Are the later stages of the Champions League vaguely interesting?

April 22, 2015


This was inspired by a few comments on twitter during Tuesday evening.

The first speculated that the Champions League was becoming so predictable that it had become a case of fighting for the 4th Semi-Final spot left vacant, after Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich had taken theirs.

The second was in response to the two hammerings which were taking place that evening. The Quarter Finals of the top competition in the world and the ties were not even close as contests. As a result, the person commenting asked if the Champions League would eventually “eat itself”?

So as a matter of interest, I decided to have a look at the semi-finalists for the last few seasons and see if this trend was true. Here goes………


Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Inter Milan and Lyon


Real Madrid, Barcelona, Schalke and the Mancs


Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Chavski


Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund


Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid and Chavski.

(Barcelona went out in the quarters to Atletico)


Barcelona and Bayern Munich in the Semis at a canter.

Atletico could stop Real Madrid getting there with a couple of away goals and as for Juve v Monaco, we all know what’s wrong with that tie, don’t we, Micky?

What do you think? Is this exactly how you would like it because you get to see the top players at the climax of the competition each year? Or does it make you seethe that a team like Nottingham Forest or Villa could ever win the trophy (albeit, in a completely different competition and totally different footballing era)?


Worst of all, are The Arsenal fighting for that 4th Semi-Final spot each year from now on?

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Your Arsenal Life. Depressing?

April 14, 2015

Seeing the Rich Kids from Monte Carlo lining up against The Young Boys from Turin this week really cheeses me off. Then I note that some blokes from a fortified wine growing region of Portugal are hosting The Bavarians, and suddenly the blood begins to boil.

However, what really makes me very most vexest of all, is seeing two teams lining up in Madrid. That was MY spring break right there. Either Team. Not bothered. Preferred Real, but whatever.

Just penning those two short paragraphs may give the impression I am an angry doomer. I am not. I am a happy person and all is well. I am, however, slightly concerned that a good many Gunners are more sensitive than I. Mood swingers, if you like. All is rosy then wallop, one Cup defeat, one League defeat and suddenly Arsenaldom is an unbearable hellhole.

How utterly depressed are you that Our Boys are not lining up tonight?

I am not depressed at all, just bloody furious, that’s all.


Ed: I’ve added this poll – just for amusement value :)

A proud night in Monaco

March 18, 2015

Morning all,

Last night’s gallant efforts away to Monaco ended up a huge disappointment in as much as the result, but the effort put in by The Arsenal players was immense. The team plugged away all night to try and get the goals needed, even to the last seconds, tired legs were still pushing just to find that one goal that would have put us through.

Arsene Wenger surprised many of us at the start by leaving out Aaron Ramsey. I suppose that was because Aaron has not shown, since he returned from injury, the form that he showed last season but whatever the reasons I felt we missed him. Although the eleven he did pick worked their socks off. This was  not an easy game, with a resolute Monaco seemingly happy to defend most of the game, without really troubling the somewhat under worked  Ospina .

My friend had flown out to Monaco to join the thousands of travelling supporters. He posted, on Facebook, photos of himself in a floppy Irish Top Hat drinking a pint of the black stuff in a local bar close to the ground. He knew this was a tough task but went all the same and I imagine he sang his heart out along with other hero supporters and although heart broken he must have been proud of his club at the end.

Arsenal did all they could to turn this game around, a massive ask after the first leg but try they did right up to the last kick of the game. Olly battled and was rewarded just before the break with what can only be described as a battlers goal. The moment that goal went in it lifted all Arsenal support and we had a proper game on our hands.

We went in at half time with belief that we could still fight back and out they came for the second half with only one thing on their minds to dig in and fight. Bellerin excelled himself again as he ran and battled up and down that pitch until those tired legs would not let him run any more. Monreal also, on the other side of the park also ran his legs off and to a man, Arsenal players did their utmost to claw back the goals we needed. We had chances, but on the night Monaco stuck to their tactics and defended well.

Arsene decided he had left it as long as he could and started changing players. Le Coq had thrown himself around all game was to be replaced by Ramsey. Monreal who looked worn out was taken off for Gibbs and Welbeck replaced by Theo. Wenger was not giving up, Ramsey added a little spice he had been missed even with the trio who came off you couldn’t have asked for more from but Aaron you could feel was to add a little extra.

Another Arsenal attack saw a chance for Theo he stroked the ball towards the right hand post only to bounce off the post a Monaco defender in vain tried to clear but rolled it to the ever waiting Ramsey who controlled the ball and fired it across the Monaco keeper and into the net. The crowd went ballistic and I went ballistic and you all went ballistic 2-0 we were not finished yet.

I have to say I felt that our attack was too much through the middle. Monaco were almost impenetrable, Theo was a let down for me, here we have a player as fast as lightning and he sat on Girouds shoulder we were crying out for a wide man someone to stretch the Monaco defence but Theo stayed central while Gibbs was doing his best down the left our right side was a vacant space.

Could we had scored that third goal and make the come back of the century? Yes I believe we could but it wasn’t to be on the night. Disappointment for thousands  of Gooners but they certainly tried, and we can ask for no more. Pride restored and out for another season but not broken. FA cup and League still on  and this team will keep on showing heart. Supporters like us will be bitterly disappointed but proud of the side that gave their all.

Steve Palmer  

Monaco by the Numbers

March 17, 2015

1. In the 164 European Cup games in which a team lost 1-3 at home in the first leg only two have gone on to win the tie.

2. In the Champions League knock out stages no team has ever overcome this deficit playing away. It has only been achieved when the team was at home for the second leg.

3. Arsenal have won their last 4 away and 8 of our last 9 PL games (12 of 14)

4. Monaco had 5 first team players missing in the first leg. Carvalho and Toulalan should return tonight.

5. Monaco have conceded only 7 goals in 14 home games in Ligue 1 this season and just 2 in 7 CL games.

6. Arsenal have scored every game bar one since Oct 2014

7. Arsenal have had 21 different goal scorers this season. We are awash with finishers.

8. If we lose tonight it will be the 5th year running we have not reached the quarter finals

9. Monaco are 1/10 on to go through and AFC 5/1 (Paddy Power). Yet AFC are favourites to win the game (13/10)

10. Arsenal have won only once on our last 6 visits to France (though Monaco is not in France is it?)

Right, that’s enough of that nonsense.

Looking at the above one would think it is a waste of time trying and Mr Wenger should select the entire Ladies team. If we are to go down in Monaco …. I leave the rest to you imagination ……

26 years ago we went to Anfield and won against the odds, We also did it when overcoming a 3-1 defeat in the final of the Inter Cities –  that victory was in Black and White, but still a decade after Spurs last won the title :-D

The Stade Louis is hardly a hotbed of football fanaticism (the last time I was there was for an Eagles concert) and I expect there will be more Gooners than Monaco fans.

We have to score a few and quite frankly are as likely to score 4 or 5 as 3 so I look forward to a very attacking line -up. It is often said that in training Mr Wenger has the players switch positions so they understand the thinking required for a defensive or offensive position, as such Welbeck must be able to play CB if required. Santi is an ideal fullback; they are instructed not to tackle but to jockey and he has the perfect physique for such a job.

My Team:


    Cazorla    Welbeck      Coquelin     Rosicky

Walcott     Ramsey     Ozil

Alexis     Giroud     Akpom

If we had more forwards available I would play them instead of Le Coq and Tomas.

I feel 56% confident of winning the game and 14% confident of winning the tie.

n.b. If any of the above stats are wrong, blame the internet and Margaret Thatcher.


written by Big Raddy

Arsenal v The Russians. Style v Thuggery.

March 12, 2015

Last night I was very busy getting old, so missed watching Chelsea tumble out of the Champions League. This is, in fact, considerably funnier than it might appear at first glance.

Getting old is very sobering, and one side effect can be looking back over one’s life. Never have been a prolific reader, so no surprise I didn’t finish my first book until I was about twelve. The Kon Tiki  Expedition.  Second book, Muhammad Ali: My Own Story, in which he talks about style. Style in whatever you do, and how, had he not been a boxer but rather a garbage man, he would have collected more than anyone else, and faster, and with more style.

There is a cost to your actions.

Another piece of advice in my youth came from a friend of my father’s at about the same time: “no matter what you do in life remember this. In ten or twenty years you will find yourself meeting up with old chums, and you CANNOT tell them you make handbags”. No idea why he chose handbags, but perhaps for the very reason that I never forgot the advice.

This brings me nicely on to Chelsea and that loathsome reptile Jose Mourinho.

As usual this morning, I got up, made coffee, and while I checked through emails, I caught up on late comments from this site. Last night was dominated by talk of the appalling tactics deployed by a “win at any cost” Chelsea.

When it comes to my football, I am a romantic and a fantasist. Somewhere deep within there is a realist who understands that The Arsenal need things like defenders, but I don’t like it, and yes, 2-3-5 remains my preferred line up.

Here’s the thing though. I know people who avoid certain summer as well as winter holiday resorts simply to avoid the Chelsea style of wealthy thugs. I know people who have given up memberships of what were once exclusive London nightclubs to avoid the thugs in the blacked out Range Rovers with their “security”. I even know a lifelong Chelsea supporter who chucked in his season ticket and now goes to watch Brentford.

When I was a young school boy, a teacher told me cheating was only “cheating yourself”. Not really, I thought, I just got an A in Chemistry.

With hindsight, was the teacher right? Well, one moral must be, if you are going to cheat, then for God’s sake win. Doing it and losing is nothing short of hysterically funny for your critics.

Written by MickyDidIt89

The Champions League. An Alternative Viewpoint

February 28, 2015
  1. To be honest, I’m over Wednesday’s result.

    For us, the Champions League is just like life, one big f*ucking disapointment

    With Wengers early teams, we had the players, but somehow we were shit. Bit like dreams as a kid. Becoming a millionaire, shagging everything in sight, and finding out your the illegitimate son of Frank Mclintock

    But no. Those Bergkamp/Adams/Viera sides flopped. More a case of bailiffs, not been able to find your appendage, and discovering your old man is Paul Daniels.

    Yet, in 2006 we reached the final with arguablyy one of Arsene’s weakest sides. We hardly let in a goal and all this whilst playing Senderos at the back?. Its akin to being in your twenties and finding out that whilst chasing a bus your actually the fastest man that ever lived. A year later your doing a Puma commercial chasing the 102 down Bounds Green high road.

    Tragicaly we lost the final. We were robbed. I will always insist that the wanker dived to get poor Jens sent off.

    In the last few years we’ve had the hardest draws, Barca and Munich for f*uks sake? Deep down we all knew we had it. Reminds me of when I mouthed off for a year what I would do to the ex in the divorce court, whilst all the time secretly planning what colour I wanted the bedroom painted back at my mum and dad’s house.

    And now Monaco at home? No disrespect, but their small time. That big Jessie they have as Regent, Prince Albert or something? I know more about him than there bloody team, and that’s only because I once heard a rumour he sent Julian Clary some tight trousers.

    And what is Berbatov doing playing for them? He looked like rigor mortis set in years ago, probably to many “interesting” conversations with Glen Hoddle, yet he’s still playing?

    We seem cursed in this bloody champions league. Liverpool, Utd, and worse of all, Chelsea have all won it by fluke. Yet we are more tormented than an uninvited bachelor living next door to a swingers club

    Yet, we live in hope. Second leg to come and there is always next year

    We have to win it soon, its driving me mad. If not, don’t be surprised to hear in the news about… man holds swinger club members hostage. Tells police his demands include all members have sex with him, though admits he’s confused, And would like large pepperoni pizza with ham topping-has special offer voucher

    written by Terry Mancini’s Hair Transplant

Do Arsenal players Care?

February 27, 2015

Picture this. It’s the first day of the Autumn (or Rugger) Term at DidIt’s “Little School”. Life begins with the Headmasters Speech in which he announces who is to be the Head Boy. Then comes Captain of 1st XV Rugger. Yip, no surprise here. Old Big Head Allen. Then for some reason there is something called Vice Captain and Scrum Leader…..”and for this year, DidIt. M”

“What the ‘ucking hell do you mean?” I thought to myself. “I friggin’ hate rugger”.

Thing was, I had given the wrong impression ie that I was quite good. Fact of the matter was that I hated getting hurt and had quickly learnt, in a cowardly kind of way, to hit people the moment the game began, and from then on, they pretty much left you alone. Problem was, occasionally someone gave me the wretched ball, and I could pretty much run about willy nilly, giving the terrible illusion I was quite good. I got to the top by being a coward.

Here’s another true story. I know a bloke with about seventy full England Rugger Caps, and a few Lions Tours thrown in. You know what, he doesn’t even particularly like the game. He’s bloody enormous, and naturally very good at sport. He grew up in the West Country where everyone plays rugger, and he was just always the best. One thing lead to another, and before he knew it, he was a professional, and now a few years after quitting, still makes a very good living through a sport he doesn’t especially love.

To get to play for The Arsenal you have done many things right. You are in the top 1% of all people playing professional football around the world, but I would suggest that you can get there through a combination of “right time, right place”, much skill of course, you keep fit, are a natural athlete and so on.

Here’s a problem. We are fans, and we really do care. Week in, week out. Year in, year out.

Do players really need to care is the question. This can only ever be answered by how a man reacts when the chips are down. It can be a fairly smooth passage to the top for many, and remember also, these days the rewards are colossal, and the cocooned pampering all around.


This is the attitude we want

Ultimately, we are looking for players who care about winning, as much as we care about OUR club.

Is this ridiculous?

written by MickyDidit



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