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Arsenal Versus West Ham: Just Desserts?

mike and kelly

For all it’s supposed evils, fraping, grooming, cyber bullying, and those Nigerian millions I still have yet to receive, the internet is actually a fairly splendid virtual world. A parallel reality where another me can frolic free from the restraints of his earthbound self and all the baggage that sorry sack of disappointments carries about with him. I have many more Arsenal supporting friends here in this intriguing web than I ever had growing up in the three dimensional wide world. In fact I have more friends and enemies here full stop.

I’ve often wondered what might happen should someone discover a portal between universes and somehow allow our virtual selves to come crashing through into the what we laughingly think of as the ‘real world’. Like on the Simpsons when they went all 3D. Would it rupture the fabric of space time and allow evil creatures from a dark nether world to enter the cosmos wreaking devastation and misery on all they encountered? Or would we go for a stroll through the Georgian city of Bath and have a pleasant evening in a pub on the banks of the Avon?

Gladly I can report that it was the latter and the slavering hordes of what Pratchett called the Dungeon Dimensions are still safely occupied with pushing Brexit leaflets through our letter boxes. Just at the point in the season when we need every talisman, every charm and good luck gesture we can get, Mike and Kelly have flown in from the good ol’ U S of A to put their shoulders to the wheel, to heave on the rope and generally cheer the boys down the home straight.

In a selfless move reminiscent of the arrival of the humble GI in 1942 our friends from across the pond have given up the comforts of their big cars, cheap ‘gasoline’ and a waffle house every two hundred yards to pitch in and lend their voices to the Arsenal chorus.  Back in the dark days of the forties our visitors were issued with Instructions for American Servicemen in Britain. This pamphlet was filled with useful tips such as “Never criticize the King or Queen,” and “The British don’t know how to make a good cup of coffee. You don’t know how to make a good cup of tea. It’s an even swap.” It left the reader with the following exhortation “It is always impolite to criticize your hosts; it is militarily stupid to criticize your allies.”

Now I don’t know if Mike and Kelly have a similarly helpful guide to getting on with the natives or whether they are just naturally affable, open and instantly likeable people but either way I think there might be a message in that last line for us today. I’m thinking less that it would be impolite to criticise our hosts today. If you have a particular axe to grind with West Ham then have at it – football is, if nothing else, an opportunity to blow off steam and release the pressure of the humdrum with a little pantomime baiting of our opponents. I was thinking more of the second part. The stupidity of dividing our own side.

More than ever it is crucial that all fans, wherever they sit on the spectrum of Arsenal support, come together and get behind the boys in red and white. Or yellow and blue. You take my point. Time wasted biting each others ankles would surely be better spent linking arms and marching together. Wouldn’t it be a revelation if the message the players received online, in the stadium and on the radio from now on was one hundred percent supportive? Even just for these last remaining matches. There’s nothing we can do about Leicester’s quite astonishing levels of fitness, form and finishing but we can help our chaps keep their heads up as they bully off for the final chukka.

As far as today’s match and more importantly today’s opponents are concerned, the first thought that sprang to mind as I ground the beans for my morning brew was – it has been a long time coming. In fact I hadn’t had a coffee for nearly twenty four hours. Similarly our rematch with the season’s first opponents has been waiting for an inordinate period. They say revenge is a dish best served cold, but then they also say the best bloggers avoid using clichés. Avoid them like the plague in fact.

Should we exact our chilled retribution for the opening day shock we will move within one point of our noisy neighbours and keep alight the slender flame of hope that Ranieri’s supermen might accidentally pick up some kryptonite between now and the middle of May. If they should falter, and it would need to be more of a collapse than a stumble at this late stage in the day, we need to be right up there with them. For my part I prefer to focus on that which is achievable and leave the wilder betting to those with more money to burn. I’m looking at Spurs and a late, late St Totts as our more likely goal. If Mr Van Gaal can pull off a shock for us at the Lane then second place will, with the right result today, be ours for the taking.

I have to be honest with you that last sentence contains too many ifs and buts for my liking. The truth is as boring as Arsène’s mantra about taking it one game at a time. There is no point in gazing at the tea leaves of the fixture list and trying to predict results in this most unpredictable of seasons. The simple fact is that the ‘big three’ have made a bollocks of the whole thing and left the door wide open for any other team who could put a long enough run together. Leicester and Spurs have seized that chance. Of the ‘big three’ Arsenal have been clearly the most successful, eclipsing Chelsea and remaining resolutely ahead of Man City despite the gargantuan gap in spending power between us and both of them. We just haven’t been sufficiently consistent since August and at the moment have to suck it up and get on with the job in hand.

That we have friends willing to travel day and night across oceans and time zones just to lend their voices to the cause warms my cockles and fills me with renewed hope. Stronger together? You betcha. Victory through harmony? You should hear these guys sing! So come on then, wherever you are, whatever you think of the manager, owner and players, let’s put our differences whether real or imagined to one side and lift the team over the obstacles that lie ahead. Starting today, let’s all do our bit to put right the wrong inflicted on us last August, let us, to quote from one of Kelly’s favourite books, “Cry aloud, spare not, and lift up thy voice like a trumpet ”

 

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 West Ham: Just Desserts?

  1. oh how spiffing the Irons have scored!

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  2. need to get a hold of this soon.

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  3. Come on Rambo.

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  4. Always annoying when a guy who could have been sent off twice over gets a hat trick, but little point in losing our heads when there’s everything to play for.

    Welcome sight of Ramsey gracing the pitch; such a skilful player.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. surprised Mo came off.

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  6. get in there!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    AA you are a few seconds ahead of me via the intersweat.I wondered what you were writing!

    come you Gunners.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. COME ON YOU GUNNERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  8. Theooooooooooooooo

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  9. our strikers get lots of stick for missed chances this season but

    scored 3 away to liverpool
    scored 2 away to man utd
    scored 2 away to spurs
    scored 3 away to west ham

    and picked up a total of 3 pts,
    and in each game we conceded goals in quick succession or with only minutes of the half left, or both. Sort of sums up a recurring problem that has cost us lots of points this season, West Brom and Norwich, and even Southampton springs to mind.

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  10. Edward Nketiah scored both goals as Arsenal U18’s beat Wolves U18’s 2-1, that is now 18 goals for the season for Nketiah, in 17+8 games, for the 16 year old.

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  11. Wenger: Since the beginning of the season, we have had exactly the same problem, no matter who plays.

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  12. WENGER ON CARROLL, OSPINA AND THE DRAW

    Arsène Wenger spoke to the media after Arsenal’s draw with West Ham in the Premier League. Below is a transcript of what was said:

    on why Carroll was so good…
    First of all because he is good in the air. We lost a bit of urgency when we were 2-0 up after 43 minutes. We had a good game today but a bad result. We played with a weakness that is redundant in the season. If you look at the goals we have conceded since the start of the season, [most of them] are headers in our box. That happened today.

    on if he should have been sent off…
    Yes, of course. [I felt] he is lucky to finish the game.

    on Carroll’s aerial threat…
    Yes. But that does not mean we have to concede headers if he stays on the pitch. We have to look at ourselves and we cannot influence the decision of the referee.

    on if he expected Carroll to start…
    No, I didn’t expect him to start at all. He has not played in the last five or six games.

    on why Arsenal struggled…
    It is difficult to go into any assessment of performances. I have to look at it again. I don’t think Koscielny was at fault at the goal. The first goal, when you are 2-0 up with 43 minutes played, with the experience we have and the way we mastered the ball, then at 45 minutes it is 2-2, you [put] yourself [in] a decline. This is because you give hope to the other team, that is where that little moment in the game made us pay heavily.

    on Ospina…
    The thinking [behind choosing Ospina] was that he has had some outstanding performances. With Petr Cech or David Ospina, we have exactly the same problem in the air. We didn’t concede in the last two games. Since the beginning of the season, we have had exactly the same problem, no matter who plays.

    on where it leaves Arsenal…
    Third in the league with 59 points. That is not where we want to be but we have made it much more difficult for ourselves now to have a chance to win the Premier League. We have to keep going no matter what and hope. You never know what can happen. As well, we have to look behind us as people are chasing us. We have to be serious and focus on finishing as high as possible. Where that is, I don’t know. This is one of the places where you could drop points but you see the game and feel guilty you have dropped points.

    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/20160409/wenger-on-carroll-ospina-and-the-draw#AATjYdedQAYlFZUj.99

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  13. I don’t care what the malcontent say, it was a good game and AFC did well both to establish a lead, and then to come back. The bit in the middle we did less good.

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  14. yes george there were some good bits, in fact some very good bits, done well to get a 2 goals lead, done well to make the comeback to get the draw, but that bit in the middle when we went from 2-0 up to 3-2 down, was just awful, and had the same bad traits that we have seen too often this season. As Wenger put it, “Since the beginning of the season, we have had exactly the same problem, no matter who plays.” There is a defensive frailty that looks to have cost us the title. Wenger once again mentioned that the team “eased off” once we got ahead, and “let them back in it”, this again is a recurring theme to our poor results this season. Its really looking like a season of what might have been, some of these players will never have a better chance at winning a BPL title, and they have let it slip,

    six games ago we beat LCFC to go 2pts off them, we now stand 10pts behind, with them having the chance to make it 13pts if they win tomorrow.

    I mentioned it earlier, this season we have had the problem of not being able to hang on for the final few minutes of the half, and also of quickly conceding a second goal once we let one in, and also of dropping our level of performance when we go ahead in games. Its infuriating to watch, especially considering how often we play great football to get ahead in the first place.
    I’m not at all sure what the reason(s) is, or how it/they can be fixed. Is it attitude, is it ability, is it tactics, is it belief. Can it be corrected with these players, if so why has it not been done already.

    Must once again praise Iwobi’s performance, two assists today from his wide left role, then done extremely well in CM. I hope he keeps this going.

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  15. HT: Man City 1-1 West Brom

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  16. Arsenal’s remaining fixtures:

    Crystal Palace H
    West Brom H
    Sunderland A
    Norwich H
    Manchester City A
    Aston Villa H

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  17. Really, Bath is a rugger playing city.

    Stew, thank you for your synopsis of your synapses and synergies. I trust our visotirs from the States, have enjoyed the game.

    If the players are 2 – 0 up, then as cyclists, they hope to free-wheel down to the half-time?

    What is a tea-break or coffee-break, but free-wheeling down hill! I would not employ smokers, full stop.

    Are one pr two of the Arsenal players looking for a quick drag of a Woodbine? So they still make Woodbines?

    COTG, remember Devon Loch! Is that a cliché, now?

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  18. Sniper ‏@clockendsniper 3h3 hours ago
    @DanielArsenal1 I was in front of someone who didn’t celebrate any of our goals who was just there to go on AFTV! sad

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  19. 20 minutes left – Man City 2-1 West Brom – if city win they go 2pts behind AFC

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  20. Our lot on twitter have no bottle for a fight. If our players were as weak as our supporters we would have lost this with ease. West Ham is a damn good team who haven’t lost at home since August. As Wenger alluded in his post game presser we weren’t expecting an aerial assault from West Ham and it showed in the first half.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. we knew there team one hour before kick off, once Carroll was in it, we surely should have expected an aerial assault, and with Carroll assaults of the other kind too.

    Koscielny after the game was critical of our wide midfielders and non defenders for not helping the defense enough, especially in stopping WHU having space out wide to cross from.

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