Foreign Managers

– It’s been nearly two years since we’ve been to St. Andrews, the place where Eduardo had his leg destroyed by Martin Taylor. Revenge is not in the cards. Like Cesc says, a victory is more important because it’ll help us win the title. We have to put the past behind us, as nothing has changed outside of the club. Teams still aggressively have a go at us, as they feel it’s their best course to try to stop our football. However, our team has firmed up, as noticed by McLeish himself in his press conference.

– We threw the title away against Birmingham, but not for the reasons that are oft cited. Many Arsenal bloggers love bringing up the William Gallas incident, but I side with Wenger on this one. While you do not want a professional doing that, we didn’t lose the title because of that and it showed that Gallas cared. I’ve said that before, and I’ll say it again. The reason why Birmingham cost us the title is because we dropped four points against them while in a winning position. They were a relegated team, so we dropped points we definitely should not have. We lost the title by four points. Do the math.

– Alex McLeish suggested that foreign managers like to pressure referees into calling the games in their favor. The managers he cited were Arsene Wenger and Rafa Benitez. Doesn’t Alex Ferguson badger referees every week? Essentially, McLeish is saying the same cliched “they don’t like it rough” crap that everybody likes to throw around when teams face us. He said we have nothing to worry about from Birmingham, because he sees them sometimes as “too soft.” Well, if that’s not a sneaky way to fire up his team for today’s match, nothing is. So essentially after one of his players crippled Eduardo, he’s suggested that they should go in hard once again. Good job McLeish.

– McLeish also suggested that Howard Webb was strong enough to ignore the outside influence and call a fair game. It’s too bad Webb is one of the worst English refs.

– Meanwhile, Ferguson had a go at the FA for not adding another game to Vermaelen’s ban after his failed appeal. He was talking about the fact that Rio had a game added on. The difference? Rio’s ban was based on violent conduct with clear video proof. Vermaelen’s was for a professional foul that many have deemed as harsh. Seems fair to me. What I like about Taggart’s complaint is that he’s worried about us again. I like that. I like that a lot. I crave the days where Taggart and Arsene are ripping each other to shreds.

– Martin Taylor is now at Watford. I would not be surprised to hear Martin Taylor chants tomorrow. Meanwhile, for Eduardo, sure he’s walking (and let’s be thankful for that). But is he close to being the same player he was when he got crippled? The answer sadly is no. That’s not to say he can’t get that form back, but there are noticeable differences. He shies away from challenges, and that prevents him from being clinical. I don’t know if he’ll ever be a top class striker again (even if he has scored great goals for us in his return). That damage still lingers. We were robbed of his services when we needed him. That affected our title chances as well that year.

– If this was any other mid-table team we were facing, we may take our eye off the ball and prime ourselves to play Barcelona. With the Eduardo incident, that is almost guaranteed not to happen. The players will want to win this game and put the events of the past completely behind them. They will show up to play.

– Birmingham had a good early season spell, but with their dependence on older players, they were naturally going to fade. They do have very energetic strikers though and good crosses from Arsenal reject Sebastian Larsson. Their centre-back duo is amongst the most reliable in the League. This will not be a stroll in the park, but the momentum must be kept.

– Aston Villa play Chelsea and Bolton play Manchester United. The sooner we get in front of these guys, the better. I don’t want to rely on results much longer.

– Tony Pulis moaned about having Mike Dean ref their game. He drafted a letter citing incidents where he felt Dean was too harsh on his team. He told the head of the refs, Mike Riley, about it. What the hell does he expect? To avoid Mike Dean all year? If Arsene Wenger had done this, he’d be murdered by the English press. What a cowardly complaint by Tony Pulis.

– I don’t know if he’ll even get in the game, but if Eduardo scores a goal tomorrow, I’m going crazy.

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