Arsenal v Liverpool
By Billy the dog McGraw
Liverpool is a far off diminutive principality of little importance. It was founded by the most incompetent king in English history, King John, in 1207, who made it a Royal Borough and over the next 350 years grew at such a rate that by 1550 it had a population of 500 covering seven streets. Wild celebrations followed.
But still, despite its status of Nonentity of the North there were battles fought in and around the borough during the Civil War, and even a Siege of the Seven Streets in 1644 which lasted two and a half weeks. No one noticed.
Liverpool will always be associated with slavery, with the first slave ship sailing proudly from Liverpool in 1699 and it was on the back of slavery that Liverpool grew. It is no coincidence that its first docks were built in 1715 to accommodate the evil trade.
The Slave Trade brought the economic good times to Liverpool and by the 19th century half the world’s trade went through the parish. When the trade was made illegal it was replaced by the Hub Cap Trade.
People who live in Liverpool are known as Liverpudlians, giving the name to their club of Liverpuddle. They are also known as Scousers, which derives from the colloquial 18th century term for Slave Traders.
Its most famous export was Billy Fury for which it became European Capital of Culture in 2007, although the committee later conceded it was all a big mistake as they meant to give the title to Stavanger in Norway.
Parts of Liverpool are designated World Heritage Sites, although the football ground of Liverpool is not. However Liverpool has the distinction of being the only football team in Britain to have been owned by the State, as when the nationalised banks took the club over and then tried to sell it to the Americans.
With such thoughts in mind I approached Dennis Bergkamp at the Enfield Tap, a hostelry opposite the now flooded allotments. After a brief resume of what to do about potato rot we considered the fixture.
As Dennis said Arsenal have scored more goals this season without RVP than they did by the same stage last season with RVP. “So me old mucker,” said Dennis in that lilting Dutch accent of his, “selling Robin was good news. We get money and we get more goals.”
Liverpool have had another of their famous cup defeats of late – you might recall them losing to Northampton a while back – this time it was the mighty Oldham. It proved what we always knew – Liverpool has little in the way of youth policy (but see note on Arsenal’s youth policy below).
Life in the league isn’t much better however as Liverpool’s total number of league wins away from home since September seems to be rather small. Trouble is we don’t normally beat Liverpool, so something has to give.
Dennis then gave me the latest from Mr Wenger. Vermaelen is fit so either Mertesacker or Koscielny will drop out. Koscielny hasn’t been as dominant as last season, but that is probably because he hasn’t had a long run of games.
An interesting point, said Dennis, is that Ramsey is changing his game, undoubtedly under instruction from Mr Wenger. Coquelin is still injured and Diaby is a doubt so it looks like Ramsey will be in the team again with Wilshere and Cazorla.
Which gives us something like this:
Sagna, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Gibbs
Ramsey, Cazorla, Wilshere
Walcott, Giroud, Podolski
What is happening is that Walcott is moving into the middle much more, and Giroud is having to learn to work around this. That’s no bad thing. Pires made his famous comment about the left wing (“It gets a bit crowded over there”) while learning to move into the middle to make way for Henry. But when he got used to the idea, it certainly worked.
Oxlade-Chamberlain should have another appearance from the beach and Arshavin will sit in a coat ten times too big for him.
And in other news…
Arsenal beat Fulham in the fourth round of the youth cup 2-1. The team was
- Deyan Iliev
- Hector Bellerin
- Zac Fagan
- Isaac Hayden
- Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill
- Alfred Mugabo
- Jack Jebb
- Kristoffer Olsson
- Anthony Jeffrey
- Serge Gnabry
- Chuba Akpom
And in the Next Gen series Arsenal will play Inter Milan in the first knock out round, having come second in the group stages.
So there we are. Everything you didn’t need to know about anything. As for the game I predict Stefan will arrive three minutes after kick off and force Tony to stand up to let him pass, just as the first goal goes in. Fortunately there will be several more after that.
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