen as a running partner, the boring shite.  How would they recover from such a physical assault?  I only watched the game & I struggled to climb stairs, never mind a high-intensity, pressure-laden football match.  Time for ice-baths.  Time for isotones, time to call Lance Armstrong, I’m sure he’s got some tips for recovery.  Either way, with so many players currently playing Twister with our physio & regular massage-table barnicle Diaby, even putting out a competitive XI is going to require some wrangling.  I’m putting out a shout for Akpom & Ollson, maybe even Eisfeld, but if our Little Mozart is back he would be the preferred option.  Fuck it, I’m off topic.  I’m not here for tactics. 

I’ll wrap this up now as I think everyone has been put through enough trauma to last a thousand Eastenders Christmas Specials.  I’ll leave you with this though.

Before doing my current job & previous job as a bailiff ( I was the smallest in the UK I bet, with the biggest heed ), I was a Copper.  A Rozzer.  The Filth, The Fuzz etc.  I obviously studied hard to get into that position & after the game & talking to some of you fine people on Twitter, I recalled a part of the Public Order Act from Year Nineteen Biscuit.  This is strange as I can only recall Arsenal results & random film quotes ( WELCOME TO THE PARTY PAL!!! ) normally, but this popped into my brain like a Catholic Priest into a Choirboy.  To contravene Sect.5 of the Public Order Act, you have to cause ” harassment, alarm, or distress”.  This would mean that Arsenal Football Club could hypothetically be arrested for causing hundreds of thousands of incidents of the contravention of Sect.5.  Book ‘em Danno. 

I’m off to shower & then stretch before tomorrows game.  It’s another huge match, with so much riding on it.  No doubt I’ll be practising Yoga once more & attempting foreplay with our rug.  Get the Polis on the blower love, I’m distressed already.

Answering Questions with more questions…….

I’ve had a sabbatical from blogging.  Lost my mojo ( some would argue I never had mojo ), I became mired in the negativity that has been crashing upon us, wave after wave of lethargic doom raining down on us from all angles.  I didn’t want to write about it.  I didn’t want to think about it.  This sand dune looks comfortable for my cranium, I’ll just insert it deep ( hrmph ) & all the bad things will simply dissipate & leave an Arsenal rainbow.  I now realise this was futile.  I planned to make my return with a tongue-in-cheek look at Arsenes humble beginnings in Alsace as a kid, but I remembered a few wise words from some pals a while back ( thank you @DBerry & @thedanielcowan ) that timing is everything, so a Wenger biopic right now would be as well received as an invite to a Michael Barrymore pool party.  I decided on catharsis.

I’m viewing this as a purge.  I’m fed up.  It would seem on this I am sharing the mood of everyone.  Every faction of supporter I’ve previously written about is feeling the burn right now.  It’s quite simply not good enough.  The single ray of hope currently is the Cup, but at this rate Uwe Roslers team would show us the true meaning of fluid attack & bum-rape us at Wembley.   Why is this worse than the last few seasons when we had a squad that was more limited, smaller than now?  I’ll attempt to pick up the scalpel & investigate the corpse, so put your masks on, this may be material for after the watershed.

As I watched the game against the Toffees, a few revelations hit me whilst I tightened the cicatrice round my thigh.  I was present for the thrashing we doled out to them in the Cup, all components worked well, we negated their attack & our moves were slicker than Disco Stu.  One thing is the absence of Ozil.  A startling stat has come my way this morning thanks to the people who fill my twitter TL, we haven’t won in Ozils latest absence.  What’s that I hear you say?  Mesut has been shite in the 2nd half of the season?  Well I think that stat spells out how much he adds to our attack.  He will never be the headline-grabber of the ilk of Ronaldo, but rather the Editor who writes the headlines.  I read someones blog ( I think it was either DBerry or @P.I.M.P ) who summed it up so succinctly, he so often was the assister of the assist.  So to wrap up my convoluted point, Ozil being injured is bad times.  Easy get-out clause eh?  There’s more.

As my scalpel cuts deeper into the gangrenous wound that caused the fatality of our season, I see that the infection spread to what was previously our strongest asset & the thing that has alarmed me the most about our shocking run.

If you’re a fan of the C4 show ’ The I.T Crowd ‘, you’ll no doubt have seen the episode where Moss & Roy, the shows two protagonists, attempt to camouflage their natural geeky ways whilst in the pub by talking football.  They know nothing of the noble sport, so start chucking out buzzwords & phrases that are synonymous with the game.  One of the phrases being ” Yeah, y’know the fing abaht Arsenal is, they always try & walk it in “.  It’s a commonly-known fact that we have always played the most attractive football.  Wenger-ball, tiki-taka, Barcelona-Lite etc.  So what if our trophy cabinets only inhabitant is the Markhus Liebherr trophy ( It’s a fucking bear trophy.  A trophy in the shape of a bear.  Love it ), it doesn’t matter because we play the game as it’s meant to be played.  We gained glowing testimonials from the leading lights of the game due to our insistence of playing lightning-quick, rapier-like football.  That title though, doesn’t belong to us.  Not currently.  What has shocked me the most is that we are currently devoid of invention. Our attack is impotent.  Like a Eunuch at Hefners gaff, we are pretty lifeless. 

A team with the mercurial talents of Santi Cazorla & Tomas Rosicky shouldn’t struggle so badly with possession & passing.  The last few games they couldn’t open a tin of beans armed with a glock.  This pains me to say, as I’m usually the staunchest of optimists, but the displays have been woeful.  Talent doesn’t subside, so why are they struggling so badly, why has the magic gone?  the answer has to lie at Arsenes feet.  We’ve all seen what the 2 aforementioned players are capable of, so why is it not happening?  Wengers teams of the past have never struggled to create chances, they had trouble putting away the chances, but never creating them.  I’ve never seen so many occasions in a season where I’ve read that the first chance created in a game occurred late in the 2nd half. 

Is our current fugue down to the treatment table being more over-populated than a One Direction Fan Club meeting?  Partly, yes.  I realise this is a go-to for denial specialists, but ask yourself this; if you take away the four most influential players this season from City ( Silva, Aguero, Toure & Kompany ), Chelski ( Oscar, Hazard, Willian & Cahill ) & Liverpool ( Suarez, Coutinho, Sturridge & Sterling ) for a prolonged period of time, then they would undoubtedly suffer just as much as we have.  Ozil, Rambo, Theo & Jack are huge for us.  Cogs that make our machine operate, that help us play the way we know we can ( goal Vs Norwich, dribble ).  For our team to be without them for so long has hampered us so much.  I know conspiracy theorists have thrown out many different reasons & theories why we have had so many injuries ( it’s a fact that we have had twice as many injuries as our nearest competitior ) & I don’t have an answer for that, nor do I have an answer for anything really, this blog is more about revelation, realisation & the nadir of my expectations. 

For us to ignore the injury problems would be ridiculous.  Of course they have hit us hard.  The reason I think we have all been hit so hard by this awful run we’re on is because we have shown improvement, we were on the summit of the league for 128 days, more than twice as much as Chelsea.  Too often we have been the plucky horse galloping through a tired pack to snatch a podium position, a late runner.  This season has been different.  Our form & position caused even the most stoic of Arsenal haters ( I’m looking at you, all of journalism ) to take stock of their early-season predictions of a mid-table scrap for us & smell the motherfucking coffee.  We’ve been contenders.  A sage voice on Twitter declared that a return to the battle at the top was all he wanted.  To duke it out with the elite & actually have a chance at grabbing the glory.  Just to contend was a welcome respite of the last few seasons.  Back to where we belong.  Let’s admit it, it was fucking lovely.  Looking down on the peasants from our rooftop veranda, as they scrap it out for meagre meals whilst we dined on the finest delicacies.  Especially tottenham, who once more, after the promise of a castle & some new threads were once more reduced to living in a pigpen, wearing a sack & consuming their own waste.  I digress.  For the majority of the season, we dreamed.

For our dream to then vanish so quickly & so painfully has been a slap round the face.  Were we even ready to win it?  Were we capable?  The questions rolled in & the old favourite, Is Wenger past it? 

The style of our play has changed, we look as toothless as a boxer sans gumshield & our plummet from the zenith of the table has made me once more question the man who made it possible in the first place.  In my own humble opinion, he IS the man responsible for our failings, but he is also the man who deserves to be the one to rectify it. How can we doubt he is capable of fashioning a winning team?  Well, it’s been a while hasn’t it. 

If you haven’t stopped reading, then I say this. 

Give the man one more window to plug the gaps in our armour.  Let us see if it really is just stubbornness that rendered January a black hole in regards to additions sorely needed.  Let us see hopefully if a fully-fit squad he alone assembled can march it’s way to the summit once more & set down roots.  More importantly, let’s see if we can return to the incision-like play we’re used to.  Much like the euphemism of the scalpel I’ve used thus far, we need to return to the sharp play that has wrought us much results in the past.  Who knows though, from the sounds that are emanating from Wenger, who knows if this season will be his last.  I sincerely hope not but change doesn’t have to be frightening.  Look at Everton.  Whatever happens, I’m putting down the blade.  I don’t think the body is truly dead yet, despite the reports.  Fuck the broken Cannon pictures.

What makes a bad player & Cup Progression……

I’m going to start with a rant.  Vein-popping, eye-watering, ball-busting, fist-clenching.  That’s just my mornings bowel-movement ( narf-narf ).  In all seriousness, I had the distinct pleasure of a debate on twitter yesterday regarding our Captain Thomas Vermaelen.  The gent in question stated that if TV5 started in the LB position, that all was lost, the weak link in our armour would unravel us, etc.  Basically there was no confidence in him.  I agree to a certain extent.  He was ousted as 1st choice CB as he had a few performances that were shaky to say the least.  In some peoples view he cost us games.  A massive no-no & obviously the rest is history as our current CB pairing is, I feel confident in saying this, the best defensive unit in the PL.  My point is this;

If a player has a few bad games for us, does that mean he will be forever branded a bad player?  Does the branding iron get used if fans confidence in a player drops?  What does it take to forever decide that the player is shite? 

Let’s take our current man between the sticks, Fabianski.  I distinctly remember the game a few seasons back Vs Wigan, when he dropped the ball onto a Wigan players head, which resulted in us conceding.  He was so bad that he was referred to as “FlappyHandski”.  The confidence in him was non-existent.  Fast Forward to the present day & he is being heralded as sure-footed understudy & a worthy man to play two of our biggest games this season.  Can you imagine if Arsene had played him in a CL decider 2 seasons ago?  My morning turd would be a mere opening credit to the palpitations & sweating that would occur if he did select him back then.  Now however, we have no qualms with thrusting the former-butterfingers into the limelight, to hell with your former misdemeanours, go forth & deny the worlds best team with your errant decision-making & questionable claiming of crosses!

I don’t think he’s a bad player.  I think he’s a capable understudy to Wojicech, who has come on leaps & bounds this season.  I just don’t forget the pain he caused.  The scar tissue runs deep, plus it wasn’t just one misjudgment he made, it was a series.  In my humble opinion he is more capable of doing the same thing.  At what point though, is the straw that broke the camels back?

Has TV5 made so many howlers that no fan can have faith in him?  Has everyone forgotten the player he was before confidence robbed him?  How many boo-boos does it take before we reach for the shotgun, like a farmer dealing with a horse with a broken leg?  Do we really have such a short fuse as fans that we can forever label a player after a few mistakes?  Can we not take into consideration other factors such as the fact that since Kos&BFG have formed such an impregnable wall & ousted TV5, his confidence has dropped considerably.  Wenger says so on many occasions that confidence is a huge factor for a player.  Correct me if I’m wrong though, but on the few occasions that TV5 has filled in this season, he’s not exactly impersonated George Weahs’ cousin has he? 

Nacho, Jenkinson, Ozil, Giroud, Jack, Theo.  Just a few names that have had a mare this season.  Some of the aforementioned men have had more moments of madness than others.  I seem to recall a couple of consecutive games Nacho played around December time where I saw people calling for his head, papering over the fact he is a relied upon Spanish international & every other game he has played the majority had waxed lyrical about him.  It would seem that the very thing that we chastise short-sighted hacks for,  a short-term memory, is exactly what we can be culpable for.  Do we daub insults & slander upon these players with indellible marker because their 1st touch let them down?  No.  So why have certain players been labelled?  Am I being blinded by faith?  Is TV5 gone the way of Phillipe Senderos, robbed of talent due to being subjugated to anal rape by Drogba repeatedly?  Has TV5 lost what made him?  Do I ask too many questions?   I wonder what’s happened to Jolly Ranchers? 

After successfully answering those questions, I now come to the Everton tie.

I was lucky enough to gain entry to the hallowed shrine that is The Emirates ( those that follow me I apologise for repeatedly mentioning it ).  I have mentioned previously that my pilgrimages to my temple are sporadic so I fully intended to maximise this opportunity.  After chowing down on the best pies I’ve ever had the pleasure of consuming from Piebury Corner (  I recommend the Thierry Henry & Tony Adams ), I made my way to the statue of God himself.  I said my Hail Dennis’s & made my way to my seat, about 45mins before kick-off, just saturating myself with the aura. 

The match itself was a joy to behold.  A goal & assist for the boy Mesut, surely a confidence booster for him.  Two for Giroud.  The backline with another assured display, denying the young upstart Lukaku ( who by all accounts must sleep in fertilizer, the boy is a tank ).  The plus points that really stood out from my seat up in the Clock End were th performances of The Ox & Santi.  There was a point where a run by Alex was halted prematurely & the Toffees attempted to break.  The Ox ran about 30yds & not only quelled the uprising, but then started another wave of attack for us.  He was everywhere.  The main cog in our attack was our little Spanish wizard though.  Everything went through him & his eye was in.  His vision was exemplary & his touch was sure.  He has had a patchy season thus far but he’s getting a rep for being a big-game player.  The pivot of Mikel-Flamini had us doubting a tad before the game, as it had been attempted previously & it had backfired.  There was no forward impetus.  This time it worked well.  They sponged the Everton attacks & effectively distributed.  They worked.  The Arteta PK was memorable.  I watched the 1st, hugged with a random fella when he dispatched it coolly.  When he was made to retake it, I couldn’t watch so had my back to it.  I relied upon the lady behind me for reassurance that it was scored.  Her maniacal gurning assured me we scored so I went back to torturing my vocal cords.  On a side note, apologies to the guy in front of me, I hope you’ve rid yourself of my spittle. 

It was a high-pressure game, a chance to visit Wembley.  We gained that sojourn to the home of English football, but we also gained a wee bit of swagger, which has been missing for a few.  This is vital coming into a gauntlet of games.  Bayern tonight, I’m more hoping for our troops to return home injury-free.  Any result is a bonus but I know they’ll do us proud. 

I’ve had a smile on my face now since Saturday.  Not since a tweet of mine had 5RT’s have I smiled so much.  We’re contending & it’s March.  Let’s attempt to enjoy this run of games.  Let’s forget bad performances for a while & remember there’s a reason Arsene signed each & every one of them.  Andre Santos though, that was one hell of a brain-fart.  #UTA.  

Another prodigy or just Diabys’ play pal?

Just like our simian cousins, we do enjoy a spot of shit-flinging. The fecal matter was flying thick & fast on Saturday afternoon, our performance against the men-beasts of the Potteries acting as a suppository, easing the defecation out & spreading it hither & thither on our favoured social network. In the past, if the worst happens, which in the last few seasons was rather too regularly, I would declare #TwitterOff, unable to face the carnage of Gooners attacking their kin for simply keeping faith with an out of form player, or for criticizing someone who had a mare. It would seem that this is catching on as I saw a few declare that they would simply spend their weekend moping around the house being a buzzkill for the rest of their family rather than pour their heart out on Twitter. In the aftermath of defeat Twitter is as appealing as a ballscratch from Edward Scissorhands.

The brave soldier that I am, I braved the keyboard napalm & tweeted a few observations from the match, a reading from the black box of the wreckage if you will. One of them is that whenever we suffer defeat, no matter the circumstance, we always have a scapegoat. A sacrificial lamb that gets led meekly to the alter to have not only its gullet slit but it’s innards strewn, while fans bathe in the blood. Fuck i’ve seen way too many schlocky horror flicks. The offering to the fans this weekend was a two-for-one offer, the familiar faces of Lukas Podolski & legendary lothario Olivier Giroud. The aforementioned gentlemen have previously been led up to the open face of the volcano on many occasions, Poldi less so as his affable nature & seemingly vital lubricant to the spirit of the team renders him sometimes invincible to criticism. Not so in the weekend. It seems clear that our zany friend Lukas seems more potent when exploding from the bench as I’m pretty sure his record when starting games is not exactly world-beating. Olivier seems to be the flavour of the month at the moment when it comes to excuses. It can’t be that we just played pretty pants. Oh no, it’s because Giroud missed a chance. I don’t know how many people watched the game, but Olivier didn’t really have much bearing on the game. A gun is pretty useless without ammo & we struggled to break down a well drilled but ultimately savage Stoke team. I just swallowed a bit of sick as that was as near to a compliment that I will give those fucking heathens.

There are two camps when it comes to Giroud. One is ever shrinking. I believe he is good enough. He has 16 goals this season. I’m not going to say he is unblemished. He doesn’t run nearly enough & his finishing, the main trait needed to be a striker some would say, is sometimes wayward. For people to say that he doesn’t have enough talent to lead the line, I would refer you to his backheel goal Vs Southampton. If it was The King who had scored it, which he did on a few occasions, or even Santi, we would’ve waxed lyrical about it, seen Vines backed with dubstep plastered all over our Timelines, pictures splashed everywhere. It was instinctive, it was talented & reflexive. It was a brilliant goal. He is capable of so much more, but is suffering with inconsistency. I saw people shouting for Benteke after his two goal salvo Vs Norwich. Benteke who has been absolutely dire for the majority of the season. When you compare Giroud to Aguero, Suarez & other players of that ilk then he does come up a tad short, but not by as much as some people say. I will say this though. He does need back-up. He needs competition.

Do we have this in our ranks currently? After January, I was of the negative persuasion. Theo, probably our biggest threat, out for the season, albeit on a massive high ( 2-0 ), Nik B proving that Juve were probably right to give him short shrift, even if he did put in a shift whenever we required him & Podolski as mentioned previously proving that a hammerfoot is not the only weapon that a forward needs. Step forward Yaya Sanogo.

When Yaya signed in the summer, it was the window of our discontent. We had once more scraped CL Qualification, the 4th place trophy living a lonely life in our trophy cabinet alongside it’s only friend, the illustrious Bear Trophy! ( Markus Liebherr trophy actually. I know my onions ).

We were looking for reinforcements to once more get the gunpowder firing. We needed more quality & apparently we could afford it now as the sounds coming from Gazidis were stating that the financial shackles were off, we were no longer being kept in a dungeon, manacled to a wooden structure with a gimp ball in our mouth, attempting to force out the safety word ” STADIUM PAID ” as the dominatrix shoves another rigid piece of vegetation up our poopchute……..ahem…..apologies, shall we move on?

We know what eventually happened, but Sanogo crept in amongst the cacophony of negativity & injured himself. Comparisons to our crash test dummy Diaby were inevitable, especially when Sanogo was a postage stamp width away from shunning the life of a footballer to become a Postman due to recurring injuries. Wow Arsene, I know you love potential, but if you needed to replace Alan the parcel boy then surely we could’ve done it differently?

Thankfully amongst my follower count there are numerous people who follow all stages of the game, I was made aware of his performances for his country in the U-20 World Cup, where for the first time Les Blues were victorious & our new signing, our dud, was top scorer. It doesn’t mean that he was the new Henry or the New Anyone, it just meant that Arsene had once more proven that, when it comes to spotting prodigious, well-hidden talent, there was no-one who could match him.

We’ve waited quite some time to see Yaya put in a proper display, mostly because he’s been too busy sinking battleships on the treatment table with Abou. I bet Sanogo never thought he would be thankful for Olivier Girouds’ inquisitive phallus for his breakthrough. Neither did anyone really, apart from PaddyPower offering odds of 5000000/1. It was our big-nosed strikers philandering ( & maybe his loss of form/motiviation ? ) that led Yaya to start was the start of our run of games that would define our season. It was the game Vs the Scousers. In the Cup. After recently being humbled 5-1 by the hubcap-thieves. This game was massive. When the team-sheet was announced, most people were wondering why Giroud had been left out, leaving Sanogo to go about his business. At the end of the match & a priceless victory, I don’t think I saw a solitary tweet or opinion that wasn’t impressed by Yaya. There was more to come however.

Midweek came the Bayern game. I’m not going to dissect the game, let’s just say that if Wojicech hadn’t been sent off & we managed to keep the pace of our play as it was for the first 25mins, the result would’ve been entirely different. Let’s look at Yayas’ involvement in the game. He troubled the GK with a couple of efforts, terrorized Alaba, Dante & co for a good portion of the game, never stopped chasing lost causes & never looked out of place. Quite the opposite in fact, he looked assured & fleet-footed, which surprised me given how gangly he looks, like Bambi on rollerskates. If we take a step back from the performance, we find a 20yr old CL debutant who had never faced a team of this caliber before, pull off a display that belied his lack of experience. The kid has certainly got minerals.

The crux of the matter is this: Can Yaya Sanogo prove to be the able deputy that Olivier so desperately needs? Can he be the roaring fire up Girouds arse that wakes him up when he rests on his laurels? Much depends on his fitness. Arsene obviously trusts him immensely to put him in such high-profile games, ahead of much experienced competition. The Clown Prince of Denmarks days are numbered surely, but Yaya I think could be something special. Marc Overmars wasn’t touched by other clubs before moving to us as his knee was shot to bits. Wenger took a gamble. It seems that Wenger has once more put chips on the table. I think he will come up trumps again. I just hope Yaya stops playing board games with Diaby, Abou is NOT good for your health. Just kidding Abou, we still love you.

David Attenborough meets the Arsenal Fan….

Good evening, welcome to BBC 8, the home of inane drivel. Later, at 9:30pm we have a treat for you as Piers Morgan goes to Papua New Guinea & serves himself up as dinner to the cannibalistic locals, but now we present to you a nature documentary of a different kind…….

On this beautiful planet we live in, amongst the countless groups, gaggles, prides & murders of species that exist, the general rule of thumb is this; the group comes first. Hunt & provide for the rest. Specified roles, hunter, babysitter, watcher. Tonight, however, I will present to you a collective that offers the finger to Mother Natures rules, that relish the battles & wars that are produced from being a member of this genus. Tonight, I will bring to you The Arsenal Fan.

As opposed to most species, the Arsenal Fan, or to use the latin term for the collective, Cannonus Crazus, are located throughout the land. No definitive DNA or framework applies to this curious classification, only that they can be sporadically recognised by plumage of a red & white colouring. One rule that does mirror nature is there is a hierarchy within the Cannonus Crazus. Within my ten year research of this fascinating coterie, I mapped what had previously been unmapped. I painstakingly placed all gangs of the Arsenal Fan, all groups & placed them within a hierarchal framework.

Top of the tree, respected by all, held up as the finest example of the genus would be:

The Away Boys - ferventium fannus

This gaggle of Cannonus Crazus are known for their migratory instincts, travelling internationally in order to survive. Their knowledge is unsurpassed & all other groups of this species put them up on a pedestal as do a pride of lions revere the hunter of the group.

One of the main branches of the tree would be:

Season Ticket Holders / Match Regulars - disposius incomium

Indigenous to North London, This group is the largest of all the factions within the Cannonus Crazus. Famed for their devotion to the cause, they manage to multitask responsibilities with the weekly patronage to the nest. A fine example of their species.

Another main faction would be:

Armchair Fans - SkySportsum et snacksus

These fans are synonymous for the absence of the weekly patronage to the nest. Instead, using an evolved sense of direction, pray to a totem placed in the general direction of their spiritual home. Often derided by their more illustrious neighbours mentioned above, but love the nest no less. Occasionally suffer from a lack of perspective which seems to be given to all who visit the nest.

A new branch of fans have been spotted recently & much like the American Crayfish threatening the native breed, these fans have ruffled feathers upon arrival:

The Negative Ones - nevergoodenoughius changeforthesakeofchangeium

This gaggle of fans is spreading rapidly, aided by the famous decline of 06-14 of the species. This allowed the Negatives to gain a foothold amongst the other groups. Regularly with no real meaning to their existence, they seek to live amongst the chaos that they spread. Main habitat seems to be the plains of Twitter.

Two duelling groups next.They are the AKB’s & the WOB’s. Fossils found in the Highbury area indicate that during 06-14 era, the TrophyLessaceous era, these two groups spawned from all other gangs, encompassing all. Two completely different genomes, two entirely different outlooks. The feud threatens to muscle out all elements as the frenzied nature of the groups overshadows the natural equilibrium of the Cannonus Crazus. It is a very real danger. Overzealous fighting has led to a culling of the species on Twitter.

The Cannonus Crazus is a complex, diverse breed. Faced with a constant threat from the Chavus Oligarchium & other predators that have evolved at a ridiculous rate since an oil leak contaminated the drinking water, altering the DNA, they have rose above the escalating adversity & thrived. Even when the outbreak of the Spurican Shadowitis virus threatened to oust them from the higher echelons of the food chain, they were united & survived.

It has been such an honour to survey & watch these fascinating creatures. Any other animal would surely become extinct when opposed with menaces such as the magnitude of the aforementioned. To then thrive so well is a testament to the strength they possess. The AKB’s & the WOB’s will test that strength to it’s limits. Thank you for watching…..


This skewed version of events was sparked by conversations I’ve had over the last few weeks with fellow ‘fans’. Conversations that have me question whether a few of them are actually fans. It also made me go through my extensive follower count & cull, swinging my cyber cutlass with meaty zeal. I now have a TL with a varied opinion but with less moronic comments ( I can’t cull myself so the moronic element will never be forever cleared ).

I’m a fan that gets to go to 1-2 games a season, at a push. I realise it’s a paltry amount, but no-one could say I’m not a proper fan. A presence at games is not the only entry requirement to the party. I’m a member of Fanshare. I’ve been a Red Member for years. I spend a ridiculous amount of money on merchandise, merchandise I will never use ( who needs an Arsenal interactive DVD quiz? ) I own some excellent memorabilia that would bring a pretty penny & I pride myself on the level of knowledge I have. If I could get to the Emirates more often I would. My disposable income with a mortgage & a car that is less reliable than a forgetful dyslexic in a library, renders me unable to visit, even though I never feel more alive than when I’m there. I adore the place more than any other. If I withdrew money to go to a match & worship at the altar instead of spending it on assorted scatter cushions, or the months supply of toilet roll my wife would be walking around with a wonderful set of testicle-earrings. I unfortunately have to prioritise & my house & living come first. Not in my mind. Arsenal are my beloved, but adult rules do not permit me to sleep on the pitch & have my dream job of being Dan Roebucks replacement. I wish I could put them first & earn more that could then be spent at the Emirates or arranging away travel, but many things don’t allow me to. The Away Boys do a fantastic job of representing the team away from home & every time I tweet that they’re doing great, keep up the singing etc, I mean every word. I just wish I could join them.

I personally err on the AKB side of things. I think he’s done & shown enough in his years with us, but especially in the last few years when faced with such long odds, that he deserves & warrants our respect & trust. Yes, he makes mistakes. He isn’t infallible. The fact he only makes subs in the 70th minute nearly every game is something I can’t understand but I personally think his intellect outweighs his shortcomings. The conversations I’ve had recently, including speaking to a ‘Gooner’ who professed to wanting JW10 to break both legs, have had me question motives & the perceived hierarchy within the fans network. I’ve never mentioned how little the number of games I go to because I fear that people will see me as less of a fan. Now I think ‘fuck this’, as the people who I respect know that I fucking love the Cannon & the others I’ve unfollowed. Let’s just support the club & enjoy this run of games we’ve got coming up, they’re an indicator that we’re on the road to success. Let’s just support.

To be gay in sport takes balls, even in today’s world

Alarm blares it’s monstrous melody, forcing him to face 7am head on. He looks over to his partner who is miraculously still ensconced in dreams. He allows himself a few seconds to view his beloved in slumber, then his rigid discipline kicks him out of his dream state & reminds him firmly that training comes first. He clambers out of bed & into the en-suite. Shower turned on, the torrent of hot water serves not only to clean but revitalise. The finest of cleaning products produce a good lather but the scent of jasmine & coconut remind him of last summer in the Maldives. Shower off, then grab a towel off the rack. Dressed & straight downstairs to the kitchen to grab a quick bite, the Boss would frown on training on an empty stomach but worse would be a bowl of the sugary cereals his dozing darling upstairs enjoys so much. A quick fruit smoothie & he grabs his keys to……..erm, what to take, what a joyous conundrum to have. The Lamborghini Gallardo? No, it needs a wash. The Range? No, he grabs the keys to his gun metal grey Aston & beeps the gargantuan garage doors. The beep serves as a mute ‘open sesame’ to the garage doors & they smoothly open to allow the Aston to purr through.

On the way to the training ground, making short work of the dual carriageway, he connects the latest i-gadget to a sound system that, upon first glance, would bewilder Bill Gates. Instantly, the gadget picks up on the last played tune & bangs out ” Rap God ” by Eminem. He was rather angry yesterday so Marshall Mathers latest offering served as a tap to pour out his animosity. Yesterday was awful but he wouldn’t allow the events to cast a shadow on today, he was stronger than that. He selects with the dials on the walnut finished steering wheel a playlist of dance tunes. Chemical Brothers commence the playlist with “Setting Sun”. Good choice. His foot gets a tad heavier on the brushed steel accelerator, the sign of all good music is the effect it has on your driving, so this track is a belter.

Ten minutes later, the sleek Aston approaches the training ground gates. Normally the entrance has a few loyal fans awaiting the arrival of their idols, pen in hand. Today there is a cacophony of flashes, questions. They instantly flock to the car they’ve been waiting for, like wasps angered by the destruction of their nest. He slows the car down but keeps it rolling, for all the answers he would give for now were included in the significant & news-dominating statement he released yesterday. From behind the cars tinted & extra thick windows, all he can catch of the paparazzis’ bleating is floating words that make no sense accompanied by the rest, such as ” how “, ” why “, ” feel ” & the odd ” repercussions “. The owners of the bright xenon flashes & the indeterminable queries eventually catch on that this train ain’t stopping but a few overzealous idiots still attempt to catch a prize-winning photo by running behind & taking images through his rear window.

The barriers to the car park open. After the welcome committee he just endured, the barriers almost seem like warm-hearted arms opening up to receive him in the worlds tightest hug. He slaloms his way into a space & gets out. The Aston seems right at home amongst the Porsches, Ferraris & Bentleys so he presses the button that activates a plethora of safety & anti-theft programs on the car & makes his way to the changing rooms to kit up.

Along the way, he sees a smattering of team mates, the usual mutterings in the morning seem muted & awkward by comparison to other days. It would seem that the statement he issued yesterday has far-reaching implications & that the furore has settled in, leaving a residue of ungainly attitude towards him. The few he sees give a nod or a ” morning ” & then beat a path to a another teammate, the safety in numbers rule still applies it seems. A few of the youngsters don’t even know where to put their eyes, eager to please the 1st teamers but scared to forge a new path & therefore risk becoming a pariah. He understands this & doesn’t push the issue further.

He enters the training facility main doors & heads straight to the changing room. Normally a chatty & sociable fellow who enjoys the fact he knows all members of staff by name & maintains a healthy working relationship with them, he notices his mood darkening by the minute & just wants to get the day started so he can head back home, the warmth & unjudging eyes of his abode never seemed so far away. He mentally grits his teeth, realises that his team mates will want to test him & colleagues will be socially inept towards him, but he hopes it’s a passing phase.

He opens the door to the changing room & upon viewing his regular berth which has his peg & spot on the bench, spies a set of giant pink, glittery fairy wings. This sets off a round of laughter amongst his team mates, a caterwauling of hilarity that sounds like it contains less humour than a Findus Lasagne contains real beef. It is cutting & the veil of humour is so thin. He realises a lot hinges on his reaction so he picks them up, turns round to the mass culprits & smiles, breaking into a socially acceptable peal of laughter. It wasn’t the reaction that a few of them were looking for as they instantly lose interest, but the majority of the others seem relieved that this situation wasn’t elevated by a hissy fit.

He kits up, laboriously so as to avoid coming out with the group. Upon exiting the changing room, he spots the Assistant Manager, a small amiable fellow who is the type to get on well with everyone. He smiles, utters a greeting & then makes his way hurriedly to the training pitches, making the excuse that lugging these bag of balls is hard work.

Upon setting foot on the training pitch, the Gaffer calls them all in to the centre.
” Now, before we start, I want to make sure that after yesterdays statement, that no-one has a problem. He still is the same fella who was playing for us last week, he hasn’t changed & I want my team to work well together. Anyone got a problem? ” No one, as expected, raises umbrance, but a few lads, the same who were looking for a reaction to the fairy wings, eyeball him, like a drunk guy at a pool hall. ” Right then, let’s get down to it then & no need to go soft on Ole’ Fairy Boy, he can take it can’t ya! ” He slaps a large hand across his shoulder blades, meant to signal affection & camaraderie but this time, just for show.

During training, he gets chopped down on numerous occasions, but bites his tongue each time. That’s exactly what they’re after, he reminds himself. The whistle blows to signal time to wrap up. The sharp shrill sound had never sounded so heavenly to him before. It was time for retreat. It would take time to mend the bridges that had been burned, but his fury told him that he wasn’t the one with the flamethrower in his hand, he was still the same guy. A few of his team mates shout out moronic comments regarding the haste they must make to get to the showers before he does. It would seem that being homosexual in this day & age in the public eye was still difficult.

Can anyone say with conviction that, even in todays liberated times, that a few of the instances above would not happen at any club? I realise my speciality is embellishment with previous blogs, but I felt compelled to write something after the bravery of Thomas Hitzlsperger.

'Der Hammer' publicly announced his homosexuality & it set off the media alarms everywhere. He conducted himself superbly but what saddened me was that this was still such a big story. Shouldn't this have been consigned to a few paragraphs in the back pages? With all the gay TV personalities, politicians & other roles in the public eye, it would be a fair jump to assume that for a footballer to 'come out' it would be a non-event. We all know, however, that this wouldn't be the case. Whenever Thomas gets interviewed, inevitable questions will crop up regarding his homosexuality. Completely unfair. I can completely understand why, amongst current footballers, there is a reluctance to pin their sexuality to the board.

What does it matter anyway? I absolutely adore Martin Keown & Ray Parlour. Would I care if they chose to spend their life with another man? Would it take away my memories of their fantastic efforts for the Cannon? No. It wouldn’t fucking matter if they enjoyed the sexual appetites of the Marquis de Sade, or loved to cover themselves in lizard shite whilst touching themselves to overtures of Chesney Hawkes. It’s the player that matters. If they enjoyed the works of Justin Beiber however, that may taint my love for them…..

It’s a sad state of affairs but totally understandable that players do not wish to announce to the public that they love men instead of women. It doesn’t matter what they do off the pitch, to a degree, but the reluctance to do it is a horrible truth on the game today. Look at the chants Arsene Wenger has to endure from certain fans. The same with certain players. Look at the filth directed at Graeme Le Saux. If a player came out & was currently playing, it would be inevitably worse as there still exists a xenophobic attitude amongst pockets of fans.

All I can say is this. If ever a player from my team announced he was gay, it wouldn’t colour how hard I sing for him. If a player came out from another team, it wouldn’t affect what I sing about him. It should be about the football.

Kudos to Thomas Hitzlsperger.

The Return of the Little General

Many reasons have been given for our resurgent form & subsequent return to the pinnacle of the Premiership. I personally have written of a few. The messianic presence of The Umlauted One, our titanic back unit which have considered a meagre amount ( if it weren’t for the City game & some shocking decisions it would’ve been less ) have also been cited as Lego bricks which have culminated in the most epic Lego structure in recent memory. There is another reason however. One which sloped off to the historic lands of Italy under a cloud of questions & acerbic opinion from fans, only to return to a wall of doubt & challenges. Only a certain type of man could return from whence he came, face criticism head on & snarl equally hostile, letting his passion & skill quash the critique & morph it into adulation. This man, Gooners, is Mathieu Flamini.

Let me set a scene with my verbosity. Its the lull in proceedings between seasons. We have just rubbed spurs’ noses in their own defecation once more with Koscielnys’ goal grabbing our rightful place among the elite & casting our lowly neighbours back down to squalor & filth, forcing them to scratch out a life amongst the also-rans & forgotten dreams. The shadows beckoned once more for the orc-whores, whilst we rightfully were jubilant that we had again earned a place in the higher echelons of club football. Gooners were celebrating because, not only had we preverbially given the bottom feeders from the Lane another rough-house anal-exam, we had also finished above them with what I think was one of the weakest squads since the days of Bruce Rioch.

Don’t go getting sand in your vagina, I recognised the talent we had at our disposal, but the timing of last season was too early. Our BFG hadn’t formed the telepathic link with Kos’ which is now evident. Rambo hadn’t quite had enough games to fully show what he is capable of. Jack needed another year, more games, ditto The Ox. Also a few others were too soon out of the womb & the medical lamp was burning their eyes. In flashes we showed the ignorant masses what was coming, but it was too soon. So to still finish in the Top4, to still finish above many teams treating currency like it’s Cha-cha-cha-cha…….Charmin was huge testament to the knowledge, the Greatness that is Wenger.

Once the season had ended & the players set off to sunnier climes to sun their tired, weary limbs, on social networks, the topic, almost as soon as the final whistle blew at St James Park, had switched to transfers. The ITK’s crawled out of their mould-ridden apertures, seeking nourishment via RT’s & follower counts. The Alphas of the group, after taking part in furious co-masturbation, set about befouling our TL’s because even if you don’t follow them yourselves, their foul, odious trail left a wake across the beautiful tundra that is Twitter. Names, like rotten carcasses were left as signs, markers, to others. They have the knowledge as they have a cousin who has a best mate who works in the petrol station just a mile from Colney & the staff always use it & M’Vila came in & bought some skittles. Now not everyone who was unfortunate enough to fall foul of these soulless creatures were naive enough to believe these signs. No. Some acted as heroic Rangers, rounding up these cunt-burgers & leaving their own markers by way of RT’ing their inane faeces & showing the rest of us that, yes, these are lies, LIES I TELL YOU & YOU CAN HANDLE THE TRUTH!!!! REMY, M’VILA, DI MARIA, HIGUAIN, VILLA, BENTEKE, WANYAMA, JOVETIC, RODE, N’KOULOU, KAKA, they are all plausible but they are not currently at our medical facility signing papers! They are just rumours thought up by some acne-ridden loner who only has a WOW account & a family bag of pickled onion Monster Munch for company. They don’t know diddly. My point being is that no-one really knew who we were getting, but the savvy among us knew that the preverbial iron chains reigning us in had been broken, the sounds eminating from the Board were that the beautiful home that now housed us was no longer an anchor to our luxury liner, we could now sail the seven seas without hindrance. We could SPEND. Shit I forgot Bernard. BERNARD.

Anywho, weeks went passed like playing ’ Spot the Personality ’ at a Chelsea awards Dinner. Once more, never heeding the lessons that have been dealt to them, not ever looking at their scar-peppered selves & registering our dominance, the bedraggled masses from the Lane emerged from their pits, brazenly displaying their new shiny wares, proclaiming that these ” new shinies ” were the crystal to their faulty lightsabers, now they could cut a swathe through our ranks. They were mighty fucking expensive crystals. Now restrain your giggles, please, I know looking back on it now renders us all into fits of hilarity, but at the time, we were slightly worried. The gap between us was miniscule. Not in class mind, that’s a fucking chasm, but in League Position. With these new recruits, even if a couple of them flopped like Hefner without his Lil’ blue pills, then another would step up.

Arsene must’ve sensed our alarm, as he then moved to allay our fears. Don’t worry, loyal legions, for in answer to the filthy lucre being spent by all & sundry, we have bolstered our team. BEHOLD, THE POSTMAN & A RETURNING UTILITY MAN!!!!!!

Cue tumbleweed. I can say, with no hint of smugness ( actually, I’m very smug about it ), that I was one of the few who didn’t greet Flaminis’ recurrence with disdain or mild curiosity. I think you’ll find in the photos section of my profile there is a screenshot with evidence of the fact. Yes, that means I’m the next Wenger. In all seriousness though, with our 2 free transfers generating less enthusiasm than a Gary Glitter slumber party, we didn’t have much to cheer about. The media & social networks were awash with shouts to bin our talismanic chief, to spend some farking money, look how much your rivals are spending, this is surely the end for Arsenal, mid-table obscurity beckons, it’s the end, Broken Cannon images aplenty, W’UR AAAWWWWLLLL DOOOOOOMMMMMMEEED.

Ozils arrival was preceded by awareness that this time, the much-fabled ’ Lesser-Spotted Chequebook ’ would be making an appearance. This sent the ITK’s into a spunk-induced froth, but all the while Wenger maintained his cheeky grin, which indicated that a magic trick proportional to pulling SUBO out of a hat was imminent.

Now I’m not going to go over Ozils signing in too much detail, mainly because I’m planning to write about the whole saga soon, but needless to say, his arrival was like a shot in the arm to our beleaguered troops, a tonic from a travelling show that promised vitality, heath, vigour & a shitload of success.

Whilst any Gooner knows & realises the value of The Umlauted Ones’ arrival to these shores, the match against the Shadow Lurkers early in the season highlighted to us the importance that Flamini carried. He didn’t even start the match, he was a sub but came on in the 1st half through injury to I think it was Jack.

It takes a special sort of man to immediately come onto a pitch, or any new situation really, & start barking orders like a raging despot. As soon as his wee legs trotted onto the turf, he was waving his arms, he was pointing, gesticulating wildly, shouting at anyone who had the misfortune to tread into his zone of fear. He was a Little General & I happen to think he is just what we need.

I remember his first spell. His engine was tremendous. He never stopped running. Age hasn’t had the front to approach him. He still prowls every blade of grass. He memorably was part of the makeshift backline that set a record for the most amount of time between conceded goals in the CL & took us to the final. The building blocks were there but his time at the San Siro, the stomping grounds of many great defensive-minded player, has ingrained in him a sense of dynamic tactics, an awareness of what needs to be done at that time, to preserve status. It’s no coincidence to see how many games he’s started, to spell out that he’s an integral part of our team.

What a fearsome competitor he is, what a lionheart. Even sleeves are too frightened to encroach on his territory. I remember in my younger years at school, awaiting the height spurt that would never arrive, my Headmaster said, ” Geed gear comes fae wee bouk son “. A rough translation from my native brogue is ” good things come in small packages “. I think that pretty much sums up our brave, tough, unheralded summer arrival. Our Little General.

It’s defence, not DEfence……..

Rightfully so, goalscorers are the players held up on a pedestal at their clubs.  They are the ones who, with just one flick of their gaudy neon pink Nikes can grab a goal that can turn a game, a season.  A proven striker is elusive in the transfer market, lurking in the shadows like a predatory hobo, promising their admirers that with their addition, they too could touch glory, but only with their goals.  The Ballon D’or winner was announced yesterday.  The Top 3 were Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi & Franck Ribery.  All attackers.  These 3 players were rightfully lauded after yet another spectacular campaign.  Where are the defenders though?  The last winner of this award that was a defender was Fabio Cannavaro in 2006.  Maybe however, that just means that defence isn’t forgotten about, but just underappreciated. 

I watched the match against Aston Villa last night.  We weren’t at our fluent best.  Far from it.  We did show teeth & fought through the excessive Villa backline to breach them twice.  Jack is looking more like the player we know he can be, Ozil is laying on passes & coming deep to retrieve the ball, Santi & Giroud look fully fit & ready to aid our title bid, Our bench is full of attacking options that allows Arsene to swing a game if it isn’t going according to plan. there are plenty of positives.  You know what really has made a difference though?  Our defence.  As I was watching, our resident BFG made an imperious tackle, impeccably timed, which broke up an attack & set us on the front foot.  It really stood out to me as a real fantastic piece of defending.  It was territorial.  It sent out a message.  It said that this was MY FUCKING ZONE, if you step inside I will hunt you down.  The real coup de gras was once I tweeted acknowledgement of this heroic action from Per, I noticed  others had given plaudits as well.  I also noticed that Sky had latched onto BFG & Koscielnys flourishing partnership.  The stats they displayed were simply astounding, in the 27 matches they had played as a duo in the last two years, we had won 19 & drawn 8.  16 clean sheets were accumulated in these games as well.

Embedded image permalink

  Wowzers.The amazing duopoly were unbeaten.  Whilst Jack & Olly grabbed the goals, the last few games have been won under a hail of high balls & Per & Kos haven’t given an inch.  Looking at how they play, it would seem that BFG is the better reader of the game, he chooses the exact moment to intercept.  Kos can rectify mistakes, he can keep pace with the most fleet-footed of strikers, they both can deal with bullies, pace, aerial threats.  In the last twenty minutes, they withstood a barrage.  More so at St James Park.  The stats & more importantly their displays tell you they can deal with it.  The post-match interview with Jack Wilshere revealed a bit more, with Jack revealing that the team isn’t as nervous as previous seasons as they know they can rely on the backline to hold firm.  We’ve conceded only 19 goals in 21 Prem games, the joint best this season.  How long has it been since we can shout about our defensive record? 

Our team feels different now.  There is plenty of fight there, apparent if you watch Mertesackers reaction to conceding last night.  Lots of clenched fists, shouting ( mostly Flamini ), the spirit is flowing.  Whilst our need for an additional striker is self-evident with Theo out for a lengthy absence playing Monopoly with Abou on the treatment table, our backline does not need tinkering.  Sagna had another amazing game last night, his stamina levels show no sign of abating.  Nacho & Gibbs are equally capable of marauding forward & giving the attack another outlet but also keeping their opposite number quiet.  On the bench we also have forgotten Capt TV5, who has shown recently that he can slot in seamlessly when needed.  We’re looking solid.

I think this team can produce the results up front thanks to the efforts of BFG, Kos, Sagne et al.  A solid foundation is needed to build the best structures.  It’s certainly been noticed by the fans.  The tackle by BFG, the sliding tackle by Flamini, the tenacity of Kos.  It’s being picked up on as it’s excellent football, it’s consistent & a marked difference to the last few years of Senderos & Squillaci.  It’s like having a staple diet of Iceland buffet food & then coming home to find Nigella Lawson has moved in as your resident chef ( complete with bong ).  We are rightfully dining on these fantastic displays.  Even the pundits are picking up on it. 

I realise that this blog entry may come across a tad boring but I think our defensive merits need to be talked about.  Can we win the title though?  Depends if we sign a striker………..

The Middlesex Chicken Death Mystery…..

The Place - a quaint village veterinary surgery somewhere amid the grassy knolls of Middlesex. 

It’s 9pm, thunder & lightning continue their volatile love affair in the skies above, broiling & mashing the skyline.  The rain lashes the windows of the surgery, inhabited at this informal hour by the emergency doctor & his trusty assistant, the lolloping Joe Jordan.  The Dr has been battling for hours to maintain a chickens life.  The heartbeat tails off, the numbers all reset to zero.  This fowl is failed.  The Dr dips his head, smashes his fist against the table & sighs but then looks over the chart with Joe in order to find why this chicken flew so rapidly to the great big KFC in the sky.

" This chicken has quite a chequered history.  It shares the lineage of the oft-mentioned Great Pedigree Chickens that toured the UK back in ‘61.  It would seem that the DNA has been watered down somewhat.  Farmer Levy first came in to us in 1997, complaining of a Gross smell emanating from its body.  Every year since then, just before the Annual Farmers Competition, Farmer Levy has been in with an ailment or illness that the chicken has suffered from. "  Joe flashes a gummy grin, saliva pooling in one corner of his mouth. 

"Let’s see, ah, yes.  This chicken has suffered from Ramos disorder,  Jacques-Santinaemia, Pleat-Itis, RedknappaComa & Villas-Boas-narcolepsy.  These diseases cannot be contracted from other animals, they have to have been administered manually.  These ailments are from all corners of Europe, I don’t think these chickens have been to Europe often, do you Joe? "  Joe is busy picking yesterdays porridge from his teeth. 

The Dr goes to his briefcase & pulls out a book that compiles symptoms, he leafs quickly through the cyclopean tome like a human Johnny-5, pausing intermittently & muttering to himself.  All of a sudden, he crashes the book to the table & exclaims ” Aha!!  These maladies are just as I suspected.  They all have suspected side-effects that are supposed to ENHANCE the animals.  Faster, stronger, glossier plumage etc.  It would seem Farmer Levy has been trying to play God Joe! “  Joe glances up from the floor, ensconced in the massive turd he’s just plucked from his rectum.  ” Joe, to the Vetmobile! “

The Dr & his bumbling fool of an Asst race through the fens & hills of the village, mowing down small forest animals as they go.  After about ten minutes they screech to a halt outside the Farm of Mr Levy, entitled ‘Shite Hart Lane’.  The stench of decay & fecal matter cloy the throat of the Dr as soon as his door opens.  The ramshackle agricultural abomination is enveloped in the dark of night, save for a lone illumination, courageously staving off the creeping tendrils of dimness.  Silence is shattered by a strangled screech, which shakes the Dr out of his reverie.  He breaks into a run, knowing that every second counts.

The Dr doesn’t think, he acts.  He runs at the barn door that houses the single light & the soul-tearing noise with all his might.  He simply bounces off.  On the shit-strewn ground, covered in crap, he roars ” JOE!  Beat the door DOWN!! “.  Joe drops the rooster he was fingering and launches his ample frame toward the door, which immediately splinters through the centre, sending Joe through the aperture.  The Dr gets up, runs to the gap & squeezes through.  His eyes attempt to acclimatise to the searing light that sends a shock of pain through the centre of his skull, he squints his eyes immediately.  After a few seconds, also noticing that the smell has evolved from a funky stink to a smell that induces memories of roadkill soaked in mouthwash.  As his eyeballs manage to struggle through the blinding light, he notices Joe is still on the ground, but with a piece of barndoor embedded firmly in his skull.  It would seem the good Dr needs to find a new Asst.  No tears were shed for Joe, but a poignant moment will live forever in the Drs memory as the last act the massive idiot performed was to aid the Dr. 

As the Dr looked around the massive space, the main noticeable point would be the tanks.  Massive, metal&glass capsules that were filled with a translucent sludge.  In each tank, hooked up to wires, tubes & floating were chickens.  The feathered avines were awake, their beady vacuous eyes fixed on the Dr as he walked to each tank in awe & disgust in equal measure, silently judging him.  All of a sudden, a meaty arm locked round the Drs neck, instantly locking him in place as another arm, no doubt the meaty arms brother, unsheathed a hypodermic & plunged it into the Drs neck.  What followed was black, uneventful sleep.

A shining metallic disc, in the centre, a light.  Directly in front of his field of vision.  A UFO?  Then the Drs memory started to reveal to him what had happened & he then realised that it was a surgical lamp.  He tried to get up, but at once his mind focused on the restraints on his arms & legs.  Panic, like a cold wet blanket, snaked up his body & his head rocked from side to side, as he turned left, the owner of the meaty arm stood in front of him.  Another gargantuan human being of the same ilk as the dearly departed Joe.  No emotion registered on the face of the lump, as he was too busy twisting his own balls. 

" The good Dr awakens!  Good evening! "  The mouth & eventually, the face the voice eminated from swam into view.  It was Farmer Levy. 

" Quite the setup isn’t it?  I can see what you’re thinking, how can a humble farmer afford such extravagance?  Well, I’m well versed in street economics, let’s just leave it at that.  Now, I’ve just been DYING to talk to you, mano el mano Dr & seeing as you’re at my mercy currently, this time seems as good as any, hmm? "

" I know what you’ve done, you despicable human being! " spits the Dr.

" I don’t think you do, my good friend.  You really don’t realise how deep the rabbit hole goes do you Alice? You, my valuable treasure, are the final piece in my lifes work.  For years, I’ve been thwarted, YEAR AFTER YEAR, by THAT LOT down the road.  Even with my fathers chickens, I couldn’t triumph over them.  I’ve tried EVERYTHING!  To no avail, so I tried sabotage, which hindered but didn’t get me the Rosette at the Annual Farmers Competition.  Now, I have YOU…"

Farmer Levy, bald, short & stout, dressed entirely in the finest Matalan checked suit, turned to the array of tanks. 

" Closer, closer, closer still.  All my work obtaining the live cultures for the ailments, but the chickens DNA didn’t meld successfully.  Every year, back to the drawing board.  Do you know how frustrating it is, to be bested by someone you hate with every fibre of your being?  It is enough to drive you to distraction.  At last though, a chance encounter led me to an awareness that I had been looking at it all wrong.  If I wanted my beautiful avian friends to vanquish those heathens down at Cannon Farm, I had to BE the enemy.  Who better to give the chickens this than YOU, Tim?"

Dr Sherwood, slackjawed from the revelation, said ” N,no, tell me you haven’t done it, tell me you haven’t…”

Farmer Levy flew over to Dr Sherwood, ripped open the Drs shirtcuffs, revealing the double Cannon tattoos, ” YES!  YES! YES!!!!!  Your blood, as it derives from Cannon Farm, is now mixing with the chickens!!  Now, I WILL HAVE MY VICTORY!!!  AT LAST I WILL TASTE THE SALTY TEARS OF MY ENEMIES INSTEAD OF BEING BEATEN MERCILESSLY!!! “

A chicken in one of the tanks flickered into life, a swish of one wing cracked the solid glass that housed the genetic disasters, the sludge swayed.  another flick & the sludge then cascaded out, enveloping Farmer Levy.  ” GRAAARGHGGHGGHGHHJBNHYY”  The owner of the meaty arms bounded over to Dr Tim Sherwood, but not before the ooze enveloped them both briefly.  The henchman, wearing a nametag that apparently said his name was Les, ripped open the restraints, before attempting to gather the chicken.  Now, one by one, the tanks ruptured open, sending Les, Farmer Levy & Tim Sherwood flowing out of the barn in a wave of filth & shame.  The freak-fowl, now free of their glass&metal prisons, able to utilise their freedom, seemed lost.  They gathered together in the centre of the barn, looking at each other in a mixture of bewilderment & stupidity.  It would seem that the missing link of Cannon Blood was not the herald of change after all.

Tim Sherwood spluttered & coughed.  He saw Farmer Levy struggling to his feet & he ran over to him.  “  No, not the face, not the FAAAACE ” screamed Levy.  Tim stopped & stood upright, but inert.  ” HA!  it would seem the liquid has mindwashed you, at least this has worked “ 

Farmer Levy stood & surveyed the damage.  He had an idiotic bunch of chickens that would surely fail once more, Two more neanderthals to aid him clumsily & a ground that would be better suited for bulldozing.   Nothing that more money wouldn’t fix…………

I apologise for this, the story just took me & I thought I’d try something different.  It would seem that with the way we defeated spurs, in such emphatic fashion, that even the news of Theo couldn’t dampen my spirits & this story is the result.  I urge you though, if you give feedback, please be honest!  Anywho, The match & result was fantastic & I’m still on the crest.  #UTA

Grrrritty performances & a herald of change….

It’s common knowledge amongst any football fan that stereotypes are prevalent & pretty hard to break down in the game.  Let me give you a few examples.   Stoke play long-ball.  Jose Mourinho would sell his mother for 3pts.  United are in cahoots with match officials.  Spurs are perennially dire.  Some, especially the last one, are pretty much spot on.  There are some that hang around a player or club like the collection of Mr.T’s gold chains, a corpulent weight that, if the fallacy isn’t dissolved rapidly, only gets heavier……Fool.  One such widely held belief is that, in the immortal words of Clive Dunn, Arsenal ” Don’t like it up ‘em “.

Well I’m here to tell you all, in my slightly awkward stylings, that this doesn’t apply anymore.  This myth/truth has been spouted nationwide, another tired cliche that has been wheeled around by professionals & fans, much like ” Arsenal try & walk it in “.  Unfortunately, that one still applies……erm, where was I?   That’s right.  We DO like it up us.  Shit.  That sounds awful.  In common street parlance, let’s ” Break it down “.

Since the departure of our midfield dynamo/enforcer/overall hardnut Paddy Vieira, the general consensus from the opposition & pretty much everyone else is that we can be kicked from pillar to post because our bigger brother isn’t here to protect us, the playground will now be our gateway to hell.  This can also be connected to the other belief I mentioned earlier, regarding our desire to score the perfect goal at all times, opting for the 34-pass special move fatality rather than the ” long ball Hadouken “.  We don’t like ugly, we aim for aesthetically pleasing, but please don’t hamper our style by kicking lumps out of us.  This of course is an embellishment but since 2005, we’ve had a few moments where we have threatened to flirt with success in the PL but in those matches where the opposition realise they can’t match our attacking prowess, they opt instead for the teambus parked in front of goal & flick-knives stowed in their shinpads.

So many occasions we’ve been stifled by negativity, our rapier passages of play blunted by ten men entrenched on the 18yd box, tinhats on, clipping the wings of our flying heroes.  It seems with the departure of Vieira, there was a departure of the mixture of tenacity & skill that Wenger had perfected in his first 8yrs.  We went for blooding youngsters that showed in flashes what they were capable of but were either stunted  by injury ( Diaby we still love you ) or simply left ( Flamini we now forgive you ).  We didn’t have the titan in the centre.  Gilberto was no more also.  We had a period of transition but coupled with our beautiful play we had developed an inherent weakness that had Big Sam rubbing his webbed hands with glee.  A simple battle plan of flood the midfield with cloggers.  We couldn’t hack it & it gave lazy journos & pundits an escape, a go-to if they couldn’t be bothered.  ” Oh, Arsenal dropped points?  That’ll be the pussies in the midfield that will “.

We’ve had a few moments where we’ve thought that the curse had been lifted, where we’ve shown grit & outmuscled the neanderthals, taken the digs dished out, gave out a few in return with interest & shown teeth.  Then we’ve realised that they were milk teeth.  I embellish once more.  I’m more angry with the approach from the opposition to be fair.  We’ve always been able to take the hard knocks, but there aren’t many teams who can break down a small army camped in front of you is there!

The matches Vs Newcastle & Cardiff are the flag-bearers of our new dawn.  Both for different reasons however.  When watching the Toon game, it wasn’t pretty.  Newcastle have a good home record & were confident that they could grab the spoils.  Every challenge was well contested, clear-cut chances at a premium, it could’ve gone either way, my nails can testify to that.  Throw in the hat that City were putting incredible pressure on us &, as has been mentioned a ridiculous amount of times, this was a match that we would have previously crumbled in.  Not this time chum.  Every player, not just Flamini, rolled up their sleeves ( ha ) & went to town, full-blooded & sending out messages across the pitch.  It was a delight to watch. 

The game Vs Cardiff was different as they were more than happy to sit back & play the spongebob approach, by absorbing our attacking intent & playing for the point.  We were patient, we repeatedly spread the play, back to the centre, out wide.  Sticking to the gameplan.  Mind you, when Rozza was introduced, we looked fluid.  I did start to doubt whether we would penetrate the stoic backline but, lo & behold, 2014 Ballon D’or shoe-in Nicky B was the man who rode to our rescue, like a Danish Lancelot.  Both games the challenges were thunderous & well contested but we still picked up the maximum points.  That’s correct.  We’ve shown, not just these two games, but since August, that we can go to the Dark Side.  We can embrace the Dark Arts.  We can mix it & duke it out with the best, we are not an easy touch.  Not just that either, with the hectic games schedule, it would’ve been simple for a few players to shirk the challenges, to cry out that they’re jaded & pick a spot on the warm bench, content to watch others fight & harry. 

The difference, as far as I can surmise, is not just down to brawn.  I mean, it can’t be, as Mikels hair is STILL immovable.  The variable is in the eyes of BFG, Kos, Jack et al.  They’re chasing.  They can sense that we have the makings of something special.  We have a fantastic concoction of players, fitting all bills.  This season we can approach with our usual gusto & swarthyness, triangular-passing etc but then, if that isn’t proving successful we just show them the guns.  The players know we can be triumphant come May.  Throw in the catalysts of Mesut Ozil & a near complete squad & we have a party Ladies & Gents, now who wants a glass of Taboo?