If I told you I’d spent last night with Mary, a number of Geese and a very tasty knob I fear you might get the wrong impression. It is true however. Mary was tomato and vodka based, the Geese came from Chicago, while if you’re looking for something to sip on late at night you can’t really look beyond the Knob (cheers, BG!).
Anyway, my point is *boilk*
It is surprisingly quiet this morning. The usual late Thursday update, providing us with some early team news ahead of the weekend, did not occur so we’ll have to wait until after Arsene’s press conference this morning to discover who might be fit and available. The Express has a small story suggesting Aaron Ramsey will continue due to Cesc not recovering in time but I’m not linking to it because they have auto-play video on their site which is really, really annoying.
Anyway, the story doesn’t say any more than that and if true it would make Sunday’s game all the more interesting. I know there are those who will, rightly enough, play down the significance of Ramsey playing at the ground where Lennie oafishly snapped his leg in two. They’ll say time has passed, Aaron is back playing again and that is the most important thing. Which, of course, it is. That’s not to say we can’t get a bit more fired up than usual though.
At its purest football is fantastic. Two well matched teams going to head to head, toe to toe, a showcase of skill and talent, commitment and physical prowess. Not all teams are well matched and not every match sees football at its purest. There are other things which motivate us as fans. Rivalries based on history and geography, those based on the competition between the teams (like us and United, especially in the Wenger/Ferguson era), and then there are rivalries that emerge due to other circumstances.
And that’s what’s happened with Stoke over the last few seasons, coming to a boiling point last year when Lennie oafishly snapped Ramsey’s leg in two. To this day there’s never been any acknowledgement from them that he did anything wrong. Don’t defend him by trotting out the tedious ‘He never meant to break his leg’, nobody has ever suggested he did. We had the ridiculous Lou Macari saying that it would be a nice gesture on Ramsey’s part to make a statement about the incident when Lennie oafishly snapped his leg in two.
I mean, talk about missing the point entirely. And why should there be any onus on Ramsey to say anything? Especially when Shawcross continues to lumber about the pitch swinging his foot at anything resembling a shin. Look at the challenge on Scott Parker earlier this season, if that’s not the blueprint of recklessness I don’t know what is. The West Ham captain was lucky that day, Aaron Ramsey wasn’t so lucky 15 months ago.
So if there’s ‘spice’ to this game it’s because of Stoke, the way they play, the number of our players who have been injured down the years playing against them, and the enmity that has grown out of these fixtures. The two managers clearly can’t stand each other. Arsene’s aesthetic style clashes with Pubis’s inelegant but effective tactic of throwing the ball as far as he can towards giants. The fans remember the injuries, especially that of Ramsey, but don’t paint Lennie as a pantomime villain. It makes him out to be something chucklesome and amusing when he’s anything but.
It boils down to this: Arsenal lost Aaron Ramsey for over a year, Ramsey lost that much of his career and development, Stoke lost Lennie for three games yet still whine and blub like babies when anyone dare suggest that he might have been in the wrong. Basically, what I’m saying is, fuck Stoke, fuck Lennie, fuck Pubis, fuck forgetting about things and fuck Lennie again just for being an oafish, leg snapping cunt.
Of course we have to concentrate on our football first but taking some ill-feeling into a game with you can provide extra motivation. The idea of losing to a team you can’t stand can have an impact on performance. It might drag that bit extra out of you which could be the difference between winning or not. Isn’t rivalry just a polite form of hatred anyway?
So while the right things will be said in the media I’m pretty sure the Arsenal players won’t have forgotten their last visit to the Brittania. And if they want to use that as extra motivation then I’m quite happy with that.
Right then, nothing much else happening so onto this week’s Arsecast and it is number 200. Joining me to discuss the United win, ticket prices and more is the ‘holic. Also in the mix Internet Joe, Arshavin, Mick Bendtner and the usual waffle. There’s also the competition winner from last week and because it’s a landmark Arsecast there’s a special prize this week: an Arseblog engraved iPod shuffle.
These iPods are only available to those who buy something from the Arseblog store, a monthly draw is made, but because it’s the 200 up there’s a chance to win one today if you answer a very difficult question posed in the ‘cast. So go listen.
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. To download this week’s Arsecast directly – click here (30mb MP3) or you can listen directly below without leaving this very page.[audio:http://arseblog.com/podcasts/arsecast_episode200.mp3]
There you go then. A fuller preview of the actual football game tomorrow. In the meantime, remember this and remember why it felt so good: