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The Blackburn aftermath: Lessons that have been learnt

I really lacked the motivation to write today. When I think about what lies ahead, I tend to give myself hope but Cartoon Network character Mandy in the Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy said that “Hope is wasted on the hopeless”. I can’t really deny that I’m gearing myself up for another trophyless campaign but this season has been in topsy turvy from August till date so there might be a twist in the tail end of this season.

Mandy....

A close ally of mine called me continuously after the game on Saturday but I refused to pick because I knew that he was going to taunt me about my dear ol’ Arsenal. When I finally picked his call, he saluted me for being an Arsenal fan through thick and thin. He also told me that he was sure that I wouldn’t have High Blood Pressure in the near future because he believed that I’d suffered enough as an Arsenal fan. Even though he’s a committed Man Utd fan, he’s a diehard reader of my blog.

After reading yesterday’s post, he left a comment on my blog.

Chuboy: For the remainder of the season you will have to play catch up with US as Utd will play most of their games on Saturday and U will be playing yours on Sunday. On the 2nd day of April, the title was signed, sealed and delivered to Old Strafford!”

You can feel the confidence in his comment. I wouldn’t blame him though. He’s team played ours with 7 recognized defenders and still whooped our arses. Trust me, it doesn’t bring fond memories. He’s Chi-Ebuka Nworah, the closest friend I had in my department back in my days in my higher institution.

Arsenal surrendered their stranglehold on the title after that bore stalemate on Saturday. Our 3rd league draw showed that we haven’t still recovered from our horrible month of March. The Carling Spoon loss on the 27th of February will still be noted as the starting point of our downward spiral. The last league win we recorded was the hard fought victory against the Rugby outfit that cost us the services of El Capitan and Walcott. Both players featured sparingly in the month of March and their loss was hugely felt by the squad.

In Saturday’s game, Blackburn’s goalie had a reasonably easy evening despite the return of key figures like Fabregas, Walcott and African Blondie Song. Blackburn defended valiantly shoving off threats from corners and crosses into their danger area. Arsenal created numerous flowing opportunities but it was the same cliché in terms of no end product after million and one attacking moves. Sunderland, Newcastle and Man City can attest to that this season.

Disgrace

It’s still obvious that this present crop of players is still demoralized and lacking in confidence after enduring a grueling month that saw them lose the Carling Spoon, Champions League and FA Cup in 13 days. Two disappointing draws followed suit before Saturday’s bore draw. Arsenal is currently seven points behind the league leaders Man Utd and they have only 8 games left to resurrect their diminishing title challenge which aims at breaking that 5-year trophyless barren spell.

Arsenal has played 30 league games this season and I’ve come to a conclusion that there are certain lessons that have been learnt after watching the AW the Alchemist Boys squander another chance to close the gap.

Manuel Rivero Almunia is still very error prone and its high time Mad Jens gets drafted back into the squad. Even after messing up in the game against West Brom, Almunia didn’t do anything to appease the Arsenal gods and fans alike with a very shaky performance against Blackburn. I usually give match ratings at the end of any match day blog but I was too disappointed to think of it. Almunia would’ve gotten 6.0 from me. He has continued his poor form and uncertainty between the sticks.

Almunia is presently our custodian because we mysteriously lost Flyin Fabbi, Szszsz and Mannone in the space of 3 months. It was reported that he was already shown the exit door but a move to Turkey was blocked because of Fabianski’s surgery. Almunia’s problem down the years has been his decision making and command of area which has been exploited times without number by our opposition. If Almunia was at the centre of the goal yesterday when he faced that shot we would have been on the end of a narrow 1-0 defeat. We know that Mad Jens wasn’t too impressive against the Wigan Reserves but that was his first game in over a year. He also produced a few moments of uncertainty but Lehmann has a cooler head than Almunia right now. We play the adventurous Blackpool next and they know who to disturb teams with their carefree style of play. I still believe that AW the Alchemist might stick to Almunia but we have to remember that Man Utd will play games a day before us so the pressure of expectancy might consume a keeper like Almunia. If Man Utd win their next game, we will play Blackpool knowing that we’ll be 10 fucking points behind them. If Almunia acts another porn movie on Sunday, the Arsenal gods and fans alike will ask for his head on a plate. Literally speaking though but as always, in AW the Alchemist I trust.

Old Hags

 

Its high time Jack Wilshere the Whizkhid gets deserved rest. As a football manager, it’s always good to stick to your winning formula but Jack Wilshere deserves at least a week off. He’s 19 for Christ’s sake. AW the Alchemist started the 2007/08 campaign with a 4-4-2 formation.

Almunia

Sagna-Kolo-Mercenary-Clichy

DribblyMcNoScore Hleb-El Capitan-Flanimal-TR7

rVp-Greedybayor

rVp was the first to go with one of his customary international injuries so Dudu Composure came in and did really well before Birmingham’s Martin Taylor ended his Arsenal career with collapsing his ankle in February 2008. TR7 also destroyed his hamstring in January which kept him out for 18 months. We also lost the Mercenary at some point but after playing week in week out from August, Flamini’s body gave up on him when we played Liverpool in the Champion’s League quarter final in March. I can remember vividly seeing the Flanimal kicking the ball out and sitting on the turf in Anfield Transylvania. That was unfortunately his last Arsenal outing because he joined AC Milan in the summer. Vermaelen also suffered Flamini’s fate last season in the game against our bitter rivals Twitch FC in April. He kicked the ball out and was replaced by Sol Campbell who put up a dominant performance despite several boos from the Twitch FC faithful.

Wilshere has been a bright spark in our season so far but he has played almost the same amount of games Fabregas played when he was in his age if not more. The only time Wilshere got real rest this season was when he earned himself a red card for lounging into BeanPole Zigic in October. Wilshere has been one of our most consistent players this season and has appeared for us an amazing 41 times this season. Wilshere also plays in a position that requires him to burn a large amount of calories and energy yet he plays as if he stole some DNA from Liverpool’s Dutch Mr. Dick Stamina and Man Utd’s Wong Fei-Hong. Wilshere frightened us on Saturday with his shoulder injury scare and I’ll take that as a warning for AW the Alchemist.

The only scary issue is that Wilshere’s deputies are not capable enough. Diaby is very consistent in inconsistency while Denilson is a disgrace to that footballing nation known as Brazil. At least his better than Lucas, that’s a plus.  He needs to learn a thing or two from Chelsea’s Ramires the Great Lizard. The only reasonable replacement would be Rambo but he’s still struggling with injuries. Wilshere is also giving himself more trouble by agreeing to Stuart Pearce’s demands to feature in the U-21 Championships. This lad will definitely suffer from a burnout.

The Whizkhid evades the oldest right back in existence

It’s high time we give a run out to the Moroccan Chamattackh, rVp can be deployed on the right wing if needed or rested. For those who like stats, Chamakh scored 10 goals in his first 21 appearances. While B52’s groin was in turmoil and rVp’s ankles where in shambles, Chamakh played a major role in getting our equalizer against Liverpool, scoring that vital goal against Partizan, the winner against Birmingham, both goals against Wolves and that all important 3rd goal against Aston Villa. rVp’s return relegated Chamakh to the bench while he has been brought on as an impact player. Chamakh’s intelligence and workrate has been hugely missed in our side. In as much as I love rVp, he hasn’t hit top gear after that his short term injury. Chamakh had to make do with the Cup competitions scoring only one goal in the 5-0 thumping of Leyton Orient. He had no goal in the Carling Spoon though.

Chamakh’s main strength is his aerial ability and Arsenal hasn’t exploited it in the season half of this season. With 8 games to go it’s high time we change our approach in games. Using Chamakh will add dynamism to our play.

Chamattackh


Sagna’s crosses haven’t been as consistent as his play. There’s no denying that Sagna is one of Arsenal’s, EPL and World football’s most consistent and respected players. Week in week out, he displays performances of the highest defensive caliber as well as maintaining sublime fitness playing averaging 45 games per season for Arsenal.

His work ethic is also amazing with the fullback balancing his attacking and defensive play magnificently. He’s never shy to surge down the right wing, continually contributing with strong energetic runs and natural pace. However, Sagna’s crossing has been a slight concern this season. Football is a team sport so all players in their different positions attack the ball using different techniques. The goalie clears the ball upfield or passes to a full back. The center back passes to the midfielders, passes back to the goalie or clears it out when the defense is in danger. The midfielders have a lot of responsibilities with the ball while the striker’s sole purpose is to shoot the ball goalwards. Arsenal is renowned for its pin point ground passing and telepathic movement but the full backs also have to play a major role in the attacking play. Sagna delivers good crosses but he needs to improve a bit. Kudos to him for maintaining his level of consistency, he’s Mr. Consistency by the way.

Mr. Consistency after he was charged by the RooThug


Andrei Arshavin should be kept regardless of how this season ends. I know that AA23 has struggled with his form and confidence this season but he’s still an important player for Arsenal FC. As lackadaisical and lazy his play might be at times he still produces moments of immense quality.

Arshavin has scored 10 goals this season and has created a lion’s share of assists this season but with added competition for places, it’s sure to force AA23 at his best because he knows that the younger lads are raring to go behind him. This hasn’t been his best season for us and he has been frustrating to watch sometimes but we still need to stick to our senior players. After winning the league in 2004, AW the Alchemist flushed out the invincibles with time and it’s obvious that we’ve lacked that youth and experience balance.

I am a big fan of Hotty McOwl and I truly hope that he remains with us for years to come.

AA23 with that aged bloke

Finally, Arsenal does not deserve to end the season as the Champions of the Premier League. Let’s face it. I’m one of the truest Arsenal fans you’d ever know. The 2010/11 campaign has seen Man Utd and Arsenal emerge as the main contenders for the Premier League title but United have shown that they are much more deserving than Arsenal. Just like us, Man Utd hasn’t produced football of the highest standard but the main difference is that Man Utd knows how to grind out that desired result. Unlike Arsenal that constantly attack sides without real venom, Man Utd have dug really deep in a number of games to achieve victory despite playing poorly while being behind by a considerable margin.

I still don’t know how we would have reacted if we went 2-0 down to Aston Villa with 10 minutes to go. There are so many other United games I would have written down but it would be like a pin sticking into my skin.

Injuries are a major part of football but the ability to deal with them and maintain composure with momentum shows what champions are made of. Manchester United has handled that better than us but in life, “you don’t always get what you deserve”.

Memories

That’s a wrap for today

Sayonara

More international games and a quick glance at the Arsenal Reserves

The tales of my bruised fingers may be regarded as cliché but I’m happy to say that my fingers are in optimum operating pinging, grabbing and writing condition. After a long day at the office I came home on time to watch Nigeria’s friendly against those Masais. A young mallam scored Nigeria’s opener as early as the 3rd minute. Everton’s Anichebe scored the type of goal that Shegs Okoro scores in the Nigerian football comic known as Supa Strikaz. Ike Uche finished the tie off with an angry finish. I called it an angry finish because he slammed the roof of the net with “anger”.

SuperSport offered a wide range of matches to choose from.

I started with the France-Croatia friendly. I saw Nasri wearing a very fine white horizontally striped jersey but there was no armband on his left hand. That pissed me off a bit so I tuned to the channel that was showing the England-Ghana game. 33AsaGyan was in the thick of things in the match being a handful for the England defense. England’s goal was made in Birmingham and was finished in Liverpool.

Young and Downing linked up well to tee WWE’s Edge who in turn blasted a low drive past Blackpool’s Kingson. When the ref blew the halftime whistle, I tuned to the channel showing the match between the Netherlands and Hungary. I was in a slight trance when I saw the scoreline at that exact point in time. Netherlands 1 Hungary 2. I also noticed that Ruud boy van Nistelrooy was the lone striker on the pitch. That made me fear for the worst.

That Chiellini moment

I thought that rVp had suffered another Chiellini moment but after surfing the net I found out that he was replaced at halftime after scoring on the 13th minute. At least his bones were intact.

The Dutch got their equalizer from Boy Genius Wesley. He had a fortunate one-two with some Hungarian bloke before slotting the ball sweetly past Fulop. That one-two was a quick reminder about the one-two Silvestre did with that little Wizard. Mr. Dick Stamina was shown with a swollen eye but that ox kept on playing. BarcAlien newbie Afellay tracked back to win the ball close to the corner flag. He then went on an amazing run, skinned many blokes before sending a lovely crossfield ball to Mr. Dick Stamina. Kuyt controlled the ball then squared it to Ruud boy who wasted no time in finishing the ball with a first time shot. That was his 35th goal in his 70 appearance for the Oranje.

That meant that he had joined the Monsieur 50/50 club that is headed by Juninho Pernambucano. There’s a legend which says that the bearded Brazilian scored a goal in every 2 free kicks he played. Fool-ham’s Gera scored an emphatic finish to level the tie at 3-3 but Mr. Dick Stamina turned on the screw with 2 brilliant late goals.

Wait……this is an Arsenal blog not some Dutch football article. Bleeeeh.

Mr. Dick Stamina’s first was a technically accurate finish from a neat cross by Afellay but his second was more or less a classy fluke because he chipped the goalie from quite some distance even though the ball was meant for Ruud boy.

Mr. Dick Stamina was denied any chance of a hattrick when he was replaced by a Mohican. There was even time for the cameramen to show the fans Dutch legends like Frankie Rijkaaie Frankie and Marco van Bastard.

When the thrilling encounter was over, I tuned to the channel that showed the England-Ghana game. Wilshere was replaced by the exciting winger Matt Jarvis. The Flour Mill-ner hacked down 33AsaGyan deliberately from behind but he received a yellow when I expected red. There was a lot of ceremony before the free kick but 33AsaGyan killed a bird with the resulting free kick. There was even time to introduce Ghanaian-born Welbeck but 33AsaGyan got what his persistence deserved by scoring the equalizer right on the death. He made Ghanaian mince meat out of that Man City defender that was struck by Lord Voldemort when he was young, opened himself up then placed the ball with his left foot.

Arshavin’s Motherland Russia went to the Middle East to play World Cup 2022 hosts Qatar with the weather having the same boiling point with water, 100oC. They scored first and hit Akinfeev’s bar 1 million times but AA23 gave an assist to Twitch FC’s Pavlychenchenchenko whose finish leveled the tie at 1-1.

In the city of Prague, Czech captain TR7 was pulling all the g-strings in midfield in the game against Lichtenstein. Czech Republic got off to a flyer when TR7 gave an assist to Sami Khedira who finished with style. I meant Milan Baros.

Wald Bezt B52 played for the Danes n their 2-1 friendly win over Slovakia.

All Arsenal players involved in international duty tonight didn’t have their fingers cut from ceiling fans. Thank Heavens.

There was a time when I believed that Wenger would never go back to his vomit in terms of re-signing players that have left the club.

Sol Campbell trained with the club, we re-signed him; David Beckham trained with the club, we let him go (duh); Thierry Henry trained with the club, he went back; Mad Jens trained with the club, we re-signed him. Out of the blue comes former gunner reject Jeremie Aliadiere.

Since a club like Middlesbrough could still release his ass after all the goals he scored for them against us, you’ll tend to wonder about the cruelties that come with football. He told the media Vultures that he’s confident that AW the Alchemist will re-sign him IF he decided that Arsenal needs another striker.

It’s always good to dream the dream once in a while but I don’t see Mr. Ali wearing the Arsenal jersey anytime soon. We know that he’s French but his services are not needed in a club like Arsenal. We should remember that Wald Bezt B52 cries once in a while, we also have an Aztec Warrior that’s currently plying his trade in WBA.

Arsenal's chipper-in-chief, the Aztec Warrior

Aliadiere was the lone striker when Neil Banfield’s reserves played against WigWig. There was no way I could watch the game so I followed the events of the game through Twitter.

This game was Aliadere’s first game in 8 months so he was the R in rusty. Miquel got a red card in the 20th minute for a professional foul even though it seemed as if Daniel Boateng was on the same line with the Arsenal reserves captain. The stadium was typically quiet but Mad Jens kept shouting at players that were less than half his age.

Mad Jens in action

Mad Jens had to contend with a lot of crosses from the flanks and tricky back passes from the defense. In the 36th minute, Mad Jens produced a super save that rolled back the years. This tweet will explain it better.

“@YoungGunsBlog:  Superb save from Lehmann to deny Rugg again. Only a YARD out, but the 41-year old showed great reactions to keep it out”

On his day, Mad Jens can be very exceptional but he’s also very eccentric. If AW the Alchemist was delighted for seeing that super save, the next “act” by Mad Jens would have been the Scene 1 Act 1 for the movie: Jens Lehmann mojo series.

Let me write it down in the exact way I got it from a column.

“As the half appeared to be petering out, a hair-raising moment for Lehmann and Arsenal nearly resulted in a freak goal for the hosts. There seemed no danger when Hajrovic rolled a tame back-pass Lehmann’s way and, just like Paul Robinson did that time in Croatia, he missed his kick after the ball took a horrible bobble. The whole ground gasped as, seemingly in slow motion, the ball trickled goalwards. Thankfully for Lehmann, it would roll inches, make that centimetres, wide of the right post.”

Mad Jens Lehmann, eccentricity at its best.

WigWig opened the scoring in the 53rd minute from a bloke that shares the same name with Liverpool legend McManaman. It was a simple close range finish that Lehmann could do nothing about.

Mad Jens was caught in the middle of nowhere when Wigan built up another nice attack. Boateng cleared the ball off the line to spare Lehmann’s blushes.

With 7 minutes left to play, a Wigan youngling that shares the name with construction company John Holt put the game beyond doubt by dribbling Mad Jens when he was one-on-one to play the ball into an empty net. His first name is Joe not John.

Arsneal’s Rhys Murphy converted a spot kick in the 90th minute but it was too little too late for the Reserve Gunners as the game ended in a defeat that brings Arsenal Reserve League title hopes to an end. That’s not surprising. The Arsenal Reserves can’t win the title, the Arsenal first team is still hopeful for the title while the Arsenal Ladies…….

From what you’ve read above will you start Mad Jens against Blackburn? Dunno about you, but I’ll stick to the Devil I know.

In other news, Arsenal has opened an academy in ancient Greece. There we will train the descendants of Leonidas, Odysseus, Agamemnon, Hector and Achilles. The name Achilles doesn’t bring any fond memories because it’s holding our star defender captive.

The section of the media Vulture association known as the daily mail say that we want Germany’s shot stopper Manuel Neuer. Even if I know how good he is, the name Manuel isn’t in our good books right now.

England U-21 manager Stuart Pearce says that he’s taking the Whizkhid to Scandinavia in the summer for the European U-21 Championships. I guess that there’s nothing we can do about it but we could try and ask Chelsea’s Nneka the Bald what he told the arsecrater Domenech. That way Wilshere can say the same thing to Pearce, book his early ticket back to London, get an 18-match ban from the U-21’s then officially retire as an Under 21 player.

I don’t know if I’ll describe this write up as Tuesday’s late post or Wednesday’s early post. The bottom line is that the next post will come on Thursday.

I’ll end today’s post with a factual tweet about the Arsenal.

“@AAllenSport: Arsenal vs Blackburn is the last time the Gunners will play on a Saturday this season. (9 games left: 1 on Saturday, 7 on Sunday and 1 on Wednesday”

This means that gooners in Abuja can come to Silverbird Cinemas to watch a movie or two on Saturdays without having our dear ol’ Arsenal in mind.

While you at it, feel free to buy a thing or two at Anan World. It’s on the ground floor.

Ensure that you keep your fingers away from ceiling fans, it hurts like Hell.

Sayonara

A tale of Mad Jens, the Whizkhid and others

My Sunday kicked off on a very horrible note with 3 fingers on my left hand getting badly bruised by a fan in my sister’s house but the fact that you can read this post shows that God was merciful enough to let my fingers remain on my hand. The fan was really fast. Perhaps it’s more or less a tale for the kids.

I’m pretty sure that the technician that set up that fan must probably be a short motherskunker because at 6’ 2” my fingers are not supposed to be cut by a ceiling fan. It’s a ceiling fan for fuck’s sake. Thank Heavens all the same.

I’ll start with Sunday’s international round up. Brazil and Scotland graced our home ground with their samba and William Wallace like football respectively. Santos wonderkid Neymar scored a brace. I guess that’s going to increase his bill a bit because we know that the Cashlings are hot on his trail.

There was a tweet I read about Neymar.

“@VikramGooner: Neymar is the 133rd player that has been labeled as the “future Pele”

In one word….hilarious. I didn’t even know that there were 132 other players that were labeled as the next Pele but I’m pretty sure that Denilson won’t be in that league. He’s a midfielder by the way.

Wald Bezt B52 played all 90 minutes for Denmark in the 1-1 draw against Norway. I guess all that talk about his ankle injury has been quelled. Farmer Eboue planted some crops with the Drog Man and the other Ivorians before playing Benin Republic. They actually played the home match in Accra because of the political unrest going on in their homeland. We wouldn’t want to see another case of African gunmen shooting at a bus again after witnessing that disgraceful event in January 2010 that forced players like Emmanuel Greedybayor to quit the international scene.

Mad Jens joined us from Dortmund in 2004. He was between the sticks when we went on that unbeaten campaign in the same year. He also excelled for us in our continental tournaments in 2006 but wasn’t too convincing in the league. I can still remember that soft goal he conceded against Wigan on the final day of that season from a free kick. The bloke’s name was Thompson or so. Henry was the star of the show with his brilliant hattrick.

King Henry kissing the turf after scoring the final hattrick in Highbury

5 years on, Mad Jens told the media Vultures that our defense was the reason he was sent off in Paris. He said that he scythed Eto’o down outside his box because he wasn’t used to conceding in the Champions League.

Red card on a final.......ain't that a biatch

I don’t think our defense was at fault for his red card. Ronaldinho was in the form of his life that year. That through pass was like hot knife through butter although I was wishing that the ref allowed Giuly the Imp’s effort to stand. That’s old news by the way. We all know how Lehmann’s Arsenal career went after that year.

The media Vultures say that Mad Jens is in line for a reserve game ahead of Arsenal’s game against Blackburn. Even if I don’t watch Reserve League football, I would love to see how Lehmann would fare. I know that there’s a major difference between Reserve football and Premier League football but I feel that the main target here is to give the 41-year old some match fitness.

John Lukic says, “Picking Jens for a Premier League game would be a massive RISK. Imagine a goalie who has been sidelined for 8 months with an injury, would you pick him after a comeback from reserves”

I agree with Mr. Lukic to an extent but we have to remember that Almunia is a walking time bomb. He has done the cock-up double against West Brom. Let’s remember that his best performance this season was in Ewood Park in August so I hope that he does a better double against them. I believe that AW the Alchemist will give him one more chance to prove to the World that he’s not a cuntbutler but another calamitous performance will make everyone jump to the Lehmann bandwagon.

We are 5 points behind Man Utd with only 9 games so there’s no more room for fucking error. Let’s hope that the mid-April target for Szczesny becomes a reality. At least we have Blackburn, Blackpool and Liverpool. That’s what I said about West Brom.

England’s boss had some sweet words for the Whizkhid. His formation against Wales was different from the conventional 4-4-2 we see England play in recent years. He played 4-3-3 with the rich Roo-Thug and Young on the wings while the midfield triumvirate was Parker, Lampback and our Whizkhid. It was still enough to get maximum points against Ramsey’s army.

He says, “It’s a normal performance for him but it is incredible how much he has improved in a short space of time. The performance of this player this season has been incredible. He plays like a player who is 28 or 29 years old 45 caps. I hope there is more to come. A good player is always improving”

I’ve run out of superlatives for Jack Wilshere. He has been a phenom for us this season. At the age of 19 he has already cemented his place in the squad for years to come. Ramsey knows the only way to shrug off the Whizkhid challenge is to be extremely outstanding when he’s asked to do his job on the pitch.

I would really love to see Wilshere and Ramsey play together in that holding role while a player like Nasri or TR7 will be ahead of them. The Arsenal engine room will definitely run at optimum performance. We all know that Song will have an edge above the 2 young lads in terms of selection because it’s his natural position but AW the Alchemist has the final say.

Speaking of AW the Alchemist, the media Vultures say that he has a few words for Wilshere due to some off field events that took place. It’s worth a read.

So after the 1st full round of international matches, no Arsenal player’s fingers have been cut by ceiling fans, heads smashed and balls busted. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for the games that take place on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Sorry about the lateness of today’s post.

My fingers had to pass a late fitness test.

Sayonara