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Arsenal Versus Reading: Time To Dunk The Biscuitmen

Bill Oddie Bill Oddie,

Rub your beard all over my body,

Geoff Bailey Geoff Bailey,

Rub your beard all over me daily.

I wonder if we’ll get a replay of last year’s FA Cup semi final. I watched it again as a part of my preparation for Saturday afternoon and it was a real nail biter wasn’t it? I’d forgotten just how close that day in April came to being one of our most infamous. Had we lost none of us would have loved the manager and players any less of course but having said that winning through to a Wembley final was infinitely preferable. Imagine the ignominy of being the butt of a semi final joke which would have reverberated around the country and which we would not have been allowed to forget.

Part of me would be delighted with a repeat of the thrills and spills of that match. Football is after all first and foremost about entertainment. Not results, not big names, not money and palatial stadiums. Excitement and entertainment are the reasons we watch and if you take those away then this blog might as well be about knitting. I can’t stand the mantra that the win is the only thing that matters. A win can make up for a poor performance and is the perfect cherry upon the icing of an exciting game, but if I’m going to look forward to a match all week and then sit glued to it for two hours, well, I want to enjoy the experience.

Having said all of that you won’t hear me complain if we blow Reading away. Looking back at the highlights of our last three meetings (or at least the last three available on Arsenal Player) we have scored sixteen goals to Reading’s eight which (at the risk of stating the bleeding obvious) suggests a precedent for high scoring games. I don’t know how closely the current Royal’s side resembles the one of that vintage but ours has seen a few tweaks all of which have improved the squad immeasurably. Which brings us neatly to the team prediction. I expect to see Wojciech Szczęsny in goal with ten players in front of him and a handful of substitutes on the bench. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few regulars rested but wholesale changes are extremely unlikely given the importance of the game, and that’s as much tea leaf gazing as you’ll get from me.

The only connection I have with Reading FC is my mate Johnny Trombone, a Madejski regular who would treat us all to a drunken rendition of the Bill Oddie song every time he’d passed the tequila event horizon. John is a fantastic musician and an all round decent cove and if he is typical of the beard loving Reading supporter then the opposition can be relied upon for some civilised and enjoyable banter this evening. Aldershot Town fans may well disagree, so my apologies to any of you who are closet Shots.

I don’t know if the build up to this weekend’s semi finals has been particularly muted or not. I am aware some people have been saying it has, but as the transfer speculation season kicked off a couple of months earlier this year I’ve had to begin my media and social network embargo earlier than usual. If there has been an absence of the usual hyperbole I wonder if it might have much to do with the assumption that the line up for the final is a foregone conclusion and as such folk regard the semis as mere formalities. If so they are not only doing both Reading and Liverpool a disservice but demeaning the achievements of the other two clubs should they prevail.

We know all too well how a so called lesser side can battle. From where I sit I cannot recall anyone giving us a time quite as hard as that which we endured from Burnley last week and they look very much like they’ll be a Championship side before too long. If Clarke’s players can apply themselves with the same boundless energy and unquenchable enthusiasm then our lads will need to remain focussed for the entire game. I think Burnley’s effort was almost superhuman. They appeared to have three players to our one all over the pitch for large periods of the game. However we not only resisted them, we overcame them and towards the latter part of the match we were taking the fight to them. Aaron in particular grabbed the game by the scruff as the second half progressed and I am quietly confident that whatever the score after seventy minutes we have the players to boss the final twenty once again.

Barring a miraculous Chelsea collapse (for which I am fervently hopeful) the FA Cup, our FA Cup, represents our last chance at another trophy. A trophy which I might add is nothing more than our esteemed manager deserves. He doesn’t deserve it simply because of the the years in which he has had to compete with squillionaires while holding nothing but a broken piggy bank. He doesn’t deserve it merely as an opportunity to put up two fingers to the revolting so called Arsenal fans who have heaped so much scorn and abuse on our greatest ever manager. He doesn’t deserve it just because I love him and wish every possible good thing to happen to him. He especially deserves it this time because just as he has got close to the kind of squad of which he has only been able to dream throughout the austerity years that squad has been ravaged by a variety and number of injuries with which our competitors would simply not have coped.

Only one man had the confidence, the belief and the humility to drag a patched up endlessly changing side back into contention at the top. Can you honestly see a spoilt brat like that graceless oaf in Fulham persevering with the same quiet dignity had he seen players re-injured each time they returned, seen players crocked at the same time as their replacements were out and watched as a player played himself into form only to be injured the moment he looked to be back to his best? Imagine the sympathy he would have received from the entire football establishment and imagine the childish whining and bleating we would all have had to endure from the man himself.

I want to get to the final again, of course I do. I want the team to win the thing again, of course I do. I want the players to do it for all of you who have remained faithful regardless of the result, who have remained positive regardless of the braying from the brain dead and the hateful. Most of all I want the players to do it for the man who has built this club up to where it is today, the man who’s wisdom, knowledge and love of Arsenal dwarfs any passion we may have for the club. More than anything else I want them to do it for Arsène.

About steww

Arsenal, books, photography, bass guitar, dog walking, mountain biking, being on the radio, writing, talking too much, failing, making mistakes, buggering on regardless.

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142 comments on “Arsenal Versus Reading: Time To Dunk The Biscuitmen

  1. We love you Arsenal, yes we do.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. No penalties ?

    I’ve been cheated

    Like

  3. Will Benn @WengerBoy1 · 21s 21 seconds ago
    A game where you can have literally thousands of complaints, and yet no complaints

    Like

  4. The commentators should be given a habanero enema. At least it’s not my taxes playing for those gits.

    Like

  5. I would like, on behalf of everyone, everywhere, to express my unequivocal admiration for plucky Reading.

    Right that tripe is out the way

    Now for a night of debauched self abuse.

    The carefully considered review will be with you at 10.00 BST Sunday.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. the whingers are out in force on arsenal web, Szczesny the main scapegoat, Debuchy and Gibbs getting it too

    Like

  7. usual suspects also targeting Ramsey, but that is a weekly thing from some

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  8. the hate for Szczesny is amusing if truth be told, really shows the level of idiots we have following our team.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Watching post game punditry on Fox USA and Warren Barton on behalf of his gang declares post game that the key to Arsene’s victory was our patience. Mind you I have been saying that on these pages all game. But they are such reactionaries because the in-game commentators was blasting our midfield for being “too patient.” It is too easy to get hung up on every missed pass, tackle or goal attempt but in games like this you have to battle the opponents tactics as well the psychological pressures generated internally and externally. To overcome that one must be comfortable playing one’s game. That was the key to our success today.
    Just one man’s opinion.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I love you Steww yes I do…..

    Like

  11. That was not entertainment……It was unfair on Debuchy to have to last the entire match. He was dead on his feet…..and played with the rustiness expected….and it nearly cost us….

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  12. Steww, sorry – a smashing write-up.

    A cracking game, a pity the Royals ruined a young lad’s trip to Wembley.

    The Arsenal win will now cheer him up!

    Like

  13. Arsenal FC ‏@Arsenal 20m20 minutes ago
    Wenger: “It was a very difficult game against a well-organised, physical and resilient Reading team. They defended very well.” #RFCvAFC

    – Spot on Boss. Respect to the opponents. That is why you have been the most successful manger in FA cup history.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. the idiots don’t understand why Debuchy was played, it has not occurred to them that game time against a lower league team was an ideal time to bring him back, will have done him a world of good, puts him well in the frame to start v Chelsea, as much as I like Bellerin, I know I’d prefer Debuchy v cfc next week, he is a much more solid defender.

    as for Szczesny, I can only think that his failure to do a couple of exaggerated roll overs after his saves is what is stopping him getting the acclaim that Ospina has been getting in the last few months(as I know the scapegoaters like this so much), either that or the scapegoaters are just looking for non existent flaws in our Pole, I even seen a few claim that Szczesny’s kicking today was woeful. The hate for some of our players has gotten to laughable levels, these idiots are more like WUM fans of other clubs, than actual Arsenal fans.

    I would have put blame on him for the goal if it had not taken such a wicked deflection off Gibbs, WS was already diving to save the shot when it hit Gibbs and bounced up, meaning he could do little to stop it, in fact if he had saved it then it would have been save of the season as far as I’m concerned

    Liked by 3 people

  15. Here is one of the most stupid comments about WS performance today, a rating of 1 out of 10

    “Szczesny 1 simply awful, punched the ball in his own net”

    see what I mean about these idiots making things up to blame him for, punching the ball into his own net, really really funny stuff from the idiot brigade

    Like

  16. AB @behnisch · 38m 38 minutes ago
    It will be #Arsenal’s 19th FA Cup final (in 116 seasons), and the 7th under Arsène Wenger (in 19 seasons).

    Like

  17. it seems that Mert has an ankle injury and could be out for a while

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  18. why are some Arsenal fans claiming that Reading were the better team today, which team hit the woodwork 3 times, which team’s keeper brought off the most saves, who had the majority of possession, — running about a lot and putting on pressure, does not alone make Reading the better team, but it seems that if Arsenal do not blow a team away then our opponents are the better team, laughable how stupid these idiots are

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Im finding it hard to not be angry after this game. Yet again the referees performance was beyond dreadful. Mertesacker was injured by a reckless ‘not-that-kind-of-person’-persons tackle and Özil was tackled from behind with a studs showing challenge remarkably similar to those Reyes suffered during the 50th game. Both shouldve been red cards but went unpunished. Wenger said it didnt look good for Per who limped badly after the game, might be a potential season-ending ankle injury and Özils ankle might not be intact either.

    Like

  20. atkinson is a pro chelsea ref, we play chelsea next week, tackles going unpunished is no surprise

    Liked by 2 people

  21. For a ‘pro’ Chelsea referee Atkinson sending of Matic at Burnley and getting Jose foaming at the mouth about the straight red card and being a criminal is a bit odd – don’t you think eddy ?

    Like

  22. the poison dwarf is so mental he complains even at pro chelsea refs,

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  23. JB™ @gunnerpunner · 1h 1 hour ago
    Just checking right you’re all feeling sympathy for Federici but Szczesny’s a bellend? OK then.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. I had a glint back in my eye today for the first time in months to see Arteta back in a First XI.

    Like

  25. Arsenal got away with plenty today, Eddy.

    Like

  26. seemingly Ozil created the most chances in an FA Cup game – 9

    he had two assists today if I’m not wrong.

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  27. So, amongst today’s leg-break attempts by Reading, note the one in minute 57, where someone went through Mert like a train. Atkers was nearby and saw it clearly, and wouldn’t even have stopped play but for an offside flag. Prior to that someone had a smash at Santi. At one stage someone tried to take out Özil by gouging at his heel with studs. That’s the same move made by spuds to put Theo out for a year. Not even acknowledged, let alone punished. There’s lots like that. It’s Martin Atkinson, with Marriner as 4th official.

    The commentary was more dire than normal. Pure negativity, but then, maybe it was typically dire.
    Sorry, I normally reserve these comments for UA, but I hope whoever does the summary on this site takes account of the thorough kicking Arsenal were getting, and that as per usual, most of it went unpunished. And it remains to be seen how many injuries have been picked up.

    **** the twitteratti. I don’t look at that ****, cos I know the naysayers aren’t Arsenal fans.

    Oooooh, Fede was soooo good. Oh, was he? How comes both goals went through his legs?
    If an Arsenal goaly cocks up…. Gawd help us. At least they’ll have a thoughtful smoke (as opposed to looking for spit-roast, or trampling over the roofs of cars, etc, etc).

    Well done Arsenal.

    Liked by 3 people

  28. Game Statistics

    Goal Attempts
    AFC 23 – R 12

    On Target
    AFC 9 – R 4

    Corners
    AFC 9 – R 4

    Fouls
    AFC 12 – R 20

    Yellow Cards
    AFC 1 – R 1

    Red Cards
    AFC 0 – R 0

    Possession
    AFC 72% – R 28%

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Dezil Dez @DezilDez · 2h 2 hours ago
    Per, Debuchy, Gabriel, Koscielny, Gibbs, Coquelin, Cazorla, all made huge defensive errors, Szczesny conceded off a deflection, crucify him.

    Like

  30. I dont blame Wojo for that goal.

    Liked by 2 people

  31. but george you are not a whinger or prone to scapegoating, for me those blaming Szczesny show themselves up as complete idiots

    Like

  32. Duncan Alexander @oilysailor · 2h 2 hours ago
    Stuttering Chelsea, resurgent Man Utd and inconsistent Liverpool have all won nine PL games in 2015.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Dezil Dez @DezilDez · 1h 1 hour ago
    Mesut Özil vs Reading: 114 passes, 90.4% pass accuracy, 9 key passes, 2 assists.
    26 retweets 16 favorites

    Dezil Dez @DezilDez · 1h 1 hour ago
    How the hell did Gabriel come off the bench and get 12 clearances, Koscielny got 11 and he played 120 mins.

    Like

  34. Me neither,George.
    Great minds etc eh, ?

    As for De Gea today – 100% at fault for Utd’s conceded goal. Beaten under his legs at near post.

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  35. My only knowledge of the game is from the running comments on this site. Sounds like we won and have to wait until tomorrow to see who we play in the final. Absolutely terrific and any ‘fan’ who isn’t over the cliche probably ought to fuck off and follow United who despite having come up short in a game that mattered with a performance that The Arsenal would have been mocked for are, according to the BBC, resurgent.

    Like

  36. eduardo
    April 18, 2015 at 11:02 pm

    wow there ..chill out bro

    just a question..

    should the keeper be running into his goal . or outside his post? just asking

    he played well no doubt but its those little things hes got to correct.

    Like

  37. as for the bbc ivan shouold troll them big time and issue club statement of apology

    Like

  38. and take that federici for daring to save gabriel’s header earlier. that should have been a goal…lucky keeper…

    Like

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