Welcome to TGIF, on this Good Friday. What a week this has been for the Goonersphere. The disappointment of the Birmingham game much due in part because of the inept performance by referee Howard Webb, was going to be eclipsed by the arrival of the Catalans. Sporting their fluorescent yellow kit, they gave Arsenal a master class in possession in the first half hour. The pass and move was how Arsenal used to play. The difference between us and them, we never looked like getting the ball back once we lost possession. We chased shadows, and looked lost, but as they say football is a game of two halves. if only Arshavin has remembered this saying… never mind.
Without doubt the big talking point is the loss of our Captain Cesc Fabregas for the season following the confirmation that he has broken his leg. He will be out for 6 weeks and will return for the world cup. I sincerely hope that this has not been the last game played for Arsenal, and that he takes heart from the fact that in the last ten minutes, the pace of Walcott really troubled Barcelona. The penalty was justice. I recall the mixed emotions of Paris 2006, where I was angered by the play acting of the Barca players. Yes, I was there in the Stade de France, watching these Catalan players dive and feign injury to try and get Arsenal players booked. I remember thinking that Thierry Henry could not possibly want to join a team that had cheated their way to the Champions League title. Four years on, despite a different coach, the mentality remains the same. The Barcelona players do not have to rely on simulation, and really it disappoints me that they had to resort to those tactics. From the sublime to the ridiculous really. Lets hope that Cesc Fabregas is similarly angered by their reliance on gamesmanship, and refuses to heed the call to the Camp Nou.
Wednesday also saw the ninth anniversary of David Rocky Roecastle’s death from Lymphoma, and it was good that at half time the pa announcer paid tribute to our Rocky, who will never be forgotten. R.I.P Rocky!
Perhaps one issue which will trouble many Gooners is what could we have achieved these last two seasons had Arsene Wenger strengthened the squad by buying Given as the Keeper, and a proven goal scorer. Getting Chamakh on a free transfer is scant consolation for the 30 million pounds that might have enabled us to maintain our unbeaten run last season, up until the Fulham game that is. This season, the loss of van Persie has hurt us, and Almunia’s inconsistency was predictable. I do believe that Arsene Wenger’s tenure at Arsenal will be harmed if he fails to win something this season. Will he stand accused of arrogance for refusing to buy players? Only time will tell.
What superb delights were served up to Insiders. The Henry Norris hour, the interview by JimC with Roahn Balir-Mangat, the maker of the YouTube film a “Night at the Emirates”.This week saw the launch of Arsenalinsider’s first podcast. Eldo’s delivery started slowly, but gathered momentum. He bemoaned the fact that Club Level can have alcohol on European Nights, whereas the ordinary fans are denied a “gargle” Impressions of Phil “Orange” Brown. Arsenalinsider continues to go from strength to strength.
“Cesc did not play with a broken leg”
Now I will accuse Arsene Wenger of many things, but forcing a player to play with a broken leg? You are seriously having a laugh if you believe that pile of elephant poo. If anything, he is too cautious. Look at the absences of Gallas, Bendtner and van Persie. It is utter nonsense to peddle such untruths and Le Boss roundly denied these allegations at his pre Wolves press conference which I have summarised below.
Arsene Press Conference – Pre Wolves.
“Bad news for us, to lose a player of his stature (the loss of Fabs)
We want to focus on our targets
His leg was broken after the tackle by Puyol
Two Independent Doctors who confirm that the bone was bruised.
Fabs is down, He was kicked during the game against Birmingham, and there was a bruised bone after Birmingham, but not broken.
He didn’t practice after the Birmingham game.
The morning fitness test was positive.
Medically he was given the all clear. I am a hundred percent confident that the medical opinion was correct. We have no doubt about that. If he had said no, I feel pain, I would have not played him. At some stage we have to trust the player.
He was not in pain
I would never force anybody to play, We didn’t inject him.
Fabregas will be fit for the world cup, it is a small split in the bone, it will take 4 to 6 weeks maximum to heal.
Arshavin is out for 21 days with a calf strain, he should be available for the Manchester City game.
Gallas is out for five weeks with a calf injury. It was a mistake to play him. It does not mean that he has played his last game for Arsenal, despite the fact he is out of contract. He could be back.
Denilson and Clichy are both fit and included in the squad.
Sol Campbell will be available. Song has all the attributes to play centre back. We were concerned about Sol’s muscular problem.
He wants to get van Persie back as soon as possible which was always the plan.
He will rotate players to provide fresh legs.
The big game tomorrow will only count if we win our own game. Wolves are on a good run, and no-one can just turn up and take them for granted. If we win our game, we will catch up at least one team. If there is a draw then we will catch up both teams. The fact remains we cannot afford to drop points now.
Rooney’s loss will affect Man Utd, but they will continue to fight for the title.
The Big Clubs have large squads Manchester and Chelsea have major players missing.
Theo Walcott has a good chance of starting tomorrow. These games are won with squads, we have enough strength and character in the squad, but we have lost more players and the targets are even higher.
I am proud of the mental strength displayed by my team. I would loved to have played 10 more minutes at the end of the Barcelona game, we played against a fantastic team on Wednesday,”
Well surely no-one who saw the fight back by the Gunners against the ten men of Barcelona, will begrudge me giving it yet again to Manuel Almunia. Having castigated the player over this season. Let me say this, without his saves in the first half. We would have been dead and buried and the quarter-final would have been over. If only he could add consistency to his game and stop auditioning for the stand in for David James of Pompey!
Finger goes to REFEREES in general. Howard the tosser Webb for his performance at St Andrews and the Swiss moron who presided over the game against Barcelona. When will the authorities realize that they need the help of video technology and also increase the powers of the fourth official who should be able to give the ref a red card if he is clearly making a mess of things. FFS… SORT IT OUT SOMEONE!
Well we are still in the title race thanks to who?
Your guess is as good as mine. Bayern Munich? For crocking the Rooney? Or will it be Blackburn Rovers for getting a draw against the Chav Russian tarts. Please hope that tomorrow we have a drawn game between these two, then I will give thanks to those aliens who were exclusively revealed by Erich von Daniken to have established the game in 1175 as confirmed by this excerpt from Wiki Answers…
“The first record of a sport similar to football in the territories Britons comes from the book Descriptio Nobilissimae Civitatis Londinae of William Fitztephe in 1175. The book cites a game (similar to soul) during Schrovetide (sort of Shrove Tuesday) in which the inhabitants of the English cities took to the streets kicking a leather ball to commemorate the expulsion of the Danes. The ball symbolized the head of an attacker.
For a long time football was merely a celebration for the British. Slowly the sport has become increasingly popular. So much so that the sixteenth century, the violence of the game was so great that the writer Philip Stubbes once wrote: “A barbarous game, which only encourages anger, enmity, hatred, malice, resentment.” Which was true, it was common for there to be broken legs, torn clothes or teeth pulled. There was even news of fatal accidents, such as a player who drowned after jumping from a bridge to catch the ball. There were also many murders because of rivalry between teams. Therefore, it became known as mass football or mob football.”
Well nothing much has changed since 1175 has it?
Until next week Insiders. Keep the FAITH, and KEEP it ARSENAL!