TFIF – The Weekly Gunners Town Crew Review
Friday The 13th March, 2015
Welcome to Thank F**k It’s Friday – where members of the Gunners Town writing team gather to take a look at the Arsenal week that’s just passed.
It’s a simple format, really – each week, a smattering of our eclectic scribes will select a HERO, a VILLAIN, a HIGHLIGHT, and a LOWLIGHT from the previous seven days.
Lastly they will share what is in their ‘HEADLIGHTs‘, which could be a player to watch, a worry for a forthcoming match, or something as simple as predictions, tips or bets to look out for.
We’d love to know what you think: do you agree/disagree? Did we miss something? If you would like to participate, please add your selections in the Comments below…
-~• HERO •~-
A shout out to a person/organization that you feel has done something praiseworthy in the past week.
Matt: Everyone will go for Danny Welbeck, so I’m going to choose someone slightly different and pick Arséne Wenger. I thought he got his tactics largely right against Manchester United and finally got the result he’s been waiting for. Seeing him celebrate the goals brought a tear to your eye, bless him, and he’s now in a great position to become the joint-most successful manager in FA Cup history. Magnifique!
Michael: I’m going to go left field and not include an Arsenal player here. I’m going with Michael Oliver. Many times down the years we’ve been screwed at Old Trafford due to weak referees – Vieira’s red card, Rooney’s dive and the Reyes assault to name but a few. However, Oliver didn’t buy the bait laid before him. A strong refereeing performance that allowed two teams to contest a match evenly and our superiority won the day. Refs have (in general) been appalling this season but he has partially restored the credibility of referees.
Anu: Michael Oliver for growing into his role as the game went on. His very calm head under pressure as well as his taking of brave (and for the most part correct) decisions is commendable for a young referee, especially at Old Trafford. Danny Welbeck for scoring the winning goal against his boyhood club in a crucial match.
Steve: Wellbez. For proving that £15.5 million a year doesn’t buy you success
Clive: For me the hero this week is Arsene Wenger. Why (you may add) are you not picking Danny Welbeck? Reason is – it was Wenger who picked our Danny, despite having a form centre forward in Giroud ready. He picked Danny, knowing that failure on that stage could have been terminal to his confidence and maybe his top-level career. That bravery and understanding on the human side to know how important it was to Welbeck to play and not be on the bench at OT makes Wenger a hero to me.
Paul: I’m giving this to Michael Oliver – who may have displayed the ballsiest refereeing performance I have ever seen in the Prem. At a stadium renowned for its crowd-induced anti-visitor bias. Kudos!
Andrea: Definitely Francis Coquelin. Despite his broken nose, he was his usual battling-self. That mask gave him an extra aura of invincibility, as Fellaini experienced last Monday.
Daniel: Arsenal fans at Old Trafford. I was watching the game on TV and their voices were all over the place. Made us all very proud. Hopefully our home fans learn a thing or two from these guys.
HERO of the Week: Michael Oliver
-~• VILLAIN •~-
A shout-down to a person/organization that you feel has done something shameworthy in the past week.
Matt: I hate to pick anyone as a villain, but Wojciech Szczesny doesn’t half leave you on the edge of your seat. He could do nothing about Wayne Rooney’s header, but my lord there were other occasions in the match where a fumble would shorten your life expectancy. So for decreasing my chances of seeing 70, this award goes to Woj. I still love him though, the ballsy f*cker.
Michael: Man Utd’s fanbase. It appears their return to the real world isn’t going too well. The booing of Welbeck was embarrassing, but it was purely based on disillusioned supporters not knowing where to place their anger. Their performance smacked of Arsenal of the last 7/8 years and clearly they are finding this very difficult to take.
Anu: Diving. Offending players should be booked more regularly as a warning that play-acting of any sort does not have any place in the sport.
Steve: John Terry. For orchestrating the ref-baiting at Stamford Bridge. Actually – he’s a villain, full stop. Just ask Rio.
Clive: Wayne Rooney is overstepping the influence he has within English football. He absolutely tried to intimidate Michael Oliver and basically refereed the game. To Oliver’s huge credit he did not succumb to these tactics and ‘gave what he saw’ and was justified. Rooney has a false position in the English game. The fact he was so keen to see a 19-yr-old right back get sent off makes him my villain.
Paul: I don’t know what it is about Fellaini that gives me the creeps: his ogre-ness? His afro? His unibrow? Oh no – wait… I remember. It’s his persistent fouling and general thuggery. It took him all of a minute to elbow Coquelin in the face and open up old wounds. Can’t stand him.
Andrea: Supporters. Not all of them,of course, but those many who cover themselves in shame with sexist and racist chants. You can’t be serious!
Daniel: Arsenal’s Medical staff. I know they are professionals but what is with our players getting hamstring injuries and all sorts of muscle strains? It’s time we put an end to this and have all our players fit for a change.
VILLAIN of the Week: No Clear Winner
-~• HIGHLIGHT •~-
The most memorable or poignant moment of the past week. Typically an event, rather than a person/organization.
Matt: Again, others will go for Welbz celebrating at Old Trafford, and justifiably so – it was tremendous. With that in mind, I’m going to give this to Nacho Monreal. I think he’s been a bit of an unsung hero this season, and performed pretty well at centre-back towards the end of his spell there. He’s solid, and I was delighted to see him pop up with a rare goal before going apeshit. I want to be a Nachoman.
Michael: Everyone’s going to say the win, aren’t they? For me, it’s the draw. Bradford or Reading. Wow. What an opportunity to get to a final, and more importantly extract some revenge on Bradford (should they progress). The scars still remain from that dark evening in the League Cup Quarter Final, and if we get to play them I hope we crush them.
Anu: Breaking the OT and United voodoo after far too long a hiatus. Setting the record for most FA Cup semifinals and being another match closer to a record number of FA Cups.
Steve: Le Coq. Now SAF will have heard of him !!
Clive: My moment of the week was seeing 9000 Arsenal fans have a proper old school Monday night away day and totally enjoy it. For those that travel the country days like those are rare. To win at OT in the 6th round of the Fa Cup is basically a life memory. The struggle of the away fan is not always seen. Huge traffic jams, cancelled trains, herded like cattle by police, intimidated by stewards. Then you get a day like Monday and it’s all worth it – I salute you all.
Paul: Hmmm. This is a tough one. Not much happened this week. Specially not on Monday. At Old Trafford. Against the bogeymen trying to keep us from returning to Wemberley.
Andrea: Alexis Sanchez breaking his long drought was pleasant to witness. However, the win at Old Trafford simply beat everything else! Do you want to know why? Check my latest blog!
Daniel: Winning the FA Cup quarter final at Old Trafford. It was the highlight of the season. Beating Manchester United in that game meant a lot and will give the whole team a huge boost to carry on their good form. Danny Welbeck’s goal made it even sweeter.
HIGHLIGHT of the Week: Winning at Old Trafford
-~• LOWLIGHT •~-
The most forgettable or disappointing moment of the past week. Typically an event, rather than a person/organization.
Matt: Slightly longer than a week ago, but I can’t really pick a lowlight over the past few days. It goes to a man in his 50s that I saw in the Oxford in Camden while watching the QPR match (on an incredibly dodgy, and probably illegal, steam). He was almost a ‘Bully lite’ fan, wearing a skin-tight home shirt with the name ‘Pride – Passion’ on the back. Not even a number. I’m all for supporting your team, but don’t look like a bean while doing it. He was erratically screaming too, before he missed the goals as he was outside having a fag.
Michael: Tim Krul handing Man United a victory last week. It looked as if we’d have some breathing space between 3rd and 4th but it wasn’t to be. Hopefully we can create some daylight of our own because we are comfortably the 3rd best team in the league and anything less really isn’t acceptable.
Anu: Knowing that our defense (despite a rather solid performance against Utd) is still vulnerable and has a while to go before old habits are fully replaced without the danger of frequent resurfacing.
Steve: England Cricket Team. Do you know how hard it is living in Australia when England are this sh!te at cricket .
Clive: I struggle to really call this a lowlight but another hamstring injury for the Ox keeps stopping him from being huge for us. How can we stop this ‘soft tissue madness’ that continues provide frustrating hurdles. Having the Ox and Gabriel in Monaco for example could make a difference.
Paul: Another injury to The Ox. I was hoping that this season would see a drop in Arsenal injuries – but its been as bad as seasons past. If not worse.
Andrea: Rumors that Abou Diaby is going to be released at the end of the season make me sad. I know he hasn’t played for a long time and he’s probably not going to do it soon but I love a lost cause and still hope the guy can make something out of his talent. Keep the faith, Arsène!
Daniel: Losing that Monaco game at home still hurts. They way the team performed on the day and the naivety was just too much for a team as big as Arsenal. We always seem to shoot ourselves in the foot and never learn to be a little more clever in Champions League games.
LOWLIGHT of the Week: Oxlade-Chamberlain’s Injury
-~• HEADLIGHT •~-
A prediction or warning for the week ahead. Perhaps a banana skin that we need to look out for; the return of a player; something you are looking forward to…
Matt: Look out for an adorable Twitter/Instagram/Facebook message from Mesut Ozil. What a bloody bloke. #YaGunnersYa Ooooooh ya.
Michael: Monaco – it’s going to be glorious 2nd round knockout failure once again. Fully expect us to be given hope at some point throughout the evening but I just can’t see us overturning a 2 goal deficit. So the Champions League dream is over but at least our season is still very much alive. It’s a mere 11 weeks to FA Cup final Saturday.
Clive: Newcastle (Away) concerns me. West Ham are on their holidays so I expect us to beat them. We know Arsenal are going to go for it in Monaco. That game, whatever happens, will be emotional – but at Newcastle we cannot afford to slip up. That is the game where we have to focus. That is the game where a dirty 1-0 could be pivotal before we play Liverpool. All eyes on Newcastle for me.
Anu: Two very important fixtures await in the form of West Ham at home in the league and Monaco away in the Champions League. We need to ensure a win in the former to continue our great run of PL form. Football is a funny game and anything can happen so you never know what miracle we might encounter on Tuesday night.
Steve: Looking forward to ensuring Manure’s hiatus from European Football is extended.
Paul: As we round the turn into the final straight, it’s important that we get the balance right in all of our cup pursuits. The Monaco game would seem to call for a throw-caution-to-the-wind approach – but I think Wenger may need to let this one go. Chuck in the “B-Team” and let them loose. The West Ham game is going to be tough, and we need to keep our noses in front of the baying pack. “It’s in our hands…” and all that. Oh – and Reading/Bradford? – there’s a banana skin if ever there was one.
Andrea: Please Arsenal, do not underestimate West Ham. The game is squeezed between United away in the FA Cup and Monaco away in the Champions League. Clubs above and behind us are running, any slip could be very costly!
Daniel: The Monaco game is a huge chance for us to come back and qualify for the quarter finals. On their day, Arsenal can score three goals in Monaco and qualify. Lets hope they can do that.
HEADLIGHT of the Week:
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Special thanks to this week’s contributors: