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Time To Get Back To Basics

That wasn't a lot of fun, in fact I've just spent my afternoon watching Millwall draw 0-0 with Luton in the snow in the most dire game of football ever seen just to convince myself it could be an awful lot worse. The footballing equivalent of visiting a graveyard when you've got piles. In fact, I had intended to go for a drink in Parson's Green post match, but instead found myselfjumping the first train to New Cross to get hammered with someone who had no inclination to talk about the game. With the Chelsea boys in understandable gloating mode, I had to get away. When New Cross begins to look anything like an attractive destination, you know it's bad! (Though I did get the chance to meet Marcel Desailly on the tube, despite his Chelsea leanings, a character I admire and a true great of the game). He summed it all up quite succinctly, 'Arsenal looked pretty good until they went 1-0 ahead.' Too right.

Now I must confess I haven't seen any highlights, so I don't know if Drogba was offside for the equaliser, frankly, it doesn't matter much because Chelsea just overpowered us as we tried to stick at 1-0 when twisting would have been a better strategy I feel. The match was pretty much a war of attrition until Banger's opener. If there was one man who deserved to score the winner in a game like this it was him. At 1-0 Chelsea began to look shaky and there was space a plenty on the break for young Theo had we utilised him properly. Instead, with the nerves and exhaustion palpable, we tried to protect the lead and Drogba had too much for Gallas and Toure. Gallas exercised some rare misjudgement in the build up to the equaliser, once Sagna was forced off with injury, we lacked authority at the back. As soon as Chelsea levelled the scores it was a matter of time before they scored again. Right now our key personnel are just off colour, whether the exhaustion is physical or mental Iam not entirely sure. Adebayor, Hleb and Fabregas have played relentlessly without the opportunity for rest or rotation. The decision not to invest in a wide player in January looks to have hurt us.Hindsight can be a marvellous thing, but its patently clear that Diaby and Rosicky are incapable of a run of uninterrupted games. Plus, Diaby isn't even a winger.

Yesterday, van Persie was shifted to the left to make way for Hleb in the centre. But I'm not entirely sure Hleb is playing well enough to have justified that choice. I managed to catch the Liverpool v United match in the Sporting Page pre game and things appear to be falling for United at the moment, but I think such fortune is sometimes created by having a positive and vibrant energy about you which we lack at the moment. Right now we have to forget about the pressures of the title race, or the Champions League and everything else around it. Our only focus here is to win against Bolton. That's it, forget everything and everyone else. Think no further than Bolton Wanderers, let's win that game and think of nothing else. I feel the team has been thinking too much, this makes the passing less crisp, the defending less emphatic, we've been playing a chess game whereby dropped points have been swatted away with, 'well, we're alright if wewin at Old Trafford.' That kind of mentality produces an emotional baggage we've been carrying since James McFadden's penalty crashed in. It's time to cease this ponderous perspective and adopt some tunnel vision. Bolton Wanderers away isthe onlymatch that matters now.

Chelsea's equaliser probably did come about from John Terry's act of classlessness. But asking JT to exercise any kind of decorumis like asking a bear to shit in a toilet, it's not going to happen and that's why Terry finds respect difficult to come by in the game. Similarly Ten Cate or whatever his name is throwing the ball away in injury time was an act you come to expect from a ten year old in the park. But if ever there was an act that chrystalised the character of an entire club it was that. Prematch when the team's were read out, the PA announcer read out the name William Gallas to a small chorus of boos. 'I'll try that again, number 10 William Gallas.' Boos rang out a little louder. 'That's better.' Again, small gestures, which in no way shape the fate of a football match or its result but that betray any sense of class or decency in a football club. But the utter twat manning the PA got it back in spades at half time when forced to sheepishly announce that all of Chelsea's next three home fixtures are on general sale. The travelling Gooners spent the entire break serenading the Chav faithful with, 'you buy one, you get one free,' and 'your ground's too big for you.'

All bitterness aside, I have no real complaints about the result. It was a microcosm of our season, it all looked so promising for so long, but as soon as we looked to take command we didn't handle the pressure. The title looks a long way off, but this is a new team in its first race, it'll be involved for a few years yet and will only learn from this experience. There's an old saying that good judgement comes from experience, experience comes from bad judgement. Hopefully a quality wide player toaugment Rosicky's prolonged injury spells will be on the agenda. That's for another time though, Bolton away has to be our one and only focus, as the Metallica song says so aptly, nothing else matters.LD.

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The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday March 24 2008

Time: 7:56PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
Conrgats on winning the Prawn Awards. you lot managed to win the "most suits" award. `Which is a bit ofa surprise as most librarians dont wear suits.
Blue is the colour
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24/03/2008 20:00:00

BITC(h), I very much doubt you've been in a library in your life. I'll look out for some tickets for your upcoming home games though, free with the Evening Standard on Monday I believe. Perhaps it's time for a groundhsare with AFC Wimbledon?
Little Dutch
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24/03/2008 20:05:00

BTIC, congrats for winning the Most Miserable, Wretched, Classless Fans award --- singing the name of the previous manager, abusing your current manager -- your fans are truly sickening. And then your "classy" team shows how they react when the opposition demonstrates genuine sportsmanship. Eboue (of all people!) throws out the ball when Joe Cole pretends to be injured in order to stop an Arsenal attack. Terry then throws out the ball into his own half and then your boys prevent Arsenal players to start play. Real sportsmanship, your players. Matched only by your cretin asst. coach who prevented Diaby from getting the ball from the touchline--the ref even had to expel him. Real classy bunch you are, proven ably by your witless, worthless posts here. You seem obsessed with us.
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24/03/2008 20:20:00

Funnily enough, us now not being able to regard ourselves as realistically in the title race makes me think that we can actually go to Old Trafford and beat United. The pressure is not going to be on us like it would have been before as we have less to lose. We can go though and just go for it without fear - they are the ones who will have more to lose.
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24/03/2008 20:20:00

When Eboue gazumps youin the sportsmanship stakes, you know you are in the presence of, what I would colourfully describe as, a right bunch of c***s.
Little Dutch
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24/03/2008 20:24:00

Gooner_Vin, my heart keeps making that same argument but my head remember that's what I also thought before the Chelsea game.
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24/03/2008 20:28:00

Jaelle - I know what you're saying. I still felt we were under tremendous pressure to deliver in the Chelsea game, maybe we won't be by the time Old Trafford comes round. Even if we don't finish first, if we can finish second, with a healthy points total and not too far behind Man Utd, then that would still be an achievement for a young squad. We would also get the guaranteed place in the Champs League.
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24/03/2008 20:36:00

Hehe LD, agree with the Eboue part. Those incidents didnt influence much, but it shows a lot about the club that Chelsea are. We didnt quite deserve the win there, but I thought we could hvae held on better. The defence went to pieces after Sagna went off, and Gallas & Toure have to hold their hands up for that one. Disappointing, but I only hope we win against Bolton. Thats mighty important to keep our season going.
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24/03/2008 20:42:00

Take the loss and move on. Why not mention Eboe who should have been sent of with a second yellow. Or Eboe and Toure rolling around the floor like girls just to let the clock running. The minute you pathetic bunch of goons went 1-0 up we saw your true colours, falling down like flies, faking injuries like chumps with no self respect. I could write a long list on why you should be the last club to throw the "sportmanship card" at other teams. But its not worth it, the deserved 2-1 win is enough for now. Take care
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24/03/2008 20:49:00

Chelsea's equaliser probably did come about from John Terry's act of classlessness."" That line cracked me up. You got the ball back, took the throw, got fouled and got a free kick in the midle of the park. So please remind me how JTs act of "classlessness" helped the goal?
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24/03/2008 20:53:00

Gooner_Vin, I think we'd be better off simply focussing on the Bolton game, rather than looking too far ahead to the ManU game.
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24/03/2008 20:55:00

makelele - so we deliberately played with 8 men on the field to waste time? Muppet !
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24/03/2008 21:00:00

I dont think your players looked that far ahead. All they wanted to do was to roll around like ****s so that the clock would run.
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24/03/2008 21:01:00

Prits - yes, agreed. A scrappy 1-0 will do.
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24/03/2008 21:11:00

Nothing personal against Almunia but I still think Lehmann is our best goalkeeper.
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24/03/2008 21:24:00

Yep, Toure and Gallas didn't cover themselves in glory, which is disappointing because they were our two most experienced players. It's a sign of Sagna's importance to us that we went to pieces when he went off. Makelele, I'm not gonna pretend Arsenal are perfect, but compared to your lot we're more unsullied than a virgin's honeypot. I've never seen Pat Rice throw the ball away from an opposition player, our PA announcer doesn't invite the supporters to abuse opposing players, and JT has cause to look up to Eboue as a sportsman. That's why Chelsea are considered a club so odious and fundamentally unsavoury, that in the only period of success in your "history" you have to flog home tickets in the Evening Standard.
Little Dutch
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24/03/2008 21:55:00

It was Christophe Lollichon, our goalkeeper coach, who threw the ball away, so keep poor Henk out of it, will you? ;-)
Fan of Blues
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24/03/2008 22:10:00

I can't complain about the result, as what we witnessed was an opponent who was much more capable of fighting and grinding it out for the extra points. That's the quality that we lack at the moment. As a witness at the ground though, its undeniable that for all Chelsea's capability and hefty price tags, they really are pathetic-spirited cheat-inclined ****s. From their starting eleven, I'm struggling to remember which one of them managed to stay on their feet and not dive at the merest opportunity. This miserable spirit was complemented by the way they 'returned' the ball to us after we kicked it out to attend their 'injured' player; also their management team throwing the ball behind instead of returning it to play. I would rather Spurs win the CL or PL than this shower of horrible fackers !
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24/03/2008 22:15:00

I'm by no means using anything as an excuse. Just a side note on the class thing. In addition to those petty, small-minded, classless gestures here and there that LD and Jaelle mentioned, I was also amazed how Drogba said before the game "I need the home crowd to unsettle Gallas." But then after the game "Our fans should have given more respect to Gallas. He gave me 2 titles." And I also really hated to see Sagna get booed when he's obviously genuinely injured. Talk about class.
Lou the Gunneress
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24/03/2008 22:28:00

typo: -me +us
Lou the Gunneress
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24/03/2008 22:30:00

Eboue was class yesterday.... tried to stop our free-kick, dominated the ball with his hand, dived, looked ugly, etc. What did JT do? Wenger almost got into a fight, even Mourinho never did that! Fabregas holded the ball for several seconds (in the firs game) just so Ashley Cole could get more abuse. Talking about contradiction(maybe it's a french thing) Wenger saying that refs need more protection,; well yah, calling them liars isn't the first step .
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24/03/2008 22:49:00

Wow, only came across this. Very funny the Chelsea fans failed to acknowledge Drogba's pre-match and post-match views about Gallas' return to SB with Arsenal:
Lou the Gunneress
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24/03/2008 22:56:00

K can you clarify which fight Wenger almost got into? A physical fight? Or some handbag? I honestly don't recall what you literally said.
Lou the Gunneress
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24/03/2008 22:59:00

Heeeeey, looky looky. Wenger wasting time . Lou, Wenger pushed Alan Pardew several times .
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24/03/2008 23:34:00

Oh that one. I remember. That's a handbag, not a fight? It's Alan Pardew who trespassed the technical area first, going out of his way to yell at Wenger, and obviously he also raised his hand to push Wenger first, who then pushed it away. Verbal fight yes. It's not even a handbag. Look, I understand how you feel like coming here to gloat, fine, it's 3 points in your bag, not ours. I've been withstanding all that and seeing it as a cost to pay for the otherwise quality content here. But let's not exaggarate things to suit a "point", that's for tabloids you're (often) better than that.
Lou the Gunneress
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25/03/2008 00:35:00

Another trophyless season lasses.
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25/03/2008 00:37:00

I would concider sacking wenger, before the French police catch up with him, and sign Avram Grant, he knows how to win a match. (Apart from at WHL or Wembley of course).LOL
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25/03/2008 00:39:00

Remember the Martin Jol V Wenger spat to which Jol remarked does he know how strong I am. Wenger is a weasel.
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25/03/2008 00:40:00

What about potential signings in the summer? David Villa is quality and its possible hes looking for a move out after a disappointing year. Also Martins, Veloso, Mertesacker, Lahm, Mexes, Mancini, Capel, Sebastian Frey. We need to strenghten up the back as well as out wide in the middle of the park. I would like to see Gilberto and Jens leave also.
Aussie Gooner
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25/03/2008 02:24:00

^ Frey and Quaresma. Preasure was what everyone has been saying about Arsenal. Could they handle it, it appears then can in some cases but other cases they seem to fold near the seasons end. I go for United but am usually neutral. I'm hoping Arsenal bounce back and atleast over take Chelsea.
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25/03/2008 04:55:00

The season's not over yet, and we're talking about summer signings already ?
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25/03/2008 06:35:00

Paulinho that's a great call, would love to see it happen but obv it won't. Let's just see how we've done at the end of the season. By the way what has happened to Denilson? 2 years ago he was a revelation now he can't even make the bench? Does he need a loan somewhere to get him back to speed?............................................ So yes, i think signings are needed (cant believe i agree with that idiot McCarra at the guardian) but not that many... Its a learning curve. Wenger will do his usual trick of spending 14m on 3 players called Hustimakov, Wonkadoudou and Chouchon (1 eastern european, 1 african and 1 frenchman sounds about right!) and they'll be great. Has Eboue forgotten how to be a right back?
Report Abuse
25/03/2008 07:29:00

"you got any qualifications at all, apart from being an ignorant, obnoxious, stereotypical chelsea fan?" Wait a minute, that's unfair of you; i'm not ignorant. Lou, there's no gloating, I haven't gloated once (read all my comments since the game). I just pointed out the Arsenal do nearly the same things as Chelsea. That's all.
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25/03/2008 08:09:00

You may be right Kev. Arsenal do nearly the same things as Chelsea - but we do them with so much more class!
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25/03/2008 09:04:00

Nicely summed up LD. Ahhh.......Metallica. Love the Black album that song comes from. Classic!
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25/03/2008 09:14:00

True, the way Wenger was wasting time, so smooth! :p
Report Abuse
25/03/2008 09:24:00

k_chelski - ok if you say wenger was wasting time you must be right..... but tell me this what happen when dogbreathe scored from an offside position and then chelski go on to gets point/s from another game where chelski need a little help from the ref and i used to think it was just manure who owned the ref's.
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25/03/2008 10:34:00

You may find that the clash with Bolton may just be a turning point for you.The pressure is slightly off you as people have already thought that you have blown the title so if you lose or draw people wont be too concerned.I also believe playing away is a good thing for you guys as well because it takes away that home crowd 'expectation' from the players who will no doubt be slightly edgey because of recent results.I know Bolton are fighting for survival but they are not the same as when Big Sam was there.A good opportunity to blow out the cobwebs and play with freedom away from the bright lights of London.Chelsea has gone so pick yourselves up and move on.We all get dissappointed at times,some more than others,I speak from experience.LOL.COYS.
Report Abuse
25/03/2008 11:37:00

who sent over a reasonable spurs fan over here??? cockaduddle, RESPECT!
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25/03/2008 13:17:00

"Get over it" makelele says. But he fails to mention why there were so many articles by Merlin Olasal and the other toss pots regarding our 1-0 win over them blatant hypocrites I teall ya. Like club, like supporters(glory chasers)
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25/03/2008 14:55:00

And lets not get into any potential signings shall we? As LD so rightly said, nothing matters but the bolton game.
Report Abuse
25/03/2008 14:57:00

jaelle, cockaduddle is in therapy and having treatment for his condition. The good news is doctors are expecting a speedy recovery.
Report Abuse
25/03/2008 21:51:00

I just want a win at Bolton, we haven't won the screwups there for 4 seasons and without Big Sam, Anelka and Nolan half-invisible I think a 2-0 win ought to do it.
Report Abuse
26/03/2008 02:21:00

is aggressive a closet gooner i wonder, i keep seeing him here more thasn his own site, i think he secretly loves arsenal more than his own team :D
Report Abuse
26/03/2008 07:16:00


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