Thursday, November 26, 2009

It was never the plan to not write my thoughts after the hugely disappointing trip to Sunderland on Saturday, however with the benefit of hindsight writing them now after clinching top spot in our Champions League group is probably more sensible considering the mood I was in earlier in the week!

Off the field the international break proved thoroughly enjoyable personally, Muse, Kasabian, White Lies and most recently Snow Patrol providing the superb live entertainment but once again it seems we came out of the period as a club having received a solid kick in the proverbials!

The injury to RVP is bad enough, especially with him being in the form of his life and injury free for a relatively lengthy period but for me it is an example of where you need the fixture computer to be a little kinder.

With the vast majority of our squad travelling the globe for the previous ten days or so, a home match against one of the out of form sides would have been ideal and probably given us the chance to take all three points even if not at our best.

Don't get me wrong I'm not looking for excuses, we were nowhere near at our best up at the Stadium of Light but in an 'easier' fixture that lack of sharpness and slight lethargy quite obviously brought on by the period building up to the game might not have proved so crucial.

It was a dirty horrible English winter's day on Saturday and with the rain lashing down I really didn't envy Pompey Rich, our driver for the day, especially with his dodgy eyesight!

A typical plateload of breakfast tucker traditionally consumed somewhere up the A1 however and we arrived into Sunderland in good spirits for the tough game ahead.

We started brightly in the game and the only two clear cut chances created in the whole match fell our way, Tommy Rosicky seeing his saved and Eddy's just trickling past the post. For that reason alone we really should have gone in one up at the break.

Our hosts' battling and harassing qualities however, were excellent throughout and for me they deserved to get something from the game. When I say something I mean a point, a prize that I felt we deserved too.

The game in fact was very much a nil-nil affair. It simply wasn't our day, the good fortune in Sunderland's winner and a late penalty decision not going our way pretty much summing up the whole game. Deeply frustrating, it's as simple as that. It made that ridiculously long journey back to Kent seem even further.

Overall, Tuesday's defeat of Standard Liege was pretty comfortable and not only sees us go through but topping the group with a game to spare.

Thoroughly satisfying and hopefully beneficial with the increasingly busy schedule over the coming weeks.

To be honest there is not a huge amount to say about the game other than Sami and Deni took their goals well even if I'm sure our visitors will see them as avoidable. The news that we picked up yet another serious injury however, at the moment felt almost inevitable. One of these days we will get our share of luck on that front I'm convinced of it!

By the time we take on our west London neighbours on Sunday we should know who we have on one of the biggest dates on our football calendar, the FA Cup 3rd Round. As always I would very much like something interesting, an away day at somewhere unusual and looking at the teams left in it before many of the second round replays have taken place there are 30 odd destinations where I have not seen us play. Surely, on that basis alone I must have a chance!

Arsenal v Chelsea has always been quite a big fixture, it being yet another London derby being the main reason if nothing else. In recent times however, the boys from Stamford Bridge have joined the 'big boys' with their never ending muliti million pound budget and consequently the game has grown in its stature.

Sunday is important there is no doubt about it and we all should be throughly looking forward to it. I am not sure if it will help calm the PMT but after our hugely successful walk to West Ham in aid of Teenage Cancer Trust last season the guys and girls from Maidstone Arsenal Supporters Club are joining me on our latest adventure before Sunday's game.

On this occasion we are embarking on a 'History Walk' in aid of both Great Ormond Street Hospital and the Willow Foundation, starting in Plumstead and taking in each of the six modern day locations of where our great club has played over our long and illustrious history, a distance of around 14 miles.

Thank you very much to all those of you who have already donated to the cause but those who haven't and wish to still can at one (or both) of the following websites;

www.justgiving.com/masc-gosh
www.justgiving.com/masc-willow

There will be only one way to keep the blood flowing to our aching limbs and that is plenty of leaping about during the game!

Come on you mighty reds!!

Frank

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 27 Nov 2009