Is it Cech Mate against The Pole in Goal?

June 18, 2015

It is with a heavy heart today that I delve into the defensive side of our game. The Goal Keeper.

The blog world is alive with stories of the imminent arrival of Petr Cech for an apparent £14M.

Sz had an absolute stinker against Southampton for sure. Maybe he was hungover from New Year’s celebrations. The game was on January 1st after all.  Who knows. Then, of all times, he chose post match to have a fag in the shower when he was already in the dog house. Got demoted to Cup Keeper, and in came Ospina as No 1.

Thing is Arsene played Szczesny in the final. You can read that as a “thanks and goodbye” or Arsene effectively re-instating him as No1 (it’s not true AW always sticks with the Cup Keeper in the final). Either way you read that choice, a fairly substantial level of forgiveness had to be in the air.

My personal thoughts are that Szczesny still has everything to be a top keeper. He needs to grow up fast. To my mind, there are strong similarities between him and Nic Bendtner in terms of a casual professional attitude, but that is very much my own guesswork. Even top keepers make mistakes, and take away the shocker of the Southampton game, and I think our Pole had a very good season.

Would Cech coming in help, or hinder (he’ll want first team football) our own current keepers, and more importantly, the overall strength of the defence?

written by Micky Didit


Is Arsene Wenger building a winning squad for the next 3-4 years‏?

June 17, 2015

Following another season that has been qualified by some as “promising” with a Top 3 finish and another FA Cup win and by others as “disappointing” with less points than last year and an early exit in the CL against Monaco, it seems that there is a sense (at least among the players and some fans) that after many years, Arsenal can be considered as a genuine title contender for next season if we strengthen with 3 players…What I find quite interesting is that our squad is full of talent but that it is also full of talented YOUNG PLAYERS who are entering their best part of their careers so has AW finally laid the foundations for a “winning squad” for the next few years?

List of players under 26:

PiG – 25

Ospina – 26

Bellerin – 20

Chambers – 20

Paulista – 24

Gibbs – 25

Coquelin – 24

Wilshere – 23

Ramsey – 24

Ox – 21

Walcott – 26

Sanchez – 26

Ozil – 26

Wellbeck –   24

You can add also Gnabry and Zelalem –  both under 20 years old…

If we manage to keep this squad and strengthen it with 3/4 quality players this summer (1GK, 1 CB, 1 DM, 1FW) in their prime (between 25 – 33), then I believe that even if the Oligarchs and American billionaires distort the market with crazy bids, we will be competetive and for a while as well…

What do you think?

Written by RC 78

Should only nice guys play for The Arsenal?

June 16, 2015

If recent reports are to be believed, it seems increasingly likely that Petr Cech will sign for Arsenal.

My first thoughts were … good keeper, nice guy, yes I’d be more than happy to see him at The Arsenal.

Most of the Chelsea players are tainted in my eyes, infected by the retro Mourinho virus that manifests itself in a cynical brand of pragmatic football, but whenever I’ve heard Cech speak in interviews he’s always come across as a good guy.

Good guys bring harmony to the dressing room and that can only be a good thing. I get the impression that we currently have a happy squad that enjoys not only playing together but also being together … and hopefully winning together.

So the question is, should personality be taken into consideration when signing new players?

Suarez is an interesting case. Great footballer, not a nice guy. We failed to sign him but got Alexis – great footballer, nice guy. I’d take Alexis every day of the week.


A Tribute to Arsene Wenger’s Vision, Principles and Commitment

June 15, 2015

This post was written by GN5 in 2013 shortly after Arsene Wenger completed his 1,000th game in charge of Arsenal.

Arsene Charles Ernest Wenger was born on the 22nd of October 1949 in Strasbourg, France and he will leave a legacy that will be remembered for generations to come.

AW strasbourgIn his playing days, he was a defensive sweeper and played for FC Mulhouse where he made 56 league appearances and scored four goals in two years (1973-1975) before making a move to ASPV Strasbourg, 1975 to 1978, where he made a total of 80 appearances scoring 20 goals in the process.


He ended his playing days for his hometown club RC Strasbourg before delving into football management in AS Nancy Lorraine in 1984. His spell in ASNL had a very bad twist in his third and final season because they finished the season in 19th place and was relegated to the second tier of French football.

AW monaco

Arsene Wenger’s managerial career turned for the best when he took over at the helm of affairs of AS Monaco in the 1987/88 campaign. The Masters Degree holder in Economics guided the club from the Principality to a Ligue 1 championship and he achieved this feat with a group of incredibly talented players including; – Youri Djourkaeff, Jurgen Kilnsmann, Glenn Hoodle and the 1995 FIFA Golden Ball winner, George Opong Weah. Wenger also guided AS Monaco to the French Cup trophy in 1991.

His success at AS Monaco made him a media favourite for the Bayern Munich job in 1994 but the Board of AS Monaco denied him a move to the German team before sacking him after the post had been taken. Wenger put that disappointment behind him and moved over the Pacific Ocean to manage Nagoya Grampus Eight in the J-League. In his 18-month stint with the Japenese outfit, he won the Emperor’s Cup and was honoured with the J-League Manager of the Year award for 1995 making him the first ever foreigner to receive such an accolade.

AW joins arsenal

In September 1996, Arsene Wenger became manager of Arsenal and is now the longest serving and most successful manager in the clubs history. He marked his Arsenal start with a 2-0 win against Blackburn and he ended his first season in third place. He welcomed Patrick Vieira to the club and the tall holding midfielder spent the best part of nine magical years playing for Arsenal making 279 appearances and scoring 28 league goals. In his time under Wenger, Vieira lifted the Community Shield four times (1998, 1999, 2002 and 2004), the FA Cup four times (1998, 2002, 2003 and 2005) and the Premier League three times (1998, 2002 and 2004).

In Wenger’s second season in charge, he achieved the unthinkable with a League and Cup double despite being 12 points behind Manchester United at the turn of the year. The double winning squad had a water-tight rock solid all-English defence led by Tony Adams along with Steve Bould, Nigel Winterburn, Lee Dixon and Martin Keown. Wenger also had the great David Seaman in goal and the midfield was blessed with Marc Overmars, Emmanuel Petit and Patrick Vieira while Dennis Bergkamp and Nicolas Anelka did the business up front.

AW double

To date Arsene’s record is:

Managerial statistics

AS Nancy 1 July 1984 to 1 July 1987

G114, W33, D30, L31, Win% 28.95

AS Monaco 1 July 1987 to 17 September 1994

G266, W130, D53, L83, Win% 48.87

Nagoya Grampus 9 December 1994 to 30 September 1996

G56, W38, D0, L18, Win % 67.86

Arsenal 1 October 1996 to Present

G1066, W613, D249, L204, Win% 57.5


Managerial honours

Monaco Ligue 1: 1987–88

Coupe de France: 1990–91

Nagoya Grampus Emperor’s Cup: 1995

J-League Super Cup: 1996

Arsenal FA Premier League: 1997–98, 2001–02, 2003–04

FA Cup: 1997–98, 2001–02, 2002–03, 2004–05, 2013–14, 2014-15

FA Community Shield: 1998, 1999, 2002, 2004, 2014

Individual French Manager of the Year: 2008

League Manager of the Year: 1995

Officer of the British Empire: 2003

Onze d’Or Coach of The Year: 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004

Premier League Manager of the Season: 1998, 2002, 2004

LMA Manager of the Year: 2001–02, 2003–04

IFFHS World Coach of the Decade: 2001–2010

BBC Sports Personality of the Year Coach Award: 2002, 2004

Freedom of Islington: 2004

FWA Tribute Award: 2005

English Football Hall of Fame: 2006

Premier League Manager of the Month: March 1998, April 1998, October 2000, April 2002, September 2002, August 2003, February 2004, August 2004, September 2007, December 2007, February 2011, February 2012, September 2013, March 2015.

Here are a few of the Tribute’s that ArseneWenger has received:

Arsenal legend Thierry Henry says he was relieved to see Arsene Wenger finally sign a new three-year deal at the end of last season. Henry also believes that Wenger’s impact at Arsenal will not be fully appreciated until his former manager finally leaves the Emirates.

Henry told Sky Sports News:

Knowing Arsene I knew he was going to stay – especially after winning the FA Cup final.  “He loves the club so much that I think it is always going to be difficult for him to leave this club, he signed another three years and hopefully they can be successful. “You only miss people when they have gone and then you will probably realise what he has done for the club.


This is a guy who works 24 hours a day all year around,” former Arsenal goalkeeper Bob Wilson told BBC Radio 5 live.  “He hates to lose. He totally revolutionised all sorts of things in the game in this country. People tend to think he has too much power, (but) a guy who dedicates himself to the game in the manner that he does is someone you treasure.”

Stan Kronke, Arsenal’s major shareholder, said:

“Sustained excellence is the hardest thing to achieve in sport. The fact Arsenal has competed at the top of the game in England and Europe throughout the time Arsene has been manager is the ultimate testimony to his consistency of performance, talent and ambition. “We are delighted with the FA Cup success which has added to his already outstanding record. Under his guidance, we look forward to adding more trophies.

Arsene’s response was:

We are all determined to bring more success to this club. The club has always shown faith in me and I’m very grateful for that. We have gone through fantastic periods and also periods where we have had to stick together.

Every time when that togetherness was tested I got the right response. I think I have shown some loyalty as well towards this club and hopefully we can make some more history. I am sure we can.


Arsenal chairman Sir Chips Keswick – when he presented Arsene with a Golden Cannon to commemorate his 1,000 games at Arsenal.

Obviously this is a wonderful moment for Arsene and for Arsenal Football Club. One thousand games is clearly a rite of passage. “If we were in the jewellery business, we would give Arsene a diamond brooch!  This Cannon was designed 125 years ago by the workers at the factory in Woolwich before we moved, and I hope it will give you as much pleasure as you have given around the world to millions of fans. “You have transformed the beautiful game back into being a beautiful game, and long may it last, and long may you continue to lead us.

Arsenal chairman Sir Chips Keswick on Arsene’s new contract signing:

We are delighted that Arsene has renewed his contract for a further three years. He is a man of principle, who lives and breathes Arsenal. “He has established Arsenal for its exciting playing style around the world continues his commitment to young players and has the ability to bring top-class players to the club. “I have no doubt we have an exciting future ahead of us with him leading the team.


Nigel Winterburn, who played under Wenger from 1987 to 2000, told Sky Sports News:

It’s good news for me and the club. I’ve always supported Arsene Wenger, particularly through the last few seasons when he was under pressure with the team not winning a trophy. “I believe there have been restrictions with the spending.


Sir Alex Ferguson

A board member of the LMA, Sir Alex had the following to say;

I congratulate Arsène in reaching this momentous landmark. Having also reached the same milestone at one club, I cannot emphasise enough the level of dedication, resilience as well as sacrifice required and for that I have for the utmost admiration.  Over the years we enjoyed some fantastic battles and you could say we had survived together and respected each other’s efforts to play good football. I always enjoy watching Arsène’s sides – Arsenal play the right way.  Playing against them always presented special challenges that I burned many hours over the years thinking about. He has always been a conscientious member of our trade who makes it his business to help other managers.

Perhaps the biggest compliment I could give Arsène is that I could never be anything other than competitive with my rival for 17 years. Overall this achievement once again shows what stability can bring to a football club and without doubt he has created a permanent legacy during his 1000 matches with the Club.


Former Arsenal vice chairman David Dein believes Arsene Wenger will be an ‘impossible act’ to follow when he eventually calls time on his Gunners career.

Dein, who helped to bring Wenger to north London in 1996, was speaking exclusively to Sky Sports about the Frenchman who has helped establish Arsenal as one of the most envied clubs in the world.

He has transformed the club, revolutionised the club, Dein said. Whenever he decides to leave he will be leaving behind a phenomenal state-of-the-art training facility, a wonderful stadium, a very good squad which he is trying to improve and a legacy of what he’s won. “Arsene Wenger transformed the club on the pitch and off the pitch. I will go on record as saying he won’t be a difficult act to follow, in my opinion it will be an impossible act.

With the current trend in modern football being for managers to be given very little time to improve a club’s fortunes, Dein does not expect another boss to come close to matching his record. “I would go on record and say I don’t think we will see that again in our lifetime,” he said. “It’s a phenomenal milestone; 1,000 games at one club for 18 years.

In modern football the longevity in the whole of the 92 professional clubs, you know how long a manager stays in his job for? Eleven months, and Arsene has been there for 1,000 games which is absolutely astonishing.”  “Arsene is a football purist. He has a lovely phrase; he calls it “possession with progression”  “He still has the fire in his belly and wants to win every game.

We had a ritual that after a home game we went up the road and we normally had dinner together with his wife and my wife – but only if we haven’t lost. If we’ve lost he’s bad company. It’s a monologue instead of a dialogue. The other day I said to him you’ve probably had 1,000 games with other clubs and 1,000 with Arsenal, you’ve probably had collectively about 2,000 games.I asked him what that meant to him. He looked at me and said: Two thousand sleepless nights’.

That tells you a lot about the man.


Patrick Vieira

His former captain, first signing (albeit unofficially) and the only overseas player to start Wenger’s first game in charge against Blackburn, this is what the midfielder had to say about his old boss: What was quite really impressive with Arsene is that I would go in his office really upset, really frustrated, wanting to make a point.  I knew that I was right, so my ideas were clear about what I wanted to tell him. I would go into his office but when I came back out, it was always him who was right!

He was really good at trying to change your mind and he did it in a calm, laid-back way.


David Moyes claims Arsene Wenger’s record at Arsenal is proof of the success stability can bring to a club. Moyes saluted Wenger ahead of his 1,000th game as Arsenal boss and says he is joining an elite club.

“It’s an incredible record,” said the Manchester United boss. “I’m in the LMA and I think it’s only Dario Gradi, Alex and Sir Matt who have managed one club for 1,000 games.”It’s an incredible record for someone to stay at one club for so long.” “Longevity is important. You look at the years Brian Clough stayed at Nottingham Forest, Sir Bobby Robson’s record for Ipswich and he was there for 12 or 13 years. “If there’s a platform, with clubs who keep their manager for years, you can have success and it’s a great credit to Arsene Wenger and Arsenal Football Club.”

Ahead of his 1,000th game, Wenger said:

It makes you feel ‘where did the time go?’. It looks to me like I started yesterday; I can’t believe it is such a long time.  “Why? Because you’re always focused on looking forward to the next game and when you look back you think ‘I made quite a distance there’.  “Despite that, your only interest is the next game, our drug is the next game, the hope for the next game, the desire to win the next one. You go step by step and finally when you look back it’s a long time.  “I would just like to say for me it’s an honour to manage a club of this dimension for such a long time and I would like to thank everybody who is involved in the club for giving me such a confidence for such a long time.

Who Knows?………………….“Arsene Knows”

 (Long may it continue)



What should Arsenal’s minimum expectation be for next season?

June 13, 2015

Most would agree that the 2014/15 season was a success. A second FA Cup in a row and 3rd in the EPL represents an improvement on the previous season.

As always, we are left  feeling that it could have been even better had it not been for some key moments. If only we hadn’t conceded that 3rd goal at home against Monaco etc etc.

In the end, I was left feeling happy that we had progressed, that we had most of our players fit and more importantly we were looking like a team that is growing and improving every game.

One thing that pleases me at the moment is the cohesion and camaraderie in the squad and the obvious enjoyment that the players get from playing with one another. There are no selfish egos in the dressing room – well maybe Giroud spends too much time in front of the mirror but I get the impression that it is an ongoing joke within the squad.

Our fear that our top players are going to be plucked from the squad in the transfer window has been replaced by the expectation of a surprise big name signing ….. things are definitely looking to be on the up at The Arsenal.

An improvement next season would have to take the form of 2nd or higher in the EPL or the quarter finals or further in the Champion’s League – or would it?

Arsene Wenger has created a ‘brand’ of football that characterizes the club in this modern era. We are generally respected by supporters of clubs who are lower in the league but derided by those who think they are better (with the exception of city perhaps) because they think we are weak to put style ahead of results.

So the challenge is to prove that we can win the top honours playing the Arsenal way, but if we don’t, we know we will enjoy the ride and there will always be hope for next season.

What would represent an improvement on last season for you? ………



The parting in the middle – Arsenal Solution at Ian’s

June 10, 2015

Forty minutes ago I had my six quid at the ready and was waiting patiently for a trim at Ian’s Hair.

I grabbed The Daily Mirror, and worked my way in from the back looking for important news. Page 60, and bingo. “Sanchez wants to raise the Bar” the headline bellowed. I pressed on, and could hear nothing but sweet music. “Alexis Sanchez believes Arsenal underachieved…” it began. I was in my element and lapping up every word. Again, I pushed on. “It was an ok season” our Ace proclaimed, following which the piece rambled on a bit before reaching an almighty and deeply satisfying climax, “If I am put in to play centre-forward for Arsenal, I will do it in the best possible way”. Oh Dear Lord, was that as good for you as it was for me?

Early last season, we’d line up with Mesut on the left, Alexis on the right, sandwiching Danny in the middle. At that point Arsene announced that as soon as Theo was back up to speed, Alexis would move central. “Halleluja” I chimed. The Boss did have a clear vision when he lodged the 40M+1 pound bid for Suarez, and it was a fast, fluid and incisive front three.

Then things went wrong. Well, wrong’ish.

When I say “wong’ish”, what I mean is that Sanchez shifting right across to the left flank turned out well’ish because a). like all very good footballers they will be good footballers anywhere, and b). Mesut slithered into the No10 role, where has looked so much happier, while also being far more effective (and will hopefully cost me a fish).

So. Job half done

With the evidence presented at Ian’s Hair, I am convinced the final piece to The Master Plan is a very expensive Left Winger.

Any thoughts on who that could be? I asked Ian, but Ian doesn’t like football.



Goodbye Poldi, Mattie, and who else?

June 9, 2015

Deadwood. We always have them but our current deadwood is quality.

We don’t have a Bendtner or a Denilson (sorry boys I liked you both), instead we have a German International with 123 caps and almost 48 international goals (more than Rooney), a French DM who wowed us on his return from AC Milan but is now well down the pecking order thanks to the excellence of the players in front of him. We have Campbell who had a fantastic WC and is still only 22 but has over 40 International caps. Times have changed.

And who else? No-one in the defence, they are all good enough and young enough. Perhaps Szczesny could go but I for one hope he stays.

Midfield? Apart from Flamster who could go?

Jack? Don’t be silly.

Cazorla? No way.

Ramsey? Are you nuts?

Coquelin? Given his remarkable improvement who is to say that he cannot continue to improve next season?

Arteta? Club captain and the recipient of a contract extension to 2016. Same as Rosicky.

In the forward line there are more possibilities for change. As discussed over that past few days, a new CF would be good  and Sanogo could be sold but why when he has potential and has just turned 22.

Theo? We have done this :-)

Ozil and Sanchez? To sell them would be completely mad – unless we can get €30m more than we paid for them and even then I hope AW would say Non.

OG? Neigh.neigh and thrice Neigh. Another who is improving every season.

What do you think, who gets the Spanish Archer? (El Bow)

written by Big Raddy


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