Monday, 31 January 2011

Arsenal v Huddersfield Town - video highlights


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Saturday, 29 January 2011

1930 FA Cup Final video - Arsenal v Huddersfield Town

Arsenal have got a lot to be grateful to Huddersfield for. I found this great footage of the 1930 FA Cup semi-finals and final on YouTube. Arsenal won their first ever trophy after beating tomorrow's opponents Huddersfield 1-0 the final with a rare goal by the classy Alex James, the Dennis Bergkamp of the 1930s.

Arsenal's manager on the day was Herbert Chapman. Chapman won the title twice with Huddersfield in successive seasons (1923-24 and 1924-25) and the FA Cup in 1923 before moving on to Arsenal at the end of the 1924-25 season and repeating those feats (winning the FA Cup with Arsenal in 1930 and the League Championship in 1930-31 and 1931-32).

Chapman was acknowledged as one of the grandfathers of modern football, introducing many of the features of the game that we are so familar with today such as white footballs, numbered shirts, floodlights and modern training regimes including the use of physiothrapists and masseurs. He also insisted on picking the team himself without interference from the board (a pracitce almost unheard of at the time) and encouraged the players to discuss tactics at weekly team meetings, another new innovation.

Chapman's Arsenal legacy was equally impressive. As well as introducing the famous white sleeves before the match against Liverpool on 4 March 1933, he was also instrumental in the development of Highbury into a modern football stadium (complete with the new 'Clock End') and in changing the name of Gillespie Road tube station to Arsenal. He was also a big fan of the continental game and was an early pioneer for bringing foreign players to the English game. Beginning to sound like someone we know?

Chapman would undoubtedly have won more honours if it had not been for his untimely death from pneumonia on 6 January 1934. Arsene Wenger said this week that:
"We can call him a ‘super pioneer’ because he really turned this Club into one that was ready for the modern era. He was ahead of his time and he was certainly the most influential manager."
So let's hear it for Huddersfield. And I hope we give them a good tanking tomorrow!

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Friday, 28 January 2011

Capello admits Walcott World Cup selection error

According to the Daily Telegraph, Fabio Capello has admitted he made a mistake in leaving Theo Walcott out of his squad for the 2010 World Cup. He is quoted in the paper as saying:
"He is one of the players after the World Cup I thought about a lot. He can play 25 minutes and be dangerous. I made a mistake not selecting him. He's one of the players who can make the difference. I should have taken him. This is one change I would have made for this World Cup. He's one of the players who is so fast he can make the difference in every moment."
He went on to say that the decision to leave Theo out had been a difficult one:
"It was a really difficult choice. Aaron Lennon was playing very well. He was at the top at that moment. I chose Lennon and not Theo for this reason. Lennon was perfect. I decided after Austria training and the Japan game. But then Lennon was injured after two games."
Capello was also full of praise for Jack Wilshere and revealed that he sees a role for him with England as a deep-lying midfielder.
"Wilshere is the best young player. He now plays all the time with Arsenal. If you play with Arsenal, you are a really good player because Arsène Wenger likes good players.

"I want to put him in this position in front of the back four. I have to decide because he's so young, he would stay alone in midfield and that can be dangerous.

"I think he's mature enough to play this role. He's a really interesting player. When he started, in some moments he played without big confidence. He was timid, shy. Now every game he improves a lot, he plays with confidence, without fear and he tackles to win." 
In the long run, I think that Arsene Wenger sees Wilshere as being a more attacking player in the mould of Fabregas. Cesc started his Arsenal career in the deeper-lying role that Wilshere is currently playing before moving further forward, and I believe that he has the same plans for Wilshere. He has done great in his current position but all of us who have seen him in reserve and friendly matches know that he is capable of so much more attacking wise.

It's good to see Capello being so positive about Arsenal players though. The Sun, the Daily Mail and Sky should take note. They have been constant in their criticism of Arsenal for not having any English players, despite doing more to develop young English talent than possibly any other club, while other teams have escaped criticism despite the fact that they have bought most of their English players and have done little to develop English football.

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Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Arsenal v Ipswich - video highlights and some unashamed gushing

It was a comfortable victory last night. Arsenal are now looking like they are near to firing on all cylinders both offensively and defensively, which they haven't been for most of the season. All we need now is for Vermaelen to come back and for some of the players who aren't currently first choice such as Arshavin, Rosicky and Chamakh to start picking up a bit of form. Bendtner began to show a bit of form in the second half last night and his goal was a cracker.

The only downside was that Sagna went off in the first half with concussion, but he should be out for no more than two weeks at most. Eboue should fill in no problem in the meantime - that's the advantage of having a good squad.

In previous seasons I haven't been too bothered about the League Cup, but now I think that it could be a stepping stone to better things. Arsenal, ManUre and Chelsea have all won the League Cup in the past before going on to win more prestigious trophies and I don't think that's a coincidence.

It's a good time to be an Arsenal fan at the moment and I'm really looking forward to each successive match as it comes along. It's a pity Blackpool couldn't at least hold on to get a draw against Blackpool, but you can't have everything. Luckily, ManUre still have some hard matches, including playing Chelsea twice, so they have plenty of opportunities to drop points. Arsenal just have to do their bit.

Next up are Huddersfield in the FA Cup and I'm expecting nothing less than an impressive victory.

Oh yeah, one final thing - we're going to Wem-ber-ley!

Come on Arsenal!

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Monday, 24 January 2011

Chamberlain - dotting the i's and crossing the t's

I think I might try to get a job dotting the i's and and crossing the t's on professional footballer contracts because there is clearly a need for it. Why do they always leave it to the last minute? Why not do all the dots and crosses at the start of the process or as they are going along? Surely it would save a lot of time in the long run?

Anyway, Arsenal are apparently at this stage of contract negotiations with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who according to Matt Law of the Express on Twitter is due to sign for £5m plus £5m add-ons and will be loaned back to Southampton until the end of the season.

Having watched some clips of him on YouTube, I'm quite excited about this, though it will in all likelihood be two or three years at least until we see him getting into the first team. I know that any player can be made to look good in a few clips on YouTube, but he really does look the real deal.

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