Arsenal’s next Captain

July 15, 2014

The other day LB wrote an interesting post entitled “Is Thomas Vermaelen still needed? This led me to think about the player as a captain and conversely the captain as a player.

Before looking at individuals in those roles I got to thinking just what should we look for in a Club Captain, note the capital letters, in my opinion the Club Captain is equally as important as The Manager, The Chief Executive or The Owner.

So the candidate should be of sufficient stature, not just in a physical sense, but in the status he holds in the game as a whole. To attain the necessary status he must have been around a while, he must be a good enough player to command a starting place in the club’s first team and preferably in his National side as well. He should also have earned the respect of not only his own team but also opposing players and particularly the on pitch officials. Needless to say he must also be media savvy, articulate and able to offer rational answers to irrational questions at times of both elation and disappointment in post match interviews for example.

tony adams

Looking back, I can recall Frank McLintock, sleeves rolled up barking out orders to players, organising his defence at corners and free kicks and generally running things on the pitch. Similarly with Tony Adams and of course Patrick Vieira. Arguably the best Captain I ever saw was the incomparable Bobby Moore, calm authoritative and respected throughout football.

Latterly the armband has been a bit of a poisoned chalice, not only at Arsenal but also at international level with England. Fabregas and van Persie were appointed only to depart shortly after, Vermaelen suffered both a shocking loss of form and a series of injuries and could soon follow the other two out of the club and there are rumours that Arteta could also go if someone of the stature of Khedira or Bender are signed. In the England team the captaincy has, disgracefully, been swapped around more times than at a kid’s game of pass the parcel.

At the moment it appears to me that should Vermaelen leave, the only rational candidate would be Per Mertesacker, but for how much longer can he command that starting place in the team? Longer term we can all hope and expect the appointment of Jack Wilshire, but will it happen?

What are your views on both the Captain’s role as, should it be largely ceremonial, tossing the coin, handing over a little pennant and posing for a snap with the officials or, as the Manager’s voice on the pitch and the players representative off it. Surely there must come a time when a stop is put to the absurd situation of referees being mobbed by a group of angry players, then only the Captain should be allowed to approach the officials, and that will require a calm sensible approach, one more attribute needed for the job.

Who should our next Captain be?

Written by Norfolk Gooner


Arsenal to appoint a new captain

June 18, 2014

Arsène Wenger is reported to be ready to appoint a new club captain. With the departure of the present incumbent, Thomas Vermaelen, looking ever more certain the position needs to be filled. Thomas has apparently agreed terms with Man U, although so far no negotiations over a fee have taken place.

What should we be looking for in a captain? Well first off he must be an established and regular starter. He needs to command the respect of the players as well as the fans and he must have sufficient standing within the game to be able to communicate calmly with the on-pitch officials.

The two most influential captains that Arsenal have had in their long history have been Tony Adams and Patrick Vierra and so in my personal opinion any candidate would ideally be a centre-back or defensive mid-fielder and thus be in a position to see the whole game.

Our current vice captain, Mikel Arteta is an obvious candidate but as the appointment must be a long term one he perhaps is ruled out.

So I guess what I am saying is that it comes down to just two possibilities, Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker. Koscielny is a fine player and would make an equally fine captain but overall I’d go for Mertesacker for his general calmness and the stability that he has brought to the team.

I know that a good number of people will be calling for Jack Wilshire to be given the job but as yet he can’t command a regular starting position, although in time I expect him to become our captain and to hold the post for many seasons to come.

Written by Norfolk Gooner


FA Cup win 2014 – A Canadian Celebration

May 23, 2014

The Game is still to be played………..

The Cup is still to be raised……….

The Story is still to be written………..


The game has now been played the Cup has been raised and here is GunnerN5’s story -

At 8:00 a m on May 17, 2014 GunnerN5, JnrGunnerN5 and Mrs. GN5 left London Ontario for the 2.5 hour drive to The Mad Hatter in Mississauga Ontario, we dropped Mrs. GN5 off at a friends house on the way. JnrGN5 was supposed to be the driver but he was still exhausted after attending a junior hockey cup play off game on Friday evening and partying into the early hours of Saturday morning, but at least he picked us up on time. Anyway GN5 ended up being the driver and was accompanied on the journey by snoring from both Mrs.GN5 and JnrGN5, which they both adamantly deny.

We arrived early expecting a full house but to our pleasant surprise we were the first to arrive and they let us in even though the pub would not officially open for another 45 minutes.

GN5 Before FA Cup (1)

We picked the best table, with an unrestricted view of the TV and saved a spot for neamman, who was meeting us there. The Mad Hatter is not a big pub and is only licensed to hold 180 people but on big game days the pub overflows.

GN5 at Mad Hatter

Arsenal doesn’t command a huge amount of supporter’s in Mississauga but they are a loyal, loud and passionate group and by the time the game kicked off our section was full, so arriving early really helped. Suffice to say that we were all left stunned after 9 minutes, going down 2-0 was totally unexpected and quite shocking, but we felt that by Hull getting their goals early left us with more than a fighting chance of getting back into the game. Sheer pandemonium broke out after Santi’s incredible goal from his laser guided free kick and our undying faith in the team was being justified.  GN5 was drinking alcohol for the first time in two months and the effect of the red wine was enhanced by the goal, so I ordered another carafe.

Arsene made a critical substitution by bringing on Sanago for Podolski, changing to a 4-4-2 system which caused Hull’s 3 center backs trouble for the first time in the game but the tying goal was still elusive. At the 71st minute Laurent Koscielny managed to make the noise level (after Santi’s goal) seem quiet, as this time I felt the noise reverberating off of the ceiling and I desperately wanted to hear that noise just one more time – I ordered another carafe of red wine.

When extra time started my instinct told me that there would only be one winner as the calmness of our manager and the resolve in our team would prevail, however I still felt a tinge of apprehension. Arsene made two more astute substitutions by bringing on Jack Wishere and Tomas Rosicky their combined energy and inventiveness created havoc in the Hull defence.

However, it was left to Aaron Ramsey – who left Wembley in tears as a schoolboy following defeat with Cardiff in the 2008 final against Portsmouth – to complete a remarkable turnaround, when from the edge of the box, he crashed home a smart back heel from Olivier Giroud on 109 minutes. Our Welsh wonder boy turned my apprehension into euphoria and the Pub simply exploded into unadulterated elation and everybody went insane, the noise level was deafening, the singing was loud and it seemed to last an eternity.

GN5 Arsenal win FA Cup

GN5 has not felt this good about a FA Cup victory since Alan Sunderland slid in the winner against Manchester United in the 1979 Cup Final. The wine and the team had cast a magic spell over GN5 and I was too deep into my trance to be the driver on return trip – and long may the trance last….

Arsene lifting fa cup


Arsene getting tossed

 We are The Arsenal – who are we? – We are The Arsenal

Finally lets have a look a bit further back in our history and look at Arsene Wenger. He has won an incredible 5 out of 6 of his FA CUP FINALS – we are simply blessed to have him as our manager and history will eventually silence his critics.

We are The Arsenal – who are we? – We are The Arsenal


Written by GunnerN5


Give Us An A: An Arsenal Alterative Alphabet

May 22, 2014

Throughout the Dog Days of summer, between the euphoria of Cup Final day and the Big Kick-Off for 2014/15, Arsenal Arsenal will be taking its own idiosyncratic amble through the dictionary.

For each letter of the alphabet we will offer up some suggestions for entries that can ultimately go in the Arsenal Alternative Dictionary (available during the pre-Christmas weeks at all branches of Wasterstones or to download direct to Swindle).

Today we start with the letter ‘A’. The numerate among you will quickly have deduced that – with one letter per day – there will be 26 “alternative alphabet” Posts throughout the summer, which should help swallow up a chunk of the silly season. If only Arsenal Arsenal was published in Russian we would be able to fill up even more days, there being 33 letters in the Cyrillic alphabet.

This will be an occasional series, appearing on those days when there is nothing better to write anout.

Naturally you are encouraged to suggest your own entries in Comments.

So let’s get going…


Anfield ‘89

Like 1066 and 1945, the year 1989 will be remembered through the ages as one in which great things happened. Specifically it was on May 26th of that year that our lads, managed by Gorgeous George Graham, went to Anfield for the last game of the season needing to win by 2-0 to clinch the First Division title. No-one gave us a chance and even – at 0-1 in Arsenal’s favour, with the clock ticking down and Steve McMahon running round the pitch giving everyone the finger, few thought we would do it. But cometh the hour, cometh the Micky Thomas… bursting through the midfield… it was all up for grabs – and grab it we did. Probably the most remarkable, unbelievable, spectacular moment in my 44 years of supporting Arsenal.

Arsenal Stadium Mystery

How many other teams can say they’ve had a film based on them? Made in 1939, the film focused on a murder mystery at the stadium. Strangely, our neighbours down the Seven Sisters Road have not yet cottoned onto the idea of entering the movie business, even though they seem baffled every May about who murdered their season…


I love the word ‘arsenal’. A place where munitions are made seems such a brilliant word for a football club to share. In our case the Arsenal in question was the Royal Arsenal in Woolwich, South-East London (and a mere hand grenade throw from where I was born). The Royal Arsenal provided the hardware for our troops to defend the nation from the late 17th Century up until its closure in 1994, reaching its peak size during the First World War. And, as you all know, our team started out as the works team for the establishment.

Al Qaeda

While the West lives in fear of more terrorist attacks carried out in the name of Al Qaeda, only the Arsenal stands secure as a place that will never be touched by the terrorists. Rumour has it that Osama Bin Laden was a regular on the terraces when he lived in London in the 1990s. He even bought an Ian Wright shirt for his son Abdullah. His time as a gooner led to him getting his own song: “Osama, woah-woah, Osama, woah-waoh, he’s hiding in Kabul, he loves the Arsenul“.


Players won’t normally get a look-in in this alternative Arsenal alphabet (they belong in the official alphabet), but little Geordie Armstrong, the flying winger of our 1971 Double side, gets a mention because his picture was the avatar for our dear, departed fellow blogger Dandan, who now supports from the great North Bank in the sky.

Avenell Road

I’ve been to Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington and to Fifth Avenue, New York. I’ve got drunk on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles and I have walked down the Champs Elysees in Paris. But there is no finer street in all the world than Avenell Road, N5.

Right, that’s half a dozen to get the ball rolling.

Now, over to you…


How long? About 15 hours and counting ……..

May 18, 2014


It’s done.  Thank the sweet Lord Jesus, we don’t have to listen to that trophy drought nonsense any more.  But just how difficult did our boys have to make it?

We all knew that the main battle wouldn’t be on the pitch, it would be in our players’ heads.  As Raddy pointed out yesterday, if we’d been looking at a league game against Hull, we’d be perfectly confident.  But with all the weight of being favourites in a final, multiplied ten-fold by the nine-years-without-a-pot schtick, laced with sore memories of the failure against Birmingham, this was more than a match against Hull.

The scene was set: by my guess, two-thirds of the fans in the stadium were ours.  We finished the league season strongly.  The balmy May evening air was full of positivity.  Surely ……

We had a strong line-up: Fabianski was given the nod to finish his Arsenal career ahead of his compatriot; no Ox, Wilshere on the bench, and of course no Theo.  But otherwise, pretty much what we’d want.  Hull couldn’t field their two January signings, the cup-tied Long and Jelavic, but they had a few useful players, like Curtis Davies, Ahmed Elmohamady and Tom Huddlestone.  However, there was nothing that should have scared us.  We’d arrived having knocked out Spurs, Coventry, Liverpool, Everton and Wigan, whereas Hull had had an easier ride, having met Middlesborough, Southend, Brighton, Sunderland and Sheffield United.

And then the game kicked off.  The game hadn’t settled down to a pattern when Hull earned a corner in the third minute.  Stephen Quinn sent a hard, flat-ish cross to Huddlestone, who’d stationed himself just outside the box, enjoying space vacated by the runners into the box.  The ex-Spur fluffed his shot, sending it very wide.  But James Chester found the ball suddenly coming towards him, and he speculatively tried redirecting it towards goal.  There wasn’t much pace on the shot but it crept beyond Fabianski’s reach and into the corner of the net.  Disaster.  You have to wonder if Cazorla was slow in seeing the space that Huddlestone created for himself, Santi should really have been tighter.  And had we had both posts guarded at the corner, Chester’s shot would have been cleared without fuss.

Still, the one good thing about conceding early is that you have plenty of time to come back.  And the goal was pretty lucky in nature.  I don’t know about others but I was no more than annoyed by the Chester goal.  However, five minutes later, things went seriously wrong.  Hull got a free-kick on our left flank.  It was cleared but in the second phase was picked up by Quinn, whose cross was met by Alex Bruce’s header into the turf.  Fabianski flung himself at the ball, which might have been creeping into the corner.  In fact, it hit the outside of the post, but Davies followed up excellently, and sent a crisp, angled shot across the now prone Fabianski and into the net.  Oh my God, how could be going this wrong, this quickly?  The three Hull centre-backs were killing us, they were dominating play at both ends of the pitch, and we were paying a huge price for it.

We desperately needed to find a toehold, to get into the game.  None of our players had impressed, and we lacked energy and ideas.  Hull even had another header cleared off the line by Gibbs.  However, Santi earned a freekick in a dangerous position in the 15th minute.  We don’t score too many freekick goals but the beauty that Cazorla put in was a classic – the ball’s trajectory arced into the top corner on the keeper’s left-hand side.  The kidology as to whether Cazorla or Podolski would take the freekick paid off, prompting the keeper to take a small move to his right just as the shot was taken, and that was enough to deny the keeper the chance to reach Cazorla’s sublime shot.  We were back in the game, we had something to build on.

Without a doubt, Arsenal were better after the first goal but it was tough going, to break down a very well organised Hull defence.  At the end of the game, Aaron Ramsey was announced as the official man of the match – that was a travesty, I thought Curtis Davies (a player Wenger was apparently interested in a few years back) would have been the right recipient.  The scoreline settled down at 2-1 to Hull, with both sets of players working hard but lacking quality.  Ozil didn’t really turn up (and missed a reasonable chance that flashed across him).  Ramsey was poor for much of the game.  Poldi had a couple of shots, but didn’t ever impose himself.  Until Sanogo came on, Giroud was played out of the game by Davies and really struggled to do much. We were very laboured in our play.  Hull’s defensive unit were sharper, though they were also finding plenty of excuses to waste little parcels of time.  It was all so transparent.

In the 56th minute, there was a demonstration of fan solidarity, with a minute of applause to honour the 56 spectators killed in the Valley Parade disaster in Bradford in 1985.  Shortly after that, we should have been awarded a penalty, when Huddlestone clearly pulled Giroud back by his neck.  The referee, Lee Probert, looked well placed but failed give the penalty.

I have to admit, I was surprised when Wenger chose to swap Poldi for Yaya Sanogo.  There’s always that possibility with Podolski, even not playing brilliantly, that his wonderful shooting will suddenly provide a goal.  But with 45 minutes having passed since Cazorla’s goal, something needed to be changed, and Wenger decided to switch formations by bringing on the young, non-scoring Frenchman.  We now had two up front, a rare thing for us.  And this I think was a crucial moment in the game.  That change of shape mattered.  We were more incisive after Sanogo came on, and more was happening in the attacking penalty box.  In fact, there were two further good penalty shouts soon after Sanogo came on, one when Huddlestone made contact with Yaya’s leg, one when Livermore handled.  Both should have been given, but were hard to spot.

The same cannot be said for the obvious foul of Davies on Cazorla a little later, when Ramsey had fed the ball into the mini-Spaniard.  Davies over-committed and chopped down Santi after he checked back.  It was plainly a penalty, no replays were needed (though they did confirm that it was a foul). How Probert missed it is beyond me.  But the pressure was building nicely, we were pegging Hull back and starting to open them up finally.

It finally paid off in the 70th minute, when a corner was headed by Sagna and, via a deflection, the ball fell to Koscielny, who turned and scuffed a little shot through the legs of the oncoming Hull keeper and into the net.  Kos was taken out by the keeper, so had to celebrate the goal while in pain and on the deck.  But finally, finally, we were back on level terms, and the energy and momentum by that stage were with us.  From that point on, we were in control of the match.

Gibbs had a great chance to win the game in the 90 when played in by Sanogo – from no more than eight yards out and having given himself time, Gibbs skied his shot.  It really had to go on target, even from a defender.  Probert missed yet another clear penalty, when Myler knocked over Cazorla.  What is wrong with this bloke, he’s not even a northerner who might have a grudge about Arsenal’s cosmopolitan character?  The pressure on Hull continued, with Giroud catching a clearance from a corner very nicely though his shot from the edge of the box was well saved.  The last decent chance before extra time fell to Sanogo, whose shot went a fraction wide of the post.

And so to extra time.

The first period passed with more Arsenal pressure but the only moment of penetration was when Giroud hit the bar with a header from a Ramsey cross. We really needed something to change, the greatest threat we now faced being the lottery that is a penalty-shootout.  Wenger played his last two cards, bringing on Wilshere and Rosicky for Ozil and Cazorla.  The effect was evident: against the tired legs of Hull, Little Mozart and Little Jack added some real zip to our passing.

In the 18th minute of the second period of extra time, our moment of salvation.  A series of rapid passes saw Sanogo and Giroud link up in the penalty box, with Olly then backheeling the ball back towards the oncoming Ramsey, who stabbed an early shot into the bottom corner of the net.  The key was the rapidity of the passing, leaving McGregor too little time to react.


Sanogo had a chance to do an Anelka in 1998.  But his shot across goal was well saved by the keeper.  And there was a heart in mouth moment at the end, when Mertesacker stumbled, allowing Aluko to launch an unexpected attack.  Fabianski chose to rush out to the flank to try to intercept the ball but lost the race with Aluko but fortunately for us he couldn’t quite find the empty net from distance.  A little later, Sanogo span on the ball with a sharp shot well saved by the keeper, and then Aluko had a decent long range shot saved by Fabianski.

And finally the whistle went, and we were done!  Our oppo may not have been the most glamorous, and the technical level may not have been the highest yesterday, but coming back from 2-0 down represents a significant achievement.  We were deserved winners in the end, but Hull were heroes, much respect to them.

It was fantastic to see our boys get to go up the steps and lift the cup, and I loved the players’ focus on Wenger in the celebrations – they knew he’d done a lot for them.  That is the last time we’ll see Fabianski play for us, and possibly the last for Sagna, which adds a note of disappointment.


Watching Vermaelen lifting the trophy was also a bit strange, we’ll have to see what the future has in store for him.  But that’s tomorrow’s problem.  I never agreed with those who said we’d spent the last nine years failing but it was tremendous to be able to indulge in the simple pleasure of seeing our own players lift a trophy.  From an Arsenal Arsenal perspective, I’m sure we’d all like to dedicate this trophy win to our recently departed Dandan – he’d have loved this moment every bit as any one of us.

A trip to Upper Street anyone????


Fabianski: 7

Sagna: 7

Mertesacker: 5

Koscielny: 7

Gibbs: 6

Arteta: 6

Ramsey: 6

Cazorla: 7

Ozil: 5

Podolski: 5

Giroud: 6

Sanogo: 7

Wilshere: 7

Rosicky: 7

Written by 26may


Ramsey’s 15th and Jenkinson’s 1st – match review

May 12, 2014

Many called this game a dead rubber but most were thinking first and foremost who would start and more importantly how to avoid injuries while keeping up the momentum of four successive wins in preparation for the Cup Final.

We weren’t disappointed. We started the first half in quite a cautious fashion and Ruddy made a couple of excellent saves, although I thought Giroud should have scored around the 32nd minute. Having said that, I thought he had a very solid game. Giroud has been improving as the season drew to it’s conclusion and the deadlock was broken when he lofted a beautiful ball for Ramsey to volley home.

What a player we have in Aaron Ramsey and one wonders how much nearer we would have been  to the title if he had remained fit all season.

Jenkinson settled the match with his first goal for the club and his facial expression on scoring will live long in the memory.

All in all the whole team did just enough that was required though I thought Ozil had a very quiet game. Maybe he is saving himself for next week.

With Fabianski starting one could presume that he was given his last game today and our Number 1 will be in goal at Wembley.

One can never second guess Wenger even after nearly two decades and when he said afterwards

if you look at our overall season I think we need to focus first of all in keeping everyone together” and when asked about possible transfers in the Summer he said “World Cup transfer markets start after the World Cup, usually.”

We will see if those words run true.

Those who read my comments know I am a great Sagna fan and yet again he didn’t let us down playing with Koscielny in central defence, regardless that it was against Norwich, so keeping everyone together by the boss was an interesting comment.

To see Diaby back after a full fourteen months was greeted with loud applause from our fantastic away fans and he even applauded them as he came on.

Jack had a cameo and it was hard to tell if he is absolutely fit, though not spectecular,  it was good to see him come on and by all accounts we will have The Ox back midweek, so it will be really interesting as to who lines up for The FACup Final.

Finally Wenger said he would still be here next season. I just wish  he looked a little happier.His post match interview was very low key or even sombre and subdued, which frankly, surprised me.






Arsène and Arsenal’s biggest mistake.

May 8, 2014

Our season went up in smoke on January 4th when Theo Walcott was stretchered off during our 2-0 Cup win over That Lot.

Regular readers of the site will know that I am no fan of that continental Total Football nonsense. For me, it’s an outdated throw back to the dope smoking hippy days, and has its home in the Coffee Bars of Holland.

What I mean is this. I get interchangeability and flexibility, but I firmly believe in specialists.

As far as I’m concerned, the moment Theo went off, there was only one course of action. Oxlade becomes his immediate and permanent replacement for every game, with Serge as his back up.

However, what happened was that Arsène did use Ox out wide, but not always. On occasion, he was to be found playing a more central role.

Early yesterday morning, both Arnie and Goonerkam made the excellent point about how different roles for players is part of their development and education. I do agree, and have always said that I believe Ox will ultimately end up more centrally, however, needs must, and the Team should come first.

The loss of Theo left a massive tactical void, that ONLY The Ox could fill. This was not the time for Arsène to muck about. Ox’s development was actually hampered this term in my book, as he did not have the consistent runs in any one position to develop key understandings, as much of our beautiful football is played in small triangles, and telepathic understanding only comes with continuity. Thus, Ox was less effective than he should have been.

Ox played central, so it came as no surprise to me that when shunted back out right, he became unsure, or perhaps simply unused to, his role. He drifted central leaving us lacking the vital pressure release valve.

Thus, to my mind, the biggest loss to our season was not the loss of Aaron, or even Theo, but rather not playing The Ox there as first choice every available game following the tragedy of January 4th.

Written by MickyDidIt89

Lazy Sunday Afternoon ……………

May 5, 2014

With fourth spot cemented one wondered if Arsene would put out a strong team or rest a few players. In hindsight I was glad that he picked the strongest team available even though this was a dead rubber, yet it was blatantly clear how much we miss Ramsey.

Another three points gained, stretching our sequence to four wins on the bounce but as a performance, it was pretty flat.

One has to give the Man of The match to Giroud for his goal that won the game and his general overall play for the whole match. (There I have said it) His energy levels are not questionable but I still think we need another striker to compliment him. I am not sure if Podolski is the man as he didn’t impress as much and if you watch him carefully he doesn’t exert himself as much as he could. Monreal IMO is not the standard required at LB but with Gibbs in and out of the team through various injuries we have no other option unless Vermaelen stays.

There’s no easy way to say this – or an easy way to look at it. Mathieu Flamini cracked in a powerful drive from the edge of the box and Craig Dawson blocked it right between his crystals, that being the only other noticeable event of the first half  ;)

Koscielny was as usual solid in defence and Mertesacker alongside him played his part. Sagna didn’t have his best game but showed 100% commitment and if he goes I am sure we all wish him well. The crowd made it clear that they want him to stay.

Källström caught my eye and was impressive in his twenty seven minutes on the pitch.

Özil is a great player but missed the new found telepathy he has with Ramsey. Maybe his thinking is too clever for some of the players, but he will be a huge asset next season and adding goals to his game though not imperative, would make an even bigger difference.

All in all it was a bit of a training session and having just watched Norwich we may well be in for a much more physical game next week as they fight possible relegation, and with the Cup Final approaching we may see changes to the side.

This is what Wenger said after the match.

“I’m happy with the attitude, the behaviour and the consistency of my players,”

“I’m frustrated as well because we were 120 days top of the league. When you look today it’s very tight and then comes through your mind here and there the points you dropped that we should not have dropped.

“The regret as well is at the most important period of the season we had two important players out. We have many players who have only played between five and 15 games. That’s where we want to improve for next season.”

Pinpointing a general lack of goals and his side’s defeats at their rivals as decisive factors he continued:

“I would just say to be brutal in our first analysis is we missed a few goals compared to the teams who scored the most goals and we missed some big away games by conceding two many.

“Apart from that our defensive stability was fantastic, we had 16 clean sheets but in some games we were not at the start of the game and we couldn’t get into them before we lost it. The defensive stability we had the whole season was not reflected in these kind of games.

“If you look at the overall performance of the team we have done until today well in the cup, we have done quite well in the Champions League where we had a difficult group, we played against Bayern with ten men and we didn’t fail anywhere.

“The attitude of the group was remarkably consistent and of quality. But we still have missed something to be decisive in the Premier League at the moment when we were in a good position.”

Pressed on the subject of his future, Wenger once again stressed that he’ll be at the helm come the new season joking:

“Look at me! You will see me again.” (that was aimed at Mr Syrup) :)

I think that alone is worthy of discussion.


In praise of Arsène Wenger but give him the funds to challenge

May 3, 2014

Morning Gooner’s

While reading Arnie’s post the other day, about other clubs Managers, I left a comment Praising Arsene Wenger. Now although I don’t go back on what I said, I believe I should clarify a few things. When I wrote why I like Wenger and why I feel he should stay, it may have given the impression that I am a happy Gooner. Now I am content with him, but that does not mean that I don’t expect expect him to try and do better in the future.

Arsenal supporters expect the team to be up there with the best in the league, and granted Wenger has managed to do that. But all supporters want to see us go that step further, and by that I don’t mean third. This season we headed the league to Christmas, yes the lead went from one to another, but that was because of television fixtures, but realistically we were the leading team.

Many Arsenal fans enjoyed the feeling of that position, and many myself included, also felt we had a chance, sadly that came undone by injuries, but it also brought home to me, the deficiencies our squad had.

Theo Walcott’s injury, left us with absolutely no pace up front. That was a major blow. Aaron Ramsey one player who broke through defences also went out, which left us toothless. Oliver Giroud did his best, but he had to hold the ball up, and had to wait for reinforcements, although Oliver is a tough nut to crack, he certainly lacks the Theo pace.

Jack Wilshere compounded our misery even more, and Koscielny’s short injury added to a depleted team. Our chance went right there, why? Because we didn’t have the same talent as back up. Our record signing also joined the walking wounded, so what were we left with? Our penetrating midfield out, our best through ball passer out, our fastest winger forward out, and our best central defender out.

Holes every where, and the talent on the bench was not up to the replacement standard. Oxlade Chamberlain, Serge Gnabry and Ya Ya Sanogo are players for the future, they just weren’t ready for a season of first team football. Had everybody stayed fit, we could have used all of these players sparingly, but we had to push them forward because we had too.

Wenger in all fairness has had to work on what seems a shoestring budget, he couldn’t have foreseen so many main players going out injured, so had to rely on these youngsters. Inexperienced, they had to take on some of the best teams in the league, if not the world, and all picked up injuries for their thanks.

Not many teams could have handled the amount of injuries that we had, and still have, with some players missing the end of the season. We took a few bad hidings that supporters are not used to seeing. Bad feeling crept in, accusations that the manager had not spent in the winter window, and how if he had brought five or six players in both windows, would have won us the league.

Unhappy supporters who’s pride had been hurt, can be very hurtful, when their Spud and Manc mates take the pee. But when they see the season out, and see what we have achieved, even with all the problems we have had, must see that this season is slightly better than last.

I have a lot of time for Wenger, but I would urge him to go to the board and say to them, I am only human you know, I need help and I need funds, we cannot keep buying kids, we have to have more Ozil’s, and we need them now, before the talent we have at the moment get itchy feet.

Wenger knows as we do, that sponsorship money has come in, yes we still have big debts, but we also have fans by the thousands, that deserve top players. They have had the big defeats, and now they want us to inflict them. Its time for our board to find the funds, as Wenger is needing that help now. We may not win the league next season but at least give us the chance.

Wenger if he signs, has 2 years left, give him the dammed money.

Written by Steve Palmer

A Welcome Three Points.

April 29, 2014

Yet another “must win game” as we entertained a Newcastle side woefully out of form and quite frankly had nothing to play for. After a very cautious opening twenty minutes, something we have got used to seeing far too often this season, we got the breakthrough with a delightful deep ball over the visitor’s defence for Koscienly to poke it home.

Maybe the pressure of really having to win made the team a little nervous but personally I would like to see us stamp our authority on the opposition a little more frequently.

Our momentum increased with Ozil and Cazorla dictating our attacks and just before half time after a double save by Krul, the ball fell neatly into the path of Ozil to tap home.

One expected more from the Geordie’s after half time yet it didn’t materialise bar a single on target effort by Gouffran which was expertly dealt with by Szczesney.

Our momentum overall increased and Ramsey was performing better than he had done in the first half. He fed Ozil who crossed to the practically unmarked Giroud,to head home his first goal since The Battle of Hastings ;)

All in all it was a good performance and there is a case to nominate several players as Man of The Match, but more important it was three points which now puts us firmly in the driving seat for a CL place.

Ozil really is a masterclass, his intelligence on and off the ball is second to none and he will be hugely influential next season. A word on Podolski who had a fine game and seemed to be showing the boss that he should be a regular starter.

Giroud is always a bone of contention with me. Yes he can can hold the ball up but really we need a more clinical striker especially against better teams than Newcastle. Anyway that’s for another day.

If we add pace and power to the team, we could well be a real force next season but for now confidence is returning and hopefully we can wrap up forth next Sunday as it is quite feasible that the final game of the season against Norwich may determine their premier league status.

In conclusion ,although the season is not quite over generally we have done better than previous seasons against the teams we are expected to beat and if we can just improve our record against the mega rich clubs there is no real reason why we can’t be in the mix for all of next season. Perhaps FFP will have an influence, but I feel that we, as a club, are putting too much emphasis on the power of FFP, time will tell.

Over to you Mr.Wenger………..



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