By Bulldog Drummond
I recall a time when (I think I must have been around 13) I learned about Matthew Hopkins. He was originally from Great Wenham in Suffolk, but moved on to Norfolk spending a fair amount of time in Norwich during the Civil War. He was responsible for the deaths of over 200 women during the course of two years. That’s NFN*.
Hopkins proclaimed himself Witchfinder General and oversaw more trials of witches in two years than in the other 300 years that the government of England believed in witches. After his death New England took up his “good work.” Makes you wonder.
Hopkins had an infallible test for finding a witch – he would have the suspected woman bound up with ropes onto which large stones were attached. The woman was then thrown into one of the numerous rivers that flow across the flatlands and into the Wash.
If the woman rose up she was a witch and needed to be burned. If she sank she was not a witch, but was of course, unfortunately, dead.
I don’t think they have much witch hunting in Norfolk these days – it’s all moved to north London, although as we saw in the game at Carrow Road this season they do have the most dangerous pitch in the Premier League with TV cameras planted on concrete circles so close to the action that serious injury can be caused.
But worry not for now of course we have a new Witchfinder General in Piers Morgan, who like Hopkins before him lives on and for the publicity surrounding his position and seriously believes in everything he says. The journalists don’t even have to look for any news, they don’t have to attend any press conferences, they don’t have to do anything. It is all there for them. Money for old rope as we used to say (and perhaps some people still do). Witchfinder Morgan.
Do the players of Arsenal stand much chance today? I doubt it. They will have read about the activities of Witchfinder Morgan and his baying hounds, and know that they probably only have about 3 minutes to prove themselves on the pitch. It won’t be a toxic atmosphere it will be far worse than that; it will be witch hunting.
Despite it all Mr Wenger turned up to the press conference yesterday and was his usual peaceful self. He made one interesting revelation, saying, “When we built the stadium the banks demanded I signed for five years.” Probably the only club ever to have had such a stipulation put on it when asking for a loan. He rejected approaches from Real Madrid, Barcelona and Manchester City over that time.
So for today, with the Witchfinder General looking on I think we might see…
Bellerin Mert Kos Monreal
Alexis Ozil Iwobi
I’ve put Jack in, although obviously I don’t know how fit he really is. If not Jack then Mo.
That leaves ten on the beach and the local council only allow seven…
Ospina, Chambers, Gabriel, Ramsey, Gibbs, Elneny, Cazorla, Campbell, Walcott, Giroud.
I suspect Santi Caz may miss out plus maybe Walcott or Giroud, plus Gibbs or Campbell, but really I am not too sure at this point.
The unavailable one is the Ox; all appear to be non-injured, but he has just not had enough training time to be ready for a full-on game.
Arsenal’s record in the last six is awful, terrible, the stuff of relegation, at least according to the Witchfinder General and his merry band: LLLLLL. But according to my stats it is WWDDWD. Not perfect, but not so awful after all. Norwich have won two, lost three and drawn one in the last six.
Oh yes and we can prove once again another constant theme from the media, Arsenal are top of the injury table and it is all Wenger’s fault. Do you remember those days when that was the story? Indeed if you ever want an example of how the media make it all up, you just have to trace the injury tale. We were the worst, it was all Wenger’s fault. But…
|5||West Bromwich Dirty||5|
|19||State Aid United||1|
Sorry, we are top if you hold the table upside down, but since that is what most of football supporting is about these days, I think we can fairly say Arsenal are indeed top of the injury list.
And the Fair Play League? Yep we are top of that too.
|2||West Bromwich Albion||42||75||3||334|
|9||State Aid United||41||62||6||282|
- Caution 4 pts
- Denial of a goal scoring opportunity or dismissal for 2 cautions 10 pts
- Violent conduct, serious foul play, spitting or offensive and abusive language 12 pts
Actually we are top in terms of Fair Play – the FA always print this with the naughtiest clubs at the top.
As for the match facts and the like, the SAM (Sports Analytics Machine) super-computer created by Professor Ian McHale at the University of Salford to predict outcomes has the score 2-0 – which won’t please the Witchfinder General and his hangers on at all. The chance of an away win is 7%, but I am not sure that they have realised that Arsenal will be playing underwater, with ropes tied around them.
This is the first game at the Witchfinder Stadium for Alex Neil and I bet he can’t believe his luck, with the way the cards are stacked. Norwich won at Very Old Trafford, and drew away to Liverpool!!! and at State Aid’s ground.
But they haven’t won at Arsenal since 15 August 1992 – the very first day of the very first Premier League season. 24030 were in the crowd that day (due to ground rebuilding). Bould and Campbell got Arsenal’s goals in a season we scored four goals in 14 consecutive league games. Not sure what the Witchfinders would make of that. Especially as we have scored 19 goals in the last five home games against Norwich. But there are a lot of people who think Graham’s style of management was the best so I’ll leave that point.
Norwich haven’t won any of the last six games at the Witchfinder Stadium, and Arsenal are unbeaten in the last seven games. It is Arsene Wenger’s 750th Premier League match as a manager – only Sir Alex Ferguson (810) had more.
As for Norwich they have won two of their last 14 games and lost ten of those and failed to win 25 of their last 28 away games. Arsenal on the other hand have scored at least three in the last four home games against Norwich, who have failed to score in five of their last six away games.
And let us consider one other club – Chelsea. Held up as the model for Arsenal to follow by some Witchfinder Serjeants who moaned like hell about us not buying back Cesc, they are ninth in the league. A bit of a shame that.
* Normal for Norfolk
Insult of the Day for the Witchfinder General:
Away you whoreson upright rabbit, away
- Sticking and pulling together or not?
- Arsenal v Norwich Saturday 30 April 2016 – The Match Officials
- Change? Time to change the protest
- Memories of a true tragedy
Insult of the Day appears on the Home Page, most days.
- Everton v Arsenal: a happy video, line-up and what the league table will look like after
- Everton v Arsenal: Injuries, points needed for 4th, and Arsenal the first to 100?
- Everton v Arsenal: extraordinary figures seen in the last 6 games table
- Everton v Arsenal: how this referee treats the home and away team
- Everton v Arsenal and the oddity of referee behaviour