Thursday, 3 April 2008

R.I.P ROCKY. A TRIBUTE TO THE BIG MAN.


Rocky



From The World of Arsenal Blog:
Tomorrow is the 31st of March and it marks the 7th year anniversary of the great man’s passing. For those of you old enough to remember the tricks, skills and flair of such a talented player, it’s a day that you’ll always remember. For those of you too young to know or see Rocky in action, he was a truly naturally gifted player and someone who can only be described as “Arsenal through and through”. His love for the game was immense and played the way that Arsenal have always been affiliated with.


All About David Rocastle


In association with www.rocky7.co.uk

Aron Lazarus and Marc Levy are two Arsenal fans and Rocastle fans who have set up the site, here’s an insight to what the site is all about and a bit of a history about Rocastle.

Who is David Rocastle?

Rocastle, or ‘Rocky’ as he became known, made his Arsenal debut in a goalless draw against Newcastle on 28 September 1985 and soon became a regular member of the first team. In 1987, just before his 20th birthday, he helped Arsenal to a famous League Cup Final victory over Liverpool, and their first trophy in 8 years. This was followed up by another League Cup Final appearance a year later, but this time Arsenal surrendered a 2-1 lead to lose 3-2 to a last minute Luton Town winner. Despite that defeat, Arsenal were on the up and, along with other starlets like Tony Adams, Paul Merson and Michael Thomas, Rocky was part of a young Arsenal team that were destined for greatness.

When did Rocky win his first league medal?

In 1989, Rocky and his teammates tasted major glory, winning the clubs first League Championship since 1971 and in dramatic fashion, with a goal in the last minute of the last game of the season, against their nearest rivals Liverpool. It remains the most exciting finish to a league season ever and will probably never be matched.

This success was followed up 2 years later when Arsenal once again were crowned champions, this time in even more convincing fashion, losing just one game all season. Unfortunately, injury meant that Rocky’s contribution was limited to 18 appearances that season.

Did Rocky have International honors?

By the age of 24, Rocky had been an integral part of a team that had picked up 3 trophies in 4 years. His huge contributions were well documented and on 14th September 1988, Rocky was selected to play for England for the first time, in a 1-0 victory over Denmark, which as provided debuts for England greats Paul Gascoigne and Des Walker.

Then what happened?

Rocky was destined for a long and successful career on both the domestic and international stages. However, in the early 1990s, he suffered a series of injuries which began to hamper his game and in 1992 he was transferred to Leeds, much to the dismay of all Arsenal fans, by whom he was adored.

What happened after Rocky left Arsenal?

After leaving Arsenal, Rocky played for a number of other clubs, including Leeds, Manchester City and Chelsea, however, the fans of these clubs only saw the Rocky magic in fits and starts as his career continued to be blighted by injury. In 1999, after further short term spells at Norwich City, Hull City and Malaysian outfit Sabah, Rocky succumbed to his injuries and was forced to retire.

What did Rocky mean to Arsenal?

In all Rocky made 14 appearances for his country, a staggeringly low total for a man with his talent. Despite leaving Arsenal in 1992, Rocky forever remained a part of the Arsenal family. The fans loved him not only because of his brilliance on the pitch, but because he played the game with a smile on face and his heart on his sleeve, and more than that, he always conducted himself as a gentleman.

Tell us more about Rocky’s illness

In February 2001, Rocky announced that he was suffering from Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, an aggressive form of cancer that attacks the immune system. He underwent a course of chemotherapy and thousands of fans prayed for his recovery, but this was a battle that was too much, even for David Rocastle. Rocky passed away on 31st March 2001, aged just 33.

What did David Rocastle represent to you?

David Rocastle represented everything that was good about football. Honesty, passion, teamwork, commitment, and of course, sheer brilliance, and we believe that this is why he remains in the hearts and minds of all Gooners who were privileged to see him play and who continue to sing his name, even today.

How did www.rocky7.co.uk come about?

The ongoing love for Rocky amongst Arsenal fans is what inspired us to create this website, so that people could have a place to share their memories and stories about Rocky. However, we also felt that it would be great to create an opportunity for everyone to do something really worthwhile in Rocky’s honour.

Charities have been setup to raise money for cancer. Tell us about ways of raising money?

We are delighted to have teamed up with Arseshirts.com to produce 3 limited edition t-shirts in honour of Rocky. These t-shirts will only be on sale from 25th March to 30th April 2008 and every single penny of profit from their sale will go straight to TreeHouse, a charity that supports children with Autism. Rocky did endless work with children’s charities himself, so we feel that this is the perfect way to honour his memory.

For more info and for details on how to purchase shirts and see tributes to Rocastle from family and friends, visit the site, http://www.rocky7.co.uk

Before I leave you, take a look at this video, some of you might of seen it before, for me, it brings a tear to the eye.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=udxBpMt2Y8Y
Arsenal Legend 3 - David

Sunday, 3 February 2008

Spurs 5-1 Arsenal - late, late review...

Gooners Was it a tragedy those few weeks ago? No. Downright embarrassing maybe? A little. Sinking ship as many suggested? Someone is having a laugh. The scoreline was surprising but the result was not unexpected for me. It was one of those games where every shot by the opposition would be on target and chances are it will end in the back of the net. I still remember Lee Sharpe’s League Cup exploits against us many moons ago.

This is no different. Only thing is it came against Spurs. Not many Gooners can take it, even if it is the CC. For me, I look at the bigger picture and what is ahead of us.Carling CupPainful as it may seem for some, we have to remember that this is Wenger’s breeding cup, where young and new players get a soft introduction to English football without the risk of dropped points in the Premiership. I see lots of Gooners in various sites and comments saying Wenger should have fielded a stronger squad or maybe even put out the first team. Why? If he did put out his first team, should he stick to the same policy for the final then?

The CL match against AC Milan is on 20/2 whereas the CC final is on 24/2. If we put out the first team for the semi final and use a mixed squad for the final, what difference does it make? I know which match I would rather have my first team.It may still be silverware to some but let us not get over ourselves and clamour for anything that comes our way just because we have not won anything for 2 seasons. The one thing I realise is that if we do play our first team, we would have won it.

Our mix and match team can bring us so far. The first team will bring us all the way. But do we need to exert the first team over this? I would rather we do Newcastle in over the next 2 games. Which brings us to….NewcastleArsenal have a chance to burst Newcastle’s bubble even before it gets pumped up. What is dangerous is the Keegan bandwagon gaining momentum. By beating them in the next 2 meetings, we have the opportunity to uncover the so-called ‘Messiah’ and make him human again.Second string playersWenger must have said something to Diaby. His game has improved slightly.

His is passing more but when the chips are down didn’t trust his team mates enough. His decision making is still suspect as many a time he could have laid an easy ball to the left but opted to shoot. Pretty much says it all why he is not the first choice even with all that talent and hype as the next Paddy.Walcott must learn to take more responsibility.

Confidence is one thing but what worries me is that he looks scared to receive the ball or play the wrong pass. He should go into matches by grabbing it by the scruff of the neck. He was anonymous last night. His game is so English (kick and rush) that it is taking him longer to flourish at Arsenal because the game there is so instinctive. A total change from what he is used to. We know he is a good finisher. But all credit to Wenger for developing his other technical skills. A good player to learn from would be Eduardo. He does not have the pace but he uses his guile and that takes a player’s career further.

Gilberto looks like a player playing out the season and moving on thereafter. He looked lost and disinterested. Would I still use him after this? Maybe. But I would rather use Denilson (assuming he is fit) and Diaby as central pairings for the FA Cup. This would allow Wenger to use Walcott/Randall/Lansbury in one of the wings with Rosicky/Hleb on the other.EndWenger has always insisted this is a youth cup for Arsenal.

When we win, no one screams for the senior players. When we lose, Wenger is a prick for gambling with the cup. Get a grip. We know how the cup would be treated every season. This is not the first time he has done it.Thing is, it was the youth (sprinkled with some experienced but not or no longer first teamers) who got us to where we were. Congratulate them. Take heart they are miles ahead of the majority of the Premiership sides. Look at Manure, their kids got dumped by Coventry.Appreciate what we have.

Man City v Arsenal preview


Manchester City away was a far trickier tie towards the start of the season, but come Saturday Arsenal will still have a hell of a game on their hands. As Manchester United found out, the City of Manchester Stadium has been a bit of a fortress for the blue half of Manchester. City are unbeaten at home in the Premier League this season and they have played United and Liverpool there so far.

Sven has done brilliantly with his side and he knew home form would determine what they achieved this season. At the start they won 9 games in a row on their own turf but since then, Blackburn, Liverpool and West Ham have drawn there. In the first two of those games, City were lucky to win and we are playing them at the best time. Their form has dipped an awful lot and the draw at Derby this week highlighted this.

The form of Elano has fallen and they are relying on the quality of Martin Petrov to get goals. Michael Johnson, although so young, has been a big influence on the side and his absence has coincided with the first real hiccup for "Mr Blue Eyes". City have looked a bit more shaky at the back and Micah Richards and Dunne have looked vulnerable at times. Joe Hart has played extremely well between the posts and has become a real player for the future.

After back to back victories and a slow rise back to form, we have a good opportunity to inflict City’s first defeat at home in the League. The squad is unchanged from Tuesday night and I think it could be the same starting line up. Why change it if its not broken? As long as we see none of the silly passing from Senderos, similar to the last 10 minutes in midweek, we should be ok at the back. Daniel Sturridge will be a pest but I feel Gallas’ experience will prevail here.

The best battle will be Martin Petrov vs Bakary Sagna. These two have definitely been two of the best signings this season and it will be a great tussle as they come head to head. Sagna has made our defence a far tighter and secure unit this season, but crucially he has provided a great attacking outlet, fitting right into out style of play. Martin Petrov has been brilliant this season for City, he has pace, skill and one of the best left foots in the business. His crosses are accurate more often than not and his set pieces could trouble us.

Flamini will be confident of doing a job on Elano as he is the other main attacking threat to us. Otherwise we should be able to cope with City and try and dominate the game. If we play the way we did against Newcastle we really should win this game. We have Adebayor in brilliant form and he will want to score for the 8th game running. We are making chances and when you do that, you score goals and I feel it may take more than one to take the three points on Saturday

Wenger could go with Theo for this game in place of Diaby. This would mean Hleb moving to left midfield where he plays better than the right in my opinion. However, Diaby looked better on Tuesday; he passed the ball earlier and used his strength in ways we expect from him. It may take patience and retention of the ball for this game; Theo really can be a loose cannon. Yet his pace could cause trouble to Ball/Garrido.
=============Almunia============
Sagna===Senderos===Gallas===Clichy
Hleb====Fabregas====Flamini===Diaby
========Adebayor===Eduardo=======
We have come through some difficult away ties this season and this will be another one. We are against a team that are good at home as mentioned and we need to keep our focus and the eye on the prize: the Premier League trophy. From here on in, every game counts!

Future Star: Benik Afobe




Benik In Action During The Nike Cup [Picture From Nike Photographer]
Article From Young Guns:

An out and out striker, Benik is already top scorer for the Under 16s, despite being only 14 years old, strong, and an excellent finisher he is blessed with blistering pace.

Benik is also full of tricks and posses a high level of technique for such a young player, to complete the list of his qualities, he is a threat in the air, and can handle the physical side of the game, this season as he grows up, his power and upper body straight have significantly developed.

Straight out of the very top draw of the latest crop of Academy talent. Despite being of Congo descent Afobe was born in England and will look to push on next season for a place in the England Youth team’s next season.

Read More About The Young Players In Our Player Profiles Section

Name: Benik Afobe

Age: 14

Nationality: English

Height: 178

Position: Striker

Previous Clubs: –

Contract : Scholarship

Friday, 28 September 2007

Premier League: West Ham v Arsenal - Preview

There were many reasons why Arsenal failed to mount a significant title bid last season. But surely the most significant factor was the amount of points left behind at places like Upton Park.
A struggling West Ham took all three against Arsène Wenger’s men in a fractious affair on November 5, 2006. A struggling Fulham, Manchester City and Sheffield United did exactly the same thing over the course of the campaign.
It was Arsenal’s Achilles’ heel. Leaving all the other factors aside, that 12 points alone would have put them on the coat-tails of second-place Manchester United in the final reckoning and given them much more say in the destination of the Premiership title.
Arsenal return to the East End of London on Saturday as English football’s free-flowing force. They are top of the table right now and at the top of their game. But although Arsenal have put may wrongs right this season — winning not drawing early on at Emirates, keeping their discipline at places like Blackburn and Sparta — this game represents a different kind of challenge.
“Yes, it is another test for us,” said Wenger at his pre-match press conference. “And don’t forget we have not played many games away yet. We played at Blackburn, we played at Tottenham but this game is another test.
“We can show that we are stronger than last year if we can make a result at West Ham and do it in a more convincing way. For me, we were not convincing at all last year at West Ham.
"I am not surprised we are up there this year. I expected us to do well and fight for the championship. But the games so far were tight and everything went for us. We have won many in the last 10 minutes so we have to keep our feet on the ground and continue to focus on what we do well. And we know we have to fight on Saturday because a huge commitment will be needed at West Ham.”
There was mixed news from the training ground at Friday’s press conference. Alex Hleb came through tests on his knee but Eduardo dropped out with a groin problem. The manager had already ruled out Jens Lehmann (elbow), Alex Song (calf), William Gallas (groin) and Tomas Rosicky (hamstring).
West Ham’s victory over Arsenal last season was pretty much a blip in a difficult early campaign. They rallied under new boss Alan Curbishley and hauled themselves clear of the dropzone in the final few games. The absence of Dean Ashton with a broken ankle was said to be one of the main reasons.
The fit-again 23-year-old has been well-known to Wenger for some time. The Frenchman made concerted attempts to sign the burly frontman early in his career.
"When he was at Crewe, they played against us in the Youth Cup and he was outstanding,” said the Arsenal manager. “I tried to get him here after that but they had an agreement with Liverpool.
"He is an intelligent player and uses his body well and is good in the air. We were looking at the time for someone who could give us something a bit different and help us play slightly more direct if needed. We felt he could develop into that sort of player. After, he went to Norwich and that was a surprise because suddenly he would not join us. My understanding was that there was a gentleman's agreement that Crewe would not sell him to any other Premier League club than Liverpool.
“Yes in my opinion he is good enough for England now. Certainly he will be involved now because you have Owen and Heskey out. And I wouldn’t be surprised to see Steve McClaren in the stand on Saturday.”

Sunday, 23 September 2007

Silence of The Rams: Arsenal 5-0 Derby


10′ [1 - 0] A. Diaby View25′ [2 - 0] E.S. Adebayor View50′ [3 - 0] E.S. Adebayor (pen.) View70′ [4 - 0] C. Fabregas View79′ [5 - 0] E.S. Adebayor View

Last year this match might’ve had a chance of ending up in a 1-1 draw but this year we’ve shown we can put away teams that deserve putting away. A 5-0 manslaughter of Derby County where the class of Fabregas was front and center and Abou Diaby showed why he’s on his way to replace Vieira and Adebayor, well Adebayor deserve a new sentence. He can score goals, nobody’s doubted that, it’s just the goals that he misses really stick with you. After today’s hatrick where he scored from the penalty spot, on a breakaway and made something out of a completely harmless Denilson pass, even the staunchest of Adebayor critics must concede that he looked very close to replacing Thierry Henry. Then again, this is Derby County. But that takes little away from Adebayor’s dazzling performance where it wasn’t just that he scored goals, his dribbling was pristine and his control perfect.
The lineup wasn’t our strongest with RVP, Gallas, Hleb, Rosicky and Eboue all resting or injured:
Adebayor Eduardo
Diaby Flamini Fabregas Walcott
Clichy Senderos Toure Sagna
Almunia
You saw all that is good and bad about Walcott today, his pace is unstoppable and the defender is always at his mercy when he’s streaming down the right side but once he’s in the box either his shot is either lacking quality or the final pass lets the original run down. In his two chances to score today, he was first overpowered by a defender after outpacing two others and then his shot was blocked. He does create half-chances when he’s in the game, by the end of this year he should create real ones.
Watching Fabregas operate in the midfield is like watching John Stockton play the point guard. Now everybody who reads this blog will completely miss that reference but for those who get it they know it speaks of high praise for Arsenal’s general. When he laced in the fourth goal - another blistering long-range strike - I was just thinking, “Man, is this guy in the zone”. His sense of when to pick off Eduardo and Adebayor and when to lay it off on the right for Sagna or Walcott never seems to be wrong. Billy Davies, the Derby County boss alluded to him being the best midfielder in Europe, he might not be wrong.
Looking at Eduardo’s play you get the sense that he’s still finding his place on the team. The glimpses of skill that he displays are right now being offset by him getting tangled in the box and not finding the space he needs (and was used to in Zagreb) but he’s already looking more comfortable than he did earlier in the season and as things progress, so will he. Like Walcott, he has no problem beating the defender on the wing, it’s just when you get past that he’s still figuring out what his options are. Perfectly natural. Time will fix that.
Liverpool was frustrated into a scoreless draw by Birmingham and Chelsea/Man Utd play today at Old Trafford. On a completely different note, I thought it was somewhat classless of Benitez to not even say a word or two about Mourinho. I’m pretty sure I hate Benitez more than I ever did Mourinho.

Saturday, 22 September 2007

Arsenal v Derby - The Preview



Sorry the blog hasn't been updated recently. We were planning to move to wordpress but i have decided that it would be better to stay at Blogger. So here we are!!!






Alexander Hleb has joined Arsenal's growing injury list, which also includes Tomas Rosicky, William Gallas, Jens Lehmann and Emmanuel Eboue.


Hleb has a knee injury, but on a more positive note the Gunners can call on Philippe Senderos after a hip problem.


Derby are set to be unchanged from the team that notched their first win of the campaign against Newcastle.


Kenny Miler's hamstring held up to the test, and while Darren Moore and Giles Barnes are fit, the match is too soon.



Arsenal will look to strengthen their position at the top of the table as they face a Derby side fresh from their first win of the season.
Though they were always going to challenge for a UEFA Champions League spot, The Gunners could be considered one of the Premier League's surprise packages for the way they have flourished since Thierry Henry's departure in the summer.
They are unbeaten in all competitions this season and appear to be going from strength to strength after following up their victory over Tottenham with an impressive 3-0 win against Sevilla in midweek.


The Mighty Arsenal's verdict:


We reckon this will be a comfortbale win for Arsenal but we need to watch out for Derby who could take advantage of a tired Arsenal side.


Prediction: Arsenal 3-1 Derby