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Gord Downie Diagnosed With Terminal Brain Cancer

2016 is hell bent on killing as many celebrities and beloved people as possible. Gord Downie, the frontman for the Tragically Hip and one of Canada’s biggest rock stars, has been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. The band announced the news on its website on Tuesday. “We have some very tough news to share with you today, and we wish it wasn’t so.” The diagnosis, they said, had come in December. “Since then, obviously, he’s endured a lot of difficult times, and he has been fighting hard. In privacy along with his family, and through all of this, we’ve been standing by him.”

The band, which has been together for more than three decades, was formed at an Ontario high school in the early 1980s. The group swiftly became a mainstay on the Canadian music scene, releasing 13 studio albums – nine of which reached No 1 in Canada – and winning 14 Juno awards, which recognise excellence in Canadian music. The group was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 2005. Downie, 52, has also released three solo albums. Downie’s doctor, James Perry, said on Tuesday that the musician had undergone surgery and six weeks of chemotherapy and radiation after being diagnosed with an invasive brain tumour known as glioblastoma. Downie has so far responded well to treatment, but the tumour is impossible to completely remove from the brain, said Perry. “It’s my difficult duty today to tell you Gord Downie’s tumour is incurable.”

The Tragically Hip said plans were in the works for Downie and the band to tour Canada this summer, despite the diagnosis. “This feels like the right thing to do now, for Gord, and for all of us … So we’re going to dig deep and try to make this our best tour yet.” The tour will coincide with the release of the band’s latest album, Man Machine Poem. The Tragically Hip will unveil their tour dates later in the week. The 14-time Juno Award-winning group – the most ever for a band and the fourth-most ever for an artist at the annual Canadian music awards – remain a beloved marquee act in their native country.

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Can’t Get it Out of My Head

Have you ever become obsessed with something? Tell us about something that captivates your attention like nothing else.

Well like a lot of other people I too have my obsessions. Food – pizza in particular – is an obsession where I must find the best options for getting the best kind of my favourite food dishes. Music is an obsession as is movies and tv shows. We all have those don’t we? Drink? I wouldn’t call it an obsession as I’ve been drinking less and less beer or vodka these last few months.

What I am really obsessed with is science fiction and in particular Star Trek. No shocks there if you have been a reader of my blog for the past few…well weeks should do it! I love Star Trek and wish we lived in a reality that has the technological & social advances that is seen in Star Trek. Get rid of racism, poverty, crime, hatred, hunger, most illness and cures for most things including amputation, easy access to homes and enough luxuries and travel through space to different planets and moons. That is the dream for me. Also I want to go beyond what they have shown in Star Trek and advance it 10 fold. Star Trek advances 5000 years later and I have an idea what that will look like. And I want to live in that time and reality.

I know it can’t happen and that it is just a dream but I can’t stop thinking about it. I wanna see the universe and I wanna pilot a spaceship through the galaxies.

Prompt from The Daily Post at WordPress.com

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Mask

We all wear masks. Whether we admit it or not. Whether we like it or not. Whether we are aware of it or not and no matter how much you deny it, you do wear a mask(s). At home, at work, with friends, with people you meet for the first time, when you are up for a job interview, when you need something, when you meet with law enforcement, when you are in trouble, when you are with family.

The only time you do not wear a mask is when you are by yourself and in some cases when you do have those loved ones you can trust wholeheartedly. Otherwise it’s one mask off, another one on. We change them more frequently than we change clothes and it is the same way in most places. No surprises for me when I see a person who seems to let the mask slip in a moment of vulnerability and/or perceived solitude or due to fatigue or exhaustion.

It’s up to us to look behind the mask, beyond the face shown and see who the person really is.

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Canada Wins World Ice Hockey Championship

Connor McDavid’s first goal of the world hockey championship proved to be golden. McDavid’s goal in the first period stood as the winner as Canada successfully defended its world championship title with a 2-0 win over Finland in the tournament final. The 19-year-old Edmonton Oilers centre had registered eight assists in the first nine games of the tournament, but was one of just two Canadian forwards not to have recorded a goal coming into the gold-medal game. McDavid ended his drought at the 11:24 mark of the first period, driving to the net and deking out sprawling Finnish netminder Mikko Koskinen. Matt Duchene added an empty-net goal with one second left on the clock to seal the win.

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X-Men: Apocalypse

X-Men: Apocalypse is a 2016 American superhero film based on the X-Men that appear in Marvel Comics. It is the ninth installment in the X-Men film series. Directed by Bryan Singer, with a screenplay by Simon Kinberg from a story conceived by Singer, Kinberg, Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris, the film features an ensemble cast starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Oscar Isaac, Nicholas Hoult, Rose Byrne, Tye Sheridan, Sophie Turner, Olivia Munn and Lucas Till. In Apocalypse, ancient cyber-mutant Apocalypse awakens and plans to take over the world, so the X-Men need to stop him and defeat his team, the Four Horsemen of Apocalypse.

In ancient Egypt the immortal psychic mutant En Sabah Nur rules ancient Egypt until he is betrayed by his worshippers, who entomb him alive just as he and his fellow mutants perform a ritual to transfer his consciousness from his aging body to a new one. He is accidentally awakened in 1983 by Moira MacTaggert and a cult worshipping En Sabah Nur, causing an earthquake that is heard across the globe. Believing that without his presence humanity has lost its way, En Sabah Nur decides to destroy the world and remake it in his image. En Sabah Nur recruits new Horsemen, beginning with Cairo pickpocket Ororo Munroe. He also takes in underground black marketeer Caliban’s enforcer Psylocke siding with him and leading him to Angel. In Poland, Erik Lehnsherr lives with his new wife and daughter, Nina, but when authorities attempt to capture him for the incident at the White House, his family is accidentally killed in the crossfire. En Sabah Nur approaches the heartbroken Erik and takes him to Auschwitz, where he upgrades his powers. Erik destroys the camp and joins Sabah Nur, completing his new Four Horsemen.

This team ambush the X-Men’s mansion and abduct Professor Charles Xavier as Apocalypse wants to transfer his consciousness into the latter’s body as when he does so, he will also gain Xavier’s powers to control everyone on earth. It’s upto Raven / Mystique, Beast, Jean Grey, a newly recruited Cyclops & Nightcrawler, with CIA agent Moira McTaggart and Quicksilver (who saves everyone from the exploding mansion when he arrives to meet Xavier and find his father Magneto) to get Xavier back and kill Apocalypse before he destroys the world. In the fight Magneto and are convinced to turn on En Sabah after spotting his true nature through his brutal attack on Quicksilver and Mystique (who happens to be Ororo’s role model). They must also ward of Col. Stryker and the US military who fear the Mutants. Lots of action, especially in the second half and some comedic relief with Quicksilver and Nightcrawler.

So what did I think of this movie? It was good but not as good as I was expecting. The villain wasn’t as awesome as I had hoped while watching the trailers even though he had some good scenes. The special effects were awesome but I felt that they had too much focus other than the main story. I do like it but I think they could have done a lot better. We finally learn how Xavier became bald! I thought the cast was awesome with special mention to Sophie Turner (who looks awesomely sexy) and Michael Fassbender. And Olivia Munn – smoking hot!!! 8 outta 10!

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RIP Nick Menza

The former drummer with the US thrash metal band Megadeth, Nick Menza, is reported to have died after collapsing on stage at a gig in California. Menza, who was 51, is said to have suffered a heart attack during one of his regular sessions with his band OHM at a small Los Angeles jazz club, the Baked Potato. Mike Simpson, a fan who said he was at the gig, reported that Menza collapsed before the third song in the band’s set. “ I was watching his band OHM at the Baked Potato tonight and he collapsed on stage. Paramedics were saying it looked like a heart attack,” he wrote. Menza, son of a jazz musician, played with Megadeth on several of its most successful albums in the early 1990s, including Rust In Peace, Countdown to Extinction and Youthanasia. He left the band when he had to have knee surgery during a tour for the 1997 album Cryptic Writings. He had been playing regular sessions at the Baked Potato club with the band OHM, founded in 2002 by another Megadeth veteran, guitarist Chris Poland.

The professional drummer best known for his work in Megadeth from 1989 to 1998 and in 2004.[2] He recorded drums on four of Megadeth’s albums: Rust in Peace (1990), Countdown to Extinction (1992), Youthanasia (1994) and Cryptic Writings (1997). Beginning his professional musical career at the age of 18 drumming in the band Rhoads featuring singer Kelle Rhoads, brother of the late Randy Rhoads, Nick released his first record with Rhoads called Into the Future in Europe. Moving on to session playing including styles ranging from R&B to gospel, funk and heavy metal, recording with the likes of John Fogerty, Nick caught the attention of then Megadeth drummer Chuck Behler and became his tech. When Megadeth needed a drummer in 1989, Nick Menza was asked by Dave Mustaine to join the band. Mustaine noted that Menza previously filled in on drums when Behler was unable to. Menza first played live with Megadeth on May 12, 1988 in Bradford, England. This prior experience and personal relationship led to the invitation to join Megadeth for the 1990 recording Rust in Peace.

During his stint in Megadeth, Nick also played drums on his bandmate Marty Friedman’s three solo albums Scenes (1992), Introduction (1994), and True Obsessions (1996). By the summer of 1998, while the band was still touring in support of Cryptic Writings, Menza was having knee problems and sought medical advice. He was informed he had a tumor, which was later found to be benign, and had it removed. As a result, Megadeth hired a temporary replacement by Jimmy DeGrasso rather than cancel any dates. When the time came to record a follow-up album, Menza was not asked back and DeGrasso became the band’s official drummer. Menza has said in several interviews that, while in the hospital recovering from knee surgery, he received a phone call from Mustaine that simply said “Your services are not needed anymore”. After his departure, he began work on Menza: Life After Deth with guitarist Anthony Gallo,[5] bassist Jason Levin and guitarist Ty Longley. Following the reissue of the entire Megadeth catalog, Menza was invited to reunite with Megadeth in 2004. Days after a reunion was announced Menza was fired after rehearsals and replaced with Shawn Drover. Dave Mustaine said that this was because Nick “just wasn’t prepared” for a full scale US tour, physically.

In April 2006, Menza joined the Los Angeles-based metal band Orphaned to Hatred.[9] The group describe their sound as “a continuation of the heavy style of ’90s Pantera”. He left the band in late 2010. n March 2011, Menza appeared in a music video for Mindstreem’s “We Up Next” a song originally written by current SIN 34 guitarist Anthony Gallo featuring Tony Lanza and Daniel Wayne Jr. on Vocals. The actual recording is Menza (drums), Gallo (guitars), Gregg Babuccio (bass), and Tony Lanza and Daniel Wayne jr. (vocals).

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Arsenal To Sign Granit Xhaka

Granit Xhaka to be announced as an Arsenal player within hours as he poses in kit. He leaves Borussia Monchengladbach for around £30m after four years at the Bundesliga club. Arsenal are yet to confirm the news but these pictures from inside the Gunners’ London Colney training complex appear to show Xhaka posing for photos ahead of his unveiling. The midfielder has a big reputation in Germany and at 23 is expected to have a bright future. The move has been a long time coming with Xhaka repeatedly insisting he wanted the deal done before this summer’s Euro 2016 in France. He flew to England yesterday after Arsene Wenger made a breakthrough in negotiations. The 23-year-old then would have undergone a medical before signing his contract and completing the formalities.

Xhaka, 23, flew to London on Friday to undergo a medical and agree personal terms with the Gunners, with both sides eager to get the deal done before Xhaka joins the Switzerland squad for the European Championship. Arsenal would not confirm the authenticity of the photos, which also showed the midfielder holding up an Arsenal shirt and standing outside the training facility. But a source told ESPN FC the deal was close to being finalised and that the club hoped to announce the signing as soon it was completed. Arsenal have been in talks with Gladbach for weeks after manager Arsene Wenger made powerful central midfielder Xhaka one of his top targets.

Gladbach sporting director Max Eberl confirmed earlier this week that the German club had received an offer for Xhaka, but declined to name the interested party and insisted no agreement had yet been reached. Xhaka has impressed for club and country in recent years, and revealed that he wanted to resolve his future before representing Switzerland at Euro 2016.

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To Sleep, Perchance to Dream

Sleep is one-third of our lives: write a post about it. Do you love naps? Have trouble falling alseep? Wish you could remember your dreams? Remember something especially vivid? Snuggle under a blanket, or throw the windows wide open? Meditate on sleep.

Ah, sleep. Sleep that must do thing on a daily basis which if we do not take we will regret. Sometimes I think sleep is a necessary evil; if we didn’t need to sleep for 6-8 hours we could do so much other stuff during that time. And then some days I can’t wait till my head hits the pillow and I crawl between the sheets and drift off into la la land.

I love the days when I am so tired and can get into bed relatively quickly to that feeling. I hate sleeping in buses or trains and perhaps even in an airplane seat because they aren’t comfortable. Unless I can get into one of those really expensive planes which is beyond me right now. I need a proper bed and I need some privacy, seeing that I sleep in the nude (I can still sleep in an undershirt or even a t-shirt but it’s difficult to sleep while still wearing underwear because you gotta free the balls, you know) and I can’t really relax unless I do that.

I am fascinated with dreams, I tend to write down some really awesome or weird or strange ones. I wake up and knowing that I will forget in a few minutes or so, I switch on my pc and start blogging about it. I can remember some really old ones too, like back when I was 8 or 9 years old because I wrote it down in a diary and talked about it a lot. I usually close the windows at night, as I do not want insects or in one or cases baby bats to fly inside my room. In the afternoons I would love to take a nap in a heavy rainfall. That is usually an awesome experience.

Prompt from The Daily Post at WordPress.com

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Done You Wrong

If your furniture, appliances, and other inanimate objects at home had feelings and emotions, to which item would you owe the biggest apology?

To my large bed (well it’s not not king sized but still big for one guy, even a guy of my size) I owe you an apology. I am sorry that it’s just me who sleeps on you every night and that I do not have a woman to share the comfort of your mattress with. It’s just lonely ole me who gets in between the sheets, night after night and has the same dreams of yearning and longing and tired of being alone.

So there’s no hugging or sweet talk or pillow talk. Sorry that there is no love making / sex / fucking / horizontal mile doing / boinking or whatever else you may want to call it. It’s only me and my right hand! No long talks in the night about the future or what lies in store during the week or even the next day. No falling asleep in each other’s arms and waking up with a kiss.

Sorry bed. I owe you that and more but I have been unable to do so in the last almost 10 years since I got you.

Prompt from The Daily Post at WordPress.com

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Grateful and Guilty

Whether it’s a trashy TV show, extra-pulpy fiction, or nutrient-free candy, write a thank-you note to your guiltiest guilty pleasure

I do like some reality shows. I like stuff about cooking and cooking competitions and yes – I am guilty – any show that has hot women or hot women in bikinis and doing stuff that I can spend hours and hours watching them. Guilty as hell. I also do like shows on the internet like Buzzfeed and Facts and really it’s all about the humour and characters and yes the women is a big draw.

I also am guilty of liking some shows that run on more corny and cheesy than actual substance. This is usually because despite the chessiness and the corniness, they will usually have a good cast and good acting. Some of the actors are ones that I have seen and loved on various other shows, shows that have had more substance than these ones and hence I will give the show a watch and end up liking them a lot. So cheese and corn for their own sake – no, but if they have the good cast then yes!

Prompt from The Daily Post at WordPress.com

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Deserted Island Five

A classic question, revisited: what are the five items you must have on a deserted island?

    • A laptop with a battery that will never die and internet connection / wifi
    • Luxury cruise ships capsizing on a regular interval so that the food and drink and stuff will float towards me and I can get them for my needs
    • My entire collection of tv shows and movies and mp3s
    • a large bedroom with a king sized bed
    • nubile buxom beauties who also wash up on the shore and who are all willing and eager to bed me

What more could a guy on a deserted island ask for?

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Lazy Learners

Is there something you’ve always wanted to learn but haven’t gotten around to? What is it and what’s stopping you from mastering the skill?

A couple of things. One is a simple one which I should have taken up years ago. I have wanted to be able to speak in French for decades. I just love that language. I wish I had picked up a class or two in it. When I was 25 I remember going to a book store and finding a self learning book and CD with it on how to speak French and at that time the cost was too much for a guy who was struggling with finances. I kept thinking to myself “let’s get this money thing sorted out and I will come back and pick up that book and learn atleast at home if not going to a class”. I never did do that.

The other thing and the one I have really big regrets about is not having learned how to play guitar. Well, since I am almost 40 my chance of becoming an arena rocking heavy metal singer / guitarist have passed me by (note the hint, just a hint, of sarcasm) but I would love to be able to rock along with my favourite guitar riffs and solos from my my favourite musicians and bands. Air guitar is fab and all that but to be able to play the music out loud, making the guitar squeal like a hot woman who I am making love to and she is on the verge of a mammoth orgasm – ok, let me get a cold shower now, I will be right back!

Ok so yeah to be able to do both and take lessons is what I would have liked to do. Given a choice of only one, I’d pick the guitar. Just that I don’t think I will have much time on my hands. Same old, same old!

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Enter Nowhere

Enter Nowhere (also known as The Haunting of Black Wood) is a 2011 psychological thriller film directed by Jack Heller and starring Scott Eastwood, Sara Paxton, Katherine Waterston and Shuan Sipos. It’s a 90 minute movie featuring 4 people who are all out of their time periods.

Three people from different decades find themselves suddenly lost with Jody and her dirt bag boyfriend Kevin robbing a convenience store. Jody holds a gun to the cashier demanding he open the safe. Cryptically, he tells her that he will do so but doesn’t believe she can handle what’s inside. Clearly not amused, she shoots and kills him. We then see another woman stumbling through the woods (a bit creepy with bare trees and nothing much else) and finding a cabin. Samantha and her husband Adam are on the way to his parents house to tell them they are expecting a new baby when they run out of gas on a deserted road on a cold night in the middle of the woods. He goes for help leaving her alone to fend for herself. After he doesn’t come back she goes looking for help and she gets lost in the woods. She meets an ax toting Tom who reached the cabin 3 days ago; he too had car trouble and found the cabin after wandering in the woods. Soon they find Jody fainted on the porch; she had a fight with Kevin and he abandoned her on the side of the road.

All three of them are suspicious of each other with Jody getting on the other two’s nerves. They soon become frantic over their inability to leave. They even venture into the woods to escape only to return to the cabin no matter which direction they take, they always end up back there. Tom leaves the cabin to try to find help. Samantha and Jody start to talk and quickly get into an argument of where they are. Samantha thinks she is right outside New Hampshire and Jody thinks she is fifteen miles outside Detroit. Tom returns to the shack to inform the ladies that they are both wrong, he claims they are in South Dakota. They realize that they are all wrong. Each one is plagued with nightmares. The next day they decide to try to walk out of the woods together. They walk and walk through the woods, and find a locked door to an old under ground bunker. They enter it and find old German maps and bottles of old German wine and cans of food and other supplies. Samantha reads the labels as she knows some German; shesays although her German father died before she was born, her mother insisted that she learn to speak his language. Jody and Samantha get to know each other better and realize that both of their fathers died in the war. They take some of the supplies and head back. Tom too says he is an orphan.

The next day the ladies bond and share their stories and then realize that both of them think it is a different decade. While Samantha says the year is 1962, Jody retorts that it’s 1985 (Samantha’s dad died in WW2 while Jody’s died in Vietnam) and when the two of them question Tom he says that they are both wrong and that it’s actually 2011! As the three try to figure out what’s going on they see a figure outside. They go outside to see what’s going on and are greeted by a soldier with a gun. The man, Hans (Shaun Sipos) is a German soldier (who they think is a Nazi but he is not a Nazi). Luckily, Samantha speaks German but is unable to convince Hans. Hans knocks Tom out and ties him up outside, then ties the women up inside. Hans attempts to find out what’s going on but things get hostile as he believes the three are holding back information. He isn’t impressed nor does he believe that the three are confused as to how they got there. Tom is able to get free of his bond and knocks out Hans. A locket that all three of them have makes them realize the situation – they are in some sort of freakish twilight zone and all of them are related.

Hans is Samantha’s father who dies in an allied bombing. She grows up without a father and while she was alone she got sick and with no one there to help her, she gave birth to Jody but died soon after due to complications. Jody ended up in foster care and in bad families and that led to a life of petty crime and murder. She got pregnant and was arrested and gave birth to Tom in prison and she was later given the death penalty. Tom too grew up in foster care and was raped by a priest under who’s care he was supposed to be. All their lives got messed up and they have one chance to fix things. They need to make sure that Hans gets to the bunker before the bombings can kill him. While trying to get Hans to agree Tom & the soldier struggle for the gun and Jody is shot fatally. Tom too is injured and the bombings start. Samantha is able to convince Hans and drags him to the safety of the bunker and, as the bombings continue, she, Jody’s and Tom’s bodies vanish and Hans is left alone. We then switch to the 80s where a now affluent Jody is at the same store and she buys her stuff and goes on home to her mom, an older Samantha who is spreading Hans ashes. Hans survived the bombing in this reality and came to the us, married Samantha’s mother and did well in his life.

As the movie ends another girl with Kevin goes to the same store and holds a gun to the cashier demanding he open the safe. This time too he tells her that he will do so but doesn’t believe she can handle what’s inside. This woman also shoots him as the movie ends. Clearly a different idea and a nice inception of a storyline that’s party scifi and part supernatural. No explanation as to how this came about but that adds to the whole mystery. It’s an odd little movie and clearly low budget but still is worth a watch. I give it a 7 outta 10!

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Food Review #86

The Tex-Mex Sandwich – veggies tossed in chilli salsa and cheese, wrapped in a soft bread topped with corn meal – & Kaapi Nirvana from Cafe Coffee Day. I won’t get the sandwich ever again, just not worth it.

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Arsenal 4 Aston Villa 0

Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha Tottenham Hotspurs!!!

Arsenal finished second in the Premier League for the first time since 2005 as they beat relegated Aston Villa thanks to an Olivier Giroud hat-trick. Giroud headed Arsenal ahead early on but the hosts played nervously until he struck again, sweeping home from six yards after good work by Mesut Ozil. The Frenchman was then put through by Hector Bellerin for his third. Mark Bunn’s own goal, diverting in Mikel Arteta’s ricocheted shot, added further gloss to the scoreline. The comprehensive win ensured Arsenal leapfrogged faltering Tottenham – title contenders only a few weeks ago – after their north London rivals fell apart against Newcastle.

“It’s happened again,” sang Gunners fans at the end as they celebrated finishing above Spurs for the 21st consecutive season. Victory over relegated Villa, a team which has not won an away game in any competition since the opening day of the season at Bournemouth, ought to have been a given, and it was – but it wasn’t until the final 15 minutes that the home fans could truly relax. By finishing second the Gunners have qualified for the Champions League for a 19th consecutive season, but this has been a particularly testing campaign for Arsene Wenger, whose critics point to the club’s failure to mount a title challenge despite topping the table at the beginning of the year. The Frenchman has said the club will have to “add what we missed” this season, admitting his team did not score enough goals and, for the majority of this match, the absence of a killer instinct was a familiar criticism.

One player the Gunners have clearly missed for the majority of the season is Santi Cazorla, injured since November but returning to the starting line-up against Villa. The Spaniard conducted play beautifully and, at times, his touches were something to behold. As Villa’s resistance tired Arsenal took advantage, with Giroud capitalising to score his first Premier League hat-trick and take his tally to 24 in total this season. Mikel Arteta, who has made 150 appearances since joining from Everton in 2011, winning two FA Cups during his time with the Gunners, played his final match for the club as his contract expires this summer. The Spaniard, introduced as an 88th-minute substitute, thought he had scored for a perfect finale only for the 90th-minute strike to be deemed a Bunn own goal, and once the final whistle blew, the club captain could not contain his tears. Arteta had summed up Arsenal’s season in his captain’s notes, writing that the team’s ambition this season was to win the Premier League and failing to do so was “not good enough for this club”.

It was also the final Arsenal game for Tomas Rosicky, who is also out of contract. He received a special award before the match for his decade at the club. There was no place in the matchday squad for Theo Walcott who had, said the club, a slight hamstring injury and the forward’s absence will bring his participation in this summer’s European Championships into doubt. But Roy Hodgson, watching from the stands, will have been pleased to see midfielder Jack Wilshere make his first Arsenal start since the final game of last season and play for 69 minutes before being substituted. Arsenal finished in the top two of the Premier League for the first time since the 2004/05 campaign. Olivier Giroud’s first Premier League hat-trick was the 37th scored in the competition by an Arsenal player, which is more than any other team. Giroud has scored 16 Premier League goals this season, his joint-best return in the competition (also 16 in 2013/14). Mesut Ozil created 146 chances this season, the most of any player in a single Premier League campaign since 2003/04. Ozil’s final tally of 19 assists is bettered only by Thierry Henry’s 20 in 2002/03.

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Arsenal To Bid Farewell To Midfield Trio

On the final day of the English Premier League, the Gunners take on Aston Villa at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday in the final round of the 2015-16 Premier League season. It’s been another difficult campaign for the Gunners, whom many felt should have won the title this year. But that didn’t happen, and heading into the final round of the campaign the only real issue for the Arsenal faithful was to hope that Newcastle can beat Tottenham at St James’ Park so that Arsenal can finish second. The match against Aston Villa will be memorable as it will be the final occasion that Mikel Arteta, Tomas Rosicky and Mathieu Flamini will turn out in the club’s colours.

All three midfielders are out of contract at the end of the season, and they will also move on from the club. While those players move on, reports are growing that Leicester midfielder N’Golo Kante is joining Arsenal this summer. Also it looked like Granit Xhaka said goodbye to Gladbach before his move to Arsenal on Saturday. Arsenal fans have been taking to social media in the build up to the Villa game to post their goodbye messages for Arteta, Rosicky and Flamini. Manager Arsene Wenger has been fulsome in his praise of the departing trio. “Mikel Arteta is the captain of the club and has been a great leader,” said Arsene Wenger in his pre-match press conference. “Tomas Rosicky has been with us for 10 years and I think everybody loves him as well. Mathieu Flamini has been an extremely strong leader on the pitch and off the pitch. We lose three big personalities.”

The inclusion of Flamini in that list may raise eyebrows. He’s been a divisive figure at times; a symbol of Wenger’s tendency to persist with cheap options rather than bring in top-class alternatives. However, he’s still been a loyal servant across two spells with the club that total seven seasons. His quality has occasionally been questionable, but his commitment on the field has not. Arteta and Rosicky are almost universally admired. The Spaniard arrived in 2011 at a difficult point in the club’s recent history, following an 8-2 mauling at Manchester United and the double departures of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri. Arteta’s steady midfield presence and natural authority helped steady the ship.

Rosicky will be remembered with plenty of affection, not least for his knack of scoring against Tottenham. However, he’ll be also be reflected upon as a player who never quite fulfilled his potential in north London. Bought in 2006 as a replacement for Robert Pires, a succession of injuries has prevented him from blossoming into a pivotal figure. All three men will be hoping to get some time on the field in order to say a proper goodbye to the Emirates Stadium. That said, Sunday is no testimonial affair but a competitive fixture with three points at stake and potential repercussions for Arsenal’s Premier League position. The Gunners need a point to guarantee third place and automatic qualification for the Champions League. Against already-relegated Aston Villa that should be more than achievable. However, there is a more intriguing possibility on the table. If Arsenal win and Tottenham lose at Newcastle, the Gunners would leapfrog their local rivals and snatch second.

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