The two Arsenal players Barcelona fear most

December 15, 2015

I was  on my way to work this morning listening to an interview with Philippe Auclair on the radio discussing the CL draw. It was suggested to him that Barca would be very happy to have drawn Arsenal again.

On the contrary he said, there are 2 players that Barcelona fear. Immediately the names of Ozil and Sanchez sprang to mind … but no, he was referring to a different two players …. Can you guess who?

They know about Ozil, he plays with the ball on the ground in a style they understand and equally, they don’t fear Sanchez’s all action high pressing style – it’s what they do.

No, the players Barca are wary of are the in-form Olivier Giroud (he is the kind of striker they hate to play against) and Petr Cech who has put them out of the CL almost single handedly before. He is their ‘bogey keeper’, they seldom beat him. Apparently Messi has never managed to put one past Cech.

When I thought about it, this all makes perfect sense.

They should also be aware that in Koscielny we have one of the best CBs in the world and as I have said before, our wing back pairing of Monreal and Bellerin is unrivalled in the EPL.

We are a better team than when they played us last time. With the steadying influence of Cech in goal and the quality of our defence, Barcelona will not find it easy to score against us even with their unparalleled front three.

Add the fact that the FP (little joke betwee AA regulars :) ) is in fine form and all of a sudden, Arsenal v Barcelona is the draw we should all welcome. If we manage to beat them, we can begin to dream…….


Bellerin to Barca?

April 30, 2015

Here’s the problem – every player dreams of playing for Barca or Real. Whatever we fans think about how wrong that may be, playing for either of the Spanish giants is the pinnacle of playing achievement.

This is especially true of Spanish players who can say that RM/Barca are in their DNA (total bolleaux). Let’s face it, if you are born in a Spanish speaking country, grow up with in a Spanish culture, eat Spanish food and listen to execrable Spanish music then it is highly likely that you will choose to return rather than freeze your buns off in the Premier League.


So why do the foreigners come to play in England? This has a one word answer …. Money, especially if they are not good enough to attract a top Spanish team.

In Bellerin’s case there is also opportunity; it is unlikely he would have played so many first team games at Barca at just 19 y.o.

My concern is that Bellerin is a major talent, almost certain to become one of the world’s best right backs and he is not only Spanish but a product of the Barca youth teams (much like an ex-Captain of ours). At Barca, Dani Alves is a shadow of the player he was, Montoya is not good enough hence Barca need a new right back – their solution is obvious.

Bellerin says ”

“If I had stayed in Barcelona I don’t know if I would have got to the top, the elite.

“I have worked as hard as I could and always with the mentality of going as far and as high as possible. Wherever I was I would have done the same.

“It’s great to play ‘at home’ and have everything where you’ve grown up,” he said of his decision to move abroad at 16, “but sometimes you’ve got to get out of your comfort zone and discover new challenges.”

How will he feel when his agent says that Barca will double his wages? How will AFC respond to a €30m offer? Bellerin has a contract until 2017 and is currently in negotiations to extend which is good news.

But we all know he will return one day to fulfil his ambitions to play in his home country and it is for this reason that I make the following proposal …. our  foreign talent scouts forget Spain, Italy, France etc and concentrate on countries which no-one ever says “I am returning because they are in my DNA”. This is why the purchase of Bielik from Konin in Poland is such a fine move, he will never say “It has always been my dream to play for Legia Warszawa”. Or will he?

written by Big Raddy

Why did Wenger sell Alex Song?

January 29, 2013

Because he was………add your own four letter expletive.

I am sure this is the view of the majority of people who have stumbled across this site via NewsNow and thought they would give it a peek.

But this is not the only view: some of us rated him highly.

The list of reasons is long as to why Arsene sold him to Barcelona. They range from the straight forward idea that he was simply not good enough which is a slightly more polite version of calling him a four letter expletive but the sense is the same, to the idea that Wenger made a mistake, especially when the calls for a defensive midfielder who can play centre back are as loud as they are right now.

The most common reasons given by the group who didn’t think he was good enough were that he picked up needless yellow cards and that he was not disciplined enough in his positional play. We also had the rumour that Song was a bad influence in the changing rooms; he was late for training and acted as though he didn’t care.

I have been waiting a long time to explain my theory as to why he was so hastily despatched and it is not connected with any of those views above.

No, it is all about tomorrow. For the first time this season all the midfield heavy weights are fit and Arsene Wenger will be faced with a serious team selection dilemma when attempting to pick his side to face Liverpool.

Wilshere, Rosicky, Diaby, Ramsey, Cazorla and Arteta

So tell me, with all these players available how would Alex Song have fitted in?

The answer is he wouldn’t. We would have had too many midfielders and this, in my opinion, was anticipated by Wenger and was the reason why the deal with Barcelona was completed so quickly.

Barcelona to Arsenal: Are you interested in selling Alex Song, if so how much?

20 mil……..12………15……….done.

Alex Song vehemently denied that he wanted to leave the club in interviews given after he had signed for Barcelona; he also emphasised that he was fully committed to Arsenal. You may say, yeah, yeah, yeah but the unusual thing is that he said this after he had signed to Barça. Can you imagine Nasri or Van Persie saying such things?

Wenger can be quite ruthless when it comes to making room for the new. Silvinho was told not to return from Brazil to the UK to make way for Cole; Lauren was never played again after his injury to make way for Eboue (lets not go there).

A similar thing has happened to Jack Wilshere; our captain in waiting is Arsenal’s most prized asset; he is a player who when fit has to be played. This would have meant that Song might well have had to spend the best part of his new contract on the bench which would have been an absolute waste and so for that reason he had to go.

Alex Song brought so much that went unappreciated to the table, the most tangible evidence is just how less effective Arteta has been without him.

Song didn’t leave because he was home sick, he didn’t leave because the little boy in him was always Manchester United, he didn’t leave for City’s millions; the fact is given the opportunity he would have happily stayed.

The fondest memory I have of Alex Song is the superb pass he made to Thierry Henry enabling him to score on his return, tell me you didn’t go wild and I will tell you that you shouldn’t be on this site.

So Alex I thank you for that memory and wish you and your family happiness.

Written by LB

Will Arsene save his prodigy Cesc?

September 9, 2012


Poor Cesc: torn between the love for his adopted family in London and his birth family in Catalonia, he decided last summer to return to his original home, only to find himself not fitting in properly there anymore.

Two’s company, three’s a crowd and you could not find a finer, more strongly joined-at-the-hips couple than the phenomenal central midfielders of Iniesta and Xavi. As fully expected, Cesc has lost out, at least for the moment.

Cesc has suffered a season of being compromised to somehow fit into the Barca team, and although he has shown a fantastic ability to adapt and continue his successful career – 15 goals and 20 assists in 52 games is very impressive indeed – this season, under the new manager Vilanova, it has all become too much, or should I say too little for him; finding himself more regularly on the bench than on the pitch, and seldom being played in his most natural, and favoured position. During a recent interview it became clear that all is not well with Fabregas, as it would take some doing for the normally diplomatic and always professional ex-captain to speak out like that.

I wonder how he really feels now; whether he has any regrets regarding his decision last year to leave his beloved Arsenal – let there be no doubt that he really loves Arsenal and respects Arsene as no other in the world of football – for his homeland; the place where he grew up, and learned most of his football.

I was sad to see him go, but never angry with him. Having left my home country to live in England in my twenties, I know exactly how it feels when you start feeling homesick. Moving at a very tender age to another country, away from your family and friends and everything you know, is especially not to be pooh-poohed at. Without any doubt, he will have felt homesick and lonely on many occasions during his teenage and early-twenty years in London, and at one point the longing to return home can simply no longer be ignored. Only those of you who have lived abroad for a long period will really know what I am talking about.

The call from Barcelona’s manager and boyhood hero, Guardiola, and their players – many of them his friends – was simply too sweet for him to ignore anymore. The flesh is weak but the blood is even weaker, and Cesc was born with Catalonian blood, one of the most patriotic areas in the world. Arsene could not hold him anymore and had to let his prodigy go.

At the time of his imminent departure, I humbly dedicated a post to him urging him to stay at Arsenal for a few more years; saying that now was not the right time to leave Arsenal. His job at Arsenal had not been completed and at Barcelona they did not really need him, at least for the time being. For me, it was all a matter of timing. Inevitably, he would return one day to Barcelona but he should only do so if and when they really needed him.

They didn’t and still don’t need him, and the new manager is, understandably, less willing to somehow fit Cesc in. Cesc is getting restless and might find himself now snookered on the bench of the Nou Camp. The faith of many an Ex-Gunner it seems…

In an interview last season, he said how he always tries to watch all games Arsenal play, and will only miss a game if and when Barcelona and Arsenal play simultaneously. So he will have noticed how his friend and fellow Spaniard – the more mature and seemingly fully adapted to living in England – Arteta has been faring at Arsenal: how he did not fill his spot per se, but nevertheless has fully won over the hearts of the fans with his disciplined and effective displays as one of the deeper laying midfielders.

He must have been wondering how it would be to play alongside the hard working and enthusiastic Basque, and seeing brave sir robin having the season of his life must also have had some impact on him. He will have seen the gap he left behind and was not filled properly last year, and how he could have been really needed, really wanted, and really loved back in London. A love he can only dream of at the Nou Camp.

This feeling of possibly missing out on something will only have become stronger when another fellow countryman and national team colleague, Cazorla, joined Arsenal a month ago. Santi has won over the fans and critics in no time, and has finally filled the gap that Cesc left gaping open for a year.

Besides that, Diaby is showing signs of finally finding and maintaining full fitness and since his departure Arsene has re-invested the income from player-sales in experienced, 25+ year old, quality players – something Cesc had been asking Arsenal for during the last years at our club.

Poor Cesc: he is being torn to pieces between two sets of Spaniards.

On the one hand, Xavi and Iniesta are too good and keeping him out of the first choice team at Barcelona, and on the other hand, both Arteta and Cazorla are inadvertently rubbing in what he is missing out on. Some will say, it is just what he deserves, but I feel truly sorry for him for this cruel twist of fate.

Yes, he did not behave impeccably towards the last few months of his Arsenal career: he might have put his physical (and possibly his mental) health before the needs of the club, and he should not have attended the Spanish GP, but for feck sake, didn’t he give his all for us from the moment he was positioned next to PV4, many years away from becoming a fully grown man?

Our current, new team is one in which Cesc, without any doubt, would love to play, and I would not be surprised if he does not feel at least some regret for leaving us last season.

I would love it if he would return to Arsenal, and rather sooner than later, but it would require more than a small miracle. It would be fantastic if we could field all three Spaniards in our midfield and Cesc and Santi could alternate between the deeper laying and more advanced midfield positions.

But it would mean that the likes of Diaby, Ramsey, Coquelin and JW would be on the bench a lot, or even have to be moved on, and I cannot see Wenger wanting that. Besides, Cesc would be expensive to buy as Barcelona would undoubtedly be hoping to get back most of the money they paid us.

However, of all the players Wenger has developed over the years, Cesc was very special to him; perhaps the most special of all. Cesc was the on-field embodiment of how Arsene wants to play football, his fulcrum, his conductor. There was no doubt how much Arsene regretted having to let Cesc leave for Barca last summer and what a hole he left in his team subsequently. Let there be also no doubt how much Arsene fought for his captain to stay at his adopted home.

And if there is one player I expect Wenger will do everything for, it is for his forlorn son. And that’s why it is still possible we will see Cesc back in the shirt that made him big, at the club where he is loved the most and he fits in to like a glove, and where there is a manager who would once again allow him to conduct the sweetest tunes of football.

Total Arsenal.


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