And now, the end is near and so we face the final curtain.

So I have had a couple of days to process the last week. I had no idea how to write after the Barcelona. So many comments I just could not organize them into a coherent structure, sadly I missed out.

However, I needed to write something about the United game. We didn’t play to well. But, and not trying to make excuses here, they did have 7 defenders for 45mins. Im sure that if we had 4 defenders who were fit it would make things ever so slightly easier let alone 7 at one time on the pitch.

Djourou’s injury is pretty hard to take. He has been fantastic this season. Becoming one of the backbones of the team in the absence of Vermaelen. He has helped Koscielney become steady and he filled me with confidence. Couple that with Szczeney’s dislocated fingure, that is two of our back 5 that most people I think have total confidence in.

Now as the eternal optimist here im looking for a silver lining. Utd are our closest rivals for the Premiership at the moment. As it stands, we are 3 points behind them with a game in hand. They are still in the Champions League, the FA Cup and the Premiership (they cant really get knocked out of that no matter how hard we try). We only have one competition left this season. I think that with all of our efforts concentrated on that and with Utd fighting on 3 different fronts, we should have a pretty good chance of keeping on track.

Now this is an Arsenal team that you could predict as well as Mr Fish did the weather in 1987. So who knows what will happen. Im going with, we will win. Because if you start to think negatively you don’t have anything to look forward to, and I don’t like that.

To you Wenger bashers now. I wrote this in a blog a while back, if you want him out, name me one replacement who will be as good as him AND who the players will respect as much. I’m pretty sure that if Mr Wenger leaves most of our talented youth will to. Now that saddens me. So enough with your crap and leave it till August and see where we are then.

On news that Jens might be back. In absolutely no way is this a bad thing. He is 2nd choice, will instill a sense of fear in players who aren’t performing that well and is an invincible. How can this be a bad thing? Also I’d like to see Gibbs pull that kind of shit again with Jens on watch. I don’t think so.

Anyway, that’s all. Thanks for reading. Comment if you can.

Carry on being gooners.

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Stoking the fire.

I spent most of yesterday, in fact all of yesterday, formatting a PowerPoint presentation at work. By that I mean making sure sure that everything is in order, all fonts the same and the like. Now that doesn’t sound too hard as most of you are thinking the golden rule of 13 slides with 3 points on each, yeah? All that less is more kind of thing.

Well, turns out that if less is more, then if you put in even more then it will be even better. Let me tell you that formatting 85 slides of white text on a black background will drain all of your enthusiasm and soul. The only thing that got me through was the fact I could watch the Arsenal.

Last night saw us battle against a Stoke side that had pretty much come to the Grove to not concede. In the first half they never had more than 1-2 players out their own half. Even after they had conceded from a rare goal from none other than Squillaci.

The second half they came out and tried to get something from it. And just charged around like, well like Stoke in a china shop.

I think we played really well. Defensively solid. Midfield worked hard and the front 3 tried to produce something. Now the fact that stoke hadn’t actually got off their coach and had instead just driven it onto the pitch and put on the handbreak didnt make anything easier. They didn’t even turn the engine off. That’s what kind of club stoke are.

The injuries to Fabregas and Walcott are worrying. I think though Theo’s is much more of a concern. He was getting back into form and that ankle turn looked pretty painful. I hope it’s a case of some real weeks rather than some of the 6 week ‘weeks’ we have seen this season. I actually hope that its more of a case of days and that he is fine, but that is wishful thinking.

I think Cesc will be alright soon. I’d rather have him fit for the Premier league than rush back an appearance for the CC Final. But I can see how he would want to play and lift the trophey as the club captain.

What I really dont get is how Djourou/Squillaci can play well together. And that Djourou/Koscielney can play really well but Squillaci and Koscielney just can’t. Unless Djourou is that much better he can mask it. This isn’t taking away the performance from last night, which was brilliant, just an observation.

Now just a matter of a cup final on Sunday. I hope we can lift our first piece of silverware in, how long? I can’t remember because no one has mentioned it in years. It’s almost as if no one has noticed.

Still though to get some silver now would seriously boost the team coming into the final months of the season. I seriously don’t see how we can’t win this with the team we have. But more on that later on.

Have a good one and just remember that not only are Stoke players playing for Stoke. They also had to head back to their caves last night. And I heard it was pretty cold

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Let’s show ipswich who we really are

I write this while currently in the bowls of london, on the tube. on possibly the slowest train to have ever gone. If this was the little engine that could it wouldn’t have even thought about going up that hill. Instead of wasting time staring endlessly into the black outside i decided to do something productive. Then I thought I should write a blog first.

Late comments on the game. RvP back on form with fantastic goals. Impeccable pinpoint passing, and great holding up of the ball by Theo. How much of that was a bit of luck I don’t know but it worked well. RvP’s rise of form is perfect timing with Chamakh’s understandable dip.

AA23 came on and wasnt bad. Well he did give the ball away and foul someone within seconds. But and I think this is quite a big but for him, he was trying more adventurous moves. His attempted through ball to RvP was good. Had RvP not been worried about being called offside then who knows. All AA23 needs is one goal or great assist to get the ball rolling.

To tonight. I said this a while back but if we play like we did at theirs I’ll be very disappointed. Not least because I’m actually going to the game. But if you can’t find the desire to beat a championship team, 1-0 down and at home for a place in the final then not even mila kunis naked in your bed calling you to do crazy stuff for a week, will make you play well.

I hope the squad stays roughly the same. The midfield is playing well. Our centrebacks are playing with the most understanding this season and sagna and clichy are like walls. Well untill clichy goes a wondering. I jest, I jest.

Let’s get behind our team tonight and let’s get ourselves to a final. We all want to, the players want to let’s show Ipswich who we are. Time to show we are the finest team in the land.

COME ON THE ARSENAL!!

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Great leadership, Great effort, Great game, Great commentary…sort of

What a good game last night! I think its quite fair to say we played extremely well last night. After recent performances in the cup games we, as fans, needed to see that the players care as much as the manager says they do. They really did care by stuffing Leeds systematically while ITV looked on as if we took their favourite toy, smashed it up, threw it in the mud and left it there.

 
There were several changes to the team from the weekend. Arshavin, Chamakh and Bendtner upfront was a bit of a, I want to say shock bit not that bad, perhaps supprise works. Chamakh has had a dip in form for the first time since his arrival. It was always going to happen, his first season in Premiership football and for half the season we relied on him quite heavily due to injuries.

 
Bendtner’s favoured position is definitely not as a wide player, I don’t really understand why Arsene plays him out there. I think it could be so he can understand how a winger plays and reads the game, which means he will make betters runs into the box. It’s the same as Arsene making Jack play a defensive game, so he understands how to defend and appreciate that role.

 
Big Nick had a pretty good game last night. He did miss a couple and has the first touch of a turnip but that did lead to our second goal, so I’m not going to complain about that. He is still young and will develop into a good player. I hope he doesn’t leave us. Being loaned out would be ok but I’d rather have him here than not.

 
Andrei Arshavin had an excellent game last night. I’m not saying he was incredible and helped us win the game. I am saying in recent weeks he has suffered dramatically from a loss of confidence but last night I could see that he was trying hard, running around, harrying defenders, having shots. Even when he missed his head didn’t go down. I thought he looked like he was actually enjoying himself. He miss where all he had to do was poke his foot out to score was a bit criminal, but if he had scored that I don’t think anyone would have been slating him after the game.

 
Like I said on twitter last night, he really needs people encouraging him not berating him for missing. Who in their right mind is going to shoot or try and take on defenders skilfully if they know that if they don’t pull it off then they are going to get harassed by a stadium of people. I know it’s their job, but you try and type a report with your entire office behind you booing every time you need to use the backspace because you pressed the wrong key.

 
We looked solid last night. I didn’t get the feeling that we panicked after their goal, which judging from the ITV commentary was the best goal ever scored in the entire history of the world and that is including all goals from Bale. Yeah, I didn’t think there was anyone in the world better than him either.We played a good pressing game from the front while at the back we were solid, like Leeds were at The Grove. Sagna was outstanding, the Kosjourou combo is really becoming strong and Gibbs is going to be phenomenal when he shrugs off those niggly injuries. Im looking forward to that.

 
Nasri played exceptionally well and when he danced through the defence, which is becoming he trade mark goal i think, you could really see that he is one of our most important players now. He lead the team well and is a good leader on a day when the whole world and their mother was talking about Arsenal leadership. They way Cesc and Samir put down the interviewer after the game was great. No need to make a fuss out of it and Cesc put it in such a good way, he is incredibly eloquent.

 
Itv commentary was crap. We just had Townsend creaming himself over everything that leeds did and when we scored he didn’t say anything for a while. I could almost hear him sobbing in and tearing apart the studio off-mic. And when he started to cheer when they missed a sitter, non-biased reporting is what I like to see. With that the disinterest that was shown when we scored was a bit spiteful I thought. But as @golden_shilling said, we could always turn the sound off and listen to Arsenal commentary.

 
That’s all I have to say on this. Lets stop trying to make our players have breakdowns and get behind them. Great win and off to the next round against Huddersfield, where another Arsenal youngster lies in wait to show us what he is made of. I really hope he plays.
Have a good day, they always were when we win.

 
Thanks for reading, much appreciated, comment or tweet me @alexmcnamara

 

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A draw isnt the worst result in the world. Arsene haters go away

I started writing a blog last night before I went to sleep however one false move with the side of your hand and you open up a previous blog and the one you were writing is nowhere to be seen ever again! Bloody wordpress app! I’m writing this one in pages so I dont do it again.

I was just going to write my thoughts on the result against Wigan and it’s going to be a quickie.

The changes were absolutely necessary. Maybe 1 possibly 2 too many but I don’t think you could have had the main core of the team play like they did against Chelsea and then play Wigan 48 hours later then play Birmingham 72 hours after that then play Citeh. Even thinking about that I can feel my hamstring tightening.

The result wasn’t what we wanted but it’s not a bad result. Arsene said he would take 4 points from the 2 matches and I agree. What is important to note is that we took 3 points off Chelsea, who are one of our main rivals.

What is bad is that we don’t have a holding midfield replacement to Song. I like denilson as a player and I do think he is very good but he isn’t a holding midfielder. He doesn’t have the physical presence that Song has.

The ‘Get Arsene Out’ choir was out in force at full-time. Firstly where were you after Chelsea. How fickle can you be?

Secondly, if you want Arsene out, name one manager who is available now, who has the scouting network that Arsene has, who has the belief in youngsters that Arsene has, who has the patience, the father figure respect from the players and the track record that Arsene has. I personally cannot see anyone who could possibly replace him.

Thirdly do you really think that our best players like Cesc, Theo, RvP, Nasri, Jack will stay if he goes? I don’t think so.

So if you really want to blow that trumpet by all means do. Just don’t say it anywhere near me.

A quick look at Birmingham, I think that after our performance at Wigan they will be very up for this game. A win will be great but as Birmingham drew against United they will be fired up too. So it should be a good game

In other news I have it, from an extremely reliable source, that Kieran Gibbs is very good a twister.

“Kieran is amazing at twister, at family gatherings he can go for hours!”

And I swear to Cesc that I’m not actually making this up.

Have a happy new year everyone. I know this blog hasn’t been going on very long and posts are sporadic at best but thanks to everyone who has commented and helped me out.

Speak to you in the new year!!

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3-1 put that in your fucking pipe and smoke it

Good morning gooners! Firstly I’d like to wish you all a very awesome Christmas and new year. Santa was great to me and then he added a little extra just to make sure that i stay nice in 2011.

Well 3-1. What a bloody awesome result! I must admit that I didn’t manage to watch the match (booooo!!) but because of a +8 hour time difference meant that it was on at 4am, which is the hardest time to watch football. Do you stay up till 4am then watch till 6 and go to sleep or do you wake up at 4 and watch. Very confusing. Coupled with this, some ridiculous jet lag. I decided to try and keep some sanity by waking up at 630 and catching all the tweets and possibly some highlights.

I woke up with a combination of nervous excitement and slight dread. I’m not one of those negative people but I dont think I could have had my red and white heart ripped out stomped on by a bunch of cheating, greedy chav scum bastard cunts again.

What a great result though. Not only did we beat them, we comprehensively played them out of the park! We pressed from the front, protected our defense and didn’t allow them anytime to get settled. We are now seeing the team that Arsene sees and I like it.

I can’t really comment on the match as I didn’t see it and there are better places to get that than here. But what is very important is that we won. We beat Chelsea with Drogba starting nonetheless and as we know the prick loves scoring against us. Djourou however kept him nicely tame, could have been because it was actually me playing instead with some avatar style shit going on. No, wait, that was a nightmare sorry.

This is a huge barrier to have crossed. Since we rebuilt the team to this one we haven’t, in all honesty, had the mental focus to do this. But I really do think that this was one of those games where you can go back to and say ‘look that’s where they matured’.
There were no controversial moments either so chelsea fans can’t even claim us being lucky. Which makes it even better.

The inspired team changes were, well, inspired. Leaving out AA23 was a brave move. As lazy as some people think he is the stats are there and you can’t argue with them, he does create a fuck load of chances. But Clichy seemed to play better with some cover from the midfield. Who’d have thought that, not me that’s for sure.

It seems a bit ridiculous that we have to play another game 2 days later, it’s almost like the people who create the schedule don’t play football themselves. Cesc is out, whic might be a good thing as he has only just come back and playing 2 games in 3 days might not be good. But then again I’m no sports scientist, I did a real degree.

That’s al from me, I’m going to try and watch the game tonight but it is a friends birthday and the wine will be flowing so I may not remember too much of it. However I will endeavor to write another update. Shock horror I know.

Have yourselves a good one and if you see any Chelsea fans tell them to stick it where the sun don’t shine, not that you need me to remind you to do that.

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A first timer to The Grove. And what a place to be.

So it’s been a while since I’ve updated the blog and I do apologize. Work has been tough and every-time I start to write, something new happens and what I wrote becomes outdated. I’m still trying to work out timings and that so when I write I can update and it be relevant. This so far has not been the right answer.

Well last night was my first ever trip to the Grove. Living abroad and going to Uni out of London has made it hard but my God it was worth the wait. Since I got the tickets I was excited about it. Come match day, we wake up to snow. Great. I don’t care for snow too much, unless I’m skiing. And I don’t go skiing. I remember the last time it snowed and a match was cancelled. So I was praying the same didn’t happen again.

We headed up for about 6.45pm and met up with @Disco_77 at the pub for a couple of pints. Not knowing where and how to get anywhere, it was nice that twitter was able to do its thing and get me a top guy as a ‘guide’. We listened to stories which were brilliant and chatted Arsenal. I don’t think I have been to pub where almost everyone was talking about the same thing and all in a nervous excitement for the upcoming two hours.

We headed off to find out seats in good time. Walking out of the pub and up the bridge to the stadium I was in awe. It is truly enormous and a bloody good looking. I never went to Highbury and always felt that I missed out but coming here I was so impressed. I have been to Hong Kong stadium many times but that has nothing on the Grove.

The giant Arsenal crest, the crowd ­­­walking to find their seats, the atmosphere outside, and the sense of camaraderie was just magical.

We found our seats in time for the team list announcement. I see this on TV all the time and have always wanted to be part of it. Last night I was and it was very special for me.

Being in the crowd for the game was just wonderful. The singing, the unison of 60,000 people all cheering a goal, berating the ref at a bad tackle, ‘oohhh-ing’ and ‘ahhh-ing’ a missed opportunity. Amazing.

I wont go into detail about the match because I know there are better places to get that. But I will say a couple of things.

Vela’s misses we criminal. He was one-on-one 3 times during the game and just could not put it away. His first chip over the keeper the stadium erupted. We started celebrating but when it drifted the wrong side of the post there were some very unhappy people. He needed to show that he can score, he played well but just couldn’t put it away.

Bendtner also missed a couple of sitters. I have always been a fan of him and will stick up for him as I think that given a couple more years, when he reaches 26/27, he will a great player. He is only 22 and still lacks the maturity of a ‘big man’ centre forward. This could be because he is part of the young generation that think that if you turn up for games and not try you will win, or it could be because he just lacks the maturity. I think it could be the former but I hope it’s the latter.

I remember Robin having anger problems when he first arrived. Yes he is very different to the big Dane, as in much much better, but the same principle still applies. Young players will (or should would be better way to put it) get better as they get older and more mature.

I did think that it was quite suiting that the two players that missed several opportunites linked up to score quite a superb goal. Vela’s goal was perfect and from where he was, made it even better. Split the defense and the keeper perfectly and allowed the Big Dane to bundle in at the back post.

So it was 2-0. Now I remember, and I think that @arseblog has said this before, when the invincibles would score a goal and you would know that the opposition would not score and we could grind out a 1-0 win.

Then with the reformation of the team a 1-0 win wasn’t quite good enough. No one ever felt comfortable and you could feel that they would score one back and we would go away with 1 point. But scoring the second could almost guarantee the win and 3 points.

Now however even a 2-0 lead I don’t feel comfortable and im pretty sure that no one else does. In 2010 we have seen far to many 2-0 leads disappear into 2-2 and the horrific 3-2 loss.

Im not quite sure what to make of this but this just isn’t good enough. Being 2-0 up you should go on to win the game. I mean they have to score 3 goals to win. On the back of having 2 goals scored against them. How can we even let that happen just boggles my mind. But this definitely needs to be addressed.

Right I think that’s enough from me. I hope to update this more often so watch this space.

Thanks for reading; any comments are more than welcome. Leave them here of tweet me @alexmcnamara

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