One life, one game, one team, one invincibles

One life, one game, one team, one Invincibles (So far)

Friday, 4 October 2013

Still purring after the Napoli game

It’s gone, done and dusted now but I’m still purring after that Napoli game. To put this latest win into some sort of context Napoli were 2nd in Serie ‘A’ with a won 5, drawn 1 record which included an away win at A C Milano. They still are 2nd in Serie ‘A’ of course, it’s just that they’ve now received a serious footballing lesson before their 7th Serie ‘A’ game.

In the Champions League they’d already beaten Borussia Dortmund which currently looks pretty good on any Club’s CV. So surely Raffa and his boys were not exactly expecting to suffer such a total spanking during the opening fifteen minutes at The Grove. Then again neither was I expecting such scintillating football given that Wenger was playing an almost unheard of pair of holding midfield players and we were looking for all intents and purposes like we had a line-up set to finish the first half at nil-nil. Were we Chelski in disguise perhaps? Well obviously not, none of the crowd dozed off and what appeared to be a defensive line-up proved to be anything but.  
Before the game began Arsenal had shown some very fine form against a bunch of fairly classless Premiership teams plus that mob from the wrong end of Seven Sisters. However we had yet to show what we had to offer against a really decent outfit and Napoli were for me the first real acid test. If we could scrape a win from this one I felt our momentum would continue to build and we’d gain yet more confidence in what is after all had been an injury depleted squad of late. Instead of which we chewed Napoli up and spat them out and really looked to be serious contenders despite still being light the odd decent back-up centre forward so.

The Italians were restricted, in the main, to long range pot shots and we absolutely tore them a new one. So much so that all the rent-a-gob-two-bob TV pundits were reduced to turning a complete 180 with regard to their opinions on what they’d all been proclaiming to be a team in crisis only a few weeks back.
Just quite how Özil was already interchanging positions with other players in a squad he’d only met just a few days previously was all rather surreal. Probably only under Wenger could such interchanging even be considered at this stage of any player’s  introduction to his new Club. Then again quite probably only under a manager such as Wenger would such a class act even consider moving to a Club that wasn’t dripping in new money.  

It’s always seemed fairly obvious to me that the long-term plan was for a multi-functional and interchangeable midfield to emerge at Arsenal. But that will now be the norm I suspect. And with the new Ramsey currently emerging as the best British midfield player around anything is possible. Clearly our latest German was player of the match against Napoli, but not by a massive margin in my opinion, Ramsey ran him very close and Giroud was mega. Dennis only knows what it’ll be like if when we get both Özil and Cazorla playing together. Cazorla is probably the most two-footed Arsenal player I’ve ever seen bulge the old onion bag for The Arsenal, while Özil can play keepie-upsie with a piece of partially used chewing gum and nutmeg linesman for fun. His passing is clearly as good as Cesc, Dennis or Bobby. His left foot is as good as Liam’s and his vision is the sort of thing our next new centre forward can only currently dream about.
So we only won 2-0 against Napoli. But the fact is we made them chase the game throughout whilst controlling it almost totally, only very rarely on the back foot. They passed quite a lot but mainly backwards and sideways because we denied them the space. When we passed backwards or sideways it was because we had a two-goal lead and were effectively saying ‘If you want the f*cking thing come and get it you pussies’.

Not since the days of Bergkamp and Henry have I got depressed about having to actually wait to see the next Arsenal game. I’m currently depressed because right here and now we’re better than good, way better than good and I want the next game to be immediately after the last one.
Momentum is the key. Trust me it really is. It can be argued that we’ve still not played anyone worthwhile, that Napoli were over-rated, that Marseille are not all that and that the result of any game against the Spuds can go any-which-way. Which of course they can. But do I give a toss? No way Pedro. We have momentum. We have a real team that clearly enjoys playing together and all of whom are quite happy to work their rocks off in the cause. In fact if they don’t work their rocks off they probably won’t even make the team right now. We have a work ethic. We have a good mix of experience and youngsters plus those yet to peak such as Ramsey, Wilshere, Szczczczesny, Gibbs, Walcott and Özil, yes Özil. His best is yet to come.

Madrid you stupid tossers, what have you done?
We currently have serious competition for places in all bar two positions, and we need a steady keeper in any case. We have a manager that world class players want to play for and learn from. We have Germans. We have an Assistant Manager who has been there and got the t-shirts, lots of t-shirts. We have a home crowd who in my experience bear little or no relation to the vociferous and sometimes mindless minority on the internet. We have ignition. We have lift-off and in my humble opinion we don’t have a problem Houston.

Try not to laugh, but way, way back in December 1970 I already knew that it would be a truly momentous season, I knew from what I was witnessing and enjoying on the pitch. I knew that my team, the one I’d always supported forever but only seen win one trophy was once again the real McCoy at last or the real McLintock as we called him. Now I know it’s only early October in 2013 but this current batch really are the real deal believe me, and if you can’t enjoy what you’re seeing right now and don’t share the faith, then are you really, really sure you’re an Arsenal fan? There’s more competition from rich Clubs these days for sure and we may not win the double as we did back in ’71, but what’s not to enjoy? This current team, whatever their format or line-up really are 'the dog's proverbials’.
Believe me. Good times are coming. Trust me. I may be a boring old git but I’ve been there, seen it and got way more Arsenal t-shirts than Uncle Bouldie.

Enjoy this. Right here and now. Because if you can’t, or don’t I’ve really not got the faintest idea why you claim to support The Arsenal or even bother watching them.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

The Adventures of Baron Bendtner - Mel Melis @melmelis

I read Nicklas Bendtner is our longest serving player. You might not believe it (I didn’t) but he bloody well is. If Amy Lawrence says it’s true, then it must be true.
Strangely he’s only 25 but it feels like he’s been around forever, he had an astonishing partnership in the youth team with Arturo Lupoli, but since then, including several stop-start loan moves, he has flattered to deceive. Why?
In 2010 after stacking his Aston Martin on the A1(M), he declared that he would become one of the greatest strikers the world. Perhaps he got a bump on the head, to add to the one when the odious Adebayor nutted him, perhaps he’s just been unlucky?
Despite his undoubted talent and self confidence, where his psychological profile results broke the methodology and made Pat Rice’s cherubic face red with laughter he hasn’t quite managed to fulfil the talent he has, latent as it is. I have no beef with Bendtner, in fact, when he’s on form and playing in the right position, i.e. as a centre forward, he can provide reasonable cover. He’s no Giroud in terms of playing with his back to goal or in terms of intelligent running, but he’s strong, his link play is good, has a great shot and attacks the ball when there’s a chance to do so. His international return is pretty impressive too with 22 in 55 games, many of those goals in big games. So what’s the problem? Why isn’t he “the greatest striker that ever lived”? - It’s just he’s had so many distractions in his life.... here are just a few of them...
Social Avenger
Bendtner played a key role in unearthing the cynical commercialism of UEFA when he was fined a staggering €100,000 for wearing his lucky green Paddy Power sponsored boxer shorts which he unveiled with a deft drop of the shorts after scoring for Denmark.
This was significantly more than fines for crowd trouble and racism dished out by UEFA. Was Bendtner a cynical toy of Paddy Power? Happy to take their money? Of course not, he wanted to unearth the stink inside UEFA and FIFA, the cartel of power hungry individuals running the world game.
Don’t believe me? Well, he’s been training for the pants moment for some years, as this incident proves, in Boujis of all places. Nicklas Bendtner, social avenger and investigate journalist.
King Bendtner
It almost happened. When Arsenal visited Buckingham Palace in 2007, the Bendtner plot was uncovered prior to the visit. The teenage Bendtner was shackled in the Tower of London following torture (by Jens Lehmann) after he admitted to looking for an opportunity to usurp the Duke of Edinburgh and marry her majesty himself. Since then he has learnt his lesson and dated a minor Danish Royal to get some practice in on matters of state. There is plenty of time to be a monarch once his playing career is over. They have since split, but Lady Caroline has had his baby, which means House Bendtner is on the heraldic ladder. Tsar, Emperor, King... one day *gleeful Blackadder wringing of hands*
As an aside, this youtube video of the Buckingham Palace visit shows that even when he’s trying to be sombre and deadly serious Eboue is even funnier than when he’s larking around. See intellectual expression at 1.45 and his staggeringly unnerving bow when he almost kissed the queens hand at 3.27. She was on verge of ordering his execution.

Below - Bendtner as King
Scandinavian Detective with Personal Demons
For this photo Bendtner inexplicably wore a very sensible woolly grey cardigan, perfect for those long winter evenings of perpetual dark when you are staking out the forest shack of a murderer whilst being haunted with regrets of the past. He looks every inch the plain clothes detective trying to blend in (unsuccessfully). Essentially he is a very shit Wallander (I know Wallander is Swedish).
The only thing worse than Bendtner’s cardigan is Snoop’s tee shirt? Snoop is about to jab his fingers into Bendtner’s eyes, then run away.

Northern Playwright
Bendtner has some new glasses. Look.

By wearing these glasses he is imbued with the supernatural power of Alan Bennett and writes witty and semi tragic plays of Yorkshire graft in the post war era. Instead of writing successful plays he could have been improving his football, but at least he’s been critically acclaimed.
The Way of Bushido
The observant among you will have noticed the little top knot bouncing jauntily up and down on the top of Bendtner’s head. Fashion? No, far from it.

Bendtner-sensei is skilled in the way of Bushido, after watching two episodes of the James Clavell adaptation of Shogun starring Richard Chamberlain (no relation to the Ox) he decided he wanted to improve himself, his mind, his body. He writes Haiku’s and elegant poetry, but he can also cleave you in twain with an elegant spin turn of his Katana. Here, in this poem, he rages against his misfortune, having proved himself Van Persie’s (wasp chew man of dishonour) equal, he is sidelined in favour of “Distressed Seagull” aka Chamakh.

Poem, by Nicklas Bendtner.
While they smothered your ankle with horse placenta,
What became of the warrior Nicklas Bendtner?
I scored the goals while you were broken,
But my tenure cut short, a mere token,
Discarded like the cherry blossom,
And I had to watch, white knuckled,
The distressed seagull,
floundering in an oil slick,
When the wasp chew man of dishonour,
Was mended, he re-Appeared, was revered,
Only to take his grey temples,
To the northern devils. Curse you Persie. You’re a penis.
“He’s not the messiah, he’s a very naughty boy!” – Monty Python’s Life of Brian.
Oh, but he might be. There are tantalising glimpses... For example...
Poor Frimpong, I’ve cast him in the role of Harvey Keitel’s Judas in this, but sadly we couldn’t get tuppence for Bendtner to sell him to the Romans or any other team, never mind 30 pieces of silver.
So, without disrespecting my religious friends... differences between Bendtner and Jesus? Jesus was only crucified once. We’ve crucified Bendtner hundreds of times, he just shrugs it off.

Bendtner as Sailor.

No reason for this bad photoshop other than he reminded me of popeye, a little bit. I didn’t bother trying to draw anchors on his arms. Too fiddly.


So, it appears I’m lacing Bendtner and yes I am. But that doesn’t mean I’m not fond of him. In fact whenever he plays I root for him. I think most of us do. He seems to have adopted a humility, to work hard, to do his best for the team, he survived the cull of fringe players because his arrogance in pre-season marooned him, stupidly thinking he could cherry pick any one of six clubs. Rather than just leave him to fester once we realised we couldn't get another striker as we'd run out of time, Wenger thought of the kid with potential, he can help us. If we get a good few months out of him as cover, without distractions, then I’ll be happy. I don’t think his long term future is at Arsenal, but while he’s here, he can do a job. Good luck Nik, we’re top of the league, this could be your greatest adventure yet!
YouTube - Videos from this email

Created, written, researched, edited and everything else by Mel Melis @melmelis