Preview – Arsenal Predicted Line-Up. The cannon will be loaded!

Just a quick one, as I have been busy over the last few days (and the regular match pre-viewers are all hiding 😉 ).

Tomorrow we are going to beat the Chavs. Why? Because it’s Wenger’s special day and the team will show an incredible unity and hunger, and because karma has a date with the self-adoring one.

Forget about the statistics, the history, the Maureen-factor – tomorrow is Wenger-Day. We are going to fight for every ball and for each other, we are going to load the cannon and shoot the proverbial out of the Chavs.

It will not be nice, it will not be pretty, some players might get hurt, but we will win tomorrow. We will win it for Arsene.


Predicted Line-Up

This is the line-up that will do it:

ars v chavs march 14

Maybe Rosicky starts instead of Arteta or Flamini in the double DM-pivot; he could also start instead of Podolski. Is he fit? I reckon he is, but he would be a good game changer to come on in the second half.

It could be that Wenger goes for the unpredictability and uninhibited thrust of Sanogo instead of Giroud. But I reckon the man from the French Alps will start once again. Maybe KK starts in the hole and Santi moves into Pod’s position…. all possible. But whoever plays tomorrow, they will give their all: you can count on it!

Time to load the cannon. Time for battle.

Come On You Rip Roaring Gunners!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Victory for Arsene - Victory Through Harmony.
Victory for Arsene – Victory Through Harmony.


Nine Hundred and Ninety-Nine games for Arsene Wenger: Time to say Thank You!

Arsene Wenger: A Man in Full.
Arsene Wenger: A Man in Full.

To me it is incomprehensible that a modern day manager can last a thousand matches; and it remains to be seen whether anybody will ever do it again at a top club. It is a shame that Arsene’s 1000th game has to be away at Chelsea: the cauldron of disloyalty and classlessness. Of course, it would be very, very sweet if we were to beat them on Saturday, but given Maureen’s record at the Bridge, our current injuries and lack of attacking thrust in recent games, this is unlikely to happen, unfortunately.

But, whatever the result, nothing will take away the significance of managing our beloved club for 1000 games. Wenger has won 572 from his 999 in charge, a win percentage of 57.26. Alex Ferguson, who managed the Mancs for an unbelievable 1500 games, has a win percentage of 59.67. Given that the club has reached a new era now, with a strong financial basis and being fully able to both hold on to our players and buy quality additions, what is the bet that, if Arsene – eight years the junior to SAF – were to manage the club for another 500 games, he will equal or even improve the Scotsman’s win percentage?

Whether Arsene will stay for that long, or even beyond this season, remains to be seen. The secret of a long life is knowing when it is time to go; and I hope he will strongly consider his ongoing health status when deciding on the future. Bob Crow’s, RMT’s General Secretary, sudden death last week has made me realise again what demands are put on people who combine idealism and passion with high work demands and expectations by themselves and others. There are not many people left like Wenger, especially not in football, and, whether you are a Gooner or not, they need to be cherished and protected. Something that does not happen enough.

Even if Arsene was to stop at the end of the season, his legacy would easily be as big as Ferguson’s. He might not have won as much as the Scot, but he has introduced a style and quality of football that brought an enormous beauty to these shores, which is now copied by a number of PL clubs, most notably by Pool and the Northern Oilers. He was able to win heavy silverware with this style of football, which was all epitomised by the 49-games unbeaten run of the Invincibles. In twenty, forty, sixty years from now, true footie lovers – Gooners and non-Gooners alike – will still remember Arsenal under Wenger; you can bet on that.

He also stuck with the club when it would have been a lot easier to go somewhere else, where money is no object and life is a lot easier. He saw us through a very challenging period, which was made a lot, lot harder by the arrival of the Oil-For-Cups era. In stark contrast, Van Gaal left Ajax soon after the new stadium was completed, back in 1997; and although they have done okay domestically – which is not that hard – they appear to have lost the battle for European silverware for good (despite the odd peaks in performance).

Whether Arsene is still the right man to take us one step forward again is open to debate, but whatever lies in the future, we should be very thankful for what he has done for our club in the last 999 games, both on and off the pitch and in terms of laying the foundations for our long term position among the domestic and European elite. Everything is in place to make that step and let’s hope that Arsene makes the right decision, as it is up to him; this he has earned.

But from Saturday onwards it is one game at a time (OGAAT) again: for ninety plus minutes we’ll forget about our past and future and fight for every ball. Come on You Rip Roaring Gunners – Victoria Concordia Crescit!

“Real generosity towards the future lies in giving all to the present.”

Albert Camus



 Written by: TotalArsenal.

When Football Doesn’t Matter—Why Then Do We Post?

Amazing skys 024

Another post from 17HT in the wake of events beyond football.  New readers (or those confused…) please see the comments from the past two posts.

Author’s note:  The ongoing tribulations of poster “James Bond” combined with my own personal life experiences have led to the following reflections…

We live in a wondrous and modern world, and yet the essential problems remain.  Human relations have changed and yet they haven’t.   Our world (at its very best…) still revolves around Love.  If we risk love we risk losing that love.  In fact, in our heart of hearts, we KNOW that we WILL lose the object(s) of our love.   As such, it is an act of great bravery to do so—to engage with each other and give ourselves, wholly and without reservation, to one another.

The internet is a different ball of wax (as we say, over here in the States)…  If you don’t like what’s on one page, click on another…If somebody says something you don’t like, you can disappear for a few days (or forever…), gather your thoughts, and come back when you’re ready. Or (more commonly…) you can respond instantaneously from behind the safety of your screen and keyboard.    Hell, if you’ve got nobody to talk with, you can even create multiple personalities and carry both sides of the argument.  😆

Following Arsenal on the internet (for me) has shown some of the worst and some of the best elements of this new world of human communication.  No matter what, the football goes on, as does the conversation about it.  No matter what’s going on in our personal lives, we can go on-line and exult (or complain) about our team.  The usual characters–the manager, the players, the owner, the other posters– will be there for us.   With the latter group we can argue positives to the gloomiest of gloom-mongers or bring down the most positive optimist.  The important thing, maybe, is that it’s different from our day-to-day.  In many ways, it’s an extension of the old way—trudging down to the stadium and supporting (or having a go at) the lads and sharing a cheer or a moan with your mates…

And best of all…None of it matters.  Or maybe… ALL of it matters…

Here on Bergkampesque the assumption, I think, is closer to the ALL of it matters.  Yes, people come on to hate and denounce, and certainly venting happens.  Some have to be banned, others chased off.   The regulars, however, are bonded by (nothing less than some strange form of…) kinship or tribalism or shared affection for something bigger than ourselves.   To varying extents, we idealize the club, the players (when they perform to our liking), and (some of us at least…) the manager.   Certainly the player for whom the site is named conjures an ideal of intelligence and teamwork.   And the man himself pursued it with an unparalleled professionalism.  If we can bring these qualities to our support, we can (almost…) believe that we too can enhance the club.  Of course, even Dennis had his moments of frustration.  If we can forgive him his, we should likely forgive ourselves our own…

One of our own, a guy we’ve never met and whose real name we are unsure of, is going through a VERY (very, very…) tough time.  We pray that he is getting the face-to-face support and love that he needs. That he turned to us to share his experience speaks volumes.  That we’ve tried, in whatever way we can, to offer our words in return speaks to the fact that we have created an environment where that is okay.

The tragedy of poster “James Bond” has affected me.  As I said in the comments, his story hits home for me even if the memory of its immediacy is a long way back.  It’s nothing more than words on a screen, but it IS more.

Strange, but true.  It’s also true that I can switch it off and watch a match or get outside or just turn my thoughts to my own issues.  That’s human nature.  A better part of human nature is to share with others.  Pain is the flip side of Joy, and it could be argued that you cannot have the one without the other.  Our culture tries to sell us pain-free Joy, but we know (in some deep place) that the truth is different.  To the extent that Bond has shared his pain with us, I want to thank him.  Feeling it (attempting in my own small way to absorb the fullness of it) makes me a better person.  To the extent that I can help him feel less alone (and it’s a very, very, very puny extent…) in this brutal moment, I would like him to feel less alone.

The rest of the world including Arsenal and your fellow BKers are here for you, 007, whenever you’re ready… From personal experience, I know that it’s good to have places you can go that are away from the bigger issues.  This may or may not be such a spot.  You’ve shared a lot, and those of us who’ve been with you through this will always know you differently.   In my opinion, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with knowing people more completely and more deeply, even if you never meet them.

Finally, from your comments earlier, I know that you would like us to pivot back to our shared love, Arsenal Football Club.  I believe Gerry and Dylan have posts related to yesterday’s match, and I think Total will be publishing them as the week moves on.  For now, having watched some up and down matches of mayhem (I’m talking yesterday’s Liverpool-Aston Villa 2-2 and today’s wins by Spurs and Chelsea, as well as highlights of other matches, notably the Man City-Cardiff City match…) I’d like to talk a little football myself.

I’d direct people to the league table.  There’s separation there and a gap to the top 3 teams: Arsenal-51, Manchester City-50, Chelsea-49.   I couldn’t be prouder of my football club right now.  Through spirit, grit, collective play, and continuity we’re competing with clubs who have owners literally (or is it “figuratively”…?) burning money to keep warm.  Those “assembled” squads are right on our tails, point-wise, and they will be (exquisitely) tough to beat as the season grinds on, but they are nowhere near what we have created as a team.  It may seem outmoded to suggest such things, and the difference between players who cost £50 million (Torres, who didn’t even play today…) vs. those who cost €50 million (Özil) is very slight, but there IS a big gulf between players who work together as a team (and a manager who has committed HIS future to his club’s future) vs. the merely hired ones.  Maybe it’s similar to blogs that merely “tolerate” comments vs. one that is hoping to build a community of like-minded supporters of a beautiful club playing a beautiful game and where it’s (even) acceptable to believe that results (and tables) don’t always tell the whole story.  Maybe that’s why we have to write about it (even if it’s” just” in the comments, like Mr. Bond)…

So (as an aging American hipster–such as I–might say…), “Right On”….or (better yet), “WRITE ON”…007, and everybody else, on whatever topic you wish, including the title race, yesterday’s match, or the bigger issues…

By 17highburyterrace