This why we love Arsene and the Arsenal...

Football? It’s just a game. Form is temporary and class is permanent. To see just why Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal are a class apart from any other football club on the planet you must read Henry Winter’s piece in the Telegraph today. He writes of the Arsenal’s community team giving support to kids with cancer in Chernobyl — read it and you’ll know why you love the Arsenal. Here are the first few paragraphs.
On the outskirts of Chernobyl, in a town called Chernigov, stands a children’s cancer hospital. Every night inside the Revival Centre, patients offer up thanks to Arsenal Football Club, who have brought funds and hope to a blighted region. With 2,000 treated last year, many children now survive. Some don’t. The last request of a 15-year-old terminally ill girl was that she be buried in her beloved Arsenal top.
Arsčne Wenger admits to feeling “humbled” by the work of Arsenal’s dynamic community department in places as far afield as Chernobyl as well as in their Islington backyard. The manager assiduously supports such acts of benevolence as those involved with the Revival Centre readily testify. “When I discovered how sick these children were in Chernigov, I wrote to all the Premier League managers,” explained George Mills, a charismatic Londoner who has dedicated his life to helping the victims of Chernobyl. “Arsčne was the only one who replied.”
Wenger put Mills in touch with Alan Sefton, the energetic head of Arsenal in the Community. “Arsenal gave me van loads of kit, books and boots to take out,” continued Mills. “And then they began sending coaches out to train kids and local people.” Money and medical equipment followed.
“It has been a miracle. We now have seven buildings and 127 staff in the Revival Centre. When we go there, everybody in the town shouts ‘Arsenal, Arsenal’. When everybody else seemed to have forgotten them, this famous English club came to them – and saved lives.”
I know.
To the tabloids and another day, another talking head rolled out by the Arsenal to trumpet 25 years of helping the community and in the Sun today they have Gael Clichy holding court ahead of the game at Stoke. The Current Bun reports that after cutting an 11-point deficit, Clichy, who spent 10 weeks out with a back problem earlier this season, believes silverware remains within Arsenal’s grasp.
He said: “I was on the sidelines when we were 11 points off the top. It was difficult because you can see what is not going right from the stands. You can’t do anything and you see your friends on the pitch struggling. When you find yourself 11 points behind, you ask yourself ‘Are we capable of doing it?’
“But we kept confidence high and a few weeks later were back in the title race. That shows the character here. Now we want to prove Arsenal can win something this season. People said we weren’t good enough when we played Manchester United and then lost against Chelsea. But it’s realistic to think about the title. Every team is dropping points. You can’t give up as one week there can be a U-turn and you can be top. It’s going to be difficult but we have the players and the quality to do it.”
As for his own performances, Clichy admits he can perform better (well, he can’t perform any worse!). He said: “I hope I will get my best form back. I know I need to be more consistent. When you play Manchester United and you make two mistakes you find yourself 2-0 behind. It was the same at Porto, the same at Chelsea.” He added: “We’ve played good football for five years and we know we are a real side. But we know the fans like to see a team winning things.”
In the Mirror AW admits he is deeply jealous of Rory Delap’s long throw-ins. He said: “The real question is do you deduct the time it takes to clean the ball or not? It could be a good advert for a cleaning company! Delap is dangerous through his throw-ins because they are horizontal, you have no time to get to the ball, it comes like an arrow, it comes flat and it’s so difficult to defend against.
“Of course I would use it, why not? I can understand completely why Stoke use the throw in. But unfortunately Delap is the only one who has a throw like that. Stoke are good on set pieces in general but the problem with Delap is that any throw inside our half is as good as a corner.”
AW also paid tribute to rival boss Pulis. “They have technically improved a lot. They are well organised, they defend well and in an intelligent way and they don’t concede many chances or many goals.”
Right off to Stoke…COYG!

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