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Arsenal Versus Everton: Blindness, Intoxication and an Eternal Song

La-Miseria_Rojas_PD

As you know I enjoy subverting the concept of the match review, ignoring the accepted wisdom of the ages and not padding out my piece with projections of the line up, the score and the performance. I prefer to take some aspect of my day to day journey through this vale of tears and explore how it relates to the beautiful game in general and to Arsenal in particular. This is partly to avoid simply echoing all the other match day writers who already do a far better job than I could ever hope to keeping us abreast of the manager’s press conference, the injury list and just what it is that is so wrong with our club. I also have the words of Martin Mull running through my mind – “writing about music is like dancing about architecture”.

Now before you scroll spluttering for the comment box to point out that this is a football blog and not the New Musical Express, allow me a moment to elucidate. I find the quotation is appropriate here because the match preview is in essence writing about the future. Discussing events which have yet to occur is an equally futile exercise as I’m sure Laurie Anderson, Steve Martin, Frank Zappa, Elvis Costello, Thelonius Monk, Clara Schumann, Miles Davis, George Carlin and all the others who have been credited with Mull’s words would happily attest.

Some of you seem not to mind my rambling, off key approach to the match day which is hugely gratifying, and quite frankly those who don’t give a fig for my extended metaphors and tenuous allegorical fluff can still join the discussion below which is surely the true function of any supporters blog. I don’t believe it matters much what is said up here in main article the true value to this and any other Arsenal forum is the sharing of ideas and opinions. That is certainly where I learn most about the game and about my fellow travellers on this annual journey.

Which is a bloody good job because, as the more perspicacious among you may have twigged, I don’t have a lot to say this morning. My dearly beleaguered wife has fallen victim to some dreadful species of lurgy and I have been playing Florence Nightingale all week. Consequently I have barely thought of football nor anything else beyond emptying the bucket and dampening the handkerchief in order to cool her fevered brow. Yesterday evening, as I was patting the back and holding the hair out of the way, issuing the soothing words and generally doing all the things one does while silently offering up a prayer not to catch it myself, I turned over a few thoughts on today’s blog and came up empty, as indeed did my wife.

Which is a shame really because we are now in the narrows of the channel, signifying journey’s end. This, as the poet famously wrote, is it. Things are in the process of being decided. Stuff is coming to a head. Cup competitions are at the quarter and semi final stage, the race for the league is on the last bend before the home straight. Every Arsenal fixture is like a cup final but even if we win them all we have no guarantee of ultimate success. What a time to run out of things to say!

It’s a real shame because today’s match could be a humdinger. Everton are on a high right now after shoving the most hated team in the country through the door marked ‘Exit’ in their recent FA Cup tie. In Romelu Lukaku they have a genuine talent and, for me, an honest player and we have all admired their manager’s approach to the beautiful game and his refusal to bow to the lowest denominator kick ’em and rush ’em style beloved of the knuckle dragging set. John Stones looks an elegant and promising young defender and with that thug now sold to Norwich they are a much more likeable bunch.

We on the other hand will be buoyed by a spirited performance in Catalonia although no doubt disappointed not to have got more than one goal for all our efforts. The main worry for Arsenal is the heavy work load under which our players have laboured so valiantly of late. That must be weighed against the focus that our elimination from two of the three remaining competitions will surely bring to our game. It is, in the crude vernacular of my peers, shit or bust time. There is only one prize, no distractions, nothing else to aim at and so they will surely put any weariness behind them and go for broke this lunchtime.

One thing I am determined not to say today, one expression I have already deleted three times is ‘bounce back’. Not because it isn’t apposite given our unhappy results of late. It’s just that I’m sick of saying it this season. We have never put a decent run together, not for long enough anyway. We seemed to get pegged back each time we approach anything like a little consistency, either through untimely injuries, profligacy in front of goal, lapses at the back or just obdurate opposition from either visiting teams or referees. We haven’t ever really gotten out of third gear have we? And yet somehow we are just about in touch with the Marvel superheroes of Filbert Way and our noisy neighbours. Just about.

Well, there isn’t any time left now. We need to find a way to get the cogs to mesh and we need to start today. We also need Mr Pochettino and his pretenders to catch a dose of whatever is ailing she who must be obeyed and Ranieri’s transformed supermen to forget to take their glowing green pills for a few games. Even then even the most positive among us know we face a short but steep and difficult climb. I haven’t given up yet and I’m certain the manager and players haven’t either. Of course I never give up until it is mathematically impossible to win and then I simply enjoy the final few matches of the season and start to look forward to the next.

Anyway, the bell marked ‘Master Bedroom’ is tinkling again so I probably need to get back upstairs and change the sheets again and see if I can’t force a few dry crumbs through her parched, cracked lips. Before I go let me just apologise once more for having nothing to say today, hopefully the muse will return in time for Watford’s visit in a fortnight’s time. In the meantime let’s gird our loins once again and see if that elusive consistency can arrive just in the nick of time. Ultimate success may appear a distant and unlikely prospect right now but we can all take comfort from the words of the late lamented Terry Pratchett who taught us that “million-to-one chances crop up nine times out of ten”. It ain’t over till it’s over boys and girls, and, as I keep telling my patient, where there’s life there’s hope.

 

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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76 comments on “Arsenal Versus Everton: Blindness, Intoxication and an Eternal Song

  1. Chelsea now only 6pts off a EL place

    Sunderland and Newcastle who meet tomorrow are both in the bottom 3

    Arsenal 3 pts off spurs in 2nd, and 5 ahead of 5th place West Ham

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  2. ArsenalAndrew ‏@ArsenalAndrew 3h3 hours ago
    Clattenberg has been outstanding for Everton today; they really couldn’t ask for more from their 12th man in black.

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  3. Commentator – “Adebayor hasn’t had an impact so far”

    Co-Commentator Brian Kerr – “Adebayor hasn’t had an impact in 18 months”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. WENGER ON IWOBI, OZIL AND EVERTON

    The boss spoke to the media after Arsenal’s 2-0 win against Everton. Below is a transcript of what was said:

    on Alex Iwobi…
    He is an intelligent boy who is passionate about the game and wants to learn. He is very humble as well. He is 19 years old. He has been at the club since the age of eight. I was looking at him in training during the season and in pre-season and I liked what he did. After that, he improved very quickly with the first team. Month after month, he developed very well and that is why I integrated him and played him.

    on the first-half performance…
    I believe we have a game based on movement and mobility at a technical level with attacking football. We have to balance that right and sometimes it is not always right. Let’s not forget that some players have been out for the whole season so players like Danny Welbeck are just coming back and has not played. Iwobi is just coming into the team. Mohamed Elneny [as well], we brought him in January and he has settled very quickly. They have given us a very good balance in the way we want to play football. In England, it is very hard to give a fair assessment of the performance because when you lose, you are disastrous. We have not been as bad as people as said, but I agree that you either win or lose in sport. Let’s go on and push forward until the end of the season. We are today with our backs to the walls and we responded well. I’m pleased that we responded under pressure [after] the character of my players was questioned. If we didn’t win today, we knew that we were out of it [the title race] so it was a mental test for the side.

    on if Arsenal losing would mean they are are out the title race…
    Yes.

    on the title race…
    I would not consider us out. Mathematically, we have a chance. We also have a game in hand at home. We are not flavour of the week, but if we don’t believe, no one will do it for us. Even if the environment is sceptical, we have to do our best in every single game. We have to be humble and fight in every game like we did today. Then we never know. We need some performances on our side, so let’s focus on that, but some good results from other sides, we cannot help that.

    on Ozil…
    It is an ankle problem, but it looks more of a kick than an ankle problem.

    Copyright 2016 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to http://www.arsenal.com as the source

    Read more at http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/20160319/wenger-on-iwobi-ozil-and-everton?#DoA5xdetXUlAkRo7.99

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  5. OT; Any of you guys taking part in the Earth Hour tonight?

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  6. Millsy – What of our amateur psycho-analysis on Tuesday?
    The boys totally shut out the memory of bad games past and applied themselves to winning today’s game. There was a certain seriousness about them.

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  7. Hi Shotta,the team must have check-in and read our posts and thought on! I think they took victory from defeat against Barca-I saw that Kos was also saying that the main problem was a psychological one so we were on the right track.But youre right there was a seriousness about them today.Lets hope that its not due to playing away and it being easier.And the Id heads will be placated a bit,but not the hardcore haters.
    Im expecting the lads to thrash Watford 5-0.
    Shame LCFC keep grinding out those 1-0 wins!
    ps do you like the Tommy Cook/Skatalites version of Dr.Zhivago theme? And Don Drummonds Green Island?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. These early kick offs are doing me in. No time to read the blog before the match. Good thing we have Stew on the case, who writes a piece eminently readable any time. I hope Mrs. Black is feeling better soon, and that you don’t catch it. Fingers crossed for you both.

    What an enjoyable watch today. Lots of folks talking about new (and new-ish) faces in the team, and rightly so. But what I noticed most was a team that as a whole was just a bit calmer. The all important first goal, and all that. I think the team psyche just needs a few solid performances that lead to results, and all players will settle down and remember how good they are. Doing well at home to Watford will help. Now, to get through international week with no casualties. Maybe Ozil will sit out now?

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  9. just glad the team is back to winning ways… we needed this at this time.

    8 games to go… we will make them count.

    come on afobe… once a gunner always a gunner though not surprised Adebayor could not be relied upon

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  10. just a few thoughts on Iwobi’s performance,

    I said last week that an important goal form him could see his AFC career blossom. Today’s goal might go someway towards that, its always important for a forward to get that first senior goal. The lad has been with Arsenal since he was 7 or 8, by all accounts he is very level headed, hard working and keen to learn, and going by what we have seen from him so far, he is not phased by anything. I thought he has looked good in all his game time so far, always looking to get the ball forward, make something happen.
    For me his best performance yet was during the week v Barcelona, I see he got man of the match today, which only goes to show that scoring a goal gets your performance massively over rated, as Elneny, Ozil and Welbeck all played better than Iwobi today. But going by his progress in recent weeks, he might very well pick up a few more man of the match awards this season, certainly looks like he will pick up many more if he fulfills his obvious potential.

    Great to see an Arsenal lad making strides in the first team.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. seen a report that at the final whistle today Coquelin threw his shirt into the away support and shouted to them the title race is still on.

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  12. Made a new friend today who I will never see again. Dublin man working in Dubai who had just been joined by wife and 9 year old son. He’s going back on leave and excited to take his boy to his first ever game at the Ems v Watford. Excitement all round as we secured 3 points. He’d seen the goals, I only caught the last 15 mins but they told me all about them. But this chance meeting in a far off Shopping Mall bar possibly more representative than any number of Black Shirt facist banners.

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  13. isn’t it odd that this evening so many Gooners are defending Lukaku’s performance against us, its all “I really don’t know why he never plays well against us cos he is pure class”, I’d bet my last penny that if the lad signs for us it will only take a few blanks games from him for this to change to Giroud like treatment.

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  14. I haven’t seen the game as I had Saturday chores and family obligations to attend to, but it’s good to see us getting back to form. An early kick off against a tough team like Everton was a potential banana skin given our recent run of results. Maybe the change of scenery with the international break (provided there are no more injuries) will give the players a chance to get their heads in a more positive place for the run in.

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  15. PottyMouthNil ⚽️נילי ‏@Nilstar1 2h2 hours ago
    So our players are now asking fans to drop the negativity & support the team

    What more is needed for the boo boys to get lost?

    Liked by 3 people

  16. imagine simone having to deal with AFC’s BPL and CL schedule, Wednesday and 12.45 Saturday kick off

    Ed Malyon ‏@eaamalyon 5h5 hours ago
    After 120 minutes on Tuesday, Diego Simeone fuming with 4pm kick-off and defeat to Sporting: “No, I’m delighted they can watch us in China”

    Liked by 1 person

  17. there was I thinking it was Lukaku who hurt Ospina, but no, “Ospina hurt himself” according to the BBC commentator

    why the fuck was Giroud’s goal disallowed, was it cos it was for Arsenal,

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  18. Adrian Clarke ‏@adrianjclarke 9h9 hours ago
    Mark Clattenburg is having one. #stinker

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Millsy:
    I got to double check the Dr Zhivago. I haven’t heard it in a while.
    Don Drummond was a mad genius. Period.
    Check out the Skatalites’ Guns of Navarone. Now that is is putting rhythm in a western.

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  20. Shotta, I love that version of the Guns by the Skatalites the old production sound makes it seem even better.Ive got GI on cd now but originally I had it on record and it sounded even more wobbly so that how I thought it was. Talking of rhythm in a western Carlos Malcom and the Afro Caribs version of Bonanza is a corker too. I like the version of a Shot in the dark by the Skatalites,Ska covers are always as interesting as the originals-the Skatalites recorded some very fine music,yet dont get the recognition they deserve (grrr!)tracks like Apanga blew me away and still do.
    So much Bluebeat/ska/skaf/ rocksteady that was recorded- its easy to keep finding really great tracks.I always look out for your selection on S+D.Stews always good for some Bluebeat too.
    Talking of which, Stew did you know the work of Rojas when you chose it to illustrate your post?Hope your wife feels better soon.

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  21. Millsey – firstly I used to play The Guns Of Navarone in a band, cracking tune. Secondly no I didn’t but I loved it on first sight and am very interested in discovering more.

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  22. Stew I bet that got the crowd going! As you say a cracking tune.Are you still in a band now?
    Rojas was a very interesting painter,off the radar to many European curators,shame really. Died way too young some of his work has a similar feel to Repins, who you might like too.Not many alive can still paint like that anymore,its seen as being wank yet if you go to a museum these works still seem gripping(imo) or at least hold you more than two seconds.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Eduardo – agree with you that any one of 3 or 4 Arsenal players could have been awarded Man of the Match. Suspect Iwobi got it due to the context of his scoring his first PL goal on his first full appearance.

    He is an extremely exciting prospect; I love the directness of his play and he’s never afraid to play the forward pass. Athletic and strong, his confidence is likely to torment many defenders over the coming years.

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  24. New post up

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