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Portsmouth away: the teams, the details, the result but this time not the score.

Prologue from the Editor: I regret to say that a campaign has been launched by some of the lesser clubs in the league against our revealing the score before the matches happen.  They speak of lower crowds than might be expected if the result were not known, and demoralised players who realise they have no chance once our preview goes up.

After returning from a party with my 3 daughters and 4 grandchildren I have thought long and hard for about 2 seconds, and decided we should not print a score this time.

Portsmouth v Arsenal, by Phil Gregory.

Arsenal travel to Portsmouth on Wednesday to face the league’s bottom team in Avram Grant’s Pompey.

I have kept a keen eye on Pompey during the course of the season mainly due to how they were written off by most, and I actually felt they were in with a shot of staying up until recently. Many of their early games were write-offs, given the way they were still shipping players both out and in up until deadline day.

In many of their next games, they seemed genuinely hard done by, and I believed they would turn the corner and drag themselves to safety. Then I remembered their sizeable African contingent, and with the African Cup of Nations looming wrote them off too.

It’s always a shame to see a club go down, (except Liverpool – ed) but their demise is a reminder of how not to play the transfer market. While it may be fashionable amongst Arsenal fans to blame Redknapp, it wasn’t he who signed off the cheques, but the Chief Executive.

Recent form:

Arsenal have put themselves right back up there in the title fight with some great recent results. The turn-around at Anfield and the resounding 3-0 win over top four hopefuls Villa would be the recent highlights for any Arsenal fan, but three points is three points whoever you play, and we need to maintain our consistency.

Portsmouth are having a tough time of it at home, winning a mere three of nine, with six defeats.  Just 12 goals scored at Fratton mark underlines the fact that Pompey  aren’t scoring enough to win games, while the defence haven’t been too impressive either.

Injuries:

Unfortunately, we are without Fabregas for another three weeks. Given that it was either three weeks or a few days depending on the nature of the problem I dare say with our luck we were all resigned to the worst.

Rosicky, Clichy and Bendtner are all out until the early stages of January while long-term absentees Van Persie and Djourou remain on the treatment table. Englishman Gibbs is also continuing his recovery from a metatarsal injury, and is looking at a February return.

Portsmouth are without the increasingly injury-prone David James, with Asmir Begovic likely to deputise.

Key men:

Arsenal will look towards the creative duo of Nasri and Arshavin to take up the playmaker mantle in the absence of Fabregas. The Spaniard’s influence was plain to see when he entered the fray against Aston Villa, and it remains to be seen whether we can cope without him in the big games, with a tie against Manchester United looming in two weeks time.

Almunia looked like a man on the up against Villa, despite having little to do. He needed the confidence boost his penalty save against Hull brought, so lets hope he returns to last season’s impressive form.

Portsmouth‘s on-loan French striker, Piquionne has done well, adapting to a new team and league during tough times on the south coast. He has started to find the net more frequently, scoring against Liverpool and Chelsea recently.

Tough-tackling Portsmouth captain Michael Brown will be looking to disrupt the flow of Arsenal’;s passing game, and with his past history of double footed challenges and head butts, his pedigree in terms of the dirtier side of the game is never in doubt. A hard-working central midfield player, Brown will be an imposing prospect for Denilson or Ramsey, though I’d back either of Diaby and Song to give back as good as they get!

Arsenal predicted line-up:

Almunia

Sagna Gallas Vermaelen Traore

Song

Denilson Diaby

Nasri Eduardo Arshavin

Subs: Fabianksi, Ramsey, Silvestre, Wilshere, Vela, Eboue, Merida.

The back five pretty much picks itself, though Eboue could play instead of Sagna in order to rest the Frenchman prior to Eboue’s departure to Angola.

The midfield is likely to be the same as what started against Villa, though young Welshman Aaron Ramsey may be given the opportunity to playmake. Up front, Eduardo is flanked by Nasri and Arshavin.

Despite the injuries, there are options on the bench. Walcott was impressive coming off the bench at  the weekend, though unless we score, he is unlikely to find the space there for his pace to exploit.

Prediction:

It should be a win, Pompey are poor at home, but we are missing our two best players in Fabregas and Van Persie. The midfield allies strength with Brazilian finesse but Denilson is no Fabregas and could struggle to open up a massed Portsmouth defence if they try to park the bus.

Aaron Ramsey has the range of passing to create openings, but it is open to question whether he has shown what he can do away from home for the Arsenal.

I unfortunately won’t be bringing you an article for the FA Cup game at the weekend, but will be back for Bolton at home next week.

Phil Gregory is a 20 year old student at the University of Leeds. Studying Economics and French, he’s been a Gunner since he got interested in football at a young age, and is often sighted at the away games in the North and Midlands.

Epilogue (Did you know this is the only football blog ever to publish a prologue and an epilogue.  Suave or what?)

MAKING THE ARSENAL, has been described by the editor of this blog as “The best book I have ever read.”   The fact that he also wrote it has not coloured his judgement one millimeter.  You can buy it at www.amazon.co.uk or from the publishers where you will also find more details.

44 comments to Portsmouth away: the teams, the details, the result but this time not the score.

  • FunGunner

    Denilson is injured. Eboue has already left for the ACN. We do not yet know how long Cesc will be out for.

  • parta

    SONG AND EBOUE OUT FOR ACN WE NEED A QUALITY MIDFIELDER AS WELL AS A
    GOOD STRIKER IN THIS JANUARY.

  • Marc

    Tony – It’s nice to know theirs someone else out there not fooled by the “cheeky scouser” act. The PL, England and European football will be well rid of this so called great club and their fans.

  • Phil Gregory

    Spot on FunGunner, a slip on my behalf there. Nasri to play centrally, and Theo to start unless Wenger trusts Ramsey away from home. We really are down to the bare bones up front. With Eboue absent too I’m struggling to fill the bench: Emmanuel-Thomas perhaps?

  • walter

    Song has got permission for 2 more games ? Thank God and the Cameroon federation

  • my expected line up,with Denilson injured

    Alumunia

    Sagna Gallas Vamaleen Traore

    Walcot Diaby Ramsey Song

    Nasri Eduado Arshavin

  • Bux

    I like our chances if they let us play with 12.

  • Don't believe the hype

    Phil, he trusted Ramsey to play DM for the first time away at Wolves, so with Song and Diaby next to him, I don’t see why he would not be given a chance again.

  • Lol tony.. I guess the bookies will get a breather now.. but its always fun to get some good odds here.. on a more serious note I personally think Ramsey should come in next game.. A midfield trio of diaby denilson and song will be a bit sluggish.. Its time for Ramsey to make his bones and I trust he’ll come good tomorrow considering his precocity..

    @Hillary.. You sure you dont wanna knock off a palyer from your lineup mate?

  • Phil Gregory

    Dont Believe the Hype: I agree, but Arsene went Diaby, Denilson Song when at home more recently. Then , I too expected him to introduce Ramsey as the most “Like for like” stand-in for cesc, but it didn’t happen. Song will hold, but whether it’ll be Nasri or Ramsey central remains to be seen. If it were me, I’d play Ramsey, so Theo can come off the bench. He looked so much more effective like that and unless we are winning, he just won’t have the space to exploit like he did vs Villa.

    I’m going to settle for 2-0 to the Arsenal. Pompey are poor at home, but we are without Cesc and RvP which hits our chances of scoring big. A solid win, but not a massacre.

  • Phil…

    The whole point of the deeply philosophical and moving “Editor’s Prologue” (the first ever event of its kind on an Arsenal blog) was that we were not putting in a prediction this week.

    My entire piece was based on that fact. Indeed my entire reputation as a psychic blogger is based on that little jokette.

    And now you have wrecked the entire operation by making a prediction.

    How could you do such a thing? How could you ruin my reputation? My entire career blown in one casual sentence.

    I am distraught, dismayed, defeated, discombobulated (whatever that means) and lots of other words starting with “d”.

    This is the end. I shall now retire to a hermit’s cave on Guernsey where I shall act as a lawyer for that awfully nice Mr Bates, and the owners of various football clubs too numerous to mention.

    Oh woe, woe and thrice woe.

    (exits stage right sobbing).

  • Don't believe the hype

    Phil, Denilson was not available for that Wolves game and since he is not available for Portsmouth, that is why I am anticipating a start for Ramsey. I think Arsene’s first choice midfield is between Song, Cesc, Denilson, and Diaby. If Rosicky had been playing regularly, he would be a natural to cover the Cesc role in midfield, but having just returned from injury he may only make a brief substitute appearance tomorrow and perhaps play a more prominent role in the FAC.

  • Peter

    Arsene Wenger has been following kompany since he was 15,he was described as the new beckenbeur/baresi,u think vermealan can attack,kompany can dribble,take free kicks,versatille-equally adapt in central midfield as well as centre back,he is belgian! imagine a fit kompany and vermelan,that gives me chills just thinking about that,he is quite cheap,young,tall,and as u mentioned city will be willing to deal with us i believe,i would love us to steal kompany,de jong and roque santa cruz,micah richards,i believe its not impossible,cos they have ade,bellamy,tevez,benjani and gorrido, in midfield barry,ireland,likely to sign another central midfielder too,and in defence they have lescott,toure,onohou and with their money and new manager likely to sign another defender,micah will be sold off or benched anyway imo,so…another player id love to come to us in petrov,man he can play,sadly recently he has been given games again,but if we could get him in,wow! given would amazing too,but…,it seems to me man city have the answers to our problem,they have without doubt the best squad in the country,just need time to gel,i hope wenger does something i.e. sign players to counter them and tottenhams revival,and take advantage of utd,chelsea and liverpools drop in standards,for me however takes this title has a major chance of continuing their dominance for years to come,cos in football pyschology and momentum is 50%,so once a team gets accustomed to winning,and do the necessary adjustments i.e. sell deadwood,and bring fresh blood in the windows,then when other teams come to play them theyd be playing with caution,worried to try wild things,which is what cristiano ronaldo used to do to defences,now with him it was also this,u tackle him he dives,he gets a penalty,he gets passed u for a second,its a goal he gets set piece its a goal,against milan and barca he couldnt do it,cos they’re phsycologically strong,they have no fear,to lead a team of phsycholigicaly strong warriors,u need a general,we had vieira,i think we need yahya toure,diabys coming good,but only in an attacking sense,we have cesc for that,song needs support,we need variation,we need crosses,overhead kicks,headers,free kicks,dribbling,tricks,long range shots,deep passes from midfield,counter attacking ala invincibles,we need aerially strong defenders,we need warriors who will get the oppostion shaking when its corners. yahya toure as we saw against man utd in the cl final holding ronaldo at bay and others,he can play centreback if needed,he can play deep in midfield and higher up,trust me he can also take freekicks,he is the man! kompany can play those two positions too! arda turan check him on utube,great!upfront,im not really in favour of a giant striker,cos they lack the mobility for counter attacks,henrys height was just right,torres is the best striker in the world,not to tall or too short,he is balanced excellently,i said roque santa will be good,i mean id prefer him to over spending on dzeko,the overrated adebayor like chamakh,the overrated sicknote carlton cole,the problomatic but world class adraino,but that says alot for the standards in football,u either get tall and lack of pace,or small pacey with lack of power,gallas is fast but lacks aerial ability,jt is good aerially but lacks pace,yesterday jaap stam,dessailly,baresi,sol campbell had both,so anyway in goal lloris,afkineev,or my favourtie frey

  • sulenan

    Last season I said Wenger should go by Xmas if we were in the same position as we were then. You may have been laughing at this but a lot of real fans were not. Remember its about supporting AFC on AW! We were crap last season and only the arrival of Arshavin salvaged our season. Well, surprisingly Wenger has us in 2nd place in the Prem this Xmas. So the answer Mo is that he has earned himself a reprieve and he should carry on his job – for now! The bigger question Mo is can Wenger actually convert a strong position into a winning one? We have been here before and he has screwed up. This season the usual suspects Chavs, Manure and Lpool are looking inconsisent. Nows our chance to move in. Can Wenger actually win a title again or will we be forever the “neutrals favourites”? Can he motivate the players and get tactics right for big games? will he make one or two killer purchases to give us the strengtth we need? He still has all this to prove and cannot rely on very past glories. I would rather be winners than favourites!

    If Citeh have a clear out I wonder if a bid for Given might be feasible? Apparently he is upset about Hughes going. The Citeh position could generate a bit of a transfer merry go round generally in the Jan market. Some of that may good for us if Wenger pulls his finger out. Good see what most people knew about Adebarndoor is proving true. The guy is a waster. He is probably on the phone to Milan and Madrid this morning! One thing we can thank Hughes for is taking him off our hands for such a great price. The only thing thats a bit sad about the Citeh position is Kolo Toure. He has declined a lot. I think when he came back from the last ANC he was never the same player after malaria and other injuries. It is a pity cos I will always rememeber is athlethicism and strength in the previous seasons and that he seemed to be a genuine bloke.

    Its incredible. After 5 years our team has at best not progressed at worse gone backwards yet we have clowns like Moshea on here picking fights with real long term attending fans who have seen it all. Who has master minded this 5 year transition? who has deliberately depleted the squad of experience and strength? who has filled the team with overpaid dross or unproven kids? who has made the team tactically clueless at defending and set pieces? who has instilled a petulant arrogant attitude in the team whereby they cant do a professional job to either see of supposedly inferior opposition or wont fight against big teams? who “surprises” the team with only bollocking them once this season so far? who has stuck with players like Almunia and Eboue when there has been clearly obvious affordable replacements in the market (Jeff thanks for putting Moshea right on Given)? who comes out with embarrasing moaning drivel evertime we dont win? who is so clever that his statements cannot be taken at face value by the club’s fans cos we are not worthy of honest explanations in return for our emotional and financial support?…WENGER is! Moshea thanks for telling us that its the likes of Jeff and I who attend, shout our support for the team and pay through the nose to follow, that we are the problem! The Ed on here obviously gives you special privalege to be abusive and just totally ignorant. You are far worse than Shifty ever was. Strange how you get away with it?

  • Tommo

    @Tony – might I suggest disheartened, downtrodden, dejected, depressed and distressed? There are a few beginning with D come to think of it. How odd. 🙂

    Anyhow, it should by rights be a foregone conclusion given the relative qualitites of the two squads, but you can never be completely sure with football. I’m hoping we give Pompey a good old fashioned tanking. Looking forward immensely to Diaby’s continued emergence as a midfield powerhouse.

  • Hartwick89

    Phil & Tony,

    My deepest regrets for a post I submitted a while back. It was on a previous prediction vs. Chelsea. I was rude and ignorant due to the fact that brilliantly in this post you have posted the prologue and epilogue. In both it explains much! Also, I might add that being very new to this brilliant blog and more my aggressive nature was due to past Arsenal sites that irritated me. As such, Phil I encourage your great insight at such a young age. Keep it up man cause you are spot on! @Tony what a great place and forum you have created! It is just what a genuine Gunner fan needs. My motto on other sites is “My Team is Arsenal, My Manager is Arsene, And I bleed Red & White…This year is the year of the Quattro…EPL title, CL Title, FA Title, & League Cup!” Every year I hope for the quattro! And, even if it doesn’t happen I love the Gunners just the same!

  • Mark

    I think Pompey will win 1-0.

    After the heroics of the last 2 games I think the players will be deflated, and Pompey are playing well under a good manager.

    Call me a Cassandra, but I think this is where we will see that we are a top three team, but not yet at the pinnacle.

    As AW says, its the most consistent team that will win the league….

  • Getty

    Mark, are you playing devil’s advocate, or ManIOU’s fan in disguise? How can a fan predict a loss? If Pompey is that good, how come they are rooted at the bottom of the table?

    I should mention that teams generally get deflated when they lose 2 in the row not when they win 2 in the row. If you meant complacent, may be you have a point. Even then, you should pray that they don’t. I can’t make out what you’re trying to say in the last 2 sentences, but sound a bit contradictory.

  • Mark

    No, its just my opinion, no third parties involved.

    I thought we would beat Villa 4-0, but I didn’t say that because I would hate to raise expectations.

    I just feel that the team has produced two monumental games on the back of the Chelsea game, which I remember absolutely nothing of.
    So the team has really overdelivered, and now here comes an away trip to a bottom of the league club, reinvigorated under a new manager, not a bad team anyway, just got off to a terrible start to the season…….it all spells Banana skin to me.

    And I just wonder if the team have the mental maturity to deal with it.

    Man U are past masters at grinding out results.
    Chelsea can bludgeon their way to victory too.

    But I think we are a season short of the maturity to win the league.

    Purely my opinions. Am I allowed them?

  • Hartwick89

    PORTSMOUTH
    No. NAME POS
    31 Asmir Begovic (G)
    26 Tal Ben-Haim (CD-L)
    3 Younes Kaboul (CD-R)
    7 Hermann Hreidarsson (LB)
    16 Steve Finnan (RB)
    6 Hayden Mullins (CM-L)
    11 Michael Brown (CM-R)
    5 Jamie O’Hara (AM)
    39 Nadir Belhadj (LM)
    9 Frederic Piquionne (RM)
    24 Aruna Dindane (ST)
    4-0 huh? Well now you speak? Look through this lineup (-)Ohara and where do you get that result? So now that we hear your opinion Let’s see how it stacks I can’t wait.

  • Mark

    Football is a team sport.
    In any team the whole can be greater than the sum of the parts.

    That is why AW believes in keeping the same group of players together.

    He puts out a unit.

    Dindane is a tricky customer, you obviously don’t like him though Hartwicke.

    Anyway, my belief is that you underestimate any opponent at your peril.

    I had no idea that there was a policy on the blog of “Any prediction is acceptable, just so long as it predicts a win for Us”.

  • AnonymousGun

    You hate to raise morale of the team so you crushed their morale with doom and gloom?

    What a nice fan you are.

  • Getty

    Mark, I was just not sure where you were coming from. Banana skin, possibly. I think this season all the top teams have struggled away a bit though. Now November (not that I’m superstitious, injury, international break etc…) is firmly in the rear view mirror, and some players looking sharper, I fancy our chances. Arshavin, Edwardo, and Walcott are due some goals.

  • Mark

    I don’t understand why my prediction is causing so much aggro.

    It’s as if I stand accused of some sort of heretical practice.

    Even Tony has hedged his bets…….”it should be a win”.

    I entirely agree with him. IT SHOULD BE A WIN.

    But I am just honest enough to say I can see the possibilty of us losing.

  • Mark

    Where I’m coming from is this Getty.

    THERE ARE NO EASY GAMES IN THE EPL.

    {{…………unless you are Man U, and you get a free pass to go from the Mick Mcarthy Community Chest……or you are Chelsea, who seem to attract referees with ‘get out of jail free’ cards in their pockets…….}}

    So there are some games where you think , “nailed-on win”.
    But I am not sure this is so easy, for all the reasons I have suggested above, plus Fab is out.

    Without Fab and VP, we have no present in-form goalscorer.

    Arshie has been blowing a bit hot and cold this season,
    Walcott is coming back from injury, I’m not sure whats wrong with Eduardo.

    So I’m just a bit wary.

    To use a tennis analogy, beating Liverpool / Villa is like breaking serve……but you still have to hold serve to make it mean anything,
    and holding serve is not always completely straightforward.

  • Mark

    If I have the power to crush the morale of the team AG, then I will also claim the power to energize their morale.

    I will be putting up my personal messages to the whole team shortly.

  • Mark

    Samir: I really admired the way you stamped on Hunt. Enough to send out a message, not so much to get yourself banned 3 games. That’s what I call boxing clever. It was classy, malicious and fun.
    I see you as guy with real emotional intelligence, able to lead this team, not as a captain, but as a navigator. You are quietly becoming very important in this team. Today we need you more than ever before. Today you can step out of the margins and on to the centre of the page. You are one of the best Samir…….and today I want you to play less for the team and more from your bag of tricks. You can go out and make the game happen. You are the best Samir!

  • Mark

    Eddie. We all feel your pain. Every time you go into a challenge, 60,000, or is that 6,000,000 of us wince. Every time a goalkeeper rushes at you, we hold our breathe, and look around for some half-arsed journalist, or slavering media pundit to come running onto the pitch to throw 300 red cards at you , and denounce you as the Great Satan responsible for global warming , the war in Afghanistan, and 33 global epidemics.

    Fuck em Eddie…….fuck em all. And score a few goals for us today.

  • Mark

    Andrei. I don’t care what you do today.I don’t care if you roll out a yoga mat and practise the lotus position and the crab for 45 minutes. And then recite Tolstoy to the South stand for the other 45 minutes.
    I don’t care if you bring your Nokia and twitter Osama Bin laden all game……or go on Facebook to tell Abrahamovich that one day soon you will defect, and cross the Stamford Wall at midnight.

    Everything is irrelevant if you provide us with 2 of your best, time stopping, consciousness-freezing thunderbolts.

    That’s all we ask Andrei.

  • Lhanre

    As much as i hate to think of Arsenal losing, I gotta say Mark might be on to something there… but then I’ld rather predict a win (even if its a Predict & Win competition and my clairvoyance points at a loss). 3:0 to the gunners!(or 0:3 considering its an away game).

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Why Mark ?Why ?Why all this negativity ?Have you not come to this site to praise the Arsenal ?Or is it to bury us ?How did your glass become half empty ?Wait – do you even have a glass ?C’mon young man , keep the the faith and remain positive.There are no easy games but we should prevail this time.Dindane is a handfull and will improve -I would love to see him at Arsenal – possibly in January 2010.2-0 to the Arsenal !

  • Mark

    BG..you are right.

    This game is a cakewalk, and we will saunter through.
    Bigger challenges lie ahead, but we will overcome.

    Nothing can stop the course Arsenal are set on.

    All the injuries cannot deplete us,
    Negativity cannot discourage us,
    We shall overcome.

    Vermaelen will wallop a brace, and Eddie will whack in another.

    3-1 to the Greatest Team In The World!

  • walter

    Tony is exiting… 😉

  • AnonymousGun

    Oh I assure you walter.. to be exiting from every single D&G bloggies into finding solace of positivity here only to find some D&Gers coming over here as well now >.>

  • This prediction business clearly has become very important so I am getting in the car and driving (even as I write this) to the Enfield Allotments to find Billy The Dog McGraw and get him to explain the whole business.

    Oh shit, I’ve just been arrested for driving a car while typing a blog message.

  • Wonderinggoon

    Droken-hearted. Dnnoyed. Drushed. Dorrified. Dickened.

    But Mr. Tony perhaps you shouldn’t have used the *efeated word. It’s u*lucky! *erases the jinx*

    Of course naturally there’s a chance we’ll l*se this Pompey game. There always is, but it’s no fun to really think that we will. Besides, taking everything into consideration *coughs* it’s likely that we will win. Big.

    So I’m going to ‘predict’ as well: a win by 4 goals for the Arsenal. 🙂

  • Flint McCullough

    From your 4:14am post you have much to learn, Hartwick89.

    I hope the team do not share your complacency.

    The one thing that makes English football special is that there are no easy games. Victory has to be earned in every case.

    It is not always the other team you have beat- the crowd (very relevant at Pompey, among the best, if not the best, in the PL), the pitch (it has been pissing down for 2 days), they have had an extra day to prepare & we are certain to be without several important players.

    O’Hara is a Spud, who was trained by us, that I actually rate quite highly. I was surprised that he was sent out on loan, perhaps ‘appy ‘arry doesn’t like him. Fortunately I believe that he is suspended for this game.

    This will be a tough, tough game in the circumstances of the night. One I expect to win but do not be surprised at any result tonight.

  • Cape Gooner

    Mark, I like your resolve to call it as you see it. I had similar reservations prior to the Burnley game.

    Portsmouth, or any EPL side, are good enough to beat us if we squander our chances and get poor refereeing decisions. However well they have played, Vermaelen and Gallas have both given away penalties and an own goal looms large in my memory.

    Of the 9 away games in the first half of the season, 4 were against teams that I would expect us to beat (away) at least two thirds of the time. We won 1 (Wolves), lost 1 (Sunderland) and drew 2 (WH and Burnley). These stats support a less optimistic point of view.

    I felt nervous before the Burnley game because we had not played well since the international break. That has changed, and I have great confidence for tonight. 5 – 1 is my prediction.

  • Jonny

    Wow! Lots of crazy people on Untold today!

    This could be a tricky tie but most importantly if we take it comfortably it will show the team is genuinely starting to believe. This to my mind is the only thing standing in the way of our success (AND INJURIES!!)

    Seriously though we (not Man City) have the best squad in the premiership we just need the boys to grab this vein of form, forget their fears and fucking run with it.

    Here’s some Arsenal porn to get you all in the mood

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/6907122/The-Arsenal-side-Arsne-Wenger-created-truly-were-the-Invincibles.html

  • walter

    If there is one thing I never do is making a prediction. The last time I did it … we lost the CL final. 🙁
    since then I vowed not to give predictions any more. I held my promise till a few weeks ago…. and we lost again. (Again CL and I had made sure that we would be trough to the next round anyway)
    So don’t ask me to predict any score line because the only score line I can give you is the one at the beginning : 0 – 0.
    From there on… who knows…
    But I’m always hopefull before any game. Hopefull but stressed.

    In our club we have our own competition and even if I am one of the most busy people over there I never enter any prediction.

    So every result when we win will do nicely for me never mind the score.

  • I think Rosicky is back, and will either play in this game or against three stops from Barking in the overhyped cup.

    Speaking of 3 stops from Barking (sometimes known as West Iceland) have they had the hearing yet regarding the dancing on the pitch that their fans did at the game against Millwall? If so I must have missed it.

  • Hartwick89

    @ Flint Just comparing line-up sheets…Doing the on paper thing. My O’Hara comment was (-) or he won’t be playing from my understanding. As far as implying that this game will be a cake walk or easy well it’s not going to be like playing against Chelsea, ManU, or even Aston Villa. As for complacency; Arsenal have always had a bit of a problem especially with the lower half of the table teams and I am the first to be cautious of that I was very critical with Phil prior to the Chelsea match because I just didn’t feel it. But, with the way this core is handling themselves at the moment I just feel they will perform today (tonite for UK folks). Lastly, I sensed from your comment a bit of a superiority complex about my lack of knowledge of English Football. I can always learn agreed!

  • SharkeySure

    The great thing these days is that we pretty much know that the team ‘will turn up’ for every game.

    We’ve got a real hunger ruinning thru the team now. My only concern is that up front we’re a little bit ‘short of something’ (not height I hasten to add) without RVP or Nik B.

    Currently we’re not holding the ball up there or even competing too well. Arshy blows hot and cold, Nasri lacks a bit of directness at times, and Eddy seems to have lost his confidence in front of goal.

    Good news is that Arsh can win any game no matter how poorly he’s played, Nasri can be areal livewire, and Eddie’s all round game is improving each time we see him.

    We really should get at them all guns blazing and finish it by half time, like in the good old days

  • SharkeySure

    Ps How lucky are we to have gotten a 3 day gap between our Xmas fixtures. I’m surprised that we haven’t had to take any flak over it to be honest !!