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Category Archives: Personal Memory Bank

Personal Memory Bank – Arsenal 2 Newcastle 0, 14th August 2005

Newcastle are puzzling. They have a fantastic support, yet their team lets them down far often than not. They have had some great players in the past, but collectively failed to won zilch. Ahead of Newcastle’s visit to the Emirates, here is my favorite memory of an Arsenal-Newcastle clash!

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Arsenal 2 (Henry (pen) 81, van Persie 87)

This match is special to all Arsenal fans in some way or the other. It was the last time the Gunners stepped on to the pitch to kickoff a season at Highbury. It was the introduction of those beautiful red currant kits for the final season at the stadium

It was also the first real season, where I watched almost all the games, having missed out on quite a few during the 2004/2005 campaign. Patrick Vieira had just departed to join Juventus over the summer, and the captain’s armband was handed to Thierry Henry. Quite a no-brainer that!

Arsenal had been looking for Vieira’s replacement during the summer, and talks with Newcastle’s Jermaine Jenas had supposedly broken down. But the answer, lay within, as Cesc Fabregas shone in midfield.

Jenas would be the culprit in the eyes of Newcastle, as he was sent off for a rash challenge on Gilberto Silva, in the 32nd minute. He would leave the club just days later, to join Sp*rs.

Shay Given was singlehandedly keeping Arsenal out, as 10 man Newcastle failed to hold on to the terrific pace the Arsenal side possessed. Having saved a Bergkamp shot early on, he saved an effort from Kolo Toure, from just yards out.

Henry, Ljungberg all tried, but in vain, as Given made save after save. Ljungberg was set free by Henry on one ocassion, but Given was alert, and he collected the ball with Ljungberg in full pelt.

However, 9 minutes from time, Charles N’Zogbia bought down Ljungberg in the area. Again, Given saved the penalty, but the shot had enough in it, to scramble into the back of the net. Henry celebrated making a ‘T’, with his index fingers, in indication of his newly born daughter, named Tea.

Arsenal sealed the points in the 87th minute, when Robin van Cunty finished from close range.

The Gunners endured a frustrating season, to eventually finish 4th, pipping Sp*rs to 4th spot, and heartbreakingly losing to Barcelona in the Champion’s League final.

Jai Arsenal 🙂

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The Sportskeeda Blogger of the Year Award 2012 is here. Sportskeeda is one of the fastest growing Indian sports networks, with a global reach. It’s nomination time in the competition, and I’d be extremely happy and honored, if you, my esteemed reader, nominate my blog under the ‘Club Fan Site’ category.

—————————————————————————————————————————————————————– While you are about it, follow Blazing Cannons on twitter. @blazingcannons

And do like, the Facebook page as well.

Go ahead you lazy bum, that’s all I ask of you!

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2012 in General, Personal Memory Bank

 

Personal Memory Bank – Everton 1 Arsenal 4, 15th August 2004

Trips to Everton always promise to be feisty affairs. Everton, under the stewardship of David Moyes, have more often than not, punched above their weight. And, Arsenal have usually enjoyed their trips to the blue half of Merseyside.

This particular match remains in my memory, because, it effectively was my first game as an Arsenal supporter!

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Everton 1 (Carsley 64) – Arsenal 4 (Bergkamp 23, Reyes 39, Ljungberg 54, Pires 83)

I vividly remember my high school days, when I was introduced to the world of Premier League football, by my high-school cronies. Messrs Siddarth, Sumegh, Krishnadev and Dheeraj.

Well, Siddarth was a glory hunter. Sorry mate 😛 Reason was pretty simple. His favorite’s in sport were Manchester United, Michael Schumacher and Ferrari, Valentino Rossi and of course he taken a liking to Maria Sharapova! Krishnadev, however was not a typical glory hunter. He was a Manchester United fan of course, but in Formula 1, he preferred Juan Pablo Montoya. Montoya, would soon become a Nascar driver, though.

Dheeraj was not a fan of a club in particular. His only love was Michael Owen, so he was unsure about whom to support, the hugely popular Manchester United, or Owen’s Liverpool. As of today, he is yet to make that important life choice. Sumegh, well, he was the first Arsenal fan I met. And, he was a big big Arsenal fan. Loved  Thierry Henry to bits!

For someone like me, who had just begun to follow a bit of football, I was yet to make my decision. I mean, I wasn’t even sure, if I wanted to watch much of football. I would just involve myself as the four of them got into heated arguments over the finer nuances of English football.

I was a bit of a yo-yo-ing glory hunter. I would swing between supporting Manchester United and Arsenal. Even as we finished our 9th grade, Arsenal were crowned league champions in 2004.

To be honest, I did not know about Arsenal’s feat, and the buzz of the 2004/2005 season among my friends got me more interested about football, and on India’s 57th Independence Day on August 15th 2004, I became a Gooner!

Arsenal faced Everton on opening day, and I could barely watch the match, thank’s to family’s obsession of watching disastrous Hindi soap’s. Anyways, every time there was a commercial break, I would switch channels to watch the match.

Arsenal were breathtaking to watch. Sublime, slick and easy on the eye. Quick moments between players, like Henry and Pires, and some cute flicks by Bergkamp, the bullish approach of Ljungberg. I had instantly fallen in love with this team.

Of course, I wasn’t watching the full game, but glimpses of Arsenal’s game were enough to capture my loyalties. I did get to watch the third goal though. A Henry pass came into the path of Ljungberg, who had the easy task of tapping the ball home.

This was the first goal I had celebrated, and will remain long in my memory, especially because of the perplexed looks on the faces of my family! 😀

Minutes later, when I switched channels, the score was 1-3. Everton had gotten one back through Lee Carsley. However, Arsenal sealed the result when Robert Pires scored a simple goal, after the Everton goalie was unable to hold on to a save he had made from Henry’s shot.

Meanwhile, news had poured in that Manchester United had lost to Chelsea. So, that sealed the deal for me as well. Arsenal were my team.

Arsenal endured a bit of a frustrating season. Their unbeaten run was ended at Old Trafford in acrimonious circumstances. And, despite being an Arsenal fan for just about 3 months, I was so devastated, I refused to speak for an entire day!

There was sweet revenge, though, at the end of the season, when Arsenal scraped past the Red Devils on penalties after a one-sided affair in Cardiff.

But, the blurry memories of my first Arsenal game will linger long!

Jai Arsenal 🙂

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And do like, the Facebook page as well.

Go ahead you lazy bum, that’s all I ask of you!

 
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Posted by on November 27, 2012 in General, Personal Memory Bank

 

Personal Memory Bank – Aston Villa 2 Arsenal 2, 26th December 2008

Trips to Villa Park have been fairly good in the recent past. I can’t recollect losing to the Villains, since I started supporting the Gunners. One particular game, though sticks to memory for various reasons! Enjoy!

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Aston Villa 2 (Barry 65 (pen), Knight 92) – Arsenal 2 (Denilson 40, Diaby 49)

Paul ‘Gascoigne’ Knight!

It was a typical December evening. Hot, humid and very very sweaty. Oh wait! It was just after the semester exams, and after Christmas. So, I was all in holiday mood. It wasn’t all that rosy. My uncle came visiting. A glory hunter mind you.

Now, the man didn’t know the ‘f’ of football. And, hey, he was a fair weather Manchester United supporter. So, that sums it all up, I guess. A cricket buff, and barely watched a Manchester United game.

But, since his arrival, and a brief discussion about where my career lies, we suddenly started talking about football, and soon enough, to Arsenal.

Glory Hunting Uncle – But remember, you should take your career seriously..rumble..rumble..rumble. .studies..rumble ..engineering.. marks.. grades..rumble.. money.. rumble.. career.. football.

Me – Huh? What?

GHU – You know, do you watch football?

Me – Er, yes, I do. How come you ask this all of a sudden?

GHU – Simply. You know Manchester, don’t you.

Me – Yes, there are two.

GHU – Manchester United I mean.

Me – Yes, what about them, uncle?

GHU – They are brilliant, aren’t they. I saw them a few days back on Sportscenter, decimating some team. And I hear they are European champions or something. They won the English Premier League, too, didn’t they.

Me – Yes, they are good. But c’mon uncle, Arsenal beat them 2-1 couple of months back.

GHU – I am sure they handed the game to them. Man U never lose. They are winners.

Me – (Clenching my fists, but restraining myself) How come this sudden interest in football, uncle.

GHU – Man U of course. They are brilliant, aren’t they. I watch them on Sportscenter. They play once a month or something, don’t they. When’s the next game?

Me – Tonight. They play Stoke City.

GHU – Stoke City? Never heard of them. Anyways, let’s watch the game.

Me – Oh yeah, sure. Later,there’s Aston Villa vs Arsenal on Star Sports. I will be watching that. And uncle, Arsenal are my favorites. Maybe, you should watch them play too.

GHU – Yeah right, I am sticking to my choice. Man U never lose. They are winners, you know. Their manager, what’s his name, Fer…fer…bu son, right?

Me – Alex Ferguson, uncle…It’s Ferguson.

GHU – Yeah, him. What a man.

Me – Do you know a single player from your Man U.

GHU – Beckham. I remember this Irish family, who stayed next to us in Muscat. Their son had a Beckham Man U jersey.

Me – (Facepalm) Uncle, he left Man U like 6 or 7 years ago.

GHU – Ah, doesn’t matter. Man U are winners. They will win tonight, and I am sure your Ars a nal will lose. HAHAHA (Evil laugh!)

***Stoke vs Man U, 20:30 IST***

There was very little to talk about really in this game. It was the pinnacle of horrendousness. The zenith of boredom. Stoke were excruciatingly poor to watch. They didn’t have the vision, movement. Heck, they didn’t even have football players. All they did all night was kick Ronaldo all over his body. And my GHU. Yeah, Man U fan, my arse. During the two hours of the match, he finished reading the ‘Times of India’ twice, took a nap and even had time for a loo break.

And, he comes, when it is about 80 minutes.

Me – Told you, uncle, they can’t beat a shit team like Stoke.

GHU – Maybe, they are just playing like that on purpose.

Me – They don’t do that in football uncle.

And suddenly, boom. Tevez pokes the ball home, with 82 minutes on the clock.

GHU – (like Arnold Schwarzenegger removing his cigar, removes his cigarette from his mouth) Told you!

Me – That was a crap goal against a crap team, which is down to 10 men!

GHU – Let’s see how Arsenal fare then.

***Final whistle goes at Stoke. Aston Villa vs Arsenal, 22:30 IST***

Well, there was really little to talk about the game, Arsenal wise at least. There was no Fabregas, there was Silverstre. So, you know, that’s a disaster even before the game started. Arsenal had 3 central defenders, in the starting lineup. Gallas, Toure, Silvestre.

Aston Villa had enough about them to trouble us. James Milner, yeah. He had some pace then. There was Agbonlahor, who would always put his A-game against us. There was the despicable duo of Ashley Young and Gareth Barry as well.

And, Aston Villa started in earnest, attacking Arsenal right from the start. I think they had like a gazillion shots on target. My uncle was sporting a smirk, looking at the hapless Arsenal defending. Silvestre almost scored a brilliant goal. Own goal. Almunia had to make the save of his live to prevent it from going on.

My GHU was having the time of his life. And then, out of nowehere, Denilson, yes, Denilson scored. It was completely unexpected, and having resigned to the fact that this could be a standard away 2-0 Arsenal defeat, we were suddenly leading 1-0 at Villa Park.

Me – See, I told you, Arsenal are great.

GHU – Bah! It was a nothing goal. That other team, what are they called, Rose Villa? They look like some local team, which I could have taken on in my prime. And they have just given you the goal, saying ‘Take It’!

Me – It’s Aston Villa. They are a Premier League side, and a decent one at that. And, again, no one throws away games in football.

***Half time whistle goes, second half starts***

4 minutes in, Arsenal are up 2-0. Diaby scored. I don’t remember how. But, he did. My uncle, by now, was positively getting bored. He hadn’t watched a single game of football his life, and now he had watched, sort of, two in a single day.

GHU – Chuck this, I am off to sleep. Congrats on your win! Good night!

Me – Told you uncle. Good night!

What happened next was unbelievable. Aston Villa mounted attack after attack. And, I mean, attack after attack. Arsenal looked like they could concede any moment. Villa suddenly won a penalty. My memory is hazy. I don’t remember how.

Gareth Barry smashed it past Almunia. Aston Villa 1 Arsenal 2. 25 minutes to go.

Arsenal’s defence looked so crumbly, like a creamless cake. There were bits and pieces all over. And, just when it seemed Arsenal were going to hold on to a win, the inevitable happened.

Zat Knight, yes, Zat Knight, found himself in the penalty box. And bang, he became Paul Gascoigne. He smashed one into the roof of the net. And, there I lay, devastated on my couch. Arsenal had blown it yet again. What do I tell uncle?

***Breakfast, 27 December, around 9 AM***

GHU – (Adjusting his specs, and newspaper) What happened last night by the way.

Me – Nothing much.

GHU – Huh?

Me – They drew!

GHU – EEEHAAHAHHAHA. (Devil Laugh) Told you so! Man U are winners. They never draw.

Me – What? They drew Sp*rs last week.

GHU – Well, you know they must have just given it away.

Me – They don’t do that, uncl…Ah, yes, maybe you are right. (This is when I realized I was talking to a moron of a brick wall, and they don’t come more stubborn than a glory hunting Man U fan!)

Arsenal let me down on the night. But, who the eff cares. I love this team. Doesn’t matter if these Man U supporting idiots keep bantering in your face!

My GHU occasionally visits, and I make sure, it is not on Matchday! Don’t want to fucking end up in an useless argument! 😀

Jai Arsenal 🙂

—————————————————————————————————————————————————————– While you are about it, follow Blazing Cannons on twitter. @blazingcannons

And do like, the Facebook page as well.

Go ahead you lazy bum, that’s all I ask of you!

 
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Posted by on November 23, 2012 in General, Personal Memory Bank

 

Personal Memory Bank – Arsenal 2 Tottenham Hotspur 3, 20th November 2010

North London derbies are always special, and in recent times, have always promised goals and drama. Today’s Personal Memory Bank is not really memorable for the fact that we lost, but the events of the day that transpired, for me atleast. Enjoy!

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Arsenal 2 (Nasri 9, Chamakh 27) – Tottenham 3 (Bale 50, van der Vaart 67, Kaboul 85)

Not a pretty sight at all!

It was one of those frantic Saturday’s, where you want to get over with all errands and work, to be tension free, in order to watch an early kickoff, which in India is precisely 6:15 PM.

Having just arrived from my half-day of classes from college at around 3:00 PM, I was terribly tired, more than even on normal days, and remember this was the middle of the summer, which in my city, is excruciatingly draining. I had a hasty lunch, and trudged off to sleep. Before I knew it, I was up by 6:00 PM, just in time for the match.

Freshening up, I did my pre match rituals, which is not much really. I remove my Henry home jersey, kiss the badge, wear it on, like I am some professional footballer, they potray in movies; you know, like the guy is really proud of the club. That kind of stuff! (I am proud of Arsenal, by the way!) Oh and yeah, I make sure no one is looking, and do a little war dance. Looks stupid, but that’s my pre match ritual.

And, moments later, to my disgust, the channels which were supposed to be showing ESPN and Star Sports, were instead showing Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire on HBO, and another channel showing some crap local advertisements, of furniture shops and apartments.

I flipped through the channels hurriedly. The damn cable operator provides us with 120 channels to watch. I am pretty sure, I wouldn’t bother for at least 110 of them. I flipped once and re flipped, but to no avail.

5 minutes passed, and I get a message from my friend! “NASSRRII :D”. Damn, I have missed it, I thought. I tried calling the cable operator, but no one responded. I was getting extremely pissed. Finally, someone picked up. I blasted at the top of my voice “Where the hell is ESPN?”. A calm female voice on the other end told “Sir, from today onwards ESPN-Star has been cancelled out for non-payment by all cable operators in the country!” and she hung up!

Holy Fucking Shit! Today of all days, these buggers have to fall into some meagre dispute over telecast rights. I called up my friend, who luckily enough, was getting the channel. Idiot on earth decided to frustrate me even more. He takes the phone near the TV, and I can hear the commentator heaping praise on Marrouane Chamakh, you heard it right, Marrouane Chamakh. Arsenal were 2-0 up.

We were heading for a real thumping, and I did not want to miss this at any cost. I told him I will be catching a bus, and reaching his locality, in time for the second half to start. I remember very little of the bus journey. What I do remember is that I had changed. I wasn’t wearing my lucky jersey. I didn’t want it to get spoilt or soiled. I loved it above anything else.

After some heckling and harrying on the local bus, my friend was at the stop to pick me up. We reached his home just on time for the second half. What transpired next, was unexpected and uncalled for. His operator too, decided, he had had enough of ESPN, and bang, we were greeted by black and white lines on the television screen.

Aargh! This was turning into a nightmare! Our last hope was the internet. As it turns out, my friend’s internet plan was weird. Streaming a game would cost him a fortune. No, really. BBC Text opened up, and Sp*rs had a goal back. Gareth Bale scoring on 50 minutes.

I don’t remember what happened in the next few minutes. We were just hoping for the magic words ‘Goal’ to pop up from somewhere. Pop up it did, Rafael van der Vaart scored on 67 minutes. Text reading commentary can really get on your nerves at time. It makes you feel like doing an invisible chick or something.

My friend shrugged it off, and said “Chuck it. Let’s stream the last few minutes.” We finally got hold of a trusted streaming link”. The initial image was of a Sp*rs player lining up a free kick. Seconds later, and Bam! Sp*rs were leading 3-2 at the Emirates, thanks to Younes Kaboul!

This nightmare was real for sure. Arsenal huffed and puffed for a bit more, but it was too little, too late. My week was officially ruined. I had wasted money, time, energy on travelling half the town, to not watch a match, and eventually watch fucking Sp*rs scoring the winning goal in the dying moments at the Emirates!

Ah, the pangs of being an Arsenal fan! Nothing can frustrate or enthrall you more than supporting the Arsenal! We may have won 5-2 last season, but that day’s antics made it quite a memorable North London Derby. I am pretty sure you will beg to differ! 😀

Jai Arsenal! 🙂

—————————————————————————————————————————————————————– While you are about it, follow Blazing Cannons on twitter. @blazingcannons

And do like, the Facebook page as well.

Go ahead you lazy bum, that’s all I ask of you!

 
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Posted by on November 16, 2012 in General, Personal Memory Bank

 

Personal Memory Bank – Arsenal 2 Fulham 1, 12th August 2007

Let’s be honest. There is very little to talk about or dissect after the Schalke game, and I have quite a wealth of time and my blog looks a bit bare, with the recent inactivity of blogging, thanks to my utmost preparation for my management entrance exams. Of course, it didn’t hinder me from watching the crazy 7-5 win over Reading a day before the exam, all the way up to 4:00 AM in the morning.

Point is, this lack of activity on the blog got me thinking what to write in my next article. And then, lo, a great idea. I have been supporting Arsenal since 2004, and have watched a tonne of games. So, I thought, I will blog on my favorite game of the upcoming fixture over the past 8 seasons.

First up, of course, is our home game against Fulham. And, this is my most memorable Arsenal vs Fulham game. Enjoy!

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Arsenal 2 (van Persie 84 (pen), Hleb 90) – Fulham 1 (Healy)

Who doesn’t like Belarussians?

Of course, the memories of the day are pretty hazy. But, what I do remember is it was the summer holidays, at the end of my 12th, and was waiting for my engineering classes to start. Well, not waiting really, but the holidays had been quite a drawn out and boring time.

My 12th exams were a disaster, so to say. My brilliant marks meant I was left in the lurch with admissions to a good grad college. Of course, all that went well, and it was also the summer my sister got married, and I went to Muscat for a few days to soak the sun, and take the heat off my tired mind. The summer also included two days of mute depression, as I remember it. That was the result of Thierry Henry leaving for Barcelona, something that stunned me into silence.

I was back in India, days later, in time for the start of the Premier League season. At the time, we had a small 21 inch BPL television, which my grandmother seldom used, and hence handed over to us. Like some generation thing. Anyways, it was another hot summer day, and I was anticipating the start of the game, like for months.

The game was an early kickoff by Indian time standards. It was 5:15 IST (which is 12:45 GMT) if I am right. And the post-Henry era started with who else, but a certain Robin van Persie leading the line. Rings a bell? This was probably the first time in many years, that the Gunners had employed a 4-5-1 formation. In midfield, Mathieu Flamini and Francesc Fabregas would form a dynamic partnership. Tomas Rosicky played just off the striker, while Alexander Hleb and Emmanuel Eboue were on the flanks. Arsenal still had Jens Lehmann in goal of course, and Bacary Sagna was playing in his first Premier League game.

The Fulham side that afternoon, like Arsenal’s was completely unrecognizable from today’s sides. They club was sprinkled with Americans, like Bocanegra, McBride and Dempsey, while they also fielded numerous new signings in Hameur Bouazza, Paul Konchesky and Northern Ireland international David Healy.

It was another one of those afternoons at the Emirates, which we have become so accustomed to now. The opposition take the lead, somehow, don’t ask me how, and Arsenal attack and attack, and suddenly their keeper decides to become Lev Yashin’s reincarnation for one day.

Fulham took the lead, with not even a minute gone on the clock. Jens Lehmann completely miscued his clearance right into the path of Healy, who had the easy task of slotting the ball at the back of the net, and he did it with ease, to cap a great start to life at his new club.

Fulham’s keeper that afternoon was Tony Warner. I have watched him a few times since that game, and he is a very talented keeper. No, really. Wonder what happened of him. Anyways, he was starting the game only because first choice keeper, Finn Anti Niemi hurt himself during warm-up.

Warner took this chance to keep goal like he would not get another one. Ever. He saved shots of literally the entire Arsenal roster. Rosicky, Hleb, Fabregas and all of that. And, Arsenal being Arsenal, almost granted a 2-0 lead to the visiting side, but Lehmann managed to clear the ball narrowly off Healy.

The rest of the game was a complete haze, to be honest. Well, you know, as I said typical Arsenal afternoon at the Emirates. Arsenal created like a million chances, and Warner was on hand to deny each and every one of them.

Arsenal’s opener was the result of some tireless running from the unlikeliest of sources. Kolo Toure surged forward from defence to attack. He was bought down by Carlos Bocanegra, and Arsenal had the chance to rescue the game. van Persie stepped up, and blasted the penalty into the roof of the net, and there was still time for a winner.

It came 6 minutes later, as Alexander Hleb, found himself in the penalty box and with the ball. I mentioned that, because he looked surprised when he received it in the first place. He made some space for himself, and put enough power behind the ball to ensure it ended in the back of the net.

The Emirates rose in a wave, in raptures, and here I was, miles away, screaming like a moron in the comfort of my house. The long, hard, arduous summer had finally ended. And on a good note!

Arsenal went on to defy all critics, and all odds that season, as they challenged for the title till the very end, and did it with a bunch of youngsters. They would eventually fall short, with numerous incidents, occurring on that path. Eduardo’s injury. Babel’s dive. Hargreaves’ free kick. Yes, all that. But, Alexander Hleb, in that one moment, made me forget all my summer worries! Lovely little Belarussian, that!

Jai Arsenal 🙂

—————————————————————————————————————————————————————– While you are about it, follow Blazing Cannons on twitter. @blazingcannons

And do like, the Facebook page as well.

Go ahead you lazy bum, that’s all I ask of you!

 
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Posted by on November 8, 2012 in General, Personal Memory Bank

 
 
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