A Draw Leaves A sour Taste.


Hello positives, talk about download (5)mixed emotions?

I’m pleased for Emery, he had a plan and the players bought into it and he got what, before the game, would have been considered a good result. Whatever your long standing feeling about Spurs are, they’re a decent outfit and have been consistently good for a few years now, so a draw at their rented home, is a good point. Of course it’s great to win but if we drew with all our top 6 rivals, away from home we would be in great shape.Our head coach has come in for some criticism of late (not least from yours truly) but I think his team selection and tactics were vindified, so credit where it’s due.

That said, personally I don’t likes to accept being second best and setting up expecting  to be dominated, but that’s his style and I, like everyone else, will have to get used to it and try to enjoy it as best we can. I felt they were woefully short of confidence and it was an opportunity to go at the all guns blazing, In other words play Ozil and Ramsey, but I can’t even play Football Manager, let alone pick a real team. But I digress.

I’m very happy for Ramsey, that in his last NLD, he scored a goal that will remain in our memories for life, as he will, or at least as he should. What a great player and pro. he has been for us.

I’m glad that the awful officiating didn’t get to us as it sometimes seemed to do in the past. There was real fight and togetherness right through the team.

There is no need for me to describe the action that everyone has seen, all I will say is I thought it was a decent performance, not classic by any means, but that will do away from home for the time being.

I’m disappointed that Mustafi had a brain fart (he didn’t know Kane should have been flagged off side), the action itself was a foul and a penalty.

Final emotion is that off annoyance that Aubameyang squandered the chance to bag all three points with what can only be described as a pathetic spot kick.

So there you have it – mixed emotions.




Arsenal Need To Use Their Heads Before Spurs Lose Theirs (again).



Arsenal’s best chance for an away win in a big ‘un – writes @LaboGoon

If we thought last weekend was eventful in English football, midweek said ‘hold my beer’.

It was happy hour at the Emirates (of course), ‘out with the (not so) old in with the new’ for a few managers and for one manager the Premier League title chase came to an abrupt end (don’t laugh) … and here we go again.

Good day one and all.

Of the fixtures to look out for on the football calendar it always includes the North London Derbies; and as we make the short trip to Wembley to face Tottenham Hotspurs, it’s Arsenal who will want to build on the gains of these last two weeks.

Following two league defeats in five days the home side (read: squatters) will be licking their wounds, both mentally and physically.  Now there’s a few pundits who will dress this up as “it’s the best thing that could of happened to them”, because, you know, it keeps their egos in check.  Well Saint Pochettino, life came at him fast as he was ready to punch somebody’s lights out.

There they were leisurely cruising along to at least a 3rd place finish and boom, they now find themselves looking over their shoulder with Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea closing in, and, should they lose today, the stakes will be raised even further as the battle for top-four will be one of the major talking points in the run-in.

The Gunners go in to this game on the back of three wins on the bounce (all competitions) but here’s the rub … that was at the Emirates where we do well regardless and this season we have not travelled well against top-six opposition (D1, L3).

Hell, who am I kidding, we don’t travel well period.

We won just one of our last seven away league games (D2, L4) so the challenge will now be to see if we can keep our tails up, because with Pochettino having a few concerns there is the hope that we have caught them at the most opportune time.

Now there’s an argument that in derbies, form, or lack thereof, goes out the window and that one Harry Kane usually enjoy this ‘home’ fixture, but one also can’t ignore that he doesn’t seem to have brought his talents back with him from injury.

In no way am I implying this is our match to lose. In most, if not all, big games of this nature the home side usually has the edge though it is hard to ignore Spurs not looking so smooth at present.

Three wins on the bounce is nothing to scoff at, no matter the quality of the opposition, and we’ve done that using some mesmerizing creative passing missing from our game in weeks prior.  If Unai Emery wants to maintain that consistency and familiarity with the hopes of a strong end to this campaign, it will be interesting to see if he fields an attacking lineup that includes our two most creative players, Özil and Mkhitaryan.

Both are both in good nick, in a game that could be pivotal to our season.

This is a big ‘un folks and of importance to both teams, so we can expect Arsenal fighting just as hard to get one over their local rivals as Spurs will to get back to winning ways.



An Old Cock And Bull Story

Today ,because I’m not sure I will be able to post the preview,we revisit a classic tale where the much missed Frank looked back, more in sorrow than in anger, to re-tell a chilling tale of a long-lost summer of love, terrible betrayal and lots of super furry animals. 

cock and bull

Today’s page turner …

I was mugged in Seven Sisters.

To be accurate I was attacked in Seven Sisters since nothing was stolen.

Cold bloodedly gratuitously attacked.  A summer afternoon several decades ago spent with a friend and I was heading home to Tufnell Park.  It was an early evening in July but I could hardly see as I turned into the tunnel heading for the tube, eating sausage and chips.  Out of nowhere something hit me on the back of the head and just as I turned, a fist hit me in the mouth.  I fell to the ground in a daze and the protagonists proceeded to kick the living shit out of me.

There was a lot a ‘fackin’ this’ and ‘kantin that’ as the boots went in and afterwards just the sound of nasal snickering.  Before I passed out I caught a glimpse of two of them.  One in white trousers and a bowler hat with ‘Tottenham Droogies’ written across the back.  The other had calf-length faded jeans, docs, white tee shirt, braces …. and a tattoo on his forearm.

A tattoo of a cock and ball.

I must have been out for a while because when I woke up, the ends of the tunnel were dark.  The reek of urine and unwashed bodies was only just bearable.  I was surrounded by squashed chips and, nestling in the gutter by the wall with not a bite out of it, was my sausage.  My head hurt like hell, split lip, bumps and bruises all over but I seemed to be OK.

I’d got away with it.

Could have been killed.  Could have been maimed or paralyzed for life.  Thankfully I had done what most blokes who are being kicked in the head do, I protected my privates.  Death is preferable to castration.

I had survived.

Slowly I got up.  I just wanted to get home.  Brushed off the fag ends, chewing gum, dog shit.  Stretched out my arms and then my legs, moved my head from side to side.  Tested my aching bones.  Nothing broken.  Lets go home, Frank.  Then someone behind me coughed.

I spun round afraid that they had come back to finish me off.

But there standing in front of me was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen.  She had on an ankle length yellow dress and sandals.  She had long, long tresses of red hair and her smile was extraordinary; it could fill a room, or, in this case, a tunnel.  Her smell was intoxicating and as she touched my face with her hand I just knew that she was an angel.

I was dead and on my way to heaven.

She asked me if I was okay.  She asked me if I was in pain.  She asked if there was anything she could do for me … and before I could answer she passed me her guinea pig and started mopping my brow.

Guinea pig?

What the feck?

She gave me a guinea pig?  Well yes she did.  She handed me her guinea pig.  Cleaned me up.  Took her guinea pig back.  Held my hand and took me to Tufnell Park.

That is how I met Maude.

Oh Maude, Maude, Maude – you were perfect.  She took me home to my apartment and stayed for three weeks.  What a three weeks!


Walking on the Heath.  Drinking in The Flask in Highgate.  Strolling through Waterlow Park.  Saying “hello” to Karl Marx.  Wearing each others’ clothes.

Actually she wore mine, I didn’t wear hers, I really didn’t.  Getting drunk together on Grand Marnier and sick together afterwards.  Listening to a friend play folk songs outside the Admiral Mann.  I even started to read poetry, although it didn’t last.  Mostly though, we just made love.  Anywhere and everywhere.

In that time I was treated to a parade of animals.

Guinea pigs, rats, hamsters, geckos, turtles, tortoises, parrots, budgies, kittens, puppies, fish, snakes, you name it.

Every day she would disappear for a few hours and return with different animals.  Only on Sundays would she return without an animal and on Sunday evenings she was always very tired.  The explanation turned out to be a bit crazy but I could deal with it.  She let on that she was into animal liberation and spent much of her time nicking animals from pet shops and domestic animal stockists.

Her aim in life was to free them all.

Create an animal utopia where they could all live free from human bondage.  How she managed to get plastic bags of tropical fish and a twelve foot python out of a shop without anyone noticing I have no idea.  But she did it.  Insane of course, and I loved her all the more for it.  We were madly, stupidly, giddily happy.

Until that fateful day in early August.

So far we had lived in my flat.  It was OK.  But I was getting more and more curious.  Where did she live?  How long?  What was it like?  Was she sure that she was not using the animals as a cover for her sneaking back to a long time live-in partner or husband?

Joke, sort of.  What was she hiding?

After much cajoling on my part she finally agreed that we could stay at her place.  She lived in a flat on the first floor of a Victorian house on the A10 near to the junction with Clapton Common.  She had been on her way home when she found me in the tunnel.

So off we went.

We spent a pleasant few hours in the Spaniards’ Inn and went to a party with friends in Stoke Newington.  Caught a taxi to hers.  Let ourselves in.

Her living room was full of no-longer-soon-to-be-pets.

It was smelly and it was noisy, but she cleared a space  and we sat and drank tea and chatted amongst the boxes, cages, baskets and tanks.  Finally we fell into bed exhausted.  The following day was Monday and neither of us needed to get up early.  We were very soon fast asleep in each others arms.

We awoke on Monday morning refreshed.  She made cups of tea and brought them back to bed.  Gradually we began to get interested, the way you do.

We kissed and cuddled …

Then Maude whispered that she would like to make love in daylight amongst the trees and birdsong.  Her garden was beautiful at this time of year, she said.  She asked me to open the curtains and open the window.

Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes.

About as excited as I have ever been in my life I leapt out of bed, hopped to the almost full-length sash window and threw open the red velvet curtains to let the sun in …

The No 149 bus route has been transporting the residents of that area to the City for many years and I believe that it still does to this day.

In the days of the old Routemasters, in the rush hour the bottom deck was crammed full of people, many standing and some dangling from the platform at the back.  Upstairs was calmer and those fortunate enough to get a seat were able to read the paper or a book, do the crossword, do the Pools, knit, or in most cases just sit and watch the world go by.  There are a number of points on that journey where the bus comes to a standstill for quite a while as the traffic gets well and truly jammed.

One particular point is just outside Maude’s flat.

The floor of the top deck on those buses is roughly about the level of the first floor of that particular block of houses, and the windows of the bus are about six feet from the residents’ windows.  You can see awful lot from the top of that bus and on that day passengers had a real treat.

As the curtains opened they were greeted with … think of Leonardo’s Study of Human Proportions according to Vitruvius. 

But weedier and in a state of arousal.

For my own part I just remember seeing an endless stream of tickets coming out of the Clippie’s machine and thinking thank goodness they can’t see my feet because I’ve still got my socks on.  I turned to shout at Maude for setting me up, and as I did so I noticed something.  Something very serious indeed.  Something which caused me to shut out the embarrassment of the last few seconds completely.  I couldn’t believe it.  I froze.  The blood drained from my face and obviously from other places.

The bottom fell completely out of my world.

In the lower right hand corner of the window was a sticker.  Not a very big one, about the size of a bob-a-job sticker.  But this particular sticker had a motif on it.  A dreadful symbol.

A cock and ball.

We just hadn’t discussed football.  People had the summer off in those days.  No transfer activity.  I turned to her and just shouted “TOTTENHAM” at her at the top of my voice.  At first she completely misunderstood and she laughed and shouted:  “YES. YOU TOO …?”.

But before she could finish, she realised.

It was probably me screaming “YOU ARE A FARKING SPUD” that gave it away.  Her beautiful face contorted into an ugly grimace and in a vicious whisper she spat “Arsenal.  You are a fecking Gunner?  You bastard”.

I couldn’t stay.

I needed air.  I grabbed my clothes, putting them on as I scrambled through the menagerie in the living room.  I got to the front door and slammed it to, shutting out the cacophony behind me.  I headed for a café on the corner of the block, ordered coffee and just sat in a window seat sipping and smoking.  I half expected her to follow and to be honest I half hoped that she would.

But I realised it was over.

I could take the pet rustling and I could even take being humiliated in front of a bus full of people but I could not take the fact that she was a SPUD.  That could never work.

But that was not quite the end of it.

As I sipped my third coffee, having smoked half a pack of cigarettes, two panda cars and a police van arrived at her flat.  Maude was led out in handcuffs and for the next hour policemen loaded the back of the van with her contraband, Noah’s Ark fashion.  I felt bad about that at the time as I watched her driven away in the back of the police car it seemed unjust that she should go down for stealing animals when she had such good if not misguided intentions.  It turned out in court about six weeks later though, that every Sunday she ran a pet stall on Club Row.

She had been nicking pets and flogging them on.  She also stole them to order.

I will always remember Maude though and if I ever meet her again, which is very unlikely, I know exactly what I will say to her……………




Arsenal Go Cherry Picking.


Good morning my positive friends.download (4)

Well that was lovely, wasn’t it?

Emery made six changes and we scored five goals. No one can complain about that.

We started with two creative players in mkhitaryan and Ozil and low and behold, we created tings. Things like goals and stuff. Hennrikh with a goal and two assists and Mesut with a goal and an assist. Both played well and as a result, the team played well. I would have prefered to see us with four at the back from the off, but the result justifies the selection, I suppose.

People were baming young Matteo for the goal we let in  but I felt he was clearly fouled and the goal should never have stood. After that he was targeted and I felt he stood up to it well.

We have to remember that Bournemouth have lost 8 away games on the trot and shipped a load of goals in the process, but still, we comprehensively beat what was in front os us, so well done Emery and the lads.

Some of our attacking play was glorious, with Mesut being the orchestra leader, he really is a joy to watch.

We go into the NLD on Saturday lunch time only four points behind them and them struggling for form. I expect Ramsey and Xhaka to come in and that could mean Musut is back on the bench. Personally I think that would be madness, but we shall see.

This was a game where our performance matched the result. Lovely stuff.


Picking Cherries?

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We are now well in truly into the business end of the season. Expectations are recalibrated as we are at the races for a Premier League top-four finish after teams around us hit a few speed bumps.
Good day one and all…
We are just catching our collective breath after what has been a very eventful weekend in English football and here we go again with Arsenal hosting Bournemouth at the Emirates Stadium tonight.
The Gunners come into this match off the back of beating the Saints without much ado. It was a result that see us now on an unbeaten run in our last 13 PL home matches (W11, D2), of which the last seven are consecutive wins. Now this will not make good reading for our visitors. The Cherries are winless in February and have lost their last eight away league games. Failed to score in five of their last six on the road and are also the least likely to produce a vintage rear-guard action as they conceded 23 goals in that eight match losing streak.
However, even if their form won’t improve and despite what Eddie Howe says, it’s unlikely that they’ll get dragged into the relegation battle as they have benefitted from a great start to the season. Does all this mean this will be a cakewalk or do they got a classic smash-and-grab on the road left in them this season?
Well, best not to tempt fate and get ahead of ourselves because the wheels might be rattling on the Howe bandwagon but they are not off yet.
Arsenal is known to crank it up at the Emirates, only Mancity has better home for than us over the last two seasons, and seeing that the Cherries are of the worst travelers, their lack of confidence and apprehension could likely prove to be a problem for them… but it will still require us to step up!

Top Four Position, But Form?

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I enjoyed the first half of this game. I thought we made a lot of chances and could/should have scored 4 or 5, Lacazette missing an absolute sitter. It seems a bit mean spirited to moan, but once again we have up some easy chances and in truth we were lucky they were squandered by The Saints.

The second half was a disjointed effort and we seemed happy to allow that, cruise control on and with or upcoming fixtures, that was properly smart.

The introduction of Ozil seemed to give everyone a lift, he sparkled and purred, again we could have scored a few late goals.

Despite them having 5 in midfield Xhaka found time and space all afternoon and I thought he had a great game.

We have sneaked into the top 4 for now, but I think we will have to play a lot better than we did today if we are to finish the season in a Champions League position. But at least we are in the race.

Three points though, so can’t complain too much?


Arsenal vs Southampton: Time To March To Our Beat

Good day one and all…
Arsenal is hosting Southampton at the Emirates this afternoon with both sides in need of three points; the Saints, of course, are eager to escape the drop zone and the Gunners will want to continue being side-by-side with teams fighting for a Premier League top-four place.
We did well on Thursday night to overturn a 1-0 1st leg deficit vs BATE to progress and Europa’s ’round of 16′, but to qualify for next season’s Champions League a top-four place always has to be Plan A, making this a ‘must-win’.
Burnley unexpectedly beat Spurs yesterday and with our neighbours still to play Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and Mancity in the PL, there’s now a real likelihood of them getting dragged into what has been a threeway fight for top-four since mid December. So getting results against teams below the top-six is as important as it has ever been if two spots were to be up for grabs.
Our form over the last two months has been somewhat concerning, winning just seven of our last 14 games in all competitions (D1, L6), the Emirates, however, has always been a home comfort with us now eyeing our seventh consecutive PL home win. We are currently also 12 games unbeaten in PL home games.
The Saints though aren’t marching too bad under Ralph Hasenhuttl – remember in his second game in charge he ended our 22 game unbeaten run with a 3-2 win in the reverse fixture. They had their up and downs for the rest of that December but started 2019 well with their first league defeat only coming in their last outing against Cardiff via a late goal. That was two weeks back, so over the fortnight he had plenty of time to work out things ahead of this fixture.
Two teams at opposite ends of the table but this could be a tricky one as the Saints aren’t the worst travellers. Their last 3 away games were at Chelsea, Leicester and Burnley and they returned to St Mary’s not shaming themselves (W1 D2).
So maybe Unai Emery need to take the trailer off so our boys can really dig in to force them on the backfoot. At St Mary’s our defensive issue got exploited so not to leave things to chance as we haven’t really shown improvement at the back since, our best solution remain ‘having a go’.
It’s a short turnaround till our next game on Wednesday vs Bournemouth, so a decision need to be made whether to play Aubameyang or not so soon after he was on the pitch for the full 90 on Thursday night. Him and Lacazette are such flat track bullies when given time and sometimes one feel they’re underused. Özil too played the full game so given his back troubles will it be worth risking him given that the Cherries may be tougher opponents? Whether he plays or not, we need to find a way of creating regular chances, so the odds could favour us for a win.
Arsenal got history on their side in this fixture as the Saints haven’t beaten us yet in 23 tries away from home, given that they’re not the easiest of opponents though we may not necessarily see an end-to-end encounter, rather something cagey.
If forced to stick my neck out, I’ll predict the Gunners should have enough in the armoury to make sure the points stay at the Emirates.