Spyin' Kop - Arsenal away Sunday, 21 December, 2008

Posted by Raul. on December 18, 2008, 06:44:44 PM

vs

in the



at the



21 December, 2008

If our season has been a bit strange, with wins against some of the top teams and draws against those who might have been considered relatively easy roll overs, then spare a thought (or not, if you don’t want to) for those miserable inhabitants of North London who have the misfortune to support Arsenal.  Again, they have beaten both Manchester United and Chelsee-a, been hammered at home by Hull and have had a series of losses and draws against some mid and lower table teams.  Led by a once successful but now apparently increasingly mentally unstable manager (as would appear from the progressively more manic dancing on the sidelines towards the end of a game), they are a bunch of talented but inexperienced (not so) youngsters and that adds up to a side whose pendulum is swings between two indicators marked “sublime” on the one hand and “schoolboyish” on the other.

So what do we expect from them?  Who the hell knows?  They could pass us off the park, as they surely are hoping, or get ground to submission by a Liverpool side that at the moment would perhaps prefer to play away from home against a team that will come at them.  In any event, I would think that a relatively inconsequential draw, like the last time around in the League at Highbury, with Champions League issues weighing more heavily on Rafa Benitez, is not on the agenda.  Arsenal probably has to win this to keep serious hopes of a League challenge alive.  Liverpool has to win if it is to prevent its hordes of increasingly nervous supporters from biting each others’ heads off in a bizarrely interesting, league leading bout of group angst.

Should be fun, eh?

I went and asked the inhabitants of Online Gooner (http://www.onlinegooner.com/phpbb2/index.php) what they thought about us, them and the upcoming game.  A strangely aggressive bunch (perhaps that time of season?) they were and asked me a bunch of sometimes provocative but mostly clichéd questions back, which was a bit strange.  Our resident and long-suffering Gooner HagicHat also came back with some decent responses.  Here they are.

How has the season been shaping up so far for you? It looks a bit like ours from a distance with United and Chelsea accounted for but some average results against average teams...

Irish Gooner: Up and down season. Beat the good teams, lose to the shit ones.  Good news for you then.. 

QuartzGooner - NOT well. Couple of good league wins but overall defence is poor.

Yankee_Gooner_Dandee - We have no definsive midfielder with the loss of Flamini and Gilberto so Fabregas is left to do dirty work which limits his offensive capabilities and it clearly shows.

Stg - Average but with one major difference to yours at some points for a lot of this season we have had 7,8 or even 9 first team players out injured.

southampton goner - I's been a mix of great and shit. we can beat the Mancs and Chelsea scum but loose to ....well just about everyone else

MagicHat - Last year at Highbury repeat basically, great against big teams, lack of urgency against the others. Been frustrating and, at times, depressing.

IIts Up 4 Grabs Now - In truth, although for the 1st time in a long you’ve got a better team than us player for player, the main (maybe even only) difference between us this season has been when you’ve played shit you’ve still managed to dig in & pull out a result either through luck, graft, a never say die attitude or a combination of all three. We lost to Fulham, Hull & Stoke and never even looked like coming back once we went behind, you at least got yourselves a draw.

What are your expectations for this season? Have they changed from day one? Did you expect to kick on from last season or was the loss of Flamini and Hleb without replacement pretty much fatal?

Irish Gooner -  I didn't expect much to be fair. But 7 defeats and countless draws on the wrong side of Christmas has pissed me off.

QuartzGooner - Loss of three defensive midielders (Diarra, Flamini, Gilberto) without replacement was fatal. Nasri not as good as Hleb but scores more.

stg - 4th. NO. NO. We wont know untill the end of the season

southampton goner - I live in hope more than expectation and thats the same as day 1. I still dream of winnining everything but dont expect to win anything

MagicHat - Day 1, challenge for title, end of transfer window it came to "keep within decent distance of leaders till January." We have done that but too many defeats leave us little room. Hleb was always going to be a massive loss but lack of dm has destroyed the team's balance.

In these post-Henry times, who do you think is your most important player(s)? Fabregas by far or is someone giving him a run for his peseta?

Irish Gooner - Fabregas and Adebayor

QuartzGooner - Fabregas. Creative hub of the team, though has been poor this season after Euro 2008 highs.

Yankee_Gooner_Dandee - Van persie, Fabregas, Clichy, Adebayor and Sagna are the only ones you need to worry about. We also need to worry about Clichy because he makes mistakes time to time that are very costly.

Stg - Fabregas, Nasri (out injured), Walcott (out injured), Eduardo(out injured), Clichy, Sanga, Rosicky(out injured).

southampton goner - I dont think we have a star player this season and that may be the best and worst thin about us.

MagicHat - Ade for his goals, Arsenal fans may hate him but he has got 11 goals so far despite getting poor service.

Your worst player(s)? No points for saying Eboue.

Irish Gooner - I hate Silvestre so there you go.

QuartzGooner - Diaby very inconsistent. Denilson not ready yet but is a regular. Song not good enough yet either.

Yankee_Gooner_Dandee - Denilson, Song, Bendtner and Silvestre are all garbage. Almunia may be the second worst keeper in the prem behind Gomes scum.

Stg - Every player has their faults but while they wear the Arsenal shirt they are all great

southampton goner - See above

MagicHat - Pure form? Song, looked hapless and everything going wrong for Nic, decent player but doesn't look like scoring any time soon.

Do you have a particular memory of any previous meeting between our clubs? Say something that happened to you that day or a decision you disagreed with?

Irish Gooner - 2 stick out for me. We were robbed last season in Europe in both games. Kuyt hacked down Hleb and you got a Kop penalty.   2001 Cup final hurts me to this day. Henchoz handled on the line, but got away with it. 

QuartzGooner - 1989 at Anfield and 1971 and 1987 at Wembley.

Chippy - I've been to a fair few games v the Mousers in my time, including when i used to live in the NW and went to a number of games at Anfield. The 2 recent games that stick out for me are the 2001 cup final and the Highbury game in 2004.

The first was a sickener as we were by far the better team for 85 minutes and then let Owen score twice.

The second was a belter as we had just been dumped out of the FA Cup and CL and were 1-2 down at half time. It looked like we had gone from a possible treble to nothing in the space of a week. However this was one of Thierry Henry's finest games including a hatrick and a fabulous goal that left half the defence sitting on their arses. 

From my youth I cannot forget Charlie George's strike in the '71 Cup Final and i let everyone else remind you of May '89.


Rocky Number Seven - December 2001 always sticks in the memory for me. We were 6th - off the pace and travelling up to Anfield after beating Utd earlier on in the season but failing to build on that victory.

Gio Van Bronkhorst was sent off just before half-time and our defence was taking a battering. Then Freddie is brought down in the box and Henry converts in injury time. We come back out and just after the break Freddie latches onto a superb ball by Pires to slot the ball home before running to celebrate with the travelling Gooners. Arsenal cling on to eventually win 2-1 and Arsenals season takes a turn for the better - eventually going on to achieve a second Double under Wenger.

A similar result this weekend along with a run of form similar to the one in 01/02 would be the best christmas present.   

Stg - Three come to mind 89, the CL last season when the ref was wearing a l'poo kit under his shirt and the FA cup final when the ref missed you having 2 GK's on the field of play.

MagicHat - Mine has to be the Fa Cup final when, after we wasted chance after chance, Henchoz's great save and then, Liverpool's comeback. Owen's winner seemed to go in slow motion as he clear and then slipped it beyond England's number 1.

southampton goner - I think my 1st visit sticks with me. Travel club special train, being warned to move away from the windows as we got close cos the stones are about to hit us. Getting on the bus and passing all the houses with mums and kids standing at the pavement throwing insults at us and telling us to fuck off back to london.

Much has been made this year, as in most other years, about the youthfulness of your players and the need to give them time? Do you buy that or would you have liked to see a couple of experienced players come into the first team last summer?

Irish Gooner - Too much youth. Wenger is placing them under great pressure.  We need some old heads and peak players, not the likes of Silvestre.

QuartzGooner - Needed experienced centre back and defensive midfielder to strengthen spine of team. Failure to buy them has scuppered our season before it began.

Stg - We will answer that at the end of the season

southampton goner - Our team is young but loads of them have played in CL finals and FA cup finals etc. So we can’t use that excuse any more.

MagicHat - Don't buy it, most of our first choice is experienced enough. Squad players may be young in many cases and they deserve time but we need to buy a top quality cm, keeper, maybe a cb and another winger wouldn't go amiss.

What sort of line-up will be put out against us?

Irish Gooner -
                         Almunia

Sagna----Gallas------Djourou------Clichy

Eboue-------Cesc------Song------Denilson

                        Ade RVP

QuartzGooner - Too slow, lacking width and lacking experience.

stg one with 11 players on the pitch and one on the sidelines to give marks out of 10 for Gerrards diving

southampton goner - the best fit 11 we have.

MagicHat - Same players as against Boro I think, maybe with Diaby/Denilson dropped for Eboue, who would be rightwinger and Van Persie pushed out to left in 4-5-1 rather then 4-4-2.

Its Up 4 Grabs Now - Probably 4-5-1 unless Nasri’s back then maybe 4-4-2. Shame we haven’t got any wingers available cos your fullbacks (Dossena especially) are the shitest shade of shite.

Do you have any favourite/best chant(s) and perhaps any that require an explanation?

Irish Gooner -
Steve Gerrard, Gerrard,
He kisses the badge on his chest,
Then puts in a transfer request,
Steve Gerrard, Gerrard...2

"We pay your benefit,
We pay your benefit,
We pay your benefit,
We pay your benefit..."

"Where'd you rob,
Where'd you rob,
Where'd you rob your ticket from
Where'd you rob your ticket from!"

"(To the tune of You'll Never Walk Alone)
Sign on, sign on,
With a pen in your hand
'Cause you'll never get a job,
You'll never get a job."

Should I go on? 

QuartzGooner - "Gael Clichy, should have been number three." Respect for a very hard working player.

stg - Our chats are easy to understand and straight to the point

southampton goner - were not Xenophobic we just hate Ashley cole

MagicHat  - None really comes to mind

Its Up 4 Grabs Now- If you mean songs I’ve been waiting for someone - anyone! - to explain Alex Song to me for the last 2 years!!! Maybe as someone who had to endure Uncle Rigobert playing for your team you could be that person???

As for songs that we sing, our new favourite goes a little something like… “boooooooooooo.” You’ve obviously heard it cos I see you’ve already nicked it and started singing at your home games too!

Our fans are a bit schizophrenic this season with wild oscillations between predicting a league win on the one hand and the end of the world as we kknow it on the other. Where do you expect Arsenal - and Liverpool to finish in the Premier League?

Irish Gooner -  Arsenal 2nd, Liverpool 5th.

QuartzGooner - Arsenal fifth unless we buy in January, Liverpool to win league.

Yankee_Gooner_Dandee - We will finish 4th, Liverpool will finish 3rd. Shame too because out of the other "big three" I'd much rather you fucks win it than the other shitty options.

stg - L'poo 3rd or 4th, ARSENAL 3rd or 4th

MagicHat - Think lack of title challenge experience will cost Liverpool in the end but finish a close second or a close third. Arsenal? Depends on January as to how comfortably we get 4th place and how much of a late challenge we can hope to make on third.

southampton gooner - 3rd or 4th for both

Its up 4 grabs now - We’ll probably be struggling against Villa till late on in the season to secure 4th spot but you may well be joining us sooner or later. I can see your league position going down easier than Stevie G in the kop-end penalty box whenever anyone so much as farts in his vicinity. Not that I’m calling him a diver of course, he cant be… he’s English. Sort of.

3rd, 4th & 5th will be close between Liverpool, Arsenal & Villa… probably in that order.

Which Liverpool player will you fear the most?

Irish Gooner - Kuyt is lethal up front... 

QuartzGooner - Gerrard

Yankee_Gooner_Dandee - I reckon your team should play Kuyt on the right midfield role so that he can bother Clichy and keep Clichy back in defense.  I hate that fucking prick Gerrard but he does worry me. He will either score in the 90th minute or he will dive in the box a few times to draw a penalty and most likley succeed in doing so.

Stg going on privious meetings between the two clubs the L'poo player I fear the most is the ref

southampton gooner - I like and have always liked Torres

MagicHat - Almunia! The same player as always, Mascherano, can seem him dominating the midfield leaving us relying on Van Persie set play to score and our defence being overstretched.

Its Up 4 Grabs Now - We pretty much shoot ourselves in the foot more often than not so genuinely I fear our own players more than any of your lot.

Care to predict the score?

Karel - 1-1 draw. I fear Carragher will outmark Bentdner, all too simply. That will be all.   

QuartzGooner  - 1-1

Yankee_Gooner_Dandee - Score will either be 2-1 to the good or 2-1 to the scouse.

Stg - The only thing I am going to predict is that at least 500 'poo supporters will try and get into the ground without paying

southampton goner - No if I could I would be ritch and the bookies would've banned me.

MagicHat - 2-1 to Arsenal.

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