Paul Easter and Arsene Wenger.

October 9, 2015

I watched the interview with Gabriel on last night, wow, now that is what I call a tough upbringing but nevertheless while watching I started to access his time at Arsenal and realised just how close he came to being propelled into the stratosphere of adulation among us Arsenal supporters — that is very close until the Costa incident.

I mean, he was playing so well that excited comments like Wenger has found another Koscielny were being spoken in deferential tones but this all came to an abrupt halt after the really naive way he acted against Chelsea.

On the day, I was a tad more forgiving, thinking that it was the first time that he had come up against the dirty piece of work that Costa is and, really, who wouldn’t want to kick Costa? but, in fact, it was not the first time; Gabriel had previously faced him in Spain on numerous occasions which makes the fact that he fell into Costa’s trap even more infuriating.

Paul Easter, is a great find and his defending is going from strength to strength, we will forget the Costa incident, time will heal and it is only a question of time before he is acclaimed as the great defender we all secretly think he is.

And if that isn’t enough there is the other hidden bonus that people like me enjoy: we can continue to sit contentedly in the knowledge that Wenger got it right again and all those who were waving their big sticks shouting about Wenger should have strengthened in the summer were wrong or at least the signing of Gabriel shows that Wenger does act when players become available and I feel totally confident that if another striker or a HM or any player who would have improved that squad for that matter were available, Wenger would have done everything he could have to sign them.

Arsenal 3 Manchester United 0

Still too early to forget this.

written by LB

Getting Shirty ……… When Gold isn’t Gold

October 9, 2015


It’s the international dull…. so what is there to Rant about?

There was a discussion on here the other day about the Arsenal new Gold away kits. Some like it, some think it looks dirty. Peaches thinks it looks ‘mean and dirty’. Well she would, wouldn’t she :-)

It got me wondering about how these shirts are conceived, designed, agreed upon and then go into production. Who has the final say, Puma or the Arsenal? Does Wenger have input into the final product? Do the players have a say?

I’ll say right from the start, I don’t like it. It’s not the colour, I think gold is an excellent choice, but it’s the way our shirts look…. they look dirty and when a player has perspired a bit, it looks even dirtier. Who ever came up with the idea, it was a good one, but somewhere along the production line it seems that the material used isn’t right for its use.  As someone who uses colour in paintings regularly, I know how difficult gold as a pigment can be. From a tube it can be dull, not like the gold you would expect. Alternatively, using gold leaf produces an excellent colour. So how did we end up with a gold that looks like a dull, dirty gold?

Psychologically it’s a great colour:

The color gold is the color of success, achievement and triumph. Associated with abundance and prosperity, luxury and quality, prestige and sophistication, value and elegance, the psychology of this color implies affluence, material wealth and extravagance.

Gold in its physical state, by its very nature, denotes wealth and prestige in every country, culture and market in the world today – it is probably the most valuable and easily traded commodity available in the global marketplace.

This color is linked to masculine energy and the power of the sun, compared to silver which is associated with feminine energy and the sensitivity of the moon.

So how did we get the current material and why does it look so dull and dirty?

It probably started with some pimply kid just out of Art and Design college, employed by Puma on minimum wage, he/she draws a few ideas, chooses a colour and that goes to the next level of the design team. A few Puma employees then make a decision that it’s good and a prototype is produced. Then it’s probably presented to Arsenal FC for their approval. All good so far….. but I think something went wrong between the idea and the final product.

Before the modern shirt of polyester was conceived,  shirts were first made from wool, and then cotton. Heavy and made worse by get soaked with sweat. Polyester has revolutionised shirt material and now it takes sweat away from the body, polyester is light weight, durable, resistant to creasing and only absorbs about 4% of its weight of water, so most sweat is carried along the fibres and evaporates.

So why do our new gold shirts look sweaty and dirty. I think there wasn’t enough thought put into the colour and how it looks after just 20 minutes of running around a football pitch. As I said, gold is a difficult colour to work with and someone within the production team failed to take this into consideration.

Which leaves me with my final thoughts….. I like the idea but I don’t like how it looks on our players. I think it should go back to the production team to sort it out. Or maybe the psychological affect of Gold is making us play the way we did against Man United…. oh hold on, we played in the Red and White that day.

Arsene’s fantastic Vision of Beautiful Football

October 7, 2015

The wonderful result of the game against Manyoo last weekend has given a very welcome boost to the Arsenal fans’ morale, and allowed a certain justifiable smugness to permeate the air on Arsenal blogs — and not before time.

However it was not just the superb result that warmed the cockles of many a heart, it was also the way the team played and the captivating style of total football that was on show for all the world to see.

Where did this performance come from? Was it a one off? Will we treasure it and hold it to our manly chests as we quickly return to the old slip slop ways of yore?

Not if Arsene Wenger has his way!

Looking back for quite an extended period, we can see that there have been constant criticisms of Arsene for his dilatory decisions in not addressing the perceived weaknesses in the team last summer —
where is the desperately needed holding midfielder we need?
Many have asked that question, seemingly year on year, season on season to be truthful? There have also been anguished pleas for a top, top centre forward to be acquired. And while we are at it, why are our full backs encouraged to frequently desert their defensive duties and hare upfield in support of the attack?
Questions, questions.

On the face of it, the above appear to be a hotchpotch list of gripes that have resulted in the anger of the fans fulminating from time to time into outright animosity when results have not gone our way, and led to many despairing of Arsene ever changing his spots.

This suppurating anger of some fans has not been helped by Wenger appearing to refuse to explain his vision, his strategy and his tactics to us, or even to agree to be accountable to the fans according to some, and, if true, it is a pity as it would perhaps allow us to understand his apparent reluctance to caulk over the defensive and attacking holes in his team by buying suitably qualified players and addressing the issues.
Of course no one has satisfactorily explained why he should have to explain everything he does – that would make him a hostage to fortune.

However, Arsene, like many highly intelligent men when confronted with seemingly incomprehensible angst by others regarding what appears to him to be a straightforward situation, sometimes shows an inability to understand why there is even a problem, when his vision, motives and methodology are so obvious to him.

The answer to why he does certain things lies, I believe, in his vision of the beautiful game. Football, so he believes, is not broken down into the micro or macro analysis of defence and attack, he really does see the game as being one unified, flowing, seamless whole. To him there is no need to assign specific responsibilities to one type of player or the other, because the whole team need to be capable of defending and attacking as one smoothly efficient working unit.

Every Wenger team is expected to play in a certain way — his way — conforming to his vision, and to hell with worrying about the opposition. He wants to win, and win beautifully, by playing football as a form of art with each honed cog of the team working like a perfectly functioning and exquisite Rolex, or a Blequet or a Hublot watch, and stuff the Timex teams acceptable to the other clubs.

Therein lies the problem. Most fans want to win trophies to give them bragging rights, and it matters not to them if it was the result of a fluke deflection off someone’s ass, or a bad refereeing decision, or playing against 10 men or whatever advantage the Gods happen to throw at them.
A win is a win, is a win, innit?

But maybe Arsene needs to promote and explain his vision to the fans better, and to reassure them that he does indeed want to win trophies, and to win them in a style that would make them proud to support a club who foster such a vision of perfection — a vision of playing the beautiful game.

Arsene also needs to appreciate, although I know he does already, that every Rolex or Hublot needs to have the very best of materials to hit the amazingly high standards of perfection they aspire to, and so too does his Arsenal team.

Buying the very best players possible for his team, and leaving others to worry about the cost of doing so, is an essential requirement which not only will make his vision for beautiful football at Arsenal more achievable, but also marry up his desires with those of the loyal fans who crave success and would give their unstinting support to this magnificent project if they could see this in action.

There are very many of us who would love to see this man reach his visionary goal before he eventually retires, and not appear in the annals of history as just another footballing Don Quixote futilely tilting at windmills.
And not just for his sake, but also for the sakes of those of us who have supported Arsenal all our lives, and will do so until the end, but would love to thrust out our chests and brag ‘we saw Arsene Wenger, and the Invincibles team – and we also saw beautiful football from the New Warriors when we won the EPL and the Champions League!’

It’s coming!!

written by RA

Arsenal show their class

October 5, 2015

First and foremost – excellent win :-)

Second – what a scintillating first half – not only because of the goals and the chances and the fluid play but because for the first time in years (2004), I have seen a team of hungry players ready to fight from beginning to the end to get a result.

Third – Although it is hard to admit, Ramsey is proving to be our best player on the right flank despite the fact that he is even better in the centre of the pitch.

Fourth – Sanchez is back and Walcott is having a good time playing up front.

Fifth – When Coquelin and Cazorla step up their game defensively, our team just oozes confidence and flair.

Sixth – Ozil can be a real class act for us if he plays like yesterday day in day out.

Seventh – LVG got it all wrong tactially. I mean – why would he leave Schnederlin (his best DM) on the bench?

Eighth – Cech has again done us favours thanks to his saves :)

Ox and Giroud are good to come from the bench when we lead because they add steel and also Ox, when given space, is just outstanding.

Now – let us not get over excited and let us not talk about EPL title because we are far from being a consitantly good team…However, given the fact that City, Chelsea, Utd, Liverpool are struggling to keep form as well, this may be a good year to step up our game…


Written by RC78

Time for Ozil to Step Up

October 4, 2015

Kelsey says one more injury and we are bollixed and Crystals is usually right.

Today we have Koscielny, Flamini, Wilshere, Arteta, Welbeck and Rosicky all crocked. Would any of these players be automatic starters apart from Kos? Probably not but it would be great to have them available especially Welbeck and Wilshire.

Why do I start the post with the above? Because I really do not know where to start today’s pre-match! The opponents are/were TOTL and in great form. We, however, are handily placed in 6th and could go up to 3rd with a win – but will we get the 3 points?

A poor MU took 4 points off us last season and as far as I can see we haven’t beaten them in the PL since 2010/11 – it is about time we did. However, and here is the rub, this Arsenal team is hugely inconsistent; a fine win over Stoke was followed by a dreadful loss to a poor Zagreb side,  a week which included super victories over Spurs and Leicester also saw us fall apart in the CL to Olympiakos.

We know our current squad is good enough to challenge for the PL (well, i know might be more realistic). Trouble is they need to do it on a game by game basis rather than the odd occurrence. If we can overcome the Mancs today it would be a huge fillip to both the players and the fans, and perhaps, kick-start our season.


And what of the Mancs? The insanely expensive purchases appear to be successful for the moment. They are playing well and as usual getting the rub of the green. Referees adore them and continue to give favourable decisions to the Red Devils, the fans are on-side with LVG, injury-wise they are in good shape – it augurs well for them.

I hope Chary does not read this paragraph (wherever he is) but I believe English football needs a strong and successful United. They are the flag-bearers of the PL however much we may dislike them. Who would you rather see doing well in Europe – the financially doped Johnny-come-Lately’s or a club which has a proud and successful history?

In yesterday’s Telegraph, Gary Neville wrote a fine article about Arsenal’s preparation for games (thanks NG) highlighting the difference between what he sees as the classic MU/AFC winning teams and the current AFC. He believes we do not analyse our opponents in enough depth. Is he right? Is Steve Bould so inept that he doesn’t spend the days pre-game instructing his players how to close down dangers? Neville assumes Mr Wenger tells the players to play their own games without heed to the opposition in the knowledge that our better football and high possession will win the game. I cannot believe we are so naive.

Our Team:


Bellerin   Gabriel    BFG    Monreal

Ramsey  Coquelin    Cazorla

Ozil   Sanchez


Expect to see OG make an appearance later in the game and possibly Chambers coming on to secure the defence should we be winning on 75 mins.

Ozil needs to convince the fans who continue to dismiss his superb skills that he really is worth his enormous transfer fee and wages. This afternoon would be a fine time to open his goal-scoring account.

I wish I could pick the Ox in our first choice eleven but despite non-stop effort and input he has disappointed. Could he benefit from a long run of games? Can Mr Wenger drop one of the above side to give him that chance? If so, who gets dropped?

Today’s referee is Anthony Taylor. He will be busy and I can guarantee that he will anger the Arsenal fans. The man is not so much biased against AFC, more that he is incompetent. Coquelin will be booked in the first half as will Gabriel. We must hope that our full-backs remain card free so they are allowed to tackle MU’s wingers upon whom they rely so much.

If Arsenal can remain disciplined in defence then we will win – we are better than them, but sadly that is a huge IF. Our players are good enough but the organisation and concentration has been poor this season – we have conceded 13 goals in 11 games which is not good enough. We must improve or find ways to score far more goals, especially from midfield (apart from Flamini  the others have scored a sum total of none).

I would love it if we beat them


The Arsene Wenger Conundrum

October 2, 2015
  1. The Arsene Wenger Conundrum:

    Sometimes the unpalatable needs to be acknowledged and faced, to the despair of some and the delight of others – but faced it must be.

    All fans live in the here and now, that’s life as we know it, and we tend to think we are the only ones in history to experience tremendous football highs and also the corresponding dispiriting lows – but that is not the case is it?

    Our parents and their parents and so on, back into the dim and distant past no doubt also ran the gamut of life’s ups and downs, and saw unpleasantness between the feuding doubters and the believers back in their era. So we are not too different.

    Why am I pointing out the bleeding obvious?
    Well it is because it seems to be readily forgotten that modern day professional football managers are not immune to this irrefutable law of life, and are subject to its intense stresses and strains, however well remunerated they might be, and so it has been from the mid-nineteenth century when football first became organised.

    In other words, there comes a time in all our lives, and specifically in the career of every football manager’s life, however humble or exalted he/she maybe, when his problem becomes the team’s problem and, by the nature of these things, also the fans problem, as a consequence.

    In essence, at some point in his career, the manager can become the problem and not the solution.

    There is a clear cycle to the careers of all managers.

    Initially the appointment of a new manager leads to the dead cat bounce of instant improvements in the results of the club, and the appointment soon proves popular with the fans, and things look up for the club— the manager is acclaimed for the personnel changes he makes; things go well; results are satisfactory; the club starts to look a good contender for the higher echelons of the league; attendances rise in proportion to the success; there is a feel good factor for the fans; and progress is tangible.
    Who knows, maybe there are honours that will be won; a title will become a possibility; a nice Cup win or two, maybe, and everyone will be deliriously happy! What could go wrong, baby?

    But there will come a time when, insidiously, things start to wobble, hiccups occur and dissatisfaction begins to creep in when the expected, nay demanded, progress stalls.

    The causes can be manifold – maybe an important player, or two, leaves to pursue wealth and trophies elsewhere. Maybe there are too many injuries for the team to cope with. Maybe the club still cannot compete financially, despite raising their commercial game.
    Possibly behind the scenes there are secret disagreements between the manager and the board. Maybe the players begin to ‘cock a deaf un’ to coaching instructions they once heard loud and clear. Maybe they become too casual, lack discipline, or become too arrogant? Who knows? – maybe all of these, or just some – but once started the rot is there and hard to eradicate.

    Eventually, the recognition by the board, and the fans, is that the stardust, the magic, has gone and that things have become the same old, same old, and the slippery slope leads in an overwhelmingly irresistible downwards spiral to the inevitable conclusion.
    Bye! See ya!

    This process is compounded, inevitably, by some managers being limited in that they find it hard to maintain success, and their shelf life, or sell by date, whatever, is only possible for two or three years, at most, and then they are gone – to spend more time with their families, or to milk another club, who have more money than sense, and who think they can revive their fortunes with a new man at the helm.

    And then? …. Then there is Arsene!
    This paragon – This dedicated, wonderful Arsenal manager who clearly loves the role more than his own marriage, it seems. What of him?

    The glorious early years of ‘Arsene Who?’ as he was first known, majestically set the template for the Arse and all the other clubs in the Premiership with his critically successful years covering the end of the old century and the beginning of the new, with a Double here and a Double there, and the occasional Cup trophy thrown in for good measure, and all that made possible by an intense and special relationship with his players based on mutual loyalty and continued ‘Invincible’ achievements. [OK, I admit it – a little poetic licence there!]

    This relationship somehow survived the deep lying strains placed upon it by the emotional and stressful move from the much loved Highbury to the, as yet, so-so Emirates Stadium, and the outside pressures of ‘no-where’ clubs suddenly coming back to life with the injection of astounding monetary investments hurled them to unexpected trophy success. Bastards!

    This incredible relationship between manager, club, team and fans, has been nurtured by the sometimes reluctant recognition that Wenger has laboured under self imposed, severe financial restrictions for many years compared with the other top clubs, and yet … and yet …

    It has been universally recognised that, despite those restrictions, and despite the vast financial advantages of Arsenal’s rivals, Wenger brilliantly and adroitly has kept the Gunners in the mix, fighting the seemingly impossible fight for annual CL qualification and enabling the team to punch well above their weight for the Premiership title and CL qualification throughout those seemingly sterile years.

    Without him things could have turned out very differently, and Arsenal could, for example, have had the woeful plodding undistinguished, dis-spiriting history that has befallen our neighbours, Tottering Hotspurs, over the past two decades and shown the Cockerel lovers for what they are — that they do indeed behave like vainglorious cocks of the walk.

    Instead it is Arsenal who have remained the real footballing powerhouse in North London, famous worldwide for the wonderful, free-flowing football that all fans of the beautiful game love.

    But —- and this pains me to say — have many fans now decided that the time has come, at last, for the Arsenal family as a whole to face head on what they see as the truth that Arsene is in the process, after all these years, of slowly, slowly declining and becoming himself the problem and not the solver of problems as far as the lack of advancement of the Arsenal project is concerned?

    For how many seasons have many of the more vocal fans lamented Arsenal’s failure to mount a prolonged and successful challenge for the EPL title, or ever more disappointingly failed to get past the group stages of the CL, by losing to supposedly weaker teams?

    Over the past two years the unrest has subsided to a degree with the protests becoming less vitriolic, as we have seen the increase in the money available to the club for transfers enabling all fans to live in hope that a ‘great’ player will be purchased to take us on to greater glory.

    Sadly the (2 : 3) loss to Olympiacos recently, coupled with the lack of spending in the transfer window last summer, with seemingly adverse effects in key areas, deemed to be weak, are symptomatic of the fans newly awakened frustration and anger with the manager.

    On the other side of the coin, many of us do not want to consider the possibility that we are in the end game of Arsene’s incredible Arsenal career, because we know how much we owe this fantastic manager.

    We also know that all the other clubs in the Premier League owe him thanks for revolutionising the training regimes and the diet regimes and the life style regimes of the modern player, that are now de rigueur.

    Let’s face it, the man built the modern Arsenal. He is, without doubt, one of the greatest figures ever seen in the game in this country.

    And yet, — and yet — there is a malaise gripping Arsenal and its fans — there are some world class players in the first team squad, and we are brimming with superb young talent coming through the enhanced youth system, and yet – and yet —-many fans look at the poor CL games which seem to be re-runs of the poor CL games seen last season, and the season before that, and wonder.
    As regards the Premier League, very few fans are now surprised when we are beaten by ‘lesser’ teams, and look, somehow, just as hopeless in certain areas of the team as we have ever done.

    It is claimed by many pundits, including ex-Arsenal players, that we need a new super-duper centre-forward in order to progress, and so too by the fans, as well as by Arsene himself who has admitted as much, before adding the addendum, ‘there is no one available to sign’ which is sometimes taken as code for ‘he is too expensive’. Or is that just becoming folklore?

    Over the years we have come within an inch of attaining trophies, while just needing one or two more top, top players to clinch them, only to see that another top, top player we already had has been sold instead, and that became yet another problem to fix before we could achieve the craved for success.

    One step forward, and two back, on a regular basis – it seems to some.

    That feeling of magic, that symbolised the early Wenger years, of constant progress onward and upward, has now, in the eyes of some, sadly flickered and almost gone out.

    The magic seems to have been replaced, instead, by a reluctant acceptance, possibly even by those of us who love and respect Arsene, and who admire his great achievements, and for what he once brought to the club, and also into our lives as devoted Gooners, but not necessarily for what he may yet still achieve, as hope begins to flutter and fade.

    It seems that a majority of red blooded Arsenal fans, perhaps with an element of personal guilt involved, think that this dying of the Arsene magic is the reality, and many long for a managerial change, despite not wanting to openly say so, because everyone wishes it could be otherwise.

    All of us have our time in the sun, but, deep down, all of us also know that we eventually have to accept that our day is done because of our declining physical and mental strength and need to face up to life’s changes, and say a fond farewell to our friends, our colleagues and our jobs, and sashay quietly into the sunset.

    I hope Arsene, a man I revere for what he has done for us — manages to climb the last summit and wins the Premier League and also wins the Champions League before his personal day is done.

    That is the Arsene conundrum — will he stay to prove his doubters wrong, or will they get their way and see off a great man.

    Be careful what you wish for — a truly great manager like Arsene comes around but once in a lifetime!

    Written by RA

I feel a change is in the air

October 1, 2015

Morning all,

I see many supporters are a little uneasy at the moment, bad results seem to do that. We have all seen bad results in the past and I am pretty dammed sure many in the future as well.

Usually after bad performances the old stick comes out to beat our Manager. You know what, at times, I would like to wield that stick as he gets right up my nose.

Wenger has supposedly, more power at Arsenal than many others have in their clubs, whether that is correct I can only assume. Over the years and especially these last 5 years more and more talk has been about a new broom.

Now I am not against change and if Wenger went today Arsenal would still survive. Would Arsenal improve or would they struggle?  Who knows, we are not clever enough to know.

Arsene Wenger has been a good Manager in my eyes, when I say good I mean consistent and isn’t that what we want for a football team. He has been managing for ever so he knows his way around a training ground, but is he finished? That is the big question we have to ask.

Many will undoubtedly say he has to go at some time and of course they are right, nothing lasts forever and would we want it to. Nobody is irreplaceable, as death has shown us if a guvner or an owner dies, some body will step up.

I feel it is at this time where I have to ask, what do we want from Arsene’s replacement? A fair question I feel. Is it a more modern man, who has fresh idea’s, a man who can handle young men and get the best out of them, a man that can turn the team we have into league Champions and a man who doesn’t need a tanker truck filled with readies following him around?

Many establish that Arsenal are a wealthy club. On the books we are probably in the top ten most wealthiest, so where is the problem? As many have said Wenger is a pensioner and in all rights should be put out to grass.

Supposing we were to replace him with a man as said above, and our form actually went down , perhaps missing Europe for a few years, say we went down a division would that worry you at all, or would you concede that the new man needs time, much the same as Wenger had.

I can see that that is probably the line many would take, he needs time, and I myself would probably say the same. And lets face it a young modern type manager has a lot of time left so no problem.

Now lets say the new man comes in and makes a massive impact, Arsenal soar to the top of the league. He buys a few players and all our problems are solved. Our wins in the league and in Europe and all the cups herald us as the very best. How pleased would we all be? Blimey I am gagging at the bit here.

Yes of course that could happen. Why shouldn’t it? Look how many other clubs have done it, it happens all the time doesn’t it? Of course it doesn’t we all know that, but a nice thought though.

We, of course, will need a change of manager no doubt about that, but what we must realise is that things will change which is what most supporters want, but lets not kid ourselves, it could be a lot better , but is also could be a lot worse,

Our change is just around the corner, get ready for it, as it could be a really long and bumpy ride.

Written by Steve Palmer


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