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Arsenal Versus Leicester: Holding Out For Hero

brady stape leary

It was Liam Brady’s birthday yesterday. Apart from the small wave of memories which washed through me refreshing the parts of an old man which once sparkled with the spring waters of hope and ambition, thoughts of our erstwhile midfield maestro set the gears turning. Chippy is one of the faces which leaps to mind if ever anyone uses the words Arsenal and legend in the same sentence. I couldn’t help wonder which of our current squad about to attempt to bring Leicester City to heel might one day be mentioned in the same breath.

All this got me thinking about how arbitrary and subjective is this whole legend and hero and favourite player malarkey. There is after all no book to which one can go and check whether this player or that has ticked all the appropriate boxes to be considered a club legend. Why do my thoughts instantly turn to Wilson, Rice, Brady, Bergkamp, and Adams? Why do I then pause before adding Henry? Why doesn’t Ian Wright spring immediately to mind? My first love was Charlie George, I trembled when I met him during the stadium tour my daughter bought me as a present, but is he a legend? Should Tomáš even be considered given the number of games he hasn’t played? What about David O’ Leary? Robert Pires? Why do wingers often become fans’ favourites? Why so seldom full backs?

Liam of course dumped us for the bright lights of Italy didn’t he? Then he came back to work for many years with our youngsters so maybe that balances the whole thing out. I don’t know. I do know that when he came along he blew my teenage mind. I don’t remember his games for Bertie Mee, nor the period that followed in the early seventies when watching the football on offer at Highbury was reputedly more painful than being subjected to dentistry at the hands of an unqualified, drunken, short sighted sociopath.

It was the Terry Neil / Don Howe era that he enlivened for me and perhaps it is because of my impressionable age that he so cemented his place in my personal pantheon. When you are between fourteen and eighteen you fall in love with music and footballers in a way you never really do again. Bands in those days spoke to me like the voice of the Mysterons in an otherwise blurred and garbled world. Likewise the footballers who played with impudence and artistry have remained with me ever since in a way that succeeding generations have failed to do.

We all have our favourites of course. We have inexplicable suspicions about the efficacy of certain players and are as forgiving as star crossed lovers when our personal heroes fuck up royally from six yards out. It makes, or at least it ought to make, us realise that pointing out a player’s flaws then calling somebody a rude name for daring to do the same to our personal enfant gâté is just silly.

There is no yardstick, no gauge we can run over a player who causes us to slip farther forward onto the chair’s edge whenever the ball comes near him. We can’t prove he’s better or worse or more or less of a legend just because someone else doesn’t like him. Better to just shrug and accept that no matter how idiotic it may seem some people are blind to the talents of your man and insist on worshiping the bloke you consider a loose cannon. Deal with it and enjoy the football.

Scoring a hat trick against Leicester City didn’t make Dennis Bergkamp a legend but it was one of the building blocks which got him there. Given the huge opportunity presented by today’s fixture I would hazard a guess that any player repeating the feat would be similarly fêted, in the short term at least. That fixture ended in a three all draw and the stakes were not as high as they will be as we tuck into our roast parsnips this lunchtime. Today a draw will feel like a defeat and a victory will have the electrifying effect of reigniting a title tilt which has spluttered and guttered like a cheap candle in a draughty attic. I shall not even contemplate defeat. Like a man preferring to pretend the lunatic with the bloody knife is not behind him I shall keep walking towards, and staring at, the light.

We’ve reached a fascinating period in the Premier League calendar haven’t we? With Leicester and Man City having just played one another, the leaders visiting the Emirates with a five point cushion, Spurs facing a trip to the Ethiad – lair of a wounded beast if ever there was one – there is the potential for much upheaval or much reinforcement of the status quo.

I know how we will play. Or I can at least make a good guess. We always try to play the same game, sometimes we stymie ourselves with an inchoate apparently lacklustre approach and sometimes we are simply prevented from playing by a spirited and highly focussed opposition. Our game plan is always to out pass and wear down our opponents, bamboozle them and then strike. What interests me today is how the visitors will approach the game.

Given the gung ho style they displayed in dismantling a shell shocked City one supposes they will come out all guns blazing, brimming with confidence and a nothing to lose flamboyance. They have a very well organised defence, a lightning counter attacking game and a couple of guys in the form of their lives. Will the sudden pressure of this fixture get to them? Will Ranieri be happy setting out for a point? It’s an intriguing prospect. If we get back to our best and Leicester drop their levels just slightly or key players don’t perform for them then we all know what can happen. It happened after all in the match at the King Power last September.

It’s impossible to predict anything this season of course. Form seems to mean nothing, relative league positions even less. When we banged in two against Bournemouth I typed a one word comment – Floodgates! How wrong could I be? I assumed the tap would turn, the faucet open, the spigot be pulled from the barrel and the goals would flow, washing away the modest and disappointing scorelines of the previous weeks instead of which, of course, the game just ground on to a predictable, if welcome, conclusion with no excitement and no more fluctuations in our goal difference.

Would I settle for a similarly tedious sixty six minutes with the points already in the bag? I suppose so. I’d much prefer a tense, exhilarating hour with the winning goals coming in the final twenty five minutes but this is live sport not theatre, there is no script. Another masterful performance from legend in waiting Mesut Özil would be very welcome. Any title winning side needs a player of special ability to have a outstanding season and he is for me, the leading candidate in 2015/16.

A Bergkamp style hat trick or a bit of Bradyesque impudence from anybody would be rather nice too. Today of course the club’s greatest ever legend  won’t be on the pitch he’ll be alternating between keeping Steve Bould company and striding the technical area. He can’t score the winning goal and put us right back into the race but it is for him more than for you or me or any of the players that I want that goal to be scored. He’s the man who deserves another title winning season, he’s the man the players should be busting a gut to reward, he is after all the reason we’re in the fight in the first place.

I hope you enjoy the game wherever you’re watching whether in the stands,  over the croissants in Alabama or the nut cutlets in Belfast. Let’s all see if we can’t come together and help push the lads up that final slope, victory through harmony, boys and girls, victory through harmony.

 

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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127 comments on “Arsenal Versus Leicester: Holding Out For Hero


  1. How about it, dat guy Welbeck
    Serious subs from the boss there I wonder if the petty plundits will give due praise…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. fins whats up, hope we all misunderstood shottas comments?

    the subs all had a hand in the goals…. theo scored the first… chambers fouled for the ozil assist for the second!

    Like

  3. My Valentine’s Day poem:
    Roses are red,
    Violets are blue,
    Nothing like Welbz
    To tear the Foxes in two.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. @Team Spirit:A little sarcasm works wonders. Thanks for pointing out Chambers contribution.

    Like

  5. we with the last minute goals for a change… that pool goal still annoys me cos we would be top now but for that….

    this goes some way in making up for it!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. To all my fans who I have assaulted with my Valentine’s Day poetry, forgive me but I am still on a high after kicking and heading every ball by my team into the death:
    At the end I never cursed so much bombo claats and raas claats ever in all my “career” as a football fan.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Fins: i emailed you and it was delivered according to gmail.

    Like

  8. I got it! IBSF

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  9. I’ve just about returned to earth, that was so exciting and for a change, the supporters were overwhelmingly willing the team to get that winning goal. The crowd went wild around me and there was loads of hugging and unbridled joy. Football can be so great sometimes. It was a relief to get back to the real stuff today and away from all the protests and moaning. Speaking of which, I noticed the Leicester fans were all in their seats at least 30 minutes before the game started. As for our lot, it was business as usual, but the excitement of the last few minutes kept the majority in their seats until the end. Shame we don’t see that more often.

    I thought the team played really well and the less said about the referee, the better. Thank goodness we got the result in the end. There is nothing more satisfying than a last minute Arsenal victory.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Yup props to the home support today.

    And he didn’t score but what a game from Larry, outstanding effort. He wore ’em out and when AW chucked on the extra height and pulled Özil back to stick in the mixer haha Welbeck found the extra space amongst the tired defenders and the finest of finishes to beat the keeper.

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  11. stick < lump the ball into the mixer

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  12. Former Gunner Clichy with the assist for City against 5pur2.

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  13. i jinxed it

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  14. bloody chickens!

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  15. both spuds and leicester have easier run ins than us, so to win it from here will take us getting better and better and scrapping for everything we can get.
    todays win was excellent and I almost cried when we scored, last minute goals haven’t been our speciallity for a while and I just wasnt expecting it. The players jumped into the crowd just below me brilliant!

    Liked by 4 people

  16. I agree Fins, Olivier was magnificent today and Calum Chambers looked impressive at the back in the second half. But what has happened to man city? I bet they find their form again when we turn up there. I also want to know what spurs are on and is it legal?

    Liked by 2 people

  17. still cant get my head around the Pep announcement…. so disrespectful it is unreal!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. was wondering if the players would be booked… jumping into the crowd like that? thought it was not allowed?

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  19. Apparently Welbeck was booked TS

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  20. only him then? cos i think there were almost 5 or more that went in there….

    that would likely have led to a club fine!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Thanks again to Stew! A good man.

    Where is Eduardo?

    The Daily Mirror report on the game is garbage!

    An alternate view, from a couple of urban foxes, or vixens.

    4 mins added on time ****ing *****, ref with very poor descions all game ****ing ****, ah well on to the next.

    Vardy penno. Wait for the Wenger whining. Arsenal are a bunch of cheating diving tossers. Fook them. Onwards and upwards.

    Real supporters, one must admit.

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  22. I don lost my voice.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. My sense of well being increased dramatically at around 2pm then decreased at around 6 pm….you just cannot be rational about these things if you grew up in Hornsey N8….

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Look – I’m sorry, again. Contrition to da max –
    This one’s even better:

    http://www.snappytv.com/tc/1387406/592569

    Liked by 2 people

  25. Another WORLD CLASS knockdown by Giroud for Walcott….absolutely brilliant….

    Love that snappy TV clip Rantetta, thanks….

    Liked by 2 people

  26. New post up

    Like

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