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Celtic/Arsenal: the score and match report before it happens

All tomorrow’s parties: the service that tells you the result before the game has kicked off.

You will be excused if you don’t know that Celtic are playing Arsenal tonight, as the BBC has ordered a virtual blackout of news on the game.

This follows the appalling embarrassment the Corporation faced after their “expert” Mark Lawrenson predicted an Everton win on saturday while this site predicted Everton 1 Arsenal 7

On Tuesday morning Radio 5’s only mention of the event was to note that it was on at the same time as a rock and roll concert at Ibrox, a ground which fell down sometime around 1900 because the wrong sort of pine was used. The BBC teletext service also has no mention of the game (although they do have the teams for all the lower league games being played).

But the news is Theo (who injured his back while sitting on the bench for England) is still out along of course with Djourou, Rosicky and Nasri. Cesc, Sagna and Denilson all have fitness tests on injuries, along with Diaby.

For this match last year we played FC Thirty managed by Mr Umbrella and the team was

Almunia
Sagna, Djourou, Gallas, Clichy
Walcott, Denilson, Ramsey, Eboue
Adebayor, Van Persie

This year we can add in Vermaelen, Vela, Eduardo, Wilshire, Song, Bendtner, and Silvestre plus the semi-injured group of Fabregas, and Diaby.

Who did I miss? Oh yes, Arshavin. So small I didn’t notice him.

So three out for sure (Ade, Theo, Djourou) and Song, Arshavin, Vermaelen in for sure, plus either Bendtner or Eduardo. Not bad. Average height 27 pints in old money. Weight: yes. Jumping: 4.

And now the score. The “All Tomorrow’s Party” group traveled to Celtic Park yesterday (it is in Glasgow) armed with our Collins “Scots Dictionary”, to scout out the options for this game of fitba (also known as fittie).

We approached the ground with the story that we were health and safety visitors from “down south” here to check that the ground was safer than Ibrox (having heard of its problems) but the bouncers “huckled” us out. We said they didn’t scare us, and (using the dictionary) announced that we thought the lads were a bit peely-wally, which the locals didn’t understand (must be my accent).

Facing each other I then had the insight to say that their ground was “pure dead brilliant” and on the basis of that use of the local patois we got into the ground. When challenged later we used the expedient of talking in rhyming slang and were immediately perceived to be from Arsenal.

So we did our work – installing invisible baffle boards around the perimeter of the pitch. These will keep the noise of the crowd down from the point of view of the players, and will be our secret weapon.

We then moved across the city to have a chat with U2 (a popular singing combo) and were told by natives of the Ibroxical Zone (as that part of the city is called) that the entire Celtic team kicks with the left foot. A quick message to the Arsenal training camp ensured that we shall be attacking on the right and will quickly go four up, before the opposition realise what is going on.

We were also informed that the nickname of Celtic is the Whoops, but I think that is bluster. Some Celtic supporters told us that the captain of Rangers is Attila, but I didn’t believe that either.

Still we expect the Celtic players to spend a lot of time looking around in a bemused manner, (what with the lack of noise and the left foot thing) and it is during such intervals that Arsenal will score. Towards the end we expect the barriers to be broken, the noise to seep through, and the Celtic team to respond with a goal.

The weather: plump

Result: Celtic 1 Arsenal 4
Scorers: Wilshire (6)
Man of the match: Gordon Strachan

Crossword answers
1 up: Catholic
1 down:very wet
1 sideways: pale, unhealthy looking
Appendix: Shetland celebration held every January.

Up Helly Aa
(c) Tony Attwood 2009

32 comments to Celtic/Arsenal: the score and match report before it happens

  • haho

    Mate, it is WilshEre… Not Wilshire.
    Great article again though.

  • ggs

    HaHa! what a pleasant post to read to calm my nerves this morning…
    Million thanks, Tony.

    I’m sure our boys will do us very proud.
    Shall get back here for celebration after the match!

  • LRV

    Very good post. I am feeling a little better already. I’ll take that result, no problems. As long as there is a 2 goal advantage. We must not concede more than 1 goal though.

  • Damn_Gallas

    The mail today is continuing with the silly stories as to why cesc will not play against Celitc tonight – it is because a 45million deal has been struck hahahah

    How do these people do it? really i mean what goes on in their heads to publish stupidity

  • Damn_Gallas

    Bit off topic I have spent the last few weeks copying my entire collection of Arsenal videos to DVD. I only have a couple left to copy and have to find the copy of 99/00 and then I’m done.
    I have watched in real time all Best of seasons from 86/87 through to 98/99 and other xmas editions/FA Cups/specials etc just to check they have copied okay to DVD.
    This has taken many many hours and I have enjoyed every minute but one of the best things which I had completely forgot about was the start of the 89/90 Season Review.
    Before the football starts there is a video of the team in a studio singing a song called We’re Back. (Very Stock, Aitkin,Waterman type tune)The team are all taking it seriously by singing their hearts out and Paul Davies busts some funky moves wearing his Simon Cowell style trousers.

    Anyone remember it?

  • KG

    a score draw will do very nicely tonight.

    [off-topic]
    @Damn_Gallas
    upload the videos dude, torrents, RS/MU/FileFactory links plz ;P.

  • Damn_Gallas

    @KG will try and do it after my holidays 😉

  • The Battered Bunnet

    Hi Tony,

    I think you’ve got the weather right!

    This is one of these great European ties where any result from 2-0 Celtic to 3-1 Arsenal is as likely as not. It’s a great pity that the outcome of the tie is quite so binary. This game should have been played in the group stage or later, but here we are: August, and it’s winner takes all.

    As you may recall, I’m a Celtic fan, and in common with quite a few others, am in a flux between anticipation and anxiety. I anticipate a cracking game, but fear a doing. Same as when any top European side comes to Celtic Park. And I mean that; Arsenal are a top European side.

    What Celtic are this season no one’s quite sure yet. If you had come up to Glasgow at any point in the past 8 years we would be able to confidently predict a narrow home win. That is our pattern against top European teams at Celtic Park.

    The thing that really makes this game quite so exciting, is that no one has a scooby what Mowbray’s team will look like, never mind how they’ll perform. There’ve been some promising signs of an intersting and unorthodox team being brought together, but a nagging doubt that there is sufficient strength in the team when the opposition have the ball.

    Throw in the remarkable score from Goodison on saturday, and only a fool would predict the score.

    So, 1-0 Celtic…

    Enjoy the city, the match, and the pubs before and after. Should be a trip to remember.

    TBB

    PS We owe you one for Martin Hayes!

  • Jonny Neale

    TBB – I think you should hope Mowbray does not make the mistake of trying to play too much football. Narrow 1-0 wins aren’t exactly his forte!

    Should be a good tie.

  • IndianGooner

    I’m optimistic of an easy Arsenal win by a 2goal margin…

  • Gerald

    The Walcott “injury, while on bench” thing should not be taken lightly. I believe that we could have won the league in 07/08 and last season, and the only reason we did not was that we missed key people at key times. I do not have the stats buy I would not be surprised if someone did the analysis (hint, hint, Tony) and it revealed that we have the lowest 1st team (or 1st 15) attendance of the top 10 clubs.

    And yes, I think Celtic will accept a 1-4: Everton did not, to their shame.

  • Marc

    It’s hard to predict the result tonight as you cannot compare the Celtic game to games against other domestic teams purely because the refereeing standards will be based on “European rules” where Celtic will not be allowed to just kick lumps out of us.

    I’m still quietly confident though.

  • Marc

    Tony – Sorry to go off topic (I seem to say that a lot!) but according to the Mirror Benitez has been told that there is only a transfer budget of £1.5 million available. Now Liverpool’s expenditure so far has been £20 million on the Italian guy and £18 million on Glenn Johnson, I’m sure there has been a couple of other minor transfers but I doubt they add up to much. They have received £30 million for Alonso, £3.5 million for a defender and the Johnson transfer included £7 odd million that Portsmouth owed Liverpool and couldn’t pay. This means that Liverpool can only afford to spend from sales.

    Now this leads me to 2 thoughts.

    i) Would David Dein care to explain to me why we need Usmanov in order to compete with Liverpool?

    ii)If Liverpool are to be locked into a cycle of having to raise income through sales to purchase players where does this leave them? Benitez hardly has a reputation of developing players or getting good value for money. In fact he seems to be more than happy to pay way over the odds in a lot of cases, this dramatically reduces the resale value of players. It is becoming clear that Liverpool’s financial problems have finally bitten. The general feeling in the media is that one of Villa, Everton or Man City are getting close to breaking into the top 4 (At Arsenal’s expense of course) but if you look at the Liverpool squad on Sunday they look to me to be easily the most venerable. What would happen to Liverpool if they were to fail to achieve CL football for a season or 2?

  • walter

    Thanks Tony now I can go and do my own match this evening in a peace of mind.
    The one thing I hate most is not being able to see a game and as I am a referee myself I’ve got a game this evening so when I play no extra time and take a very short shower I should be able to be home with som 10 minutes to play.
    Could you arrange us to score in those 10 minutes ? 😉

  • Jonny Neale

    Marc – if Liverpool fail to qualify even once I think it would probably spell big problems. Twice would be unthinkable and they would probably have to start selling players. We already know the repayment terms of their loan mean that they cannot spend it on strengthening the team. With City hovering menacingly and Villa, Everton & Spurs likely to prove tenacious this year you would have to say Arsenal are the only club out of the current top 4 who would cope well if they finished outside (though I do worry the DMs would force Wenger out or changes from the board).

    Sure, Chelsea would manage fine financially but imagine the gnashing of teeth and throwing of toys! It would be considered a disaster.

    With Man Utd or Liverpool however, it really would spell trouble with the financiers.

    There may be trouble ahead…

    (Lets hope so!)

  • Marc

    Johnny Neale – The implications might reach further than we think. With football clubs not the “attractive investment” they seemed a few years ago, if Liverpool got into real problems they might struggle for a buyer, or a buyer might try to get them on the cheap. The implications of a club like Liverpool going into administration are far reaching, Liverpool could survive the 10 point deduction providing a buyer came forward but what if the banks panic? Clubs that are viable and doing fine might get caught up in the panic as lenders call in there loans. ManU would be very exposed if this were to happen. You only have to look at the recent events in the banking industry to see how quickly and easily panic spreads.

  • I believe that the indicator here might be West Ham, and curiously, Chester. Although the way in which WHU have slithered to disaster is different from other clubs (in that they are owned by a bank that has itself gone bust), what eventually happens will give us a clue as to how the scenery looks.

    WHU might

    a) find a buyer who pays off enough debts to satisfy the football authorities (the “football debts”) and gives enough to the creditors of the bank to make them happy. This is what everyone associated with the bank and club wants, because it maximises the value and avoids any points penalty. In this state WHU might be valued at £100m (I really have no idea how much), instead of being worth a fraction of that in option b (below).

    b) go into liquidation along with the rest of the bank and its other diverse assets. It would then get a 10pt penalty, and look for a buyer of the remains – exactly as Leeds did.

    BUT (and you might disagree on this, or find it hard to swallow) the experience of Chester might be relevant. Chester is a total mess, but in order to allow them to continue, the FA and the Conference have broken a number of their own rules and regulations and given the club an ok to continue – although with a big points penalty. The argument drifted into the start of the season, but Chester’s current owners have won.

    In other words the FA/Conference have worked hard to keep the club alive in some form, even if so doing means breaking the rules.

    So, we should expect to see WHU, as with other clubs, survive somehow even with a points penalty. If Liverpool or Man U went the same way, they too would expect bending or breaking of all rules, a points penalty, and then carry on.

    The big difference of course is that carrying on without a big time owner means Leeds – a club that doesn’t have the Arsenal infrastructure of young players and world wide scouting, and no longer has the money to buy big. Leeds are in division 3 because they have no model to rebuild that which they lost.

    One final point – the FA/EPL are unlikely to enforce any sort of fit and proper person clauses. If we look down the league to Notts County, currently top of division 4, no one knows who owns them. And the FA are letting them get away with it. I suspect this model will be used again – and quite simply someone somewhere will say, “we are the only people who can take on this club and pay the football debts – but we are not going to tell you who we are”. The FA/EPL will then decide that that deal is better than none.

  • Adam Smith

    Tony,

    surely another couple of factors are that potential owners should be scrutinized more thoroughly by the FA,as to whether they really have the funds, as in the case of Portsmouth at the moment, and the other factor is how many billionaires really want to get involved in owning football clubs in this day and age.Surely it can’t be just for prestige, as they are not exactly big money earners.

  • Jonny Neale

    I just hope headlines like this

    http://www.football365.com/story/0,17033,8652_5498391,00.html

    will help the imbecilic section of The Arsenal fan spectrum to understand that we have a board who have the club’s long-term interests very much at heart. The achievements of the club over the last decade and a half are staggering.

    Especially when you consider the volatility of the financial doping that has gone around us.

    Some fans (and David Dein) think the only way to compete now is the Chelsea/Man City model (i.e. Usmanov) we must hope that Wenger is given the chance to prove them wrong. If for some reason we come away trophyless it would be a travesty and tragedy were the board and or manager be forced to abandon the brave but wise methodology they have implemented thus far.

    There is a plan in place and it is a good one. Barring something unforeseen we should stick together and see it through.

  • Thank you! You often write very interesting articles. You improved my mood.

  • Marc

    Johnny Neale – The 2 most annoying things about the link you posted are:

    i) I had Liverpool fans ram down my throat that Arsenal are broke -Liverpool have loads of money. Now they expect sympathy. Well sorry, you made your bed.

    ii) One of the comments in the link is somebody saying “What we need is a mega rich investor” to provide more funds. If football is to survive in England we need a model that not only encourages self sufficiency but demands it. Do these people never learn?

    Good result tonight – The team looks to be playing like they have something to prove to all of the doubters. Vermaelen looks to be one hell of a buy.

  • pig

    cracking piece tony. the mission impossible was accomplished. two sweet dollops of luck. it must have been the baffle boards.

    marc – is that a typo? cracked me up anyway.

    liverpools self inflicted financial woes pale into insignificance after the result tonite, we are all but guaranteed a place in the next bit.

  • walter

    Denilson still is useless, Vermaelen is still to short and Song is not good enough. 😉
    In dutch they call it “geluk afdwingen” and I dont know how you can translate this accuratly but you could say “we forced our luck”.
    Again another fine defensive display this time for the whole 95 minutes in a place where a lot of English clubs have struggeled.
    So I’m very pleased with the final result and long may it continue.

  • LRV

    I was nearly dying with the pin from my throat. What did I do? I just went ahead to make it worse. I predicted a 2 goals advantage. What a wonderful piece of luck that we have got it? absolutely brilliant.

    The FA, EPL, media and the football pundits are in denial about the true state of the financial doping that has gone on since the KGB invaded Fulham. But not to worry; the reality is crawling ever so slowly nearer to catching up with English football.

    If they use a back door way to help Manpoo or LiverpooInsolvency, the rest of the clubs who hve faced punishment should sue them.

  • Ian Trevett

    Anyone see the the match on Celtic TV, sorry I mean SKY SPORTS.
    All the commentators and pundits spoke continuously about plucky, unlucky Celtic, barely mentioning how a very young arsenal side silenced one of the most intimidating crowds in Europe.
    The panel was:
    Jamie Redknapp (Spurs player, son of Spurs manager)
    Glenn Hoddle (Spurs player, Spurs manager)
    Gordon Strachan (Celtic Manager)
    At least Redknapp eventually talked about the Arsenal performance. The rest of the commentary team were only interested in what Celtic could do do beat arsenal.
    Great spirit from the team. Vermaelen looks set to become a cult hero. Song, Fabregas and Denilson competed hard in midfield – Fabregas was everywhere. In fact all the team worked very hard. A good night.

  • Jonny Neale

    Walter are you being serious? Song was excellent – barring a couple of moments he was my contender for MOTM marginally behind the quite exceptional Vermalen.

    yes we had some luck but how many times on the way to winning the CL did Liverpool play awfully and scrape through (including the final itself)?

    We were solid today – and against an extremely spirited team who played very well indeed.

    Better to come I’m sure but I saw much to admire in all of the players you have highlighted.

  • Aaditya

    Don’t know if you guys have seen the Nike Pledges advert, but it’s really cool. Denilson’s pledge for the season is “to be my own shadow”. Says a lot about the way he goes about his business.

  • LRV

    Cesc, Song & Denilson were magnificent in midfield. The defence, Vermalen & Gallas could form a frightening partnership to worry the best of the Premiership. They were fantastic. And interestingly, the strikers are not firing yet. Can anyone guess what will happen when they start? Incredible thought.

  • Steve

    Aaditya;
    The advert is very good but Denilson says, “be your shadow”.

  • daokta

    A good game, a 2 goal cushion and NO injuries. Following on from the Everton game, I am trying hard to suppress my burgeoning expectations for this season. Oh it is good to be a gunner.

  • Adam Smith

    God how fickle can the media be.Hours before kick off one got the feeling ,not for the first time, that Arsenal would be lucky to survive the cauldron of Parkhead.
    i appreciate that was only Vermaelen’s second appearence, but he along with Gallas and Song were immense as was Fabregas.
    Yes, we were fortunate with both goals, but to me we were in control of the game from the start.We looked sharper, more urgency when chasing the ball and overall our pressing especially in defence was the key rather than celtic had a bad night.I had always thought that Wenger would outwit Mowbray, but the press and media will have none of it, as of course it was only Mowbray’s 4th game in charge.

    For an average Scottish team who hadn’t been beaten at home for close on 26 years,and had recently beaten Barcelona,Juve, AC Milan and United, these results were conviently forgotten.

    The only positives I heard where from Mowbray himself after the game together with a few Celtic fans, who all agreed we were a class above them.

    My only concern,was that as Fabregas was being nearly kicked off the park, it may have been wise to substitute him after our second goal.

  • IndianGooner

    My predictions came true… We won by a 2-goal margin!!!

    Adam Smith, It wasn’t just Cesc, RvP too got couple of kicks and at times I felt like Celtic didnt wanted to play Football… They were kicking whenever they can and moan when we tackled them!!!