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Arsenal Versus Basel: What Year Is This? Who Is The President?

I Give Up

I must confess you’ve caught me with my pants down this morning. I woke up still reeling from a stinging rebuke delivered by our very own Foreverheady, which reproof came in response to some perhaps ill advised and waspish comments I made last night. I was responding to the childish and frankly embarrassing shambles which was the BBC’s idea of how to present an FA Cup draw. The puerile humour, the schoolboy giggling, the whole flatulent, uncomfortable performance was in such contrast to the measured, solemn, suited draws of memory that I felt moved to pass comment.

I have only myself to blame. Why was I watching it anyway? The matches won’t be played until next year and I am fairly confident I would have heard the details of the fixtures before then. In any case Tim thought I was being a little snobbish in my reaction and if I came across like that I apologise. I have nothing against inarticulate working classes cocking their legs in the palaces of the mighty. In fact, I’m all for it.

What gets my goat is when the media is deliberately designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator. It is a phenomenon which gives rise to the likes of Robbie Savage and Michael Owen. It patronises and insults the audience and actively assists the growth of a society in which a minister of the crown can state that “people in this country have had enough of experts” and not damage the cause for which he is campaigning.

Anyway, I think I deduced among the barnyard mooing, clucking and cooing that Arsenal will face a trip to Deepdale where they’ll play Preston North End. There was once a time when this would have been a clash of footballing titans, a ‘super Sunday’ in the revolting modern parlance, but such are the vagaries of the sport that Preston now languish in the second division.

Had we played them in the first ever league season we would have been very much the underdogs. Preston went on to win the title without losing a match and the FA Cup without conceding a goal. As it is the game will be the clash of the only two invincible teams in the history of the English game.

But that is all for the future. I mentioned at the top of the page that you had caught me somewhat in flagrante. This is because, as I strapped on my sleep apnoea mask last night and commenced an attempt at seven hours of the dreamless restorative, little did I suspect that at seven forty five ack emma on the following day I’d be bashing away at the old Logitech trying to think of something to say about football. I had it in my head that we were playing on Wednesday. Or that today was Monday. Or that this world is in fact an illusion and that I am merely an aspect of a greater consciousness experiencing itself in an abstract and fanciful manner.

Whichever excuse fits best, rest assured that I had forgotten there was a blog to write. It appears that tonight sees the final act in this season’s Champion’s League group stage. A stage the manager and his charges can look back on with no small satisfaction. Unbeaten, even by the favourites, separated from them only by the most ludicrous rule in football, we are already guaranteed to progress to the knock-out phase.

It is a moot point as to whether finishing first or second will be an advantage this year but do you know what? If we want to reach the final we’re going to need to beat a couple of decent teams along the way so there’s no point in bleating about when that might happen.

The very little reading I’ve done on tonight’s fixture in what passes, laughably, for research suggests two things. One, there is no point in playing as we are already certain to finish second. This is at best illogical, untrue, counter factual and just plain made up. Two, Arsène had better play a very much weakened team or else there are going to be some terribly cross people on twitter tonight.

I view the proceedings somewhat differently. The people who say we are bound to come second are in all probability the same people who told us we’d finish below Spurs last season. They need to throw out the ouija board and just let events unfold. As far as team selection goes I have a very strong suspicion that the manager, his coaches, fitness staff and medical team will all feed into the ultimate decision and they will bring knowledge to bear that even the most widely read and respected Arsenal bloggers simply do not have.

I let the mechanic tell me what’s wrong with my car, I let the surgeon decide which bits to chop out of me and I let the club’s greatest ever manager pick the team. I’m not saying it isn’t fun to speculate, of course it is. I’d accept favourable odds that many of you are busy wondering just what is going to be under the Christmas tree this year. Speculation is fun, and we all indulge.

The point isn’t that you shouldn’t enjoy hypothesising over the line up. It is rather that it’s silly to praise or criticise the manager about it without having the faintest idea of the reasoning behind his decisions. It is up to Santa what he brings you and it’s up to Arsène who he picks. You don’t have the relevant information to second guess either of these fine old men as they go about a job you simply are not qualified to do in their place.

Well that’s enough of all that, I have to get my porridge cooking and I have to go to work this evening and have much to achieve in the interim. I will not get any of it done trying to fill this page. Fancy starting a new job on a Tuesday evening when Arsenal play in the Champion’s League. What a fool. Unless of course I’m supposed to start tomorrow. I’m really not very good at all this you know.

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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85 comments on “Arsenal Versus Basel: What Year Is This? Who Is The President?

  1. Xhaka major is a tidy player

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Shame for Holding making a mistake while trying to play the ball out of defence. I suppose better to make a mistake trying to do the right thing.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Wanderson

    Like

  4. “Arsenal in clean sheet nightmare”

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Scores for Ludo

    Liked by 1 person

  6. FT: Basel 1-4 Arsenal

    comfortable

    lucas with a hattrick, iwobi with the other, the only regret of the night, Alexis freekick not going in, it would have been a wonder goal.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Group winners

    Never in doubt

    Liked by 2 people

  8. FT: PSG 2-2 Ludogorets

    Arsenal top the group, fuck that, I was promised a crisis, its only papering over the cracks

    Liked by 4 people

  9. Mason now under major pressure

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Paddy Power ‏@paddypower 11h11 hours ago
    Finally some good Champions League news for Tottenham fans. This group stage mug is now half price. Order now in time for Christmas.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. FK³ ‏@fkhanage 55m55 minutes ago
    In 47 minutes, Lucas Perez has scored the same number of goals as Spurs have scored in their entire Champions League campaign this season.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. reminder of a Wenger quote from earlier in the season

    “I’m sorry Rob Holding didn’t cost £55M”

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Well fuck my old boots Steww called it again … well near enough.
    Great to see Mezut Gibbs get a hat-trick of assist and Perez convert them all.
    Commentary was as funny as ever with keown suggesting this game was a big stage maybe the clues in the title “Champions league ” and of course the funny scouser who kept referring to Basil as if he was watching an episode of faulty towers .
    At the end of the day this squad is amazing and with a bit of luck the trophies will come.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. OptaJoe ‏@OptaJoe 3h3 hours ago
    3 – Basel have won their last 3 @ChampionsLeague home games against English clubs (Man Utd in ’11, Chelsea in ’13, Liverpool in ’14). Tough.

    Like

  15. ian what i found the most amusing about mr Basil, was how fucking miserable he sounded, I’ve seen happier people at a funeral

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Considering that the conventional wisdom was that Arsenal field an EFL team as 1st was conceded to PSG before a ball was kicked, can all the know-it-all bloggers, AFTV morons and the media in general shut the fuck up and NEVER question Arsene ever again?

    Naaaaaah, not gonna happen!

    The same idiots who moan about lack of ambition from the team are the first to throw in the towel and concede defeat in the face of probable (but no way near certain) adversity. Never more proud to claim the AKB title.

    Arsene bloody fucking knows.

    Finally, now that the team has met all the targets set for it up to this moment, the next thing to do is instigate our players whose contracts are being renewed with unfair pressure on the Arsenal management. If none of the predicted crises come to pass, just manufacture new ones.

    I don’t want to be hyperbolic here but is anybody here aware of other teams being put under pressure like this while their star players are renegotiating their contracts?

    Liked by 3 people

  17. Iwobi looked a bit out of his depth, Good that Arsene could leave him on, he might have suffered if he had been hooked?
    Mesut is magic.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Very little being said about Rooney contract moving in the final year Boo

    Odd that !

    Liked by 3 people

  19. what have the following teams in common

    Leicester
    Watford
    Southampton
    PSG
    Hull
    Nottingham Forrest
    Chelsea
    Basel
    Burnley
    Swansea
    Ludogorets
    Middlesborough
    Reading
    Sunderland
    Ludogorets (again)
    Spurs
    Man utd
    PSG (again)
    Bournemouth
    West Ham
    Basel (again)

    clue to the question is – Arsenal have only played two decent (not great) teams this season

    papering over the cracks

    Like

  20. on the Alexis freekick that hit the bar, a commentator on irish tv thought due to the amount of swerve on it that it had taken a deflection, it wasnt till he seen the replay that he realized how good it was

    Liked by 2 people

  21. OptaJoe ‏@OptaJoe 6m6 minutes ago
    33 – There were 33 passes before Lucas Perez’s second goal v Basel, no goal in the @ChampionsLeague has seen more passes this season. Move.

    Liked by 3 people

  22. Mesut Özil ‏@MesutOzil1088 12m12 minutes ago
    Group winners! 😎 Thanks for the assist @Ludogorets1945! 👍🏼😉 #YaGunnersYa #FCBvAFC @Arsenal

    Liked by 2 people

  23. brian kerr the former republic of ireland manager is doing an assassination job on Lucas performance tonight
    but bragging about how good iwobi was

    Like

  24. lucas joins Thierry Henry, Nicklas Bendtner, Danny Welbeck, Olivier Giroud and Mesut Ozil in scoring a champions league hattrick for AFC.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. John ‏@John_AFC_Gooner 31m31 minutes ago
    The last time Arsenal won their Champions League group unbeaten was in the 2005/06 season. They went on to reach the final. #COYG

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Fantastic result – Kos was right we did our job, which was all we could do and fortune in the form of Ludogorets, gave us a helping hand on the night. I think PSG’s problem indicated by the way they celebrated the 2 – 2 at Emirates, was that they assumed top spot was a foregone conclusion. But football is a funny old game at times.

    I’m glad for Kieran that he had such an influential game tonight as I could not believe the media efforts to link him away from the club in January. He never complains about not playing every game and when he does play, he never lets the team down. Why would the club want to move him on and why would he want to go when he is getting regular opportunities in a top club?

    Liked by 2 people

  27. WENGER ON LUCAS AND LAST-16 DRAW

    Lucas Perez stole the headlines with a hat-trick in our 4-1 win against Basel at St. Jakob-Park on Tuesday night.
    The Spanish forward followed two close-range finishes with a clinical strike into the bottom corner to send us on our way to topping Group A, and Arsène Wenger was quick to single out his summer signing for praise in his post-match press conference.

    on Lucas…
    The first two looked like quite easy goals, and were what we call tap-ins in England, but they were created by the team and you have to be there to finish. The first goal is a real striker’s goal. He scored more than 20 goals in Spain last season and he has shown why. He has an eye for goal and good movement in the box, which is why he scores.

    on a brave team selection…
    We had a good start, were quite mobile and technically very agile as well. The speed of our start surprised Basel and it was a convincing performance. Once again our squad system has worked well since the start of the season.

    on how pleased he is to finish top and who he wants to avoid…
    I don’t even know who we can get because I don’t know the results of the night, but as I told you before, we can still have a difficult draw. It will be difficult but we will have less guilt because we feel we’ve done the job by finishing first, and we play our second game at home. That’s what we wanted. After that, I said that there is not much difference in the draw, certainly not at the moment.

    on his satisfaction at the two results…
    I cannot complain. We played some nice football and it’s a nice night for us. We came here and wanted to do the job, to play well and on top of that we were lucky with the Paris Saint-Germain result. It was a positive night.

    Read more at http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/20161207/wenger-on-lucas-and-last-16-draw#SsfXhZL7sLQKsXEK.99

    Like

  28. Not having a moan here (okay, maybe I am) but it’s been only 12 hours and I am already tired of the “Arsenal top group thanks to Ludogerets” idiotic talking point. It is akin to winning the league and thanking a team that escaped relegation due to taking points off your closest rivals. Talking points like this shows how logically deficient we are becoming a society/species. It is disappointing to see Ozil start the “thanks Ludogerets” nonsense.

    I understand the feeling of relief that we get from their result against PSG and it is only human to be grateful whenever we get breaks but not all breaks are favours. And this clearly isn’t.

    Arsene took a strong team to Romania because, as he said after the game, Ludogerets are a good team which he believed were capable of getting a result. And for the umpteenth time, the great man was proven right. But unlike when Newcastle put 5 past the scum of North London after having been relegated to send us into 2nd spot, this was no favour. In fact, Arsenal did Ludo a favour by enabling them to qualify for Europa because we ensured Basel got a worse result than them.

    I am complaining about this because I know how quickly we rewrite events and toss nuanced facts into the garbage heap of history. Considering the fact that Arsenal already qualified for the round of 16 in CL and the fact that coming 1st in the group doesn’t guarantee an easy route into the quarter finals (because of the calibre of the teams that are likely end up as groups’ runners up), our coming 1st might not serve us well at all.

    It is always great to win and I will always pick coming 1st in the group to coming 2nd any day, and Ludogerets’ result from yesterday is why this is possible, but let’s not forget that Ludogerets are only in the Europa (which I think must be a big deal for them) because of what we did to Basel. Ludogerets and their fans should be thanking Arsenal; it shouldn’t be the other way round.

    Liked by 3 people

  29. New post up – I have copied your comment to the next post Boo

    Like

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