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Archive for February, 2011

Gazidis to address media on Tuesday 8

Posted on February 28, 2011 by Martin @ thegoonblog.com

It is my understanding that tomorrow Ivan Gazidis will talk to the media on the topic of the basic demands of being an Arsenal manager. He will re-emphasise the need for Arsenal managers to complete the ‘compulsory’ obligation of winning trophies.

The accounts published today show that there are only 35 flats left to sell at the old Highbury stadium (as we told you last week). Prices average around £450,000.


Birmingham deserved to beat us 26

Posted on February 28, 2011 by Martin @ thegoonblog.com

Forgive me all this talk of us deserving to win because we had more shots and Foster made a lot of saves. Football isn’t decided in shots on goal or saves from the opposition. It is cold, hard goals that win games. We scored less than them. We lose.

There should be no doubts about the team out on that pitch being good enough to win, there were probably more players who had experienced a major final on our team than theirs. It isn’t down to bad luck either, we should have been a goal down within the first few minutes.

We could be sitting here right now saying how we got absolutely smashed, Birmingham could have stuck three past us in the first half – the defence crumbled under pressure with Djourou and Koscielny getting skattier with the nervousness spreading. When the ‘leaders’ word comes up it is all well and good pointing out that our captain wasn’t there on the pitch but it wouldn’t have changed the fact that none of our defenders stood up to be counted, you look for someone to grab that defence by the scruff of the neck and raise their game. Did the defenders bottle it? Maybe, the uncertainty then spread to the keeper who made his first two mistakes in the first team.

Szczesny was at fault for the first goal in my opinion, you don’t come out to challenge a beanpole striker. If he had stayed at home it would be an easy catch, I am a massive Szczesny fan, but if Almunia is criticised for that Andy Carrol goal at home to Newcastle, then Szczesny was wrong here.

The response came though, van Persie equalising after some brilliant work from Arshavin and at that point you thought they would look to get their noses in front as soon as possible, it didn’t happen and we didn’t have any real guilt edged misses or chances.

And well, the last goal? A mess up of Arsenal proportions kind of sums it up – I’d stick the blame on Koscielny but to know the player at fault you would have to know who called it and when. Did Koscielny panic? If so, just get the ball out and danger averted. Maybe he was scared of booting Szczesny and saw him coming for it at the last second? Still got you put your foot through it for me…

There were three players that stood out for me yesterday, Robin van Persie: His link up play was brilliant, a constant danger as well. His injury is worrying though, there are substantiated fears that he will be out for the Barca game. More details should be known by tomorrow. Fingers crossed he is ok. Jack Wilshere: What a star this kid is, at 19 he is one of the finest players in this team – he has a winning attitude and realises just what Arsenal is, what is stands for as much as Fabregas and van Persie do. Samir Nasri: What more can you say about him. Looked our most dangerous player when he was on the ball, sadly I don’t think he was on the ball enough.

Andrey Arshavin also impressed me, whilst visibly tired he was still looking very dangerous – he shanked a few passes but his spark is definitely back and we are a better team for it.

We may never know just how important this defeat will be, win against Orient and Sunderland and everything will be forgotten in the Barcelona build up. My stance is that we had to win the Carling Cup and/or beat Barcelona; one option left, lets do it.

What more is there to say other than to ensure that the wheels do not come off the only remedy is victory. It is what winners do.

Koscielny head slapping….

It is quite clear what happens here. If you did not see the incident I will explain..


Basically, Ferguson ran past and pushed Koscielny’s head into the ground deliberately as he celebrated. Being a captain of a rather small and unsuccessful team every Sunday evening, if that happened to one of my players there would have been trouble. It is disrespectful and shouldn’t be accepted. Of course, in the aftermath of the goal you are not going to go chasing after someone, but before play restarts I would have made my thoughts known in a way rather more forceful than having a whinge at the ref. I’m not saying that is what they should have done, but it would have been my reaction – if you follow me?

Jack Wilshere


I think most Arsenal fans will find these pictures quite sad, Jack Wilshere is clearly devastated but let me tell you one thing:- winners are born that way, and he is one of them. His attitude is admirable, his temperament is perfect and he is a leader. At 19, he is one of the main men in our team and has attributes we couldn’t teach to many members of our squad.

In 30 years we have lost 10 finals, that isn’t good enough. This season so far we have reached one final out of one possible final – not a bad start. Of course it hurts, and I know who I blame mainly – the manager – now isn’t the tine or place to explain and shout about why though.

Arsenal will be back, and have bigger fish to fry. The success will come, and its more important than ever that it comes this season.

Hold onto your hats Gooners, this ride may get bumpy…


Wenger’s biggest game as Arsenal manager 13

Posted on February 26, 2011 by Martin @ thegoonblog.com

It isn’t only the Carling Cup, it isn’t only Birmingham. It is a cup final, our first since 2007 and a chance for a first trophy since 2005. The FA Cup victory seems a long, long time ago.

This is the first final preview type blog I have ever done since starting and the magnitude of this game is something I can’t stress enough. A few days ago the talk was all about beating Barcelona and how it was a humongous result for this team, however, a win tomorrow would put even that performance in the shade.

We have waited so long for this chance that we can’t afford to waste it, cup finals don’t grow on trees and in our last two we have came up against two fantastic teams in Barcelona and Chelsea – this time with all due respect to Birmingham, we are by far the favourites and it would be an upset of gargantuan proportions if the worst happens. It could quite possibly derail what could be a very special season indeed.

That is why this game is Arsene’s biggest.

The Champions League Final is not even close, to win that it would have been an exceptional achievement but we had had success not all that long before, and were possibly still riding on the coat-tails of the invincible. Arsene has never had to teach a team to win before, and if Arsenal win tomorrow he can claim he has done that; developing, nurturing, and most importantly, winning.

When Arsenal won the league and FA Cup in 1998 it was his, and Arsenal’s arrival, that was being shouted from the roof tops. Those two games were still not his biggest though, it wasn’t a young team who had had limited success as this one had. They were also two games where the captain, a winner, was present. Here, Cesc Fabregas – a World Cup and European Cup winner- won’t be.

Players will have to step up again, the days leader Robin van Persie, the magical Samir Nasri and – despite what people say – the world class Andrey Arshavin will be called upon to kick this season into life.

As we have so often seen in this part of the season, we start to flag a little bit, things go against the team and there is no lift. Tomorrow we can do just that, Wenger can cross another trophy off his checklist and it will be one almighty boot up the backside for this team. They will then know they can win things, proper things. We are not just talking the Emirates Cup here.

There are so many contributory stories to this. Eduardo had his leg broken against Birmingham and unsurprisingly the ‘do it for Eduardo’ campaign has been given another airing. I loved Eduardo the lack of a recovery to his peak at Arsenal was sad. My point here is that the final is not about Cesc, Wenger or Eduardo – it is for Arsenal. Wenger can make it a great day, Cesc could have helped make it a great day – Eduardo provides the tragedy in the tale – sadly. It is for Arsenal first, Wenger second, Cesc and the players third – then for the justice, like Eduardo.

There have been a fair few nervous twitches since the win over Stoke and I am not talking about Cesc’s hamstring – Arsenal are being bigged up to end their drought in a way that this squad probably hasn’t really had to face at all. It is one pressure starting a season having not won anything for a long time, it is another pressure entirely to deal with it over a 90 minute game. There will be nerves but hopefully they won’t lead to mistakes, that would be the most painful thing of all, our defence creaking when it has looked solid for months.

The nerves are already jangling, this is the cup final feeling and it has been away for far too long.

Welcome back.

Now to bring that winning feeling with it.

Damn, still 24 hours to go. Onto the next one…


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