Paulista on his way?

January 24, 2015

Dredging through Newsnow and the newspapers it seems that there is a strong likelihood that the Brazilian is coming.

Paulista is not in the Villarreal squad which is a good sign.

Apparently so is Kevin Grosskreutz from Borussia Dortmund. A 26 y.o. defender who can play any position across the back-line and is available for €5m which in today’s insane transfer fees is just a pile of M & M’s.

Let’s assume both these chaps arrive, what then? What about the development of Calum Chambers who hasn’t played for months and needs games to fulfil his undoubted potential?

What of BFG? Is he to be a bench-warmer? I know the man is creaking but who wouldn’t after having played virtually every minute of the season. Merts is not ready for his free bus-pass – the man is only just 30 and has at least 3 good years in him.

My guess is that one of the stories is nonsense – probably the Grosskreutz transfer. After all BD are still in the CL so why sell him now? Plus, as I said, Chambers is going to be the nuts

And why haven’t we seen any rumours about our inevitable capture of Cavani? The man has Arsenal in his blood and is desperate to sign for us. The non-appearance of this story is another of the masterful Wenger smoke-screens :-D

written by Big Raddy

Job done!

December 10, 2014

Well! That was a match to savour! Not sure I’ve ever seen a team line-up with three right-backs playing across the back four before, but it made for an exciting game for the neutrals.

Podolski v galatasary


An excellent first half for the Good Guys, you really can’t ask for more than a three goal lead at half-time. Podolski and Ramsey, twice, providing a selection of goals to satisfy even the most jaded of football fan’s taste buds. Could easily have been five or even the six we needed to overtake Dortmund.

Ramsey's left foot


Wenger rang the changes at half time, quite rightly in the circumstances, but that left us more than a tad open to attack and Galatasaray certainly welcomed the invitation.

According to the BBC, they had thirty-two attempts on goal, though only seven were on target and they only got the ball in the net once. If they had a striker, worthy of the name, the final score would probably have looked a lot less flattering. A bit worrying in view of the teams we are likely to meet in the next stage, but let’s just enjoy the moment.

Written by Norfolk Gooner



The Boys are Back in Town

November 29, 2014

Is a very enjoyable victory over an un-inspired, un-motivated and injury ravaged team languishing just 2 points off the bottom of the Bundesliga the fillip our team need to start a good run in the PL? We shall see today.

Let’s be clear, Weds night’s win was a joyous event; we played well in all departments and saw some fine individual performances plus the return to form of some of our most important players but it was not a performance the Dortmund players will be happy about. Where was the pressing? Where was the pace and defensive cohesion? Let’s hope WBA play as badly today.


West Bromwich are an odd club. One of the original founding clubs of the Football League, they won the title in 1920 and last won the FA Cup in ’68 with a goal from the mighty Jeff Astle (whom I will never forgive for missing a sitter for England in the ’70 World Cup vs Brazil). Yet they have never reached the heights of their Midland neighbours. That said, WBA have a strong fan base with an average gate of  25+k which means they sell out the Hawthorns almost every match.

If we are to judge the result of a game on finances we should steamroller them. Their biggest signing is Sessegnon at £6m  less than some of our reserves. The player who is attracting all the headlines is Berahino – a product of the WBA youth system and the type of player to cause BFG nightmares, a small, pacy, cool finisher and a player I could easily see at Arsenal.

Both teams have porous defences but ours could be improved by the return of Koscielny – we have really missed him though Monreal is growing into the CB role.

Once again the fates have been less than kind to Mr Wenger’s plans, another game another long term injury, this time to the crucial Arteta. I had not realised how influential the steel coiffured Spaniard is – without him we are not as good and the idea of playing the journeyman Flamini for any length of time is worrying. Perhaps with the return of Koscielny and Debuchy we will see whether Chambers can be our much hoped for DM. Who knows?

Could be another big day for young Damian Martinez though there is a chance TPIG will be fit. He did well last week so his confidence must be high – let’s hope it remains so tomorrow.

The return of OG is well-timed as it allows Welbeck a little more time to recover from injury. Scoring on his return to the PL he will want to assert himself as Arsenal’s Number One striker. I see a future in which Welbz plays left, OG central and Theo on the right with Alexis in the DB10 role, though just where Ozil plays is open to discussion.

Enough of football. West Bromwich foodstuffs: They like a beer up in the Midlands, there are 116 breweries within 50 miles of West Bromwich!! Even Ant & Duck will struggle to try them all. Probably the most famous beer is Ansell’s but a pint of Banks Bitter is a thing of beauty. As to foods, curries and pies are the order of the day,

It is a few years since I highlighted famous musicians born close to football grounds but I cannot leave the Hawthorns without mentioning two of my heroes – Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin and  Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy were born in West Bromwich (he left for Ireland at the age of 4). Metal rules in the Midlands!

Lunch time kick off despite our playing on Weds evening seems a bit harsh but the FA don’t do AFC favours, do they? Add in the huge and worrying injury list and there must be cause for concern today; yet we start as favourites. We have two players in exceptional form in Ox and Alexis, some others are returning to their expected consistency and WBA have their own problems.

Should be an exciting game


written by Big Raddy

Arsenal v Manu – take a deep breath

November 22, 2014

It is getting boring having to write that this is a must win game but let’s be honest a draw today is not exactly what the Doctor orders. (what does that expression come from?)

The continual repetition of “we have to beat one of Big Boys” has become as tiresome as “8 years” – or was it 9? But as with the silverware it is nonetheless true. Things have to change and today is a fine opportunity to get the monkey of our back (can I come up with any more cliches?)

What is good about the MU saga over the past two seasons is that it proves money is not all one needs to become successful. Last season they bought Fellaini, Mata, costing 65 mill. This summer it was  …. well you know and I can’t be arsed to check but the total cost of these no-marks is almost 150 million of Her Majesty’s finest. and that is without Falcao! Where are they in the table? Behind a team who is according to many of their fans having a disastrous season with a manager who has outlived his usefulness.

Both teams have a lengthy injury list. Both have important players returning to the squad. One major difference is that one of those teams is not in Europe and that could have a telling effect come season’s end.

United remain a Big Club even if they had a dreadful 2013/14 and it should be highlighted that AFC have only beaten them once in 14 attempts (back in March 2011 when AR scored). They will be as difficult opponents as ever.

IMO the key MU player is Di Maria. We got mugged at Swansea because no-one re-acted to Chambers getting skinned time and time again in the first half. It cost us the game. LVG is sure to focus on this weakness and in Di Maria he has one of the world’s best players to exploit it. Our best bet is to Flamini him.

Rooney, the Dutch bloke, Janusaj, Mata, Di Maria, Fellaini. All can hurt us but they are struggling to find a rhythm just as we are.

Arsenal:  Losing Theo before he even got going is a blow which even the return of OG does nothing to alleviate. Thankfully Ox is improving game on game.

Given the defensive frailties most pundits think this will be a high scoring game – I am not so sure. It is true both sides are top heavy but neither side has shown they can bag a hatful. Alexis is our key player – what a buy he is. Will he be 100% after travelling so far midweek? We shall find out today.

In many ways today’s game could define our season. Enjoy.

p.s. due to time restrictions this is not up to my admittedly low standards. Time restraints  :-(


Written by Big Raddy


Has Rambo’s key role been diluted?

November 14, 2014

Aaron Ramsey was arguably our best player last season, so much so that you could feel the palpable angst whenever there was a possibility that he may be injured. That contrasted with the relief that everything would be fine as long as Rambo was available to play.


This season, however, has been almost a polar opposite to last, and Aaron does seem somewhat out of sorts. Admittedly there has been the usual injury spell and not all players find immediate form when they return. Is it just that simple though, is it just that Ramsey needs more time to rediscover his form or is there something else at play here?

What I have been asking myself is have the new arrivals altered the balance of how we play to his detriment? If there is any merit to this argument then I think it will come down to consideration of the following points :

1 What system / set-up are we currently playing?
2 What are Ramsey’s key strengths as a player?
3 On the back of the answers to 1 & 2, what is Ramsey’s best position in our set-up?

This is what I would like to discuss with you all. If you simply feel he is just temporarily out of form but will rediscover his form of last season then let us know. If you feel that there has been a shift in style and formation at the club this season that has reduced our need for what Ramsey brings to the table then tell us why you feel this way. You can use my pointers above or highlight others that you may feel are relevant.

Written by GoonerB

Are all Swans owned by Her Majesty?

November 9, 2014

Tough game today. Let’s be honest – the way we are playing they are all tough!

Should Swansea win today they will go above us and possibly into 4th place. Not bad for a team whom many predicted would be relegated come season’s end. But they won’t beat us, will they?

Have you ever been to Swansea? Not the prettiest town. Lovely areas (the Gower) around it but the town especially when viewed from the motorway is pig ugly however in recent years Swansea has become an attractive place to live apart from Saturday nights!! Even Macdonalds has a doorman. Scary.


Welcome to Swansea MacDonalds

Since gaining promotion under Brendan Rodgers, Swansea have punched way above their weight (you need to if you come from the valleys :-) ). Both Rodgers and Laudrup promoted entertaining football and the new chap, Garry Monk seems to wish to continue in this vein. It is rare that Arsenal have less than 50% possession but this is the norm at the Liberty.

Much will depend upon how we cope with Swansea’s attack – they have a mixture of strength and pace. Bony will cause BFG and Monreal problems as will the pace of the wingers. Swansea’s main man this season is Guffi Sigurdsson, an Icelandic midfielder signed from Spurs; having escaped the hell of playing for the Miscreants he has blossomed and recently scored twice in Iceland’s victory over Holland.

Like Arsenal, Swansea have problems at the back and concede regularly – I think we will score but how many is the question.

Arsenal: Can we find a way to become more secure in defence? If not, the season will be a struggle. In Arteta’s absence who gets his place? Wilshire is fit and is the obvious candidate.  With Walcott fit and raring to go should he start ahead of Ox?

My Team (this is the team I would select not the one I expect AW to pick)


Chambers    BFG     Monreal    Gibbs

Ox   Ramsey    Wilshere   Flamini

Alexis    Welbeck

If we were at home Walcott should start but Ox gives us more security in defence (or does he??) in an away fixture. We have an excellent attacking bench and Bellerin. You may have noticed an absence of Cazorla – I think he needs a rest.

On any visit to Wales it is best and safest to take along a native; we have a great one in Aaron Ramsey. The lad from Caerphilly has yet to find form but my impression was that he was improving midweek even if he was trying too hard to score. Ramsey is so important to our success that he has to be allowed to regain form. It is hard to believe that despite all his injuries Aaron is approaching 150 games for AFC and is just 23. He is a tough young man coming back from such an injury  – further evidence is that he was offered terms by St Helens Rugby League club as a youth! I expect him to score today.

That’s enough of the football, let’s have a look at the food situation. Leeks, Welsh cakes (very tasty), lamb (no Welsh/Sheep jokes please Cockle), Cawl (which is a stew made from leeks and lamb) and Laverbread is the standard Welsh fare and jolly good it is too. But the stand out delicacy has to be the Welsh Rarebit….. toast, cheddar cheese, worcester sauce or paprika …. simple but delicious.


Swansea’s nickname is the Swans. Did you know that Her Majesty The Queen owns all mute, unmarked swans in British open waters? Until recently she was the only person allowed to eat swans but they are now protected even from Her Majesty. (bet Micky has sneaked one). Another interesting fact about swans is that like pork and shellfish swans are un-kosher as stated in the book of Leviticus.

5th vs 7th today and the bookies have the home side as slight favourites, If either side wins they go 4th. Should be a good game.


Written by Big Raddy

Will 95% be enough?

October 25, 2014

Long trip up north for the fans especially after an away CL game.

Sunderland: have you ever been to Sunderland? I have. Went to watch the lads at the Stadium of Light in 2003, we won 4-0 with a Freddie hayrick. Do you know they have coal on the beaches and a freezing cold wind blowing in from the sea! No wonder their fans moan. It must be a difficult transition for chaps who grow up in warmer climes and bigger cities to play for the Mackems – which may explain why many leave soon after arriving.

Which brings me on to Gus Poyet. Now this bloke seems like a decent egg, he is unfailingly polite, speaks decent English and would make a fine Uncle BUT any team that signs a manager with Spurs connections is doomed. History proves it. Sunderland made a miraculous escape from relegation last season thanks to startling ineptitude from other teams and a very suspicious win at Poyet’s old club, Chelsea – it was the first home defeat for Mourinho. Lose today and Poyet could well be sacked.


Why Me???

I hate playing teams who have just been thrashed, they are determined to show it was an aberration so go onto the pitch fired up and ready for violence – we will need a strong a referee today (Kevin Friend). Furthermore, they focus heavily on defence and one of our faves Young Vito Mannone will be wanting to show Mr Wenger that it should have been him between the sticks at Anderlecht. Goals could be hard to come by.

Sunderland have their fair share of nasty ankle kickers; Cattermole, two MU rejects at CB, a massive lump called Conor Wickham and a spiky (read nasty) Scotsman in Fletcher. Add in the excellent Seb Larsson and you can see our players and Kevin Friend will have to be alert.

When Sunderland signed Jack Rodwell I have to say I was surprised. Before his injury this chap looked the chiens couilles but how quickly his career has stalled. He played his first game for Everton at just 16, appeared to be England’s next Bryan Robson and then made the huge mistake of signing for a Man City side who already had YaYa in his position. Got injured, moved on, and is likely to become a Championship player in 2015.

Thinking of such things – have you seen that Frimpong was released by Barnsley after just 4 months and is now playing in Russia at some shitballs club called Ufa who have a stadium capacity of less than 6,000? Dench!!

The Arsenal: You know the story. No defenders, an injury list as long as a Danish winter, Jack suspended, Aaron off-form, unable to score against teams who defend deep and as Mr. Wenger says “playing at 95%”. It does not bode well. However, we are still able to play 11 full Internationals (The Flamster picked up a few in his first spell at AFC)

My Team:


Chambers    BFG    Monreal    Gibbs

Ox    Ramsey    Flamini

Sanchez    Welbeck    Cazorla

Despite my picks I would love to see Campbell start ahead of Santi. Just to give us some extra bite upfront. Podolski’s time has run at Arsenal (much as I like him) and I cannot see him starting another game in our shirt .  The bench will be a few reserves and a couple of player’s wives.

Food: Sunderland is not known as a hotbed of culinary delights, it does have a Festival of Food though this seems to concentrate on every type of food except good old local fare. The top restaurants on Tripadvisor are all selling African, Chinese, Thai, Italian etc everything bar foods from Wearside . There is a restaurant which apparently makes one of the nations best cheese and onion mash. Sounds appetising.


Excellent with a pint of Stout

We have the players, we lack the cohesion and confidence. How does it return? By winning and winning a run of games. Can the run start today? Why not?


written by Big Raddy



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