Le Hairdryeur, Spudgate, Beckham & more…

Welcome to
another week of “What’s the score with Jeremy Lebor”. A lot has been going on 
this week both on and off the pitch, so there is a lot to get through!

Before
getting into this week’s column, again, a huge thank you to all of our writers
for their sterling and illuminating posts over the last seven days. Thanks guys
(and gals). Gunners Town’s own
‘Steve
Jobs’
@invinciblog has been
updating and formatting the site daily, so please take a moment to have a look
around at the new content!

Right, here
we go.

Le
Hairdryeur (yes, really…)

The majority
of neutrals were hoping that Wigan Athletic would win the FA Cup. They did not
disappoint and it put the final nail in Roberto Mancini’s coffin, although with
a reported £28m pay off, I wouldn’t worry about Roberto Mancini.

Wigan needed
a win at the Emirates on Tuesday
night to have any hope of Premier League survival, and despite a tense 20
minutes prior to half time and a game-changing save from Wojciech Szczesny at
the beginning of the second half, in the end it was fairly comfortable for
Arsenal, making history along the way by sending the first team to win the FA
Cup out of the top-flight division in the same season. Oh well, I’m sure Wigan
will be back up within a couple of years!

I have to
admit that at half time I was, like most other Gooners, slightly nervous of
what was to come, but I did have this gut
feeling that we would win. My nerves however were not helped pre-game by a
call from my ‘old man’ as I got inside the Emirates reminding me that that Muppet,
Mike Dean was the referee for the game, with the statistic loud and clear, that
in the last four games that Dean has refereed us, we have not won any of them!

I have been
watching Arsenal (and football in general) for… well, a long time and I still
don’t understand, particularly today in this era of modern technology and
instant replays, how the so-called referee’s assessor(s) who are at every
Premier League game, cannot see such blatant disregard for fouls or cheating
when it happens and what can only be described as VERY POOR refereeing. Wigan’s freekick for their goal was never in
a month of Sundays anything approaching a freekick. Santi Cazorla was jumped
on not once or twice, but three times in the first half in the middle of the
park and if I didn’t know any better, it looked like Santi was being taken from
behind like a dog, Mike Dean did sweet FA! All I can say is Dean is a
despicable man not fit to referee Sunday league games, let alone anything else!
That is not a biased opinion, but simply how it is.

Twitter has
been awash with ‘Spuds’ fans
complaining how Wigan could beat Manchester City, but not Arsenal. Yeah, it’s
all a conspiracy! What a crock of old shit. Tottenham Hotspur fans are clearly
deluded if they believe that anything other than the better team are above
them. The table doesn’t lie, nor does the fact that once again, when they have
had the opportunity to stay above Arsenal, they have failed miserably. To quote
the famous Meerkat toy, Aleksandr… ‘Simples’!

However,
despite the win, Theo Walcott has revealed an Alex Ferguson-style
‘half-time hairdryer’ from Arsène Wenger to keep Arsenal on course for
Champions League qualification.

“We got a rocket at half time,”
said the 24-year old – “We’ll keep that in the dressing room, but it’s
great that the manager has that passion and it got a bit more out of the
players. The manager gave us a kick up the backside.”

It is interesting to
note that despite the mild-mannered persona that Arsène Wenger portrays to the
outside world of how he is in the dressing room, clearly he cares and clearly
he wants to win!

Walcott went on to
say:

“It’s funny.
It happens every year – we tend to finish very strong. I think it is just
because the players want Champions League football so much. We all know how big
it is to be in the Champions League – not just for the manager, but the fans,
the players and the club itself. It’s massive.

“We have been
in it for the last 15 years and we don’t want to be the [first group of
Arsenal] players who are not part of that.”

Then bloody well
make sure you and the other players WIN
on Sunday Theo… NO EXCUSES!

‘Spudgate’

So
with Sunday providing the final game of the season for all Premier League
teams, every team will kick off at the same of 4pm. With another three points
in the bag from the Wigan game, if Arsenal match or better the Spuds result,
then at the very least we finish fourth and qualify for the Champions League
for a 16th consecutive year. In simple terms, a WIN and we are home and
dry!

As
it stands today…

Position           Team               Pld       GD       Pts

     3                 Chelsea           37        +35      72

     4                 ARSENAL        37        +34      70

     5                 Spuds               37        +19      69

     6                 Everton            37        +16      63

However,
another interesting scenario has presented itself. IF, Arsenal were to beat Newcastle United 2-1 and Chelsea were to draw with Everton (at home) 0-0, then both Arsenal and Chelsea will
have played the same amount of games, scored the same amount of goals and
conceded exactly the same too.

As I said in my
column last week
, David Moyes has never won a game at Chelsea, but I am
sure as his last game in charge before moving to the manage the Manx, he will
want to beat Europe’s
Tallest Dwarf
.
Let’s hope for an Everton win or a 0-0 draw.

The Premier
League has announced that if the above scenario was to happen then, under
Premier League Rule C14, then a playoff
will ensue… Rule C14 states:-

“If at the end of the season… the question of
qualification for other competitions cannot be determined because two or more
clubs are equal on points, goal difference and goals scored, the clubs concerned
shall play off one or more deciding league matches on neutral grounds, the
format, timing and venue of which shall be determined by the board.”

Interestingly enough,
the Premier League have also added that Chelsea’s record this season against
Arsenal will not count or have any bearing on whether the playoff will take
place, which is fortunate, as Chelsea beat us both home and away.

In the event of a playoff,
it has now been announced by the Premier League that ONE tie will take place on
Sunday 26th May 2013 at Villa Park if it is necessary. Apparently,
Chelsea are due to go to the USA next week on tour (which they won’t be able to
do if there IS a playoff) Wembley would be the favourite and most sensible
place for it to take place, bearing in mind both teams are London teams, but
with the Championship playoffs taking place at Wembley on 27th May,
Wembley as a venue is not going to happen! There have been musings of White Shit Lane, but with such a small
stadium it would cause anarchy with both Arsenal and Chelsea supporters who
have over 70,000 plus season ticket holders between them, so that is not going
to happen. It is a nice problem to have I suppose. Are you watching Tottingham?

With Mikel
Arteta almost certainly out with injury on Sunday, Arsène Wenger has to decide
what line-up he is going to go with. I suspect he will probably bring Jack
Wilshere back in (if fit) or else even play Thomas Vermaelen in the holding
position. He may decide to pack the midfield and bring in Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain,
and there will almost certainly be a starting berth for Olivier Giroud back
from his three-match ban. Whatever team he puts out, they need to get an early
goal and concentrate for all 90+ minutes. A fear of being 4-0 up at half time and
then drawing 4-4 does come to mind! Nooooooooo!

With all of that
said, as has become customary, I have asked Andy (@yorkshiregunner) our ‘Gunners Town Tipster’ for odds on a double
win/draw-bet:-

Newcastle 1-2 Arsenal and a Chelsea 0-0 Everton draw – Win/Draw double bet, Odds of 119/1

A potential
return of £120-00 for a £1-00 bet – Definitely got to be worth a tenner!

If you fancy an
Arsenal 2-1 win with Santi Cazorla as the first scorer, that
is a 60/1 bet and worth a couple of
quid too! – Thanks Andy!

Beckham
(end of an era…)

News broke
during Thursday afternoon that David Beckham was retiring from playing football
at the end of the season. Whatever you think of David Beckham, he is one of the
most decorated English footballers of modern time, so certainly worth the briefest
of mentions here today.

He is the
first player worldwide to win four domestic titles in four different
countries. He won 21 major trophies during his time as a player, and
although I don’t want to get into all of the stats (this is an Arsenal site
for goodness sake),
David Beckham made a total of 671 appearances
playing for Manchester Utd (including a spell at Preston North End on loan in
1994), Real Madrid, Los Angeles Galaxy, AC Milan (loan) and Paris Saint-Germain.
He scored 127 goals while playing for those five (six) clubs, and also
has 115 caps for his country England (only bettered thus far by Peter
Shilton with 125), 59 of those caps as England captain. He scored 17
goals in total for England during a 13-year period that commenced with his
debut against Moldova in September 1996. He also was runner-up not once, but
twice as ‘FIFA World Footballer of the
Year’ to Rivaldo and Luis Figo. No mean feat by
anyone’s standards!

All in all,
not a bad record… Well done David Beckham!

One question
however I’ve always wanted to know the answer to… Does Posh…………….…..?”

If it’s
not worth knowing… Jeremy knows it!

So, here is
yet more useless trivia about our beloved club!

Did you know? – The most
goals scored  in a single season by an
Arsenal player was
, Ted Drake, who scored a total of 44 goals (in all
competitions) during the season 1934-35.

Did you know?Arsenal Station was originally called Gillespie Road. It was renamed in the 1930’s after successful
petitioning by the then Arsenal Manager… Herbert
Chapman
.

If you have any
‘trivia’ about either the team or the
club, then please let me know and I will gladly post them in this section… The
wackier the better! – Tweet me @jeremylebor

Last Word…

Sunday will
be yet another exciting day no doubt, with plenty of nail biting going on I’m
sure. I for one would settle for a ‘One
Nil’
to the Arsenal right now, although the possibility of finishing 3rd
of course makes pre-season slightly easier without having to play in the
qualifying round of the Champions League.

All in all,
finishing above the Spuds in itself is a landmark that we have come to expect
at the very minimum, and of course if (as I expect), that happens again this
season, then the premier of European competition is there for us for another
year.

Let’s hope on
Sunday night we can all yet again say to our neighbours… Mind the gap!

Come on you
Gooners!

So, now you
know the score… until next week – Jeremy!

Jeremy Lebor


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