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The Goon blog


A turbulent month 4

Posted on February 01, 2012 by Martin @ thegoonblog.com

The first two months of the season were awful, the atmosphere was angry, unsettled and going to watch the team wasn’t at all pleasant. The atmosphere eased after a good run of results, putting us well back into contention for the Champions League places.

A new year run that has yet to see us win in the league has heralded the return of that atmosphere, a portion of the fanbase have been very forward with their views on the manager and a few of the players – an injury crisis has not helped matters either – all in all, being an Arsenal fan in the past few weeks has not been the most pleasant of experiences.

I’ll put my viewpoint out there: Arsene Wenger has made mistakes, big mistakes, but there is no manager who could manage the club better with what is available to him in terms of money and playing staff. Some fans react like Arsene is on a mission to destroy Arsenal Football Club and undo all the good work he did up to 2005. At this point in time I am uncertain if Arsene will be in his position come the start of next season – I question if the board are giving him enough rope to hang himself, I guess we will just have to wait and see.

When it comes to January signings, or the lack of, the club certainly made approaches to players and gave certain players permission to leave. Nothing really materialised, but it strikes me that the club find it very hard to convince players to sign and find it even harder to get rid of players that are surplus to requirements. It is an area that really needs analysing and sharpening up before the summer because if the worst case scenario of Robin van Persie being sold arises, we will need to replace him with world class – no less – or we will be bang in trouble.

There has been many a rallying cry issued and I really don’t see the point in adding to them, however now more than ever the players need the fans behind them – the issues are slightly different to those of last season when certain players just couldn’t give a toss – we need Theo Walcott, Alex Song, Gervinho, and Aaron Ramsey to up their games, take even more of the responsibility that is heaped on Robin van Persie’s shoulders and start performing. When the team clicks it is undoubtedly one of the best in the league, one of the four best, the players just have to be fit and on form.

Tonight we face Bolton away from home and the importance of a win just can’t be stated enough, three league defeats in a row is just not good enough for any side, let alone one wanting to finish in the top four. No more slip-ups allowed, no more mistakes, get the job done and get out of there.

Come on Arsenal.

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The King is back, and we sure as hell need him 2

Posted on January 06, 2012 by Martin @ thegoonblog.com

When Arsenal posted a very emotional message on their website to fans after the departure of our then captain and talisman people wondered how we would replace him and if we would even get into the top four in the coming season. Now, in January 2012, he is coming back. Does he still have the speed? No. Does he have the leadership qualities, knowledge and experience to contribute until the end of Febuary? Almost certainly yes.

The signing of Thierry Henry on a short term loan deal is not only designed to capture the imagination of fans longing for days of the past that are ever closer to the horizon, it is also a huge kick up the arse to the likes of Marouane Chamakh, Theo Walcott and Park. It is fully understandable that fans want more than a stop-gap solution – however Arsenal need someone that could slot straight in and keep the harmony in the squad, Theirry knows how Arsenal and Arsene work, he understands the history and the importance of the club – he is an Arsenal fan.

Over the past 12 months and more we as fans have wanted the players to give more at times, we have bemoaned the lack of passion and leadership on display- there is not one player who will give more than Theirry Henry, embrace the fact he is returning and enjoy it. By all means, it could be the last chance we get to see him play football.

Just having a player like Henry around, a player who can easily be considered one of the clubs very greatest, gives not only the youngsters something to aspire to but it will lift the entire squad – a new(ish) face and a man who will let his opinions be heard, another person who Arsene will listen to.

He has not lost ‘it’. Players that good rarely do. Physically his condition will not be of the standard it was four or five years ago but for a player who is such a showman and so conscious of how he is perceived by fans, he would not make the decision to come back if he didn’t feel he wasn’t good enough. All it will take is one sweep of that legendary right boot to say goodbye in the perfect way – even if he doesn’t bundle in the goals, there are plenty of other ways for him to make his short stay a resounding success.

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It is a little late to look back over 2011 now, I have been busy and unable to write anything half-decent. Others could say what I had to say far, far better.

I just want to pay tribute to a fantastic year for Robin van Persie, however. We are privilaged to have a player of such class and quality at our club, we have watched him struggle with injuries for so many years – he has finally got to a point in his career when he can show everyone just how good he is. When Arsene said he is a player of Ronaldo and Messi caliber he was not lying. He has achieved all this in one of our weakest squads for a long long time, the other two play in the best sides on the planet.

I have a funny feeling he will continue to play with us long past this summer, too.

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The league should be the priority right now 3

Posted on December 07, 2011 by Martin @ thegoonblog.com

Winning is a habit, however, occasionally competitions have to be prioritised and anyone slating the team selection for the Olympiacos game needs to understand that.

Football is down to money, and whilst the Champions League may bring in more money than the majority of football clubs could ever dream of having, one away tie with the group already won can afford to be treated as an insignificant game. Whilst it would have been really nice to start developing another unbeaten streak, as long as the defeat does not impact on this weekend’s game against Everton it will soon be forgotten; three points against Everton is not only vital to our top four chances – and consequently another shed-load of Champions League money.

Ignore the crap that is being spouted in the press as usual – when we play well we will be given a little praise, whenever we drop points we are made out to be some hapless team who’s defence belongs on Sunday league pitches – and whilst Squillaci may well belong there – we have three of the best defenders in the country in Vermaelen, Koscielny and Sagna. Don’t believe me? Check out the best sports betting sites for more details.

One lesson that I do not think has been learned is that of Lucasz Fabianski and the state of our reserve goalkeepers. For players such as him and Mannone, regular football is essential, it is no coincidence that his best performances in an Arsenal shirt came when he was getting regular football. His future probably lies away from the Emirates, as does that of Mannone. With Arsenal’s style of football we need seasoned and proven reserve goalkeepers.

As we move onto the game against Everton, a game that is never easy, we are edging closer to one of the most vital points of the season – this unbeaten league run needs to be continued into January as pressure put onto the likes of Sp*rs who are hopefully not well stocked with bog roll if the season comes down to a nail-biter. We have made no end of progress in the past few months and the team is growing with confidence, belief and most importantly quality with every game.

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A few words on the Wigan victory and City defeat. We fought hard and ultimately lost to a goal by a player who cost more than our starting eleven put together – it was a classy finish and a gutting end to what had been a pride filled and passionate performance from a young side. Despite the fact we lost against City, the victory against Wigan proved that we are not a one man team at all.

If we are a one man team, I bet there are plenty more teams out there wanting to be a Robin van Persie based team. He is one of the best in the world, nobody in the Premier League can get near him right now.

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