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The last week as I saw it 6 April – 12 April

April 13, 2013

Saturday – Match Day

Arsenal entered the weekend in fifth place, four points behind Spurs, two behind Chelsea. Todays match is at the Hawthorns where last season we took third place with a 3-2 win to finish above Spurs and the way the lads are playing right now I fully expected a win.

Arsenal team: Fabianski, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Rosicky (Gibbs 81), Ramsey, Gervinho (Vermaelen 73), Cazorla (Coquelin 89), Arteta, Giroud.

Arsenal were playing well for seventy minutes. Took the lead on twenty when a long pass from Arteta found Gervinho on the left. Gervinho twisted and turned his defender and a shot come cross was headed in by little Mozart for 1-0. Arsenal continued to press and a pwoper bit of Wengerball saw Ramsey somehow miss from two yards.

The second half was only five mins old when Ramsey set up Rosicky to shoot. Rosicky’s shot was parried out by Foster, only for him to follow-up and slam the rebound in for 2-0.  Just like George Graham used to do, Arsenal were strolling this match.  I’m sure many Gooners were thinking along the same lines, would the foot would come off the gas or would the referee intervene. The latter did and sent off the BFG for a foul on Long. I thought it was never a clear goalscoring opportunity, so though a definite penalty for WBA, the BFG should have only got a yellow. Still like at Sunderland Arsenal were now under pressure, down to 10 men, yet this new Arsenal fought like tigers, defended well, rode a bit of luck and held on for a 2-1 win that took Arsenal albeit briefly into the top four and their fifth league win in six games.

Sunday

Spurs turn today along with Chelsea. After watching Spurs first team go off injured against Basle on Thursday, AVB was left with no option to play his second string. Spurs got the result I wanted against Everton a draw, with both teams dropping points. Chelsea won 2-1 at home to Sunderland.

Monday

I took the kids to Birmingham today to visit Cadbury World. Great for kids and her indoors, but I can’t eat Chocolate, yet I really enjoyed the tour. Well worth a visit if anyone wants something to do with kids during school holidays.

Lack of Arsenal news meant that the Man Utd v Man City game was all that was on offer as far as football was concerned.

Anyway on the drive back from Birmingham I took in first 20 mins of Utd v City on M25/M11 with BBC Radio 5Live. Apparently BBC 5Live mentioned that if anyone deserves a league title it’s Robin van Persie for his time at Arsenal where he did not win one. Yeah, one season in eight where he was not injured. Maybe if he was not injured for seven of those, he might have picked one up, scoring 30 goals a season more often.

When the game started out I was looking for a Utd win, purely for selfish reasons in that if City lost and Arsenal won next two games we could go second. As the game wore on first on the radio, then TV, it was clear that on the night City were the better team. Rooney, RVP, and those useless lump of lards, Welbeck and Jones that the media like to hype up irk me. RVP is going through a barren spell, but still gets hyped up, whereas when he did the same at Arsenal, he would get a lot of stick for not scoring. Rooney gets away with murder the way he speaks to referee’s. The only reason he has better disciplinary record with lack of reds and yellows is that Red Devil badge on his shirt, he’s English and SAF is his manager.

Therefore I was happy City beat Utd. I for one cannot understand how United have got so far ahead of everyone else. Frankly I agree with Mancini that some teams in the Premiership are already beaten before they go on the pitch against United, yet play out of their skins against other top sides. United are a good team, not a very good team or great team and certainly not as good as many of their other sides of the past.

Tuesday

Andre Arshavin is saying he could well retire at the end of the season. This caused many a response from some Arsenal supporters that his career at Arsenal was wasted and ruined by Arsene Wenger for playing him out of position. Others saying the lad picks up £70-80k a week, maybe more, he should bloody play where he is asked and put maximum 100% effort in. Me? I like the little fella and have enjoyed some good highlights in his time at Arsenal, none more so than Anfield and his winner against Barcelona. However, I have also seen him stroll around like he could not give a Gareth Bale. I am not bothered one bit of he does not turn out for AFC again, but will of course wish him well at his new club.

Today I went to watch the Arsenal ladies at Bishops Stortford. The attendance was 520 which I am told is quite good for the ladies. Nice neat little ground where Ryan Air jets fly into Stansted every two minutes and very low. So low in fact that no way could a Stoke City match be staged there. I live quite close to Stansted and it can cause problems, like the day I came home and found my neighbour’s house had a plane crashed into it, silly fool had left his landing lights on. I’ll get me coat.

Me and the boy stood right up close to the touch-line that you could almost touch the players. Phwoooor!!! I was surprised just how good these girls are. The game ended 6-0 to Arsenal ladies and I suppose the biggest compliment I can give is that after a while you forgot you were watching ladies play football. They really do pass the ball around well. I would most certainly go again.

Wednesday

News from Arsenal is that Jack and Theo could be fit to face Norwich on Saturday. Personally I would not bring either in. Subs bench at best for me on the day. The others have done well and deserve to keep their places for now. The Substitutes bench will look good though.

Arsenal’s home fixtures with Wigan and QPR have been changed so as they can be broadcast on TV. Still surprises me that matches can be changed at such a late stage, even when on these occasion it a matter of hours not days and  more so when tickets are already on sale or been sold.

Wigan have been unable to sell 10k of their 31k allocation for the FACup semi-final, small club? Well of course they are. Personally I think they have done well to sell 21k. If the should beat Millwall in less than a month their supporters will have to buy another ticket and make another journey down to the same stadium. This is because a the FA want to pay for the new Wembley.

This Country is full of really good stadiums, many re-designed or new.  Old Trafford, Newcastle, Sunderland, Emirates, Villa Park, Liverpool. All have big enough grounds to hold FACup semi-finals. I have been to many semi-finals watching Arsenal, and part of the experience was travelling to Goodison Park, Villa Park, Old Trafford, Hillsborough, Coventry or even the Millenium Stadium. I know Wigan are travelling down to London and their fans might enjoy it, but this is a semi-final, not final and they could play at Villa Park. I never really liked playing Spurs at Wembley, Chelsea at Stamford Bridge or Wembley.

I also happen think England should not play at Wembley, but play their games at grounds mentioned above, touring the Country so everyone gets the chance to see the national team on their doorstep. However, since when did what supporters want mean anything to the FA? If they had to have a national stadium, it should have been in the Midlands. Play the Finals at a ground with 60k plus capacity and only give tickets to the supporters of the teams in the final. Any not sold can go to the football family, or liggers.

Spursday

David Dein. Remember him? This is the man who took about £75m from selling his shares in Arsenal and rode off into the sunset to get all tanned up. He has appeared again speaking about how Arsene will spend, spend, spend this summer. I think Arsene will as well. Next season will be the eighth at the Emirates and much has been documented about the money Arsenal have or have not had to spend in the last seven years. Now we all know the club has a nice tidy sum tucked away under the mattress, yet how much of it is for transfers and player wages is anyone’s guess.  Some player contracts are ending and they can be released, saving money. Can the board go another summer lacking investment in the team, that really only need three to four top signing, I don’t think so. Therefore I fully expect some really good additions to the squad this summer.

Tottenham fought hard, played great football, playing against a tide of injuries with nothing going their way. Well that’s not quite how it went in the real world, but ITV? Two poor defensive lapses by Basle let in Dempsey to give Spurs lead and then later equalise after Basle had gone ahead 2-1. The match went into extra time and then penalties. Spurs losing 4-1 on penalties after the aggregate score had finished 4-4 after ET. Tom Twentystone and Adebayor, who else went on to miss penalties for Tottenham. This week was pretty good on twitter for fun as when Adebayor blasted over the bar #thingsmoreusefullthanadebayor kicked in to follow that earlier in the week of #tweetyourphiljonesface.

Being honest I like to see a bigger picture and if that picture means somehow Spurs staying in a competition or winning a game that could benefit Arsenal, then I really don’t care of they do. There are supporters that would prefer it if a scenario arose where Spurs had to win a game to hand Arsenal the title, they would rather see Spurs lose. Makes sense? No!!!

The premiership clubs have majority voted in their own Financial Fair Play Rules. This is going to make a difference as to how clubs run their finances, more so with that of the UEFA version on top. Now of course, some clubs did not vote in favour of this, but the majority did. It will be said that clubs will find a way round the rules or bend them. Not sure why clubs would be voting for it and then trying to bend the rules. Still time will tell out.

Friday

Arsenal news is that Theo and Jack are back for the match against Norwich, so says Arsene in his pre-match press conference, though Rosicky is a doubt. I would also imagine TV5 will be back due to the BFG having a one match suspension.  When asked about Spurs getting knocked out of Europa Cup, Arsenal said “don’t mind and don’t care” sounds fair enough to me. Arsenal now have three games before Spurs play again, which could with a fair wind put us seven points clear if them, though they would have two games in hand. However, with so few games left to play the pressure could mount on them.

Found this article on attendance figures at Old Trafford it seems it not only a practice at Arsenal. This is another topic that has enraged some fans that Arsenal give out false attendance figures.

Arsenal sell tickets for football matches. I understand there are around 40/42k season tickets sold, the rest are sold for individual matches. Nowadays match day tickets go on sale a few months in advance of games being played. So if Arsenal sell out, they have SOLD 60,000 tickets. Now when the match  arrives and people with season tickets/match day tickets cannot attend for whatever reason, the ground obviously will not be full. It does seem strange that you would pay for a ticket and not turn up.  Yet it happens. A family get together arranged, not well, work, met some right sort and a night in the sack seems much more preferable that watching Arsenal in the cold or match being moved by those kind people at Sky, ESPN or ITV and you can’t attend.

Why not just pass or sell on your ticket,?? Well that’s easy for some, who can move it on, but others might not be able to and do not want to risk their season in the hands of others, it’s not actually allowed you know. The practice is slightly easier for match day paper tickets as once you have passed it on, you don’t have to get it back like a season ticket. Arsenal have a ticket exchange, so why not use that facility. Well it seems that you can only use it to sell your ticket once the game is actually sold out. Also Arsenal take a cut 10% and whatever you get comes off the price of next seasons season ticket. I think a lot of fans would prefer it if you got the money straight away.  It’s not the best way to sell on tickets. and a lot more work needs to go into this idea.

So on the day, though it can clearly be seen that there are empty seats inside the ground. How many that’s difficult to say, yet it could be anywhere from 2000-10000 depending on match. So when the club, who USED to announce the attendance and gave it out as 60k plus some supporters were up in arms, have they really got nothing else better to do?  I suppose when your dead set against anything the board/club do, it’s par for the course. I would have thought the attendance has to be on tickets sold for the purposes of the taxman.

Now the club should be making it easier for fans to pass on their tickets, after all, surely it is better to have bums on seats as those bums visit the club shops, buy programs and match day food inside the stadium, empty seats do not. Maybe make it so supporters do not feel like criminals when trying to pass on tickets to people who want to go, when they cannot make it. Most supporters are honest and in most cases sell tickets on for face value or less. Make it so that when passing on tickets through exchange the supporters get the money into their accounts straight away. Some supporters might well be up for the money coming off their next season ticket, but then that can be an individuals choice. I have seen people say, the club should give the empty seats away. How do you give away empty seats that have been sold and people don’t turn up?

Finally here’s to three fully expected points at home to Norwich today and hopefully the same at home to Everton on Tuesday.

Till next week

HAGW

@harlowgooner

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