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Arsenal set to play their first off-shore match of the season

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Ipswich vs Arsenal

A preview by our man with a spot: Billy the Dog

“The Gunners are firm favourites to progress to the Wembley showpiece after an impressive run through the competition so far.”

I copied that from the Sky Sports web site.  Gibberish isn’t it? I mean, my pet sheep could write better stuff than that, and she only speaks Greek.

What makes it worse is that I’m watching the match on Sky tonight, after my boat out to Ipswich was cancelled due to bad weather.   I know many people still hang to the old belief that Ipswich is the county town of Countyshire, but the truth is that 50 years ago it was towed off-shore in order to become a pirate radio station called Radio Caroline, named of course after Princess Michelle of Kent and her husband Tony Benn.

But I digress.   Nikky Bendtner is playing because the World Champion Coach of All Time said, he will rediscover his form when he plays a lot.  That means Robin and Marianne (are you sure of that spelling? – Tony) will be pulling on the big overcoats and huddling up.

As for Les Garçons Des Tractors (as they are often called by the Panamanian fishermen who service the island) they will have their Jewell in the stand (he’s not yet in charge, although goodness knows why).  Roy Keane will be walking his dog.  (Interestingly Ipswich beat Northampton in this cup, and Northampton beat Liverpool, so that tells you something about dog walking).

Grant Leadbitter is banned, but Tottenham have rushed through approval so that their man Jake Livermore and Celtic defender Darren O’Dea can play despite being registered elsewhere.  Bit like old Sanchez playing for Leeds on saturday.  Goalkeeper Brian Murphy has twisted his ankle so can’t play, and goal-scoring maestro Algenon Fitzgibbon-Beater is on maternity leave.

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Winger Shane O’Connor has turned into a pizza while Luke Hyam is rested after a stirling performance in “Death in Venice” at the Ipswich Alhambra Theatre where he played Sheffield Wednesday, to much acclaim.

We don’t have Sebastien Squillaci and Bac Sagna is on his holidays but Aaron Ramsey is fit as a really fit thing who has been on a fitness machine.

Ignasi Miquel who is El Capitano of the Reservoir Dogs (is that really right? Tony) might get a game.  He has a high rating and people say he’s jolly good.  Mr Song might like a break too.

Ipswich will be giving away free muffins at half time to celebrate the anniversary of  the 15–1 defeat they suffered at the hands of the Corinthians  on New Year’s Day, 1910.  (If it was at the hands of Corinthians, doesn’t that mean Corinthians were playing rugby – Tony)

Yes that’s true Tony – Ipswich football club merged with Ipswich rugby club in 1886, and in fact I have to admit that the original Ipswich team was set up before Dial Square that became Arsenal – so age isn’t everything.  But they are a rugby playing side, so we can expect a lively encounter.   (Did you get that off Sky? – Tony)  Yes.

Which gives us


Eboue, Miquel or Djourou, Koscielny, Gibbs

Ramsey, Rosicky, Denilson (leaving Song and Cesc on the beach)

Walcott, Bendtner, Vela (Van P on the beach)

These are hot days for Ipswich and their vice presidents Nathanael Fromanteel Cobbold and his great aunt John Dupuis Cobbold will be handing out beefburgers at the away end before the game.

We should also remember Ipswich are not without their own successes.  In 1887 they beat Ipswich School to win the Suffolk Challenge Cup, but were knocked out by 93rd Highlanders the following week.

In fact not many people know about the Suffolk Highlands so I think we have a bit of sight seeing to do after the game.

The result:  Ipswich 3 tries 2 conversions, Arsenal a pint of whelks and a packet of fizzers.

Billy El Dog

PS: Did you see that they are showing The Men Who Talked to Goats on TV this week?

(Phil Gregory has gastroenteritissheepfluvaccinereaction)   (Are you sure about that? – Tony)

Do Arsenal really get more long term injuries than anyone else?

Snooping Around Fallen Angels and Obsolete Deamons

Arsenal v Leeds – the worst Arsenal match ever.  Ever!

Other trimmings from the bough of the great tree of football

The story of Fulham’s takeover of Arsenal

Our great and glorious past

39 comments to Arsenal set to play their first off-shore match of the season

  • tahsein

    sky sucks!
    billy the dog rocks!


  • Armin

    I just discovered miracle of button with crossed loudspeaker on my remote controller under which is written MUTE. So I can enjoy watching game without to listen:
    – “Alan don’t you think Bendtner bigest problem is that he is much better player in his head than he really is…”
    – “Even in this game Wenger show how little respect he have for competitions other than Champions League…”
    – “Seams to me Rosicky best days are far behind him…”

  • gandiv

    Thierry Henry to start up front tonight. I’m off to the bookies to put £10 on it.

  • gandiv

    to be honest Getting a bit worried about the Centre Back situation particularly as Wenger stated Djourou is only capable of 1 game a week. Realistically I think we need to buy a proven starter and start planning without Verm. If we get him back this season it is a bonus.If the Verminator gets back to full fitness we’ll have 5 and all we need to do is sell one in the summer. Better too many than not enough especially as we are still in all competitions. Song is an option but that will take away from our midfield and its not a long term option.MONTILER what do you think? We are all waiting for your opinions on the squad and on tonights match.

  • DogFace

    Excellent work Billy… and if I may add a bit to the pre-match build up:

    Tonights Officials are:

    Martin Atkinson
    Andy Garratt
    Peter Kirkup
    Andre Marriner

    Interestingly we see another situation for Arsenal where the 4th official in one match is the referee in the next (Andre Marriner in the WHU match on the weekend) – this is usually a bad omen, but I’ll get onto that, on Friday, with my usual RefWatch article for EPL fixtures. Also the appointment of Atkinson, a born raised and dyed in the wool Leeds fan, should raise a few eyebrows as he could conceivably do something to have a knock on effect on the FA Cup replay on Wednesday… for instance – he could turn a blind eye to violent play or whip out a 3 match ban for one of our star players – etc.

    So keep a beady eye on him!

  • RedGooner

    Hope we score early and make this easy. I can see Ipswitch parking a fleet of buses in front of the goal after the thrashing Chelski gave them the weekend and usualy when a team gets beaten like that they are hard to beat for awhile after.

    Its all about an early to knock the confidence right back out of them and make life easier for ourselves.

  • nicky

    I discovered the Mute button a long time ago. I use it whenever Sky’s Andy Gray is scheduled to appear.

  • A Casual Observer

    I stream it from Asia… it always cracks me up when the say Nas-are-ree. Even though I can’t understand a word (other than the player names) – it’s still way more informative than sky – they actually get annoyed when the ref makes a gaff – unlike Sky who gloss over it, inform you that it was the correct decision and go very quiet if there’s a replay.

  • dats

    I wouldn’t worry about Djourou only being able to play one match a week. Having been out for the best part of a year he must have about 50 games in hand!

  • “Luke Hyam is rested after a sterling performance in “Death in Venice” at the Ipswich Alhambra Theatre where he played Sheffield Wednesday, to much acclaim.”

    Well, I thought it was funny.

  • Anyway, next time we can do the Untold Awards. I am asking for categories first, then later nominations.

    The Untold Award for the worst TV commentator
    The Untold Award for the silliest newspaper journalist
    The Untold Award for being the biggest git on radio

    No one will give us an award so we can give them awards.

    Categories first please – nominations later.

  • Dark Prince

    Tony- that would be awesome!!
    I can contribute a few categories-
    – Worst Arsenal rumour of the year
    – Worst ref performance of the year
    – Best untold article of the month/year
    -Best Performance by Arsenal team during the year
    – also Best Arsenal goal of the year
    – Best rising youth player in the Arsenal Academy

    The Untold awards would be a hit!! 🙂

  • Wrenny

    How about:

    The Untold Award for services to Alex Ferguson

  • nicky

    How about
    The Untold Award for the most Damage to Opposition football boots by Arsenal limbs.

  • The Untold Award for getting the team more wrong in a prediction than anyone ever before. Djourou plays, Wilshere plays, Cesc plays, Arshavin plays.

    Never listen to Billy.

  • RedGooner

    Tony you could have a point about Billys team predictions.
    I reckon Mystic Megs job is safe for another while 🙂

  • A Casual Observer

    I am observing a very casual performance.

  • walter

    I think it is fair to say that we are in a dip for the moment.

  • gooner80

    I cant really take anything positive out of this result or performance no one played badly, I am not going t5o say anything bad but I dont feel good about this result

  • Mahesh

    Well, I guess we should stop trying to predict any kind of scoreline when Arsenal team is involved 🙂 In fact, any kind of expectation would be inappropriate as well! Damn, its getting harder everyday to predict whether we will win or lose… an early April’s fool today?

  • Sammy The Snake

    For those looking for fixed games, take a close inspection of tonight’s game. Arsenal didn’t even try, and this played so well for gambling sites that were saying a high scoring was on the cards. Can you imagine the money they made on this game?! We hardly had a serious shot on target. So happy I don’t put money on games, but a whole lot have been suckered tonight (fixed or not).
    Best I shut up now…

  • merakis

    that was a hideous performance well done ipswich – they deserve to go thru

  • A Casual Observer

    I understand the tactics Walter – go out and have a kick around and a draw is good enough because we’ll destroy them at the Emirates. But that performance was just a bit disrespectful to Ipswich and the travelling fans – and now they have something to defend.

    Very, very poor – any critisism over this match is well deserved.

  • walter

    Let us hope that we can find our best form and certainly our goal scoring form back as soon as possible. 1 goal in 3 games is not good for the moment.
    But the good thing is that we can set things right in 14 days time. We better set them right.

  • merakis

    Arsenal’s performance on high balls was embarassing tonight. It only makes me more frustrated seeing them lose goals and possession from long balls against them and Wenger refusing to spend the money. Most of this Arsenal team minus Nasri smoked Chelsea, so there’s little excuse as to why they shouldn’t have dispatched with Ipswich. But credit to Ipswich, they were very strong tonight, and let’s see how they fare at the Emirates.

  • DogFace

    @Sammy The Snake

    I layed the gunners and coined it off this match… still pissed off though – can I have my 90 minutes back?

  • critic

    will we ever build sumkind of momentum?this was near full strength team and they still lost to…errr…eyespies??
    We can’t even beat bottom league 2 side and stil are conteders to pl.,..cheers…

  • merakis

    Arsene Wenger – you sir are simply not good enough. Be a man and resign tonight, you are killing Arsenal Football Club

    nd if nothing changes whose killing the club then TeeCee? Is it supporters who are afraid to question or criticize the actions and motives of those who employ Mr. Wenger? Or are you just witnesses who look the other way?

    In all seriousness provide one piece of factualevidence you have not furninshed by the Arsenal Board itself that under a new manager the invetsment needed to take this team forward from here will be made?

    Just the one TeeCee. One piece of evidence that the Board actually will shift the wage policy so we can pay for players better than Denilson and Bendtner and Squillaci and Eboue and many others. Just one piece of evidence that can be proven true that they will expand the transfer budget as required.

    You might be right about the manager – though I think you should have to some evidence supporting your view – but if you are in fact wrong will you have the courage to stand up and admit it? Or better still to go on and criticize the Board the same way you do the manager?

    To be honest its a Fucking Disgrace . Twice in the space of a few days we’ve underachieved
    and underformed against Championship teams , one of whom got thumped by the Chavs , and they’re supposed to be a team in crisis . Serious questions have to be asked . And some of them have to be pretty soul searching . You can perhaps allow for one shoddy off day , but two ?
    Ah , fuck it maybe we will trump in the second leg but seriously , we’re deluded if we think this team is going to do us proud this year .

  • Sammy The Snake

    King Kenny just lost his 2nd match in charge! The saviour ……. (fill in the blank)!
    Blackpoll hv done the double on Loserpool, and I feel much better now. Thank heavens we don’t support KOP.

  • Mahesh

    And just something to think about: The scoreline is similar to when we faced last time with Paul Jewell. That time we lost to Wigan 1:0 first leg. An omen?

  • critic

    u r quite right in ur suspicion…i think i shud stop wasting my tym on fixed premier league and it’s teams…

  • walter

    Oh my God and to think that I have to see this whole game again….

  • Keith

    You would have thought Wenger would have drummed it into them not to be complacent and think the games won by us just turning up!

    Our tactic of keeping a highline is undoing us we got caught on a number of occasions with a simple clearance over the top yet again. To keep repeating the same mistakes again and again is foolish.

  • DogFace

    We were playing for a draw Walter… as I expected – a zero effort performace in a busy schedule.

    It’s probably worth a mention that there is still another 90 minutes of this match yet to pay on our own turf.

    Fixed though… in a way I would say yes but there was a tactical reason alas it backfired!

  • Mandy Dodd

    At times, this team seem to go backwards. Laziness? Complacency? A dip in form? Lack of confidence (Arsha loks shot)? Something going on behind the scenes? The pitch? A general malaise? Lack of familiarity to changes? Saturn in conjunction with Venus?
    Whatever the issue, we really need to learn how to defend consistantly – and I think we need a new defender – and a top EPL ready one… as they grow on trees.
    Wenger needs to get to the bottom of these unacceptable performances that occur from time to time. Previous and recent Arsenal teams would have been 4 up at half time in this sort of game – but I guess this does not help now.
    I know it is not really the point after that performance – but we are going through on this one, although this lot seem to make things as difficult as possible.

  • martin

    Arshavin and Bendtner should be thoroughly ashamed with themselves. The rest were abject at best. Embarrassing.

  • Dale

    Three points at west ham and everything’s gd again. Ok, we would have liked to go into the second leg with an advantage but we’ll be ok.
    Disappointed Cesc didn’t shoot when clear on goal.

  • Ronnie Brown

    I don’t think the team were sharp today untill we went a goal down, then we started to look a lot more dangerous, practically the whole team were quite subpar, we have the opportunity to put it right in the next leg if we have a lot better attitude, we weren’t terrible for the most part but we need more urgency than was displayed today.

  • Geoff

    The whole debacle was too bad to even contemplate. Trying not be reactionary is hard after the pain of having to watch that. Players were rubbish and that is being kind. But there’s probably not a lot of accountability at any level within the club so it is not really surprising to me. A final couple of words though. Eboue, why?