All posts by Thomas Burke

ARSENAL INTO FINAL AFTER PENALTY SHOOTOUT

   1                   {2 – 4 penalties}               1

Is the drought of trophy success that has plagued Arsene Wenger and his team since 2005 about to be sated?  This likelihood became a distinct possibility after a tense encounter at Wembley yesterday when Arsenal had to raise their recent lack lustre form to overcome their championship opponents.

Resilient Wigan proved why they were creditable contenders in the FA Cup semi final when they forced yet another premiership team to battle for all of 120 minutes before succumbing to a succession of excellent taken penalties by the Gunners assisted by their outstanding second choice keeper.

It was an anxious, and for the most part, uneventful first half for both teams with Arsenal having the best of a limited number of chances.  The best chance of the half fell to Yaya Sanogo after 5 minutes with a header from close range to force a great reflex save from Scott Carson in the Wigan goal.

The face of Latics manager Uwe Rosler was its impassive self as he entered the tunnel at half time but inwardly he must have been very pleased with his team’s first half performance.  The strain on Arsene Wenger’s face on the hand was palpable.

The game took a dramatic turn in the 58th minute when Mertesacker brought down McManaman in the box and Gomez converted from the spot.  Arsenal, as if suddenly woken from a slumber launched waves of attacks and were rewarded in the 82nd minute when Mertesacker deftly headed in from close range.

The game finished level forcing extra time.

The highlight of extra time was a thunderous shot against the angle of the Wigan post by Oxlade Chamberlain.  The game ended all square and Wigan were first to step up to the penalty spot.

Wigan substitute Caldwell’s effort was brilliantly saved by Fabianski.

Arteta shoots and makes no mistake – 1 – 0 Arsenal.

Collison shoots but again Fabianski dives to his left to save.

Arsenal substitute Kallstrom sends Carson the wrong way – 2 – 0 Arsenal.

Beausejour finally scores for Wigan – 2 – 1 Arsenal.

Giroud shoots right – Carson goes left – 3 – 1 Arsenal.

McArthur keeps Wigan’s hopes alive – 3 – 2 Arsenal.

Cazorla puts Arsenal into the FA Cup final – 4 – 2 Arsenal.

Arsenal are now one game away from finally winning some silverware for their trophy cabinet that has maintained its status quo for nine years and which, consequently, has had no additions since Arsenal moved to the Emirates Stadium in 2006.  Success on the 17th May next against Hull or Sheffield United could however force the custodian of the Arsenal trophy cabinet to finally open it.

Alfred Lansing’s “Endurance” – a factual portrayal of man’s will to survive.

A Book Review by Thomas Burke                

EnduranceWhen people ask, “What’s your favourite film?” or “What’s your favourite band?” invariably the response involves a list rather than a definitive answer.

However, ask me “What’s your favourite book?” and I will immediately answer “Endurance” simply because it is the most riveting, suspenseful and enthralling book I have ever had the pleasure to read.

Endurance” written by Alfred Lansing is the true, astonishing account of a marathon voyage of exploration to the Antarctic led by Sir Ernest Shackleton.  It is a factual account based on the extraordinary diary entries which the crew maintained under some of the most incredible, extreme and inhospitable conditions ever endured by man.  It is based on Shackleton’s attempt to become the first person to lead an expedition across the continent of Antarctica.

It was his third such voyage.  In 1901, he was a member of Robert Scott’s expedition that got within 745 miles of the, yet to be discovered, South Pole.  He led his own expedition in 1907 but was forced to abandon his attempt when just an agonising 97 miles short of his objective.  In 1911, Norwegian Roald Amundsen became the first man to reach the South Pole.

Undeterred, Shackleton purchased a Norwegian built ship named the “Polaris” and re-christened it the “Endurance” in keeping with the Shackleton family motto “Fortitudine vincimus” meaning “by endurance we conquer” a term that was to prove prophetic.

The ship set sail from London’s East India docks on the 1st August 1914 with a crew of 27 men including the inimitable Tom Crean.  Each crewmember was handpicked and among them were a navigator, two engineers, two surgeons, a geologist, a biologist, a physicist and a photographer.

The ship was specifically built for arctic sea conditions.  Her keel comprised of four overlaid slabs of solid oak measuring 7 feet in depth and her sides varied in thickness from 18 inches to 2.5 feet.  Despite this, the ice flow that was to engulf the ship in the Antarctic’s Weddell Sea in January 1915 gradually crushed the ship causing the mighty timbers to bend and groan until the relentless pressure eventually caused them to snap like twigs.

Shackleton and his crew were left stranded on the moving ice pack with no hope of rescue.  What followed became an epic journey of resilience, adaptability and supreme heroism.

If you only read one book this year then read “Endurance” – you will not regret it. 

Available in all good book shops.  RRP £9.99

Published
04/05/2000

Publisher
Phoenix (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd)