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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

bass guitar, making mistakes, buggering on regardless.

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

  1. Morning Stew,

    Today’s game does seem to have rushed round quickly with my loud crowing and strutting around the farmyard after Saturday’s thrashing of the ‘Ammers barely died down.

    From the comments of Mr Wenger yesterday it seems we will have a strong side out tonight in Basel, and so it should be. The purpose of a deep squad is to compete in every game, and both Ludgorets and the home side deserve our proper respect in the competition.

    In any event we have a decent break until Saturday to recover and prepare for some Stokey fun.

    Like

  2. Really Stew ? Even people that go on podcasts don’t know what’s best? Oh my.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Job completed Steww, well done and I don’t think you’ll be the only one thinking we’re playing a day early – it feels like most of our midweek games have been played on a Wednesday, can that be right? Probably not.

    The other oddity this season has been how many games we’ve kicked off at 3 on a Saturday. I can remember in the past going for months with any time other than the ‘correct’ one being the relative norm.

    Does this mean the TV powers-that-be are assuming they’ll be showing a lot of the Arse come the New Year? Despite this squad and all AFC squads not having the required mental toughness (according to the official narrative?).

    I have a feeling it’ll be a strong side out tonight, partly to offset against an unlikely PSG disaster, partly for fear of disrupting a winning line-up as happened last week in the Milk Cup.

    These are desperate days and nights for the WOB; the fewer scraps of comfort for them, the better.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. well if Wenger is being fully honest then our squad from whu sees one change, giroud for coquelin so that would mean our 18 man squad for tonight is

    Cech, Ospina

    Gabriel, Holding, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal, Gibbs

    Xhaka, Elneny, Ramsey, Ozil, Oxlade-Chamberlain

    Alexis, Walcott, Iwoboi, Giroud, Lucas

    so like any uber blog or super fan I demand from that 18 man squad our manager has said the team will come from that we select Maitland-Niles, Reine-Adelaide, Bielik, Willock and Zelalem, anything else and our manger needs to be committed as he is clearly senile.
    what you mean those lads are not in the squad, more proof that le prat has lost the plot.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. oh no what will we do, Liverpool have put a no sell to afc clause in Firmino’s contract, how will be ever survive, a no sell clause means they will not sell us a player we have no interest in buying. No wonder it is headline news.

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  6. What is the new job Stew? And what about our radio show?

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  7. Nothing special George just some part time stuff I picked up after the last thing fell apart. They call when they need me so it probably won’t be every Tuesday.

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  8. I trust this means you will not be neglecting your duties as my cultural consultant (literature and the moving image) ?

    I need to know what to read and to watch !

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I get more ideas from you than I ever come up with!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Read? My, that’s a blast from the past !

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  11. Steww caught with his pants down, thank god he only showed the photo of his top half.
    I wish I could write like that without any thought.
    Tonight should be interesting not just in our game but in some of the other groups as well game six at least gives us some certainties
    I expect the win however we all know how hard that can be away in Europe so COYG

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I am embarrassed and chastened that what was meant as an affectionate little leg-pull came across as a stinging rebuke. But if clouds do have silk purses then at least it has raIned gold in the form of yet another wonderful piece.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Forgive me Tim, for using you so. I worry that those I hold in the highest esteem might think ill of me. In consequence I have been known to exaggerate the mildest rebuke.
    By ‘have been known’ I of course mean always. By exaggerate I mean blow out of all reasonable proportion.

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  14. jeorge Bird ‏@jeorgebird 3h3 hours ago
    Arsenal U19 v Basel: Keto; Johnson, Da Graca, Bielik, T. Bola; McGuane, DaSilva; Reine-Adelaide, Mavididi, Nelson; Nketiah.
    Subs: Virginia, Osei-Tutu, Dragomir, Olowu, Eyoma, Malen, Coyle.

    Nketiah has put afc 1-0 up, with 10 minutes to play, afc need another goal to go through

    Like

  15. basel have made it 1-1 in injury time

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  16. FC Basel 1893 EN ‏@FC_Basel_en 31s31 seconds ago
    FULL TIME! | Basel 1-1 @Arsenal

    Like

  17. ZECH MEDLEY JOINS AS A SCHOLAR

    Young defender Zech Medley has joined our academy as a scholar.

    The 16 year-old came through the junior set-up at Chelsea and has represented England at youth level.

    He becomes the 12th member of our 2016/17 scholarship intake.
    We’d like to welcome Zech to Arsenal.

    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/20161206/zech-medley-joins-as-a-scholar#dGi2iMufbUmVfEHV.99

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  18. I was eventually persuaded to click on to the Firmino story.

    I have read some utter fucking rubbish in my time but this fantasy creates a new bar against which all future efforts must be judged. Fair play to his agent – eventually even I cracked.

    Absurd at every single level.

    Like

  19. playmakerstats ‏@playmaker_EN 38m38 minutes ago
    4⚽️!!!! – @EddieNketiah9 is STILL on 🔥 The #Arsenal man has hit the 40 mark in Youth goals for the #Gunners in just 48 games since 14/15.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. The arsenal game is on freeview tonight – BT Showcase – programme starts at 7

    Like

  21. Osman ‏@OsmanZtheGooner 1h1 hour ago
    Next 2 games will be officiated by;

    Arsenal – Stoke : Lee Mason

    Everton – Arsenal : Mark Clattenburg

    Like

  22. Osman ‏@OsmanZtheGooner 24h24 hours ago
    Chamberlain this season so far. (10 starts & 10 sub apps)

    6 Goals
    5 Assists

    Like

  23. Bring it on;

    Like

  24. Give it to Lucas

    Liked by 2 people

  25. World class team, World class bench COYG

    Liked by 2 people

  26. alexis to gibbs to lucas, goal

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  27. alexis to gibbs, shoots, keeper parries and lucas fires home

    Like

  28. Taken ill so didn’t make it to work. Still not all bad as I get to watch Arsenal. Good to see Perez score, strikers thrive when confident & they get their confidence from scoring so that’s all good.
    The only other things of note so far is how controlled and skillful young Noddy Holding is and what a revelation Gabriel has been at right back.

    Liked by 3 people

  29. Continues to be at right back I should say.

    Liked by 2 people

  30. “Give it to Lucas”

    I should get money

    Liked by 3 people

  31. Why does this Xhaka fellow keep playing the ball to Basel players

    Liked by 1 person

  32. you know Pep fucked up, he should have bought Ospina if he wanted a keeper good with the ball at his feet.

    Like

  33. HT: Basel 0-2 Arsenal

    Lucas with both goals, hope he gets a third, just to see if that gets him excited enough to celebrate scoring

    PSG 0-1 Ludogorets

    good good

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Robin BairnerVerified account@RBairner
    #PSG have had 11 efforts in the first 27 minutes agains Ludogorets. Yet to score. Bulgarians scored only shot so far.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Rio wants to know where Lucas was the last few weeks, imagine getting paid for showing as little knowledge of the subject they are hired to talk about.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. So far I feel as though I’m basking in a beautiful, warm, relaxing bath with loads of bubbles……alone I must add

    Liked by 5 people

  37. Gibbs sees Monreal’s pull back to Walcott and raises him with two crosses for Perez.

    Interesting night’s football so far.

    Liked by 3 people

  38. Besiktas having a mare, they started the night in second spot in their group, with their two main rivals playing other, and they are losing 4-0 at ht, away to bottom side dynamo kiev

    Liked by 1 person

  39. hattrick for lucas, gibbs the supplier again

    Like

  40. defensively not awake enough for a quick corner and basel have a free header six yards out, thankfully wide

    Like

  41. wengerball, ozil gives iwobi a tap in

    Liked by 1 person

  42. Happy for Iwobi, stuff not coming off for him as easily as it was earlier in the season so good for his confidence to get a goal. Involved right at the start of the move too.

    Liked by 1 person

  43. Loved the Post, steww,

    Saying that – I was just a little concerned by your initial sentence referring to catching you with your pants down – not that I want to be judgemental – but for the sake of my well known probity in such matters – I would like to make it clear that ‘it weren’t me Guv cos I was attempting to be in flagrante myself somewhere else with a feminine, female personage innit?’ (lol)

    Feeling well chuffed at the mo’ with the Gunners being 0 : 4 up at Basle.

    Liked by 1 person

  44. Alexis with a great freekick, it was heading for the left of the goal and it swung back to the right with the keeper stranded, it hit the bar and came out

    Like

  45. Giroud and Elneny come on for Alexis and Ramsey

    psg 1-2 Ludogorets

    Liked by 2 people

  46. PSG 1 : 2 Ludicrous

    Liked by 2 people

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