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Arsenal Versus Aston Villa: Mozart’s Requiem

tomas-rosicky

So here we are. The goal posts are down in the local park. What used to be a pitch is now just a playing field. Bristol Rovers have won their by now customary promotion and I have one more blog to write before crossing my feet on the desk and lacing my fingers together behind my head. The long football free desert stretches ahead of us, just one day away.

Once again we have something to play for right to the end, a reason to look forward to the day, and a reason to be very, very sad. We may be fortunate and see Tomáš Rosický play today, we may have already seen him kick his last ball in an Arsenal shirt. Just typing that leaves a horrible taste in my mouth. Each time the world of football loses someone who plays with the panache and invention of our number seven the beautiful game loses a little of its beauty.

The sparkle of his game, the impudence and flair have been nothing but a joy to watch and while I appreciate all those bemoaning the time he didn’t play due to a horrid history of injuries I prefer to concentrate upon all of the visionary cross-field passes, the balletic pirouettes and glorious goals; especially those scored against Spurs.

He cannot score against them today but in the extraordinarily unlikely event of them losing against Newcastle wouldn’t be a poetic and beautiful moment were he to score the winner for us against Villa? A famous and fitting finale to the career of a fine player. We can but dream.

This has been a fascinating season and it’s been a privilege to share it with you. I know my match day previews have strayed from the point, disappeared down avenues of self indulgence and often rambled on a little longer than some of you might like, but in truth the words here at the top of the page have never been any more than a conversation starter. It is in the comment section that a blog comes to life, that is where the real gems of wit and wisdom can always be found.

Like you I believed that beating Chelsea in the Charity Shield at Wembley all those months ago heralded the start of a glorious season. I had high hopes for an historic third successive FA Cup win and secretly thought the league might be ours for the taking. We all know what happened. The by now customary injury crisis, Spurs and Leicester having the seasons of their lives and a lack of consistency all bedevilled our league campaign. The fact that we had ‘one of those days’ against Watford in the cup simply showed what an amazing achievement back to back victories in that competition really were. To play so many highly competitive games and avoid having ‘one of those days’ took some doing and as much as it will hurt not to be going back to Wembley again we must applaud the previous victories and not revel in a rare defeat.

Speaking of Wembley I must raise a glass to the Arsenal Ladies FA Cup victory yesterday. A genuinely incredible record of fourteen wins should be shouted from the rooftops and while the competition is still seen as the poor relation to the men’s tournament it is, as far as I’m concerned, a victory for an Arsenal team against Chelsea – what more reason does anyone need to celebrate?

Before we get into the whole guessing game as to summer transfers and the outcome of next season can I beg we focus on this afternoon? Then after today I promise I’ll leave you to your orgy of speculation and ill informed clap trap and I won’t interfere not even to tut from the sidelines. Today Arsenal still have a job to do.

Obviously our side cannot control events at St James’ Park, but we still have to beat a Villa team for whom this is truly a match with no expectations and no pressure. Such a relaxation of the normal tensions can sometimes undo a side, robbing them of the vital will to win, the passion they need to overcome the odds and beat one of the very best teams in the land. Perversely however that same release of tension can free a side up to play an expansive and exciting game, trying the unexpected and, if they’re lucky, getting away with it.

The last time we ended a campaign against Villa was of course at Wembley and we all remember how that went. A repetition today of the controlled, professional passing game with which we overwhelmed them in the cup final would do just nicely – add to that a miracle on Tyneside and I would approach the summer break a very contented blogger indeed.

I think a lot of us will look back on this season like an episode of Bullseye. ‘Let’s have a look at what you could have won’. We seemed to be climbing to the top of the tree with a side more than capable of winning the thing. Chelsea’s implosion – or rather that of their petulant, hapless manager- and Man City’s inconsistency seemed to have left the door at the top ajar. With Man United and Liverpool no longer credible title challengers it became increasingly obvious that someone outside of the usual winners was going to have a very special season. Sadly for us our patched up injury ravaged side went out altered and disjointed just too many times. When they did have a period of settled selection there were inexplicable defeats and matches drawn which might have been won.

But there it is. We don’t come here to bemoan what might have been, we gather together to celebrate the good and to cheer on our heroes. Next season will be different. For me I mean. I can say that as a certainty because I’ll have to choose a new favourite player. With Tomáš gone who will carry the burden of my hopes? Which player will have me sit that little further forward in my seat? Who will send a thrill of expectation down my spine whenever the ball comes near him? There are a few likely candidates and who knows – it might even be someone entirely new to the club. But that can all wait for another day. Let’s finish the job in hand, have a lovely long rest away from football and come back refreshed and invigorated for another season.

I lift my lucky Arsenal mug to you one more time, and, if I may, propose we all raise a glass to our number seven, may he enjoy a long and happy retirement, thanks for the memories and up the Arsenal.

 

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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168 comments on “Arsenal Versus Aston Villa: Mozart’s Requiem

  1. A reception inside the ground l during and after the match for two much admired players not forgetting Flamini that we can all be proud of.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. 2014 – 4
    2015 – 3
    2016 – 2

    Anybody know anything about mathematical sequences?

    Liked by 5 people

  3. What a wonderful day. Thank you Tottingham for the cherry on the top of the icing on the cake! Glad for our rubbish striker to finish the season with a hat-trick and lovely to see our departing players – it was a little emotional, but there is obviously genuine affection for them within the club and in the stadium.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. ‘I WILL NEVER FORGET THIS CLUB’

    Mikel Arteta faced the media after making his final Arsenal appearance, against Aston Villa on Sunday. You can read a full transcript of his interview below:
    on his emotions of the day…
    It’s a day I will never forget, I can only thank everyone for how you have all behaved with me and my family in those magnificent five years. When you leave the club is when you see what you mean to people and how you feel about the club. My emotions and the way I feel about the people cannot be any better. I was very scared about this day because 99 per cent, that was my last game as a professional footballer. I can’t even talk. I feel very honoured to play for this club and captain this place. This club is class and once you are here you never forget it. It’s going to be hard for me to move on, but I really enjoyed today.
    on whether he will claim the last goal…
    I don’t know. I couldn’t write a better script probably. The boys have been absolutely magnificent with me in the last two days. The things I’ve experienced will stay with me for the rest of my life. I always tried to look after them, to do my best. Even if we had some difficult moments, but at least we got this club back to winning ways again. We won some trophies. Also a big to thank you to the manager and the staff, for giving me this opportunity to say goodbye to the football world as a player. The way the supporters and the fans behaved with me, it’s just how I feel. It’s a dream come true.

    on the final whistle…
    I love competing and I love this game. I wanted to decide when the time was to leave. I preferred to make that decision myself, and not the other away around. In my opinion, I’m leaving the best club in England for sure. I’m very happy because the people and the manager have been unbelievable for me these last few weeks. They have left the doors open for me at this club. That means a lot.

    on his next step…
    I have to take some time. I’m 99 per cent sure I will stop playing football. I have different options now to continue in relation to this magnificent sport. I need to sit down with my family and decide what is best for me and for football in general in the next chapter.
    on clinching second…
    I think as the last day it is very special, and very good as I know how important it was for the fans to finish above Spurs. We are disappointed, because this group of players have the ability to win the Premier League. We have not managed to do it and I have to say sorry as captain, not to be able to lead this club to what we wanted. But at the same time, I know the guts of this club and people can be very honoured and grateful for what people do inside, because it can’t get much better than that.
    image: http://www.arsenal.com/assets/_files/scaled/431×310/may_16/zp_GettyImages-531591128_3491.jpg

    image: http://www.arsenal.com/assets/_files/scaled/246×310/may_16/zp_GettyImages-531586134_2518.jpg

    image: http://www.arsenal.com/assets/_files/scaled/273×310/may_16/zp_GettyImages-531586152_5838.jpg

    image: http://www.arsenal.com/assets/_files/scaled/209×310/may_16/zp_GettyImages-531586158_7494.jpg

    image: http://www.arsenal.com/assets/_files/scaled/262×310/may_16/zp_GettyImages-531586164_6216.jpg

    image: http://www.arsenal.com/assets/_files/scaled/255×310/may_16/zp_GettyImages-531586180_9600.jpg

    image: http://www.arsenal.com/assets/_files/scaled/431×310/may_16/zp_GettyImages-531591128_3491.jpg

    ‘I WILL NEVER FORGET THIS CLUB’

    Mikel Arteta faced the media after making his final Arsenal appearance, against Aston Villa on Sunday. You can read a full transcript of his interview below:

    on his emotions of the day…
    It’s a day I will never forget, I can only thank everyone for how you have all behaved with me and my family in those magnificent five years. When you leave the club is when you see what you mean to people and how you feel about the club. My emotions and the way I feel about the people cannot be any better. I was very scared about this day because 99 per cent, that was my last game as a professional footballer. I can’t even talk. I feel very honoured to play for this club and captain this place. This club is class and once you are here you never forget it. It’s going to be hard for me to move on, but I really enjoyed today.

    on whether he will claim the last goal…
    I don’t know. I couldn’t write a better script probably. The boys have been absolutely magnificent with me in the last two days. The things I’ve experienced will stay with me for the rest of my life. I always tried to look after them, to do my best. Even if we had some difficult moments, but at least we got this club back to winning ways again. We won some trophies. Also a big to thank you to the manager and the staff, for giving me this opportunity to say goodbye to the football world as a player. The way the supporters and the fans behaved with me, it’s just how I feel. It’s a dream come true.

    on the final whistle…
    I love competing and I love this game. I wanted to decide when the time was to leave. I preferred to make that decision myself, and not the other away around. In my opinion, I’m leaving the best club in England for sure. I’m very happy because the people and the manager have been unbelievable for me these last few weeks. They have left the doors open for me at this club. That means a lot.

    on his next step…
    I have to take some time. I’m 99 per cent sure I will stop playing football. I have different options now to continue in relation to this magnificent sport. I need to sit down with my family and decide what is best for me and for football in general in the next chapter.

    on clinching second…
    I think as the last day it is very special, and very good as I know how important it was for the fans to finish above Spurs. We are disappointed, because this group of players have the ability to win the Premier League. We have not managed to do it and I have to say sorry as captain, not to be able to lead this club to what we wanted. But at the same time, I know the guts of this club and people can be very honoured and grateful for what people do inside, because it can’t get much better than that.

    image: http://www.arsenal.com/assets/_files/scaled/431×310/may_16/zp_GettyImages-531591128_3491.jpg

    image: http://www.arsenal.com/assets/_files/scaled/246×310/may_16/zp_GettyImages-531586134_2518.jpg

    image: http://www.arsenal.com/assets/_files/scaled/273×310/may_16/zp_GettyImages-531586152_5838.jpg

    image: http://www.arsenal.com/assets/_files/scaled/209×310/may_16/zp_GettyImages-531586158_7494.jpg

    image: http://www.arsenal.com/assets/_files/scaled/262×310/may_16/zp_GettyImages-531586164_6216.jpg

    image: http://www.arsenal.com/assets/_files/scaled/255×310/may_16/zp_GettyImages-531586180_9600.jpg

    image: http://www.arsenal.com/assets/_files/scaled/431×310/may_16/zp_GettyImages-531591128_3491.jpg

    image: http://www.arsenal.com/assets/_files/scaled/246×310/may_16/zp_GettyImages-531586134_2518.jpg

    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/20160515/-i-will-never-forget-this-club-#g8sABlS23Wi3xu8J.99

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  5. WENGER ON ARTETA, ROSICKY, TOTTENHAM

    Arsène Wenger faced the media after Arsenal’s 4-0 win against Aston Villa on Sunday. You can read a full transcript of his press conference below:

    on whether this season has been a success…
    There’s a lot of negatives in your question. You have to say Leicester have had a sensational championship because they only lost three games. It’s not only us who are behind Leicester. We have beaten them twice so you should ask that question to all the other teams. We are not happy by being second, but 18 other teams who finished below us would be happy to be in our position. Of course our target was to be first. For a while we believed we could do it. I always knew the second part of the season would be tough because we had to go to so many difficult places, like United, City, Tottenham, Liverpool. We had many difficult away games and I knew that our position in the end would depend on us getting through these difficult games without damage and Leicester dropping points. It’s not only on us. Tottenham were in a better position than us for a long, long period and City as well. We kept going until the end and at a period where it was very difficult for us, we kept our togetherness and we have now not lost in nine games. That mental strength we have in the dressing room got us through that period.

    on transfers…
    I’m not the only one who can decide that because when you buy players you need the player to agree and the clubs to agree to sell them. But we will try.

    on finishing second…
    We are second in the league and we want to be first. But if you are not first, you might as well be 10th or 12th. You might as well say that first is good and the rest is rubbish. In sport, when you work in a football club you know that every win you have to fight and prepare more. We want to win more. We want to be first. But as well, we have made over 70 points in the Premier League and it is not easy.
    on it looking like Spurs would finish above Arsenal…
    It looked for many years like that.

    on whether it is a special day…
    I agree with you that we did not start the season saying we want to finish above Tottenham. But we wanted to win the league and I agree with you there is a frustration because we didn’t win the league. Today, we could only play with the target we had and the only one we had before the game was to finish second. We achieved it. For a while our supporters have not been going home happy from here – at least today they had some satisfaction.

    on Tomas Rosicky…
    It shows that in football there are still positive emotions. Tomas Rosicky was first an exceptional football player and highly respected in our dressing room. It was a very sad day for me yesterday not being able to pick him to be in the squad today because there was something at stake. We lose him. We lose Arteta – two exceptional football players but also two leaders in the dressing room. I am convinced that in the bad periods they were a positive influence on the squad and we will miss them next season. So I would like to thank them for what they have done and wish them the best of luck.

    on whether Arsenal could finish higher with Wilshere and Cazorla fit…
    Yes, as first of all I could have rotated a little bit more. You have more variety in offensive game and they are creative players. We played 14 or 15 games more than Leicester. The importance of having your important players available has an impact after a while.

    on the lap of honour outshining protests…
    It is a positive feeling. I am not masochistic enough to love… to be rude… I am in a public job and I accept criticism. I think I have proved in 20 years that I accept being criticised. My target is to keep everyone happy but unfortunately I don’t manage to do it always.

    on whether Aston Villa are good enough to come straight back up…
    Villa is a club who will be sold, I have heard, so it is down to who will buy it, how quickly, what will be the technical policy of the club and investment, and how you recover mentally. As most of the time it is very difficult to cope especially a club who has not been used to drop you know. How quickly you an renew the squad and adjust. But villa should normally stay one year in the Championship.

    on Wilshere and Walcott…
    Jack is fit. Theo has a little hamstring problem. He is sharp but not available. If he is selected tomorrow he is available for Euros.

    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/20160515/wenger-on-arteta-rosicky-tottenham#AmQo64zahUMfHqT3.99

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  6. Ridiculous I know but I haven’t laughed as much as I did this afternoon for years. And am still chuckling. And actually not so much at the Spuds and their supporters but more to some of the shits who pupport to follow our club and who were so glad when they thought we were going to drift into 5th place way behind our neighbours. And of course Henry Winter and his like and the whole BBC crew not to mention the talk sport shite shits. So they can fuck right off and when they have fucked off as far as they can they can keep on fucking off for as long as they like and it still wont be far enough for me. Because every single day of this season and no doubt every one before that they have gone out of the way to try to

    Liked by 6 people

  7. discredit us and do us down. So well played the team and the manager and also every one of the sunshine bus crew who almost alone have kept the faith.

    Liked by 7 people

  8. when you see Arteta’s after match interview, with him barely able to hold back the tears, and you consider how so many of our fans show disrespect towards him, yet freely band about the term “Arsenal legend”, for rats who ran out on the club in its hours of need.
    Mikel Arteta, A True Arsenal Legend.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. just spare a thought for spurs fans, for a minute put yourself in their shoes, just think about the last 20 years(no point going all the way back to when the last won the league, that was in black and white times) of being a Spurs fan,

    season 1995-96 had just ended with your side in 8th, only 2pts below 5th place Arsenal, but manager Gerry Francis was saying all the right things(as he shakes his head from side to side), and AFC just days before the new season starts are in turmoil, and sack their manager, Bruce Rioch, and better still they appoint some tall gangly bespectacled french guy who has been out managing in soccer backwater Japan, Arsene Wenger is the name. London is white is the thought.

    Wenger joins your rivals after the start to the season, they go out of Europe tamely, and whats this, scandal, Wenger is sacked, allegations of child abuse, it all proves to be false, and he has not been sacked, but hey things looked bright for spurs at that time.
    Now fast forward over the next twenty seasons,(fast forward cos if you took your time you could get suicidal) Arsene who is now the leagues longest serving manager, has won 3 league titles, one of which was won at WHL, and one that was unbeaten, add in 6 FA Cups, AFC have a big impressive stadium and despite “spiral of negativity”, “mind the gap”, “power shift”, and many other bullshit soundbites created and/or lapped up by the media, spurs have two league cup wins and never finished above Arsenal in the 20 seasons, no matter how below par Arsenal have been, or how big a lead spurs have eked out (10 with 10 game to go at one point), and a list of mangers that reads Gerry Francis, Christian Gross, George Graham, Glenn Hoddle, Jacques Santini, Martin Jol, Juande Ramos, Harry Redknapp, André Villas-Boas, Tim Sherwood, Mauricio Pochettino
    so now that you have spared a thought for what spurs fans have been through over the last twenty years, put yourself back to your normal Arsenal supporting self, and stop laughing so hard at spurs, or you’ll do yourself an injury.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. is it true the man u game was called off cos a security training device was left behind in one of the toilets, almost as funny as newcastle 5-1 spurs

    Like

  11. full arteta interview

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Shout out to Passenal and Andy 5
    Classy people . Enjoyed the pre-match conversation

    As for result? never in doubt.

    Liked by 5 people

  13. Eddy
    I’m calling it now.
    Cheating.

    Like

  14. Shötta ‏@shotta_gooner 55m55 minutes ago
    I knew of MOTD b4 going to England, but seeing it live, it’s scary how they influence the football narrative & exploit an anti Arsenal bias

    Like

  15. afcstuff ‏@afcstuff 3h3 hours ago
    This is the first season since 2003/04 that Arsenal didn’t lose to any of the other top 4 clubs.
    Arsenal results vs. top 4 this season:
    Leicester (A) 5-2
    Spurs (H) 1-1
    Man City (H) 2-1
    Leicester (H) 2-1
    Spurs (A) 2-2
    Man City (A) 2-2

    Liked by 1 person

  16. so no penalty for Arsenal in any of our 19 home BPL games this season.

    Like

  17. New post up

    Like

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