by Andrew Crawshaw
Thanks to the requirements of Sky Sports, this coming Sunday I have to make a difficult choice. Our Mens first team game against Crystal Palace has been moved from Saturday 15:00 to Sunday 16:00 at the Emirates. Our Ladies first team FA Cup Semi-final against Sunderland is at Meadow Park Borehamwood on Sunday with a 14:00 kick-off. There is absolutely no way I can see both games live, by public transport it would take at least an hour to get between the two grounds.
Therefore I have had to make a choice as to which game I go to watch. I’m sorry Arsène but I will be watching the Ladies along with my wife (who wouldn’t entertain watching the men). You will simply have to manage without my vocal support (mind that is probably great news for those whose seats are immediately around mine).
I will still be voicing my full support for Arsenal Football Club, who I hold primarily responsible for this clash of fixtures. The Ladies play Sunderland who are probably the fourth best ladies team in the country at present, Arsenal, Chelsea and Man City being the top three and this game represents the Club’s only prospect of a trip to Wembley this year.
The game against Crystal Palace, will probably be the last example this year of a game being decided by the PGMO, I fully expect them to ensure that we lose another two or three points (The referees for the weekend have just been announced – Roger East with Mike Dean doing the whispering again so I expect another entry on the Hall of Shame.
Dean is a busy boy this weekend, in charge of the City game on Saturday then whispering on both Sunday and again on Monday for the Spurs match). After then, when we definitely won’t be able to overhaul Leicester, and Spurs will be established with a sufficient points lead over us to make second place mathematically unlikely for Arsenal, I would expect the refereeing to revert to being averagely bad rather than extreme giving us a real chance of fighting City for third and fourth place.
The Ladies haven’t yet really hit their best form this year, I’m not sure that the Manager, Pedro Losa, quite knows which players will make the best Team out of the plethora of talent that he has available. For nearly every position he has a choice of international player seeking to make the starting 11. Those on our substitutes bench would be automatic first choice players for virtually every other team in the country. Fourteen members of our squad have been called up for senior Internationals between April 8 and 12. Hopefully they return fit, well and raring to go on Sunday.
There is also a completely different atmosphere at Ladies games, the players are quite happy to talk to fans and sign autographs, pose for selfies etc after the game, which is really refreshing. England International Jodie Taylor who was introduced as an Arsenal player before the last game, was circulating among the crowd before the match. With a crowd of a thousand or so it is possible; sixty thousand at the emirates it simply couldn’t happen, let alone the players handlers never allowing it in the first place.
A win on Sunday will set up a Wembley final with either Chelsea or Man City on May 14 with a 14:00 kick-off. We will be there to encourage our team to make that happen.
For me, the more I look at the aspects of the Club not directly part of the men’s first team set up the more impressed I am. We have a wonderful academy set up taking talented boys and girls from the age of 8 and instilling in them the skills they need to progress and hopefully become professional players in their adult lives. Not all of them make it, but those willing to apply the lessons have every chance. Wilshere and Iwobi have both been with the club since 8 or 9 and in the Ladies team, Leah Williamson started age 9 and Chloe Kelly is also a product of our academy.
Our Arsenal in the Community team do fantastic work with all kinds of sport, education, health and inclusion programmes, often acting as a springboard to employment. The club also acts overseas, providing coaches, and pitches in many different parts of the world, most recently to two refugee camps for those displaced from Syria.
Even when out headline team doesn’t do as well as we would like, all of the other parts of the Club continue to function normally and there is always something to find out about and be proud of (even if we allow the opposition centre forward to score three goals). We should all stop beating ourselves up and be proud of our great Club.
We are The Arsenal
- Ref Review : Arsenal – Watford, a game of two halves…
- Do referees influence results or not?
- 36 points behind the leaders. More wishes to be wary of.
- If you love Arsenal, be careful what you wish for
- A selected anniversary from beyond football and a nice picture of the stadium and a train.
- Today’s Arsenal anniversaries and the Insult of the Day
- A list of the most recent posts from Untold and the Arsenal History Society
- Details of all the the books Untold Arsenal has published
Untold Arsenal has published five books on Arsenal – all are available as paperback and three are now available on Kindle. The books are
- The Arsenal Yankee by Danny Karbassiyoon with a foreword by Arsene Wenger.
- Arsenal: the long sleep 1953 – 1970; a view from the terrace. By John Sowman with an introduction by Bob Wilson.
- Woolwich Arsenal: The club that changed football. By Tony Attwood, Andy Kelly and Mark Andrews.
- Making the Arsenal: a novel by Tony Attwood.
- The Crowd at Woolwich Arsenal by Mark Andrews.
You can find details of all five on our new Arsenal Books page