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Stay tuned!

May 3, 2011

Greetings everyone! Just a quick one today, as I have some important studying to do this week, the material is plentiful and it’s the one of the most difficult jobs of a kind when you know bits and bobs, but not necessarily the whole picture and you need all the information to fall into place nicely. Despite the formula in the picture mathematically proving that studying brings only failure, I just feel that I need to give it as good a go as I possibly can for the sake of my clear conscience if not for the sake of getting it right the first time.

So, dear readers, I may go a bit quiet this week, but not entirely, as I have got an idea for a post or a couple of them, so please stay tuned!

We will be back right after these messages...

In the meantime, there is that web thingy called Tw*tter, you can check the side panel for the short updates from myself and the interesting stuff other people (or it it ‘tweeps’?) have to say. Anyways, it’s back to work for me…

ArseGunn on Twitter: @ArseGunn

ArseGunn on Facebook

Have a nice day!

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Thumbs up in the Colosseum + web funnies.

May 2, 2011

And thumbs up from behind the sofa where I spent a few moments between us going 1 up and the final whistle! The long overdue win simply must have happened against this lot, and nobody else because this is The Arsenal we are talking about here, Ladies & Gentlemen – some will say that it’s just too little too late, but I prefer to rejoice in the hard fought win against the self proclaimed champions elects to reminiscing what happened a week or a couple earlier. If you need some memories to chew on, play this video a few times, that oughta cheer you up!

It does not take Einstein to figure out that the common denominator across the Arsenal blogosphere will be the ‘pride restored’ theme, because this is exactly what happened yesterday. Not only we have beaten the despicable horde who came to take another step towards boring everyone to their record-breaking title like it was some kind of formality, but we have also made them to look as ordinary as they really are in the process. Given what was on the show yesterday, it really begs question why we were unable to beat these few teams we came unstuck against in the last few weeks and let’s just leave it at that. As much as I could tell, the atmosphere was also pretty electric, whether it was the sense of occasion, lack of any expectations, reaction to being served caviar or the combination of all the three and possibly more factors is a case for discussion, whatever your take on the issue is, it certainly worked, as the citizens gathered around the arena made all the right noises, if you excuse this little pun.

Can everyone now see what happens when the genuine effort is applied to the proceedings instead of merely going through the motions in order to negotiate these less than glamorous games at the lowest possible energy expense? In the last few days, there were some rumours and suggestions about the clear-the-air talks having taken place amongst the players behind the closed doors circulating the web. Whetever you choose to believe in, one way or the other the team managed to produce the goods and I don’t think there is any coincidence that neither of the usual suspects was anywhere near the pitch. Well, one of my personal favourites was actually on the bench, but  as long as the half arsed warm up is the closest he comes to the actual playing area, I will be a happy man.

Now, I would go into the game in more detail, but the reviews posted up until now are so good and plentiful that I don’t think there is much to be added to that – please see the Blog Roll on your right, I highly doubt that you will be anything but spoilt for choice. Once again I have gone slightly off the target with writing it, but I have a perfectly good explanation. And no, not an excuse, but an explanation, as I would need the former if I was not able to offer anything even remotely enjoyable to read instead.

Unless the writer wants to approach the task of writing the match report in the purely Live text – like manner, there is usually a bit of one man brainstorm on the subject of the slant of the article involved. As we have been taking hits left, right and centre in the last couple of months and the good news of beating the old arch-enemy came alongside the announcement of the death of fellow Gooner, the man who had Cassius Clay himself on canvas, Sir Henry Cooper, it seemed only obvious and fitting to include a boxing reference. Please see the very top result of my Google search done to find an appropriate image to go with the article:

Even Google sees it...

I mean, how funny is that? You think ‘knockdown get up’, the search engine thinks ‘Arsenal’, you really could not make it up! You can see the image being THE top of the results of this particular search here. Whilst we are on the subject of the funny things you get to see online, let me show you how even the ever-so-reliable ‘auntie Beeb’ just did not want to accept the things as they were. I normally use their league table for any quick reference, but I may just need to rethink this approach after it failed to reflect the result of our game for at least an hour and a half after it finished:

...so why can't BBC?

God only knows the reasons behind it, all these Mancs working there must have been doing heavy research on whether it would be possible to replay the game or maybe dock us points outright on the basis of some obscure game law dating back to the ancient Greece which would say something about the penalties not given being different from one another on the basis of whether it was easy for the officials to spot the offence or not. Or maybe the fella behind the scenes just could not be arsed to to it twice and wanted to wait for the game between the New Rich Kids on The Block and WHU to finish. Who knows…

Just to wrap this all up, please allow me to present the second part of the explanation behind not having written a proper match report: I have now embraced the popular social media and set up the Facebook fanpage and a Twitter account! After some hard labour undertaken before I could get the former to work properly and link it with the latter, I am pleased to announce that it is all up and running and you can see the effects by clicking on the below links:

ArseGunn on Twitter: @ArseGunn

ArseGunn on Facebook

I have also added a Twitter widget in the side panel, which should allow me the opportunity to post the random ultra-short ramblings and the breaking news that may not necessarily warrant a few hundred word piece in its own right.

Now, am I excused or what?

And by the way: WOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOO!!!

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A favour for a favour. Yoonited preview.

May 1, 2011

Howdy Gooners! Is there a game on today?

Following Chavs’ lucky win against the Totts, it has to be said that the things are getting quite interesting at the top of the table: a win today will see us just six points off the top, three points off second placed Chelsea and pretty much guarantee our top four spot, given the Sp*ds pathetic goal difference of +7 compared to our +31. Just to illustrate, if you take today’s game out of the equation, they would need to win their remaining games by at least four goal margin with us suffering three defeats of the same proportions just to get level on points and goal difference to have a chance of beating us to the top four finish.

But hey, let’s not get ahead of ourselves, shall we? We have quite a game to play today before the above calculation can be applied and it really does not get much harder than that. The timing is also less than perfect: with us being unable to buy a win whether we play good or not and them hitting the rich vein of form as well as being well motivated to keep the daylight between them and Chavs to get closer to clinching their record-breaking 19th league title, the odds are well stacked up against us and our win would make a few betting people who choose to wager using their hearts rather than heads a good few bob richer. I am not a betting man, but just a quick look at a random comparison site tells a bit of a story: Arsenal 13/8,  ManYoo 2, draw 12/5 (apparently the best deals at the moment of writing). Given that the betting companies are plentiful and don’t show any signs of going out of business they must be doing something right, wouldn’t you agree? Still, if it was all that simple and predictable we would just check the odds on offer and not bother watching the games!

The title of today’s article is not much of a mystery for these who have read my Monday’s post. For those who have not, a brief explanation: the tone of today’s post would be a whole lot different if it was not for the Chelsea’s sudden rise, as it would be all about watching-from-behind-the-sofa panic stations as Yoonited would try to win the league at our place to be the first team to achieve that at The New Home of Football. Seriously, this does not even bear thinking about and since we are a classy outfit, it is only polite to return the favour by stuffing the Mancs, however unlikely it may sound. ABU!

Our supersub, (Red) Devil Slayer. Just in case.

Onto the game itself: given our recent form, OGL faces the gargantuan task of lifting the team in order for them to stand up to Yoonited and make it look respectable, preferably get a respectable result, maybe even an unlikely win. While doing the legwork for this post, I thought of including some rousing battle speech as the motto. Whilst I could not really find anything that was not stupidly cheesy and over the top, I have found this instead:

‘Today we are gathered here to battle. Regrettable, isn’t it, but sometimes, you know, life is like that. You have to do something you don’t want to do, just because someone is telling you to do it. I don’t want to be here myself, but my mother told me that I’d better make it a reasonable show of it all, so here we go then’

The above quote is an ‘Easter egg’  from a strategy game. Come to think of it, it’s funny because it’s true: I think it’s safe to say that both the players and the manager would rather be somewhere else, but sometimes life is like that. Win, lose or draw, they will need to go through the 90 or so minutes of play in front of their own increasingly disappointed and expectant crowd and then be judged upon their performance and result. Whilst I am prepared to risk saying that the fans may appreciate the genuine tooth and nail effort whatever the final score, or at least if it is respectable, I don’t even want to begin to think what may happen if we are served the same turd sandwich we had to chew on more than once already this season. The Roman Colosseum could accommodate fifty thousand spectators and there were no ‘home’ and ‘away’ sections, just a bunch of folk who could decide whether you lived or died, depending on how well you did. Obviously, we are more civilised than letting in the hungry lions on the pitch these days, but you get my drift, don’t you?

All I can ask for is so that the team would fight them on the beaches, on the landing grounds, in the fields and in the streets… Er, scratch that, I reckon fighting them on the pitch will do! And I am asking the people lucky enough to be inside the ground to do their bit for the full 90 minutes and give the team all the support you possibly can. If not for their sake, then just for the sake of your clear conscience, so that you could say that you gave them an honest chance. Sure, if they don’t give their all, then by any means boo them off the pitch with all your might, but not before the final whistle. Don’t make it hostile for your own, make it so for the visitors, no need to be hospitable here…

Let them feel that they are in hell and it’s us who are the devils!

Come on you Gunners!

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Saturday guff.

April 30, 2011

‘On a lazy Saturday morning when you’re lying in bed, drifting in and out of sleep, there is a space where fantasy and reality become one. Are you awake, or are you dreaming? You see people and things; some are familiar; some are strange. You talk, you feel, but you move without walking; you fly without wings. Your mind and your body exist, but on separate planes. Time stands still. For me, this is the feeling I have when ideas come.’

Lynn Johnston

The author of the above quote is a Canadian cartoonist behind the For Better or for Worse cartoon that ran for the impressive 30 years. It has to be said that one can only envy this kind of consequence and wish for the same. Quite frankly, I am really struggling to think about something interesting to write about, so I guess I will do a bit of a press and blog run to see what the others have come up with on the lazy bank holiday weekend Saturday.

Thinking that it may be the best idea to get the worst out of the way first, I have gone onto the website of a popular red top to see that Alchy is already thinking of his team being crowned champions in a week after they beat us and Chelsea. If you needed any more encouragement to cheer on the latter today, look no further – say what you want, but since we have no chance in hell to win the thing (despite of what LeGrove’s genius chief statistician RayGooner has managed to come up with – see here), I would absolutely love for them to trump the Jocko’s lot. Oh well, that will teach me not to touch the tabloids with a barge pole, eh?

Lazy? Moi?

Bang, there goes my press overview! Having done a quick screening of the other blogs I read, it seems like the others had the same idea, so instead of being repetitive, I will just quickly summarise what they had to say. LeGrove’s Pedro talks about the images of the new kit which is to be introduced next season to celebrate the club’s 125th birthday. Has to be said that it does not differ from this season’s one a whole lot and I am not too sure whether I like the idea of the away kit being white with the shorts presumably coming in navy, since we had the redcurrant ones this season. You know what team it resembles, don’t you? We had the white third kit last season and I can’t think of a single good game when we donned it. If you look like Sp*ds, you play like Sp*ds, let’s hope for our sake that it’s not some kind of curse. Pedro also mentions the Guardian’s interview with Djourou, which  makes  interesting reading, you can have a look here.

ACLF’s Yogi Warrior also wrote a piece on the latter subject, although he chose it to be the core subject of his today’s post. The slant is obviously a little different, but that is the beauty of the Gooner blogosphere, you can find something to suit your personal stance whether you are the of ever-the-optimistic lot (commonly referred to as AKB) or one of the realists, who the former like to think of as DooM™ raiders. YW also touches on the subject of the team captaincy, following the words from OGL about how the armband burdened our favourite Spaniard at such a young age. Dear Arsene, I hate to say that but we told you so the very moment he was given the footballing equivalent of Tolkien’s ring to bear. If this is your token time to figure out the bleeding obvious, well…

Just to continue with the chain of thought in the same manner, it’s time to mention Arseblog’s today’s post saying a bit more of the issue YW just slightly touched – funny how all this falls into place if you keep the correct order, one blogger gives you a little teaser at the end of his post  just for another to make it the main point of the article. Arseblogger is his usual boilky self, but hey, it’s Saturday peeps! His article also mentions the interview with Verminator who claims to be ready for the first team action. Thomas, we love you, but I say you may want to sit this one out and come back stronger next season, hopefully with another shiny new monster of a centreback to partner you. We hardly have anything to play for, so I don’t think there is any need to take unnecessary risks.

Last, but certainly not least: just to wrap things up, let me mention today’s tongue-in-cheek post by RockyLives you can read on the ArsenalArsenal site. The author is mocking the idea of the march due to take place before the Villa game in a few weeks, it’s pretty well written and funny in a way, but you know my take on the subject, don’t you? I don’t think it’s clever to dismiss the points behind the WHOAG’s initiative without giving them a thought. But hey, let’s hope these humorous pieces will go some way towards releasing the tension amongst those who want to oppose the peaceful demo in the less-than-peaceful manner.

Anyway, thank you for reading this belated post and let’s hope the blue scum will give the lilywhite scum a good hiding!

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The rant? Nah…

April 29, 2011

I know I promised one, but why would I do such a thing? It’s Friday, the work week was short, another long weekend has just begun, most people are happy to see the Royal Wedding and coming out today spitting feathers about things that can hardly be changed at this point in time and getting all emotional would be just, well, out of place and probably a bit rude as well. Her Maj is a Gooner, hence it’s like a family wedding and I could never forgive myself if I was to stink out the place or even contribute towards anybody’s mood being less than jolly on the big family occasion. Dear Wills and Kate, all the best!

Worry not, I will keep the fuse lit and it’s only up to the players if it ignites the fireworks of praise or a salvo of criticism at the beginning of the next week, even though all we have left to play for is to deliver the very belated St Totteringham’s Day from the evil Twitchy Grinch. It’s no laughing matter, theoretically we may still miss out on that little joy as well! Needless to say, I will be watching the game tomorrow with great interest and given that like every Arsenal fan worth his salt I only support two clubs (us and whoever plays Sp*ds), I will be a Chav for a day. I will stop short of saying something to the tune of blue being the new red tomorrow, but only just. Call me a blasphemer, but even Churchill once said that he would ally with the horned one himself to defeat that dude with a funny ‘tache, no? Enemy of my enemy, end justifying the means and all that.

Another reason why I’ve decided against letting Our Glorious Leader as well as the underperforming team have both barrels is simply that following the announcement of the protest march due to take place before the Villa game, we have seen enough aggro in the Arsenal blogosphere this week as it is. What saddened me was that there seem to be numbers of people who are prepared to act as praetorians of the ancien régime and how all this is going to end up is anybody’s guess. I mean, what exactly is wrong with a peaceful march? And I wonder how many people lining up to ‘defend the club’ against their own have actually read what the dissidents’ beef is before hitting out at the supposed ‘infidels’? Whilst I am not necessarily fully supporting ALL the points they are raising, they have a few valid ones and they are worth at least listening to without dismissing them outright as ‘silly’ PHW-stylee. Some of you may recall that I am not exactly a fan of picket and demo style protests myself, but if there are people who think that it is a valid form of ‘collective expression’, no one should berate them or stop them from doing their thing. You think it’s silly? Let them make complete tits out of themselves then! A few hundred strong march is not enough to harm the colossus of a club that is Arsenal, surely? I say let them through without causing them any grief, all they want is to be heard by the rest of the family, not too much to ask, is it?

Someone said to me ‘To you football is a matter of life or death!’ and I said ‘Listen, it’s more important than that’.

Bill Shankly

Ironically, both the ‘dissidents’ and the ‘praetorians’ are willing to do their bit simply because they all agree with the above quote. Why else would the former march on the stadium to make the ‘elders’ listen and why do you the latter are so much up in arms at the very thought of anyone daring to contest the status quo? Make no mistake, they are all doing it out of their love for the club, the only difference between them is their respective concepts of what the best way forward for the AFC is. This kind of Armageddon of views will either prove be the catalyst for change or will leave the fanbase divided into the equivalents of Republicans and Democrats, which will sadly mark the end of the fans’  influence, however minimal it may be. One can’t win if there is no harmony, there is even some Latin phrase that says something to that effect, anyone remembers what it is? Once the fanbase is irrevocably and irreparably split, we may as well introduce another known Latin slogan as the club’s motto: Divide et impera.

Just to wrap things up, watch this short video, which should remind you not to take yourself, your next man or OGL too seriously:

Q: Can you spot a fellow Gooner in this one?

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The interview. Like father, like son?

April 27, 2011

Welcome back after the one day pause, it’s time to deliver the goods! Two days ago, I promised a rant and an interview before the weekend, when it will be all about the game against Yoonited – I am sure there will be plenty to write about with the fans, players and the managers talking about it or even not saying much or anything for that matter. In Poland they say that lack of occasion is also an occasion to down a bottle or two in celebration, so just to get you in that Polish celebratory-no-matter-what mood, I give you a nice piece of journalism which originates from my homeland.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present you Messrs. Arkadiusz Bartosiak and Łukasz Klinke, the men behind the ‘Wywiadowcy’ (The Interviewers) website. Quite a read, worth learning my mother tongue in its own right! I don’t think I can introduce them any better than they already have themselves:

‘We are a rather quirky duo. Always together but also always apart at the same time. We differ in pretty much every aspect:  from the hair, through the women, the sizes, the ways, right to the everyday preferences. We can’t write about the similarities as these are boring and they don’t sell. We don’t know how to brag, even though it’s common knowledge that we are absolutely one of a kind. But if there is one thing that is definitely one of the kind, it’s our interviews we have been doing for a few years. Enjoy the read, but remember, these are not to be commented on. We don’t like the critique. And that’s what we have in common.’

Polish is fun, but not for the faint hearted...

Don’t you just love these fellas? Anyway, they were kind enough to allow me to translate and post the piece they did with our current goalkeeper Wojtek Szczesny and his dad, former Polish international, Maciej. For those who don’t know it yet, he used to play in goal as well, won a few trophies in his career and is generally a top bloke. Like father, like son? One can only hope…

The interview itself was published in the Polish edition of ‘PLAYBOY’ about a year ago, which should allow you some benefit of the hindsight. Enjoy!

‘He’s a horribly cheeky bugger, but a witty one at that, so he tends to get away with stuff’. Who said that and about whom?

W (with the look of mild terror in his eyes): Me? About dad?

M: If you even consider this, it means you have got cocky very quickly. I said that. About you.

W: When?

M: Six years ago in the ‘PLAYBOY’ interview. The ‘bugger’ bit was tongue-in-cheek and the ‘cheeky’ was more in the ‘clever’ sense. Being cheeky is a sign of intelligence, so it was a compliment afterall.

Has anything changed through the last six years?

M: He still is a cheeky bugger. And he seems to think that he CAN get away with stuff.

W: I gather you still like my jokes then?

M: I do, but I reckon you could be a touch less of a joker, especially towards your relatives like your father. You are twenty already.

And who were you when you were twenty?

M: A jolly dad. Not for long, as my daughter died in an accident. Luckily, I was fortunate enough to once again become a father. As far as my professional career is concerned, I would absolutely and wholeheartedly worship football. First thing I learned the hard way was that it was just a business. The fact that it is sometimes a well dodgy business in Poland made it even more painful. When I lost my little girl, it just got to me that it was the worst that could ever happen to me, hence I would not bow to any given schmuck. Only thanks to that I was able to keep my hands clean, despite having played in the Polish league all these years.

Did you dream of playing abroad?

M: For a long time I would think that playing for Widzew or Legia was my ceiling. However, once I managed a fairly decent game in the cup against Barcelona on their turf, I got this idea that it might be a good thing to leave. The problem is that back in those days in Poland it normally took about one year after the enquiries were made to find out about the interest lodged by a foreign outfit.

Continue reading

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Thank God for Chelsea.

April 25, 2011

Greetings, Gooners and Goonerettes alike! On the subject of the headline, a word of explanation for these who did not read my yesterday’s post: in the match preview I made a calculation where it was possible for ManIOU to win the league at our ground. I can’t quite remember where I got it wrong, pretty sure it had something to do with the number of games Chelsea had left to play, but since all those presumptions led to writing that funny paragraph about getting  the stay of execution, I have just decided to add a little post scriptum to calm some nerves. Instead of taking it out altogether, I have opted for a  little explanation with regards to why I preferred to keep it there. Someone said that once a good hypothesis is made and the facts won’t fit in, so much the worse it is for the facts. But hey, at least I am transparent about the small error I made and to be honest, it was not that much far off. It’s the LITTLE lapses that make us human and all that…

The title of today’s article is referring to the only reason why the darkest of scenarios is certain not to unfold before the very eyes of the fans gathered inside the ES on the May Day. Yes dear readers, this season just does not stop giving: we have been handed countless chances to catch up with the dire Mancs, but since we would just choke each and every time, there could be only one winner and that is Chelsea. And ironically, their gain is also ours, as if it was not for them being just six points off the pace, we would be running a serious risk of seeing a Yoonited player lifting the first ever Premiership trophy at the Ems in a week’s time if we were to fail to deny them a win. So, once again, thank you Chelsea for sparing us blushes as even this team can’t conspire to cock this up, save for some point deduction from your tally.

Please excuse this little bit of gallows humour as I am hurting as much as you are. Quite frankly, come to think of it, had the first ever title celebration at the shiny ‘new’ stadium not been such an important chapter in the club’s history, I would not mind seeing this travesty on the May Day a whole lot. Sure, we would have to endure ‘We won the league at Emirates’ for the foreseeable future, but hey, nothing less than earned, eh? Trust me, if I hear as much as one more word about bad luck from Our Glorious Leader’s mouth, I’ll just laugh. Because it’s all this nonsense deserves.

You won't like him when he's angry. Or something.

Since I am the ‘credit and criticism where it’s due’ kind of person, it’s credit time: what you see above is slightly altered image from this website. The man behind the ‘Arsenalisation’ of the Man of Steel is once again the pride of Ireland, Photoshop wizard world’s answer to Brendan Behan’s ‘drinker with a writing problem’, the person behind that nice banner on the top of the page, our dear friend and fellow blogger Tiarnan! I have emailed him the idea and it took him less time than it takes the current Arsenal team to lose a lead in a crucial game and that is saying something. The initial idea was to post the above picture in the next game’s preview article, but all the Kryptonite in the universe could not keep the Superdude under the wraps after the yesterday’s debacle. He looks mighty pissed off, you know? And he is wearing one of these white coats I told you about some days ago. Or is it a cape?

No points for guessing what my new avatar is!

I guess this is the moment where I should say a few words about yesterday’s game, but I’d rather not. Why, some will ask. The explanation is fairly simple: I could just take a few match reports I have posted until now, copy and paste some random stuff about no one closing down the opposition, overelaborate tippy tappy 5-a-side pursuit of happiness and FIFA Street style goals, Song playing shit, Theo being unable to beat his player in one-on-one situation and other same ol’ unaddressed shortcomings so clear for everyone to see  and it would still make sense. I could go on a rant about Wenger’s antics on the touchline, but I will just stop short of that as well, given that it’s not big and not clever to kick someone when he is down, and we Gooners have more class than that, don’t we? Think of what Seth Gecko said:

‘I may be a bastard, but I’m not a fucking bastard’.

I simply can’t be asked to write the same article over again, if it is the match report you seek, I am inclined to give you the best of both worlds (one at a time, that is) – LeGrove and A Cultured Left Foot. We don’t discriminate! For the masochists, there is also the Arsenalist with video highlights.

Thank you for reading! Due to other worldsaving duties, I may now go quiet for a few days, but I promise to drop by to write at least once this week! Realistically, one rant and one interview is scheduled before another weekend kicks in properly. Interview with whom? Now, now, that would be telling…