Monday, 4 November 2013

Arsene Ascending

It's official. We have to start taking Arsenal seriously. They are five points clear. If you changed their name to Manchester United then stubbly Robbie Savage would be saying in that dentist's drill of a drawl of his that 'the title's over'. He is prone to generalisation that lad.

Still, the Gunners saw off Liverpool more than handsomely. 8 wins out of 9 looks a good return to me. And yet, and yet....

I don't know any Gooner who is getting ahead of himself right now. If they only looked at he bare facts they'd be hoovering out the trophy cabinet for Monsieur Wenger right now, particularly as they're going to need a good six months to get shot of all that dust.

After all:

1. No team passes the ball quite so well at the moment.

(Apart from Man City, sometimes. Mind you Norwich stood so far off them that Yaya Toure had time to pop in to the dressing-room, have a jimmy riddle, get back on the pitch and still find himself in possession of the ball.) Wenger has so many midfielders that Arsenal sometimes play a 1-8-1 formation. And Ozil's languid ease seems to have rubbed off on the rest of them. It is a joy to behold.

2.  They've learnt how to tackle.

Or at least remembered how to. All them tippy-tappy boys, robust as thistle-seeds in a hurricane, have suddenly discovered how physical strength and commitment can help them regain possession. The fancy Dans become honest johns when they haven't got the ball. Even without Flamini, Arteta filled the gap admirably.

3. Giroud? Who knew?

Seasoned Wenger watchers will realise that Arsene doesn't have the greatest record when seeking out a top centre-forward. Anyone who's watched Chamakh's scruffy gel-plastered get nowhere near cross after cross would know what I mean. Giroud's link-up play has been delicate and smart and his finishing, while not always cold-eyed, hasn't been too shoddy either. It's impossible to overstate his importance to the team at the moment, especially when you look to the bench.

In the League Cup against Chelsea, Bendtner started in Giroud's stead which on current performance is like wheeling your Aston Martin into the garage and then appearing out of the side-door on a squeaky tricycle.

4. Ramsey revives

I can only imagine that some well-meaning mystic laid hands upon Aaron Ramsey in the summer. The signing of Ozil made him look like the first man off the overcrowded midfield boat and yet right now he must be the first name on the team-sheet. He seems possessed of Ozil's time on the ball, Cazorla's quick feet, Wilshere's drive.... Last season he was bog-standard, but that seems light years ago. It's a bit like trying to remember when Gareth Bale was a shit left-back. And after that hideous leg-break you can't help but be happy for the lad.

5. A Solid Defence

Whenever Arsenal have a run of clean sheets we have to blame Steve Bould. Dependency at the back has always had more to do with the nous of the personnel there than anything Wenger has done. At present they look solid as a rock there even though Mertesacker resembles a spooky family butler, and Koscielny spends every game struggling to contain his inner ninja.

When you add in an injury list which means that Oxlade-Chamberlain, Walcott and Podolski are on their way back, and the likes of Rosicky and Gnabry are playing very well too it would all suggest that come May Arsene's going to be trotting up the Holloway Road while Gooners everywhere wave their palm fronds and sing hosannas.

Except... except... Arsenal have very little depth in key places. Only Vermaelen can cover the centre-backs and he's not as trusty as we once thought. As noted the options at centre-forward are frankly bleak. When you compare this to Chelsea or Man City you see how fragile this situation makes them.

In other words, injuries will make or break Arsenal's season. As witnessed by the absence of Walcott and Ox-lax-Chumber-Pan, the midfield is crisper and healthier than a yogi's salad. It's just everywhere else where it's as thin as a newspaper editor's excuse.

Of the others, Liverpool still look overly-reliant on two brilliant but erratic forwards (in Luis's case it's the personality not the play that is unpredictable).

Spurs get duller and duller - much like last year but without the simian wonderboy to - ahem - Bale them out. Everton will be plucky and persistent but won't scare too many and Pochettino's stylists at St. Mary's should hang on to 7th. United - remember them? - are looking a bit more stable but you've still got to reckon that there's not enough in the centre of the park to hurt the opposition there.

So... at the risk of echoing Kevin Keegan - and no sane man would want to do that - I'd love it if Arsenal could fight off the wealth-sodden pack.

Don't get me wrong, anyone who's paid for an Emirates season ticket can vouch for the enormous sums that Wenger has at his disposal. And Mehzut Ozil cost £1,999.999.99 more than they would've paid for Luis Suarez. That's not peanuts.

It's just that I can't help but admire a bloke who puts principle first, even if that does mean his team comes up short season after season. The team ethic is still there. The Wenger Vay. And with a bit more backbone in place this season... well...Yes!

They CAN do it! In fact I think they might even finish ABOVE third place.




237 comments:

  1. great stuff Robbo. If and when it all goes tits up, it will surely coincide with Walcott's returm, you won't find me chucklin. They deserve something after all this time, be better if they could make a good run in Europe though. The battle for 4th won't be the same without 'em.

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  2. A good read as ever, Robbo. Must've been a heckuva picnic basket to hold such an expensive salad, eh Boo-Boo?

    But Trotts, if it goes tits up, JT will be the first to know.

    And Tottenham are having such difficulty remembering how to play that Lloris is going to be forgetting a lot more. Can't believe they kept him on after that injury.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/24797343

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    1. Tottenham Hotspurs are starting this season in their classic 'frustratingly inconsistent' mode again. They need a player to keep their 'fighting spirit' stoked and focused, as well the requisite consistent goal scorer(s). Unfortunately, Bale filled both positions last year. For the Spurs to finish in the top three year after year, they desperately need to increase their goal difference. The Spurs have had one of the lowest goal differences of any of top five teams in past seasons. This in addition to not losing an 'easy' three points on the games of the 'we should have won' type. Looking completely lost so far is Soldado, and more than Bale did in his early games. Mr Adebayor, like Mr Gomes, is just a face on the first team webpage. I'm not willing to even guess what's going on with Defoe. He would seem to be the only 'working' Spurs striker, but only available in Europa. There appears to be more gel in the hair of the Tottenham Hotspurs midfielders, than in their play together on the field. The eleven available midfielders seem to have plenty of talent spread amongst them, but haven't quite worked out how to gel all their superpowers. It's the North London production of "The Greatest American Hero" with the hero played by eleven actors. The eight available in the Spurs defense will star in the supporting role of FBI agent Bill Maxwell. As they are always there, but not necessarily in the best position to help. Hugo has shown the most 'fighting spirit' so far, be it medically sound or not. Despite his performance against West Ham, he's put in a top four performance. I do feel for Brad Friedel. It sucks getting old, full stop.

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  3. You've just destroyed any chance of that to happen with that writing, Robbo... I'll wait for when Ozil starts 'feeling his groin' or 'breaking metatarsal'...

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  4. thot i was early, dammit!

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  5. Like the very well dressed man in the pub (aka the Cunt of Monte Cristo) I admire what arsenal are trying to do without ever really taking them seriously

    bendtner has been the symbolic embodiment of arsenal fc in recent years - look what I can do how stylush I am shit missed again .if they ditch him and buy Suarez in January we'll like them less but take them more seriously.

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  6. Interesting, though, that from the games played so far, the same set of fixtures they got more points from them last season than they currently have.

    Long way to go yet.

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  7. Nice one Robbo, even though I realise you have now destroyed any small hopes we had, ah well 4th again it is, which is better then most were giving us before the season started. ;)

    Seriously, it's funny though that so many are so surprised at our recent form, it actualy started way back in March after we got beat at home to Bayern and away at Shite Fart Lane, our last away loss in all competitions.In fact, Arsenal have picked up more points then any other team this calender year.

    Regarding Giroud, he had shown flashes of what he could do last term. It was his first season in the PL and considering he was continually being compared to the departed van persie, he was always going to be on a hiding to nothing, (ask Moyes). A return of 11 goals and 3 assists (24 PL starts) was not too bad at all.

    Ramsey, again many chose to forget, or they just didn't know, that he was way ahead of Wilshere before that fateful day in Stoke. He missed a good few years of devolpment due to that injury, now he's back, and how? I've defended him over the years, because he was a player who never shirked his responcibilities, never hid, even when a large section of the support were on his back he just got his head down and worked, never ever moaning about it. Last season Wenger deployed him mostly on the wing, to teach him the value of finding space in confided areas, this year it's paying dividands, his confidence is back and he is playing with a swagger.

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    1. Nice one Robbo, I'm all for destroying the Gooners' hopes! Obviously, the next few games will tell us more (United away is never easy, and I reckon Southampton play a pretty similar style to Dortmund, but not as well). As Robbo says, much depends on Giroud staying fit. H2, any views on what Wenger would do if your lot were chucked into the Europa League (which is possible).

      The worst aspect of it is that Spurs are currently playing like the Gooners used to under G Gr**am, though that may be because AVB hasn't worked out the balance of the team yet. I hope so anyway. At least we seem to be winning ugly, which is better than losing ugly.


      Jedi

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  8. You have hit the nail on the head as to why there is so much caution, even among the fan base, as to how far this team can go, the well publicised and often debated lack of depth issue.

    You touched on the CB issue, one that doesn't bother me that much. Personaly I don't think that Vermaelen is even third choice at this moment in time, I think that AW would sooner start Bacary Sagna there, a position he has filled in admirably over the last year on a number of occasions.

    Saturday I was worried that Flamini was absent, i think his loss cost us against BvD and almost got us a cropper against Palace, with Arteta being sent off due to "fouling" Chamakh. Still Arteta showed his worth and imho was the MOTM against Liverpool, so that only leaves us short in one position.......

    The CF. Giroud at this moment is probably Arsene's most important player. He is the springboard that so many of our moves are made around, he is strong enough to hold the ball up, but also has a very good touch that brings others in play, pretty unmissable when you consider the back up is legend in his own mind and winner of this years Samarai most likely not to succeed, Nicky Bendtner, he showed glimpses of something resembling a footballer on a sub appearance, but given the chance to shine in a whole game against Chelsea, was not very good at all.

    Then there's Yaya "wake me up before" Sonogo, a player with a dubious injury record that was brought in on a freebie and is now........errr.......out injured, now that's an Arsenal striker, he'll probably be in and out for the next couple of years, have a thirty goal season and then bugger off to Yanited. ;)

    It's not all doom and gloom though as there's still Walcott and Podolski to return. I think Theo ould do okay against the better teams as they play with a higher defencive line so he could do a job against them, but he's worse then useles in that position against a team that parks the proverbial. For those games Poldi could fill in. I don't think we saw the best of him last year, as he was carrying an ankle injury fpr most of the season. He is now being properly abilitated and I expect much more on his return.

    So, there's still reasons to be quietly optimistic, in the mean time I'm just enjoying the ride. I was so looking forward to watching Hansen squirm on the MotD sofa explaining how our clueles defence had kept out the PL's most potent strikeforce, but he'd managed to worm himself a free day only to be replaced by token Mickey danny Murphy. Meh.

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  9. Always a pleasure to read, and on THIS occasion you've joined in the admiration. The goons DO play some lovely footy... they always have, as far as my memory goes. The Pool front men (SAS) slipped into greedy & selfish mode when 2-0 down, so with a few strong words to correct that, I think both teams could be fighting for the title. Wenger is still where he is because he's good, and now he's got some funds. Get Podolski fit again and it's going to be fun.

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    1. Crikey, Mike, you must be under 30, I can remember the old chant/cliche of "1 - 0 to the Arsenal" when watching them was as painful as having all your teeth out whilst still awake. Mind you that was BW (Before Wenger - the Gooner equivalent of BC) and I must admit they were a joy to watch against Liverpool - what I found so surprising was that SAS created so few chances.

      Spider

      P. S. Great Blog Robbo (as usual)

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    2. I remember the boring boring Arsenal of the early eighties under Neill and Howe, they were god awful, made GG's side look like Barca.

      The Mertecielny axis was to thank for the silencing of the SAS.

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  10. Jedi.

    A possibility indeed, although even if we lose to BvD this week. I still think we'll have enough to overcome Marsaille and Napoli. If we do drop down to the EL, I think that it would depend how well we were still doing in the league would determine what kind of team AW would put out in that competion, the main concern being that the games are played on a Thursday night.

    Must be a strange season for you spuds. You're in third place, have a squad with some decent depth that has had some major investment. You seem to take teams apart, yet you seem to have to rely on penalties to beat them. Ev en wih the set pieces, nine goals in ten games is pretty lean,

    I wached the match against Everton yesterday, you were lording them in the first half, but apart from long distant efforts, mostly from shoot on sight Andros, you never really threatened them, Slado doesn't carry much of a punch in front of goal, does he? Although as he showed in the second half, does brandish a wicked elbow.

    Everton improved in the second half, although I still thought you should of won. Vertonghen, one of your most consistant players is also one of the luckiest, he constantly get's away with things most players would be sanctioned for.

    I also thought it was interesting to see Lloris, who had been literaly knocked the fuck out, decide that he was ok to continue, although clearly woozy, with AvB having already had Friedel strip off and ready to go. Surely that's AvB's decision to make, Lloris should of been removed regardless of what he himself thought?

    I'll agree with you that I also don't believe that AvB has any idea who his best team is, which considering how much cash he splashed must be a bit worrying. What's up with your record signing? I've hardly seen a sniff of him.
    Having difficulty breaking down defences, but Eriksson is on the bench, can't score from open play, but still no start for Defoe, frustrating resluts being blamed on the fans.

    If Carlsberg did schadenfreude..............

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    1. H2: a Goonerish (to misquote AW) reply, but you make some fair points. The key group match for you is Napoli away (you should beat Marseilles at home), and that'll be tough. Rafa is a crafty campaigner in Europe (fackt).

      We're actually 4th (shite goal difference) not 3rd, with a squad that had a major reinvestment (we reinvested the money we got in on transfers), but I agree that 9 goals in 10 games is poor. Soldado isn't getting much service at present (Lennon and Townsend would be better trying to get to the byline than cutting in and shooting all the time).

      AVB said recently that Lamela was having trouble adjusting to life in London. It's worth remembering that a lot of the players we signed in the last year or 2 are only 21-22 so will improve (next year is a better test than this one in many ways).

      I think AVB set up for a draw at Everton (Holtby playing ahead of Eriksen or Sigurdsson), which is a bit timid, but Eriksen is still finding his feet too. Defoe would have made no difference in that game.

      Lloris should have been taken off: simple. It would be compulsory in rugby (which tends to have a lot more concussions than football).

      We'll worry about the schadenfreude at the end of the season, shall we? When the trophies are handed out, and all that removing the dust from the Gooner trophy cabinet proves a waste of time?


      Jedi

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  11. So Unilever are the "official" undie washers for Man U. Is that because half the players still cack themselves every time Fergie enters the stadium or that they cannot keep a clean sheet? And begs the question - who did the job before?

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  12. Interesting piece in The Times yesterday.When Ar***al won the league last,they only used 21 players (plus about 5 minutes of Cygan).Whereas the average since then has been 27/28.

    Ar***al's 1st team is as good as anyone else has to offer,it's how they'll cope with injuries that will be the make or break.

    Plus,they are where they ought to be with the fixtures they've had.December will be key.8 games in the Christmas month.We'll see then.

    As long as I don't see a smug Maureen at the end of the season,I don't mind who wins.

    More importantly,I really don't want to see a smug bent 'arry at the end of the season either.

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  13. or a smug City player either.

    Quite frankly if United don't win it then I don't mind if Arsenal do, could live with it if Chelsea do, surprised if Everton, Southampton or Spurs do would be gutted if City do but please please please don't let there be a smug Brenda at Liverpoo at the end of the season.

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    1. No chance of Brenda Adam. Though it would be funny to get Ricky Gervais to write a David Brent speech for him (no different from the actual one).


      Jedi

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    2. Interestingly Adam,most of my Un**ed following customers have said pretty much the same.

      Most are also saying they should finish 4th this season.

      Worrying signs I think.

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  14. DAGGNABBIT ROBBNOB!

    Y U DO DIS?

    You just jinxed Arsenal.

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  15. I think the reporting on the decline of Man U, although highly entertaining, has been wildly over exagerated

    Yes, as a manager Moyes is not in the same class as Fergy, but who the fuck is?. Even after a bit of a shaky start that has had many questioning his appointment (mostly their own so called"fans") his team are only three points off Chelsea in second, that's nothing. There's still more then enough quality in that squad to hurt most teams, the same players won the league last year, easily may I add.

    I for one will be holding off on writing their eulogy.

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    1. Having gone through last season like he was made of Kevlar, RvP is now showing signs of his old injury prone self. If either him or Rooney are out for an extended period of time, United are in deep yogurt.

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    2. and if Rooney and RVP stay fit, they're in a race with City (spit).

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    3. Although RvP has a checkered injury history, I wouldn't exactly call him injury prone (a la Diaby) I think he was more unlucky then anything else in the past, he suffered a lot of really bad challenges.

      Losing one of those two would be bad, but they'd still have little pea to come in, he's not too bad either.

      I'm not saying they'll win the title, I just don't think they're in as bad a shape as many would have us believe,

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  16. I think you have to look honestly at the league and take in to account not only what points a team are on (though obviously important) but look at who and where they have played to get there. You also need to look at depth of squad and the number of trophies they are realistically competing for. Once you have all the facts then it is the time to make flippant comments.

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  17. Arsenal dont have any depth and have played no one of any real calibre (apart from dortmond and chelsea and lost both at home - jokers)

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  18. united are finished - fergy is like the ravens at buck house - the empire is falling. His departure is the equal to to Luke Skywalkers shot at the Deathstar (they said that was impossible too).

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  19. Jose is doomed to fail - never go back - squad is too big - NEVER GO BACK

    #poisonedchallis

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    Replies
    1. NEVER GO BACK

      not unless unless you are at an Eat As Much As You Can buffet,

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  20. City have zero consistency and lack a direct footballing ethos - again suffer from too many players - zero happiness in that dressing room. too big a challenge for pedigreeno.

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  21. There's only one Ricky Lambert.

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    1. wait, no, there's loads of Ricky Lamberts, and Rickie's too. Just googled it and got 2 million hits.

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  22. if i were a manger and my striker was a Lambert, i wouldn't rest until i had signed a Butler as his partner. Its as if some football mangers these days are more concerned with winning matches than having a delightfully whimsical striking partnerships... Well Suarez and Sturridge might get you goals but Ian Gin and Michael Tonic would last longer in the meories of the fans...

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    1. Back in the 60s stoke had a strike force to strike fear and laughter into the hearts of the opposition in Gordon Twonk and Mickey Teabag

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    2. Seeing as footballers are paid such large amounts of money, they should change their names to either 'match' their strike partner or just to cater to the fans whims

      Wayne Rooney could become Ida Likemorhare

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    3. Bradford City used to have (Greg) Abbott and (Peter) Costello playing for them in the late 80's early 90's. Last year (as I may have mentioned before) they had Derby and Jones. (but neither pair were exactly strike partnerships).
      Rastafairy

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  23. Chamakh - yes crap. RVP and Henry did...ok.

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  24. Chamak an' Bob Sled would make a good pair.

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  25. Ashley Young, diving cunt, utter disgrace. Glad it was saved.

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  26. http://thealdershotwoes.blogspot.co.uk/

    yeah fuck ashley young.

    city looking good - i predict a loss at the weekend now.

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  27. For those who haven't seen it;

    http://footballtweet.lockerdome.com/media/110249927

    Disgraceful.

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    1. Wow.

      10 matches without pay for blatant cheating? Five plus an extra month's wages? There must be something someone can do about this, aside from Moyes benching him, which obviously won't happen.

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  28. How duuuuuuuull was that man u match it's like they couldn't be bothered. I only watched it to the end because I couldn't find the remote and couldn't be bothered top get up to switch over. I did like Adrian Chile's comparison of O'Neill and psycho Keane to laurel and hardy. They look more like Burke and hare though. No question who the Burk iss.

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    1. Adrian Chiles is the burk. I think United need to rid themselves of Ashley Young at the earliest opportunity as he dives all the time and has not improved as a player since joining the club

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  29. Replies
    1. I dolphinly feel the same way about fish puns



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    2. ...but dolphins aren't fish...or did you do that on porpoise?

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    3. Ocelot of cat pun options, Blogs. Tuna fishy options, too.

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    4. O cod, I hake these fish puns there's no plaice for them in this blog. I've haddock up to here with them. Football's the sole reason for this blog - I'll just skate round them and hope I don't fall off my perch.

      Spider

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  30. Arsenal are hoping to prise RvP away from man Utd with the promise of champions league football.

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  31. So, that's Dortmond away taken care of.

    Now to wait until we play someone decent.

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    1. Well, that's not going to happen this weekend at least, so you might have to wait till after the international break.

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    2. Surprised me, that one, I admit. I'd guess most Gooners would have taken a draw before kick off. *Grits teeth and offers congratulations*


      Jedi

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  32. Nobody should be surprised at Young diving, it's like being surprised at hearing the Pope's catholic... he is isn't he. What surprises me is that after his vast experience in the art, Young is still shit at it and the referees are still taken in by him. At least this time his team didn't benefit from the cheating arsehole's antics.

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    1. As a Man Utd fan I've had enough of Young diving. At least justice was done with RVP missing the penalty. Ray Wilkins got it spot on, it is pathetic.

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  33. hahahahaha, the Pope's Catholic, that's a good un.

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    1. I heard the Pope's German, oops I mean Argentinian. Hmm last two Popes hail from countries we've been at war with - I feel a conspiracy theory coming on, I wonder what the odds are on the next Pope being Japanese?

      Spider

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    2. Who've you not been at war with?

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    3. The countries never invaded by the British:
      Andorra
      Belarus
      Bolivia
      Burundi
      Central African Republic
      Chad
      Congo, Republic of
      Guatemala
      Ivory Coast
      Kyrgyzstan
      Liechtenstein
      Luxembourg
      Mali
      Marshall Islands
      Monaco
      Mongolia
      Paraguay
      Sao Tome and Principe
      Sweden
      Tajikistan
      Uzbekistan
      Vatican City

      See, 22 countries as yet uninvaded. Surely one of them has a decent candidate for Pope?

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  34. Microsoft to buy naming rights for Bernabeu?

    Looking forward to a lack of security, random crashes, and, to keep fans from entering the pitch, the Blue Screen of Death.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-24850029

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    1. yeah but that paperclip has a tidy left foot on him...

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    2. And there will be a mouse plague.

      Spider

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  35. He does get bent out of shape easily, though.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NxcmoLKVd60

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  36. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. i promised myself to not do politics on ere

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  37. Try this chaps.

    http://toys.usvsth3m.com/north-o-meter/

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    1. Ah,so if it places you in London,does that make you a northerner.

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    2. I ended up 27% northern, somewhere around London. Not sure what that means, given that I've never been anywhere near there. I shudder to think of what an American version would be. Though we'd need an east/west element, too.

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    3. 100% northern (an reeht proud of it an' all)- but I did click on the "where t'ducks play football" although anyone from Ilkley or the surrounding area whould NEVER pronounce the word "the" before ducks as "t'" - the quiz was obviously written by a southern shandy drinker. (says me with a user name like...)
      ...Rastafairy

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    4. Nottingham for me - 50% northern. Which is about right as my dad was from Yorkshire, which is somewhere up that way.

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  38. Trott, your list of countries we've nnever been at war with: there appears to be a theme.

    Most of them are landlocked. Rest have either been colonoes or protectorates of countries we have had wars with.

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    Replies
    1. hey, it's not my list, I just report the news!

      Drogba for Pope!

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  39. Theyre all too small or too crap to be bothered with except sweden why we dont invade NOW and carry off the women i cant understand

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  40. Putin's personal promotions agency - the IOC- are helping him put on a fantastic propaganda fest. the olypmic torch is up in space now (russia he is great space race country) last time i looked it was smashing through the last bit of unmelted ice on an ice breaker to get to the North Pole (russia he is owning all oil in icy wasteland)

    expect to next see the bloody olympic torch sticking out of a tank gun barrel with putin driving it into Georgia, dressed as margaret thatcher. The opening festival will entirely comprise the Olympic torch inside a giant robot red army boot stamping down for all eternity on a human face

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  41. i recognise my last two posts are contradictory but what did you expect?

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    1. well, we didn't expect that. Oh yes we did!

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    2. i expected to expect the unexpected and was bitterly disappointed.

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    3. I expect we'll have to lower our expectations.

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  42. Just finished reading Great Expectations... it wasn't what all I had hoped for.

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  43. Dickens died just before he wrote the follow up to great expectations...Fucking Massive Disappointments. Is a more mature work than the first book. The third book in the trilogy follows the heroes down ward trajectory in life the classic unwritten Thank God I'm Dead.

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    1. It's being given a new twist and presented on ITV by Paul O'Grady.A sad tale about dying animals.

      Great Ex-Petations.

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    2. I'm doing the sequel;

      Great Ex pat-ations.

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  44. My apologies for interupting your excellent literary reviews, but as it is my favourite time of the week just to say have a good weekend everyone

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  45. have a nice weekend Bells. This is the last one before the wine runs out.

    ReplyDelete
  46. ....Then its back to the Carlsberg Special, Bells.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Not to be confused with Great Expectorations by colonel bogey

    ReplyDelete
  48. Or....

    G-Rated Expectations: children reading out their Christmas lists.
    Gr*8 Permutations: discussing math vs. maths.
    Gait Expectations: planning research at the Ministry of Silly Walks.
    Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreat Expectations: investigating the future of breakfast cereal.
    Great Expederations: reporting on Operation Yewtree.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great Expendables,

      the third film's just as shit as the other two though.

      Delete
  49. Instead of players cheating the ref as is the rule in the PL, Saudi Arabian refs prefer to screw over the players. I can't imagine this happening in the PL. Not the part where the ref screws over the players. The part where the players' sporting behavior overcomes the ref's jackassery.

    http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/blogs/early-doors/ref-made-look-idiot-punishing-players-touching-moment-183550907.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stephen, that's very touching but why didn't you tell us about this website back in the day….

      EARLY DOORS
      Early Doors began life as a daily vehicle for mocking Rafa Benitez - and as such represented something a prototype for the modern internet. It has now evolved into a must-read morning feature from our team of football writers. Serious or silly, penetrating or puerile, Early Doors has always got something to say on the big issues. And there's still a fair amount of Rafa mockery.

      Delete
  50. Another story from back in the day (or at least earlier this season) we missed...

    http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/soccer-dirty-tackle/spanish-third-division-club-away-kit-broccoli-design-073438694--sow.html

    ReplyDelete
  51. Wish we had drawn the abject Fulham in the game after the international break. Liverpool haven't won the game after the international break for as long as I can remember. Would've been nice to have played a team like Fulham who refuse to show up for the game. Instead we have to deal with the small matter of the Merseyside derby after the break.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. look on the bright side AH, so do Everton.

      Delete
  52. Port Vale lost two players during World War One. One was inside-right Frank Cannon who was killed on the Western Front on 15th February 1916 and was buried in Potijze in Belgium. The other was John (Jack) Shelton who was conscripted in the summer of 1917 and died in September 1918. Inside-forward Alf Smith was also seriously wounded and never played football again.

     Leigh Roose (Port Vale, 1910) was killed at the battle of the Somme. A larger-than-life character, Roose really deserves a feature all to himself. A Welsh International, he was once named as one of the country’s most-eligible bachelors by a national newspaper. A goalkeeper with a noted long-throw expert, his role in the army was that of grenade thrower. He received the Military Medal for his bravery but sadly died towards the end of the Battle of the Somme.

    In World War Two, Vale lost former players Tom Cooper (Vale 1924-1926), Haydyn Dackins (1935-1936) and Sam Jennings (1929-1931). Meanwhile, future captain Tommy Cheadle was injured by a German grenade and Jack Roberts managed to escape from a German prisoner of war camp in 1944.





     

    ReplyDelete
  53. I salute their sacrifice and that of all the other young men who died but I'm seriously starting to question whether it was worth it when I look at the cunts we keep electing into power and the selfish materialistic uncreative pile of shit this country had become since the 80s. Its the greatest betrayal.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Blog, you cannot be serious - if we'd lost the war we'd now be an economic backwater in some German-controlled eco-political bloc. Oh, hang on a minute.....

      Spider

      Delete
  54. The mighty O's were the first team to volunteer en masse into the armed forces at the start of wwii.

    Roberts escape may well have coincided with my escape from the womb.

    ReplyDelete
  55. The curse of Robbo strikes again. Great game but even I had a sense it was over when they brought on Bendy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's "Arsene Descending" now

      Delete
  56. Blogs, when I read your "Port Vale lost..." post, it put me to wondering why Brits are so great at observing the Remembrance Day moment of silence but so crap at not beating the crap out of each other the rest of the time. Then I read your follow-up post. Well put.

    ReplyDelete
  57. And if anyone still doubts the quality of the MLS, it has apparently ranked in the top 10 of leagues worldwide--as high as seventh overall.

    The only thing we're missing? Decent football.

    That's how we Americans like things. Plenty of creature comforts, short on substance.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/24843600

    ReplyDelete
  58. Italians eh?

    http://www.theguardian.com/football/2013/nov/10/italian-match-abandoned-six-men

    ReplyDelete
  59. Stephen - just because the English secretly hate each others guts it doesn't mean we don't stick together (when necessary)

    ReplyDelete
  60. Vale v Shortwood on TV tonight. I'm sort of confidentish

    ReplyDelete
  61. I once wrote a song about a tortilla, actually it was more of a wrap

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Was it a bland song, or did it have any spice to it ?

      Delete
  62. It was a little cheesy in places AH

    ReplyDelete
  63. What do you call a Spanish man who can't find his automobile

    Carlos


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What do you call an Argentinian cu** (sorry Bells) who can't find his automobile ?

      Carlos Tevez

      Delete
    2. Colega, ¿dónde está mi coche?

      Delete
    3. French Man in sandals
      Phillippe Flop

      French Man who has peaked too early
      Arsene Wenger

      Delete
    4. Stoke player who cant find his car

      Jermaine Pennant (left it at a spanish railway station for 5 months)

      http://metro.co.uk/2011/01/19/jermaine-pennant-forgot-he-owned-porsche-629935/

      Delete
    5. Derby player who can't find the stadium - should possibly think of changing his name

      http://blog.foxsoccer.com/post/66618588968/andre-wisdom-gets-lost-on-way-to-stadium-drives-his

      Delete
    6. I think he should be forgiven for this, that mud pit looks a lot like the old pitch at Derby's Baseball Ground

      Delete
  64. Robbo Curse strikes again.....

    4th place here we come.

    ReplyDelete
  65. Seriusly though, was a pretty poor showing from both teams. I thought Rooney was the only decent player on the park.

    Rumours were, before and after the game, that the Arsenal squad were struck down with a bug......

    The Man Flu perhaps.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ozil, Ramsey and Giroud couldn't have hoped for anything better, they were all drafted into my FFL team. Worry not though, I'm gonna be drafting Rooney in at the next opportunity.

      Delete
    2. I've had those three in for quite some time. but I suppose most gooners have.

      I drafted Bitey O'tool in and made him captain, he's probably the only one who got any points (haven't checked yet)

      Delete
  66. Vote for FIFA's goal of the year:

    http://www.fifa.com/ballondor/puskasaward/

    Fine candidates, all, but there is simply no matching The Zlatan. Not my favorite camera angle for that one, but the look on his face as it was going in says all you need to know. If a goal impresses even The Zlatan, then it is a worthy winner.

    Note the utter lack of Premier League talent on display. I'm guessing Kasami and Wilshire will be eligible next season.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bollocks, it says 2013, that's this year I think. Anyroad, Ibra's goal was a meaningless friendly with a bit of hit and hope about it after another Joe Hart cock up. My vote goes to the lovely lass from France in the white hot battle of a 1st division ladies league.

      Delete
    2. Necib's shot was very well placed. Postage stamp. Certainly a more important match than that meaningless friendly no one remembers.

      I don't think it is fair to judge the goal by importance, as that would make it nearly impossible to find any big goals. The biggest matches don't tend to have as many spectacular goals. Or something like that.

      Delete
  67. Abandoned cars by footballers,part 94.

    http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/blogs/early-doors/liverpool-player-forced-abandon-porsche-satnav-sends-him-092708482.html

    ReplyDelete
  68. Goal of the season contender (ignore the ad)

    http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/blogs/early-doors/greatest-goal-scored-goalkeeper-134609958.html?vp=1

    ReplyDelete
  69. There's only one Aitor Karanka!

    ReplyDelete
  70. http://www.standard.co.uk/sport/football/arsenal-fan-homeless-after-betting-his-house-on-gunners-beating-manchester-united-8937139.html

    Ouch.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mad. the other guy bet his wife.

      Delete
    2. if I had 3 wives I'd have bet one on a 6 - 6 draw.

      Delete
    3. If you had three wives, they'd have drawn and quartered you long ago.

      Delete
    4. I thought you might have pulled this link up from the same page as well H.

      http://www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/man-accused-of-trying-to-have-sex-with-sheep-near-spurs-training-ground-back-in-court-8937335.html

      Delete
  71. Armstrong said on Monday he would testify with "100% transparency and honesty"

    hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

    ReplyDelete
  72. What I want to know is:

    Are we playing chicken on here as to who cracks earliest and posts something? If so, I have lost

    Why do tins of corned beef still have that worse than useless key on it?

    Why I disproportionately really excited that I'm A Celebrity is about to start (only two more sleeps) and that we may get to see some more Carlton dancing

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XmAWetZhNAI


    Will we have eleven players who are not sick/injured to play in the friendly tonight? More to the point, is anyone really that bothered?

    Why

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah Bells, why?

      I love I'm a Celebrity. Shame it's not on tv over here, even though they film it just up the road.

      Delete
    2. Ah... a comment!

      Anyway at least Roy can experiment with other players for options. Nobody knows what will happen with the current players

      1-0 to England, no Joe Hart howler

      Delete
    3. Bells.

      What comes between X and Z?

      Delete
    4. Why if you think I'm falling for that JAcks, you have another think coming :)


      Have to say Noel my favourite ever I'm a Celeb contestant was David Gest! Hysterically funny in my eyes

      Delete
    5. Fair enough Bells.

      So how about a football question?

      Stoke fans sing "Delilah",what line precedes that in the song?

      Delete
    6. desperately trying (and failing) to think of witty retort to that Jacks

      Delete
    7. Oh?

      I've managed to spoil things for Bells.

      She laughed no more.

      Delete
    8. Oh, Jacks? You're not starting on the alphabet now are you?

      Delete
    9. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    10. English breakfast (or Two Ronnies: Swedish Made Simple)

      Man: L.O.
      Waiter: L.O.
      Man: R.U.B.C.
      Waiter: S.V.R.B.C.
      Waitress: L.O.
      Waiter: L.O.
      Man: L.O.
      Man: F.U.N.E.X.
      Waiter: S.V.F.X.
      Man: F.U.N.E.M.
      Waiter: 9.
      Man: I.F.C.D.M.
      Waiter: V.F.N.10.E.M.
      Waitress: A. V.F.M.
      Man: R.
      Waiter: O.
      Waitress: C. D.M.
      Waiter: O.S. V.F.M.
      Man: O.K. M.N.X.
      Waiter: M.N.X.
      Man: F.U.N.E.T.
      Waiter: 1 T.
      Man: 1 T.
      Waiter: O.K. M.X.N.T. M.X.N.T.4.1.
      Waitress: V.F.N.10.E.X.
      Man: U.Z.U.F.X.
      Waiter: Y.F.N.U.N.E.X.
      Waitress: I.F.E.10.M.
      Waiter: S.I.L.L.Y. C.O.W

      Delete
  73. I think the key on a can of corned beef was one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century. Just behind penicilin and television, some way ahead of the personal computer and screw-in studs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are right Trotts, that was a knee-jerk reaction to self-amuptation my left hand whilst trying to open a tin of corned beef - obviously was totally my own fault.

      The key on a tin of corned beef is right up there with my Control ALT Delete wand - that handy appliance that hits all 3 keys at same time to save you doing so.

      Delete
  74. Thanks for that Bells. Was getting blisters hitting F5 all day looking for new comments. Almost typed in one myself.

    ReplyDelete
  75. i only know 25 letters of the alphabet. i dont know why.

    ReplyDelete
  76. Jacks your post reminded me of the time i put that alphabet soup in the microwave without taking the lid off. it spelt disaster.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just had Jacks -style (or 2 Ronnies style) alphabet soup.

      P. N. M.


      Jedi

      Delete
  77. the mighty shortwood successfully despatched. shrewsbury do your worst. best. worst.

    ReplyDelete
  78. Well that was a little flurry of activity earlier - it's nearing that time again on a Friday so all that's for me to say is



    I'm a celebrity ...get me out of heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeee



    Oh and have a good weekend everyone :)

    ReplyDelete
  79. Hmm..no footy this weekend. Might have to spend time with the wife and kids. Scary.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmmm... no footy this weekend. Might have to spend time finding a wife and kids. Scary.

      Delete
  80. Cristian Eriksen out for '4 to 6 weeks' after injuring his ankle in an international friendly. Just what Spurs needed. Maybe Lamela will get some game time now though. I just wish we'd stop playing Townsend.

    ReplyDelete
  81. That England v Chile match was the clearest indication yet that we will definitely win the World Cup. Woy's list of who must not get on the plane just six steps closer.

    ReplyDelete
  82. Very emotional day as an Indian... Wishing Sachin Tendulkar a happy retired life !!!

    ReplyDelete
  83. We obviously watch I'm a Celebrity for different reasons then Bells! My favorites would have to be Jessica-Jane Clement or Nicola McLean, purely for their work whilst showering.

    That muppet from the Sex Pistols gets my vote for worst ever contestant. Phil Tufnel was good.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. blimey noel, first morrissey now johnny rotten youll be saying you dont rate the musical and personal qualities of my other great hero, mark e smith next

      Delete
    2. is he related to Harv E Smith, Blog?

      Delete
    3. Musically I quite like Morrissey, or at least I liked The Smiths, but personally I just think twat. Same with the Sex Pistols bloke - his band was before my time, but they influenced a lot of the bands that I like now. But again, what a twat he is personally (at least in my opinion!)

      Having googled Mark E Smith cos I didn't know who he was (!), I've never heard any of his work, but again, The Fall have been named as influences by some of my favourite bands. And as I have no idea what he's like as a person, he's safe from scoring high on my twat-o-meter. For now at least.

      I also don't like Boy George. But he's probably not a musical hero of yours?

      Delete
    4. No mate I think he's Cunt of Cunti Cunto. Didn't know he was musical tho I thought he spent all his time fucking the country over chortling with his posh chums and sucking bankers cocks

      Delete
    5. Jeez - sitting on the fence a bit there pal. What do you really think of him?

      Delete
  84. 1403:
    ENGLAND NEWS CONFERENCE
    England manager Roy Hodgson on Joe Hart: "I am sure he will respond very well. He is a proud man and very pleased to be playing for England. We have had no cause to doubt him in the qualifying games and also the Euros."
    "We are unbeaten in 14 games and I think he is entitled to feel confident that when he puts on the England jersey we are all behind him and expect him to play well tomorrow night."

    ======

    Friday obviously didn't count.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They need to be behind him so they can keep the ball out of the net.

      Delete
    2. You can't blame Hart for Friday, H2.


      Jedi

      Delete
    3. I'm not blaming anybody, but saying that you're on an unbeaten run two days after losing at home is a bit daft.

      Delete
  85. http://metro.co.uk/2013/11/18/joachim-lows-germany-squad-take-the-tube-to-wembley-training-ahead-of-england-friendly-4191762/

    They were probably hoping to bump into Woy and get the England game plan.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. to english footballers...that funny squarish papery thing one of the germany team is holding is called a b-o-o-k.

      we should beat them imho. the collective unconscious memory of defeat in two world wars and one world cup will make it very difficult for them i think.

      Delete
  86. Garrrrrr ..... took many weak links. We can't do those quick flowing passing moves because the ball is always going to break to a smallng or a cleverley or a Henderson. And why is wilshers playing in those concrete football boots these days?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No more than 11 weak links, I thought.


      Jedi

      Delete
  87. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  88. Hart
    Walker...jagielka....Cahill......Baines
    Gerrard ...
    Townsend..............Wilshire........lalana
    Rooney.....sturridge (even though they were both shit today)

    ReplyDelete
  89. Good first 11 but except at full back we are completely fucked for cover, throughout the whole team. Our only chance is to employ lance Armstrong's tea lady

    ReplyDelete
  90. that was another perfect warm up, lots of questions answered. A good weeks' work lads! Sturridge will be back, just as soon as he's had the cataract surgery.

    ReplyDelete
  91. Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini does not regard Liverpool or Tottenham as genuine Premier League title rivals

    ------

    as City are in eigth place in the table I don't think Spurs or Liverpool particularly care whether he does or not at the moment

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wonder if he regards Citeh as genuine Premier League title material?


      Jedi

      Delete
  92. Hoping the forthcoming post is a profile of Karanka followed by a detailed analysis of why consecutive home losses to 1.5 World Cup-bound teams spells doom/assures success/means nothing (at the same time).

    ReplyDelete
  93. Queens Park Rangers goalkeeper Rob Green admits to a dark side by revealing that one of the perks of the job is disappointing opposition fans desperate to see their team score.
    Full story: Daily Telegraph

    ===
    One of the perks of having your team playing against Rob Green is that they will most likely score.

    ReplyDelete
  94. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/nov/18/qatar-accidental-vagina-stadium-al-wakrah-world-cup-stadium

    Well, it's been said that Fifa are a bunch of c................

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A great location for Snatch of the Day.

      Delete
    2. looks more like 4 sperm whales to me.

      Delete
    3. they have another one in the shape of a giant cheeseburger in case your lot qualify, Stephen.

      Delete
  95. And the architects design for the stadium England will be playing in is closely modelled on a load of old bollocks.

    ReplyDelete
  96. Massive batting collapse in Oz.

    ReplyDelete
  97. I can sense a presence.

    The internet is holding its breath.

    Bells. Is that you?

    ReplyDelete