Stop Carping And Get Behind The Lads

October 23, 2014

I didn’t see last night’s game but I thought I’d do a report anyway.

Here it is:

First Half: we were pants.

Second Half: pants with skiddies.

I have deduced this summary from Arsenal blogs and newspaper articles. And Twatter. And Twat (better known as Piers Morgan).

The thing is though, we won. And we’re now in a cracking position to guarantee qualification for the knock out rounds of the Champions League yet again.

Yes, I know we take the “knock out” rounds a bit too literally and tend to get knocked out, but we must be due a lucky draw in the Round of 16 this time, surely?

I digress.

Back to the game that I didn’t see. It appears we struggled to put two passes together and left ourselves spreadeagled and wide open at the back, resulting in a nasty Belgian Surprise (like getting an iffy mussel at Belgo).

Having gone a goal down, we instantly went back to not stringing passes together, leaving ourselves wide open at the back etc etc.

Then, when all was about lost, we scored two goals and knicked all three points.


Although I didn’t see the game I did manage to see the goals on YouTube before a UEFA lawyer had the clip removed. Gibbs’ finish was a thing of class and composure and the most striking feature of Podolski’s winner was the sheer determination of Sanchez to keep the ball alive and in the danger zone. We got a lucky bounce to plop the ball at the Pod’s feet, but we’ve had few enough of them this season.

Anyway, many of you will doubtless want to go on about how bad our performance was, regardless of the result.

To that I say: “Hush, my little ones. Curb thine tongues and sooth thine fevered brows.”

We’re going through a wobbly phase at the moment (we’ll snap out of it soon) and what the players need above all is support and confidence. They are certainly taking the good bits out of the evening: Kieran Gibbs says we made a statement with our late comeback, Aaron Ramsey says it’s good to get back to winning ways, Mesut Ozil called the win very important and Arsene Wenger hailed our spirit. Well, alright, Arsene would hail our spirit if we’d just fainted on the Jungle Bouncers (“toddlers welcome”) at Chessington World of Adventures.

But while Arsenal fans wail and gnash their teeth, who’d have thought the most sensible comment of the night would come from Mr Stanley Collymore?: “Well done Arsenal. Crap most of the night, bottle when it mattered. Big big result and confidence booster.”

I say let’s treat the result (and the game) the way the players are treating it: a characterful win on a night when things didn’t always go smoothly.

We all know this Arsenal team has the players to do something special. Let’s help give them the confidence to get on with the job.


Time for Revenge. Anderlecht Away

October 22, 2014

Many years ago in a land far away our valiant boys took the field for the first leg of the 1970 Inter-City Fairs Cup Final which today is the equivalent of the Europa Cup. We had been poor for a number of years and recently lost the League Cup to Swindon, yes Swindon, so the prospect of playing the Belgian Champions was worrying.

Despite being a rabid Gooner and having been to all the league games at home and many away, I didn’t travel abroad (my Mum wouldn’t let me). Just as well as we lost 3-1. At three down it was all over but Ray Kennedy managed to notch one back in the 82nd minute to give us some hope for the return – which I will write about when Anderlecht come to the Emirates.


The current Anderlecht team have won their league 4 out of the last 5 seasons. Quite honestly I know very little about Anderlecht apart from the fact they play in the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium and that one of their players had a trial at Arsenal as a 16 y.o. (Dennis Praet). This season in the CL they drew away at Galatasary and lost 3-0 to Dortmund. After 11 games they are top of the Belgian league, 3 points ahead of Brugge.

Arsenal have selection problems (!!!).  Ever heard of Ryan Huddart? Neither have I, but he is on the bench for us tonight and if Martinez gets knocked he will be playing. A 17 y.o. who has just signed professional forms in goal in an away CL game! Then there is the defence – Chambers will play CB and Bellerin at RB, two 19 y.o.’s. This is Arsenal we are talking about not some Mickey Mouse organisation and yet the 8th richest club in the world has allowed this to occur. Am I bovvered? You bet I am.

Midfield and upfront we are much better served. There are many permutations but I go with this one

My team:

22nd oct

Not sure who we will have as a defensive sub apart from Monreal but hopefully we will not need one.

Food: Belgium is not renowned for its cuisine though for a few years in the ’90’s Belgian beer and Moules was popular in N. London. Belgians like a bar of chocolate and a truffle or two and of course are responsible for the dreadful Mandarine Napoleon which is made by mixing brandy and tangerines. I suppose what most Belgians eat is waffles …. they love a waffle.


Maple Syrup, Nutella or Fruit?

As I have a little time perhaps you will allow me to tell you about another time an English team went to play on Belgian soil.

It was 15th June 1815.  The English squad had their version of Podolski, Mertesacker and Ozil in the team (at that time known as Prussians), they were taking on the current European Champions, the French. Our boys were managed by the Duke of Wellington and the opposition by the foreign genius and Mr Wenger of his day Napoleon Bonaparte. You will not need me to tell you that Our Boys gave the French a good spanking (one reason being the English forces numbered 120k and the French 72k).



Beating the French away.

Will we lose 3-1 as we did all those years ago? Unlikely. The two teams have grown in different directions and despite the excellence of the Belgium national team Anderlecht are the weakest team in the group. We should get a result.


written by Big Raddy

Arsenal Arsenal what’s the score? …. Arsenal … what’s the score?

October 21, 2014

In order to score more, do you need to be prepared to concede more?
Let’s face facts. City and Pool did last season and finished 1st and 2nd. They also played the most attractive and exciting football.


Question posed by MickyDidIt89

Never mind the quality – what about the width?

October 20, 2014

Yesterday Rasp asked the following question :

Incidentally I’m told by someone who was at the game that we were very narrow in the second half which led to the customary midfield congestion and lack of shooting opportunities – can anyone verify/explain this?

Now we have a player like Welby who is quick enough to get into the box, surely we need to get behind their fullbacks when attacking?

To which I responded with the following :

The balance in our width has been an issue for a while Rasp. How much should come from the FB’s or the more advanced wide players and in what balance are big debates. Have we got the right players for it and the right balance within the squad and who should play in certain positions and who should not? There is tomorrows headline post for you. 

To which Rasp responded with the following :

OK GB, thanks for volunteering – get typing

Now I had signed off at that point to tend to my pulled pork that I was preparing for family and guests (delicious if I may say so), so typing was not an option, but it struck me that how a team deploys and utilises its wide players is a big debating point. The more you think about it the more questions it raises.

The comments of “playing too narrow” and “over-committing our full-backs to the attack” are often stated on here and elsewhere in relation to Arsenal. To my mind this begs the following questions :

  1. Do we use the wide areas of the pitch effectively?
  2. Do we have the right balance in how we provide width in our play between the overlapping full-backs and the more advanced wide players?
  3. Could we improve how we use the wide areas of the pitch and if so how?
  4. Are there other teams that are better at using the width of the pitch to open teams up and should we be looking and learning?

Over to you A.A’ers. These are but a few questions that one could start with to get things going, but please feel free to bring any other aspect or question that you feel may be relevant to our club and how we use the width of the pitch in our general play.

Written by GoonerB


Class of 2014-15 – could do better?

October 19, 2014

Bit of a worrying performance, that one.

In midfield and up front it was a pretty decent team on paper, but we seemed very ineffectual with our possession.

Our only tactic seems to be to try and one-two our way through packed defences, but when that doesn’t work we look a bit lost.

Apart from a few periods this season (first half hour v Man City, the 3-goal burst against Villa, beating Galatasaray) we don’t seem to be gelling. I wish I knew why (and I don’t believe it’s all or even mostly down to injuries).

It would be ironic if, after all those years of getting top four against the odds while spending less than zero on net transfers, we missed out now that we have started spending the big bucks again…

Discuss …………..

Written by RockyLives

Back to football – Arsenal v Hull City

October 18, 2014

Morning all.

Matchday at last. And Hull as well. When did we meet them last? Yes, you got it right. Just go to the banner at the top if you don’t remember.

The entire Hull city descended on the capital that day. Driving down the motorway felt a bit strange and scary. Every second car had stripes and tiger banners. It felt almost like heading into enemy territory.

But that was different. Do or die for them. Yet another trophy for us. :razz:

Today is league. Very different. A tough game. The tigers are tough. Period. I was surprised to note:

(a) Hull is only one of three PL teams that have scored in every game so far (other two are Chavs and Everton – not us, we play a beautiful game, silly! :razz: )

(b) Hull had 13 players on international duty last week. Eh! Some plating for obscure countries like Antarctica and Papua New Guinea! :razz:

Tough game, first of 4 relatively easy (must win? :razz: ) games. Even the Arsenal website has a poll asking fans whether we will win all four!

Realistically speaking, I think we need to score twice. Where will be get the two goals? Hmmm.

Anyway, two goals or not, we are probably in for an exciting game. My best guess:

Bellerin, Monreal, Mertesacker Gibbs,
Arteta, Wilshere,
Ox, Cazorla, Alexis

Monreal and BFG in central defence will be exciting!

However, having said all that, this game has only one possible outcome. Unleash the demolition squad, Wenger. COYG!!!!!!

Written by arnie

AGM Today – looking ahead to 2017

October 16, 2014

Ahead of today’s annual general meeting, Arsenal Chief executive Ivan Gazidis, has looked ahead to the time when Arsene Wenger may leave the club. “Replacing the giant of a manager will be the greatest challenge to face the club” Or words to that effect, he said.

Fear not fellow Gooners, at least for the time being anyway, Arsene has just signed a three year contract extension which will see him through to 2017. Short of a disaster of cataclysmic proportions the chances of Le Professeur leaving before then are about the same as Nick Clegg leading the Lib Dems to a landslide victory in next year’s General Election.

According to Gazidis, “Wenger has steered the club expertly to this point, but that the transition is nearing”. Obviously the club will want to handle the situation somewhat more adroitly than a certain Northern Club recently managed their’s.

The choice of the man to take the club forward will depend on many factors, not least the state of the squad at that time. At the moment it would appear that Arsenal will be in rude good health in 2017. Financially sound, great stadium, state of the art training and academy facilities and, aside from that disaster of cataclysmic proportions, a solid and growing fan base both here in the UK and overseas. In addition the current “young” players in our first team squad, such as Szczesny, Chambers, Gibbs, Wilshere, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Walcott, Ramsey and Welbeck will all be in their prime. Nothing is more certain than that in the meantime Wenger will have introduced more youngsters into the squad who will be ready and able to push for starting places.

All in all the future looks quite rosy for whoever takes the reins when Arsene finally relinquishes them.

Apart from the name of the new man, one other question needs to be addressed, will the club appoint a Manger with the total control enjoyed by Wenger or will it be a Head Coach operating under a Director of Football?

Written by NorfolkGooner


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