If only we had this great Arsenal player in today’s team …….

November 26, 2015

Arguably the return of a re-invented Coquelin in the latter part of last season was the biggest factor in our improved defensive stability.

Many (including me) would have put the procurement of another top quality DM at the top of our shopping list last summer.

It didn’t happen and we may now have to wait and see how costly that will be with Coquelin sidelined for the next 12 weeks.

Rather than keep moaning about what could have happened, I thought I’d fantasise about the influence my favourite Arsenal player would bring to the current side if he were that missing signing and at his peak of 27 years of age.


What our current team really needs is the Patrick Vieira of 2003/4. In my opinion, he would make this current Arsenal side considerably better than it is now – and it’s not too shabby at the moment :). Don’t get me wrong, when the team clicks as it did against Zagreb the other night (not the strongest of opposition) having a Vieira in the side would be a luxury rather than a necessity, but it is when we are under pressure that a player of his stature would come into his own.

He possesses all the qualities we need to make the team complete. A natural leader, fearless, strong, skilful, powerful, tall and elegant. A player who could tackle, who could defend, who could see a defence splitting pass, who could go forward and score a goal. He wouldn’t allow his teammates heads to go down. He wouldn’t sit back and watch our players get bullied.

But then I thought maybe there may be another ex Arsenal player of the EPL era who would make a similar or maybe even greater impact in a different position.

Some among us had been calling for a top striker over the summer. Would you prefer to see a TH14 at the peak of his powers instead of PV4 (I’m only allowing you one fantasy). Or maybe you think DB10 as our greatest ever player would have to be the one?

What about a proper winger; Mark Overmars, or the massive presence of Sol Campbel in defence. Maybe you’d prefer Seaman in goal in place of Cech –  or the calm control Gilberto brought to our midfield? Dare I ask if Ashley Cole or the underrated hard man Lauren is what our current team really needs? What about the artistry of Pires or the Arsenal DNA of Tony Adams.

These are the rules: you can only choose one ex player from the EPL era to bring back to our current squad at the peak of his powers. The player has to be the one you think would bring about the greatest improvement to the team.

I’m going to list the most likely candidates, if your preferred choice doesn’t feature on the list, tell us in comments who and why.


Zagreb Victory Discussion

November 25, 2015

Things to discuss:-

The brilliance af the Alexis/Ozil combination. Best since DB10/TH14?

Why has Monreal improved so much?

Flamini is good enough for teams like Zagreb.

Is Campbell any good?

Why were there 12,000 empty seats?

Which was the best goal?

Can Chambers develop into a DM?

How do flies stand on glass?

Giroud’s record is good, make that very good. Why do fans not believe in him?


Was winning last night the best result for the club?

Should Alexis or any of last night’s team be rested on Sunday?

Is Mrs Frith a force of good or evil?

Does Bellerin’s pace allow Campbell the freedom to play with confidence?

Why did DZ allow Cazorla so much space?

Hastily written by BR

Wish You Were Here (JW/AR/AOC/FC etc)

November 24, 2015

A MWG or a MLG or even a MDG? If Olympiakos get a point in Munich it doesn’t matter anyway.

My opinion is that we should give it the full beans, attack from the first, if we are two up by half-time bring on the kids and look forward to a trip to Greece. If we start slowly, go in even at half-time then fight out a tough 1-0 whilst picking up an injury or two would it be considered a successful evening.

I am sure Mr Wenger will go all out to win this game and expect to get a result in Athens, he is focussed upon the CL and rightly so. The CL is the source of our European reputation (such as it is) and AW has a wonderful record of getting our club into the last 16.

Why is it important? Money and seeding.

There have been times this season when I thought it would be better if we gave up on the CL , finished 4th and concentrated upon the PL, but that is not how AFC work – the club philosophy is to try and win every game; tonight will be no exception.

Who plays?

Same as Saturday. Flamini replaces Le Coq. We do not risk Ramsey who has only had one day of full training. We have a 5 day break before the Norwich game.



Tonight I will don the full kit, turn the TV out towards the terrace, settle into the padded teak Steamer and enjoy a Pretendies. Thanks to the freezing conditions I will be armed with a full bottle of warming fluids (single malt), an Arsene Wenger down coat, a Steve Bould woolly hat, Eduardo gloves and a Chamakh snood. If there is no sign of BR in the morrow then send out the St. Bernards.

We are a much better team than Zagreb and should win tonight.


Monday Morning Blues

November 23, 2015

I think we were all looking forward to taking three points from the game and putting pressure on City at the top of the Premiership. Sadly that was not to be.

There were sufficient omens before the game to dampen our expectations. We had half a team in the treatment room, we were playing a Pulis side which is morphing into his old Stoke City just as they are throwing off their Orc reputation and starting to play football.  Our players had barely time to catch their breath after the Internationals and we have a Champions League game to follow.

Having said that, we started with our first choice ’keeper and back four, our mid-field pairing of Cazorla and Coquelin were in place only Gibbs, playing on the left with Alexis wide right, has not been a regular starter while Giroud has taken over as central striker since Walcott’s unfortunate injury.

It was when things started to go wrong, with Le Coq forced off by injury, that the threadbare nature of our squad became horribly evident. A rusty Arteta was making heavy weather of his role alongside Cazorla and despite Giroud’s headed goal two errors by Arteta meant we went in at half-time 2 – 1 down.

The second half quickly saw Arteta off with a calf injury with Flamini replacing him and then Gibbs giving way to the uninspiring Joel Campbell, further evidence of the weakness of  the bench.

So just what was it that induced the Monday morning blues?

Well, for me it is the realisation that over  the many games played against Pulis’ teams we still haven’t learnt how to deal with that particular style of play.

On top of that we are most certainly being bitten in the bum by the failure to recruit a decent back-up for Le Coq, as well as a distinct lack of an alternative striker.

Finally, with City losing at home to Liverpuddle we wasted a wonderful opportunity to move to the top of the table.

Oh, those Monday morning blues!

Written by Norfolk Gooner

Arsenal succumb to defeat as injury crises deepens!

November 22, 2015

Hussein 1

A dismal day at the Hawthornes for the Gunners was compounded by a key injury to Francis Coquelin and leaving Arsenal even further in the injury mire.

The day started with much optimism as the teams came out. There was a moment to pay respects to victims of the horrific Paris attacks last week as the French national anthem was played.

The match began and the tackles were flying in and with one resulting in Coquelin going off and being replaced by Arteta. The fans were very worried and the hardcore travelling fans were left ruing further injury misery. It was evident that Coquelin was one player Arsenal could ill afford to lose due to the tenacity he brings to the midfield. To add insult to injury (no pun intended) the fans were left bemoaning the decision to bring Arteta on rather than Flamini.

Arsenal got in their stride and without looking too convincing took the lead with another Giroud goal from a Mesut Ozil free kick, the German delivering yet another assist.

Then the mayhem occurred. A disputed free kick was awarded to West Brom which was cut back for Morrison who was left unmarked to flick the ball past Cech. The Arsenal supporters were left raging at the lack of marking fuelling their anger at Per Mertesacker. Then just before half time another sucker punch. West Brom worked the ball down the Arsenal right and the low cross was diverted by Arteta into his own net. The fans were left seething about Arteta and considered this a double whammy with him playing then scoring an own goal. One fan was so furious and shouting vitriol towards the team due to the manner of the West Brom goals that he made his way to the concourse for an early drink.

The second half began with Arsenal bombarding the West Brom goal. Mesut Ozil came a whisker away from restoring parity as he hit the post and Kieran Gibbs was then denied at the back post. West Brom thought they scored a third and put Arsenal out of reach but the ball did not cross the line.

Then there was hope.. Campbell went down in the box and Santi Cazorla took the responsibility to put Arsenal level. The West Brom players were then playing mind games with Santi putting him off and there were even suggestions in the crowd that the West Brom players were kicking the spot… Their dirty tactics paid off as Santi fluffed his lines and his penalty went over the bar.

West Brom secured the 3 points and the West Brom fans were ironically chanting Santi Cazorla’s name much to their delight trying to wind the Arsenal fans up. To the Arsenal fans credit they took it with a pinch of salt with most putting today’s defeat to injuries and misfortune. A miserable day for the Gunners but we move on now.


Written by Sir A Hussein

Remember your Shinpads

November 21, 2015

Much to look forward to today – a possible Merinho breakdown, Klopp’s second defeat in a row, the Classico, MU downed by the rampant Hornets. What I am not looking forward to is the physicality of a game at the Hawthorns.

I have nothing against WBA, I admired them during the Big Ron era for their support of black footballers, also that they would routinely gift us 3 points at home and away, but things are different today; today they are managed by Tony Pulis.


Imagine how you would feel if it was announced that Mr Wenger was to be replaced by Pulis? First out of the door would be Ozil – Pulis would never have an artist in his team. Theo Walcott? No chance – the man is a wimp. Cazorla? A holding midfielder who can’t kick indiscriminately  and physically oppress the opposition. Going through our team how many would get picked by Pulis? I would hazard a guess at Alexis, Coquelin, BFG and Gabriel.

Having said that, it is one of the pleasures of football that there are many ways to win 3 points and perhaps it would be boring if only fluent, attacking, exciting, skilful, intelligent football was the only style on offer. (a little BR joke for those who are too literal)

In 12 PL games WBA have scored 10 times, have collected 26 yellow and one red card (we have the lowest in the PL with 12/2). They have 4 points from 6 home games and are without question the dullest team to watch in Europe, if not the world, universe, galaxy, etc.

I wonder what Pulis makes of Mr. Wenger. What must he think when reading of AW wanting to bring out the beauty in his footballers? Of his eloquence following a match and his humour at press conferences?

This is not to say that Pulis is thick – he clearly isn’t but I hate his football philosophy. I hated his violent Stoke team. I hated his defence of Shawcross. I hate his idea that if you cannot win by playing with the ball then play the man. It is offensive.

We celebrate the return of Bellerin. I understand Debuchy’s frustration regarding his relegation to the bench which may affect his Euro place but Bellerin is fantastic – perhaps the best AFC debut season since that bloke who is on the bench at Stamford Bridge.

Unfortunately Ramsey is not available until mid-week and IMO he is the lynchpin of the side. We have struggled in his absence especially in the Spurs game.

Santi is fit again and played well for Spain, scoring a fantastic goal which may initiate his Arsenal goal scoring. It is a mystery that such a talented player cannot hit the target.

Alexis played two full competitive games for Chile and will surely be rested for much of the game. Who takes his place? I guess Campbell will continue out right and Arteta or Flamini alongside Coquelin allowing Cazorla to play further forward.

The bookies have us as 8/15 favourites. I am less confident.

But beating a Pulis team makes for a happy Big Raddy household and I am sure the Arsenal squad and backroom staff are all in favour of that.

Let it be so.



Beer and pies ruin football ………….

November 20, 2015

Much has been written about prices of tickets for football games and the proud club of ours is, as usual, top of the table of most expensive tickets. I am sick of hearing the clap trap that footy has become the sport for the wealthy. It’s not the tickets that screw up the bank balance, it is all the booze and pies you consume when at the Emirates. Bring your own pies and flask, and you stand to save yourself a few bob.

And it is you, yes you moany git who is the first to moan about the ticket prices, but at the same time insisting on Wenger buying Benzema, Cavani and Krychowiak in one big swoop.

I am sure some will come after me with open flick knives, but I am a keyboard hero and don’t care and will carry on – I was stunned after reading the following comments yesterday:

“Couldn’t get tickets (for WBA at the Hawthorns). It’s getting harder and harder.

Or for Aston Villa. Villa sold out to 20+ – we have 19! (away credits)

Liverpool away on a Wednesday flippin night in January for over £50 and a crap view. Probably won’t go down to our level of away credits anyway.
Might have to go to flippin Stoke away 4 days after. At least we’ll have 20 away points then and have a little more chance for other tickets.”

Two most disgraceful Arsenal fans, with season tickets and 100 years of support between them cannot get tickets for the above games. Not that they wanted to see those games, after all it is just WBA, Villa and Pool, but they live for those trips away – camaraderie, greasy pies, crisps and lots more of junk food, washed down with gallons of booze, sing alone, some funny snaps and their lives are complete.

They schlap week in and week out 300 miles round trip by car, by train and on foot, pay year after year for the season tickets and cannot attend games because all chits were sold out. Shocking! And there is only one way to resolve it – bump up the prices! That way there will be plenty of tickets for those who really want to see a game and are prepared to bring their own sandwiches to balance the books.

How much are you prepared to pay for a ticket? I think £50 is reasonable for most games. Double it for most popular games and half for lesser opponents.



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