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You might think its a long way to the chemist, but that’s nothing compared to Donesk

Match preview  by  Billy the Dog McGraw, lost at sea.

Here’s a thought. We have had months and years (up to 1 September) of Arsenal being sniggered at by silly Spanish people who claimed that Cesc was about to leave, and how we couldn’t keep our players, and well, even if not in the summer then at least in the January cat flap.

But what has happened?   Since then we find that Barca is so bust they can’t pay their players, Man U is in a pickle over W Rooney, Arry can tell both refs and the FA where to stick it and no one dares utter a word against his Great Brown Envelopeness, Liverpool have been taken over, but there is no guarantee of the new stadium or indeed investment in players and it turns out the new owners have not given guarantees not to load the debt back into the club either, the man who wanted to buy Sheff W has decided not to, someone maybe has bought Blackburn but has told them he has no dosh for new players, four Spanish 1st division coaches got the boot  in one week, some Scots team has been given a 24 point fine for going into admin again, Joe Cole is out with an injury, Tevez has trotted off to Argentina because he is home sick, Man City is failing to behave like a team that cost a trillion pobble beads, Adebayor is fighting with his own team mates while Kolo is telling everyone to Kalm Down, and Chelsea are not buying anyone at all, ever.  Meanwhile, the Tiny Totts are now issuing celebratory mugs every time they play anyone (so no change there).

Funny old world.

And here’s a trifle more funniness

The distance from London to Donetsk is  1703 miles which is what we geographic experts call A Long Way.  Certainly further than the journey down the road to the chemist when you get one of those nasty little irritations.

But enough about me. According to the Flightpedia web site London is 4 hours ahead of Donetsk which I suppose means we ought to win, given that we can kick off before the opposition are on the pitch.   Anyway, if this is true (and you will see in a moment why I suspect it might not be) the kick off time locally will be 23.45 unless they have daylight saving, have save all the daylight, and were kicking off yesterday.

This distance from here to there is much further than anyone has to travel in football in England.  By my calculation, the longest distance you might travel for a match in an English league would be Plymouth to Newcastle (334 miles).  At least I thought that was right until I found that the self-same web site as told me where Donetsk was also says, “Plymouth is 1 hours ahead of Newcastle.”

Tis true and I kid you not.

I have often suspected this. Not just about Plymouth and Newcastle, but about one end of Seven Sisters to the other.  I mean, one end is calmly situated in 2010, while the other always looks to me about 1875.  But maybe it is just my eyes (although that doesn’t explain the smell).

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But moving on, I suspect some of our plucky lads took one look at where the Ukraine is on the map and decided they had an injury, for the Ukraine is in fact a small island is the mid-Atlantic situated somewhere south of Atlantis (a Portuguese colony where people worship wind farms and the craven image of Sir F Word.

For from what I have heard on the bush telegraph and via messagse in cleft sticks El Capitano has sprained his thumb and is out and Alex Song, Andrey Arshavin and Denilson are what the press call “struggling”.    Interesting word  that, “struggling”.  Last year I struggled with my allotment especially my broccoli .  I wonder if this is the  same thing.

Anyway if you thought it was long way to Tipperary that’s nothing compared  to the  trip to Foreign Parts in the  form of Donesk or Доне́цк as it is properly called in Foreign.

There’s one bit about the place I like. It was set up by a Welsh coal miner called John Hughes.  How cool is that?   It was originally named Юзовка after him but later called it Stalino after the curious stuff people used to put on floors.  (Lino – geddit?  Oh never mind).

You’ve got your traditional two team rivalry in the city Shakhtar Donetsk and Metalurh Donetsk (five times champs), both in the top league, and that’s not bad for a village with under a million people in it on a mythical island in the Atlantic surrounded by volcanoes.  They are going to play three group matches, a quarters and a semi-final game in the Plantini Cup or whatever it is called in the summer or the summer after or some time or other.   Quite why this diminutive rock is paired with Poland is beyond me – but then I never know why the chemist is at the other end of town.

Our team will be


Fabinianski, Bendtner, Walcott, Chamakh

Wilshere, Walcott, Wilshere

Nasri, Walcott, Wilshere

Explaining this somewhat unexpected line-up the Lord Wenger said that he needed to freshen the team up a little after a long and arduous trip.  “Perhaps travelling to a landlocked country by sailing dinghy was not the best plan, but here we are,” he said through a Ukrainian interpreter, whose words were translated back into Normal and maybe lost a little en route.

“However I expect the team to be fluid, and positioning will be optional.  This is, after all, total Wengerian football.”  And who are we?

But however we play the two key men, highlighted in dispatches by the Great Lord Wenger himself, will be the two key men and will play everywhere.  Theo is now ready to be Thierry Walcott and Jack becomes Cesc Wilshere.  It’s official, so don’t try and contradict.

The new format of having two defending midfielders (Song and Denilson normally) is looking most promising and that ought to continue.  If Diaby is back from his ankle tap then he could play there.  Rosicky could also be in it too.  Or to put it another way, I have no idea who we are going to play anywhere, but I expect them to be Arsenal players and I’m taking bets on that one.

Elsewhere people are back in training, which is nice, and that jolly little turnip Peter Ridsdale is going to take over Plymouth (which is one hour behind Newcastle).  Apparently he will exploit the time differential when borrowing money from Sir Francis Chichester.   (Is that right?  – ed)

Here’s a final note from the opposition.  Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho was answering web site questions and said, “our major advantage is that we play at home with our fans supporting us. I think tomorrow it will be a good, aggressive game. If we remain determined for 90 minutes and pull ourselves together – we will win without any problems.”

Here’s another final note – the team in the Guardian is shown as…

Arsenal (4-2-3-1; probable):


Sagna, Koscielny, Djourou, Clichy;

Wilshere, Eastmond;

Walcott, Nasri, Rosicky;


Subs from: Szczesny, Bendtner, Squillaci, Eboué, Vela, Lansbury, Emmanuel-Thomas, Diaby.

Maybe: but my version had more pazzazz.

17 comments to You might think its a long way to the chemist, but that’s nothing compared to Donesk

  • StoneRoses

    One of the most amusing blogs, terrific work.

  • walter

    Another hilarious match preview from Billy teh dog who escaped from the dungeon Mc Graw.

  • Jordan

    Pazzazz, nice

  • JohnW

    Some people have been slagging Eastmond, but i think that boy has class and it will shine very soon, you will see. I say Chamack should be give a breather this, let him warm the bench. Even if we lose, the big match is on Sunday when we need him most.

  • nicky

    Why name 8 subs for tonight? Nine if you count Emmanuel AND Thomas.

  • Rufusstan

    Excellent article, especially the predicted team. No one can complain if we play 6 English players. I’m guessing that our state of the art training facilities have a cloning Annex 🙂

    Hmmm, just imagining a midfield of Fabregas, Fabregas and Fabregas. Think I need to go and lie down for a bit.

  • Andrei

    “You’ve got your traditional two team rivalry in the city Shakhtar Donetsk and Metalurh Donetsk (five times champs)…”

    I guess you need to get your facts straight. Metalurg Donetsk are five times champs of what? Back in Soviet Union they were a semi-professional club lingering between 2nd and 3rd leagues. Shakhtar was a solid team in the Soviet Premiere League regularly challenging for UEFA and European Cup spots. In the Ukrainian league Shakhtar is a title contender while Metalurg rarely breaks from the lower part of the table. I would hardly call it a rivalry. It is like Chelsea and West Ham rivalry.

  • FinnGooner

    That Guardian’s line up is quite stupid compared to Billy’s.
    About that time thingy when I visited Ireland for the first time in 1999 I really thought I had travelled 100-200 years back in time so few hours here or there is no problem.

  • simon bailey

    It’s not that far to Tipperary (or Tipp as we call it). Its only about 25 minutes if I go by car.

    Finn, It’s not so bad in Ireland, we have cars and computers and everything. And any of you English folk who have dell pc’s, well they were made here as well. Some of the pubs tho, are like stepping through a timewarp, but at least the Guiness is the real-Mc-deal.

    if we can have 2 theos and 3 jacks, cant we also have a couple of lucasz’s and a prial of squillacci?

  • Samuel

    More silly claptrap concerning Shakhtar and the time difference and how many Championships they,ve won etc. The previous match at the Emirates vs Shahktar was amateurs (

  • Samuel

    More silly claptrap concerning Shakhtar and the time difference and how many Championships they,ve won etc. The previous match at the Emirates vs Shahktar was amateurs (Donetsk)against a professional (Arsenal )team that showed up the amateurs for what they are,this is Champions League,not the Ukrainian national league ,a huge gulf in class ,get real already Billy?

  • Andrei and Samuel, I am not sure you have quite got the hang of it. Andrei, the statement “I guess you need to get your facts straight.” in an article which suggests that the Ukraine is a mythical island in the middle of the Atlantic doesn’t quite seem to see the point of the piece.

    And Samuel, you are a braver man than me, calling something written by Billy the Dog “More silly claptrap”. But if you do think it is “claptrap” then maybe the best thing is when you see that an article is written by Billy you simply move on to something else. Not that I want to lose readers, you understand, but I believe even Billy would admit that the pieces of “of a kind”.

  • Holloway2Holland

    Top notch stuff!!!

    Mr Attwood, I can only see you gaining readers if “the dog” is allowed to continue to grace your fine site.

    Keep up the good work.

  • axis

    Wonderful as always…

  • walter

    If the boys would have performed like Billy we would have won the game.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Eboue !! What were you thinking Simon Bailey ? 2 Theos and 3 Jacks is considered an overdose[ too sweet] and would make you less then Rosi & icky to your Charmahk !
    But then a shot of Squillachi is just the tonic needed to settle the nerves and “butterflies in the tummy ” as the old Clichy goes.
    Djourou really want us to belive that the Guiness is the real Mcdeal? I heard that the original formula was taken away by the Leprechaun king “Sneezy the ideal keeper of goals”(the Poles call him by another name),in that famous Wal(k)cott in solidarary(the Poles have another for this too) with the snakes’ banishment from Ireland.
    I Kidd you not .

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Oops ! Sorry ,should be “in solidatary “.
    Too many Fabianskis in the morning makes the mind fumble ,the mouth to mumble and the hands to tremble.
    HIC !