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Sunday 12 May 2013

Metal Guru, Is It You?

Hi folks

It would've been brilliant to have been presented with an opportunity to wrap 4th place up against Wigan on Tuesday, as this might've made for a far more celebratory feel to our last home game of the season. But then I suppose it was just too much to hope for Spurs to drop points, in the face of such a poor and sloppy performance by Stoke. If I didn't know any better, I would've said that Charlie Adam just didn't fancy running for the entire 90 minutes and went looking for a second booking at the start of the second half?

What's more I suppose it would be a sorry state of affairs to think that qualification for football's most vaunted competition, actually came down to whether an unappealing character like Adam managed to complete 90 minutes for Stoke. In truth, although many might contend that it doesn't really matter how you get there, just that you do, there is something to be said for the fact that the Gunners are going to be forced to earn our right to qualify for the Champions League by winning both our last two matches, rather than being presented with qualification by default, as the least incompetent of the two contenders.

Moreover, Spurs win at the Britannia does at least dissipate the ominous shadow of what would've been my most dreaded scenario, which would've been the prospect of going to St James Park next Sunday, only needing a draw, as I would've been terrified that this would've resulted in an even more fraught display, whereby the Gunners weren't sure whether to stick, or twist. Knowing that we lack the capability to actually shut up shop and play for a draw, I would've been convinced that this was going to end in disaster.

Although Spurs and somewhat inevitably, Adebayor, have managed to maintain the pressure, there was some solace in Newcastle winning at Loftus Road, knowing that the Toon are not likely to be nearly so motivated as they might've been by the looming spectre of relegation and you can rest assured that Lilywhite hordes would much rather be in our position, having qualification in our own hands.

After seeing what transpired at Vicarage Road this afternoon, where Watford progressed to the play-off final thanks to Almunia's antics in goal and Manuel's dramatic penalty save, I only hope we don't end up facing another blood-curdling encore of last season's dramatic denouement at the Hawthorns, as I'm really not sure my old ticker is up to it!

Come on you Reds
Big Love


Extra-time would’ve been ideal in Saturday’s FA Cup Final, to ensure the Lactics had been sapped of every last bit of energy in advance of Tuesday night’s encounter, but you had to be particularly hard-boiled (or a City fan!), not to enjoy the FA Cup’s fairy-tale climax. The heart-warming realization of Wigan chairman, Dave Whelan’s dream, felt like an increasingly rare triumph for the romance of football, over the seemingly unstoppable force of the modern day game’s mercenary financial muscle.

Moreover, although in his endearingly honest fashion, Martinez freely admitted he was already focusing on extra-time, the timely introduction of Wigan’s match-winner from the bench, proved to be a tactical masterstroke. Not to mention, a long-overdue slice of good fortune, for a manager who’s admirable refusal to forsake his footballing principles, in the face of the Premiership’s overwhelming economic pressures, has earned the affable Spaniard the much-deserved admiration of all aficionados of the beautiful game.

By contrast, shame on the FA for the lamentably negligent way, in which they’ve contrived to dull the lustre of the greatest knockout tournament on the planet. Time was when Wembley could’ve sold out three times over, no matter the allure of the participants involved, in what was once the end of season fiesta of Cup Final weekend.

Not only is it sacrilegious to have the Final shoehorned in, as a distracting Brummagem detour for the precious Premiership charabanc, but when I think of the kudos I enjoyed as a kid, from all those school pals who hadn’t been so privileged to relish the magic of a Wembley final in person, it’s tragic to witness ANY empty seats, let alone the criminally conspicuous absence of so many corporate bums, from such large swathes of the battily-priced best seats in the Bobby Moore suite.

It’s also sad that the Wigan camp and their meager following, from what is and always will be a rugby town, are denied the opportunity of wallowing in the euphoria of their momentous success and are instead forced to immediately focus on the daunting prospect of the Arsenal raining on their relegation-threatened parade. But then you’ll have to forgive me for hoping that the Lactics turn up on Tuesday far too fatigued, both physically and emotionally, to be able to muster a repeat of Saturday’s impressive performance.

Additionally I pray that our players are not taken in, by all those pundits who’ve seem to believe that the Gunners need only turn up to win a game that’s being touted as such a home banker. Otherwise the customary “lap of appreciation” following our last appearance on home turf, of a largely disappointing campaign, could end up a seriously depressing affair!

And any celebrations following a win against Wigan will be somewhat subdued, knowing that we’ve still got to go to St. James Park and spoil the Geordies’ end of season party. Nevertheless Wenger deserves a show of respect for mounting a minor resurrection, considering we were languishing in 10th back in December, when few Gooners envisaged that this squad was capable of maintaining our manager’s astonishingly consistent run in Europe after our worst start to a season in 18 years.

With Arsène’s old sparring partner having suddenly opted for the sanctuary of his pipe & slippers, you have to wonder if this might influence le Prof’s plans at the expiry of his contract next year. Swapping one dour Scotsman for another at Man Utd has left Wenger as the last of the top-flight’s long serving managers (with Tony Penis lagging ten years behind le Gaffer's 17-year tenure, or at least until he's handed his P45 by Stoke). Perhaps it’s me who’s struggling to come to terms with my own advancing years, but it’s hard to accept that a man who arrived in this country as an unprecedented innovator, is now perceived as a Premiership dinosaur.

Here’s hoping our very own T-Rex can still “Get It On” sufficiently that it’s us and not Spurs banging our gongs Sunday week.

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Anonymous said...

Blah Blah Blah Arsenal Finish 5th

Lodatz said...

Good, thoughtful article, especially about wanting to earn the 4th place and celebrating Wigan's cup win. Kudos from a Spurs fan.

Anonymous said...

I think the mighty gunners will finish third

Anonymous said...

I have said this to many Spurs fans this past week and I will say it again, if Arsenal beat Wigan and Newcastle then they deserve 4th, we lost against Wigan at Home and Newcastle Away so if they do it then they deserve it.

I am a very pessimistic THFC fan but even I can see Wigan getting something out of Arsenal and that will be a mega hard game, Newcastle will roll over for you guys so if you win on Tuesday then the champions league is yours

Anonymous said...

Newcastle wont want to roll over at all. They can make up 3 places by beating Arsenal which works out at £2.7m in prize money.

Anonymous said...

Your cup final is now beating Spurs to CL spaces, wheres the Mighty Gunners gone? Back to Woolwich?