By Billy the Dog McGraw
Ahoy there ship mates. We’re off to the pier.
OK if you don’t get that then you haven’t read your George Orwell, which is fair enough because it is only us old timers who still rate Mr O as one of the greatest writers in the language in the 20th century.
And if Orwell means nothing to you just think that he was the man who invented Room 101, Big Brother, and the great slogans of the Party:
“War is Peace; Freedom is Slavery; Ignorance is Strength.”
“Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past.”
“Big Brother is Watching You.”
Orwell is known best for “1984” (the Big Brother story in which the world is divided into three super powers with two at war with each other at all times) and “Animal Farm” but should also be remembered for The Road to Wigan Pier which is a stunning report on the living conditions amongst of the working classes in Lancashire and Yorkshire before the second world war. It is one of the most powerful and moving socialist manifestos of all time.
As for Arsenal’s road north, for once we are not the team with all the injuries. Wigan have Lopez, Watson, Miyaichi, and Crusat all definitely out, and tests pending on Caldwell, Ramis, Alcaraz and McCarthy.
We’ve got no new injuries so could well line up like this:
Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs
Oxlade-Chamberlain, Walcott, Podolski
That leaves Giroud on the beach, (presumably looking at Wigan Pier, which is actually by the canal).
Santi Cazorla should feel on top of the world after being given a football at the end of the last match, and Theo should play centre forward, although with lots of switching around.
We’re favourites to win, and the going prediction is 0-2 to us.
The last three games were:
- Arsenal 1 (Vermaelen) Wigan 2; April 2012 – a most odd game that I was at, in which Wigan scored very early on, and their tiny travelling support went wild – as well they might.
- Wigan 0 Arsenal 4 (Arteta, Vermaelen, Gervinho, Van Persie); December 2011
- Arsenal 3 (Van Persie 3) Wigan 0, January 2011
But, only Manchester City have let in fewer goals away from home (6) than we have (8) in the league, and Wigan have only kept their goals against to zero twice this season.
Theo has scored 11 this season. In 2010/11 he got 13 times in the whole season.
Wigan are currently 18th in the league, only in the relegation zone because of goal difference. They have scored 18 and let in 32. (Arsenal by comparison are 31-18 in the goal tally). A win for Wigan would take them above Newcastle if other results go their way. A win for Arsenal could take them to third, again if other results oblige.
The full list of players on the beach, sunning themselves with towels and swimming costumes at Reading was
Mannone, Koscielny, Coquelin, Ramsey, Rosicky, Gervinho, Giroud.
I suspect more of the same, although I also think it is time for Rosicky to get on the pitch a little. Gervinho might miss out.
Interesting that one of the wild and woolly AAA sites included Koscielny in their list of awful purchases by Mr Wenger which “proved” that he should be removed from power. Odd that. I always thought Koscielny was rather good.
Anyway, its on Sky 3, or Sky F1 or something odd like that. A bit out of the way, but at least it is not ESPN.
And in case you want to know, Wigan is a diminutive principality of Manchester on the River Douglas, eight miles from Notlob.
The town itself has a population of 81,000 and was owned by the Celtic tribe of Brigantes. They were knocked out by the Romans who built Coccium (you will note the obvious way in which the Roman word turned into Wigan). Henry III gave the town a royal charter, and as a result they started to make porcelain and clocks.
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