Hello and welcome this week’s round-up.
The Arsenal community got their glad rags on to attend the Arsenal Foundation Ball this week. The ‘British Core’ were enjoying their weekly vogue and looking like sharp, even Alec Oxlade-Chamberlain who clearly misread the dress code and went as an ‘80s radio DJ. The players weren’t shy about flashing their respective fortunes and raised a lot of cash for some worthy charities. Jack Wilshere spent £5,000 on a signed invicibles shirt while Theo Walcott and Aaron Ramsey are said to be looking for two more people to pay £250 each for a round of golf in Gleneagles. Arsene Wenger donated £25,000 of “his own money” but nobody likes a show off. Who else’s money was he going to donate? The Black-tie/Jimmy-Savile-suit event also marked an important night for Liam Brady, Martin Keown, Robert Pires and Bob Wilson who were announced as ambassadors of The Arsenal Foundation.
A huge step was taken on Tuesday in the race for Champions’ League football. A convincing win against Wigan has taken us above our neighbours and left us with a hope of stealing third for automatic qualification. It was obvious how this game would play out, in hindsight. We were too good for them but they were fighting for their lives. We went one up in the first half, as we do, and then the fight-back came. Their equaliser was soon followed by the save that reminded everyone of the script and the Arsenal boys went to work. Wigan were never going to last having emptied their tanks in their cup triumph while we’d spent the best part of the week in bed. The levy broke and it finished 4-1. A somewhat paradoxical situation now has arisen for the optimistic Arsenal fan. While having full faith in David Moyes’ inevitable failure at his new job, we know that Moyes is the man to get one last performance from his team and get a result on Sunday.
Newcastle away will be the last game in what has been a roller-coaster season. Mikel Arteta is a doubt for the game having limped out of the last match with a calf problem. There has been some debate about who or what has been the catalyst to our current form and we’re all hoping that we’re not about to find out. On the plus side, Newcastle have won one game in their last six and that was against an already relegated and hilariously dismal QPR. They have won twice in their last ten. They won’t have notorious hardnut Joey Barton to bully our strikers this season, which will settle a lot of nerves among the players. With their minds already on crushing grapes in their bare feet, wearing and/or eating garlic, frogs legs, and sailing a boat down any river in France to suit this horribly offencive generalisation, our superior ability and sheer determination should be enough. It will be enough. No alarms and no surprises please.
The Europa League final was played last night and although the better team didn’t prosper in the end, it was a decent enough game and a good advertisement for matches of this kind. It certainly opened my eyes and I will now watch at the Championship Play-off final with a more open mind.
Jack Wilshere will have a pin removed from his ankle in surgery which will keep him out of his country’s international frendlies against Brazil and Ireland. Wilshere will be disappointed to miss the opportunity to test his skills against the likes of Neymar and Glen Whelan but this most miniature of procedures must go ahead. “Small, small, small” was how the manager allayed any fears of another setback. Jack is hoped to be back for pre-season and the Emirates Cup in August when he can begin his effort to battle his way back into the starting eleven.
And finally, this is a big week in the Arsenal calendar with the anniversary of the birth of the one true deity and of course the ninth anniversary of The Invincibles lifting the Premier League title in their unrivalled feat of magnificence. Celebrations may be cut short, however, as allegations emerging from one well known supporters’ club claim that Silent Stan Kroenke arranged for Bergkamp’s birthday to coincide with fans’ membership renewals. We’ll bring you more on this as it unfolds.
That’s all for this week, thanks for reading.
Up the Arsenal!