Eggs, nuggets, mind control + Arsecast 313

Eggs, nuggets, mind control + Arsecast 313

Morning all. Seems like lots of people have today off, what with it being Chocolate Egg weekend and that. I don’t have any plans to eat a chocolate egg because they’re made from the bits of chocolate that are left over on the floor and have that white stuff on it. Much like chicken nuggets are simply the carcasses, beaks and entrails of all kinds of animals smooshed into a kind of paste then mixed with flavourings and emulsifiers (and possibly some Soylent Green) before being readied for human consumption.

Don’t eat chicken nuggets.

Easter eggs aren’t exactly the chicken nuggets of chocolate but they all have a very samey taste which makes me think the manufacturers are having a big laugh at us and before each one is packaged it’s brushed with a solution that could be made of anything. Even mind control drugs. They make me suspicious, and no offer of a free mug is going to sucker me in.

And no, I didn’t get enough sleep last night, as you ask.

Anyway, Arsene Wenger’s press conference was yesterday and he gave updates regarding players and their state of fitness. And that’s what we’re all here for, not crackpot theories about how big government is using religious festivals which have in turn been usurped by candy corporations to keep us placid and docile as they run rampant and do what they want.

The good news is that Mesut Ozil is likely to be available for the trip to Hull, with the manager saying he’d give him a test today and tomorrow before deciding if he makes the trip, but chances are he’ll be with the squad at the Tony the Tiger Arena. Grrrrrrreeaaaat. Wenger said:

It’s good to have Mesut back because we’ve had so many offensive players out. He gives you always opportunities to score. He’s one of our main players offensively and we are a team that is used to scoring goals. Recently away from home we have not scored so much so it is important that we get back our offensive potential back.

I like the phrase ‘offensive potential’, sounds like a name for a stand-up comedian’s tour (Daz O’B, you can have that one on me, if you want). But I know exactly what he means about having Ozil back. Along with Ramsey he’s got that stuff we all wish we had as footballers, which would mean we could actually be footballers instead of having to work for a living, and with just four games left of this current league campaign, to have that quality – not to mention the freshness they’ll have after being banjaxed for so long – is good news indeed.

The boss also suggested the German would be up there for the player of the year awards next season, assuming he goes through the campaign unharmed by chicken nuggets and easter eggs (has anyone thought to look at those as the underlying cause for our injury crisis? You can’t rule anything out, can you?):

I think he’s a fantastic football player and I would put him on the list to be Player of the Season next season.

Spot on, if you ask me. Once we get busy this summer and add that WCS (World Class Striker), along with the RDM (Rugged Defensive Midfielder) and SFPWWCASGAMRIBCTWOIGAAAT (Super Fast Pacy Winger Who Can Also Score Goals And Make Runs In Behind Coz That’s What Ozil Is Good At And All That), then there’s no doubt he’s going to be lifting that individual trophy which is what football is all about apart from the fact it’s a team game and individual accolades are basically worthless and only to serve the vanity of footballers and the almost despotic influence of the trophy making industry on the game we all love. WE ALL LOVE.

The manager also questioned the decision by Sky to move Chelsea’s game, thus inconveniencing lots of Arsenal fans in the process. He said:

I don’t question the objectivity of the television companies but sometimes their choices don’t look very rational. We never got any help on that front. Never.

I believe it’s incumbent on us all to stand up and make our voices heard when anything happens that might benefit John Terry or Jose Mourinho in any way (the easter egg and chicken nugget of football, respectively). The bottom line, however, is this decision has left lots of Arsenal fans inconvenienced, out of pocket and with no comeback whatsoever. It’s a point of discussion on today’s Arsecast which I’ll get to now in a minute.

But before I do, the upcoming book launch has been announced, mark it down in your diaries. Thursday May 15th, The Tollington. 10 years to the day that Arsenal went through the Premiership unbeaten, we’ll be launching the book which looks back on that most awesome of seasons. Full details can be found here, and if you want to let us know you’re attending via Facebook you can do that too (but you can also just show up and have a beer and get a book – it’s most casual). More details on this over the next few weeks.

Right then, onto this week’s Arsecast and I’m joined by Tim Stillman and Goonerholic to discuss what turned out to be a pretty good for us. On the agenda, West Ham, Podolski, Giroud, the race for fourth, FA Cup final tickets, and loads more.

You can subscribe to the Arsecast on iTunes by clicking here. Or if you want to subscribe directly to the feed URL you can do so too (this is a much better way to do it as you don’t experience the delays from iTunes). To download this week’s Arsecast directly – click here32mb MP3.

The Arsecast is also available on our SoundCloud channel, where you can leave comments and such, as well as via the SoundCloud app for iPhone and Android. You can now also find it on the Stitcher podcasting app for iOS and Android. Or, you can listen without leaving this page by using the player below.

And that’s about that for today. We don’t play till Sunday so it could get quiet between now and then, but if there’s anything stirring we’ll have it on Arseblog News. The Gent should be here later and I’ll be back tomorrow morning.

Till then.

Arsecast Extra 12 – 14.04.2014

Arsecast Extra 12 – 14.04.2014

Here’s this week’s Arsecast Extra: I’m joined as always by James from @Gunnerblog.

On this week’s show we react to reaching the FA Cup final and strange feeling that has surrounded that. Also on the agenda, Yaya Sanogo, Olivier Giroud, fans fighting in the stands and listener questions sent to us via email and Twitter about Kallstrom, goalkeepers and genies. It’s more happy than it sounds.

Remember, you can send us questions via which we’ll try and get to each week. Send them to either @arseblog or @Gunnerblog (or both) using the hashtag #arsecastextra. Best to send them Monday morning so they get noticed more easily.

You can subscribe to the Arsecast Extra on iTunes by clicking here. Or if you want to subscribe directly to the feed URL you can do so too (this is a much better way to do it as you don’t experience the delays from iTunes). To download this week’s Arsecast Extra directly – click here34mb MP3.

Arsecast Extra is brought to you by Audible.com – you can get a free audio book download and a 30 day free trial. Click the banner below to sign up or go to audibletrial.com/arsecast

The Arsecast Extra is also available on our SoundCloud channel, where you can leave comments and such, as well as via the SoundCloud app for iPhone and Android. You can also find it on the Stitcher podcasting app for iOS and Android. Or, you can listen without leaving this page by using the player below.

Freaked out in a Bourbon daydream, oh yeah + Arsecast 312

Freaked out in a Bourbon daydream, oh yeah + Arsecast 312

My head is a little achey this morning, I have to admit. I’ve been self-medicating a bit this week with Kentucky’s finest, and I think it’s catching up with me.

Mrs Blogs used the word ‘jittery’ to describe me yesterday, which I think is fairly spot on. And the team news from yesterday, when the manager had his press conference, didn’t help much. Although Aaron Ramsey is back and will start, there are doubts over Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (groin), Kieran Gibbs (ankle) and Tomas Rosicky (thigh). All of them face late fitness tests, but even if they make it’s hard to think of any them will be 100%.

Could Kim Kallstrom be the surprise hero? And by hero I mean bloke who gets to play in a game of football at a time when the squad is stretched to its absolute limit. It could happen. A midfield triumvirate of Arteta, Kallstrom and Ramsey – some experience, a bit more experience and a big dollop of awesome sauce on top.

I am, however, determined to try and keep as positive as possible between now and tomorrow. I think we’ve done enough introspection and naval gazing since last Sunday, and the simple fact is we’re one game away from the FA Cup final. It’s something we should be excited about it.

And I mean, I am excited. It’s just that if I was playing Top Trumps with myself and I got ‘Excitement: 97′ my next card would be ‘Terror: 100000000000039′. Am I wrong? Should I be more confident? I feel like I should, but when I try it feels a bit unnatural – like trying to brush your teeth with your wrong hand.

I’m all ‘It’s Arsenal in the FA Cup semi-final, let’s do this. Yeaaah.’

And the little voice is all, ‘Birmgham in the Carling Cup.’

And I’m all, ‘Shut up that was ages ago and we’re more mature now, they said so.’

And the little voice waits and goes ‘Bradford’ and sniggers into its hand (if voices had hands).

And then I’m all, ‘You shut up shut up shut up we can do this I know we can. We’ve beaten Bayern Munich recently. So there.’

Then the little voice is nowhere and I think I’ve won and as I’m going off to think about something else it does a Cartman with a megaphone (NSFW!) and blasts ‘BLACKBURN’ in my ears.

Goddamit. There’s just so much riding on this game. Maybe I’m using this as a means of catharsis. Getting my fears out in the open so they become more manageable. A problem shared, and all that. I can’t be alone, can I?

Arsene Wenger, meanwhile, has extolled the virtues of a competition he has won four times during his Arsenal tenure. He said:

Everyone can dream of winning it at the start of the season. It is a dream open to everybody and that is the beauty of the FA Cup. Last year Wigan won it, this year you have Sheffield United in the semi-final and that kind of dream open to everybody makes the competition special. In the league you can talk and talk but we know the biggest budget will win it. That open dream is what makes this competition special in football.

Leaving aside the rather pointed remark about the biggest budget winning the league, I do love the FA Cup. There have been times when, in the pursuit of more lofty prizes, we’ve paid lip service to this competition and that has been painful. That Old Trafford game … ugh.

But this season its importance goes beyond words really. It’s a tangible trophy, something to actually lift rather than to boost the bank balance. It would get this monkey off our backs after so long. And in terms of back monkeys, this one is an absolute twat. Just when you think you’re about to get rid of him, he digs his paws in even harder then lets loose a torrent of monkey piss down your spine.

Stupid monkey. I think I might have made a similar analogy on this today’s Arsecast, which is probably an indication of how much pressure we’re feeling right now. It must be prevalent on the training ground, amongst the players too, and we’ve got to hope they don’t find it crippling. The only thing the manager can really change about the team ahead of tomorrow’s game is the mindset.

There are few options in terms of the team and what he can fiddle with there, so he’s got to get them up from the low of Everton – and the few games before that – and get them believing that they can get the job done. Personally, I’d threaten them all with a week tied to a chair listening to Phil Collins and eating bacon that had that rainbow sheen on it if they don’t win the game, but I suspect my motivational techniques may differ from Arsene’s.

Anyway, I feel as if I’m adding to my jitters, so I think we might as well just get on with the Arsecast. I’m joined to talk Arsenal, Cazorla and all that by James Dall from ESPN, while to get a Wigan perspective on tomorrow’s encounter, I’m joined by Dan from Jesus Was a Wiganer to talk winning the cup, new managers, Uwe Rosler and more.

You can subscribe to the Arsecast on iTunes by clicking here. Or if you want to subscribe directly to the feed URL you can do so too (this is a much better way to do it as you don’t experience the delays from iTunes). To download this week’s Arsecast directly – click here37mb MP3.

The Arsecast is also available on our SoundCloud channel, where you can leave comments and such, as well as via the SoundCloud app for iPhone and Android. You can now also find it on the Stitcher podcasting app for iOS and Android. Or, you can listen without leaving this page by using the player below.

That’s me. Have a good Friday. FA Cup semi-final preview tomorrow. News throughout the day on Arseblog News. Bourbon to be find in hip flask always close at hand.

*glug*

Mmmm, breakfast bourbon.

Arsecast Extra 11 – 07.04.2014

Arsecast Extra 11 – 07.04.2014

Here’s this week’s Arsecast Extra: I’m joined as always by James from @Gunnerblog.

On this week’s show reaction to the 3-0 defeat to Everton yesterday and all the implications of that. There’s obviously discussion about the performance, the players, the manager and his future, as well as questions which touch further on those situations. Basically, it’s a laugh a minute romp, like Million Dollar Baby the bit in Bambi when Bambi’s mother gets shot.

Remember, you can send us questions via which we’ll try and get to each week. Send them to either @arseblog or @Gunnerblog (or both) using the hashtag #arsecastextra. Best to send them Monday morning so they get noticed more easily.

You can subscribe to the Arsecast Extra on iTunes by clicking here. Or if you want to subscribe directly to the feed URL you can do so too (this is a much better way to do it as you don’t experience the delays from iTunes). To download this week’s Arsecast Extra directly – click here34mb MP3.

Arsecast Extra is brought to you by Audible.com – you can get a free audio book download and a 30 day free trial. Click the banner below to sign up or go to audibletrial.com/arsecast

The Arsecast Extra is also available on our SoundCloud channel, where you can leave comments and such, as well as via the SoundCloud app for iPhone and Android. You can also find it on the Stitcher podcasting app for iOS and Android. Or, you can listen without leaving this page by using the player below.

Ramsey on the way back + Arsecast 311

Ramsey on the way back + Arsecast 311

Morning all and welcome to Friday.

It’s unusual for us to get anything like good news when it comes to injuries, so the announcement yesterday that Aaron Ramsey could be back for the trip to Everton was like a bolt from the blue (hopefully one into the blues on Sunday also).

In his team news update on the official site, Arsene Wenger said:

Aaron and Nacho Monreal are back training with the squad, so that is good news. Hopefully they will be available for Sunday.

Not quite the ‘Ramsey is back to save us hurrah our season is safe’ kinda stuff, but still good news all the same. The manager’s caution is obvious and I don’t think there’s any way he’ll be starting on Sunday, but even if he could make a little cameo from the bench to give him some minutes ahead of the FA Cup semi-final that would be a big step forward.

The news is obviously welcome, but tempered by the manager’s comments just last week when he suggested that it could be a ‘few weeks’ before we saw him again. When I heard that I simply prepared myself for the ‘Well, if he gets a good pre-season under his belt he could be fit by August’ reasoning that I would undergo as a coping mechanism, so this is good.

You would like to think that this is because he’s made some real progress and not because we’re desperate to bring him back ahead of schedule. That, surely, must be a lesson we’ve well and truly learned at this point. All the same, you can’t really understate his importance.

With 13 goals to his name, he’s still our second top scorer and he hasn’t played since December 26th. There was some stat going around on Twitter about how, despite that absence, he’d made more tackles than any other Arsenal player, but I did a bit of digging around on WhoScored last night and it turns out that’s not quite true.

He’s third in the successful tackles list with 66 to his name. Kieran Gibbs (67) is second while Mikel Arteta is top with 79. That said, his tackles per game average is still the best (3.7) and only Arteta comes close with 3.2, but it’s not necessarily that part of his game that people will welcome back. What he gives us going forward is crucial too, so fingers crossed he’s fully recovered and can start playing a part again.

The boss also updated us about Mesut Ozil, saying:

The FA Cup will be too soon for him, but he will hopefully be back soon after that.

While Ozil himself provided us with this on his Facebook page:

dear fans,
I can assure you that I’m doing my best to return to the pitch as soon as possible. but in the end, only two things matter: to have confidence in yourself and to be patient! #coyg

Only two things matter, confidence and patience. And stretchy hamstrings. Only three things matter, confidence, patience, and stretchy hamstrings. And Deep Heat. Only four things matter, confidence, patience, stretchy hamstrings and Deep Heat. And a good warm-up. Only … well, you get the idea.

Having Ozil back would be fantastic. I realise that goes without saying really, but when you still have some dimwit hacks claiming he’s nicking a living at Arsenal, blissfully ignorant of the irony of that statement when they’re doing pretty much the same in their own field, it’s worth repeating.

I’m not really counting on Wilshere being able to do much between now and the end of the season, to be perfectly honest, but adding Ramsey and Ozil back into the mix certainly would give us many of the qualities we’ve been missing in recent weeks. Ok, neither of them are going to solve the outright pace issue, but when it comes to purposeful running, end product and creativity, they tick all the required boxes.

No doubt the manager will give more in-depth info about Ramsey at his press conference this morning. The prospect of facing Everton in an early-ish kick off is an interesting one and I do wonder if there’ll be any mention of our preparation for this one in relation to what happened in other big away games this season.

Right, time then for this week’s Arsecast, and I’m joined by Amy Lawrence to discuss the week that was, Man City, strikers, club strategy and more. There’s some Arsene Wenger Hawkins and a bit of Colonel Abrams squeezed in there too.

You can subscribe to the Arsecast on iTunes by clicking here. Or if you want to subscribe directly to the feed URL you can do so too (this is a much better way to do it as you don’t experience the delays from iTunes). To download this week’s Arsecast directly – click here – 28mb MP3.

The Arsecast is also available on our SoundCloud channel, where you can leave comments and such, as well as via the SoundCloud app for iPhone and Android. You can now also find it on the Stitcher podcasting app for iOS and Android. Or, you can listen without leaving this page by using the player below.

News from the press conference and more on Arseblog News throughout the day, back tomorrow as prepare for Goodison.

Until then, have a good one.