So, Trinity Wargaming Club Taunton are running their first tournament for Guild Ball- the ‘I shoot better after a beer’ tournament.
This will be on January 31st and has 16 spaces available with prize support available from many companies, which will be revealed in the fullness of time.
There will be four games played using the guildball organised play rules pack, so 45 minute clocks, 8 players squads and the Swiss style tournament system.
More information and tickets are available On the event page here
More details to follow.
It’s really nice to see a positive approach to the inevitable internet backlash as keyboard warriors fear the sky is falling
I don’t normally do this, but my chats, inboxes and basically any other form of communication are actually exploding with people asking my my thoughts about the spoilers for Warhammer: Age of Sigmar’s four pages of rules, which will be available with a baggie’d Stormcast Eternal this Saturday, July 4th at a friendly local gaming store near you. As usual, someone has gotten their hands on it early, scanned it and thrown it online for the masses to lose their minds over.
So having had a chance to go through the White Dwarf spread, I’ve formed some initial opinions.
The first one is, that given how short the description is, the rules are extremely functional and tight. This is the engine of a game. I’d argue you could boil a lot of rule-systems, when it comes to their core mechanics, down to this bare-bones a description. What the…
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So, previously I looked at last years cup final and my predictions (which weren’t a million miles away), You can read it here. this time I’m looking ahead to Saturday’s game and what we can expect to see.
Going into this game things are different, gone is the 9 year wait for a trophy, in have come some truly talented players. A decent season (despite the raft of injuries) even if we started slowly and didn’t challenge for the title. Having said that, we dropped points in the last few games which cost us second place.
We’ve also had a good run of form and beaten Man City, Liverpool and Man United, as well as not losing to Chelsea. So confidence is high- however the last few games hint at fatigue making the lineup a little unpredictable.
Last season there were few doubts about the strongest lineup, and largely it’s the same again, however things have changed in recent games. It’s also a worry that for the second season running our goalkeeper situation is uncertain.
Here’s how I’d expect/hope to lineup
Bellerin Koscielny Mertesacker Monreal
Ramsey Ozil Alexis
In goal Ospina gets the nod based on game time, he’s been solid since taking over from Szcesny in January though has had a few wobbles recently. I prefer the Pole but his lack of game time isn’t going to be helpful.
Defensively things largely pick themselves at the minute, an injury to Debuchy opened the way for Bellerin who hasn’t really looked back aside from a few early issues, so he’ll start. In the Middle Mertesacker and Koscielny are the top two centre backs at the club, despite some solid performances so far from Gabriel. left back is the only area of doubt, Monreal has been far better than Gibbs this season so should start, though Gibbs’ attacking threat may be more desirable.
In midfield things are also fairly decided- probably not what pre season predictions would have been. Coquelin has been another player given his chance by injuries to first team players, he hasn’t put a foot wrong that I can recall, feeling like a huge upgrade on Flamini. Alongside him Cazorla has been impressive from a deeper position and his form seems unlikely to see him replaced. Ahead of them sees Ozil, who’s form has been good this year, Alexis who has an ability to turn a game, though has looked jaded recently, and Ramsey who’s doing well enough out of position that he can’t be dropped.
Upfront is an uncertainty, Giroud has improved again this season and would have been a certain starter, however five games without a goal and Walcott getting a hat trick in the last game casts a little doubt over the position. Does Wenger want Girouds ability to bring others into play or Walcotts speed? I’d opt for Giroud for his experience and overall form over the inconsistent Walcott.
Jack Wilshire is another player who could come in having impressed in his previous game, but once again a season of injuries has held him back. I said last year this could be a breakthrough year of his ankle could stay strong, yet he’s now not even necessarily first choice off the bench, let alone in the starting XI.
On the subs bench I’d expect to see
Sczeszny, unless he starts
Gabriel, a potential sub if we need fresh legs in defence
Gibbs, not likely to get on.
Wilshire, another potential sub if the more direct option is needed
Walcott, the alternate to Giroud if Aston Villa play high
Rosicky or Oxlade Chamberlain, dependent on the fitness of the latter.
Outside chances go to Chambers (who had a decent start but tailed off) and Flamini (who’s likely to be gone in the Summer as his forms dipped), as well as Debuchy and Arteta dependent on fitness.
The match itself is really hard to call, Aston Villa seem an Arsenal lite- potential for defensive nightmares but plenty in attack, so the worry is a repeat of last seasons start, however equally likely could be a few arsenal goals. Either way I’d anticipate a high scoring game, hopefully this time with less stress and drama.
A 4-2 score could be worth a bet
so, last year I took a brief moment out of focusing on my life and my hobby to take a look at the upcoming FA Cup final between arsenal a Hull City, which you can read here.
As you’ll see, I anticipated a lineup of
Sagna mertesacker koscielny Gibbs
I was wrong on a couple of counts, firstly in goal. At the time there had been uncertainty about the starter due to Fabianskis performances previously but as he was leaving it seemed odd to potentially disrupt the confidence of Sczeszny- but Wenger opted for Fabianski anyway.
I also expected to see Flamini in to help with the anticipated ‘roughing up’ from Hull (this isn’t to detract from the,, I merely felt as the underdogs they’d be organised and try to disrupt our play). Wenger opted for Podolski instead, which I found odd given his indifferent form over the season.
The match itself did not go to plan, as Hull hit hard and fast (almost like the arsenal of old) and were 2-0 up very quickly, leaving arsenal on the ropes- I’m almost certain there was call for a third too. Arsenal then recovered- or rather started the match- and came up against the anticipated stubborn defence of Hull, only a fantastic Cazorla free kick giving us hope at 1-2 at half time.
As play resumed arsenal had clearly had a bollocking from Wenger and kept the pressure on Hull, however as penalty appeals were denied and chances missed it felt as though it was too little too late, until Yaya Sanogo (On for the anonymous Podolski) hooked the ball out and the referee
mistakenly ruled for a corner. Up rose Koscielny and thumped the ball into the net. Typically, with Hull seemingly some we missed chances to end the game and we reached time at 2-2
After a short break it was down to extra time, and as an arsenal fan this worried me, we have this terrible habit of pushing and pushing before being caught by a single goal, and with tired legs and time short this seemed a distinct possibility.
As time dragged on and Giroud and Ramsey missed chances Wenger went for the more direct approach, taking of Ozil and Cazorla for Rosicky and Wilshire. Finally a break through was made as Ramsey got his goal and put us ahead midway through the second half of extra time, meaning we just had to hold on for a bit longer. Typically it wasn’t without drama as Mertesacker (solid most of the game) slipped and we suffered flashback of Birmingham in the League cup final, making matters worse Fabianski came flying out of the box leaving the goal open for the hull player- in a stroke of luck he hit it wide, his legs probably gone.
The final chance of the game again went to Hull as Fabianski redeemed himself for charging out by saving the shot in the last moment of the game. Arsenal had won- not on the style of have liked but still a win is a win.
Another strang r,one that occurred as ‘club captain’ Thomas Vermaelen lifted the trophy despite spending the season warming the bench, whilst it was a nice touch it wasn’t necessary.
Within days Vermaelen, Sagna and Fabianski were gone.
In the next post I’ll look ahead to this years final Arsenal vs Aston Villa
So, the other day Myles came home from nursery singing. It was a nursery rhyme I’m familiar with from my childhood- it’s amazing just how many nursery rhymes I don’t/didn’t know.
Baa baa white sheep,
Have you any wool?
Yes sir, yes sir,
Three bags full,
One for the master, one for the dame
And one for the little boy who lives down the lane.
Wait a minute.
Myles what was that song? He sings it again, this time with a blue sheep.
Seriously? I’d heard the rumours over the years that the use of the word black in the rhyme had been deemed offensive and so would be changed but ignored it as Daily Mail fearmomgering. Apparently I was wrong; a quick google revealed its now considered to be baa baa rainbow sheep with the colour changing from song to song with little importance. Now, on the face of it it isn’t that big a deal, it exposes children to more expression and helps with colours etc etc (plus adds a little variety- a godsend when singing nursery rhymes with children).
Further googling (and a little Wikipedia reading) revealed that the links between the rhyme and slavery are largely imagined by retrospective analysis- the taxation within the wool trade in the 1700s seemingly more likely. This was a revelation to me, I’d always been under the impression that it was a slavery related rhyme (I may have to check some other rhymes of dubious content) but that simply makes the whole idea of changing the word black to alternates.
When the suggestion was that the word black was changed to remove the slavery connotations it was at least suggestive of some consideration by someone somewhere (misguided though it may have been). Having said that, I don’t feel there’s any reason for a black person to be ashamed of slavery (as a white person with no links to slavery that’s probably easy to say). On top of that surely it’s more offensive to pretend it never happene by opening up a full spectrum of colours of sheep- made all the more ridiculous by the fact sheep are white, brown or black (I’m not aware of blue, pink or yellow).
Removing the innacurate slavery links it’s simply a black sheep- it happens to be black. Should the word ‘black’ be removed from everyday usage? No of course it shouldn’t. The rhyme has been around along time (with many evolutions along the way) and when it originated I doubt any thought was put into colour- certainly not bright rainbow colours.
I snap awake, my entire body burns in agony, but I’m alive.
A voice, muffled, but vaguely familiar.
I can’t move.
My arms and legs are strapped.
I can’t feel anything.
“Liz, he’s awake.”
The voice again.
“Take it easy son, just try to breathe.”
“I can’t see.”
“Don’t worry about that for now, you’re in a hospital. You’re going to get all the help you need.”
“Yeah, we got you here.” Another voice, a female,
“No need to be rude.”
“No, a memory. You hit him.”
“Yeah, not hard enough. I’m liz, this is Jeff.”
“Ah, well, honestly we don’t know,” jeff this time,
“I was driving the ambulance, something big smashed into the front of it,”. Liz’s voice was shaky, “the whole van flipped, landed on it’s front. When I woke up that big bastard was stood over you.”
“Thank you, both of you. He’d have killed me.”
“Look, Jack.” Jeff again, clearly unsure how to proceed, ” you did something, we don’t understand it, but you killed him. You save us, for that we’re incredibly grateful, but we don’t know what happened.”
Yeah, now I remember.
“I can’t really explain it, not right now.” I click, “shit, I need to go. Someone will be coming for me.”
“Me, I’ll be coming.”
Another familiar voice, this one Iv heard too many times before,
“Hello, Jack. It’s been a while,” Sky responds, “let me introduce myself, I’m Anton Sky. I’m, uh.. Responsible for Jack here.”
“Responsible?” Questions Liz.
“Yes, I’m his supervisor. I’m afraid I’m not at liberty to tell you anymore than that.”
“Fuck off, we’re his doctors, you’ll tell us or we’ll call security.”
“Ah, now, um, Elizabeth is it? There’s no need for the aggression. And you can feel free to call your security, you’ll find them all conveniently indisposed right now.”
“Just what’s going on here?” Jeff now, clearly as confused as Liz.
“I’m afraid I can’t tell you, it’s all confidential. However, you both will find your pay checks this month to be suitably sufficient thanks for your assistance in this matter.”
“Paychecks? What are you, government?”
“Sky,” I interrupt, “tell them, they saved my life.”
So, I don’t really want to talk much about football on the blog, there’s so many topics already, but as an arsenal supporter I wanted to cover my thoughts ahead of next weeks fa cup final.
We had a decent season, although we finished fourth again, we were top of the league for most of the season, hopefully if we spend a bit of money in the summer we can kick on further next season.
Next weeks fa cup final is a big deal, we haven’t won a trophy in 9 years, so we need it. We’re also playing hull city, so it should be ours for the taking, unfortunately a few years back we all thought the same about the league cup final against Birmingham city. That time a mistake between koscielny and szceszny cost us. Both have improved massively since then and I hope the team have learnt.
Anyway, my preferred team for the final would be
Sagna mertesacker koscielny Gibbs
Despite the fantastic efforts of fabianski in the cup this season, he’s leaving, so better our no 1 gets a potential cup win
Our defence has been solid all season, aside from a couple of mega blips, so it mostly picks itself, it could be argued that like fabianski, sagna is leaving and so jenkinson should play. If this happens then fair enough, but sagnas a far superior player and experiences, whereas jenkinson has barely played this season.
Midfield, the toughest bit. Flamini returning has been fantastic, he should never have been allowed to run his contract down, I’m not sure why he’s played less in the second half of the season, but alongside arteta it’s been a solid midfield base. Ramsey picks himself, he’s been awesome all season (apart from the injury), ozil and cazorla have the ability to win a game with a pass so both should be there.
Upfront, probably the easiest decision, do you play giroud who’s massively improved this season or sanogo, who’s played a handful of games and not done much? Yeah, it’s giroud.
Other contenders will of course be wilshire, rosicky and podolski. Rosicky has had a good season, whilst podolski has started scoring more recently so either would be an acceptable place, I don’t know who I’d want dropped to fit them in though, it may come down to fitness. Wilshire, whilst clearly very talented, just hasn’t impressed this season. I expect next season to be his second big breakthrough as long as he can keep his ankles in one piece at the World Cup.
As for the game itself, I expect arsenal to struggle initially against the plucky underdogs (maybe even concede) before class and fitness win out in the second half- much like a good number of our games this season.
I’d expect wilshire, sanogo and kallstrom to appear from the bench, though vermaelen, rosicky and podolski would of course be potentials too.
As for arsenals future assuming wenger signs his contract, I expect the summer to be a little underwhelming.
Fabianski, sagna, and kallstrom will leave. Fabianski has proved what a good keeper he is, but he needs to be a number one, someone’s going to get a bargain there. Sagna has been a solid consistent performer for years, it’s a shame to see him go, but who can blame him seeking out one final big contract. Kallstrom arrived on loan to a little bit of fuss, as far as I can tell he did ok when he played, I think if he were available cheaply he’d be a decent signing in midfield,
Another potential exit is vermaelen, who just can’t get back into the team. I’m not sure why he’s still captain if he’s isn’t playing, but I expect him to want to leave this summer in any case.
As for buys? I could list a whole load of signings we could make, and arsenal will make a few surprises instead. It’s widely accepted we need a goalkeeper, centre back (two if vermaelen goes), a right back, a vieira type midfielder and a centre forward. Given that three of those will just replace departures, I think the majority of fans are going to be disappointed by September, at least until arsenal look like challenging for the title,
Next season i think we can potentially win the title, but our injuries need to drop, for a few seasons now we’ve missed too many key players from too many games, so that needs to be sorted. Also, when January comes around, if we look to be short, then a signing must be made.