Good morning Insiders, and the Arsenal Roller Coaster might be more predictable today, as I cannot conceive any scenario where we get beat by Wigan. So Ask the Oppo today features Jay T of Cockney Latic Fanzine and I shall try not to remind him of “that defeat” by our kids. Wigan seem to have quite a vocal support, and I for one will be trying to out sing them in the stadium today. So lets dive in…
FTK: How long have you supp
orted Wigan, and do you get to many games?
JayT: I have watched Wigan since my dad took me back in the 1975/76 season and still go to the games, home and away with him. Although I am taking a bit of a sabbatical on away games at the moment due to having a little boy, but I’ll be back on the away trail in the New Year.
FTK: Steve Bruce managed to save your bacon one year ago, you lie with 13 points just outside the drop zone, are you happy with what he’s achieved so far this season?
JayT: We have won two games since we lay just outside the relegation zone, but it does look like it is going to be a battle this season as nobody in the bottom 12 seems to be able to get a string of results together. Regarding how Steve Bruce is doing, up until November we weren’t getting the rub of the green, Very Bad Refereeing decisions has cost us 5-9 points so far this season, but being unbeaten last month has steadied the ship. Bruce is very good and if this team performs how it can, it will give any team in the Prem a game, yes including you boys.
FTK: We hear that Heskey is rumoured to be on the move , What signal does this send to the latics fans who travel the length and breadth of the country supporting the club?
JayT: It Just depends which hype you believe. The press say he’s going, Bruce says they aren’t going to be selling for the £2-3, million that is supposedly the figure the likes of Aston Villa and Liverpool are looking at. Heskey has a contract until next summer, if he stays and helps keep us up, then we gain £30 million, so losing him for nothing wouldn’t be a concern financially. Heskey has got to think that he is wanting to get to the World cup in 18 months and is he going to get the first team starts that he undoubtedly will need to put him in contention for a place somewhere else??
FTK: Dave Whelan recently said: “If he (Steve Bruce) wants to buy somebody, he’ll have to move somebody out because we have a limit and a salary cap to keep, so we’ll see what he wants to do.” Heskey aside, who else might leave the JJB?
JayT: Again it depends who you believe, I met with Steve Bruce yesterday and he doesn’t know how the chairman has been quoted as saying that, as he (Bruce) hasn’t had that conversation with him. In answer to the question though, Wigan’s whole squad is linked with some team or other at some time during the season and so I’d say no-one is safe, although Brucey did tell me that nobody was going to go cheap and the likes of Valencia being rumoured at £7 million to Liverpool when the likes of Bentley (who in my opinion is nowhere near as good as Antonio) goes for £15 million.
FTK: What type of players will Bruce target if he decides to buy? He used to get Arsenal Loanees whilst at Birmingham City, Do you think that he will want some of our Kids?
JayT: Your kids are undoubtedly talented and we also have Wenger to thank for Palacios. I believe though that Bruce is still looking in for more diamonds like Zaki though and that January will probably be a non-event at Wigan
FTK: Sorry but I had to ask this, you’ve already visited and been defeated at the Emirates once this season, how will Bruce set up your side to prevent the same thing happening?
JayT: We had a bad night a couple of weeks ago, probably the second worst game of our season, but as I said earlier, if we perform like we can we will give you a good run for your money. Don’t expect us to play that badly again, because we will be well up for this one, we are unbeaten in 6 in the league now and these boys will be out for a serious slice of revenge cake.
FTK: You have got to be scared about getting a right royal spanking by our first team surely?..lol
FTK: Don’t take it too personally mate, listen I always have a joke at Titus Bramble’s expense, but he seems to have cut out most of his comedy defending lately, or am I wrong?
JayT: Your wrong…… lol. He has at least one moment every game, it is just this season he has had good cover and good luck as well. Please don’t watch the West Brom game, there it was again doh….
FTK: Another possible weak link is Chris Kirkland’s back, is he really that prone to injury or is it just to get pity or what?
JayT: He does have a bad back, but there is a training regime in place now that helps him with the problem. Travelling and over training is what does him, so he generally trains within his limits and keeps very comfortable on the long away games. His ability in goal can’t be questioned by anybody (see West Brom again) and if fit is by far the best England goal keeper (yes even Almunia…lol)
FTK: We’re are looking for a striker, would Amr Zaki be a better player in our team? With the kind of supply from midfield from our Fabregas, some Arsenal fans would give their right arm for a true finisher at the moment. (Before some Gooners shout me down I should just point out that Zaki was selected for the 2008 African Cup of Nations Select XI striker ahead of Didier Drogba. So he has to have potential, and of course his loan spell finishes next July.)
JayT: Zaki is an excellent player, of that there is no doubt. But even though he started like a runaway train, now the cold weather has kicked in he has not played due to niggling strains and the flu, so the answer is I don’t know if he is the sort of player who would fit in at Arsenal, we haven’t seen enough of him yet, but hopefully he will show us this game that he is definitely the answer for you :).
FTK: Another thing, a minority of Gooners want to get rid of Arsene Wenger because he hasn’t won any silverware for four seasons, what is your take on our local difficulties as a latic fan? For you wasn’t the Worthington Cup in 1999 and the Second Division Title in 2002/3 (according to Wiki)
JayT: Wenger, even though he inherited a great team from George Graham, revolutionised what was the boring Arsenal of old, injecting flair and attractive football, I think some Gooners have lost sight of this. Your problems seem to be the lack of cash being made available to him to get the sort of players in that will help you keep up with Utd, Chelsea and Pool. For the record we were Carling Cup finalists in 2005/2006, oh you know about that, winners of the Football League Trophy twice (’85 and ’99), 3rd Division Champs 96/97 and Second Division Champs 2002/2003
FTK: Have your fans ever booed your team and why?
JayT: Yes, because they don’t remember dark rainy Tuesday nights at Oxford.
FTK: Finally what is your prediction for the match today?
JayT: I can’t see us getting anything from Steve Bennett, but if we turn up we’ll win 2-1, if we don’t we’ll lose 3-0.
Thanks for participating in Ask the Oppo and enjoy the game. So there we have it. A good insight into the mind of a supporter whose club has not won anything for six years and despite that they still love their team to bits. i shall be watching closely for any decent gaffs by Titus Bramble, an d if it is really special, then I’ll put it on GoonerTube along with any other titbits. I am glad that the kids spanked this team three nil, even without Heskey. One thing is certain, with Eboue back, we will be more defensively minded, less pace down the flanks, so the Wigan tram will be double parked in front of goal. My prediction is an easy 3-0 to the Arsenal.
C’mon YOU GUNNERS!