NLD Nightmare Ends, Fog Lifts, Arsenal Still Streaks Ahead Of Spurs

wengernew

by JAMES CURTIS – Now I know how Paula Radcliffe felt when she stopped, squatted down, and relieved herself on the side of the road in that famous London marathon. Like Radders, Arsenal had run their course by the final whistle at Spurs last night, dropping out of the title race for another season, mind, body and soul at long last destroyed. And having to watch one filthy Spurs fan wearing a Barcelona kit, giving it the two fingers, placed me firmly in Radcliffe’s gutter-toilet.   

Last week a friend had compared the business end of this season to an aeroplane crashing and burning as it comes in for landing. Indeed, the injury nightmare was like watching Arsenal drop from the heavens, as the tail, nose and wings rattled apart and plummeted earthwards.

In the build up to the North London derby, the ejector seat of our metaphoric plane was the last chance to free ourselves from the ensuing mess. By full time Danny Rose and Gareth Bale had stolen the last parachutes and the ejector seat button was jammed. Right there and then, Arsenal’s season had exploded just before entry. 

To keep up the belief that something magical could come of this season was no more than a tease, which simply goes with watching such an up and down season. Being told by that horrible confederacy of media pundits that Arsenal were in the title race and then out of it made the path Arsenal were treading on an overgrown one to follow. 

Only in hindsight can we see that the season was stretched too far for Arsenal. In truth, Wenger’s team had not been playing well for a while, but the results and late drama kept on coming like a heart attack that just wouldn’t stop. Perhaps asking Arsenal to seal yet another comeback against their most treacherous rivals was all too much, and maybe it was safe they didn’t in case any fans did actually keel over. 

It’s one of the lowest moments I’ve ever felt as an Arsenal fan. On this occasion It was difficult to stick around for the end of the game, although I couldn’t tear my twisted eyes away, probably in hope that one Arsenal fan more pent up than I had the bravery to run on the pitch and stick a corner flag in the ribs of a fat, slimy Spurs ball-boy who bathed in provoking the away section. 

The walk down Seven Sisters High Road was like the long green mile, and the heat of the underground nearly had me fried. The fumes from the car exhausts and the steam from the burger bars increased the throbbing in my temples, and because of the long walk to the tube I just couldn’t get away from the broken-down shit-hole of Tottenham, where the main source of business seemed to be cheap haircuts. 

But that’s just it about football and the city; it’s really one big heat ball where the average man suffers. The derby had been hotly contested and I could see the thin transparent layer of warmth lingering just above the away supporters. The guy next to me was red with anger where his neck burst over the collar of his polo-shirt like a baked muffin, and grew to a fine scarlet when he led a chant of “YOU’RE JUST A FAT ROBERT PIRES” at David Ginola, Spurs’ half-time guest. 

The Arsenal fans had shown great support from start to finish and if only the players could have mustered the same high intense passion for the capitals biggest derby, the outcome might have been different. There were too many shrugs of the shoulders and hanging heads when things were not going to plan, even if the effort was there. 

Sol Campbell’s heroic endeavour couldn’t be traced by the rest of the team who found themselves sprawled out on the grass when really they needed to stand on their feet and do battle. At times I couldn’t tell the difference between the twenty and thirty-somethings, and sadly the introduction of Robin van Persie was too little too late, the underlying story of this enthralling season; enthralling, but all too familiar in its sour culmination. 

The beauty of football though is that it isn’t a marathon, more like a never ending race. Sure, this season looks to be all but finished but in the long history of our national game this is just a checkpoint for Arsenal. Yes, there will need to be assessments and rethinking come the summer and I suspect a few names that were good for the sprint, but not capable of a long distance Arsenal career will be quietly dropping out. 

Sadly for Radcliffe the embarrassment of her public call of nature will always tarnish her, and for the time being last night’s result will haunt all of you. In the long scheme of things however, Arsenal are storming ahead in the race with their loathsome north London rivals who will forever be playing catch-up, and last night I was just glad to leave behind that armpit of English football that we all know as Shite Hart Lane. THE ARSENAL

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  • Essex

    So very sad.

  • Wiggy

    Great words Jimmy..

    Wenger should get the Arsenal team to sit down and re-watch Sol playing.. You would never have believed he played for the Y*ddo’s.. He was immense. I dont subsrcibe to the chest beating, Engerland have it up em brigade, but that man was trying his best to haul them over the finish line.

    The harsh reality of it is, we carry too many players each week.. I said along time ago that a team that plays Denilson and Almunia in the same side, wont win a thing. Add to that a stop start season from Nasri and Diaby, and we should have been out of this weeks ago.

    And then RVP comes on and shows you what class really can do for you… I fear another summer of “he’s got 40 million to spend” and ” I will be taking my cheque book to the WC”.. followed by I” I believe in this team…”

    Oh yes.. and of course.. That classy spanish lot tapping up our captain and the media whipping it to a frenzy..

    Roll on the world cup…

  • Jimmy

    Wiggy, you’re right, this squad has some real carriers. When they are not in the team the rest just can’t step up. They have shown some great moments and they are talented players, but it just isnt enough to win a league right now.

    i get the impression that even if they did win a league they wouldnt retain it. the old arsenal greats have never done it.

    the danger is now having players who dont see much of a future winnign trophies and this is when they leave. we are not far having a champions winning side, and maybe without the injuries we would have but these hinderances do occure and i think wenger needs to bite the bullet and invest when it happens … january!

  • Jimmy

    As for RVP, I almost didn’t give a shit about losing because he was that good. His first touch of the ball was a mid-air cruyff turn of some sort. Made the other 21 players looks Europa League!

  • Stephen

    The worst part of this nightmare is knowing that it has no ending. Next season Wenger will still be there and once again we face tears, disappointment, injuries and failure.

  • Wiggy

    Yep.. He did look the business when he came on. As much as I like his goals, Nic B just doesnt come up to the grade for me.. He looked lost last nite.

    I think Wenger may struggle to hang on to some of the players this year. “Judge me in May” is looking almost as bad a quote as when Pete Best said the Beatles would never get anywhere…

  • Jimmy

    I wont get into the debate that AW needs to go. Without him there is a risj Arsenal could slip out of the top four. He does need to sort it out though and buy some older players. sol is the oldest player but he just knew what needed doing lat night. im all for the youth as barca have shown, but through the middle they have experience.

    even players like edu have proven their worth in the past. somebody like edu would have been useful during this season and its not big money dealing either. edu would not have been shurgged off the ball and its not like there were bad tackles flying in last night, just great strength from the scum, sad to say!

  • Jimmy

    nik can get you those typpe of goals regularly but up front on his own he isnt mobile enough and seems to heavyfooted to lead the defending from the top. for a defender its quite easy to skip round him.

    defending, the midfield looked so weak and tired. what was annoying was we took to hiting the ground and looking for cheap fouls, which the ref never gave all credit to him!

  • SteveP

    Pathetic. Oooh Tottenham is a dump, that really hurts. You must be one of those prawn sandwich eating cnuts that make Arsenal so renowned for it’s atmosphere. Surely there’s no better place to get some peace and quiet than the Emirates on a match day. Idiot.

  • Jimmy

    If you’re interested I have my prawn sandwiches on wheat bread, that’s the best type of bread!

  • SteveP

    Shows your lack of intelligence. Everyone knows rye bread is the best.

  • bertiebloggs

    Lets be fair, it is a dump, so was highbury, thats why we got out, that and the extra few million quid we can get from more seat sales. Which is why my friend you will allways be in our shadow, and always play at that dump. Where I might add the champions league theme has never accompanied that shower of shite onto the pitch, and never will

  • SteveP

    Haha, bitter gooner. Lost against a shadow, shower of shite according to you. Well then Mr all knowing bertie bloggs, what of the team that loses to such a side?

  • Fred Up

    Almunia should have gone 2 season ago along with Denilson, Silvestre, Bendtner and the rubbish physio Colin Lewin. He’s got to fall on the sword for all these muscular and calf problems as well as Gallas breaking down…. The biggest problem for Arsenal now is after 5 years this is a team of losers. That will be almost impossible to resurrect. The club need wholesale changes and it my ultimately require Wenger head before we can more forward.

  • Stratty

    Great goal by Rose, I thought. Anyway, my congratulations for seemingly getting down to the tube safely. I did fear for your safety when the cup-semi rendered the game postponed to mid-week. No two-hour wait in the stadium while the wolves are dispersed!

  • Stratty

    I hope Adebayor winds Ar2ena1 up enough to get them to beat City!

  • bertiebloggs

    Form is temporary, class is permanent – sporting proverb

  • SteveP

    So when does form stop being temporary and start being classified as permanent?

    Is five years of winning nothing temporary?

    Ooh well at least your new stadium is in a nice area. Chelsea and Man UTD in particular felt very much at home. Arsenal and Hospitality go together very well. Thanks for the shambolic defending last night as well. What sporting poverb have you got to describe your defending?

  • jazbo

    What a load of crap comments, we have the worst set of so called fans in europe, so many injuries all season long, down to the bare bones and to put on a show like that against the Spuds first team, you should be fcuking proud of the teams efforts!!!!!!

  • gooner4life

    lets face it…spurs were the better team on the night and though it hurts me to say it, they may well be better than us full stop.

  • harper

    I’ll re-post Arsene’s own words:

    “Sol was one of our better players. He has shown the way to some players. What a winner he is. He showed what you need if you want to win titles. He deserves a lot of credit because he turned up with a real performance.”

    Exactly. The implication being that the other players (at least some of them) don’t have what it takes to win titles.

    Spurs deserved their win.

    But of course we’ll always be better than them. Please. There’s no need to even debate that.

  • Pete The First

    I’m with Wiggy on this one.

    Almunia is pony, has been all season. I reckon he’s cost us 10 goals in total.

    Denilson has perfected the ‘free role’ in midfield. Tracking nobody, not tackling, and marking space.

    Investment needed. Keeper, Central Defender, Central Midfielder (Defensive), Centre Forward. End of

    PS Ignore the Front Wheels they crawl back into the sewer pipes soon.

  • goonamerica

    name another top side who could have gone without a rvp and still been fighting for the title? take rooney out of manu or drogba from chel and tell me they could have done as well as us.

    we were punching above our weight at the end of the season. the writing was on the wall for this one. The question is will rvp get a runout against city and if so what difference will he make if on from the start.

    all you who think afc would be better without aw are nuts. you would deserve the shite you would be served without him. We were fcuked when rvp got clappered back in november for the title. Now through the summer we shall strengthen the squad with our champs league funds. djourou is he gonna be in the frame finally to help at the back? song healthy strong backup all over the pitch.

    Yes we looked feeble last evening and Almunia’s school boy punch with not a spurs player in sight must bring a close to his first team status after this season. And as the game went, then rvp came on and we were in with a shout for a draw. gomez save of rvp free kick was save of the week if not of the season.

    spurs season has finally been made and after 11 years they have finally beat the arsenal again!!!

    Rose’s shot will mean they give him much more chances with this team despite him now being a one shot wonder. those 11 will now be enshrined in the rich history of spurs and be kept around for much longer than they deserve. in my mind this spurs “victory” will guarantee them mediocrity next year as their fans dream of recreating their “master stroke” victory when in fact they are middle of the table.

    frankly we struggled but they were poor and we controlled most the possession yet again. I had said we were up for a blip in the run out of the season and it has happened. But put song, gallas, cesc, ramsay and arshavin on the pitch with rvp last night and tell me it would have been the same result?

  • GoonerBelieve

    calm down lads. one game does not back a season. did i hear someone say spurs might be better than us? calm down. your talking about a team that get done by portsmouth, lose at home to wolves and are 10 points behind us in the table. they may have had their night last night and they my win the odd game but lets keep perspective. we we’re pants last night and aint had a good finish to the season but in terms on money out and players in, we aint done to bad. money will be spent in the summer and the long term project at arsenal continues, over time and seasons we continue to far outperform spurs and that aint gooner change. nifty on spurs not hearing champions league music next season!!

  • Jimmy

    Shoot, you’re right. Note taken, thanks SteveP

  • Jimmy

    getting rid of wenger isnt going to happen. we have never been out of top four with him at the club. he said if it didnt happen this season there would be changes and now some players face losing their position and possibly place at the club. this is what i expect will come of wenger now!

  • Jimmy

    i want us to boss city but at the same time i dnt want spurs getting fourth. id rather ade get it knowing he will probably leave for madrid in the summer, thats the sort of guy he is.

  • Jimmy

    gooner4life are you kidding me, spurs are wank compared to arsenal. they were better than us on the night but as always they will finish below us. this is a team who lost twice to wolves this season. dont be fooled by their shitty cup run either. ramsey would have bossed that game.

  • Jimmy

    i dont think people on here have overlooked the injury problems jazbo. from the fans reaction in the stand the support was right up there for the players even through half time and at the final whistle. but questions do have to be raised as to why it wasnt all adressed more in january when i think we had a chance to sign another forward to go with the addition of sol. 5 years of the same problems will raise questions. it doesnt mean our posters on insider are any less of fans and arsenal have class support, who the fuck ever called them the worse? i dont think spending hundreds to go to barcelona was bad support. dick!

  • Jimmy

    spot on harper. i would have loved to have seen sol play against barca. might have got rinsed but would have been great veiwing for his enthusiams which put most of the team to shame wednesday.

    there was one moment in the game where he went on a run and i swear he lost control on purpose so he could put a 5050 tackle in on their midfeilder. go on sol

  • Jimmy

    let’s get us some spine pete. one other important summer move will be keeping cesc fully focused on winning arsenal a trophy next season.

  • Jimmy

    exactl goonerb. i fucking hate spurs for the fact that are lowlife compared to the arsenal. fuck spurs and their one of victory!

    somebody posted on here the other day, maybe it was berg10 or db10, all the figures for transfers, money in an out etc… spurs had spent a silly amout compared to arsenal and so had all the other managers. id like you to find a manager who has spent less than wenger and been more successful.

    my point is, you cant get rid of him becaue nobody has proven to do a better job without spending less. liverpool, spurs, villa, madrid, im bored already. the only credible manager in the prem is avram grant! in europe im looking at steve mclaren, laurent blanc and ranieri. them over wenger? if not who do you propose to handle such a big stadium and big club. BIGGER THAN THE WANKY TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR !!!

  • TJ14

    Too many fans are thinking short term and that is where the ‘spend millions and f*ck the youth development’ brigade are at their most vociferous.

    It is no consolation now, I am sure, but I think we do need to look at the bigger scheme of things. I think most sensible fans can see we are not far away from where we need to be in terms of winning trophies. AW has to put this right. I know he is a stubborn man, but he is not a stupid one. He needs to see where we have weaknesses and rectify them this summer.

    Every fan has an opinion on who we should buy and who we should get rid of and this varies greatly, from people wanting rid of Cesc to people wanting rid of Eduardo. But there are some common themes among pundits and fans alike and you would expect these to be the areas that AW will strengthen.

    Off the pitch, we are getting in a position of great strength financially and our business model is very good. This is where fans need to realise what a good position AW and the board have put us into. There are going to be penalties, punishments and the like in the near future to teams who live beyond their means and when these rules come in, we will not have to adjust at all. Other clubs will need to drastically change their models and you may see them struggle to do this. The likes of Chelsea, United and Liverpool.

    So in the period of us stabilising our finances, we have continued to watch top level European Football, been to Champs League Finals and Semi Finals, been to FA Cup Semi Finals, League Cup Semis and Finals. Yes we have fallen short and yes in some games been outmuscled, but in this time our financial situation has improved drastically, our team average age has come down drastically and our team will improve year on year, with the right additions also.

    Other teams are getting older and more in debt.

    I think the bigger picture tells us that all is not as bad as some people make out.

  • TJ14

    Just a small point to add on the Sp*rs game also. People talk about the inuries, but I think it is more the mentality of the players who were out that we missed.

    Cesc, Song, Arshavin, Gallas, RvP, Vermaelen after 20 mins. These are the players who have the same mentality as Sol. And they were all missing. The players who played against Sp*rs don’t yet have that mentality and to be honest, some may never have it. But when you mix a few of those players in with the 6 players we have who do have it, you see a completely different team. The problem we have is when 8 or 9 of our team are not the strongest mentally. This is another issue that needs to be addressed by AW. But you don’t expect to have ALL your leaders out at the same time.

  • timao

    watching TV pull up in the first half made my heart sink. i knew right then and there that our challenge was over. i don’t think anyone on the planet bar Arsene Wenger knows why we don’t have better defensive options.

  • John in Norfolk

    Please don’t include Arshavin in the same list as Cesc, Song, Gallas etc. His attitude stinks. He has not managed to get himself properly fit since he’s been at the club, if Vermaelen was the best value for money signing Arshavin has been the worst.

    I for one wouldn’t be sorry to see him on his bike during the summer. An offer of £15/£18 million should be snapped up.

  • TJ14

    JIN, I was only comparing them as leaders of the team. you may notlike him, but Arshavin is a leader of the team. He doesn’t show it every game, but he is one of them. Like it or not. Yes his attitude stinks sometimes.

  • TJ14

    timao, we were down to our 5th anf 6th choice centre backs. How many more options do you want??

  • grenada gooner

    [quote name=SteveP]So when does form stop being temporary and start being classified as permanent?

    Is five years of winning nothing temporary?

    Ooh well at least your new stadium is in a nice area. Chelsea and Man UTD in particular felt very much at home. Arsenal and Hospitality go together very well. Thanks for the shambolic defending last night as well. What sporting poverb have you got to describe your defending?[/quote]when did spurs last win the league ?? 5 years ago? only in their dreams!

  • Berg10

    That’s a common sense reply Jimmy on AW ,
    I think he’s been let down by some of the players this season but is so infuriatingly forgiving, something I hope he’ll change next season.

  • Berg10

    Gooner

    That’s too far mate, time to choose your shirt colour.

  • TJ14

    gooner4life. We lost to Spurs. Did they play better football? Not all. Did they have more chances? Not at all. Is Peter Crouch a striker that you would like to see at a club you support? Not at all. Remember they have bought heavily to put their squad together. How many of their players would you take to Arsenal?

  • Jimmy

    you’re right tj about the mentality. in some ways the mentality is great based on how many late minute goals we have scored, but maybe this is becaue we are always chasing games.

    at the time is was easy to think of arsenal as strong believers with a never say die attitude but to many time we had to chase games.

    against spurs, when we needed to compete, we began looking for the easy option by hiting the deck to often and looking for the refs sympathym which rightly didnt wash. the better attitude would have been to battle for the 50s more.

  • Jimmy

    arshavin has scored some important goals this season. he never seems to ruin the way we play, just doesnt get involved in it as much. he needs to make his presence better felt. other than that he adds to our better performances, unlike ade who used to ruin them with bad touches and running offside all the time! i wouldnt sell arshavin!

  • Jimmy

    im looking forward to djorou next season. he was class in pre season. get another good season out of willy g, verms can only get better and add to the squad with one more cb if we keep sol.

  • TJ14

    As you know Jimmy, I missed the game on Wednesday. :-). Have managed to see the game from when RvP came on and we looked like we played really well.

    I think the mentality is right when we have a mix of the strong mental players (Willy G, TV, Cesc, RvP, Song and to a certain extent Clichy also) and the ones who maybe aren’t that way at the moment. That is when we have looked at our best and rescued games late on.

    I can’t wait for next season now. Lets hope it is our season for luck on the injury front. No big players out for months on end. Fingers crossed.

  • TJ14

    Djourrou alongside TV5 could be a perfect combination.

    We need a decent GK. I pray to God that AW now realises Almunia is not good enough. These GK’s are better in the Prem in my opinion.

    Cech
    Van Der Saar
    Reina
    Given
    Gomes
    Sorenson
    Hart
    Kirkland
    Schwarzer
    Howard
    Jasskaleinnen
    Green
    James
    Foster
    Robinson
    Friedel
    Gordon

    I would take any of those ahead of Almunia. People can point to the performance against Barca and penalty saves against West Ham etc, but it is not enough. I lost count of the amount of ‘First’ Goals that were down to his error. This then sets the tone for the game and deflates the outfield players.