december 31st

10.49 - So I'm back from Ireland and the detox has well and truly begun. No more alcohol for quite some time, I can tell you. And that time is around 10 o'clock tonight when I start swigging cava to see in the new year.

I did write a kind of a review of the year thing, mentioning all sorts of stuff about players, Kolo, the FA Cup final, the 5-1 in Milan, losing the league the way we did, Bolton, Thierry Henry, learning lessons and loads of other stuff which made less and less sense the more I read it. I just wanted to to say a little bit about the mix of emotions that was 2003. From extreme disappointment in late April/early May, to elation at winning the cup final, from the low of the first 3 games in the Champions League to the high of the next 3. But then football is like life I suppose. Ups and downs, swings and roundabouts, ying and yang, Morcombe and Wise.

What I like about this Arsenal team, and the manager, is that the nearly years, the disappointments and hurts of coming close, don't grind them down. It just makes them more determined to win the prizes the next season. We can see that this season. While United and Chelsea spent big this summer, we bought a goalkeeper. They can raise the bar financially, we can only do it on the pitch.

All in all it was a pretty good year really. With some shit bits. Like lots of other years, but different.

2003 was the year Arseblog really grew, serving over 4,250,000 pages this year. Which is quite a lot, I think. I'd like to thank all of you who visit the site regularly for putting up with my increasingly garbled rhetoric. Seriously though, it's good to know that day after day we're finding more Arsenal fans with nothing better to do.

And because you're all so really, really super, I'd like to wish you all a very happy, successful and peaceful New Year with little or no intrusion into your private life by cunty people with nothing better to do.

Have a good one, gooners. Up the Arsenal.

december 27th

17.54 - A good win yesterday against Wolves, although I haven't seen any of the goals having spent the last day down the country in a place where TV is going to be the next big thing. Southampton on Monday will be a far tougher game, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Cyganbot™ will make up for the nightmare he had there last season.

Other than that the crimbo festivities are going swimmingly, but I think I might have a kidney infection. Two pints of Guinness nearly crippled me last night, so I had to drink Jamesons and water all night. Not mixed by the way. First a Jameson's, then a glass of water. Mmmmm. Pisstacular.

Anyway, that's about it for now. I'm heading back to Spain on Tuesday, so it might be after that before the next update. Take it easy.


december 24th

20.15 - You know, when you haven't drunk Guinness in any quantity for quite some time, it does take your stomach a little while to get accustomed to it again. What before was a lovely, nutty brown becomes a black like the blackness that is in the heart of evil men. Ouch. But yum.

Hope you're all well. I'm not really going to bother with Arsenal news, coz I'm off to the pub now. I just wanted to let you know that Leopold has resurfaced after what he claims was a 'weekend' of mulled wine and rohypnol. Who are we to argue with the great man? His latest offering 'Hither, Page and come with me' can now be savoured on the real ANR.

The update means you all have new arses to play with now, which is good. Expect another update sometime before I leave Ireland on the 30th, but in the meantime, I'll once again wish you all a very happy christmas day.

december 22nd

08.15 - Well, I'm off to Ireland today for what I'm sure will be an eventful Christmas. I'd just like to say thanks to all of you for visiting the site over the year, it wouldn't be the same without you.

Anyway, expect sporadic updates during the next week or so. Until then, I wish you and yours a very merry Christmas and nothing but the best for the new year.

Remember, Santa is a gooner. Cheers for now.


december 21st

10.09 - Only 4 shopping days until Xmas®©™. Luckily for me I got a large percentage of the shopping done yesterday, I just need to buy a suitcase now.

Jens Lehmann Bolton - Arseblog

I know some people are a little concerned with our form at the moment, and feel that we should be doing more than drawing against the likes of Fulham, Leicester and Bolton.

Obviously late equalisers are painful things at the best of times, but I much prefer them to late winners (scored against us, natch). Remember, we're still the only unbeaten team in English league football, we're top of the league (for now, expect that to change as Spurs put their arse in the air and take it from United today), and we're in the 2nd phase of the Champions League. Traditionally we have a poor spell in November where we lose a game or two. That hasn't happened, so we're improving on our form from the previous season.

One thing I do hope for over the Christmas period is the return of Lauren to right back, which means Kolo Toure can go back to his best position in central defence. It also means Sol Campbell can play on his favoured side of the central defensive partnership, which is currently occupied by Pascal Cygan. Now, I have been critical of the bald lump before, but fair play to him, he's improved a lot on the performances of last season - although that's not a difficult task. However, I think that we should play our two best central defenders when possible, and to me that's Kolo and Sol. It might be tough on Cygan, but he's got to accept the fact he's never going to be an automatic first choice, he's just not that good. If he can come in and do a job without making the horrendous errors he made last season, then he's got a good squad job. I'd also like to see Edu play some games in the midfield. I like Gilberto fine, but when Vieira is not 100% match fit and struggling a bit, he needs somebody alongside him who will take responsibility, who actively looks for the ball and can do something with it. Edu is creative, but works very hard and is as good defensively as his Brzilian mate.

Juan Pablo Angel anyone? Nah, didn't think so. Kevin Hofland anyone? We'll swap you a Cygan for your Hofland, PSV, and seeing as it's crimbo we'll chuck in a free Wiltord.

Right, I have to go suitcase shopping. "Excuse me, I'm looking for a suitcase big enough for a 10kg ham and more booze than a park full of teenagers on a Friday night."

december 20th

17.55 - Bolton 1-1 Arsenal (Pires).


10.25 - Christmas party last night.

Beer, restaurant, wine, more wine, even more wine, brandy, Irish bar, Guinness, gin 'n' tonic, colleagues house, Absinthe, more beer, home somehow around 5am. This morning, next door neighbours drilling and hammering from 8am. Ouch.

More later.

december 19th

08.45 - Is it really only 6 days until Xmas®©™?

Gah. As you'll have gathered, the shopping percentage has remained static. This means today I have to go into Barcelona to do the shopping. I really fucking hate shopping, especially when I have no idea what I'm looking for. I wish everyone I knew had been kidnapped.

PSG want Sylvain Wiltord to take a pay-cut to come and join them. You teasing cunts, you're just messing with us. 'Come work for us, we'll pay you less.' Bastards. That's not much incentive. Maybe we could all send PSG a fiver by paypal. Every little helps.

Nice to see United's media machine go into overdrive to prevent Rio getting a ban. Actually, it's not nice at all. I understand the fact that Rio is a valuable asset for Manchester United, but this culture of blaming somebody else and not taking any responsibility for anything is Bushesque. I sincerely hope he gets the full two years.

Other than that there's little or nothing going on at this stage of the morning. Time to get my shopping stick out - used to beat other shoppers out of my fucking way.

december 18th

09.03 - I suppose I should hold my hands up and admit that I thought yesterday was Thursday and Rio's thing was starting. Turns out it wasn't Thursday at all. However, today is Thursday, so the Rio thing should be starting today. I'd be happy to take any drugs test you want, there's nothing in my system that would negatively impact my short term memory. Oh no.

My memory may be poor, but my head is not pointy and I don't run around looking like a don't give a shit. I think I've been reasonably Wiltord friendly, but his performance in the Carling Cup game was that of a man with his mind somewhere else. PSG, perhaps? Let's hope so. We've got great kids coming through, the last thing we need to do is show them there's a place in the team for somebody who quite patently isn't making the effort anymore.

Arsenal will play Middlesboro in the semi-final of the Carling Cup. Boro beat Spurs on penalties and as good as that gets, it has prompted the headline of the year from Arseweb, with this - Boro deny Tottenham semi-final loss to Arsenal. Class. I wish I had headlines. My favourite football headline of all time has to be the one from The Sun when Thomas Brolin was involved in a car crash with a local animal in his native Sweden - HUGE BEAST RUNS INTO ELK.

Arsene Wenger has praised both Martin Keown and Lauren for their performances in the games against West Brom, after both players made their comebacks from injuries. According to this Fulham site Arsene Wenger will meet Moritz Volz to 'decide his future'. It's no secret the ...pffff....cottagers....heh....want to sign him permo like, but it may well be his future is at Highbury. Alan Smith has managed to write an article without saying a word about Arsene Wenger leaving at the end of his current contract, and it's all the better for it. Some good stuff on the kids in The Telegraph.

Christmas shopping update - 0% with a slight chance of making that 10% by the end of the morning.

december 17th

09.01 - Another good night in the Carling Cup last night as Arsenal went through to the semi-finals with a 2-0 victory over West Brom at the Hawthorns. Kanu scored the first goal, heading a chance straight at the keeper but then knocking in the rebound. In the second half Arsenal were gifted a second goal when Russell Hoult (who some people were advocating signing in the summer) beautifully set up young French striker Jeremie Aliadiere, who has now got 4 goals this season, all of them in the Carling Cup. Nice to see him take his chances when they're given to him though, unlike a certain jug-eared striker on Merseyside.

Also taking his chance well, and drawing praise from the boss, was Graham Stack. He got nothing but good reports when he spent last season on loan at Beveren, and after last night's game he said "It's a dream for me to play for Arsenal - so to play three games and get us in the semi-finals is great. I'd be disappointed not to play in the next game - but to get into the semis is a fantastic feat for such a young side. It speaks volumes for our academy."

The draw for the semi-finals will be made after tonight's games are completed. Despite playing in all the rounds of the Carling Cup, Greek defender Stathis Tavlaridis could be off to Lille when the transfer window opens. I suppose he's gone beyond the point where he could have any realistic hope of making the first team, and he didn't really impress me last night, so if he goes, good luck to him. Going nowhere though is Jermaine Pennant who continues his pennance at Leeds, for at least another month, while Dennis Bergkamp might stay on at Arsenal for another season according to Arsene Wenger.

Today sees the start of Rio Ferdinand's hearing for missing his drugs test. All the usual old cronies are out saying what a good lad he is, don't ban him, he's suffered enough. Give him the full 2 years, I say. Wonky lipped muppet. The fact that so much time has passed has clouded the issue. Bottom line: Rio 'forgot' to take a drugs test, despite having been told twice that morning about it. You won't convince me that he genuinely forgot, and whatever he was trying to hide or whatever he was was trying to do, he's a professional athlete and should be punished accordingly. 'The guillotine', you say. What a splendid idea.

Christmas shopping % = 0%. Really fucking slowly, slowly.




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