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ARSENAL SEASON ULTIMATUM … THIS IS THE END. FOR NOW…

The following is for ALL football fans especially the Gunners – A good number of Gunners have asked me as to why I haven’t done an Arsenal blog for the past few games. Well I’ll tell you why … The following 4 lines are what I wrote post Tottenham 5-2 win -“Such is the life of an Arsenal fan that you are sent up and down a rollercoaster through a season of football. We are now on the up, so let us hope that we stay uninjured. Get our injured back fit and training well. Plus weed out any deadwood in our squad and bring in some talents that would help us finish on a high come the end of the season“.  This was what I started writing as the intro for the Aston Villa Away match. But something made me stop and say, you know what… don’t get your hopes up. That was a one-off thing. And rightly so, after that we drew to Villa (Villa deserved to win). Drew with Everton (Everton deserved to win), beat Montpellier (how did we manage that?), lose to Swansea at home (This would have never happened at Highbury) and lose to Olympiacos (Am I the only one seeing a pattern here?).

Now let me tell you newly joined Arsenal fans about how our beloved club was back then J and how it is now L – After that (and most importantly) what is our status now? More on that later.

THEN

NOW

 21aWe had quality players such as Robert Pires, Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Patrick Vieira and dedicated players like Ray Parlour, Lauren, Fredrik Ljunberg, Jens Lehmann, Sol Campbell and Sylvian Wiltord to name a few. But neither set of players overlooked the other because the likes of Thierry Henry were always made to work and hustle by the hard men Tony Adams and vice versa. They never took their abilities for granted. They displayed real flair, effort, passion, belief and spirit (all the terms that Wenger talks of now about his current squad) by working for each other and being a real unit. They defined team chemistry. Back then, you’re either in or you’re out. If one of the squad player was tackled, he’d have his Gunner brothers came forth to question the tackler and defend his mate. Arsenal FC stood their ground together and fought. That my fellow fans, is why we had Victoria Concordia Crescit (Victory through Harmony).  21bWe have quality players such as Cazorla, Podolski, Arteta, Wilshere, etc. but all the responsibilities are placed on the shoulders of these talents to magically make us win each match. Most of the rest of the lot just show up to make up the eleven whilst the others in the squad are just happy to wallop £60,000-70,000 a week and have a relaxed life and show up for training once a week. There is no team chemistry, no team bonding, there is no team! They are just a bunch of talented or special skilled individuals brought in together to somehow gel and create total football. Some of them are in North London for tourist purposes! And yet some of them manage to grow the grapes to come fight for more money, threaten to transfer to a rival. No man is bigger than a club, not you, not me, not RvP, not Wenger, not nobody!!
21cThe aura that was around Arsene Wenger. The players I mentioned above wouldn’t even dare to call him by name. Such is the respect he demanded from them to the extent that even now after leaving our club and having retired, they still refer to him as “The Boss”. The Boss used to question these marquee talents even if they put up a good performance. Good wasn’t enough, le boss demanded great. He used to match the fierceness of Sir Alex Ferguson, who I know together made English football what it is today by having their Ali-Frazier moments. 21dIt hurts to see someone I still look up to having to go through this near decade of mishaps. He is Mr. Football, his principles are divine. I would like to remember his legacy as the man on the left rather than the man at the right. Arsene Wenger will always be our best manager. The players need to back him up. I’d be uber grateful if he just asked me to be a water boy for Arsenal FC. Le Boss has now turned into a sympathetic father figure trying to cover the ears and save the feelings of his young squad from the media and what not. Sigh.
21eDavid Dein is a lifelong Arsenal fan who had personally bought in the likes of Patrick Vieira, Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry from the grips of then footballing giants Inter Milan, AC Milan etc. He still lives in the new apartments built over the hallowed grounds of Highbury. His managerial role in the board was above par, representing Arsenal as part of the English FA Board and even beyond for FIFA. He asked what Wenger wanted and got what our club wanted as well. He orchestrated the Emirates switch over. And then he was thrown out because his ambitions for our club were higher. Our last trophy was under Dein’s reign as Director. Status then: DON’T MESS WITH US. 21fIvan Gazidis is a very smart businessman brought in to join Stan Kroenke. However, both are non-football natives. And during their tenure, we have sold three club captains, a whole roster of talented players who were developed through our club’s resources and our (fans) hard earned money through tickets and merchandise just to be sold to our rivals and in the process strengthen them whilst weakening us. We have not won any trophies in this time, and again if someone tries to convince me by saying the Emirates cup is a trophy (which we haven’t won in recent times), then go watch golf or something. Status now: FEEDER CLUB, 50% DISCOUNTS THANKS TO THE BOSMAN CLAUSE!
21gGone are the glory days when we celebrated in unison. Highbury was filled with happy faces; kids smiling because they just got to witness their favourite stars play the beautiful game in the beautiful way. The Arsenal way. We used to enjoy football. Watching an Arsenal game was the highlight of most of my weekends. A great match would motivate us to go and play on the street and fields emulating quick 1-2 passes with your mates and doing the latest Thierry Henry celebration style. Gone, gone are those days. 21h Nowadays, our stadium is filled with boos and jeers to our own side with the away fans having a ball, a goal or two even. This new Black Scarf Movement is about hardcore Arsenal fans making their voices heard. Thankfully it has all been peaceful. I was really interested at how the Arsenal fans have finally spoken out. Here is a sample of an Arsenal fan nicknamed ‘Bully’. After you listen to him, you’d call him a Legend. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4TJ5WG2qlM … Credit to the great work done by the folks at Arsenal Fan TV. Worth subscribing to!

Final message:

I believe Wenger has to take over a board position and also Alisher Usmanov along with David Dein (both of whom represent the Red and White Army) should join Le Boss and take over from Kroenke, Gazidis and Hill-Wood. I believe only one man can take over as our boss and I know he is the man for it.

ENTER: Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Portsmouth v Liverpool - Fratton Park

TONY ADAMS aka MR. ARSENAL

The man will instil discipline and will give a sense of pride and strength back to our Arsenal badge. #TONY ADAMS FOR MANAGER. Oh by the way, just a heads up … I won’t be posting any match blogs till something is resolved with our club and our table position. This is my way of observing in silence hopefully the end of a bad decade of trophy-less fan hood and very soon usher in an era of goals, glory and hopefully trophies! Peace out!!! #STAY STRONG GUNNERS!! Join our facebook community http://www.facebook.com/gunnersfolife spread the word and show our solidarity by sticking together for the values of our club! With this I tear up saying CMON ARSENAL!! CMON U GUNNERZ!! I wish for the good ol’ days and also hoping our voices are heard ….

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Match Preview – Arsenal vs Fulham (Home – Match 11) (Post #19)

Hello. Some of you have asked as to why I had placed a very short Preview to Arsenal-United and why there was no post match analysis. Honestly after our emasculating display, I was considering just forgetting all about football let alone what has happened to our beloved club. But I’ve gathered myself because if you’ve been following a club for 12+ years, watching, playing and growing with the beautiful game and with one of its finest clubs, so it doesn’t go away that easily even if people running things are just taking from Arsenal and not giving back. I couldn’t get myself to sit and write this but now I have, it is a short rant and then hopefully after, we can resume to the Match Preview for Arsenal vs Fulham … God help the Gunner Nation.

My Diatribe:

1. RIP Arsenal-United:  Arsenal vs United has always been a heated event, with the whole world waiting to see what unfolds because it is this match that makes or breaks the season for either team. In that sense, it WAS much like, if not more significant than the El Classico. Gone are those days. Even Sir Alex said rightfully, this game has lost the spark that it used to have over the years. One sided game is a nice way of putting it, it was more like one side played the game.

2. Player reactions: Poor Wilshere was the only one showing some grit and manfully got a red card. You could see the pain etched on his face seeing his club being torn to shreds. Even Van Persie and most of Old Trafford seemed to cringe at our dignity being thrown down the gutter.

3. Fan reactions: As fans, watching it was even more painful. The fellow Arsenal fans I was watching with could hardly see each other and just kept their heads down because we knew what kind of an evening it was going to be at the 2:38 mark when RvP scored with his first touch, inevitably.

4. Legends’ reactions: And somewhere, our legends- Patrick Vieira, Thierry Henry and Tony Adams must have been left fuming at how the badge in the front of the jersey had been let down. Even the boss had his head down. When your leader had given up hope then well, what else is there to say? Heck, even Roy Keane would have been disappointed.

5. Foresight: Something tells me that if things don’t go well against Fulham, Tottenham in the coming weeks, then we may be looking at big changes come the end of season. I would not be shocked to see Cazorla join PSG, Podolski elsewhere where he would play more centrally and Theo is sadly already one foot out the door. To make it worse, we will still have Bendtner, Chamakh, Squillaci and the rest still eating up our wage structure without having to put one minute of effort wearing the Arsenal jersey. Heck, if they are getting paid £60,000 a week for just chilling around, where do I sign up??

6. Almost a decade of … (you decide):

Exhibit A: It was tough to swallow that we would never be the first London club to lift the Champions League. With all our potential and achievements, we haven’t reached Europe’s footballing pinnacle and it doesn’t look like we will get there anytime soon. I am hoping like millions of other Gunners that in our lifetime we will see the Arsenal pick up that trophy. #Wilshere4Captain. Besides, that is not the only thing we NEED to achieve, our trophy room has been filled with dust enough to start a museum of history or no-history rather at the Emirates Stadium. And don’t say the Emirates cup is a title piece. How I miss Highbury and the glory days!

Exhibit B: Feeder club – Losing key players who moved on to greener money bills, I mean pastures-  Ashley Cole, Samir Nasri, Adebayor, Robin Van Persie, Alex Hleb, Gael Clichy, William Gallas, Cesc Fabregas and even Thierry Henry. The last two, I can understandably agree that they give it their all for the Arsenal and we know they have Arsenal DNA in them.

Exhibit C: More worryingly, we have sold very important players and not secured them- examples are Vieira (who wanted to stay, how we missed him in our midfield then), Song (who wanted to stay, how we miss him in our midfield now), Flamini, Nasri, maybe Walcott. You will have to explain to me how it makes sense that if you build someone like Alex Song up for 7 years till he is 24 and he has enough experience and came for training that day, yet he is pulled out of training to be flown off for a medical at Barca, he just had enough time to bid adieu to his now former team mates.

Exhibit D: I sincerely wish Andre Santos all the best for his future at some other club and wish to never see him wear an Arsenal Jersey, in my opinion it would be highly disrespectful to the rest of us who have year in year out, bought the Arsenal jersey amongst other things (posters, calendars, scarves….). Seriously, I think Nike knows my order in advance even before I ask. You save up all year and you also wait for Christmas or Birthday gifts hoping for it to be the new Arsenal Jersey and you have someone collecting an arch-rival’s jersey as a souvenir like we had gone to Old Trafford for tourist purposes?! Blasphemy! It is not a cultural difference, it is just COMMON SENSE!

7. Silver lining or just rainy days? : Having seen Arsenal struggle for the past 8 years, we may see a change in our upper management. It would be saddening but not shocking to hear our Boss Wenger say that he is going to retire having let us down, he truly loves our club but he is just not as supported as he used to be by David Dein. Stan Kroenke, Ivan Gazidis and Hill-Wood have done a smart business deal and I must say an economically viable plan by “self-sustaining” Arsenal and its finances. But the Glazers came in with heavy criticism at United, yet they spent £25-50million to get the likes of Tevez, Berbatov, RvP, etc etc and keep winning trophies and then rightfully earning some money by doing business… Even Liverpool have found money and gone about getting Torres for £40million, Suarez and the rest of them for good chunks of change. David Dein’s son has taken our stars rightfully (atleast for them) to where they would find more trophies and yes of course more money. Now this Wenger resignation could cause an uproar that would lead to the ousting of the current executive board and bring in the likes of Alisher Usmanov (who would give Roman Abrahamovich a run for his money) and David Dein, his now close associate at the Red and White Army. Trust me, next year’s AGM will be far from less hostile.

Still looking for Arsenal vs Fulham Preview: Yea, let’s get this over with, I’m going to wrap this up quick-

Possible line-up: Mannone (Italian boss), Vermaelen (NOT SANTOS), Koscielny (No more own goals), Per (German Machine), Sagna (Sigh could leave soon too), Arteta (Ever our Stalwart), Cazorla (Thinking of Man City or PSG?), Walcott (could be his last few games for the Arsenal), Ramsey (suddenly our midfield is out of options!), Giroud (hard worker, keep your head up and sulk less Gunner) and Podolski (play him centrally or lose him next summer too!).

Prediction: BETTER WIN THIS CONVINCINGLY!

There are a few things I enjoy in life and one of those is Arsenal FC, let us hope the players and the manager and hopefully the board step up and bring glory back to its home. CMON ARSENAL! CMON ARSENAL! CMON ARSENAL!

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Match Preview – Arsenal vs Man United (Away – Match 10) (Post #18)

Nothing to say, this is it… Win and avenge the 8-2 or go back heads down. Wilshere be our saviour.

Post Match Analysis- Arsenal vs Stoke (Away – Match 2) (Post #4)

Alo alo Gunners! This is for your eyes only- the post-match analysis for the Arsenal vs Stoke away game. Before we get to the nitty gritty, I must admit I was initially scared about how the lads would look in the purple kit in the Premier League but them Gunners made it look goooooooood! Right, with that out of the way- I predicted a 1-1 draw at the Britannia and I wasn’t far off. It would be far-fetched to say we are on a goal drought after just two tough games. But come the end of September when we have finished playing Liverpool (Away), Southampton (Home), Man City (Away) and Chelsea (Home), expect the media to pounce on our “deficiencies” irrespective of good or bad results.

Now, here is my insight on how our team has positively trended this season compared to a few years ago:

A few years ago, we were all scared of our vulnerability of the man between the posts (Almunia). He was a good goalkeeper for us but just had some inconsistent matches. Now we have Chesney owning the #1 position like a boss. Mannone impressed (although he looked a bit nervous) and Fabianski is a good #2. We are quite content if not happy about our Goalkeeping solutions.

Now if we take a look at our defensive situation in a similar light, we’ve always had an unsettled defence pair at the back for half a decade, let me take you down memory lane- Djourou, Senderos, Campbell, Gallas, Silvestre, Squillaci, Miquel with Song and Gilberto making cameo appearances. Over the past season, we have established a hardcore pair of centre backs- Laurent Koscielny and Thomas Vermaelen (Cue epic music!). And, as backup we have the highly technical and gentle German Giant- Per Mertesacker. If that isn’t good enough, Steve Bould has come in and brought an overall defensive shape to our team. I know I keep going on about this, but I cannot emphasise how important this is to our club being taken seriously by the other elites in the league and in Europe. No more 8-2 or 4-0 losses. No more curling under my Arsenal posters and crying like a baby. HELL NO!

On the attacking front, Santi Cazorla is pure magic. He has a Messi-esque movement about him. An interesting stat– Only 3 players in last Liga’s season had over a 1000 passes- Messi: 1303, Xavi: 1101 and Cazorla: 1037. Enough said. Podolski showed promising signs of adapting to the league. Giroud reminds me of Bendtner and Djokovic. Let’s hope he reminds us of goals because I am one of those Gunners who jumps up from a chair in joy after a goal is scored. By the way, did anyone else cringe when Robin Van Nistelrooy (You should get the reference by now) scored? (He’s put a dagger in Arsenal’s heart). A quick point- I am really happy at how Podolski and Co. are showing team spirit on the pitch- Tres important!

Summary: As things stand, Arsenal are headed towards 38 cleansheets and 38 points in the bag. Surely the trend will change to more positive results, yes? Maybe? … 90 more minutes at Merseyside against the always valiant Liverpool will tell.

Villain of the week: Robin Van Nistelrooy (and already nominated for Villain of the season)

Thank you note: We’ve had a tremendous response from Gunners worldwide (from 27 countries across all continents except the Antarctic). These are humble beginnings and we are ever grateful to our fellow Gunners. The best fans for the best team in the world!