Beauty is in the eye of the beholder… Norfolk Boreds!

The Beautiful Game?

While watching some of the games at Euro 2016, I realised that I wasn’t particularly enjoying the entertainment on offer.

I have been a football fan for virtually all my life, probably from the late 1940s, and an Arsenal supporter from my first ever attendance at Highbury in 1950.

At school I signed up for rowing, our boathouse, at Mortlake on the Thames, is the one used by the Oxford crew at the end of the annual University Boat Race.  Later I played some football and cricket.

I retain an interest in rowing, I enjoy watching test cricket, the biff bang wallop of twenty20 leaves me cold, I also follow Rugby Union in the guise of Northampton Saints, I’m fascinated by the sheer guts of cyclists in the Grand Tours, golf is the most ridiculous game ever invented but football has up to now been my main sporting interest.

The “Beautiful Game” has, sadly, become considerably less beautiful as television has taken hold and money has gushed in.  Owners, clubs, managers players and agents are all involved in a frenetic scramble for a share of the loot, oh and of course for the “honours”.

On the pitch players have become fitter, more skilled, more talented and much, much more willing to cheat.  Diving, simulating injuries, shirt pulling, stealing yards at throw-ins, challenging officials over the most trivial of supposed injustices, and turning penalty boxes into tag team wrestling arenas.

There are, of course, wonderful moments in games, a superbly taken free-kick into the top corner of the net with the ‘keeper diving in a forlorn attempt at a save.  A rapid passing movement resulting in a player put through on goal with a chance of beating the ‘keeper.  A delightful dribble past a lunging full-back followed by a cross into the box and a late goal saving tackle by a centre back.

For every one of those moments of sheer magic, there will be a raft of sneaky, underhand acts of cheating and that’s what is destroying my love of a game that has given me years of excitement, pleasure and despair in equal measures.

Obviously I’ll continue to support my team but will I enjoy the experience of actually watching the games?

Posted by Norfolk Gooner

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France is revolting… Gunners abroad!

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As the Euros approach the last games of the group stage, it’s all becoming a bit predictable. France have already qualified, as have Italy, Germany and Spain. At the moment Spain look like the strongest side, whilst the flops are Portugal and Sweden. England, despite a dodgy first half against Wales, used their substitutes wisely at half time and the two subs, Vardy and Sturridge, turned the game around.

Hamsik for Slovakia… is so far goal of the tournament for me, and the dark horses are still Iceland and Northern Ireland. Petr Cech and Rosicky were letting the Arsenal contingent down until their game against Croatia, Rosicky getting an assist and the Czechs getting a draw. However, in the process, Thomas pulled up with what looked like a hammy and is out for the rest of the tournament if they progress to the last 16.

There have been no further goals for Arsenal players in the competition since Girouds goal in the opener for France and he is unlikely to get more tonight in their last game against the Swiss because reports on French TV are saying he is on the bench and Gignac takes his place.

I thought there would have been more goals in the last twelve games of the group stages and although Belgium and Spain have scored three apiece, goalless draws in the games Germany v Poland and Portugal v Austria has kept the amount of goals to a minimum.

Payet is still the player of the tournament but Ronaldo, Zlatan and Pogba continue to disappoint, especially the ego known as Ronaldo, who missed a penalty yesterday and the even bigger ego called Zlatan, who, despite being one meter from goal managed to put the ball over. Call themselves fucking strikers…..

Tonight is the last game in group A, France v Switzerland and we’ll have another chance to see Granit in action against Koscielny in th French defence. Tomorrow England have their chance to seal first place in Group B against the Slovacs.

Meanwhile, in South America, Ospina and Sanchez play against each other in the Copa America semi final.

 

All Quiet on the Western Front

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All Quiet on the Western Front relates to the Russian and English fans in Northern France, no further problems. However, it could also relate to the football so far in France, because it hasn’t set the world alight.

The French are still revolting, there were further demonstrations and riots in Paris yesterday and also, another psycho terrorist killed two Police officers.

But this blog is about football and there have been some interesting twists over the last couple of days. The first twelve games have been played, so half way through the group stage.

In those twelve games just 22 goals have been scored and no team has scored more than twice in a match. It could be a matter of nerves in the initial games so I’m hoping things will liven up somewhat in the next twelve games. However, the standard of football played has been fairly high, from the favorites right down to the no-hopers.

Best teams so far for me are France, Germany, Italy, Hungary and Croatia. Northern Ireland were unlucky to lose 1-0 to Poland and the Republic of Ireland should have beat Sweden.

The flops so far are Sweden, Portugal and Belgium. Players who have disappointed are Kane, Zlatan, Ronaldo and Pogba….. I think there were high hopes for those players to shine.

I haven’t really seen any player have an outstanding game so far apart from Payet for France. Best on goal line clearance goes to Boateng and best goal keeper so far has to be the Hungarian, 40 year old Kiraly.

Arseholes of the tournament so far are Gareth Bale for his comments against England and to Ronaldo for his comments after the game against Iceland…. sour grapes!

Best team performances have to go to Iceland and Hungary, both could go through to the last 16, which would be great for the tournament.

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Best looking women supporters goes to Sweden and the ugliest goes to Hungary (or is that the Italian flag on their faces?)

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So today we have a second chance to watch Granit Xhaka in the Switzerland vs Romania game and tonight, Giroud could get on the score sheet again in the France vs Albania game. The other game today sees the Russians play Slovakia, any bets on there being more trouble?

And just a reminder to Gooners, the Premier League fixtures will be published today at 9am GMT.

 

Gunners in Europe… how are we doing?

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Seven games into the 2016 Euros and seven of our players have been involved in six of them.

Everyone was interested in seeing Granit Xhaka play for Switzerland and he put in an assured performance, he didn’t do anything special but showed his potential for passing accurately. He reminded me somewhat of Elneny so I’m fairly confident that they will be cover for each other in the Arsenal team.

I didn’t see the Welsh game but by all accounts Ramsey didn’t have a great game for Wales. Giroud was the first Gunner to get on a score sheet in the French win against Romania and looked good,  Kos was fairly OK in defence considering he rarely plays alongside Rami. Wilshere wasn’t given long enough on the pitch for England so we’ll have to wait and see if he is selected for the game against Wales.

I didn’t see the Polish game either so can’t say how Chezzer played but they kept a clean sheet against Northern Ireland.

Finally, last night we saw Ozil in action for the Germans and as per usual, he was fairly anonymous until he put in a pin point pass to create their second goal, showing that he is the King of assists. Schweinsteiger pointed to where he wanted the ball and Ozil obliged, it was excellent. He should have got on the scoresheet as well but fluffed his lines when one- on – one with the keeper.

So how does it all leave the Arsenal stats………………

Played 6

Won 5

Draw 1

Goals 1

Assists 1

Clean sheets 3

Not bad so far, we have Cech and Rosicky playing today and we can also have a butchers at one of our possible targets, Morata playing for Spain.

In the meantime in France, the French are still revolting, there is a lot of debate about who started the fights in Marseille and although French reporters are saying the Russians brought a well organised army of hooligans, they have yet to blame French supporters in Marseille for starting the first confrontations outside bars in the Old Port.

 

 

 

The Gunner Frog jumps highest

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The Euros kicked off last night with France beating Romania 2-1 and Giroud getting the first French goal with his head…. was it luck or skill? I don’t give a shit, it was a goal which will eventually propel him to the Golden Boot. However, the Payet goal was fantastic and he was the driving force behind the win. Wenger please sign him from West Ham!

Today we have the chance to see Granit play for the Swiss team, KO 2pm GMT.

Later today Ramsey will be playing for the Leek eaters and tonight, England play Russia but from all reports of Woys team selection, Jacko is not a starter. Hopefully he’ll be on the bench and come on to be a game changer.

Meanwhile, in Marseille, English fans are once again grabbing the headlines on French TV…. the French really do hate us, the bastards, and I wonder why after a history of wars and conflict, but they seem to conveniently forget that we saved them from a life under Nazi rule.

So I’ll leave you with this…..

 

Gunners in France

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As I type this at 8am this morning it is already a balmy 26°c here in the South of France and forecast to rise into the 30’s.

The Euros kick off tonight with France playing in Paris where train strikes and a rubbish collection strike are in full swing. In Marseille English supporters have already grabbed the headlines, fighting with local lads in the Old Port.

Add to that the threats of terrorist attacks and all the security surrounding the competition and we have a recipe for some very unsavoury headlines.

Our club from North London have nine players in the tournament so it will be an interesting time for us to assess our boys. I put nine players as opposed to eight as the BBC are reporting because they forgot to add Granit our new acquisition to the list.

http://www.msn.com/en-gb/sport/uefa-euro-2016/barcelona-9-8-arsenal-which-club-has-the-most-euro-2016-players/ss-BBtJtc3?ocid=spartanntp

Tonight we have the French Ponce and Kos probably starting for Les Bleus and I think Olivier will have a good game, in fact he is my bet to be the top scorer in the competition and furthermore, I see France as the eventual winners.

However, the most interesting aspect for us will be seeing Granit play for the Swiss and to see what sort of player Wenger has purchased.

England may get to the quarters but I think that’s as far as they’ll progress and coinciding with the Brexit vote, we’ll see an early BREXIT for the British sides in the competition. However, Jacko could be the player to help England go further, don’t be shocked to see him have a blinder of a tournament, and if Vardy plays with him it could work well.

My prediction for the surprise package is Iceland…. is it time for another underdog like Greece before them?

So despite the strikes, the rotting rubbish, the English hooligans invading France and the threat of terrorists ruining the whole thing, I’m at this moment drinking a glass of Rosé and looking forward to the opener tonight….. nothing can put me off, just like a true Englishman who fought at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415 or who set foot on the Normandy beaches in 1944……………

 

Wenger should tell Vardy to ‘fuck off’

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So the latest episode in the Vardy transfer is he has told Arsenal he won’t make a decision till after the Euros…… that’s more than a month, unless England go out early.

But where does that leave Arsenal?

They surely won’t wait for his decision, they’ll have to search for an alternative because if Vardy contacts them in four weeks time and says he is staying with the Foxes, time will be limited in the Transfer Window and furthermore, other teams would have upped their search for players, making the market place very congested.

I hope we find someone else quickly and sincerely hope Wenger has already started the process. Vardy would have been a very good acquisition but he is not the only striker out there. Pissing around will cost him I think, and furthermore, if he has a bad time in the Euros his stock will fall, making him a less attractive proposition.

So my advice to Monsieur Wenger, find another striker and tell Jamie Vardy it’s too late and to Fuck Off!