Author Archives: norbyafc

And in the 9th Season we finally won!

Finally!

In writing the reviews for the 8 baron seasons we have endured I wondered if I would have to write another one this summer improving the number to 9, again reviewing why we didn’t manage to win something. Half way through the season I really did believe that I would have to as we started slipping away in the league and drew Bayern once again in the Champions League. Luckily the FA Cup was our saviour and I’ve now been privileged to see us win it 4 times, something not many fans of any club will ever see.

I don’t want to make this review to long and complicated as we all know what happened in the season that just passed. Key moments and games are the things I’ll be targeting and obviously the FA Cup run which has helped us to have a happy summer before it all starts again in August.

We visited the Far East for a pre-season tour finishing up with the Emirates Cup which we didn’t win…..again. Transfer wise saw us have a bit more of a clear out of the youths with 10 not having their contracts renewed. We sold Mannone, Gervinho and Santos, Meade and Squillaci all signed for new clubs on free transfers. We had a bit of a surprise on players coming in with us finally seeing a big transfer fee spent on bringing Mesut Ozil to us from Madrid. Finally a big name player joined us for big money although a lot of fans commented on the fact that Ozil’s position wasn’t desperate for recruits like our striker position was. We flirted with Suarez and Higuain all summer with a deal for Higuain apparently being agreed, Madrid then raised their price and we switched attention to Luis Suarez and a clause in his contract. Liverpool refused to honour the clause and demanded he stay which in the end he did. We also brought back Flamini on a free, probably the signing of the summer and youngster Sanogo came in from Auxerre.

Premier League - Ozil wants immediate Arsenal impact

Ozil lifted everyone’s spirits especially as we had already had a disastrous start to our season with an opening day defeat to Villa which brought out more anger and bile to the Emirates than I think I’ve ever seen. Thankfully it seemed to be a very minor blip because we then went on a fantastic run seeing us shoot to the top of the table where we stayed until early February. In that run we failed pick up enough points from any of the top sides we played which ultimately meant we would not keep our league title challenge going until May.

We did beat Tottenham, but then so did a lot of teams, we beat Liverpool at home too but couldn’t beat United away in their worst season since the Premier League began which was extremely disappointing. We then went and lost away at City and could only draw against Chelsea at home after Mourinho parked the bus in one of the most boring performances from a visiting side to Arsenal I think I’ve ever seen.
Despite this we stayed top and had a good Xmas period with a win at Upton Park then up at Newcastle and then at home against Cardiff. We let 2 points slip at Southampton with a very bad performance. I went up to the Emirates to watch the game in Club Level and it proved to me that we were still capable of putting in a bad shift. Champions are able to win ugly and pick up wins when they don’t play well, this game proved to me that we were unable to do that consistently.

Lukas Podolski scores Arsenal's third goal
Podolski scores against West Ham
 

Not long after that result saw us go to Anfield where our season fell apart. We were ripped to shreds with the new exciting style of football that seems to be working across Europe and we were 0-4 down within 20 minutes. It was a disgusting performance and we were due to see this type of performance again unfortunately at Stamford Bridge where we lost 0-6. We couldn’t beat Stoke away either and by 22nd March we were back down to 4th which is where we stayed and finished. Everton beat us well at Goodison which was another disappointment, especially as they were pushing for our 4th place spot, it was a huge game and we rolled over without so much as a whimper.
We will never know what would have been had we signed a striker in January, I can only assume nothing was available which would have helped us as surely Wenger would have done it?

The league disappointment was frustrating for all fans to watch but thankfully we had a good cup run which kept our hopes of silverware alive.
We didn’t have an easy run of games in the FA Cup which we never seem to! Starting off in the 3rd
round against Spurs tells you it’s going to be a difficult run. Coventry, Liverpool and Everton were the next run of games and thankfully they were all at home. The Semi Final saw us go the distance against Wigan at Wembley where we won on penalties to take us back to a FA Cup final for the first time since 2005.


We beat Hull in extra time to spark a weekend of wild celebrations and happiness. The parade on Sunday 18th saw a reported 250,000 people line the streets to see the players and the trophy which has ended our wait for silverware.

I believe all of our hopes are now to have a good summer, to sign players we need to sign and start well next season. This season has showed us we are not that far away, we lost key players for chunks of the season whereas had we had good solid replacements to come in we may have been able to carry on challenging. As I write this I’m having conversations on twitter with fans about whom we should sign and where we need players. The big rumour is for Cesc to return so I thought I’d offer my opinion on that before I sign off.
Cesc Fabregas is a world class quality player, that is undeniable, however, for me we need players in other positions before we go for Cesc and I’d spend our transfer budget on others. Midfielders at our club currently are Jack, Ozil, Ramsey, Arteta, Flamini, Cazorla and Rosicky, do we need another one? Go and get a striker Arsene, for me.

Have a cracking summer, Im off to Finsbury Park tomorrow for the Arctic Monkeys and also taking in V Festival which should satisfy my music appetite for a while.
See you in August, thanks for reading.

Up The Arsenal

Norby

 

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Arsenal Songs – 49 49 Undefeated…..49 49 I Say…..

What a song, what a day

I’m sure you have seen some of the videos or heard some of the fans talk about the away section at Shite Hart Lane on Sunday. To say the Arsenal away fans were magnificent is a massive understatement.
We didn’t stop singing throughout the game from the first minute to the last.

There isn’t many occasions I have still been in a ground 20 minutes after the final whistle, in fact there was only two of them. One of them was Old Trafford where fans stayed singing after a defeat for around 15-20 minutes and the other was on Sunday when a new song emerged, a song I have been waiting 10 years for.

As a supporter group our songs have always been fairly decent, I wouldn’t say we are as creative as Liverpool or Man United or others, whose songs always seem to be original and new, but we’ve always had enough to sing about and made some pretty decent ones along the way. Some of our songs about old players are great and we have some good classic traditional songs too.
When your team goes a season unbeaten and wins the league in that season I would’ve said that was something to sing about but the song just never came. People made some up and tried to get them going, and some of them were very good but they just didn’t take off and so one of our clubs greatest achievements wasn’t being celebrated as much as it should have been by the fans.

I don’t know who made the song up before Sunday but for some reason it just seemed like the time to go for it. Every fan in the away end made it their own and sung it non stop, to the extent that we stayed inside for 20 minutes after the whistle continuing to make as much noise as possible. Some fans in the boxes after the whistle were even clapping us!

I can only thank the person who made it, and if you know who it was please let me know as this song has been 10 years in the making and I must say, it was worth the wait.

You can watch my video of the song at the end of the game here

49 49 Undefeated
49 49 I Say
49 49 Undefeated
Playing Football The Arsenal Way……

Cheers for reading

Norby

7 Arsenal Players to Leave This Summer?

POSSIBLE SUMMER SHAKE UP?

Last summer was confirmation from Arsene Wenger that he has given up with his youth experiment as we lost a number of youngsters that were meant to be part of the next generation of the club. It turned out that a lot of them were not good enough and we instead decided to bring in players who were older and ready. Players like Santi, Podolski, Ozil, Flamini and Giroud. I know many of you have opinions of some of those players, some good and some bad, but it’s a fact that they are all older and proven unlike a lot of the youngsters we have been bringing in for many seasons.

Below is a graphic of players who left last season, have a look at some of the names and you will remember them being with us from a young age for many seasons when many of them were not good enough but we kept them on and on and on. Finally they have left and we can start afresh.

transfers

Are we going to another shake up this summer?

We have players who are rumoured to be leaving or not wanting to renew their contracts but instead of them being youngsters they are international players, people like Sagna, Podolski and Vermaelen. I think the fans opinions are split down the middle on Podolski, he is a top guy and clearly a great character but a lot of fans are unsure about his worth to the squad. For me he is a proven International player and to have him in the squad has to be a positive. Top sides always have top players ready to come in and do a job for the team when needed. Its basic knowledge that you wont get world class players coming in to sit on the bench, this is where players like LP help.

Vermaelen is the same, he is a top defender and captain of the club, for us to be a top top side we need these players in our squad. Its just about whether he wants to stay at the club and be part of the squad, as for now I cant see the partnership of Kos and Per being split up for anything but an injury or suspension. If that was to ever happen what a player TV is to bring in and replace them.

Sagna is our number 1 right back and needs to be offered a huge contract to stay. They guy is a warrior and will fight for our cause until he drops. I was at Sunderland away last season, I think when we went down to 10 men, and had to protect a lead, Sagna went into centre back and was simply superb. I want players like that at my club. Yes he has had bouts of bad form and I was one of the ones criticising that period but always knew he would come back to perform well again. Its down to the club to retain them so we can improve on the qualities that we have and not have to replace them all the time.

The players we should be looking to offload are people like Bendtner, Djourou and Park, these players who sap our wage bill away and are robbing a living from us. Get rid of them and use the money on players we need and can use. The only other player to be linked with a move away is our back up keeper Fabianski. I think it would be a great shame to loose him but the fact is that he is good enough to be a number 1 goalkeeper somewhere else, just like Vito Mannone has proved at Sunderland. We will need to recruit another goalkeeper as relying on the youngsters to be the back up is not ideal I don’t think.

I can see another small shake up happening this summer, we still have a few of the youngsters knocking around and as above some of the first team need to leave ASAP. I think we are clearly looking for players, a striker as everyone knows is a must and I can see business being done earlier because of the world cup. I think we will have targets in mind now and maybe even some deals drawn up ready to be completed when the time is right. If players like Sagna, Poldolski or Verm leave we need to replace them with like minded experienced players to keep the quality throughout the squad.

Overall we have a good team, a good squad and but for a few improvements will continue to be a good side. We need to concentrate on keeping this set of players together over anything and improve in key areas.

Cheers for reading

Norby