Today an acquaintance asked after Arsenal’s weekend opponents. After I explained the significance of this afternoon’s match he said “why worry, it is only a football game.” Firstly, this shows a total misunderstanding of the Raddy psyche, but more to the point, it indicates a lack of understanding of the nature of importance. Let us not be fooled, sex is not important (though the lack of it is!), breathing is not important (though the lack of it is!), what is important is that Arsenal finish the season above the Miscreants crawling their way out of N17. And beating Norwich is not just important - it is vital.
If one had to choose an opponent to play in this situation it would be a mid-table team who had an attacking, open footballing philosophy. Norwich fit the bill perfectly. We couldn’t have asked for better opponents. But ….. in recent seasons, we have seen an Arsenal team crumble under the weight of expectation so regularly that we can no longer trust them to take 3 points in these circumstances. Hence the nerves.
And there are nerves aplenty. Fans will be taking lucky routes to the ground, wearing lucky socks, knickers, shirts, hats, eating lucky sweets, drinking in lucky pubs, sitting in lucky seats etc etc. And from what I read on the site Corks will be much in evidence
What is needed today is strength of character. We are a better team in every area than Norwich and under normal circumstances 3 points would be de rigeur; should our boys perform there will be little of concern. Any doubts within the team must be dispelled -as such the team Leaders have to get in the faces of the more reticent players and fire them up.
We need some of this ….
with a large spoon of this
It is the time for RvP to lead from the front, for TV to inspire his defence and for Song to grab the game by the scruff of it’s neck . Time for our wingers to be lethal in front of goal and for our shots to be on target. No quarter must be given and every ball fought for. Norwich will not just cede 3 points, they can be a dangerous opponent. Concentration from the whole team is essential, and should things go awry we must find the Sagna spirit shown in the Spurs game.
…. none of this.
The team almost picks itself. We have a solid and dependable Back 5, with either Gibbs or Santos at LB depending upon the opposition. I would play Santos today.
One hopes that Mr Wenger decides to be more attacking at home and play O.C from the start but I cannot see him taking the risk. In such an important game it would be foolish to experiment and as such I expect him to play safe.
The last home game and therefore this season’s final Gooner. I think it should be a man who never gave up, a proper Gooner and a working class hero. To those of a certain age the Henry Cooper / Cassius Clay fight at Wembley is a stand out point in sporting history. Our ‘Enry was the first man to knock Clay down and had it not been for some Angelo Dundee skulduggery Cooper would have won. Instead he got badly injured and forced to retire. It was a special night and made ‘Enry’s ‘Ammer a household name. In the rematch at his beloved Highbury Stadium Cooper lost and soon after retired. Twice Sports Personality of the Year and made a Knight in 2000 (the only boxer ever to be knighted) Sir Henry Cooper remained a National Treasure until his death in 2011.
and most of all Our ‘Enry’s courage and determination
Once again faith will be the bedrock of our game – a belief that through teamwork Arsenal will win. And today even more than normal the fans have to be behind the team. No losing patience, no getting on the players backs – we need the type of atmosphere created against Spurs, Milan and City. To those lucky enough to be going – make it loud!
Today is the 900th game of Mr Wenger Arsenal career, it is also likely to be the final home game of Pat Rice’s working life at Arsenal. So, let’s win in style and give them something to remember .
Written by Big Raddy