Football is a funny game. Sometimes you can play really well and lose. Sometimes you play really badly and win. Sometimes you score three goals and draw. Sometimes you hit the post, the bar, the keeper makes a load of great saves to stop you winning. And sometimes Rory Delap scores two goals against you. Football is a funny game. That's why we love it and why we keep watching.
The first half was dominated by Arsenal, we had all of the ball really, then they hit a post. We got a penalty which Henry hit the post with and you just got that feeling it was going to be one of those days. We looked sluggish all the way through. Then in the second half Henry beat the offside trap, controlled a Bergkamp pass and put us one up.
Southampton equalised when Vieira lost Delap from a corner and when Cesc gave away a free kick on our left Vieira let Delap do exactly the same again to put them 2-1 up. We brought on Robin van Persie and with in injury time he got the ball in their box, sidestepped rather niftily and crashed a left foot shot into the top corner to make it 2-2.
He could even have got a winner if the touch he got on a Pires free kick was slightly heavier.
Arsenal fans have been more accustomed to teams scoring late equalisers to peg us back. It's been some time since we've saved a game so late and it really does feel like a win. In The Philharmonic in Barcelona all the Arsenal fans were jumping around as the United fans sat in a far corner watching their great Arsenal-conquering, all-problems-solved team lose 2-0 to Portsmouth. A game against Southampton is generally one you'd expect us to win, but not even considering the fact that we might not is a major flaw in the make up of some fans who need to be reminded sometimes that what we have at the moment is a bit special.
Afterwards Arsene Wenger was unhappy with the defending, can't say I blame him, but all in all on days like this, and in the manner the result was gained, you can't be too unhappy with 2-2.
Elsewhere, and in a pathetic attempt to distract people from the fact he couldn't manage a pub side at the moment, Alex Ferguson has demanded the FA charge Thierry Henry saying his challenge on Gabriel Heinze was worse than van Nistelrooy's on Ashley Cole. Now I watched the game with United fans and not one of them had anything to say about that particular incident. One United site has a video of it, and it does nothing to prove the case. If any United fan really thinks that's a case of Henry deliberately kicking and stamping on Heinze then they're full of shit and they haven't been watching football very long.
All the video proves is that South Americans are prone to the worst kind of over-reaction. It's nonsense, it was a nothing challenge and United fans should really be more concerned with how hapless and vapid their team are at the moment instead of this kind of stuff. Ferguson should concentrate on getting his own house in order, if he's capable of doing that, instead of making himself and the supposed 'biggest club in the world' look like more desperate and spiteful idiots, determined to take more than the 3 points from the game last week.
And that's that. Off to get some breakfast. Happy hallowe'en ...mwa ha ha ha.
Saturday morning. A brief news round-up before I got about my chores and market shopping.
Manchester United have apparently launched an investigation into the tunnel incident and will be sending a dossier to the FA. Tell tales. Arsene Wenger isn't bothered though, he reckons they can do what they want and that the FA should be more concerned with what happened on the pitch than Demento getting a slice of pizza straight in his poxy red face. I have to agree, although the idea of Ferguson with cheese, tomato sauce and onion stuck to him is still really funny. Ferguson yesterday accused Arsene Wenger of having a 'mental problem'. Perhaps Ferguson is Wenger's problem and there's no doubt he's fucking mental.
Update: I've just looked at The Sun and they think Ruud van Nistelrooy could sue Arsene Wenger for calling him a cheat. Imagine Cheaty McCheat thinking he can sue because someone calls him a cheat. The big cheat.
In seriousness though the FA have to tread carefully here. They're going to open up a can of worms if they allow clubs to become prosecutors. United have accused Arsenal of lacking class after the loss last Sunday but as the saying goes 'Show me a good loser and I'll show a loser.' It strikes me that United realised their win on Sunday only cut the gap to 8 points so a good way of closing the gap would be for the FA to dock Arsenal points or suspend players based on the evidence they're going to provide. Now who lacks class?
Team news sees Sol definitely out (and for the CL game on Tuesday) but Jens Lehmann and Ashley Cole have both come through fitness tests and will start. Young Danny Karbasiyoon talks about scoring a goal on his debut and life at Arsenal.
And that's about it. It'll be off to the pub for a couple of quiet and relaxed afternoon beers to watch the game. More later.
A short blog today, my typing stick is getting worn out.
Robert Pires doesn't like French coach Raymond Dommenech and if Bob doesn't like him, I don't like him. George Best says he would have 'chinned' the Arsenal pizza chuckers back in his day. Yeah, like he could stay upright long enough, the manky drunk. Injury news ahead of Saturday's game against Southampton is not good. Sol Campbell is definitely out with a calf problem while Jens Lehmann (hamstring) and Ashley Cole (splintered knee) are both rated doubtful. If Ashley doesn't make it we could see Pascal Cygan at left back. Erm...*gulp*
Robin van Persie gets asked some questions, then answers them. Slashburton Grove must be the headline of the season so far as Arsenal bury a time capsule at the new stadium. The boss looks a bit grumpy in the pic though which must have been taken after he said lots of nice things about Patrick Vieira and the next generation who played in the Carling Cup. He reckons 7 or 8 of them are ready for the first team if they're needed.
And that's it for today. Short and sweet, like a chocolate covered dwarf.
A good 2-1 win over Man City last night for Arsenal's kids.
Forget the first half because nothing happened, maybe a few of them were a bit overawed or something. The second was when it started to get lively and we started to play some nice football against a far more experienced City side. It was after Ryan Smith went off and Quincy MD came on that we really picked things up and a lovely move over on the left hand side between Larsson, Cesc and good work from Flamini put Robin van Persie in for his first Arsenal goal.
He looks like a very talented player but seemed to be trying just a bit too hard to impress last night, often looking for goal when the better option was the pass. Hopefully the goal will take some of the pressure off him.
The second goal came from Danny Karbasiyoon, our young American (is he the first American to ever score for us?), who marked his full debut with a goal. Nice work from Quincy on the edge of the box, he played it to Cesc whose perfectly weighted pass put Karbasiyoon through and he finished smartly with his left foot. City got a consolation when Robbie Fowler slipped and actually kicked a ball right for the first time in the whole game, but the final whistle went just after we kicked off again.
It was very reassuring to see the way the lads played the game. They struggled at first, but didn't panic and always looked to pass the ball around when they had it. As the experienced man and captain Pascal Cygan's performance was excellent and I really liked the look of Philippe Senderos. He was strong, won everything in the air and he looks like a proper centre-half. We all know what Cesc can do, Pennant worked hard and looked for the ball a lot, Flamini I'm not sure about but he got into the game much more in the last half hour while Ryan Smith looks very quick but after the injury he 's just had he didn't look like he wanted to get stuck in much. I was impressed with Arturo Lupoloi up front, it was a raw performance but he's very quick and his movement and runs off the ball were just superb for a 17 year old. On a number of occassions a quick ball from van Persie would have seen him through and he had a real poacher's goal disallowed after handball in the build-up by the Dutchman. All in all a very promising look at our youngsters and they'll get a proper challenge in the next round which is at home against Everton.
And all this on a day when Arsene Wenger signed a new 3 year deal at the club. What can you say about him, about what he's done for our club, for our football? There are superlatives and superlatives. He's without doubt the best manager we've ever had and I'm so, so glad to be around to see this team. Thanks, Arsene. In his own words "I love this club and I am very happy here."
Even better news, God may be a Gooner - that's according to Arseblog columnist Safety, anyway.
T-shirt winners. I asked you 'Who was a lying, cheating cunt?'. You said ' Ruud van Nistelrooy'. Our seurvey says "100". Everybody got it right, some people even gave some other answers like Mike Riley, the entire Manchester United squad, and I would also have accepted George W Bush, any Greek sprinter and Angus Deayton. The random number generator did its thing and the winners are: Jeremy Peter who gets the Now 49 shirt and Chris Hold who gets the Soupgate shirt. I'll be in touch with you both to get addresses and size info. Thanks to all who entered and thanks to goalhanger for providing the prizes.
I'm writing too much these days. Expect shorter blogs.
It rumbles on. While Ruud van Nistelrooy admitted serious foul play and apologised to Ashley Cole (through gritted fetlocks, I'd imagine) for his horror tackle, Arsene Wenger let it be known how unimpressed he is with the Dutchman's antics. "What is he doing carrying out such silly things? He does it like he is always innocent. Who is he trying to impress by doing that? Why can’t he just play football and forget all the rest?”
I think it may be because he's a cunt, boss. Ruud's record for snide challenges against us goes back a long way. He's stepped on Keown's foot, launched himself forearm first into Lauren, punched Freddie in the stomach, went in knee high on Keown again and now you can add Sunday's effort. I'd swear he doesn't like us or something. Anyway, with the new fast track disciplinary system he's likely to miss United's next three games and he can't have any arguments. And I hope he gets the Ebola virus.
The boss also spoke about the tunnel incident, saying "Nothing happened in the tunnel." I think he's being very, very diplomatic here. There are reports that it all kicked off when van Nistelrooy and Ferguson burst into the Arsenal dressing room, prompting some self defence from a couple of our players, ending up with the United manager getting a slice of pizza straight in the face. As the FA are still investigating I'm not going to mention the players involved but you don't have to look at too many message boards to find out. It's also being reported that directors at both clubs are thinking of having a 'peace summit' to put an end to the bad feeling between the clubs. Sounds a bit daft to me. We hate them, they hate us, but for 36 games a season we don't have anything to do with them. It's not exactly Israelis vs the Palestinians.
Tonight we've got the Carling Cup game against Manchester City and I'm told the team will be as follows: Almunia/Taylor - Hoyte - Senderos - Cygan - Larsson - Pennant - Cesc - Flamini - Pires - van Persie - Quincy/Lupoli. A reasonable amount of experience in there while it'll be our first chance to get a proper look at Robin van Persie. With José playing out wide a lot there's space in the team for another striker and it wasn't long ago when Wenger was saying that's where he'd decided the young Dutch man was going to play. A good performance tonight will give the manager something to think about. We'll also see Phlippe Senderos as he makes his way back from a very serious injury which kept him out the whole of last season. It should be an interesting game.
If you ever wondered how the FA choose referees for each fixture, this should fill you in a bit. Don't forget out t-shirt contest, see yesterday's blog for details on how to enter. One t-shirt celebrates our 49 game unbeaten run (the 49ers, eh?) while the other commemorates Soupgate. Having gotten slightly mixed up as two what day it was yesterday we'll take entries until midnight tonight then the random number generator will do it's thing and I'll announce the two winners tomorrow. Thanks again to goalhanger.com for the giveaways.
And so it continues. Yesterday the FA, quite rightly, charged Ruud van Nistelrooy with serious foul play after his scummy challenge on Ashley Cole during Sunday's game. If they can give Lauren a four game ban for a bit of pushing and some mild choking then he has to get the maximum three game ban. Anything less would be a total cop-out.
It also appears likely that the FA are going to investigate the incident in the tunnel which was apparently sparked by Arsene Wenger calling van Nistelrooy a cheat. I can't imagine why that would spark a row. It's like calling him a man, or Dutch. That's what he is. A filthy, spineless cheat. I hope he gets polio. Amazingly he's denied the challenge on Ashley Cole was a deliberate foul and claims he was just going for the ball, so not only is he a cheat he's a fucking liar too. Who does he think he's going to convince? Not me, not anyone who watches football, not former ref Jeff Winter - who wouldn't be opposed to lengthy ban as a deterrent - and hopefully not the FA. He didn't look at the ball, he looked for the man and raked his knee and shin. Even Stevie fucking Wonder would have seen it. He might be a good player - although 2 goals this season isn't much to get on your knees and shout like a cunt about - but he's not much of a sportsman. Anyway it seems a food fight is now the worst thing to ever have happened in football and we'll hear more about it as the week goes on I'm sure.
The FA have also asked Arsene Wenger to explain his criticism of Mike Riley. What's to explain? He's a shit ref who makes bad decisions and has a record of awarding penalties to Manchester United whenever he refs there. The FA should be asking Riley to explain that record and how he missed the van Nistelrooy challenge when he was looking right at it. An email I got from a source in Granada Media yesterday might explain a bit of it:
"A few years ago while making a programme called It Shouldn't Happen To A Referee for ITV, a colleague of mine asked Mike Riley, who was appearing on the show, which team he supported. Answer, and this is 100% true: Man Utd. I have never believed referees in this country wilfully cheat although they're human and clearly get pressurised etc. but a confessed Man Utd fan refereeing a game like this and making those decisions? Something stinks."
He got all the big decisions wrong on Sunday. If you or I displayed such incompetence in our jobs we'd be up the creek, but referees seem to be able to able to get away with anything (unless you're Andy D'Urso and we don't feel sorry for that cunt one little bit). I'm right behind the boss speaking out about Riley. The more focus there is on his record at Old Trafford the more difficult it is for him to give penalties every time he's up there. I'm sure there are 18 other managers in the Premiership happy to hear something being said about it. I'm sure lots of you saw this yesterday (created by an Arseblog forumer) and I do like Arsenal Shorts' van Nistelriley shirt here.
José has had his say on the game - "In all my sporting life I have never received so many kicks as in Manchester." He's looking forward for the return fixture in the new year so he can take some measure of revenge.
Leopold has been in touch and he's not happy. It seems he's been the victim of a robbery most foul. Read 'On the end of a skewer' on the real ANR to find out more.
T-shirt lovers: yep, it's competition time again. With thanks to my good friends at goalhanger.com (with whom we'll soon have an official Arseblog t-shirt) I have two t-shirts to give away. The first is to celebrate the 49 game unbeaten run while the second is for all you soup fans out there. To enter just email: firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me the answer to this question: Who is a cheating, lying cunt? Winners announced on Friday.
When you go on a 49 unbeaten Premiership, something no other team has done, you get days when the ball bounces for you, when the decisions go your way, when you have a bit of luck here and there.
That also means that at some stage you're going to get days when things don't go your way. Like when Rio Ferdinand escaped a straight red card for taking out Freddie when he was last man.
Like when Ruud van Nistelrooy escaped a straight red card for his spiteful, nasty and typical cowardly challenge on Ashley Cole's knee. It's certainly one for the FA video panel to take a look at and we can be thankful that Ashley wasn't seriously hurt.
Like when Mike Riley gave his customary penalty at Old Trafford when Fat Shrek's dive fooled nobody but him (that's eight penalties in the last eight games he's reffed there and you have to ask questions about a statistic like that) and the bloke who shouldn't have been on the pitch in the first place stuck it away. It's also curious that Graham Poll was initially scheduled to referee this game but it got changed during the week. Not that I'm any big fan of Poll, far from it, but Riley's penalty giving antics at Old Trafford are gone beyond the point where it's an interesting statistic.
There's not much you can do on days like that. Up until the penalty United were as dangerous as a toothless dog. That's not to say we were up to much either but neither team did enough to warrant a win. After all the hype a 0-0 was all the game deserved, both teams pretty much cancelled each other out. Towards the end when we were pushing for an equaliser we left space at the back and that fat cunt made it 2-0 right at the death. There are times when you hold your hands up and admit you've been beaten by a better team or a team that played better on the day. This isn't one of those times.
Afterwards both Arsene Wenger and Patrick Vieira were highly critical of Mike Riley. The boss said "The referee's decision made the difference. Out of nowhere Riley has given the penalty like he can do at Old Trafford as we know. It's very difficult to take to see how lightly the referee gives the penalty. I think this defeat will make the players stronger because they feel a deep injustice."
I suspect that won't be the last we hear of those comments, while Vieira said "You get used to it when you play at Old Trafford, we are used to it."
So we lose a game at last. I have to say watching the United players, fans and management celebrate like they'd won the World Cup softened the blow. It's a reflection of how their season has gone and how far they've fallen behind when winning one game produces such overblown rhapsody. They know. The cunts.
What I do want to say though is 'Thank you' to the lads. Thank you for 49 games without feeling crap because we lost. Thank you for 49 games which won us the league last season. Thank you for being champions. Thank you for the football you've played and if you don't think it too forward, thank you for the next unbeaten run you're about to embark on.
I'm not going to disect the performance of the team or individuals. I'm going to hold my hands up and applaud a marvellous achievement and know that it's unlikely I'm going to see it repeated in my lifetime. We've been lucky to see it, it's always minging to lose, but when Richard Keys on Sky said 'The title race is blown wide open' I had to laugh when I saw United's 3 points put them in touching distance of Bolton and Everton. Not us.
On a lighter note there are reports this morning that Demento was pelted with soup and sandwiches by an un-named Arsenal player in the dressing room area after the match. It seems he had to change his suit before giving his post match interview. Just beautiful. Well done that, man.
And that's it. Expect this whole thing to rumble on for a day or two yet.
Urgh, late blog today due to an evening of Mojitos and Caparinhas which my new favourite barman made stronger and stronger as the night went on. I have to say *boilk*
Not much to talk about ahead of the game later on. Some choice quotes from Edu regarding his new contract which might be better analysed at another time. JAR9 says he's not afraid of playing at Old Trafford - "What can they do to me? They can shout at me, they can spit at me but they haven't got a gun to shoot me, so why should I be afraid?"
The big choice now is whether or not to go to the pub to watch the game. Home = beer, comfy sofa, Sky Sports. Pub = some reprobate drinking chums, big screen, all manner of drinks and the possibility of running into filthy United supporters.
Decisions, decisions. More later.
More on the AGM saga. Didn't see the word sorry in there, but no matter. The first line of this is funny though, eh?
I think you all know by now that Arseblogger is an originalist, not a plagiariser. I get my kicks from writing things that nobody else writes ... and from hard drugs, booze and beautiful women. As you know, my Arseblog stuff varies a lot, depending on what else I’m doing, what time of day I’m writing, what mood I’m in.
I FELT THAT Thursday was Friday and that Tuesday was March and that this year was four years ago. And let's leave it at that before you realise I'm trying to blind you with utter nonsense.
More hype and build-up to tomorrow's game. Fergie says he respects Arsenal, AW says he enjoys the rivalry between Arsenal and United while Thierry Henry made me laugh when talking about the disciplinary record and hype about last year's scuffle. "When we were bad, people were saying we were bad. Now we are good, I don’t see anyone saying we are good."
That comes after El Head Honcho, Peter Hill-Wood, said yesterday that what happened at Old Trafford last season was "embarassing". I have to say I agree with him. Only a point? What the fuck was that about?
Team news - if Vieira is fit it's likely that he'll start in the middle with Edu, who needs a big performance after Wednesday. Cesc will drop to the bench with Robert Pires, Freddie and José will play wide with Dennis and Thierry up-front.
Today I will mostly be nursing a hangover and spell-checking my wife's new book. Till tomorrow, chums.
So I tried for a third time to email ANR to ask them why they, and more specifically Myles Palmer, had quite blatantly stolen my AGM report. And once again I've heard nothing. I'll let you all make up your own minds as to what that says about the whole thing. If your mind tells you 'Dirty robbing fucker' then great minds think alike.
Update: It appears the offending text has been removed. Victory for the small man. And for me.
Between now and Sunday we're going to have nothing but hype leading up to the United game. No doubt Sky will be hoping for some kind of scandal and repeat of last season, the least violent brawl I've ever seen in my life. I've seen kids fighting over toys who get stuck in more. I'm sure it'll be a physical game. I'd really like to see a good scrap again. Ideally it would involve Roy Keane smashing Rio Ferdinand's face in as we score our fourth, but I'd take Lauren squeezing the life out of Phil Neville again.
The good news ahead of the game is that Patrick Vieira's injury is responding well to treatment and he could very well come back into midfield. Hopefully it will be alongside Cesc who deserves to keep his place in the team ahead of other more distracted players. Ahead of the game comes a new column from Safety entitled "Fifty-Fifty".
Freddie on Europe - "Of course it’s annoying to concede goals like that when we’ve twice been in the lead. We’re not happy with the result but we paid the price for allowing our concentration to drop but we’re still unbeaten so we can’t complain too much."
Robert Pires on last season - "We knew we'd be champions because, if we were capable of rousing ourselves to play that well when we'd been at our lowest ebb, we were not going to be beaten over the final few weeks of the season. That was something special."
You might have noticed there are a lot of new Arsenal weblogs these days. Some of them good, some of them not so good, none of them as fabulous and well dressed as this one, of course. In the spirit of goodwill and fellowship between us all I'd just like to say 'You're all copycat cunts'. Only joking of course, you're not copycats.
My legs are aching after football last night. Roll on 6pm when I can have some muscle relaxing cocktails without feeling guilty.
Another strange European night for the Gunners. A poor performance will overshadow the creditable away point, but you can't help thinking it's a game we should have won having taken the lead twice.
First time was when José played a beautiful ball through to Freddie Ljungberg and his finish was typical. We're seeing a fully fit Freddie this season and the difference is there for all to see. Anyone who underestimates his contribution to this team doesn't know his arse from his elbow. Then they got an equaliser.
You can look at it two ways. First is that it was a mistake for Jens to come and try and clear when Sol looked in control of the situation. The second is that if you accept the fact Jens plays a bit like a sweeper he's going to get caught out once in a while. If he'd headed out for a throw there'd have been no problem, but this team is all about playing football as much as possible. He tried to head it to Ashley Cole but it fell to Olympusokolis and it was a one in a hundred finish. Absolute class but I'd love to see him do it again.
Naturally Jens didn't come of it smelling of roses but I don't think it was the disaster people are trying to make it out to be. Certainly the boss doesn't think so either.
All the papers are full of stuff about Lehmann's howler, and the German does have his critics, but I think he's a good experienced keeper and I haven't yet heard anyone come up with a viable alternative. It may sound trite but you don't go on the kind of unbeaten run we have with a dodgy keeper and to my mind he's far better than Seaman was from 2000 onwards.
We went back in front when poor passing from the Greeks saw their move break down, there was some quick passing from Cole to Reyes to Pires back to Cole and his low cross was turned in by Thierry. A beautiful goal and it should have been enough, but static marking saw Pana score from a corner and 2-2 it finished.
Some observations: I don't think Pires playing as the secondary striker works at all. Maybe at Highbury but we've seen it away from home three times now and he hasn't looked comfortable in the role. I'd much rather he played left with José up front, or let's see what van Persie can do.
I wrote something about Edu which in the cold light of day seems harsh. I'll just say that he looks like somebody who's playing with his mind elsewhere, afraid to get stuck in in case an injury wrecks any potential move in January. With Paddy very doubtful for Sunday let's hope he gets focussed and performs the way we know he can. All in all I think a draw was pretty much a fair result considering how we performed and how Panathinaikos played.
Arsene Wenger was happy enough with the draw and revealed we've picked up a few knocks ahead of Sunday's game. "Henry has sprained his ankle, Edu and Pires also picked up injuries and we have to see how they react tomorrow morning."
So PSV top the group after winning away in Norway but with two home games left we're in a good position in the group. Now we can forget about Europe - if anyone will let us - and concentrate on Sunday. And the Mancs.
The saga continues. Having emailed ANR to ask them about the AGM report I was met once again with a resounding silence. Ignoring the problem doesn't make the fact you stole my report go away, you know. I think I might steal Myles' sense of youthful optimism as revenge. Bet I'd got loads on Ebay for it.
The lads are in Greece for the Panathinaikos game in the Champions League and they'll be hoping to do better than United and Liverpool did last night. Maybe the 0-0 in Prague didn't do much for Demento's mood but AW is hoping he'll 'calm down' when it comes to commenting about last season's handbags at Old Trafford.
For tonight the team is as you'd expect. With Freddie Ljungberg likely to be recovered from his little niggle he'll start out on the right, Bob on the left with Henry and Reyes up front. Injuries to Vieira and Gilberto mean Edu and Cesc will start in midfield while we'll have young Swede Sebastian Larsson on the bench to offer cover.
Tony Adams has spoken out about why he thinks Arsenal don't take their Premiership form into Europe. He says "In Europe they get found out. Arsene plays too offensive. For me it's mathematics. He doesn't have enough defenders in the team and doesn't give opponents enough respect."
How many defenders does he want? It's not like we're playing 2-4-6. As for not giving opponents enough respect I think that's a pretty poor thing to accuse the boss of. It seems to me Adams has a hankering for some George Graham style result grinding, which was effective in its day, but just isn't the way this Arsenal team plays. Like it or not. We'll see what happens tonight.
Peter Hill-Wood talks about Arsene Wenger. "If I had to find one word to describe him it would be ' phenomenal'."
The reserves played Southampton last night and drew 2-2. Our goals came from teenage strikers who promise much. The first from young Irish lad Anthony Stokes while Arturo Lupoli continued his fine form with the second. Match report here from Arsenal.com. Speaking of reserves our American centre-half, Frankie Simek, has joined high flying QPR on a month's loan. Good luck to him there.
Right, I'm off to put on my stripey top and mask, just need to find my 'swag' bag. Oh Myles....
Still no word from ANR as to why they stole Arseblog's AGM report. I'm thinking of getting my lawyers, Sears Searsy Sears and Co onto them.
Well, the Vieira injury turned out to be bad enough and he's definitely out of tomorrow's game in Greece. Cesc and Edu are likely to start in midfield. No news as yet as to whether or not Vieira will recover in time for Sunday's game. There's no news yet on Freddie Ljungberg but the full travelling party will be announced today and I think we'll see a couple of youngsters on the bench.
Gordon Strachan reckons Ashley Cole is the best left back in the world, even better than Wayne Bridge or Ben Thatcher. It's amazing that he missed the FIFA World Player list when that thunder-thighed one trick pony Roberto Carlos made it.
Not much else going on Arsenal wise. Elsewhere it looks like Adrian Mutu is done for after testing positive for taking cocaine. Another Chelsea player, Mark Bosnich, got a 7 month ban for his snorty ways, but I hope to God Mutu's ban is at least 9 months or we'll never hear the end of it from United fans bleating about how Rio got 8 months even though he never tested positive for anything. I'd say Rio would be hard pressed to test positive for a brain.
Staying with United Demento has tried to make out his comments about 'the worst thing in sport' were tongue in cheek. He said about his relationship with AW, "There is a bit of kidology between the two of us and I thought it was appropriate to remind them of what happened last year."
I notice there's been absolutely no reaction from the Arsenal camp over this one. The mind-games used to be quite fun, now they just smack of desperation from the North West. Right, that's about it. I think I might go to the gym this morning. Or I might not. I'm so indecisive. Or am I?
Let's start the week with a little game. It's called spot the difference.
On the day of Arsenal's AGM, over two weeks ago, I posted this report. Yesterday, more than two weeks after the AGM, Myles Palmer on ANR posted this report. Spot the difference. Of course I have emailed ANR and asked them to explain so I'll report back when I hear something. In the meantime you can always check out the real ANR archives here on Arseblog. Leopold may be many things, but a copy-stealer he is not.
I suppose most of this week is going to be taken up with the build-up to the United game. According to the boss "It’s a game the whole of England is waiting for and the whole world is interested in."
In the meantime though we've got a Champions League game against Panthinaikos to contend with. We may have Patrick Vieira back as his injury doesn't seem to be as bad as first feared and there's always Edu to come back if he doesn't make it. The form of Cesc Fabregas is certainly giving the boss something to think about too. There's always the danger of burn out with a young player but he's so good it seems wrong to leave him out of the side. The boss says "I could tell he had something special, but you never know how they develop mentally and physically. Even now it is very early — but what I like about him is he is humble and wants to learn.”
What I like about him is that he's fucking brilliant. Not much else going on just at the moment. No doubt there'll be further news on whether Paddy will make the CL game or not, plus there's bound to be some reaction to Demento's 'worst thing I've seen in sport' comments. I suspect most of the reaction will involve pointing and laughing at the cunt.
So how was your weekend then?
I don't think it would be unfair to say that's a game we could have won 7 or 8 or 9-1 but for the heroics of the giant Villa keeper.
After Sol Campbell hitting the bar in the first 2 minutes Villa took a shock lead when Lee Hendrie scored a minute later with a left footed shot from just outside the area. There was no sulking for Arsenal though as we tore Villa apart time and time again, only to see Postma save or a last minute intervention from a defender.
After 19 minutes we got an equaliser. Henry, who caused Villa's defenders heartaches all day, stormed into the box, got hacked down by Delaney and up stepped Robert Pires (who always takes penalties when Henry is the player who has been fouled) and made it 1-1. We continued to make chances and kept running at the Villa defence but things weren't breaking our way.
The ref was Graham Poll who you won't be surprised to hear was absolutely crap (and hurrah for football, he's going to referee next week's game against United). José Antonio Reyes was taken out a couple times while on a run towards goal, but Poll insisted that the defender had got the ball both times, which was absolute cack. At one point José was taken down by Lee Hendrie, the ref gave nothing and our boy went to have a word with the Trainspotting lookalike cunt. They went face to face and the cowardly little cunt of a Villa player hit the floor as if he'd been headbutted. He has as much class as an empty school. Later José was taken down by Delaney on the edge of the box, again Poll gave nothing, and it was left to Cesc Fabregas to exact revenge as he sent Delaney flying up in the air with a tackle and got himself a yellow card. It was worth it though.
Just before half-time we went 2-1 up. José played a gorgeous pass through to Henry who finished in customary style past Postma.
In the second half we nearly scored some quite breathtaking goals. A series of backheels between Henry and Reyes would certainly have won goal of the season while there were further chances for Bergkamp, Henry and Reyes before Robert Pires made it 3-1. Mathieu Flamini, who came on after JLloyd Samuel tried to break Patrick Vieira's leg, came forward, Bergkamp passed it to Henry who squared it for Pires and he was never going to miss. Pennant and Robin van Persie (who showed some nice skills) got a run out towards the end as well.
All in all a good day's work against a Villa team who played the way only an O'Leary team can play against us. For somebody who claims to love 'the Arsenal' and the time he spent here he seems determined to send out his teams to extract some kind of revenge for something. They always kick our boys around, they're always too wound up and with each passing season he becomes less and less popular at THOF.
Favourite moment: Close to the end when Lee Hendrie had the ball on the right hand side and clumsily put it out for a throw to us. Ashley Cole couldn't stop laughing. I do love Ashley.
Cesc Watch: Brilliant again. For a boy of 17 his passing is just outstanding. I think he's probably the best player I've ever seen at his age. And today I wore my 'Highly Fabregas' t-shirt to the pub. Hurrah.
Injury news sees Patrick Vieira extremely doubtful for Wednesday's game against Panathinaikos. Elsewhere the boss has given Edu a deadline to sort his head out about his future at Arsenal, although if I was playing for Arsenal and I saw Cesc every day I think I'd be looking for a new club.
Alex Ferguson has decided to open his big fat mouth about next week's Arsenal v United game and has spoken about last season's contretemps at Old Trafford. According to Demento "What Arsenal players did that day was the worst thing I've seen in this sport. No wonder they were so delighted at the verdicts. They conveniently forget things, that mob."
Now, let's be serious for a moment. What happened last season was handbags. There were no punches thrown, no knee high tackles were perpetrated on any Norwegians, nobody slapped anybody, nobody was seriously hurt. I've seen worse things plenty of times. I've seen two footed tackles, punches, snide raking, diving, ref baiting, crowd incitement and dozens of incidents which were far worse than went on at Old Trafford last season. Lauren got banned for 4 games for nothing at all. Who amongst us hasn't wanted to strangle Phil Neville at some stage, 'Sir' Alex included? Exactly.
It was handbags, and United's players pussied out of it. They didn't have the balls to stand up for van Nistelrooy because they know he's a diving, cheating cunt. If that's the worst thing Ferguson's ever seen in the sport of football then he's had his eyes closed for years, the cunt. Quite how he thinks a bit of pushing and jostling is worse than doing a Kung-Fu kick on a fan is beyond me. Of course it's just a wind-up ahead of next week's game, and we'll see how our 'mob' respond then.
What a very long blog today. Later.