My five-year-old insisted on having Match of the Day 2 recorded last night, in order that he could "watch Arsenal in the morning." I tried to explain that there is no fun in watching them lose, so there was no point in setting the Sky+. As the tears and whingeing began I promised I would do as he asked and off he went to bed. So it was that, over breakfast this morning, the two of us settled down to watch Arsenal getting beaten at home again. The game was exactly how I remembered it from seeing it live. However, my boy did me a service by getting the programme recorded as I got to see Arsene Wenger's post-match interview. I couldn't quite believe what I was hearing. Wenger lamented Arsenal's bad luck, and was adamant that we deserved something out of the game on the grounds that Carroll's goal was virtually Newcastle's only effort on target. It is time for Arsene Wenger to get honest about what goes on in front of him. Arsenal were not unlucky yesterday, they simply did not do enough to get a result. Tim Krul, in the Newcastle goal, had only to make one save worthy of the name. The time has come for Wenger to get real about the attitude the players take in to certain matches. You can use statistics to mask a number of failings, but only rose-tinted Wenger apologists are now fooled by this nonsense. The only statistic that ever matters is the one that shows the scoreline, and yesterday it showed a 1-0 defeat to a team who've just come up from the division below. For all of the possession Arsenal had yesterday they created naff-all, and Newcastle were well worth their win.
As I'm writing this I'm watching the local news. There is a report on Dover's win against Gillingham on Saturday. You will recall that I congratulated Athletic on their victory on this very site. Sadly, as with a lot of club's who get their moment in the sun, Dover's Chairman seems to believe he is the star of the show. A number of people who live locally will be fully aware of who Dover's Chairman is and it is no surprise that he is putting himself in the limelight. Why these non-league characters have such big ego's to service I will never know. At any level of football the Chairman should never be seen (just think about twats like Ridsdale) - the players and the Manager are the people that count, and the people that deserve to be on TV.
Back to Arsenal. The Reserves played this afternoon against Everton. There was a newspaper claim over the weekend that Aaron Ramsey was going to play, but it was no surprise to find out he wasn't in the squad. We won't be seeing him on a field of play for a couple of weeks yet, you can be sure. A mixture of young first-teamer squad players and youth players took the field today, and destroyed their visitors 4-1. Chuks Aneke and Havard Nordveidt scored two of the goals, but the star of the show was again Jay Emmanuel-Thomas it seems. The big centre-forward scored another two goals. Last week Arsene Wenger said that Jay was "banging on his door with both fists" for a first-team place. With Carlos Vela making as little impact as ever (not in the squad yesterday, not in the Reserves today), and Bendtner still showing a failing in the first-touch department, I would like to see the youngster given his opportunity. He was taken off before the end today, so perhaps he might make the bench for Wednesday night. Emmanuel-Thomas has played in every area of the pitch, but always believed himself to be a striker. His goalscoring record is proving him correct right now, and perhaps bringing in someone like him might just kick a few people up the backside - remember the impact Kevin Campbell made at this time in 1990? The physical presence of Emmanuel-Thomas is similar to that Campbell had as a youngster, and his goalscoring record this season is heading towards a par with the young Super Kev. After yesterday, he certainly couldn't do any worse.
There will be a preview of the Wolves match posted here tomorrow evening. Until then, take care in the bad weather.