The good results keep coming. No one should be falling for the “Stoke were unlucky” line either. Stoke were/are horrible. Whelan was booked for kicking the ball away, like a spoilt brat, ‘cos he couldn’t have his own way. He then told Cabaye he was going to kick him, then, stupidly kicked him, in front of the ref. Hughes’s behaviour reflected that of a child, as he launched his coat in a tantrum. The second one was an absolute, red card. Stoke then spent the rest of the afternoon testing the referee. Shawcross, (cunt) still deliberately pushed Cabaye in the box and stood, abusing Cisse as he prepared to take his penalty. Adam did the same, he also had the cheek to stand and argue with the referee having attempted to strangle Sissoko. They’re a team of arseholes, managed by an arsehole and they came across a referee who wasn’t falling for it. They’ve created an expectancy with their behaviour and therefore feel it must be acceptable. Their identity is that of brutal, Neanderthals, football would be better off without them. They got humped, and frankly, they can fuck, right, off.
The team and management deserve credit for this run, but seeing the mesmeric, Hatem Ben Arfa in full flow is a wonderful sight. He’d start in my team, every time he’s fit.
Next up, top of the league, Arsenal.
They’re currently top by 1 point. But have a pack of 3 clubs within striking distance. They have more away wins than anyone else in top 7 having won 6 times, at Fulham (3-1), Sunderland (3-1), Swansea (2-1), Crystal Palace (2-0), Cardiff (3-0) and on Boxing day at West Ham (3-1). They drew at WBA (1-1) but lost at Man Utd (1-0) and Man City (6-3). Aaron Ramsey has 13 goals so far whilst Olivier Giroud has 10.
They’re a slick looking side, technically, brilliant on the ball, but always carry the threat of being undone by their own ill discipline. They’re a spiteful club. When it’s not going their way, out come the snide challenges and the whinging about decisions. Their red card count under Wenger is outrageous. They don’t handle defeat with any type of grace or dignity. Their manager is representative of this obnoxious behaviour. Sir Bobby Robson once told them, “they need to learn how to lose.” They never have done.
Similar to the Spanish national side, it’s all about their midfield. They have an embarrassment of riches to call upon in there. They set up with 5 in their midfield but it’s very attack minded. Inviting them on, will usually result in you being carved apart. Against West Ham, they went with Arteta and Ramsey providing the base for Ozil, Walcott and Cazorla to pile forward and support Giroud. But they have several options, Wilshere, Flamini, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Rosicky offer alternatives. Giroud is usually the lone striker, but Podolski has returned to fitness and Bendtner is the current deputy. Sagna and Gibbs are the first choice full backs, Mertesacker, Koscielny and Vermaelen share the centre back duties.
They have injury doubts over Ramsey, Koscielny, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Diaby. Wilshere returns from suspension.
Cheick Tiote is available again after his 1 game suspension. Given that we were struggling in midfield for the first 25 mins vs. Stoke, I expect he’ll be straight back in the team, but at who’s expense? When we played Man Utd, we needed the extra man in midfield (Anita) and we’ll likely need it again on Sunday. Sissoko and Gouffran are cemented in the team at the moment, so Ben Arfa could be back on the bench. Gutierrez missed Stoke with a calf injury, I expect he’ll be kept for the cup tie.
Having been dropped on his head after an aerial challenge on Thursday, and looking a bit off colour, Santon may make way for Haidara, I genuinely worry about the prospect of Santon vs Walcott, but Debuchy, Williamson and Coloccini look set at the moment.
It was great to see Cisse score again, let’s hope he goes on a run now.
Ryan Taylor – Knee – out for the season
Jonas Gutierrez – Calf – 1 week
Possible Team (4-2-3-1)
1.Krul: 2. Debuchy, 5. Nesta, 6. Coloccini, 3. Santon: 4. Tiote, 8. Cabaye: 7. Sissoko, 10. Anita, 11. Gouffran: 9. Remy:
Elliot, Yanga-Mbiwa, Haidara, Obertan, Cisse, Ben Arfa, Shola Ameobi
Referee: Lee Probert
History vs The Gunners at SJP
1984/85 Lost 3-1 Ironically, on the 29th December!! Our form had been awful. Jack Charlton was struggling to put things right. Later, he’d plump for Reilly and Cunningham!!! Charlie Nicholas was our tormentor in chief! Attendance, 27,828
HIGHLIGHTS WARNING There is some sad and disgusting abuse of Viv Anderson so if offended, you may not want to view the footage.
1985/86 Won 1-0. We were actually on a canny little run of wins, Billy Whitehurst had been brought in to the club, and Glenn Roeder won this one for us. Attendance, 22,085
1986/87 Lost 2-1. We’d made a very slow start to the season and reacted by bringing in Andy Thomas, and having cuffed Manchester City the previous game, Arsenal claimed the win, with Anderson and Steve Williams finding the net, Northern Irish winger, Ian Stewart notching for us. Attendance, 22,368
1987/88 Lost 1-0. Having bombed out of the league cup at Wimbledon, we were back in league action at SJP. But Alan Smith put us to the sword after “Spotty” McDonald saw a penalty saved. Attendance, 23,662.
1988/89 Lost 1-0. Our relegation was in the post, but, Arsenal were going to win the league. Steve Bould’s winner would help their cause. This was the last time we’d see goal machine, John Robertson in a black and white shirt. Attendance, 23,807
1993/94 won 2-0 Back in the big time, we’d qualify for Europe in our first season in the Premier League. But, we’d just lost at Sheffield United the week before. However, The Ginners had no answer to the Cole and Beardsley combination. Attendance, 32,216
1994/95 Won 1-0. Another superb Beardsley strike earned us the 3 points to soothe the pain of the previous week’s FA cup QF exit at Everton. Attendance, 35,611.
The winner is on 8 minutes http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fz3cLW8ippw
1995/96 Won 2-0. Ferdinand and Ginola sent the Londoners back, empty handed. Attendance, 36,530.
1996/97 Lost 2-1 We’d lost the winning knack and had gone 4 games without a victory. That would become 5 after Ian Wright’s winner, although the Gunners had been reduced to 10 men with Tony Adams dismissed. Attendance, 36,565
Shearer’s goal 1 min 20 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqkfzH7A8Ow
1997/98 Lost 1-0. Ian Wright again proving the difference, but this Arsenal side, were far too good for the side Dalglish was cobbling together. Attendance, 36,751.
1998/99 Drew 1-1. Now in hands of Gullit, we were heading for Wembley, but limping in the league. Hamann earned us a precious point after Anelka had walked in their goal. Attendance, 36,708
1999/00 Won 4-2. In a dead rubber fixture, Arsenal gave run outs to reserves and went in front, but we hit back to win our final game of the season in front of 36,450.
Shearer’s rocket goal here after 10 mins 29 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqkfzH7A8Ow
2000/01 Drew 0-0 Arsenal were looking to claim their place in the Champion’s League and the 0-0 allowed them to do that. Bassedas made a rare appearance for us Attendance, 50,729
2001/02 Lost 0-2. Remembered purely for Bergkamp’s goal where Dabizas got skinned. Attendance, 52,067
2002/03 Drew 1-1 Robert. After a Robert cracker had levelled the score up our mercurial wizard, got himself sent off. Attendance, 52,157
1 minute 45 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfyty0_9Iyo
2003/04 Drew 0-0. Nothing to report…. Yawn. Attendance, 52,141
2004/05 Lost 0-1 Another 29th December home defeat to Arsenal… uh ohhh! Vieira’s goal separating the 2 sides. Attendance, 52,320
2005/06 Won 1-0 With SJP at it’s bear pit, best, we got at them and into them from the word “go.” The responded in their petulant manner and Silva saw red. A dazed Scott Parker had departed the field but Nobby Solano dug out a late winner. Attendance, 52,297
2006/07 Drew 0-0 Attendance, 52,293.
2007/08 Drew 1-1 Forgettable times under Allardyce, but after Adabeyor had put the visitors ahead, Steven Taylor grabbed us a point, at the Leazes End! Attendance, 50,305.
2008/09 Lost 1-3 Chris Hughton’s second caretaker spell of the season was a complete disaster, as was his first, after Obafemi Martins had cancelled out Bendtner’s opener, Diaby and Basri put us out of our misery. Attendance, 49,972
2010/11 Drew 4-4. The most mental game, EVER! Arsenal had raced into a stunning 4-0 lead. We looked a right, mess. But Arsenal’s ill-discipline reared it’s head again and Diaby walked! Joey Barton scored 2 penalties and Leon Best got us right back in it, with the clock ticking down Tiote scored a screamer which was obviously a fluke as he’s never looked like scoring since! Nolan nearly won it too!! Attendance, 51,561
2011/12 Drew 0-0 This time, Gervinho went for an early bath! Attendance, 46,894
2012/13 Lost 0-1 Final game of a poor league campaign. But we were spared an avalanche of goals a la Liverpool. Koscielny hit the winner. Steve Harper signed off his Mag career! Attendance, 52,354.
Seeing as we always lose to Arsenal on the 29th December at SJP, 0-2
Take your pick. Walcott (pace ruined us plenty times before), Cazorla, Ozil, Rosicky, Wilshere, Ramsey, Arteta, Giroud.