Spyin Kop: Arsenal (Home) 28/10/07

Posted by -HH- on October 26, 2007, 12:15:53 AM

After a defeat at Beşiktaş which leaves our already slender hopes of qualifying for the knockout hanging by the narrowest of threads it's the welcome return of league football with top of the table Arsenal visiting Anfield. Our fortunes in midweek couldn't have been much more contrasting. Where we went down 2-1 in Turkey, Arsenal destroyed Slavia Prague 7-0 at the Emirates as their strong start to the season continued. Games in our season will not come much bigger than this. A win and we're right in amongst the top of the table battle, a defeat and we're 9 points off top and once again playing catch up from a distance in October. Perhaps more importantly it will give us a real indication as to whether our early season optimism was well founded or yet another false dawn.


Liverpool v Arsenal
Sunday 28th October
Anfield, Liverpool
K.O. 4pm

Referee, TBC

Arsenal FC
Nickname: The Gunners
Founded: 1886
Ground: The Emirates Stadium, London
Record Attendance: 73,295
Manager: Arsene Wenger

Honours
 
League Champions: 1930/31, 1932/33, 1933/34, 1934/35, 1937/38, 1947/48, 1952/53, 1970/71, 1988/89, 1990/91, 1997/98, 2001/02, 2003/04

FA Cup Winners: 1930, 1936, 1950, 1971, 1979, 1993, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2004

League Cup Winners: 1986/87, 1992/93

Charity/Community Shield Winners: 1930, 1931, 1933, 1934, 1938, 1948, 1953, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2004

European Fairs Cup Winners: 1970

Cup Winners Cup Winners: 1994

History

Arsenal were first formed as a means of recreation for a group of factory workers in late 1886. Employees of the Woolwich Arsenal Armament Factory decided to form a football team, which first played under the name Dial Square. Their first game was a 6-0 drubbing of Eastern Wanderers on December 11th that year. It wasn’t long before the team’s name was changed to Royal Arsenal. They continued to play in local cup competitions and friendlies before finally turning professional in 1891, changing their name to Woolwich Arsenal. They moved to Highbury stadium in 1913, before moving to the new Emirates Stadium from last season. Following World War One the first division was extended to 22 teams, and Arsenal were voted into the top flight, a position they have held ever since.

As their honours list shows they are one of England’s most successful clubs, however their record in Europe doesn’t match up with their domestic record, something that has been highlighted under Arsene Wenger but appears to be a historical trend. That said, a recent run to the Champions LEague Final and a promising start in Europe this time round suggests perhaps things are on the up in this area.

Former Aston Villa manager David O’Leary holds their record for most first team appearances with 722, making his debut on 16th August 1975. In more recent times they made history in the 2003/4 season by going the whole season unbeaten, those 38 games being part of a top division record of 49 games unbeaten.

Recent Form

Arsenal 3 - 1 Portsmouth
Tottenham1 - 3 Arsenal
Arsenal 5 - 0 Derby County
West Ham United 0 - 1 Arsenal
Arsenal 3 - 2 Sunderland
Arsenal 2 - 0 Bolton

Spyin' Kop

Unfortunately this Spyin' Kop has been thrown together at the last minute but having done Arsenal Spyin Kops in the past I still have some decent contacts at www.arsenal-land.co.uk/forum and www.arsenal-mania.com/forum , and it's the users of these forums who give us our answers. Cheers to all for their honest replies.

SK: How has your season gone so far? Have your expectations changed from day one?

Dicko: Flawless, other than a draw away against Blackburn which really could have been a win if Lehmann didn't flap at it. I think we expected a battle for 3rd with Liverpool and maybe Spurs and maybe nick a cup. Expectations have changed phenomially and i now expect a title race between ourselves and Man Utd.

Maradona (not the real one, as far as I'm aware): There is definatley a renewed confidence about the squad which was noticable even during pre-season. Obviousley expectations were that we were to have difficult season but you cannot have start than we have had, you have to play what is front of you!

StuartL: Delighted obviously, the youngsters have learnt from last season and as a team we are stronger. Seeing our early fixtures you dream of the start being this good.

Dennis10: I considered myself an optimist when the season kicked off, but I certainly expected Manchester United to be to strong. I felt we would do better than last season, and compete with Liverpool and Chelsea for second spot. It might still turn out that way, but our start has been well over my expectations.

SK: Thierry Henry - has his departure really had this effect or has a combination of factors contributed to the strong start?

Dicko: I think its let a few players off there leash and let them show what they can do. The likes of van Persie and Adebayor up front now play with more freedom and have benifited majorly. Cesc Fabregas has realised he needs to add to the scoring threat and has done so immensly.

Maradona: I feel that TH14s' departure is probably the main factor in current form, the players are working really hard for each other and know that they have to supply the end product rather than rely on such a an influential figurehead.

StuartL: You can't have a successful team based on one player - no matter how good he is, Henry stifled his team mates or perhaps intimidated them to the extent that we were not a functional team like we are now, playing for each other and enjoying it.

Dennis10: Very difficult to answer, but I wasn't completely gutted when he left. I always felt van Persie would excel in Henry's absence, and I'm happy to see Adebayor has as well. So far. We will certainly miss a guarantee 25+ goalscoring machine during patches of the season, but when Cesc claims his departure has helped, I believe it is so.

SK: 6 home games from 9 in the league - is it too early to say the away problem has been solved?

Dicko: Maybe, but two away wins at Tottenham and West Ham were we couldn't win last season were immpresive and we should have won the other. Anfield will be a further test.

Maradona: The game at WHUFC was for me a real test for me, unlike any other part of the country we have have so many derby matches with massive bragging rites. I feel that we will certainly consistent away from home but ultimatley our home games will gain the lions share of points.

StuartL: Possibly, but perhaps the home problem has been though? we drew far too many matches that we would expect normally to win last season.

Dennis10: Definately too early, but our away record last season wasn't as costly as some of our weak home games.

SK: What has been your highlight of the season so far?

Dicko: So many, Spurs away, last nights record breaking Champions League win and smashing Derby with Ade's hattrick. Probably beating Spurs on any single one moment.

Maradona: 7-0 slavia prague - total football, a rare occassion when everything came together and where I can say 'I was there'.

StuartL: Beating the Spuds away is always nice - Slavia was a treat.

Dennis10: 7-0 against Slavia Prague. Not the hardest opponent, but it was still an unbelievable result.

SK: The Emirates - corporate bowl or necessary progression?

Dicko: Bit of both, but it's put our financial figures as the best in the country so i can't moan.

Maradona: Just wait until you get your new ground!

StuartL: Anything that means an extra 20,000 + get to see their team play can't be a bad thing can it ? At first it lacked identity for the fans now it is feeling like home and soon memories of great matches / victories / goals will ingraciate it further into Gooner's hearts.

Dennis10: Financially it really looks necessary, but I'm obviosuly not crazy about the name. Really loves the stadium though.

SK: What of Liverpool - what have you made of our start to the season?

Dicko: Started like you could be title contenders for a change and seemed Benitez had learned his rotation lessons, but i felt they crepted back in and you dropped points that you seriously shouldn't. Still its better than your normal starts so you're still a threat.

Maradona: Underachievment I would suggest, not so much in results but in the style of play, the constant squad rotation can't help. In fact I can't even name most of your players!

Dennis10: I really think Benitez is failing getting the best of their players. And I'm not sure why he keeps buying players that aren't obvious improvements of tour team. Like Arbeola and Voronin. They have both done okay, but I'm not certain they'll become world beaters. The injury on Agger is very unfortunate as well, cause I think he's top class. But you'll come around.

SK: Which Liverpool players, if any, do you fear and why?

Dicko: Fernando Torres, a genuine 20 goal striker which Liverpool haven't had for years and he seems to have everything in his game. Steven Gerrard, on his day can control a game on his own and i rate him as one of the best on the game.

Maradona: Thankgod Robbie Fowler has left Liverpool, I would say Torres, he is a big game player - but will he be fit?

StuartL: Anyone who might score ! Gerrard obviously for his driving force in midfield and Torres who may hurt us - thought Babel would have had more of an impact than he has done so far.

Dennis10: Gerrard and Torres. Both are top quality, and if the latter reaches the game, I won't be happy to be honest. Watched a lot of him in Atletico, and you've definately haven't seen the best of him yet. ( :o )

SK: And what do you make of Liverpool fans? Any past experiences of Anfield that you'd like to share?

Dicko: When your on TV you seem the most passionate around, when your not i hear i can be quiet and you've booed your team off several times this season.

Maradona: Your fans at least appreciate decent football and applaud when neccessary - unlike that of the Mancs. I work with a load of Liverpool fans and they're only answer to an argument is '5 European Cups' which I find a little tedious. We are still the invincibles!

StuartL: Personally I have no problem with Liverpool fans at all - The Cardiff cup final, 2001, was a great day out despite the result and our fans appeared to mix well. I was at Anfield on 26th May 1989 and will always remember the sporting behaviuor of so may of those Liverpool fans there that night, handshakes, etc.

Dennis10: Gloating, bitter and loyal. As good supporters ought to be.

SK: A recent report made Arsenal the 'richest' club in the Premier League. Do you share that view? Is the short term turnover sustainable in the long term?

Dicko: We aren't the richest, we had the best financial figures that year is my take on it. Chelsea, Man Utd and probably yourselves have much more of an expendabe budget but we seem to be racking it in with our stadium and it doesn't go on players alot like the aformentioned clubs, i think we can definatly keep it up with Wenger at the helm.

Maradona: 'Short term turnover' are you nuts, this will be way things are in the long run. Certainley under Wenger who does not need to spend huge in the transfer market and have a massive wage bill on star players who are not contributing to the team. Did you know that Wenger has spent £5million net on players since he has been at Arsenal! We don't need or want outside investors.

StuartL: That was the whole idea of moving ground to enable us to compete on a European level with anyone.No reason why the turnover should drop - next years figures should beat those recently announced. We still have 40,000 waiting for season tickets so the demand will not dry up barring disasterous on pitch performances over the next 3/4 years.

Dennis10: I don't know much about economy, but I don't believe we're the richest club in England. The team that could line up £ 100 mill for Ronaldinho, will always be the richest imo..

SK: Are there any new chants we should listen out for, or will it be the usual repartee?

Dicko: THEO THEO ;D Nah we aren't the most creative when it comes to chants.

Maradona: 1-0 to the Arsenal
2-0 to the Arsenal
3-0 to the Arsenal
etc.

StuartL: Were on our way is a current favourite of mine - although it's more of a cup song - perhaps a new Martin Jol song or two ?

Dennis10: Think you'll recognize most of them. I've only been to one game this season though...

SK: Do you have any young players coming through that we might not know about (or is that your first team?)

Dicko: You probably haven't heard of the likes of Merida, Vela... but they won't come through for a few years yet. But we do hold them in very high regard.

Maradona: Fram Merida, Rhys Murphy, Jack Wilshire, Henri Laqnsbury and.................Theo Walcott

StuartL: Keep an eye out for Fran Merida, Carlos Vela, Armand Traore in the next year or two.

Dennis10: I feel Denilson is a very underrated player, although you've probably heard of him. He's already got the ability to dominate the midfield against top opposition. He won't play a big part this sunday though. Armand Traore is another name that springs to mind.

SK: Where do you think Arsenal will finish this season?

Dicko: 1st

Maradona: 2nd maybe Champions

StuartL: 1st or 2nd

Dennis10: First or second. Honestly.

SK: And Liverpool - where will we finish?

Dicko: 3rd

Maradona: 4th at best if current form is a guide, but then again you will not have the distraction of the CL.

StuartL: I think 3rd providing you can find and stick to a settled team.

Dennis10: 3rd of 4th I reckon. You're not playing well, and even though you're unbeaten in the league, something has to change if you're gonna do better.

SK: Usmanov - does he make you wary of the future or are such big money investments the way forward?

Dicko: He won't get his hands on the club so it doesn't worry me, im very happy the way the club is currently being run.

Maradona: Don't need or want the likes of Yabba the Hut.

StuartL: We have no need for his money - Highbury will be redeveloped into modern appartments in a year or so, giving the club a large cash injection, coupled with the increase in revenue from Emirates attendances and corporate finances we will be financially secure without his money.

Dennis10: It is not the way of the furure in my opinion. Clubs will always strive to run themselves, and some restrictions will probably be introduced to prevent Abramoviches in the future. At least I hope so..

SK: Finally - care to predict the score?

Dicko: 1-1

Maradona: 2-1 Arsenal.

StuartL: Not something I do as a rule, I think it will be tight, probably 1-0 to us although I would be happy with a draw against you and a win v the Mancs.

Dennis10: Very difficult. I don't think you're playing well these days, but in big games, that tends to have little impact. If you win this you're on your way again, but I expect 1-1.

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Cheers for the decent responses, including a lot of the ones I didn't use - here's to a cracking six pointer whatever the outcome (as long as we win, obviously.)

© -HH- 2007

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