Archive for April, 2005

New Look Gunnerblog

4 comments April 30th, 2005

To be honest, we all know you only clicked this link because there is no other Arsenal news.

I mean, Thierry Henry might miss the FA Cup Final.

And Dennis Bergkamp wants to finish his career at Arsenal.

But we already knew that.

So in order to brighten up your lives, I’ve introduced a lovely new vomit-coloured look on Gunnerblog. It’s been some months since any serious makeover, and our new “.com” location probably deserved some sort of aesthetic recognition.

We don’t play till Monday (West Brom away), so have yourselves a good weekend, and try and enjoy what will probably be our last day as Champions.

AC Milan will win the Champions League.

10 comments April 27th, 2005

Well, probably.

Tonight’s the night of the much-hyped “Premi-Final”.

As I’m sure you will have noticed, we’re not involved. And thus what I’m about to say will doubtless be written off by many as “sour grapes”. But don’t get me wrong. I want an English team to win the Champions League. I hate Manchester United. But when Solskjaer scored that late late winner back in ’99, I was up on my feet, saluting a real triumph for English football.

Admittedly, I would find it hard to accept Chelsea completing a treble by such financially-driven means. But I would have nothing but good things to say about a Liverpool victory, and would be pleased to see them fulfill the potential I eulogised over back in Semptember.

However, I fear it will all be in vain. Because AC Milan are just a brilliant, brilliant side.

Dida is at least as good as Cech. Maldini and Nesta match Terry and Carvalho. Cafu is streaks ahead of Ferreira, and Gattuso has a fiery spirit that is lacking in Makelele. The list goes on, but ultimately the deciding factor could be that neither Chelsea of Liverpool have a match-winner in the league of Andriy Shevchenko. He is a true goalscoring powerhouse, and the European footballer of the year. Compared to Baros and Drogba… well, it’s best left unsaid.

I expect a good game tonight. And I really do wish both teams the best of luck.

Because if they’re going to be up against Milan… well, they’ll need it.

“1-0 to the Arsenal”…

7 comments April 26th, 2005

It seems that with our quite superb defensive form, the famous chant may once again be heard ringing around Highbury on a regular basis.

Though in all honesty, this could (and perhaps should) have been much more. It was, in fact, a 1-0 thrashing.

In the first half, Arsenal were absolutely electric. Jose Reyes should have made it 1-0 just 60 seconds in, rounding Paul Robinson after a sublime through ball from Robin van Persie, only to hit the side netting with his weaker right foot.

Van Persie, starting ahead of 35 year old fellow Dutchman Dennis Bergkamp, showed great maturity and composure in the latest in a sequence of excellent performances that further his claim for a regular starting berth.

On 22 minutes, Arsenal did take the lead. Some neat work between Cesc Fabregas and Patrick Vieira resulted in the teenager poking a ball between Michael Dawson and Stephen Kelly. After his early miss, you feared for the confidence of Jose Antonio Reyes, but the aplomb with which he accelerated onto the through-ball and smashed it past Paul Robinson showed some real promise.

The goal ultimately settled the contest, in spite of there being plenty of football still to play. Arsenal moved into cruise control, and came closer to adding to their lead through Van Persie, Vieira, Toure, Senderos, and excellent substitute Edu, who struck a post.

Late on, they were almost punished for not adding to their lead when Robbie Keane headed wide from 8 yards out.

However, as the final whistle blew, and messrs Lehmann, Lauren, Toure, Senderos, and Cole chalked up their 8th consecutive clean sheet, the unusually noisy Highbury crowd let loose a cheer of real satisfaction. Arsenal had done the double over Spurs for the first time since 1989, and denied Tottenham the satisfaction of forcing the Premiership trophy into Chelsea’s hands.

That, it seems, must wait till Saturday.

I was particularly pleased for Jose. Not Mourinho, who had claimed that he wanted Arsenal to win, but our own Spanish starlet, Reyes. It was a very significant goal for him and the club, and his overall performance seemed lifted by the clinical nature of the strike. The 87 minutes of excellent work that he put in left you feeling optimistic about his possible future at the club. However, Arsene had some solemn words after the game, saying “He knows I’d love him to stay but I fear he will go”. With words as frank as that, I’d imagine there’s already been some contact between Real and Arsenal over a possible transfer. If Madrid’s bid hits the £15m mark, and Jose truly does want away, then he will go.

Another young striker whose future is a little crowded, the controversial Quincy, has been released on bail. Hopefully he’ll be cleared of all charges, and resume his step-overring antics on the pitch.

Have a good Tuesday, and check out the funky new-look arseblog.

Arsenal Set their Sights on Spurs

13 comments April 25th, 2005

Tonight’s game has even more tension surrounding it than usual. Of course it’s the North London derby, with our last meeting resulting in a 5-4 goalfest. We oughtn’t forget that Tottenham are playing for a European place as we attempt to hold off Manchester United’s challenge for second spot. But above and beyond all this, Spurs know that they have a stab at revenge for us winning the Title at the Lane: if they escape from Highbury with a point, Chelsea will be Champions.

To be fair, Chelsea will be Champions regardless. But why let it happen now when we can make them wait a little more? It would be great to inflict a heavy defeat on Tottenham and finish the night chanting “Champions”, as we’re still perfectly entitled to. We fought hard to earn that right, and there’s little point in relinquishing it without a real fight. The Invincibles are arguably the greatest team in the history of the Premiership, and tonight they deserve to be commemorated with a resounding victory.

In other news, Arsene has spoken about his summer spending plans, and the importance of finding the balance between youthful exuberance and proven experience. He said, “There will not necessarily be a revolution. You know me, I go for stability. We will be confident with what we have. But I will try to add one or two”.

Jermaine Pennant has completed his permanent move to Birmingham
, and we’ve been lucky enough to pick up £3m of compensation. Not bad at all. Good luck JP – if the early part of your career is anything to go by, you might just need it.

And as one trouble-maker departs, another is just starting on the topsy-turvy road to mediocrity: the equally talented yet wayward Quincy has been arrested for his role in a post-PFA Award brawl last night. Let’s hope the kid can sort himself out, because he really does have so much potential.

My old man, said be a Tottenham fan, but I said…

Last Stand of the Invincibles

2 comments April 21st, 2005

Arsenal went to Stamford Bridge, fought the good fight, and came away with a respectable 0-0 draw. Without both Henry and Ljungberg, it has to go down as a decent result.

In fact, if Robert Pires had finished off a chance that he would usually consider routine, it could have been a famous victory.

As it is, Wenger has finally conceded the championship to Chelsea. I’m afraid I have to do the same. Yes, Chelsea have had a huge helping hand to the title from Roman’s millions. But at the same time, it’s not as simple as buying the title. We saw that last season. They’ve had their bit of luck, but they’ve played consistently well and in a good spirit. Which makes the way in which idiots like Kenyon let their club down even more of a shame.

Last night, Sol Campbell was kept on the bench, as Kolo Toure and Philippe Senderos continued their very impressive partnership. It’s yet another clean sheet for the young stoppers.

A great deal of credit, however, must go to Jens Lehmann. Shortly after Christmas, he was dropped amid rumours of a bust-up with Arsene. But since he regained his place, his form has been absolutely magnificent. Well done Mad Jens.

Last night’s was really a pretty decent performance. There is plenty of hope for Arsenal, and with young players like Clichy, Senderos, Cesc, and Van Persie coming through, the sky is the limit.

Now what we need are a couple of big summer signings.

But that’s another article.

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