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ALL TOMORROW’S PARTIES: Arsenal/Celtic score + WHU/Millwall

Ah the joys of football.  A year ago, after seeing off the club curiously known as Steve Umbrella and having won 2 and lost 1 in the EPL we were written off.  A top four finish was not possible.  The end was nigh. Mid-table beckoned.  Aston “Hold Your Head” would overtake us.

And you know what?  Not a single one of the journalists who predicted that has apologised.  Still its fun to listen to Liverpudlian whines.

So, looking back a year, the second qualifying game of the Euro Cuppy Wuppy was against FC Twenty-two-and-a-half and we put out this team…

Almunia

Sagna, Gallas, Djourou, Clichy

Walcott, Fabregas (Song), Denilson, Nasri (Eboue)

Van Persie (Adebayor), Bendtner

Nasri, Gallas, Walcott and Bendtner scored.

From that starting line up we have lost Djourou, Walcott, Fabregas, Nasri.

We have gained Song (in the sense he is twice the player he was when he came on as a sub a year ago), Ramsey (ditto Song, although he didn’t get a game this time around), Diaby, Vermaelin, Arshavin, Wilshere, Merida, Gibbs, Silvestre.

(Vela is out for a month, Fabregas for ? just this game, Djourou for another 3 weeks, Nasri for another 5 weeks, and Walcott for another two weeks.  These figures are of course estimates – no one knows really, so actually as a paragraph this is actually not very helpful.  On the other hand Rosicky is back in training.)

Anyway, compared with a year back we have much tougher opposition, four players out and five in contention.  Plus the increased flexibility of the midfield, and the growth in ability of certain players.

I suspect that our forward three will see this as the chance to get going after a duff start (in terms of goals, not in terms of performance).  So that’s three goals.   A fourth from Denilson, and that gives us 4-0.  Gallas, deeply frustrated that he has not been able to score with his bottom will get caught upfield and out of position.  4-1.  Diaby will want to show this was no one-off performance (after being compared by Wenger to Vieira) and will score.  5-1 to the Arsenal.  Wave your scarf around a lot as per instructions.  Arshavin will then fancy two more for his hat-trick but the Lord Wenger will suggest that it is not a good idea to rub it in, so that will be that.

Meanwhile in other news the airwaves have been full of pundits strutting their stuff vis a vis Millwall and West Iceland.  One ex-copper came on and said that it wasn’t the police’s fault last night, because they were caught unawares.  If that was so, they were the only people in London who didn’t know.

The Millwall manager came on and said, quite truthfully, that there was not one Millwall supporter on the pitch, and then a West Iceland steward came on and said Millwall were not blameless, because they were goading the Iceland supporters.  Ah well, they are to blame then.  Taunting indeed.  Whatever next.

Meanwhile the Radio 5 “experts” (I don’t use the word in its dictionary sense) said that the FA will come down heavily on West Iceland and the police would take action against the supporters.

That would be the same use of “heavily” as seen in the Portsmouth v Tottenham game, when over 1000 Tiny Totts hurled homophobic abuse at Sol for 90 minutes, were filmed doing so, were watched by the police, were not arrested, and then, oh yes, four of them were put on trial.  I think we know what will happen next.  WHU get a warning, six fans will be banned for life.

What should happen, and it is only my opinion of course, is that West Iceland should be thrown out of the Little Cup, just as the Tiny Totts should have had 3 points removed for their fans behaviour at Portsmouth.  Just as the manager of Spain should have been kicked out for his racism against Henry.  Just as Serbia should not have been fined £16,000 for the disgusting racism of its fans, but should have been thrown out of the European and World cups for four years.

But of course none of this happens.  Life isn’t like that.  The authorities speak a good fight, and then effectively tolerate violence, racism and homophobia.

Even better for those in power, the event helps gloss over the very serious allegations being made against the police over their action against Sunderland supporters at Newcastle station at the start of the month, when police with batons and dogs are accused of attacking supporters.  They used a tactic that anyone who has been on a demonstration will have seen – a line of police in front of you, and a line behind and the two move together.  Two supporters received serious head wounds.

The police deny excessive violence, and their account is utterly different from that of supporters who have made numerous independent written statements.

One written statement, published in the Guardian, says, “The police, for reasons best known to themselves, launched a vicious assault on some of our fans with their batons and let their dogs repeatedly bite some of the fans who had already received severe head wounds or were already lying prone on the ground as a result of being caught up in the melee the police had created.”

The Independent Police Complaints Commissioner claims to have seen CCTV footage, which clears the police of wrongdoing, and instead they have praised the police’s courage.  However the Commissioner has refused to release the CCTV film (for operational reasons), and having been cleared the police have now put out press releases saying that four police dogs were attacked by fans.  The only CCTV that has been released shows fans waiting for trains – there is no sign of any violence.

Of course I wasn’t there – any more than I was at West Iceland, but I’ve been an away supporter enough to know what a mess most police operations are at football games.  But to be clear, I am not saying that the police are to blame.  Of course not – they didn’t invade the pitch last night (although reading the Sunderland reports I start to wonder if they didn’t start the fight in Newcastle).

What I am saying is that in my very personal opinion after a lifetime of football, and some years of political demonstrating in my youth, the police (at the events I have been at) are often woefully inadequately prepared and trained.  You only had to be at the Cardiff away game last season and walk out of the ground to witness that.  “C Division Close Up” screamed a Sargent.  “What’s that mean?” said the officer standing next to me to his mate.  That’s how it goes.

Meanwhile, to finish on happier news, Untold Arsenal has signed a deal for our bloggy things to be translated into Russian.  See this site, if you speak Russian that is.

http://www.arsenal-blog.ru/artview.php?id=14

And that’s about it.  Hardly worth going to the match tonight now you know the score.  Although since I have my ticket, and since Ian is driving, I guess I might as well toddle along.  I’ve got every result right so far, even if the scores have occasionally been marginally out.

(c) Tony Attwood 2009

Read it here first, then read it on Team Talk.

21 comments to ALL TOMORROW’S PARTIES: Arsenal/Celtic score + WHU/Millwall

  • TheSKAGooner

    Поздравления! Очень хорошо сделанный, чтобы перевести участок на русский язык. Я уверен, что все российские сторонники Арсенала оценят это.

    And, for the non-Russian speakers out there –

    Congratulations! Very well done to have the site translated into Russian. I am sure all Russian Arsenal supporters will appreciate it.

    🙂

  • ggs

    Thanks for the pleasant read this morning.
    And many congratulations on reaching to Russia! Hope this will give Russian gooners more balanced views on how Arsenal and other clubs are run and provide more positive outlook for all things Arsenal, not like other blogs feeding on the sensationalism and doom mongering.

    As for the tonight’s result – I’m quite nervous and hence find it hard to concentrate on my work right now (that’s why I’m writing this post, not working, ehem!), but am certain of a place in the CL, where we deservedly belong, at 21.30 tonight.

    Now I can understand 4 goals out of 5 – 3 from forwards and 1 from Diaby – but any reason behind predicting Denilson’s goal? I hope he scores as I want to see his dance move once again, but this time with a health warning of “do not follow” attached – some (gooner) friends of mine tried doing that and they got some headache afterwards!

    Have a good day all.

  • Adam Smith

    Tony,

    is there a clue or hidden meaning as to why the site is being translated into Russian, or is it because the Americans prefer soccer,tomatos,color etc. 🙂

    With regards to the disturbance at Upton Park, one should remember it started well outside the ground,pre meditated for sure,and not by teenagers.Is this not just the sign of the times that we now unfortunately live in, and the history of rivalry between the two clubs is just being used as an excuse

  • Faron

    “And you know what? Not a single one of the journalists who predicted that has apologised.”
    Tony, why do people have to apologise for an opinion they have?

    I agree with you on the punishments that west ham should recieve. This kind of thing needs to be dealt with quite aggressively.

    Police cant please anybody. If they go in hard on this type of behavior. they get told they are to rough and are told they are thugs themselves by Guardian/observer journo’s. if they’re not seen doing anything they get the blame for that too.

  • Faron: well, if as part of my job I say, “this is what will happen” and it doesn’t I generally admit I screwed up, say sorry, and then try and understand why I got it wrong. What I don’t do is say, “of course some people said this will happen” when it was me all the time.

    I guess I am just saying what I do, and being very big-headed and thinking others ought to do this as well.

    As for the Russian thing… what is happening is that thanks to the astonishingly high readership that this blog and the commentaries around it are now getting, I am starting to receive requests from people to reprint it on their sites, with acknowledgement. There have been several – but I was rather intrigued by the Russian one, because I can’t read a single word of it. Three of us in my office spent half an hour trying to guess words (without cheating and going back to the original).

    You can see just how our site has grown by looking at the counters on the right hand side. One of them started us out at number 120 or something, and we are now in the 20s, on another we are 12 and the one at the bottom has us in the top 5.

    Much of this is due to the high level of correspondence. While other blogs get loads of one liners, we get detailed argument and debate. That’s what brings people in.

  • Damn_Gallas

    “The United clash will give us far more of a clue as to whether Arsenal are going to be true challengers this season or whether they’ve been largely fortunate with the timings of their fixtures so far.” a quote from one of the idiot commentators – i agree to some bits but to not even give credit to us is just typical arsenal bashing.

  • Aaditya

    Why is WHU referred to as West Iceland United?

  • Aaditya: West Iceland is me being silly. I’ve given a number of teams stupid names, just for the sake of it.

    West Iceland is chosen because the club is owned by the Administrators of one of the bankrupt banks in Iceland, and they are desperately trying to get rid of it. Also known as “Two Stops From Barking”.

    Others are

    The Tiny Totts (Tottingham)
    Manchester IOU (Man U)
    The Insolvents (Liverpool)
    The KGB in Fulham (Chelsea)
    The Zebras (Newcastle)
    Manchester Arab (Man City)
    Hold Your Head (Aston Villa, on account of their tendency to get an ankle injury, and go down holding their head to get the match stopped when Arsenal are attacking).
    Notlob (Bolton)
    Rotational Fouling (Blackburn)
    Harrods (Fulham)
    Everton Anti-Gravity (after the way they threw things at the upper tier at the Ems and then got annoyed when they came down and hit them on the head)
    West Bromwich Wobbleyou

    Did I miss someone? Any other suggestions?

  • LRV

    Great news about the Russian translation which will afford our Russian Gunners the opportunity to get a more positively balanced view of their club rather than some myopic, IKB (I Know Better), opinionated view. I congratulate & welcome our Russian friends.

    I must admit that tonight’s match fills me with jitters. I know that we can & will win, but the Celtic guys may cause too much injury to our boys. I hope that we can win with a minimum of fuss. Another 2 – 0 win will do me nicely; though I am not averted to a bigger goal margin.

    The football authorities are always afraid of something when it comes to acting against football misdemeanours. When I was young, my parents drum it into me So many times that “A stitch in time saves nine.” It would seem to me that the football rulling bodies never heard of this. They almost always wait for things to escalate before taking inadequate actions.

    Not only have the Governing Bodies left room for all sorts of atrocities, they have also paved the way for cheating, especially with their stance on referees. Why do they often say that “referees are, after all, only human”? Does it mean that footballers are monkeys? Or that the huge number of fans are animals? If referees’ only excuse for spoiling the game and costing clubs unnecessary points and money, and causing so much heartache to the fans, whose money and support help ensure that the authorities have games to administer, is simply that they are human, one could then argue that monkeys will do a better job. Why is it so difficult to hold referees (and their assistants) accountable for their decisions on the football field? How can we hope to achieve respect for them when many of them earn none? Mark my words, the fans will get fed up one day and boycot all matches. Then the authorities will suddenly have a mess on their hands. You may say it will never happen but many things in life have happened despite people saying they will never happen.

  • walter

    Tony, I call Manchester City as Manchester Sjeiki.

  • walter

    About the referee thing that you mentionned LRV, here follows the view of…a referee.
    I can tell you that I was disgusted when two seasons ago we got all the wrong decisions about starting with the game in Birmingham. In the division I do my games (reserves – national youth – assistant in our county ) there is no nead to change anything. In these games the ref is a human being who can make mistakes. A player that shoots the ball over an empty goal will never get the stick compared to a ref that makes a mistake. I can explain some mistakes because of the position of the ref is always different then the position of the fans.

    But in competitions like CL and PL there should be a way to make things correct. I dove have some strong thoughts about it and maybe I can ask Tony if I can write them down so we could see if us fans could agree on those problems ?

    It would take me to long to write it here in a reply.

  • Walter – do send me your thoughts on refs, let’s see where it goes.

    Everyone – at 3.55pm I shut down the computer and start out for the match. Comments continue without me of course but if you have not commented before on Untold Arsenal, your post will be held until tomorrow morning. Likewise if you include a live link in your post, it will be held in moderation – and I suspect the same is true if you include at (at) symbol.

    Let’s hope it is a jolly discussion tomorrow eh?

    Now, no being naughty while the teacher is out of the room.
    Tony

  • Nick in Frankfurt

    Im surprised there hasnt been any talk of Arshavin filling the “Cesc role” while fab is out. Arshavin has played that posotion alot in russia and for the national team. With NikB, Edaurdo and VanP we have enough attackers. If Cesc is out for the man u game as well he might be a better bet than a young Ramsey or improving but still not there yet Diaby…

  • pig

    the newcastle sunderland thing sounds like the police used the ‘kettle’. this generally involves cornering the protesters, blocking all routes of escape, and then closing in until the protesters are confined in a very small place, hence the kettle.

    this is the same tactic they have used at the mayday protests in london every year. it is a tactic learned throughout the miners strike and then the newspaper strikes. there was a great series on bravo called ‘i predict a riot’ that goes through the whole history of protests/riots in the uk. one of the episodes concentrated on footy violence.

    i will happily take 5-1 tonight, although as my lad keeps telling me, all we have to do is not let a goal in.

    whatever else, we’ve got 90 minutes of class football ahead. a nice warm up fro the utd game at the weekend.

  • walter

    A few hours before kickoff, getting myself ready to make the match report for the gooners over here.
    Let the game begin. Lets see if Tony gets it right this time.

  • steww

    5 -1 you say Tony? Spot on as usual.

  • walter

    Again Wenger was sheating.
    No RVP, no Arshavin, no Cesc(offcourse) but still Celtic didn’t make any threat towards our goal. Except for the last minutes when playing with 10 man and when we turned off the enginge complete.
    We just seem to stop a few minutes before the real end of the game.

  • Aaditya

    funny story, Arsenal did win 5-1!

    Btw,
    I’m converting to Arsenism, which is basically devout religious following of the Supreme Exalted All-Knowing being that is Arsene Wenger. Anyone else wanna join?

  • LRV

    Well Tony, it’s a 5 – 1 aggregate score; 3 – 1 normal score. So we were both right. I got my 2 goal goody (if you take away the consolation goal) and you got the aggregate bang to rights. Anyway, congratulations to us all Arsenal fans for qualifying for the ECL for the 12th year in succession. Hurrah!

  • @Tony on the nicknames — u missed *gasp* Hull Spitty [how could u miss used car salesman Phil Orange err Brown];
    any nicknames yet for Wolves, Birmingham ‘cursed by Arsenal’ City [think about their owners], “mickey mouse cup giant killers” Burnley and Stoke City ?

    About 2nd leg with Celtic — u have only come to see Eboue, who got booked btw coz his inner-tee contained some scriblings.

  • Hi Tony, Thanks for your time earlier and thanks for making a star prediction which ruined my first day of the 2009/2010 season but hey ho things are slowly on the up now, and if I get a ticket to the Emirates on the 9th of Januray I will see you there. Regards Alan