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  • Арсенал ще се изправи срещу АФК Уимбълдън в мач от третият кръг на Карабао Къп. Гостуващият тим е далеч от славните си времена на „Лудата Банда“, но все пак, двубоят е Лондонско дерби, макар и с не особено голям заряд. „Доновете“ се намират в третият ешалон на Английският футбол, като заемат седмото място с актив от 12 точки (3 победи, 3 равенства и 2 загуби). Арсенал, от своя страна, глътна свеж въздух след двете си поредни победи във Висшата Лига, но се очаква състава довечера да е пълен с младежи и юноши, по добра стара традиция за тази купа.    
    Кога: Сряда, 22.09.2021, 21:45 българско време.
    Къде: Емиратс, Лондон.
    Телевизия: Няма да бъде предаван.
    Новини преди мача: Срещата пропускат Мохамед Елнени, който е с травма на лявото сухожилие и Гранит Джака, за когото това е последният мач от текущото наказание от три, след полученият червен картон срещу Ман. Сити.

    Думите на Артета преди мача: ''Усещаме единност и за пореден път искам да благодаря на феновете, които застанаха плътно зад нас след лошото начало на сезона. Имаме огромна нужда от тях. Играчите усещат това и трябва да оценят какви фенове имаме и да оставят всичко на терена всеки мач. Както винаги, ентусиазирани сме, че ще играем пред собствена публика и съм изключително приятно изненадан като разбрах колко много билети са продадени. Гледаме към победа довечера, а след това ще се подготвим за голямото дерби в неделя“.
    За съжаление, срещата не е телевизионна, което прави сбирките по клоновете невзъможни. Честит празник, Българи, надяваме се да бъдем зарадвани от Лондон, както довечера, така и в неделя!

    Nicolas the GOAT
    It all could have gone so right for Nicolas Anelka
     A couple of weeks ago I alluded to the possibility that Nicolas Anelka could have been our GOAT instead of Thierry Henry. On the face of it, there is very little argument here for this proposition. Henry is the greatest striker ever for Arsenal, acknowledged as a great of the game and won lots of honours in a star-studded career.  Whereas Anelka trundled around at times at the likes of Fenerbahce and Bolton.
    I would like to take a look at their two careers and see where it all went wrong for Anelka and so very right for Henry. Temperament is the big area, Anelka invited trouble all his career, even in his early days at Arsenal some fans nicknamed him “Le sulk” because he would seem to lose interest. He had a spectacular fallout with Raymond Domenech, the French international manager which led to him being excluded from the World Cup in South Africa in 2010. He made an allegedly anti-Semitic gesture while playing for Bolton Wanderers which led to his contract being terminated.
    Self improvement vs Money
    He had a huge fan in Arsene Wenger in his early days but pushed for a big money move to Real Madrid thus foregoing the benefits to his career of being looked after by Wenger, and learning from the exceptional talents around him like Bergkamp, Petit, Overmars, Vieira, Adams, etc. Learning how to be a winner, a competitor, improving his game, developing into a key player as Thierry Henry did when he took his place.
    However, there is no denying his talent, his ability to pick himself up off the floor, to keep trying, going to the less glamorous clubs in order to keep himself in the eye and get his career back on track. He always scored goals, he got 69 games for France at a time when Henry was supreme, and that included various crises which happened to him at international level. He played for Arsenal, Real Madrid, Chelsea, Manchester City, Juventus and Paris St Germain, which in some ways is more impressive than Henry.
    Eh, no, he doesn't look happy
    Maybe even 400 goals?
    Anyway, supposing he had stayed at Arsenal. Supposing also that Wenger had got through to him that football must come first, improving his skills, learning from the greats around him, it seems certain that Ian Wright’s record was easily within his grasp. In fact, seeing as he joined Arsenal at 17, and allowing a career till 34, he could have had 300 plus goals for the Arse. We would be talking about him with awe, our GOAT, and assuming our team won similar as we did with Henry, then he would have been laden with honours, scorer of great goals and acknowledged as a world great.
    Instead, while nobody doubted his talents, exemplified by the amount of top teams willing to take a chance on him, and his many caps despite the fractured club career, he is regarded as a talent wasted, one who did not achieve his potential.
    Thierry the winner
    But what does this all mean for Thierry Henry, who gained the most from Anelka’s fractured temperament, because I believe Wenger would not have signed him if Anelka hadn’t wanted away? You would have to assume that the transformation to striker may not have happened as Henry resisted this change. Indeed, he was very uncomfortable with it and I am certain he would have given up at the start as he wasn’t scoring goals and getting stick because of it. Wenger persisted, Henry trusted him, the goals started to come, and with the goals, the belief and the phenomenon finally exploded to become, over time, our GOAT.
    Wenger had total belief in his best position
    But at Juventus, he was struggling, he had won a World Cup for France but not as a vital member of the team. He needed to link up with someone like Wenger, to take him in hand, and see his real potential. It is rare for a footballer to excel in two positions and Henry would surely have been a top winger given his undoubted class, but maybe not a great. Maybe he would have been moved on to another team, his confidence low, and his career never reached the highs.
    Darkness vs Light
    I wonder has he ever thought about that? How his life may have turned out if Anelka hadn’t wanted away and Wenger saw him as his replacement? Maybe he wouldn’t have been the superstar he was to become? To give an example of how renowned he was at his prime, when Nike launched their most successful slogan ever, they chose Roger Federer, then undisputedly the greatest in tennis, Tiger Woods, the world’s best golfer, and Henry to represent football, the biggest sport on the planet. Thierry, you have just done it. Around that period of time, he was regarded as probably the best footballer in the world.
    But it could have gone so wrong. It might have been Anelka they chose.
    If he had stayed, would he have drifted into obscurity?
    The thing is, probably Henry has never really thought like this. He went to Wenger. Wenger persuaded him to switch to striker. He formed an extraordinary partnership with Bergkamp. What must defenders have thought when up against those two? Not physically afraid as they weren’t bruisers like Duncan Ferguson but afraid of looking like amateurs, not able for the sublime skillset of these masters. Henry, in the real world, became the guy that Lionel Messi was afraid to look in the eye when he joined Barcelona, he was so much in awe of him. He couldn’t believe he was going to play with his hero.
    The moving finger writes and having writ, moves on
    The converse is true, though. Anelka accepts that he made a big mistake leaving Arsenal. He wasn’t ready for Real Madrid and the Galacticos. I reckon he has had many dark nights of the soul, knowing that he could have been The Arsenal Great, the one that the team knows will score, will always give them a chance, and keeps their confidence high year after year, just as Henry had done, like Messi, like Cristiano Ronaldo, Alan Shearer and others have done down through the years.
    Life is strange, and people will say to me, Gus, what you are saying is wrong, Henry would always have ended up great, even if not at Arsenal and Anelka would still have squandered his talent somewhat if he had stayed. But I disagree, if for some reason, that Madrid move didn’t happen, and Wenger got one more year with Anelka, then Henry and Anelka’s lives could have been so much different. In fact, many players have great talents and don't even make it because of temperament and that is the one flaw in my argument, Henry's was good, Anelka's wasn't. Could Wenger have improved that? Maybe. But it is a good life lesson, try to always do what is the best for your development, and never for the money. Ask Nicolas Anelka!

    Арсенал записа втора победа в Английската Висша Лига, след като се наложи над Бърнли с 1:0. Очаквано, или не, двубоят не бе от най-красивите, но все пак трите точки отиват в Лондон след второ поредно one-nil to the Arsenal. Точен за лондончани бе Мaртин Йодегор в 30‘та минута, след прецизно изпълнение на пряк свободен удар. Другото интересно за отбелязване, е посочената дузпа в полза на Бърнли, която, в крайна сметка, не бе отсъдена след преразглеждане на ВАР. Така, „Топчийте“ записаха втора поредна победа с 1:0, напомняйки на едни по-славни времена, които явно се усещат и по трибуните.

    Стартов състав на Арсенал: Рамсдейл, Тиърни, Габриел, Уайт, Томиясу, Йодегор, Партей, Сака, Смит Роу, Пепе, Обамеянг
    Смени: Самби Локонга на мястото на Смит Роу (61‘а минута). Мейтланд-Найсл на мястото на Партей (75‘а минута). Тавареш на мястото на Тиърни (78‘а минута).
    Евентуални Контузии: Няма.
    Пресконференция на Микел Артета: „Искам да благодаря на нашите фенове. Те бяха просто страхотни. Имаме нужда от подкрепа, защото те са голяма част от отбора. Те са част от нас. Те са отбора! Победата беше много трудна, започнахме мача много добре, но не успяхме да го затворим. Мисля, че трябваше да отбележим още поне един гол, имахме положенията. Защитавахме се добре и съм изключително доволен от отдадеността на всички.“
    One Nil’ To the Arsenal и гледаме към неприятните съседи следващият уикенд, а междувременно, в сряда, играем срещу Уимбълдън за Kарабао.

    Когато си свикнал отборът ти да играе всяка година в Европа в продължение на над 20 години(някои като мен в продължение на цялото им фенство), сезон без участие в Европейски турнир носи със себе си различни емоции. От една страна, седмиците между мачовете са безкрайно дълги, някак си празни. От друга гледна точка уикендите придобиват едно в последните години позабравено значение. Стават по - специални, по - очаквани. В последните години, особено при това "почти сливане" на последните два сезона, благодарение на пандемията, някак си започнахме да взимаме мачовете на Арсенал за даденост. Дори до такава степен, че ни трябваше почивка от тях (като за това може би има други причини, но както и да е). Е, уикендът е тук. Нашият любим отбор също. 
    Арсенал гостува на Бърнли в петия кръг от Висшата лига. След кошмарния старт на сезона, който ми донесе безкрайно много безсънни нощи, успяхме да вкараме гол и да вземем първите си 3 точки за сезона срещу Норич. В никакъв случай представянето ни не беше такова, което гарантира, че сме официално в "зелената зона". Но е стъпка в правилната посока - вкарахме топката във вратата, а опонентът ни не вкара топката във вратата нито веднъж. Това в повечето случаи гарантира успех. Също така в този мач имахме най-много удари в мач във Висшата лига, под ръководството на Микел, което за отбор, имайки огромни проблеми при създаването на ситуации, не е никак лошо. Артета и Арсенал имат огромна нужда от серия от добри представяния, добри резултати и точки в таблицата. Това е видно дори и за хората, които не се интересуват от футбол. Шефката ми на работа (знае, че съм фен на Арсенал, не се интересува от футбол) ме пита миналата сряда какво ще правя вечерта, и аз й казах, че ще гледам Шампионска лига, и тя ми бръкна в раната с думите: "О, Арсенал ще гледаш значи!", което само по себе си показва, къде трябва да е този клуб. 
    Мачът с Бърнли е в събота, на 18 септември и ще се играе от 17:00ч. българско време. Бърнли са се доказали като традиционно труден съперник за нас и въпреки трудното им начало на кампанията, не мисля, че имаме каквото и да е право да ги подценяваме. Особено в момента, имайки предвид нашето състояние. Запазвайки твърдия си физически начин на игра, момчетата на Шон Дайш започнаха да играят и по - разчупено, сваляйки топката много повече на земята и пресирайки опасно. Това са някои от трудности, върху Артета ще е размишлявал цяла седмица. Или поне се надявам да го е направил. Изключително важно е да направим всичко възможно за да влезем в серия от добри резултати. 
    Не съм очаквал дори след серия лоши резултати Артета или Еду да бъдат отстранени толкова скоро. Докато повечето хора с право вдигат вежди и задават основателни въпроси по отношение. на работата на ръкводството, има и друга страна на нещата. Артета бе финансово подкрепен, и то стабилно. Ще е нередно да не му се остави време да работи с това, което той малко или много сам е селектирал. И преди хората да ме заклеймят като "Про-Артета" искам да кажа, че ако лошите представяния и негативните резултати продължат, няма да имаме друг избор, освен да потърсим нов път. За да избегнем този сценарий, поне засега, Артета има огромна нужда от резултат срещу Бърнли. 
    Антъни Тейлър ще свири мача, което е...интересно. Холдинг е аут поради контузия, което в случая може да даде шанс на Артета да обиграе още повече защитната четворка, която започна срещу Норич и, която, поне на хартия, би трябвало да е нашата титулярна защитна линия. Томиасу, Уайт, Габриел и Тиърни изиграха стабилен мач срещу Норич и дори японецът да излезе понакуцвайки, би трябвало да е на линия за стартовия състав срещу Бърнли. Елнени също е контузен, а Джака продължава да изтърпява наказанието си заради червения картон. Лично аз смятам, че Партей трябва да започне този мач. Неговото присъствие в състава автоматично ни прави много по- добри и по-окомплектовани. Очаквам да видя подобен състав на този срещу Норич, Рамсдейл най - вероятно ще започне, след като му беше даден шанс миналата седмица, и дори да не беше тестван чак толкова много, не направи нищо, с което да загуби позицията си. 

    Изключително важен мач преди Дербито на Северен Лондон, в който, без да искам да звуча неуважително спрямо Бърнли, всичко различно от победа ще бъде, малко или много, видяно като провал. Дано момчетата да успеят да надградят върху солидното представяне от миналата седмица и да ни зарадват с нови 3 точки, след които нещата биха изглеждали доста по - добре. Ще се видим в темата след мача, приятно гледане! 

    I still feel selling Petit and Overmars was a mistake
    Why are we selling?
    Emmanuel Petit and Marc Overmars were two of our very best players and would have been on a lot of fans choices for a world squad. They went to Barcelona for 30m. To say I was shocked was an understatement. Top teams don’t sell their best players, but we did. We got Pires, Wiltord, Edu (yes, him) and Lauren as a direct replacement for Nigel Winterburn (37), who was one of the most stalwart players we ever had.  We didn’t get a direct replacement for Petit at all. It was baffling. Vieira was still a bit raw, rash, and could get sent off. But he was on his way to being maybe the best in his position in the world. Could he be next?
    All the early promise of Wenger was disappearing in me. I said last time that maybe we had a better squad of players, if you compared them man to man, than Man Utd but they were achieving more. With those two gone, I could not say that anymore. Pires and Wiltord were not well known to me and I was hoping that Wenger’s knowledge of the French scene would come up trumps. But that was what we were back to, hoping that Henry was better than Anelka, and there was little indication of that in his first season. And now this season, we were hoping that these new players could match up to Petit and Overmars. It was all looking bad and disheartening. We were a long way second to Man Utd for 2 seasons in a row and it seemed that Wenger was settling for second best.
    Wenger's spies had given us Pires and Wiltord and we were hoping
    I was annoyed
    It was annoying as, if our players were better, then we should be in Utd’s position. It seemed that Ferguson’s drive was better than Wenger. I am not sure how many people would have agreed with me that our players were fractionally better at the time but for sure that belief could not hold with Petit and Overmars gone. Arsenal’s, and now Wenger’s dislike of spending money had been the one constant in all the time I had been supporting them.
    So how did we get on, on the pitch? We started badly with a 1-0 to Sunderland, Niall Quinn heading in a goal. Then we beat Liverpool 2-0 and Charlton 5-3 before going on an average run. Then things picked up, we beat Man Utd and others to finish October level on points with them. Maybe we could do it this time. Henry was starting to score spectacular goals and there was an excitement in the team.
    We always bounced back
    But, under Wenger, November always seemed bad and we lost 2 more against Leeds and Everton. It was a real up and down season with big wins and big losses. Man Utd thumped us 6-1 and it was a bit of a pattern under Wenger, we could get destroyed as if we were relegation fodder. The one sure good thing about Wenger was his ability to bounce back from defeat though, and that is a great tribute to his man management skills. Every time we went down he bounced us back up again.
    This guy always helped us to bounce back
    Beaten 4-0 by Liverpool on 23rd December? Beat Leicester 6-1 26th December. After that 6-1 v Utd? 3-0 win over the Hammers. Beaten 3-0 by Middlesbrough? Next match, 4-1 v Everton.  That is in stark contrast to Emery and Arteta where a slump seems to last.
    And so we finished second again, 3 seasons in a row. We had seemed to cement our place as second best.
    Head to head winners
    And the Champions league? We had struggled in this under Wenger but this season saw a turnaround. We topped the first group on head to head with Lazio with 13 points each. Shaktar Donetsk, and Sparta Prague were the other 2. Then on to another group stage with Bayern Munich, Lyon, Spartak Moscow against us. This time we got through on head to head against Lyon in second place after Bayern topped the group.
    And so a quarter final against Valencia but they beat us on away goals after 2-1 at Highbury and 1-0 there. Still better than previous years, maybe Wenger was learning how to compete in Europe. He had a fixed belief that players could only play x amounts of matches a season and was always looking to rest players, playing an astounding total of 34 players in all matches. Often once he qualified, he would play reserves and not care about first or second and that often rebounded on him, getting a top team in the knockouts.
    Not such glory years
    As you can see, Wenger also came under criticism in his top years, which might surprise some of my younger readers, particularly during this period when we weren’t winning trophies. I loved his style of football, his honesty when answering questions, his devotion to his players, not criticizing them in public and not having the spectacular fallouts that Alex Ferguson regularly conjured up. Wenger didn’t really shout at players, preferring for them to figure out where they had gone wrong themselves. He believed very strongly in giving them belief, and maintaining that belief so that even a bad defeat didn’t overly dent their confidence so we bounced back quickly as I have said earlier. All of this made me believe in him and a consistent second place was better than we had got before, even under George Graham. But I never got used to playing a weakened team and often my heart would sink when I saw the lineout.
    Irishman Graham Barrett got one game against Ipswich
    The were 2 trophies still left for us but Ipswich knocked us out 2-1 in the League cup in our first round despite us dominating the match. We played a total second string despite Ipswich being premier league with Graham Barrett getting a very rare game. He was the son of a friend of mine, Gary Barrett, who was also a professional footballer. We never won the league cup under Wenger and he really just used it to try out players.
    Nearly men?
    And the Fa Cup? Our trophy? We beat Carlisle 1-0 in the 3rd round and then QPR 6-0. Then Chelsea 3-1 and Blackburn 3-0. That set us up for the Spuds in the semis but despite dominating, Gary Doherty scored in the 14th minute and somehow they hung on until finally Vieira and Pires knocked in goals to set up a final vs Liverpool. We dominated again but somehow they won 2-1 with Michael Owen scoring twice, the second nearing the end to escape with a robbery And so, not a bad season, and we came close to bagging a trophy but I kept hoping for more, particularly as Liverpool, Leeds and Chelsea were starting to push us. We needed to be Arsenal, and we needed to kick the Arse off Man Utd, so could next season be the one? I was always hopeful.
    Michael Owen broke our hearts

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