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Thursday 6 December 2007

We Are (still!) Top Of The League.....Aren't We?

Hi folks

Is anyone going up to Boro on Sunday?

Whilst on route to Toon Town this afternoon I was checking out my sadly all too limited options for getting to Sunday's match. In truth, if it wasn't for missing out on two days wages, it would've probably worked out cheaper to stay up in the North East. Mind you, having been kind enough to offer me a lift up to Newcastle today, I wouldn't have wanted to leave my good pal Steve to drive all the way home on his tod. Then again, he might as well have been, as despite the fact that I always find it a bit of a wind up when the person in the passenger seat falls asleep on me, rather than having the good manners to keep me company while I'm slaving away at the steering wheel, I did just that tonight and promptly passed out, almost the moment we hit the A1.

Honest mate, I wrestled with Morpheus for a brief while there, but I guess loading five arctics worth of scenery on Tuesday took more out of me than I realised and I was out for the count before I knew it. The next thing I knew we were pulling up at my motor, just off the M1 near Northampton. Sincere apologies for being such a liability of a passenger and good on ya for such a sterling stint at the wheel.

As for Sunday, apparently there is a train from London which supposedly gets into Boro at 12.30 but the service is so unreliable at the best of times and it's been a while since my last disaster of a train trip that I've dared run the risk of the extremely dodgy Sunday service on the trains. If the trains were so unreliable yet a relatively cheap means of transport, it wouldn't be so bad. But at 92 quid return to Boro, I refuse to pay such ridiculously extortionate prices merely to run the risk of not getting there in time for KO.

Apparently Teeside airport is only down the road from the Riverside Stadium, but according to BMI, the cheapest return flight available now for Sunday is 367 quid and considering I couldn't afford the couple of hundred quid cost of the trip to Seville, I certainly can't stretch to this extravagance.

Consequently, even if I did get my headlights sorted in time (and since I've not got around to doing this in the past three months, this is hardly likely), I am not sure my little old Fiesta is up to these 500 mile round trip hauls any more. Getting back from Northampton on the well lit M1, with only main beam and sidelights wasn't too bad and although I managed to commute to Oxford for a week without my headlights, I am not sure I'd fancy doing 250 miles along the A1 without them (although I imagine most of the journey will be in daylight). I could perhaps arrange to pinch my Ma's motor for the day, or I might even hire a car rather than leave her stranded. But I really don't fancy doing the entire journey on my tod.

So if anyone is similarly stuck for some transport, or better still, if anyone should have some room in their motor, leaving from somewhere this side of the Watford Gap, I would be extremely grateful to hear back from you?

As for tonight's game, firstly is there anyone on the list, or does anyone on the list know of a Gooner gal who drives an azure blue MGB GT ? Just curious as we were parking up in a car park in Newcastle and this lass with a Southern accent at the pay & display machine looked vaguely familiar?

There was a time when we would've been only too happy to come away from St James Park with a precious point but as we removed our oxygen masks while trudging down from the gods after tonight's game, you could sense an abiding mood of disappointment, at our failure to take full advantage of our game in hand. From where I sat, Diarra was just about the only outfield player to come away from tonight's game with any credit, just for his gutsy determination to retain possession during extremely aggressive passages of play. Almunia had a decent performance, pulling off a couple of fine saves, but as for the rest of them, a stranger looking on might've been astonished to be told that this Arsenal side was the best in the land at the minute!

What really annoyed me was that we ended up making one of the most mediocre Toon teams we are ever likely to meet, look fairly accomplished. While I am fairly certain that Fat Sam wouldn't have been given the "tin tack" even if we'd tonked them, when I think of all the times he's encouraged his Bolton side to try and bully us out of the points, I can't believe we've passed up such a perfect opportunity to pile on the pressure for the lugubrious t*sser! Instead of which we've earned Allardyce a reprieve, as no one is focusing on the fact that we were a load of crap but is reflecting on how well Newcastle did to stem the red & white tide (when sadly the tide was never in at St James Park tonight!)

Above all, I believe that eventually this will be viewed as two points dropped, rather than a point gained because unless Allardyce can achieve a drastic improvement in the Toon, I can't see them taking points off any of our immediate rivals. To the contrary, I reckon that on a good (bad!) day, the likes of Rooney, Ronaldo, Tevez and Giggs willl literally tear the Toon to bits. I was watching much of the match through my binoculars (I couldn't even read the seat number on my ticket, let alone see what was going on on the pitch from our seats right up in the gods!) and I happened to focus on the Toon defender (Beye?) at one point, after they'd been awarded one of their far too many corners. I swear the look of bewilderment on his face was an absolute picture, as it was plainly apparent that the Frenchman (Senegalese?) didn't have the foggiest where he was supposed to be and I watched briefly, as he struggled over whether to stick or twist, eventually deciding to trot back towards the halfway line as cover for an Arsenal counter (can't recall seeing a single one of these this evening!!)

In all honesty I find it absolutely astonishing to think that we were playing a Premiership team who's defence was so utterly disorganised and shambolic that they don't all instinctively know where they are supposed to position themselves for corners! Needless to say, Adebayor's stunning fourth minute opener apart, I also cannot believe that we failed so miserably to test this lack of organisation. I am beginning to think we must've totally imagined that Tomas Rosicky scored two long range corkers for the Czech national side because I've lost count of the number of times Tommy's been in the clear and presented with a perfect shooting opportunity, but has chosen instead to pass the ball inside, to a team mate who's surrounded by at least two opponents!

And considering how bad the Toon defence is, it is hard to believe that we saw so very little of Clichy and Sagna, testing their full backs down the flanks. I can't remember the last time our two fleet-footed full backs spent so much of a game inside their own half and whenever it was, I am sure it must've been against more intimidating opposition than Newcastle. As for Adebayor, I find it hard to criticise him because he always grafts like a Trojan but I know that I am far from alone in being fed up with the Togolese striker's woeful touch. And what on earth was Arsène thinking. OK so he was correct to take off Eduardo, as he had disappeared out of the game completely in the second half (frankly he wasn't particularly conspicuous during the first period either), but to bring on Bendtner to play up front with Ade, well to my ignorant mind this was totally senseless and I would love Wenger to explain the point of having two strikers who are (should be!) capable of winning the knock downs, when there is nobody present to knock the ball down to?

But the player who came in for the majority of my disapprobation (and of many other present) was Gilberto. In a chicken and egg scenario, I am unsure whether his form has dipped because he hasn't been getting much time on the pitch (until recently), or whether he's been left out of the equation because he's been so far below par. But whatever the case, come back Matty, all is forgiven, as Gilbo was guilty of giving the ball away even when we weren't under pressure

But enough of my whinging, after all, "We are (still!) top of the league"

If anyone has any transport suggestions for Sunday I would be extremely grateful if you'd get back to me, until then
Big Love


Anonymous said...

The ref bottled it twice by failing to do his duty and awarding us free kicks at the end and sending off the last man. He was a coward who was afraid of revenge from the vicious Toon Army. Although we didn't have Van Persie and would probably have wasted the chances anyway, still, who knows with a Kolo piledriver, we could have won it. Referees are very poor and they seem to get even poorer when they ref Arsenal games. Only Chris Foy has consistently done a great job officiating our games. We were robbed 2 great chances to win last night by very, very poor refereeing.

Anonymous said...

Ade was almost all but useless tonight in an attacking sense, all to often making the wrong choices.

Gilberto was shocking, giving awat needless fouls around our own box, and giving the ball away when not under pressure. His passing at times is truely shocking! Diarra did well but his pass selection is still below what is required, on at least one occassion he could have passed out wide to Eduardo and we would have been through on goal,but he tried to dribble past the player and lost possession.

All in all, this was not a bad result coming off the back of the away game at Villa, and considering the number of players we had missing.

phatosas said...

I feel bad about the game but I dont think it would be so bad if we pick up 3 points this weekend. There was no way we were not going to struggle at some point with all the players out injured. Hopefully they would gradually start coming back before the big game against Chelsea in December.

Anonymous said...

saint, you are the typical wenger specked shista gooner. You are right about one thing, and that was that the ref bottled it, but, you idiot, he should have sent Ade off for the number of dives he took. That other idiot at the back was correctly booked for trying to get another player sent off.

Typical classless gooners, you moan all the time about other teams tactics then as soon as things aren't going your way your true colours come pouring through.

Yet again this season luck was on your side, but it won't last. You'll finish 3rd or 4th again.

Anonymous said...

Little Red Dick; fuck you and curse you to hell you fucking bastard!

Anonymous said...

The thought of winning nothing seems to upset you anonymous? You should be used to it by now!

Anonymous said...

I think you're ridiculously negative. a point away at Newcastle with 3 of our main midfielders, and best players, out isn't a bad result. We have no divine right to win every game. We didn't play very well but it wasn't a disaster

Anonymous said...

it not like we lost a game. Liverpool trashed them 3-0 and so should we. But with Robin,Cesc and Alex out it was always going to be a tricky game. Why did Wenger put Eduardo on the wing and when we conceded the goal he goes up crying to the 4th official. Bedtner was good. Next game at boro is a game we must win or we will put pressure on ourselves. Let's pray cesc and hleb returns.

Anonymous said...

Fat Sam and Toon asses were crying out for a result. 1-1 is ok. Wenger goes too adventurous when we have a lead by putting EDUARDO in the wing. I feel that we didn't deserve to win with the way we played.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand all the criticsm from gooners for Ade - 9 goals in 15 games including 2 great goals in the last 2 games. He works like a trojan and his control is very good for a big guy. He does miss one or two, but then most strikers do unless your name is Thierry (or was anyway). But Ade does offer options which Henry didn't wit his aerial power.

Anonymous said...

Newcastle's defense was shambolic, but when Adebayor got in behind them he was pulled down, or shoulder blocked... three times and once was the last man. And Smith's tackle on Gallas was disgraceful. Face it, your ugly team has been made even uglier by Fat Sam and anything over 15th would be a success. You barely got a draw (from a goal that you didn't create) from a team that had half its starting XI missing at home. And this is the "turning point" of your season?? A home draw against a team everyone expected to finish 5th or even 6th. Sad days for the Toon.