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November

November is legendary amongst Gooners for being the month from hell, so when the fixtures were released in June, nobody wanted to see Manchester United at home first up. Having spent the season so far laying waste to teams from the lower echelons of the top flight, like Tottenham and Derby, the Gunners title winning aspirations were under the microscope. The match began in a typically cagey manner until injury time at the end of the first half, when Ronaldo's low cross was scuffed goalwards by Rooney and deflected in off the unfortunate William Gallas.

Far from being downhearted, Arsenal came out for the second half fighting. Within aminute of the restart they restored parity, Bacary Sagna refused to give up on a lost cause on the right hand side, hooked the ball back to Cesc Fabregas, who calmly slotted past van der Sar. The match continued as an even joust, the sides slugging it out like heavyweight boxers, though looking likely to cancel one another out. That is until Patrice Evra's foray forward saw Cristiano Ronaldo connect with his cross to give United the lead with ten minutes remaining. A deflated Ashburton Grove looked resigned to defeat. But cometh the hour, cometh the captain, Walcott fluffed two strikes at goal, before Billy G forced the ball over the line in stoppage time to rescue a point. 'I told the players if we die, we die on the pitch together,' Gallas' beautifully melodramatic post match musing.

Next up were Slavia Praha, with the Gunners only needing a point to ensure qualification to the knock out stages, Wenger focused on the title race by fielding a reserve side. They duly got the point they required with a drab 0-0 draw in a rainswept Prague. Next up were Reading on a Monday night at the Madejski. An enjoyable few jars before the game with Mr. 'Holic set the scene for a performance of aesthetic beauty. (That's right FatOldDave, I mentioned you and aesthetic beauty in the same sentence, I'm assuming that's never happened before?) Tired of Reading fans moronic Eng-er-land chanting, the Gunners fans would exact a telling riposte, 'YOU NEED MORE FOREIGNERS!' boomed out from the away end to the dismay of the local yokels. Arsenal took the lead in first half stoppage time, a sweeping counter attack saw the Flanimal latch onto Hleb's cutback to make it 1-0. Ibrahima Sonko had pledged to kick Adebayor out of the game pre match, but he didn't get close enough to the Togonator to throw a dart at him, let alone kick him. A flowing move, with a sweet interchange between Rosicky and Fabregas saw Ade deftly stroke home a sweet first time finish. The Gooners were in full spiteful mockery now, 'have you ever seen England play like this?' they enquired as the Reds ran rings around the Royals. Alex Hleb sealed the points when he dribbled past Hahnemann, trotted to the goal line, before deciding to walk back to the stranded keeper yelling, 'get up bitch!' dribbling around him again and putting the ball in the net. Nicky Shorey added a semblance of respectability to the scoreline with a late consolation. 'Are you England in disguise?' we asked. Nine days later, England's legion of supposedly world class stars would limp to an embarrassing defeat to Croatia, which meant they didn't qualify for Euro 2008.

Following on from the international break, it was a troubled Wigan side at home. With Cesc, 'Bert, the Flamster and Demolition Diaby all unavailable, Arsenalstruggled for fluency. But once again, William Gallas cameto the fore. With ten minutes left, he roared forward and threw himself at Sagna's cross to give his side the lead. The gamble to make him skipper was paying rich dividends. Tomas Rosicky sealed the result from Bendtner's pass. The month ended with the Gunners first defeat of the season,as a shadow side took on Sevilla in Andalusia. Eduardo gave Arsenal an early lead from Bendtner's cross. But a stunner from Keita and further goals from Kanoute, one from the spot following a Kolo foul, consigned the Gunners to the prospect of finishing second in their group and facing one of European football's giants in the knock out rounds.

The Reading match apart, Arsenal were not as gorgeously fluent as they had been in the Autumn, but spurred on by their skipper, they were grinding out the points and still leading the Premiership table. But injuries would start to bite, with van Persie already out, Arsenal lost Fabregas and Flamini at the end of November and Rosicky had played five consecutive matches, which meant injury was just around the corner for him. We came through a test with United intact and qualified for the knock out stages of the Champions League. The likes of Bendtner and Walcott were becoming gradually more involved. But one felt the crest of the wave had ridden its peak, expectation was setting in as Arsenal made good on their pre season promises whilst all around were doubting. Christmas was coming, and the golden goose was getting closer.LD.

Player of the Month: William Gallas.




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The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday May 16 2008

Time: 11:00AM

Your Comments

i like these articles, i cant wait to read the month which you win a throphy in.
chinaman123
.....an if 3-1 is laying waste, i look forwad to the terminolgy of the 5-1
chinaman123
If only you had the brains to spell "trophy" correctly we might take you seriously!!
Rocky7
Chinaman, serious question, one we Gooners ask frequently at WHL but you lot never give us a clear answer. Ahem, have you ever seen Tottenham win the league?
Little Dutch
He's seen tottenham do eff alll, he prob started 'supporting' em after the beer cup final.
AFC85Lew
hey chinaman, is VitalSpuds so boring that you come on over here for interesting articles? All hail Gallas! I remember his last minute equalizer v. the mancs vividly. He knew the ball had gone in before anyone else. The players, spectators, commentators, we TV viewers were still reacting when suddenly Gallas ran like a wildman to the touchline to embrace AW. I love that image. I also remember VDS trying to cheat and claim the ball didn't go in. I hated to see Cronaldo score against us. We've managed to control him very well. I always expect Rooney to score against us, he's like a man possessed when he plays against us.
jaelle
That was a good month for Willy G. He earned his armband in November which as you say is a traditionally awkward month for us.
Amos.
Then lost it in March.
AFC85Lew
Chinaman has effectively been shut-up..the silly boy he is ..good work guys. LD, good work again. the way this is going tho, its like you aim to write about the entire season. Pardon me if I stop reading from feb/march..hey guys...any transfer news yet?
number14
anyone seen this - http://young-arsenal.blogspot.com/
number14
Er but they dont name any source or anything... BOTH Ben Arfa and Gomez?!?! Thats way too good to be true! Id imagine wed only sign just one winger who could act as a striker, like an Eduardo-type player, so Ben Arfa sounds right, especially when weve got Theo and Vela in that mould as well. But a centre forward like Gomez sounds a bit of a luxury.
Lou the Gunneress
Yeh..u probably right. I am allowed to play football manager in my mind tho so....zzz
number14
moaning gooners all season long, so you write an article that slags off spurs, and you dont expect spurs fans here abusing you. typical gooners, let me ask you how many teams in london have won any cups this year
chinaman123
and before you ask, comparing spurs with derby is slagging us off, in reality you have more in common this season as history books will have no mention of you this season
chinaman123
yes chinaman while you spuds will have the one cup on the history books in 20 odd years. and probably the only cup you lot will win win for another 20 years or so... look at the league table.. no lower... no lower still and find where you finished!
Unwell
like it unwell
codbater
oops i said win win... thats one more win then the spuddies deserve! my mistake!
Unwell
Swap you that p*@s pot for 83 points, actually sod that...go do one! When you got that fabulous history book of yours out tell us how many titles you have won in ur history and how many Sol Campbell won with us in 5 years.
iceman10
listen unwell no one cares about league position apart from accountants, i dont want CL football because spurs like arsenal have no chance of winning it because like arsenal we are not good enough, unlike arsenal we know it, your arrogance has left you blind and unwell, i hope you recover quicker the eduardo
chinaman123
iceman you tool, 83 points = no silverware, 43 points = no silverware you mug, and we will still outspend you in the transfer market you****
chinaman123
hehe..this chinaman sure sounds like the banned spursinbarca...if thats him...then i wonder how he can change to chinese....
lhchye
"and we still outspend you in the transfer market." Was that a boast???? I'd get somenew material dude, youmight want to ask that super duper board and your perfect manager how the hell you've finished thirty plus points behind us and in the bottom half of the table. Allow me to elaborate on the comment in the article, in November, Sperz were in the relegation zone (you spent a lot ofmoney getting there too), so were Derby. Historically, the difference between Derby and Sperz is that Derby used to challenge for the league in the mid 70s,making them a more relevant top flight side than Tottenham.
Little Dutch
"no one cares about league position."Is that the stupidest comment anyone has ever made about football ever? I think so.
Little Dutch
If we have no chance of winning the Champions league and we should stop competing in it then you have surely got to apply to play in the championship as you have never ever competed for the premiership. Spent all that big money and not on 1 occasion, not for 1 minute or 1 second of the 07/08 Premier league season did you reach the top half of the table....disgrace to London football.
iceman10
And actually 43 points= s*'tting yourself down by the relegation zone after spending 16m on bent, 8m on Kaboul, 10m on bale, 8m on hutton, 8m on Woodgate....Disgrace to London football...Embarrasing celebrations that even Boro and Leicester couldnt match after their Carling pot wins.
iceman10
if you think for one second that 95% of your fans wouldnt swap your tin cup for 4th place then you are the most deluded spud i have ever met! and believe me we get some real idiot spuds in here so congrats on your new position! you are exactly whats wrong with your teams mentality.. small thinking for a small club! good luck with that!
Unwell
 

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