Saturday, 26 November 2011

Arsenal readers reap rewards as refulgent Robin rises to another occasion

As well as avoiding Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Inter Milan and Real Madrid in last 16, one of the best things about Arsenal getting through Champions League group stages as winners is the optimism it fuels within the media.

Evening Standard writer Dan Jones informed us not to look up the Google meme of Mario Gotze. Of course we all will now especially if it's as disgusting as Jones claims!

Jones also said Robin van Persie's form is 'refulgent'. Along with 'meme', another unfamiliar word for us readers to digest.

Meanwhile, with 2 goals against Dortmund, RVP is still toast of Arsenal... well let's hope this toaster never breaks down: 12 gls in the last 8 games plus 38 in 41 appearances this calendar year is mightily impressive. I think we'd all better start calling him 'refulgent' if we're not already!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Arsenal's football-crime fighters win, but Batman still needs to sharpen up

Steve Morison's undetected push on Per Mertesacke that led to the opening goal of the game at Carrow Road summed up English football: honest endeavour plus cynical professionalism.

This unlikely combination works in this country primarily because referees like to allow the game to be physical. A small shove in the back might be a foul elsewhere but in England it's unlikely to be noticed. Here we'd say Morison was just going for a 50/50 ball probably and pretend not to see the infringement.

I wonder if Mertesacke is used to that kind of foul? I suspect not, so let's hope he learns that all's fair in love, war and football, especially when you're up against a workaholic centre forward who will use any ruse at his disposal to make you look stupid and dispossess you.

Mertesacke's mistake been likened to all sorts of things by journalists, but it looked to me like the Joker or a new nemesis, a British GI Joe or Action Man, had stepped on Batman's cape and stolen the ball.

Boss Arsene Wenger is right to say the critics have been harsh on our caped crusader, Mertesacke. I'm sure our football-crime fighter will adjust in time to the idiosyncrasies of the Premier League.

Thankfully, Mertesacke's mistake came early, leaving the now-mature Boy Wonder, Robin van Persie, long enough to rescue the points.

Even Batman makes mistakes in the TV series and feature films, but in the football world Robin is much more than just a sidekick. He's the superhero and Batman is still learning the ropes.

Could Arsenal's Miyaichi be another SuperMac?

The news that Ryo Miyaichi is injured again comes as no surprise to me. My first observation of him made me worry about his ability to remain injury-free.

'He's a bit bow-legged' I commented at the time. 'That's going to put a lot of strain on his legs and I reckon he'll be in sick bay more than on the pitch'.

Of course, I desperately want to be wrong. Ryo has a super work ethic and magical ball control as well as blistering pace.

But now he won't be playing for 4-6 weeks due to his latest injury setback, an ankle problem.

Let's not forget our most potent weapon, Robin van Persie, is also slightly bow-legged. Hopefully, he's got over his injury problems of the past.

And the most bow-legged player I've ever seen, Malcolm 'SuperMac' MacDonald became a bit of a legend at Highbury, despite only playing 84 games for Arsenal. SuperMac's knee gave out after a couple of seasons and cut his stay at Arsenal short.

So keep your fingers and legs crossed that Ryo stays injury-free once he gets over this latest setback!

Monday, 14 November 2011

Arsenal's chairman should step down

Once Peter Hill-Wood opens his mouth on any subject, I always expect it to go pear-shaped. He's been likened to Prince Philip but I think his pronouncements are more fitting for the Prince of Darkness. After all, wasn't he the guy who said Cesc Fabregas wouldn't get in the Barcelona team? Didnt he talk like Neville Chamberlain about some gentleman's agreement that would stop Cesc leaving? And as I predicted then, Hill-Wood ended up with paella on his face.

Now he's spouting off again, this time saying Robin van Persie is a 'decent fellow' and can't be unhappy at Arsenal, or words to that effect. Well, Peter, I hate to break the news to you, but a footballer's career is a short one and consequently they're either glory-hunters, or mercenary, or both. So if we don't win anything this season, RvP is likely to move on.

Hill-Wood's reassurances mean nothing positive to me. Quite the opposite. He's been wrong about everything and i really wish the club could control his silly outbursts. The guy's a liability, to be honest. Some people see him as a loveable uncle, but that doesnt make him fit to be involved in the running of a football club the size of Arsenal. Somebody should pension the chairman off without a pension and maybe then the club would be in better shape. Change starts from the top, doesn't it?

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Buy your Welly pizzas @ the Emirates next season?

Wellington Silva will fit right in at Arsenal when he returns from Levante. He loves a Tweet does ol' Welly! It's not gone down too well at Levante though and they reckon he should cut down on the pizzas too. A marketing opportunity at the catering outlets beckons methinks!

Three leaving Arsenal - no tears shed

As well as Arshavin and Coquelin, three other Gunners could be heading for the exit in January, we're told. Less tears will be shed for these three.

Sebastien Squillaci is for sale, priced at £2m apparently. But who will pay that?

Marounane Chamakh could finally get his move to Sunderland, we hear. Any fee will be a profit, but I'd expect us to hold out for enough to buy a replacement for him.

Meanwhile, Manuel Almunia could be off for just £300k. West Ham, where he's been on loan, sound like the most likely suitors.

I won't be unhappy to see any of them leave. They're just not good enough for Arsenal sadly.


As well as Arshavin, Francis Coquelin could be on the move in January too. If so, I'll be sad to see the back of him. I liked the cut of his jib right from the start.

Here we had a defensive midfielder who would continually put pressure on the man with the ball. His passing has improved so it looks like some other club might reap the rewards of his development. What a shame!

Arshavin off to northern magnates?

Andrey Arshavin claims: 'No matter how well you've played, you will still be replaced in the 70th minute.'

Arshavin is, of course, spot on. However, I'm not sosure that Wenger is 'more severe' than Dick Advocaat but less 'stubborn'. Maybe something was lost in the translation from the Russian paper 'Sport Express' as I would guess Wenger is more stubborn and less severe than Advocaat. If someone rigidly adheres to some unknown scientific principle that subs are best made in 70th minute that does not suggest someone flexible. And if you're not flexible, expect to go the way of the dinosaurs.

Most concerning is Arshavin's view that 'nobody at Arsenal' tries to change Wenger's mind. That's a level of stubbornness that is hard to stomach.

But it's served Wenger well so far and may end in a top-four placing this season so who are we to criticise?

I don't expect Arshavin to hang around too long to find out where we'll finish as he's clearly at the end of his tether or at least very close to it. I see him playing for some 'financial magnates' up north unfortunately, just like some of his former team-mates.

Jenkinson's star-to-be quality

Car Jenkinson you're a star! Well, not yet but possibly a star in the making. You can cross, pass and run fast. What's more you're tall, so have the potential to be an excellent defender. However, you lost your man late on against WBA and left him free to shoot on goal. You've still got a lot to learn but you're learning fast. You should be proud of your progress so far, son!

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Arsenal fans say the silliest things

Never mind 'Animals do the funniest things'. How about a new TV show called fans say the silliest things? Not just Arsenal fans. I mean, this could span the whole world.

Listening to my fellow fans spouting their wisdom versus WBA was interesting. I heard one say Aaron Rambo Ramsey has 'no final ball'. That was just minutes before his precision pass released Theo Walcott on the right, whose half-blocked shot was turned in by Robin van Persie for the opener. The late arrivals next to me had already dismissed Theo's decision-making, so the much-maligned duo had just created the first goal. As my dad says: 'If you run at the speed Theo does, you don't have so long to make a decision, so inevitably some of the decisions you make will be wrong.' In other words, we shouldn't be so harsh on him.

The Gooner's Highbury Spy is always tough on poor old Theo. While I love the Spy's humour in the latest issue, referring to Rambo 'smashing' in the winner against Marseilles I don't see how a sane man can prefer Carl Jenkinson to Theo. CJ has had a couple (make that one more!) of good games and yes if you're as good as you're last game then CJ is good enough despite my misgivings that the C stood for 'Calamity' and the J for 'Jinx'.
Unloved Theo meanwhile is 'sh@t' apparently despite smashing home a goal - not Maradona style exactly - against Chelsea. CJ can only dream about that but credit where credit is due, this kid has guts and the capacity to learn and prove me and other detractors wrong.

While I'm not so silly as to write off many players at Arsenal, with the exception of Fabianski and Denilson in recent times...and possibly Diaby, I'm not much better with my silly superstitions. Entering the ground at Turnstile N filled me with trepidation. Could 'N' signify 'nil'. Well, yes. Nil to WBA. Luckily, Row 333 meant 3 for Arsenal.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Kroenke won't throw stones at Glazers & Rambo's rocking

Spurs midfielder Rafael van der Vaart reckons: 'We are better than Arsenal.' He added: 'I think we have a bigger, better squad.' Despite our failure to score against an average Marseilles side tonight, I'm not so sure I agree.

However, I admit Spurs are formidable opponents this year. They may finish in the top 4, but I think Arsenal may be up there too. I said we'd finish 3rd before the season began. I had a bet with a famous Gooner that we'd finish above Chelsea. I felt pretty stupid after the Old Trafford demolition and the other ignominious defeats early in the season. Blackburn away, in particular, left me in a state of acid reflux! I felt the Wenger era was eroding before our eyes. Panic buys was never the answer I imagined would be the answer to lingering squad problems but it looks like that team is beginning to gel.

Santos has now scored two goals and despite his lack of fitness he shown already that he should be a first-team regular.

Mertesacke and Arteta have blown hot and cold, whereas Oxlade-Chamberlain and Park have only had limited opportunities to show what they can do.

Jenkinson seems to have come of age, judging by his last three performances and Ryo's last outing shows he also has something to offer.

So optimism is rising amongst the fans, judging by how hard it was to get a WBA ticket. However, I wonder what they think of Kroenke's praise of the Glazers at Manchester United. People in glasshouses shouldn't throw stones at Glazers so they throw compliments. Let's not forget they plunged United into debt to the tune of £500m and have increased ticket prices by 42 per cent since 2005. Yet in a sense, I agree with Stan. I said all along that football is all about trophies and United have continued to win. Yes, they're in deep debt but they can afford the repayments. I don't think Stan will change anything at our club, but I feel a little uneasy after seeing him pictured in the Arsenal dressing room in today's paper. Very few directors have a true rapport with players. They should leave all the talk to the managers and their staff. Especially when they're reportedly as 'silent' as Stan.

Finally, Rambo's getting loads of praise now after an iffy start. He deserves it. He's rightly stated he's no Cesc though. I think we're seeing the best of him because Arteta is doing more defensive covering now than when he first arrived. Rambo is far better at attacking than he is at defending. I'd push him as far up the park as possible and leave the defending to Song, Arteta, Theo and Gervinho.