A game every few days for our boys at the moment and with injuries coming as thick and fast as actors on the set of a grumble flick it has been a testing time. Has been and looks set to continue to be. Just when you think it’s safe to contemplate the future the dreaded international blight looms on the horizon and prepares to sink it’s teeth into whatever unspoiled flesh is left in our ravaged squad. How to cope with the situation? My approach to this and indeed to life in general is to adopt a kind of dark optimism. The thought process runs along these lines – ‘life will always serve up more than it’s fair share of shit sandwiches for us and so we had just as well celebrate every small mercy that actually does, or may possibly, come our way’. So it is in that spirit I’m going to celebrate the news that Theo’s gut wrench will not keep him out for long but will at least keep him out long enough to escape Roy’s clutches. The other sliver of silver I’m squinting to focus on is that if we somehow manage to continue to field an eleven of sufficient strength to keep our noses in front or at least on the shoulder of the leaders then the return of the wounded could come at precisely the right moment. I’m going out onto a pretty narrow and less than robust limb here but just stay with me.
Imagine the scenario where in a couple of months time our depleted but doughty first eleven are still in contention but by now are carrying minor niggles, getting seriously tired and starting to flag; battling to see out their games. Then picture the necessary shot in the arm of their wounded comrades returning to the fray, like the cavalry coming over the hill just in time to inject the needed energy back into our title challenge. Thin? Hopeful? Even myopically optimistic? Well, perhaps a little. It’s akin to a blindfolded tightrope walker walking a succession of ropes and not knowing if his support team have finished putting the next one up. If everything comes together just right it’ll be a stroll, a walk in the park albeit a highly skilled superbly trained walk in a park full of hungry predators. If not he’ll fall off the end.
Oh by the by, before I stray into the dense forest of metaphor overload, or at least before I wander farther into it, I ought to mention that so impressed were you with last week and my attempt to write a blog whilst simultaneously watching Arsenal’s calm demolition of Olympic Marseilles that I’m having another stab at it this evening. As we speak our brave lads are striding out onto the pitch at one of the country’s great historic football grounds. Unlike us, Albion have been at their home for well over a century and although much reduced since sixty thousand watched them take on Arsenal in the FA Cup back in the thirties the Hawthorns is still one of those grounds that provides a link in the chain of nostalgia joining this evening’s game with my childhood football memories. The soil in which the seed of footy mania was so deeply planted was well watered with the names of Jeff Astle, Brendan Batson, Willie Johnston, Brian Robson and Laurie Cunningham. I’ve never wished the Baggies any harm, but I hope they fail tonight. They’ve started brightly enough but a typical Arsenal diddly-cup line up blending youth with experienced players returning from the crock shop ought to have enough to dampen their enthusiasm.
Returning if I may to my earlier theme and looking at the back six tonight I can’t help but wonder if our improved ability to cope with this latest injury crisis might not be down to one simple break with history. In the past we have been hit with a concatenation of injuries to players skilled in similar positional rôles. Remember when there were no healthy fullbacks in the entire club? When all the centre backs were out at once? This time around the defence has remained pretty well in one piece or at least with sufficient healthy cover to cope with the odd setback. This is so important. A bedrock on which the midfield and attack can flourish, no matter how raggedy assed they may sometimes appear, with the occasional youth team player thrust in to plug a sudden unexpected gap. Not, you understand, that I disparage last weekend’s performance of the jugendlich Herr Gnabry. I thought the lad grew into his first team shirt against Stoke with a strength and maturity that belied his tender years. It just isn’t ideal to be so reduced as to have to depend on such inexperience, but then we’ve always been cursed with ill luck where injuries are concerned and must strive to overcome regardless.
Fifteen minutes have elapsed and the game is pretty evenly balanced. Both sides looking to attack and our youngsters not overawed at all at their elevation to the first eleven. Hayden is particularly cool on the ball and strong in the tackle and with Per and Mikel out there they have more than enough experience around them to weather the Albion’s early pressure and get their passing game going. I’m very excited to see Ryo motoring down the wing and Eisfeld is a fantastic prospect. Also I like the way Jenks hugs the touchline. He is so disciplined and really stretches the opposition but when it comes to forward players all eyes are of course on Big Nic.
This is a subject out of which I have stayed ever since provoking some truly silly reactions on twitter a while back. When it became obvious that Arsene’s attempts to sign an understudy for Olivier Goal A Game Giroud were likely to be frustrated, Nic had to forgoe his own move, dust off the red and white and give of his best for the team. Given that he would therefore remain an Arsenal player all I dared to suggest was that we as supporters must drop the feeble name calling that had become sadly fashionable and support him as we ought any player who pulls on the shirt. The most popular reaction was that people might grudgingly consider being oh so kind as to grant him some semblance of non committal approval if and only if he earned it. If in some way he was able to prove to these super important ultra fans that he was in fact worthy of the enormous honour of their backing then they might not boo him. What a bunch of sanctimonious self important half baked non supporters they really are. The idea that they might simply get behind all of our players without any reservation because, whatever their private thoughts, that would be for the benefit of the team they purport to follow seemed a thought too far for them.
Needless to say here at PA we support Arsenal players because we support Arsenal. Life is so simple when you remove your own pathetic fragile ego from the equation isn’t it? Thirty four minutes gone and Isaac and Nacho have both been booked, the tackles starting to fly in. As might be expected West Brom are giving it their all. At home, in the only competition they have a realistic hope of winning against a somewhat disjointed Arsenal side who as yet have shown in flashes but failed to gel. I need to stop writing and watch this, sorry. It’s getting too tense, too difficult to look two ways at once. Marseilles was a doddle compared to this one. This has the look and feel of one of those old cup ties from the seventies. Lots of huff puff and heavy sliding tackles but little cohesive skill. I shall come back to you a little later.
Well it’s more than a little later. In fact it’s bloody hours later. Kelly will be waking up soon at this rate. It went to penalties in the end. You probably know the outcome. I don’t like penalties. I don’t think they add anything to the spectacle, and would actually prefer a coin toss. It would have a certain neat symmetrical bookend effect with the coin toss with which the match began. Also the damage it can do to a young player’s confidence should he fail to score is out of all proportion to his error. Not only that but it’s extremely unfair as missing a penalty isn’t really a mistake. It is such an entirely different skill that if we must have them there should be specialists wheeled out to take them. Like in biblical times where armies would send out individual champions to duke it out in lieu of a major battle thus sparing a lot of unnecessary bloodshed. As far as tonight’s entertainment is concerned I was glad to see returning players getting the game time they desperately needed, especially Big Nic who is obviously lacking match fitness, sorry to see Mikel Arteta limp out of the match and happy to see the kids get valuable experience. That’s all you can say really. Apart that is from how utterly delicious it was to hear the devastated disappointment in the voice of the Sky apparatchik when the final result was, at long long last, achieved.
You did a bit of patronising yourself Hunter.
har har…. 🙂 only a little bit….. lol… and always in good spirits and without telling anyone to shut the fuck up or that im pissing on doorsteps….. but with stats in order to clarify the misunderstanding….
We didn’t win anything for the first 44 years! – Not that anyone on here was around to see it. (just about for some!).
oh thank you very much…..but its ok ..i know a few who were there to see the class though …and have travelled in time to 2013 to correct my perceptions .. 🙂
1st one year and 12th the next ?
I think I could live with the excitement
I have absolutely no idea why Arsenal were so shit in the sixties. I must read more about this on Untold myself.
The double in ’71 led to a period of rebuilding, then a good run at the end of the 70′s.
Again – back to abject mediocrity in the early-to-mid 80′s coincided with some of the best players leaving for bigger clubs.
because we were big…huge..gigantic..titans of the game…always …traditionally…since our existence..big and powerful.
thats what im told anyway…
Mel @ 2:19pm
Even more entertaining was the conversation with the resident pundit (no idea who) after the “highlights”, which consisted entirely of “here’s what I was going to say if Arsenal had lost”.
The habitually poor returns in Europe (pre-Wenger era) have always vexed me too Hunter.
Unlike our continental cousins, British teams were not interested in even entering the competitions until the early 60’s.
Then it was Fairs, Cup Winners or UEFA Cups mostly – Arsenal didn’t many chances to enter the European cup, as only the national winner was eligible and even then it was down to the luck of the draw. We were on a decent roll with those secondary Cups.
And thanks to some collective insanity in Football, which some Arsenal fans were a minor but active part of, English teams got themselves banned for years, and just when Arsenal were coming good again under GG.
Anyway, there is a list of some reasons for the dearth of success in Europe – but look at how many of the once might in Europe have fallen, it only needs one bad manger and a very bad bunch of owners to destroy a club. Luckily Arsenal have had no serious problems on that account for the last few decades. That stability has been part of how we have grown to where we are today.
Benfica ahead of Arsenal on coefficient points?
How the fuck does that happen?
I’ve always felt that UEFA are a bit too generous in divvying out points for the UEFA Cup League and the clubs get extra points if they have a good national side, which obviously Portugal are.
It’s one reason to hope Jack & Theo help the hopeless wRoy and England do better.
well to be fair i am not talking about success in europe…..im talking about having the required structure and mindframe/attitude as an organisation/club/team to always strive for the top…..domestically or abroad.
Benfica ahead of Arsenal on coefficient points?
i think they reached the final in the europen competition of the europa league…
The well known European heavy weights have been around for donkeys years, and are virtually guaranteed entry to the top table year-on-year because of their domestic dominance.
(to repeat the same discussion….)
Arsenal play in one of the most ultra competitive leagues, and even as far aback as the 60’s and 70’s there was always Liverpool and United. Then there was Forest and Villa when they had good managers. and now we have the whores joining the party.
Hunter, no one here is seriously denying that Arsene Wenger hasn’t made us into a European Super Club – he has, we all know it.
double canister September 26, 2013 at 5:39 pm
no one here is seriously denying that Arsene Wenger hasn’t made us into a European Super Club – he has, we all know it
I know dude …but that paragraph of yours after the brackets carries all the juice…the juice being ..that there is a misinterpratation in some bloggers and fans mind of what constitutes ” BIG” club…thats all….
in my eyes the big clubs are the ones with 2-3 or more european trophies….if you aint got them you cant talk about being big…. im not disrespecting anything…
Shows how the luck of the draw can work.
I can’t remember when Arsenal had a reasonable drawn in the last 16.
oh, I’ll look it up.
Useless in a table quiz, that’s me.
That’s the reason the micky mousers still consider themselves to be ‘bigger’ than Arsenal.
To my mind, this year Munich, Real, Barca and the rest would be shitting themselves if the got drawn against us., and we are only going to get stronger , year on year with our Manager and Board.
“The well known European heavy weights have been around for donkeys years, and are virtually guaranteed entry to the top table year-on-year because of their domestic dominance.”
I know DC -it pisses me right off trailing in behind the Manchester twosome and bloody Chelsea year after year
Still we are top today – who knows eh !
and my aim is at those mugs in other blogs who keep harping on wenger taking the club backwards while using the words ” we were big before him..” …just thought i’d get that out of the way before people here think im targeting them…thats not the case.
I never said you were.
I said well known. :0
Who the hell are City and Chavski? – they ain’t got no history.
And Moyes will be sitting in the corner table, the one beside the toilets for a while.
double canister September 26, 2013 at 5:52 pm
well…they’ve got 5 european big ones plus 3 uefa titles..they may not be a protagonist lately and in the last 20 years or so but they have hit a period where the whole world would know them….
our such period is with wenger and we havent even won the damn thing…. lol….
i.e we are mentioned in the same class./category/company as clubs who have won it or left their mark in world football…romes werent build in a day…thats cause we were never a rome before….(???)
Well to be fair DC Citeh have lots and lots of history – not much of it as a successful football club and with the longest suffering fans in world football ( after Spuds) admittedly
I cannot begrudge them their spot in the sun
Brief as I suspect it will be
as was commented before “The deeper the foundations the stronger the fortress”.
Yes and it is entirely to Wenger’s credit, and the board’s too, that you quite righty point-out that nowadays Arsenal are considered to be one of the European Heavyweights, despite never winning the Big Kahuna.
I get what your saying Hunter, I just don’t buy into it 100%.
Merlot,think that was Steve Claridge mate-another 1 of the BBC numnuts,whoever is hiring these fellas should have a word with himself-Gary Neville & Adrian Clarke have proved there are ex-players who can do the job justice. (Climbs of soapbox!)
I have a question for you. Where did you hear or read that AW requested the transfer of DB to the club , a year before he himself was brought in, through his negotiations with DD. ? are these reliable sources that you know of and trust??
Urban myth Kam
Kevin Kilbane and Danny Mills (believe it or not) are quite good too.
As far as I have read, and journos can be bullshitters:
Is that after missing out on signing up Wenger the first time, Dein bought Bergkamp as an inducement for Wenger to come back when Rioch was gone.
Dein and PHW met Wenger several times before they agreed that he should become the next Arsenal manager, what they said at those meetings and who they thought would be good new players can only be speculated.
We bought Viera on Wenger’s advice, apparently before Wenger’s own contract was signed.
but as PG says, it could all be an urban myth.
Thanks you guys. Maybe it will be clarified in AW ‘s book. Few years from now.
One thing has to be said about Dein. I know he did many nasty and manipulating things to the club, he and his son , but damn he was good for us earlier in his position with the club. We should have some one as influential and connected in the primer league upper echelons and the uefa to and the board of strongest clubs assembly.
If Bendtner can get back to the form he was in at the last Euros, he’ll have an amazing season at Arsenal.
There is an irony here that you have missed.
We set up this site to get away from people slagging off the club.
You are pissing people off ,whether that is your intention or not,please stop it.
Hunter’s treatise is that Arsenal before 1996 is not as good as Arsenal since 1996.
I can understand how and why he thinks that way, and there is a kind of validity to what he thinks, but you are right.
As a discussion, it’s a dead end.
Dein and his devilish spawn qualify for the recommendation they are better kept in the tent and pissing out ……
Dein Jnr would sell the tent, the carpets and the drapes.
Did you get a chance to chat with Özil last night on twitter?
Silent Stan: Wenger stays and Özil just the start. – Telegraph
So much for the end of Arsene’s era !
Oh dear,there will be some disappointed expert fans and bloggers.
That was mentioned in:
Arsenal: The Making of a Modern Superclub by Alex Fynn and Kevin Whichter
DC,I agree with you on Kilblane but I have never heard Danny Mills say one complimentary thing about Arsenal,maybe he’s still got the hump over that Thierry thing by the corner flag at highbury, it’s nice he finally got out of his pocket though!
you mean to tell me those speculating , nay predicting, an end to an era will have to wolf down some more humble pie? How wrong and misguided can they be. That humble pie consumption is going to rake havoc with their digestive systems.
But are they man enough to admit they were wrong. They haven’t been man enough for years when they were wrong ,why start now.
Silant STAN isn’t silent after all, is he?? He only opens his mouth to support the efforts of his management team on strategic occasions. All other times he stays out and lets the experts carry on with their jobs. He doesn’t meddle in the day to day operations of the organizations. As any great owner should act. I say again, we are lucky to have him on board with the PROJECT.
John Cross tweet
“Bang on. Claim he doesn’t talk, get upset when he does. More interviews than Levy and Abramovich put together”
I like John
Guest spot on the next podcast??
That would work….
Thanks yes, I was flicking through my copy for the evidence, but it’s only hearsay.
The last couple of chapters are pure doomer bullshit by the fellow who writes the Gooner fanzine.The first half of the book are really fascinating – if that’s what really happened.
John Cross seems to be well got with the Arsenal Hierarchy.
He went on the entire Far East tour with the Arsenal, and he didn’t print a Negative piece. Have a look at his put-down of that moaning ‘spend the fackn’ money’ fan on Arsenal fan TV. A classic on you tube.
At least he’s not a two-faced shite.
Cross seems to be on the no trophy in X years bandwagon too. Pity, there are some otherwise complementary points overlooked by other hacks.
Fuck me what is JJ going to complain about now?
Today’s post has just hit the doormat.
Hahaha. Trust me , that permanent moaner will find something to bitch about. He always has always will.