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Demolition Derby

Apologies for the lateness of the report. But it`s been a week of celebration for the good ship Stillman and as is usually the case following an evening of raucous celebration, I`ve awoken in foreign territory. Nick Hornby writes at length in Fever Pitch about the fortunes of Arsenal becoming intricately linked with his own personal fortunes and whether or not this is a psychosomatic symptom of the obsessive. It`s a theme I have had occasion to revisit on these pages and one that rises inescapably to mind this week. Arsenal top both of their respective leagues following hefty victories at our much loved neighbours, as well as the midweek crushing of Seville in the same week that my sister announces an engagement, doubles her salary at work, I get myself a new job on the same day that Jose Mourinho loses his. So the nerves were really not forthcoming upon my arrival in the Arsenal Tavern early yesterday afternoon, for what was always a home banker.

Arsenal began the match very much in second gear. But second gear would always be enough against a Derby side who, and I apologise to any Rams` sympathisers, were quite embarrassing. Dean Leacock and Claude Davis in the back four had more leaks than a rusty colander, whilst the front two of Kenny Miller and Stephen Howard had less teeth than Shane McGowan. So it was inevitable when Arsenal took an early first half lead, Abou Diaby cut in from the left hand side, side stepped two Derby defenders before unleashing an unstoppable right footed drive in off the post and into the top corner. It was perhaps the only goal we scored yesterday that Stephen Bywater could have done nothing about. Oddly enough, as Diaby shimmied past the stricken Rams` backline, the `shoooooooooot` brigade were conspicuous in their silence. Yet, to my right, Jon, usually as fond as I am of mocking said vocal chorus, was heard to cry, "have a f*****g dig." It proved to be sound advice.

It was not long before Arsenal added a second. Toure`s searching ball sliced through the ramshackle Rams defence with an ease usually reserved for knives through butter, and Adebayor skipped around Bywater before slotting into an empty net. The game surrendered itself as a spectacle from that point on, with Derby doing a poor impression of a damage limitation exercise. Diaby nearly produced a carbon copy of his earlier effort, sidestepping a Davis challenge, but Bywater beat out his low drive from the edge of the area. Around me, conversation between supporters broke out with this corpse of a match struggling to hold the attention of some. (Not me, I might add).

The second half began in an errant manner, until Claude Davis tugged Eduardo`s shirt in the penalty area as the Crozilian shaped to shoot. The tug looked to be a gentle one, and a harsh penalty, but to the letter of the law it was a correct award. Adebayor stepped up to slot the penalty home low to Bywater`s left. A note of concern would be that all of Adebayor`s penalties thus far have been replicas of one another and goalkeepers tend to be conscientious students of this kind of thing. Kolo Toure came close to adding a fourth, charging forward to meet Fabregas` right wing cross, but heading just wide. It would have been a richly deserved goal for a man playing out of his skin (but then again, doesn`t he always?)

With twenty minutes remaining, a small capsule of our current fortune arrived in glorious Technicolor. Cesc Fabregas picked up a pass from another surging Toure run, arrowed it goal wards and it swept in off of Bywater`s fingertips. Needless to say, last season, Bywater`s butter wrists would have been sufficient to turn the ball around the post. While Fabregas enjoys the purple patch of his career, it`s worth remembering that fortune is a fickle mistress, it can desert you as quickly and deftly as it finds you. Let`s hope Fabregas` rotten luck in front of goal last year, sees fortune recredit his account accordingly.

It was his last contribution of the match, as he was replaced by Denilson. Mathieu Flamini was replaced as well, and I`ve a feeling the standing ovation he received was not solely out of good will with the team four nil up. His contribution was outstanding again and I reiterate, Gilberto will have his work cut out getting back in there. Another bread and butter long ball found Adebayor, he muscled the hapless Dean Leacock off the ball, chesting it down before collecting his composure to steer into the corner for his first Arsenal hat trick. In the end it was a resounding win that will swell the already sky high confidence of this side, but ultimately, Derby will be on the end of these score lines with impunity I fear. It was men against boys at times, and I have seen Arsenal play better and lose. The Rams looked beaten before the first whistle, but Arsenal did exactly what they had to do. With news of Liverpool being held at home to Birmingham, it proved to be a most satisfying end to a glorious week.LD.

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The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday September 23 2007

Time: 3:02PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

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Great write up. Only thing it was Fabregas long ball that unleashed Adebayor for the second arsenal goal. Anyways it sounds like its been a great week for you. Congrats :)
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23/09/2007 15:39:00

Just think what delights must be in store for you if we do manage to win the premiership and the champions league!!
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23/09/2007 15:44:00

What a week, and I'm stuck in Thailand nowhere near a TV. Better just have a few more drinks and celebrate anyway. Love it!!!!
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23/09/2007 15:46:00

Your usual stuff LD. Couple of things I saw. Walcott needs to add body strength and needs some luck , the lad has got pace but his final ball is not there. MOTM for me was Toure, his positioning, drive was second to none and he was willing to bark at the troops. The lads did well but in all honesty, Derby were awful. They will be drop down this year. As for the Carling cup, I hope Dudu and Nic lead the line on Tuesday against Fat Sams boys and I wonder if Bert will play on Tuesday along side Diarra.
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23/09/2007 15:47:00

Tactically, we are not as one dimensional as we were guilty of last season. Two of the goals from Adebayor were from direct long ball cutting through the middle, the type of Drogba-Lampardesque combination that we almost never score in our previous seasons. I am also surprised by the number of screamers from outside the box that we scored this season. Now opposing teams would be wary that they can't just park a bus in front of their goal anymore
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23/09/2007 16:00:00

I know its still extremely early, but I really believe that Eduardo needs a Premiership goal soon. Once the first comes, i'm sure many more will follow swiftly, but its really important to get one as soon as possible.
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23/09/2007 16:07:00

great win and I loved this week
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23/09/2007 16:51:00

I think we can take a moment from our celebration of yet another comprehensive victory to applaud the Spuds in holding on for a point against fellow relegation candidates Bolton. They must be relieved.
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23/09/2007 17:10:00

I bet they are. 5 points from 7 games is surely a step up from what they were expecting. 27 points at the end of the season going at this rate, surely will put them in the top 4, dont you think?
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23/09/2007 17:16:00

MOM was Fabregas who was our heartbeat. Did anyone ever think we'd be sitting here so deliriously happy by the end of September? I never predicted this much spirit and so many points. Things may be shifting behind the scenes, and I don't know how long this is going to last, but while it does last, I am loving it so much it hurts... like a pig rolling about in you-know-what, it's damn good to be a Gooner!!
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23/09/2007 17:29:00

thanks for write up LD, congrats on new job etc, I'm sure I heard the slightest sounds on the MOTD muppets eating their words last night, what does anyone else think ? all of a sudden Ade is the best thing ever according to king muppet shearer!
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23/09/2007 18:01:00

For those who stayed until the end (the pillocks were leaving with ten minutes to go around me) git was a reat feeling to be walking out chanting "say we are top of the league, I say we are top of the league!". Great contributions from Ade, Cesc and the Flamster, + Toure, Sagny and (as usual) Clichy. Can't make up my mind about Theo - he gets in great positions (the interchange with Cesc was devine) but isn't making the most of the, Will it change? I also thought Eduardo had a fine match, I love the way he drifts across the front line and he works really well from the wing. So what sort of side are we going to put out on Tuesday? Clearly Bendtner deserves a run out, probably with Eduardo up top, Theo, Denilson, Diaby and perhaps Gilberto as the elder statesman, or maybe Diarra? Fabianski in goal, with Traore and Hoyte? Who for centre back? Come on you gunners!
cambs gooner
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23/09/2007 18:08:00

I'm not living in the UK but I see the MOTD all the time and I just want to say that it must be painful paying the fees for BBC knowing some of it will be used to pay the muppets shearer, hansen, lineker etc etc.
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23/09/2007 18:27:00

Spurs are now third. """"FROM BOTTOM""""
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23/09/2007 18:43:00

Armory, good shout, their comments about us when we played man citeh was some of the worst punditory I've ever heard, even Keys/grey couldnt do any worse, I think Rocky put a piece on here about it actually, its funny how shearer loves ade now! anyone would think he's top scorer in the premiership ! fickle w--kers
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23/09/2007 19:02:00

forget the C*nt Howards stamp on fabregas's head in the first minute the scum derby got everything they got and i hope Howards banned for such a disgraceful act
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23/09/2007 19:54:00

great title LD :) love it :) and great write up, i was unable to go yesterday due to religous holidays, but caught MOTD, and hansen was creaming about Cesc and Adebayor ! haha chelsea lose and spurs are bottom 3, liverpool drop points at home, pretty good weekend i would say :)
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23/09/2007 21:50:00

Lol, we'll be having Totterighams day in November at this rate, I guess theres always "next season" for them!
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23/09/2007 21:55:00

Well a tough game next up against west ham...lets hope our good form can continue away. Agree with other peoples thoughts that bendtner and eduardo should start against Newcastle and also denilson and diarra in the centre.
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24/09/2007 03:17:00

Well, i think the turn of ALL fortunes for us Gooners (what with Maureen leaving, the league forgetting Bolton existed, Spuds flushing 40 million quid down the lou, whatever personal good news we may be boasting and much more) brings a new meaning to the term 'winning in style'.
Phantom of the Grove
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24/09/2007 04:00:00

Hell, if the Spurs get relagated, every day from then on till they gain promotion back to the EPL would be Totteningham's Day! And Chelsea could be joining them if that ship implodes any further.
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24/09/2007 04:41:00

they said we have a crisis on our hands when dein left, we lost our competitive edge with the departure of henry, we will drop out of the top four and be replaced by spuds? can these tossers get it more wrong i wonder?? GO GUNNERS!!!
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24/09/2007 05:03:00

darinb007 where in Thailand are you. every bar has a telly and they have all five channels devoted to sport. My only problem was the brother inlaw who's a pool supporter, but i forgive him. Everyone around was either a pool fan or a manu fan except for one local who was a Cheski and Arsenal fan; left me very confused. i hope we dont write Theo off because he will be a great player, trouble is he tries too hard. I'm sure the boss will sort him out and then watch. Many others and i have said this team will be the greatest and no matter what others say they will be. The talent is unbelievable and like Andy I love rolling araound like a pig in ..... Go you mighty gunners
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24/09/2007 07:35:00

financial results are out and they are even better than i thought...Turnover increased by 46% to £200.8 million (2006 - £137.2 million)...blah blah blah everything is coming along swimmingly (hi hi) and we are showing the rest of the world how to run a football club...are you watching abramowitch???
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24/09/2007 08:09:00

The Group’s cash balances rose to £73.9 million
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24/09/2007 08:10:00

thats from £35.6 million in 2006 if i was a goldigging biatch this would be making me wet but im not fortunately im just a guy who is thinking i bet everyone wishes they were a gooner fan
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24/09/2007 08:12:00

so there's gonna be £70m available for transfer. who would you like to see most at the club come january? we are a bit short at the back with the ACN and injuries so that's probably a good place to start.
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24/09/2007 10:24:00

this is sooo lovely
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24/09/2007 10:45:00

cescfab4, djourou still to come back - he just got into The Times' Prem team of the week for his performance against Scousers. I think that was a very very shrewd bit of work by Arsene. He knew he had enough CB's before January, so farmed out Johan. Then Kolo goes off to ANC and we get back a CB who's played half a season - that's if we need him of course.
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24/09/2007 10:47:00

Just wanted to say as well that Saturday was amazing. I was a corporate whore and sat in the posh seats, but as it was my first Prem game there (I saw Brazil v Argies last year) it wasn't a bad way to start off! As to what to do with £70m.... If it was buying players, I'd like to see us get in Gio dos Santos & Bojan from Barca.
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24/09/2007 10:52:00

i agree michael, brilliant planning. How sweet is it to be no1 when the Spuds sit in the relegation zone? I wish we could just end the season now!
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24/09/2007 10:55:00

The 70M is not the tranfer fund, its rubbish journalism. The cash reserves are 70M, and the Board is not irresponsible to turn ALL that over to Wenger to buy players. Edelman said - "So we have got plenty of firepower as we said we had over £70m in cash at the end of year and if Arsène Wenger wants to spend that money we will make it available", and his words were taken out of context. Shocking eh.
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24/09/2007 11:11:00

alwaysgunner: moved resorts, now have a reasonable tele. BTW, just saw a Thai show here replaying Ade's last goal against spuds. Did you know that the shot clocked 203 km/h?
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24/09/2007 11:41:00

Any one with financial know how willing to give an explanation of the accounts, I read income was down to 5.6 million. Too many figures so I don't really know what to make of them. An explanation of the breakdown of debt too if possible, ta.
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24/09/2007 11:48:00

Prits, Fiszman said Wenger can spend 100 million if he likes, so whilst the media are wrong as you say, he does infact have more than that to spend!! I will post the link if I can find it again.
Ashburton Gooner
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24/09/2007 12:11:00

Here is the link. Look under question 4 & read the last block of quotes from Danny Fiszman.
Ashburton Gooner
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24/09/2007 12:21:00

Who cares about the money?? Wenger has proved its about a lot more than spending. What a week, theres winning and theres winning in style, something those tired old donkeys at Man U obviously cant get to grips with. Yet another 3 points down to dodgey decisions and diving.
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24/09/2007 12:25:00

For Arsene's dream to become reality the money is important. I don't think any of us gooners ever believe he will spend it, but the fact its there should he be in need then its a pure safety net. He wants Arsenal to be the biggest club in the world both on & off the pitch so the finances are part of that.
Ashburton Gooner
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24/09/2007 12:30:00

d007, where in Thailand are you staying?? My only prob was the boss of the restaurant was my brother-in-law and he would only put on the Thai language programme but it was still beautiful even though I never understood a word they said, I loved every single moment. Go you beautiful gunners.
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24/09/2007 14:04:00

On the BBC website there is also a video interview with Keith Edelman - - where he refers to the £70m and says he can spend 'it' if he likes. Does it really matter whether its £40/70/100m though? The board have a manager who is dream, so reckless spending isnt on the menu. The best part is when Edelman refers to 'financial owners'! I get the feeling our board will sell within a couple of years, but they want to make sure they pick the best possible owners.
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24/09/2007 14:35:00

saisho, the operating profit has increased fourfold to 60 million or whatever, the net profit is down to 5.6 due to once-off charges relating to debt re-financing.
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24/09/2007 14:54:00

i suppose the fact that we have this money makes the club more attractive to players, both current and prospective, because they know we can buy any player, and mix it at the top. If we don't spend it, that due to AW, and he's got the admiration of the entire footballing world.
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24/09/2007 14:57:00

To be honest regardless of whether we do go on to win the title (or any trophies for that matter) or not, the fact is we now have a great squad. The thing that Wenger has to get right this time is not allowing them all to age together like he did with the 49'ers. We have so many great youngsters coming through & that coupled with maybe one signing per season should see us maintain an excellent position & keep everything fresh. Hopefully we wont get to a position where we are so reliant on 1-2 players like we were with Henry in future.
Ashburton Gooner
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24/09/2007 15:07:00

Micheal, I too would love them (gio and bojan) to be in our team esp Bojan. Then Barca becomes our "Official" feeder club beating out chelsea :)
Report Abuse
24/09/2007 15:20:00

And to top it off Fab4 has said there is a possibility that he might be here come 2017. Though to have him here then is very highly unlikely and stuff of dreams for us.
Report Abuse
24/09/2007 15:22:00

Fabianski Hoyte... Toure... Gilberto... Traore Walcott.. Diarra.. Denilson... Diaby Bendtner... Eduardo what do u think about this possible lineup? Song or Senderos as CB?
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24/09/2007 19:37:00

I'd like to bring you down to earth a bit. I will acknowledge you are playing nice stuff but you have’nt been tested yet. Played four home games 3 of the teams beaten are in the bottom 4; you have played none of the other “big 4” teams we have played away to both Man U and Liverpool. So hang on a bit before you dissappear up your own back sides again there's still work to be done. A good start though.
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25/09/2007 14:08:00

Cheers for that TJ. He has a point though, Saturday's a big test
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25/09/2007 15:15:00


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