A Fan’s perspective of a Wembley win:

April 19, 2015

To start at the end, so to speak, Reading pushed Arsenal all the way to the end of a classic FA Cup Semi-Final, in a game that featured two goal-keeping horrors.

The first half was notable for a slow paced, listless performance by Arsenal against an energetic hepped-up Reading who made up for their lack of technique with hard work and an energetic bending of the now acceptable ‘in their faces’ style.

In the 39th minute of what was becoming a frustrating game for Arsenal, and an exciting ‘anything is possible’ effort by Reading, the supreme artist Özil spotted the wonderfully athletic Sanchez loitering in a packed penalty area, and placed a pin point pass, which required a chest down, a spin to flummox the CBs, and finished with a deft shot by our Chilean into the bottom of the Reading goal.

Despite a lax and sometimes lazy half, both Mesut and Sanchez showed their class within a rather indifferent team performance.

Right from the start of the second half Reading showed they were not going to leave Wembley without giving the game their all, and Pogrebnyak and Mackie gave all Gooners cause for concern, before making us realise there was a genuine reason to worry, when the Ruskie crossed and the ball 2which, not for the first time drifted over the head of the misfiring Gibbs to the loitering McLeary who mishit the ball off Gibbs and into the net via a startled Chezzer who got his paws to the ball but was undone by its pace, and watched in horror as it crossed the line. Bugger.

Reading moved up a gear and Arsenal withdrew into a monotonous game of tennis-football, with the ball moved slowly between the axis of Mert, Kozzer and the Keeper before being kicked back to Reading to have another go. Dreadful stuff!

The love of many for Cup football was exemplified by the end to end play that ensued, albeit with little real effect.

Into Extra-Time and Rambo should have finished the game but managed to hit the post, and the referee ignored the pulling and over-robust defending of the Reading defense which could have resulted in a penalty.

Then our Chilean whizz-kid popped up to score via a deflected shot that squirmed off Federici’s inside thigh and slowly trickled across the line.

Tough on Reading and particularly their keeper — and gasps of relief from the Arsenal faithful.

Wembley here we come — AGAIN. :-)

Written by RedArse

Wilshere and Welbeck to start at Wembley?

April 18, 2015

Well, With Whom Would you Wish Wenger to Walk onto the Werdant Wilds of Wemberlee? Wilshere, Welbeck, Wojciech or Wamsey?

Enough of that nonsense.

Let’s be honest we should win today but in the world of Arsenal there is many a slip twixt cup and lip. In a lifetime of supporting Arsenal I have witnessed many an embarrassing hiccup so I take nothing for granted but we should beat Reading – shouldn’t we?

We have won our last two games at Wembley, our form is excellent, we have had a week of rest and Diaby is fit. Reading are a decent team but in very average from – last 6 league games, D3 L3.

Can anyone explain this to me? The bookies are offering 14/1 for a Reading win and yet 1 to 4 on for an AFC win. Seems strange but I am no mathematician.


The Current FA Cup Holders

How many of the players should be rested today without taking away the fluency of the team? I would bring in Debuchy and Gibbs, rest Alexis and perhaps Ozil giving Theo and Welbz a Wembley run, and TPIG for Ospina. But would such wholesale changes be too damaging?

Mr Wenger is a conservative manager, as such he would not make the wholesale changes BR suggests.

Wilshire was head and shoulders the best player on the pitch in his recent U-21 appearance and must be in the manager’s thoughts.  So ….. in essence I have no idea who will start this afternoon but this is my stab at the starting 11 …

My Team:


Debuchy      BFG      Koscielny     Gibbs

Wilshere      Le Coq     Cazorla

Walcott      Giroud       Welbeck

This is the team I expect AW to pick – same back 5, then

Ramsey   Le Coq

  Cazorla    Ozil

OG   Welbz

I could play with this all morning as it is many a year since we had so many possible formations and players to pick from. The squad is as good as I can ever remember.

I haven’t mentioned Reading much, have I? There is a reason  for this …. I know SFA about them. They have a couple of lardy big lumps up front who will try to muscle their way past our CB’s. A Chav loanee in midfield, an Arsenal schoolboy, Kanu on the wings – Reading are no doubt a battling, enthusiastic team. They will try to make it a physical battle because Reading are doomed if they try to play an expansive game. If we score early the game is over. If they score early TPIG will be the only player in the Arsenal half for the remainder of the game.


Shape UP Man

Any game at Wembley is special. Being a traditionalist leftie hippy I prefer the old AV/MU grounds for the semi’s but who can deny Wigan/Reading/L’pool a Wembley day out. It is the highlight of their decade.

Last year’s FAC SF was one of the most gut-wrenching experiences of my life as a Gooner. We are prone to start slowly at Wembley – goodness knows why – and cannot this afternoon. Attack from the first, be aggressive, solid in defence with Le Coq holding the midfield. No stupid mistakes from the off-the-naughty-step Szczesny, some lethal finishing from our front men and another final awaits.

I am 74% confident.


written by Big Raddy

A stage managed draw

February 20, 2015

Morning all,

Now her in doors and myself watch lots of television, were getting to that age now, and where I have mellowed over the years, she does get her own way a lot on what we watch. Although we are both Gooner’s and I do believe she has an interest in Arsenal, but not like I do. Of course we watch Arsenal when we play, whether on TV or I have a stream box when its not on normal TV. She realises that everything else makes way for Arsenal games, and with recorders now available, she doesn’t miss anything she would rather watch.

We do watch a lot of reality TV programmes, she likes them all, I am not so keen and either blog or read while these programs are on.  Having said that I do end up watching quite a bit. What I have noticed is how fixed these programs seem to be. A show that’s on for a series or a few weeks, takes a few days or so, and then expects people to phone in and vote at a nominal fee.

Now the point of this post is to ask other people, if they feel the same as me, that the outcome of the phone calls, are they the actual peoples votes, or are these programs stage managed? Many supporters will ask why a post like this is on a football blog and the reason for this is, that I wonder if football matches are stage managed as well.

It seems to me that football attracts lots of money businesses, Sky, BT and many others. The staggering amounts of billions to screen live football has hit new highs, and when can you watch a game without a betting firm trying to get you to place a wager? Now I consider myself a fairly knowledgeable supporter, I don’t only watch Arsenal, so I feel I have a general understanding of most of the teams in the Premiership. I know what kind of talent most teams have and having played the game myself, feel I have a decent understanding of the modern rules.

Now I watch my own team the most, so feel I know quite a bit about the quality of the team, Arsene Wenger as we all keep saying has worked wonders over the years, with a bit of a tight budget, and we have done fairly well when you consider there are 20 teams in the league. I look at some of our games, and knowing the talent wonder why we are not thrashing some sides. But we never ever seem to do that. Many will say that all premier sides are all very close talent wise, but that is not the case as budgets are different across the board

What I am wondering is whether this league is being stage managed, where all club owners who are all earning good profits, managers and players are earning thousands more than everyday working people, would it not be prudent to ask could this all be a ploy to get the supporters money.

Rules are in place to make the game fair, or that is what it was before new rules came in. The offside rule can be interpreted two ways which is not clear cut to the supporter. It is quite possible to remove a player from the field any time a referee wanted to so could easily change the direction a game has been going in.

Now of course when looking at the league, you often find that the club who have spent the most are normally up the top half of the league, and normally finish in the European qualifying places. What I seem to notice specially in cup games is how the bigger club seem to get the rub of decisions, free kicks and the like. Now of course I realise that bigger clubs have spent more and usually have the better players so will be head and shoulders better, but I still think that decisions still go in favour of the big clubs.

I have to ask myself why this seems to be the case and I would only answer who I would rather watch if I had the choice. The FA cup is an old old old English competition history that goes back forever, look at the list of winners and you will see a few names on there that you would never had thought, but there all the same. The FA cup is known for its giant killing and fans who support lower division teams have watched their team win games that on paper they shouldn’t. Of course usually the better teams come out winners and the smaller clubs have had their five minutes of fame, but you do still see results that surprise.

Before the draw for the next round of the FA Cup, we all wondered who we would get, did any of you expect to meet either Liverpool or Manchester United, of course you did, and why did you, because you know that the television people want it that way. What grabs the most attention, a game against real competition with an undercurrent of history or a game against a team in the lower division. before United’s game and the draw , as soon as I saw a possible draw of United and Arsenal I knew who would be our opponents and I bet you did too.

The money generated by a game of this magnitude I knew it wouldn’t be screened on BT Sport, maybe Sky, but no it’s the BBC that gets the rights. Stage managed, of course it was. Will we receive the kind of decisions United got against Preston NE, I doubt it, this will be a stage managed fight of the titans, and of course whoever goes through will no doubt find another stage managed draw.

Written by Steve Palmer







Gabriel’s Initiation: ‘Boro Preview

February 15, 2015

There are some chaps who think today will be an easy victory for The Arsenal, I beg to differ. Anyone who watched ‘Boro thrash Man City at the Etihad knows they are a very good side. Top of the Championship playing with attacking intent and creativity, they will be difficult opponents.

Mr Wenger has stated that his respect for the FA Cup has affected our CL performances and the coming week sees that competition return. It will be interesting how much “respect” he pays Middlesborough today. Will he pick his best team or rely upon our second string?

It is more who stays in the side after two hard games last week than who is promoted. Alexis cannot be risked, Ospina will give way, Theo has played twice as has Coquelin etc etc

Hopefully Paul Easter will get his first outing alongside Chambers at the centre of defence or will Mr Wenger play safe and use one of our regular CB’s alongside our shiny new Brazilian? I agree – AW will not take such a risk.

Here is my guess:-


Chambers   Gabriel    Koscielny     Gibbs

Rosicky  Flamini   Cazorla


Welbeck    Giroud

Tasty, don’t you think?

We are the holders, we are at home, we are the favourites, we are The Arsenal. No more injuries, an open attacking game and a win would be good,

That’s yer lot on a difficult day in Denmark

FA Cup Trivia Quiz No. 3

February 14, 2015
  1. What year was the 1st FA Cup played?
  2. Who won the 1st FA Cup?
  3. Where was the 1st Cup played?
  4. In how many different venues has the final been played?
  5. What venue has hosted the final the most times?
  6. How many times was the final played at the answer to question 5?
  7. How many FA Cup Finals have been played (not including replays)
  8. How many goals have been scored in all of the FA Cup finals?
  9. What final produced the most goals?
  10. How many teams have won the cup?
  11. How many teams have appeared in the final?
  12. How many teams have appeared in the final without winning the cup?
  13. Name the team who has appeared the most times in the final without winning?
  14. Which team has won the most FA Cups?
  15. Which team has the most appearances in the final?
  16.  Which academic institute won the cup?
  17. Name the current PL teams who have never won the cup?



The Kids are Alright

January 25, 2015

Is there a better away day to be had in Britain? Those of us lucky enough to have spent time in Brighton have a special attachment to it but not all memories are rosy ……

From the time I was 7 y.o. my parents had a summer house in Trafalgar Street which is in Kemptown about 10 minutes walk from the sea. To my dismay this meant that whilst my friends travelled abroad for their summer holidays I was forced to spend 6 weeks away from my friends in swinging North London. If I was lucky my best friend Robert was allowed to spend his holiday with us.

We were always playing football on the beach or cricket in the gardens around the Royal Pavilion. One evening Robert kicked the ball into the sea. This was a time when a football was precious, it cost at least a months pocket money and we watched in dismay as it floated off on it’s way to France. Stupidly, we decided to swim after it. Thankfully neither of us got hurt but we had to walk home in wet clothes and incur the wrath of my parents.


Danger Awaits

My last visit to Brighton was to spend time with my mother in her final days.

I learned much about life in Brighton; not to talk to strange men, not to be on the beach when the Mods and Rockers turned up, not to eat candy floss until it makes you sick, not to waste all my pocket money in the penny arcades, and later that is a long cycle to Brighton from Islington***  … enough of this – there is a game today!!

Given yesterday’s spectacular results we cannot go into the game with anything but total focus. Right now we can laugh at City, Spurs, MU, L’pool, S’ton,and especially Chelsea – we don’t want to reduce their fans hurt by being another victim of a lower league team.

Mr Wenger may be tempted to play a very young team and approach the game as a Capitol One Cup match but although are youngsters are full of potential I hope he plays safe

With the return to the first team of both Mesut and Theo we should be safe. It will be interesting to see what defence Mr Wenger picks – I would give BFG a rest and play Chambers. However, as Cup Holders we have to play our strongest team. No slip ups against a team who have struggled but will be desperate for a win. Plus they are managed by an old Miscreant, Chris Hughton – apparently a likeable chap but clearly mentally scarred from his time in the cess-pond.

I haven’t been to the Falmer Amex stadium, but I have friends who are Brighton S/T holders who tell me it can generate a lot of noise and today the ground is a sell-out. The team will be confident after beating high-flying Ipswich last time out. Hutton teams are generally sent out to play entertaining, fast passing football – he is unlikely to zaparkawac’ autobus

We are on a very good run and the win at the Etihad must have given huge confidence to the squad plus it seems we have shiny new CB.

**** This being a family site most of the lessons I learnt in Brighton will remain private 😇


written by Big Raddy

Good performance and a good win – discuss

January 5, 2015


How composed we were in the second half at 1-0 up. We didn’t do the usually cavalry charge trying to find more goals. Instead we were content to sit back, not over-commit and to control the game. The FBs in particular were careful not to get too carried away. The well deserved second came as Hull tired themselves out.

The BFG: he loves the Cup!

Coquelin: our best player against Saints (though that’s not saying much), he had another fine game today. To me he looks a better option at DM than Flamini.

Campbell: yes, a bit wasteful, but he worked really hard and some of his link-up play was very good. Given how little first team minutes he has had he proved that he’s a good bench option.

Santi/Rosicky: two very good playmakers who worked really well in tandem.

The First Half: the movement of our front three (supported by TR7 and Santi) was excellent at times and we were unlucky not to be 2 or 3 up at HT.

Ospina: not a lot to do, but he did it well.

Arsene Wenger: top marks for listening to my suggested formation, given our injuries! (Against Saints I found it mystifying that he would give a first-ever start in a DM position to young Chambers when he could just have gone with Coquelin, with two more forward-minded MFs in front of him. That’s what he did today and we looked much better, albeit against weaker opposition).

Overall: the thing that pleased me most yesterday was that throughout the entire game we actually looked organized: the players looked like they knew their jobs and what was expected of them, which is not something you can always say about Arsenal.

What did you think?



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