Mixed Feelings ….. Arsenal v Liverpool

August 25, 2015

So Petr Cech has showed us we have have a world class keeper now. Happy with that. Again the footballing gods have betrayed us……a proper goal incorrectly ruled offside and Mignolet pulling out a couple of blinders (the only problem is so did Cech so that probably cancels itself out).

Well by my reckoning we should be at least 7 points from 9 after 3 games, and I say at least. So we sit on 4. It is easy to say that this is not so much a problem so early in the season with so many games left, but the EPL is so competitive these days that a top team like us, (capable of winning the EPL), could probably lose it in the first 5 games if they leave themselves too much to do.  I believe playing catch up is now far harder to do and you will not see the likes of our overhaul of Utd in the 1997-1998 season again.

I believe playing catch up is now far harder to do and you will not see the likes of our In the last 2 seasons we have either finished as the winners in the first half or second half of the season but have not put 2 great halves of the season together and won the title. Consistency I guess is the order of the day. We could probably argue that injuries have played a large part historically, and I couldn’t disagree with that. Not quite having those extra 1-2 quality players in the right positions could also be an argument. I couldn’t disagree with that also.

However, despite all this, and my personal feeling we still require 1-2 key top players to be an absolute certainty as a top team, we still have a squad with the potential to beat any team out there and win the top prizes. So it is my assertion that we are not making the most of what we have available to us.

Boring I know to mention it again, but I still feel Arsene has a blind spot when it comes to favouring playing the types of players that he likes most as opposed to playing the best balanced side.

Don’t get me wrong, Liverpool are not a bad outfit, but are a side in transition with a lot of new players and are not ready for a serious title charge. We did play parts of the game in the ascendency with some good spells but the sheer quality of the players on the pitch tends to guarantee that at times. One of the serious title challenging teams will expose Liverpool this season and the fact that we didn’t do this, and also win the game, potentially doesn’t bode well.

In a more general sense I would say that I can’t think of a modern successful team that doesn’t have an abundance of pace and penetration from 2-3 sources in attack. In this game we really only had Sanchez as a true pacey attacking player from the start of the game. When we did introduce the extra pace players was it too late to have the time to influence the game

I said before the game that my biggest worry this season was not in who we did or didn’t recruit but in how we used the squad we had available to us to get the most balanced and fluid of teams. Others may see our problem areas as different of course and I always enjoy a different perspective, this is just the main problem as I see it

Walcott and AOC left on the bench for more slow but technical ball players? Were they introduced too late in the game? Were we just unlucky? Is it too early to make a judgement on us this season? Are bad habits resurfacing that will see us fall just short when we didn’t need to

A draw with Liverpool need not be a source of concern under normal circumstances, but for me there were possible worrying signs that we haven’t learnt from the past and that would be a shame for a team that I feel could win the EPL with what it currently has. Aside from the injuries this reminds me of the start of last season when we had a great team on paper but looked out of sorts. Arsene needs to sort it out quickly or we may end up the EPL champions for the 2nd half of the season again, and unless I am wrong they don’t give you a trophy for that.

Written by GoonerB

Loopy Lovren to do a Kolo?

August 24, 2015

Liverpool at home is always an exciting prospect and the first home night game makes it even more so. Wish I was going :-(

Plus this is a big test against a team who have spent almost €200m in two seasons! Selling your best players doesn’t help but Rodgers has to prove his success of two seasons ago was not purely a result of having a brilliant striker in the form of his life.

AW has been there; selling your best players inevitably has an effect, fortunately the past two seasons has seen us keep our players and add to the quality of the squad – who knows who will be arriving at AFC over the next 7 days!

So …. Liverpool. Never liked them. Hate the awful dirge of YNWA. I think I would even go so far as to say it is worse than Yellow Submarine! Just think of the dorks who have worn their shirt…. Keegan, Owen, P.Thompson, Dalgleish, One Minute, Emlyn Hughes, Suarez – the list is endless … but they are a very good team when in full flow, always have been.

The question is, has Rodgers put together a winning team? The lack of a quality finisher (in the absence of Sturridge) hurt L’pool last season and the signing of the excellent Benteke gives them considerable attacking strength. Add in the wily Firmino and the excellent Coutinho and we can see why L’pool are confident of an improvement on last season’s disappointments.

We smacked them last season when Kolo repaid AW for bringing him to Highbury – I doubt dirty Skrtel or Loopy Lovren will do the same.


As to us, we have to improve. WHU – terrible, CP good for 45 mins, tonight – who knows? And that is what concerns me; we have the potential to be brilliant and very successful because this is the best squad for a very long time but as yet we continue to be unpredictable. Consistency is what wins titles and can you honestly say you are sure we will play well tonight?

Thankfully we have an almost fully-fit squad (apart from Abou Wilshire and Abou Rosicky). Mr Wenger “just” has to pick his best team. Not easy – my guess is that if we all put in our best 11 that there would be many different 11’s. Theo or Ox? Theo or OG? Ramsey on the flanks? Cazorla alongside Le Coq? Monreal or Gibbs? Czech or Ospina etc etc.

It is being suggested that pace will win this game for Arsenal thanks to L’pool’s static central defence – I agreee and would certainly start with Theo alongside OG in the middle. The problem with this is that it results in the Ox having to ride the pine. The Ox is one my favourite players and he needs to know he has the confidence of AW to be a central cog in this team – he is too good to be a bit-time player.

It should be a good game between two attack-minded teams with Arsenal edging it.

p.s. Hope Rodger’s master-signing Balotelli plays :-)

I am 52% confident


What is the point of the 4th Official?

January 31, 2015

In the recent Chavs/Dippers match, Diego Costa stamped on a Liverpool player. The referee “didn’t see it”, it happened right in front of Phil Dowd, the Fourth Official.

Now, it seems most unlikely that Dowd also missed it, so why didn’t he signal to the ref that a foul had been committed?

The Ref, after having watched the video stated that had he seen the offence he would have dismissed Costa, Chelsea would have been down to ten men. Liverpool would have been handed an advantage and justice would have not only been done, but seen to be done, instantly!

Instead, after a fast-track hearing and an appeal Costa has been banned for three matches.

Thus an advantage has been awarded to Man City, Aston Villa and Everton, the three teams that Costa would reasonably have been expected to play against. Liverpool are left with only a sense of grievance.

So, back to my original question. What’s the purpose of the Fourth Official?

If he is not there to assist the on-field officials, why does a top grade referee have the job of checking the subs for necklaces, dodgy studs etc, keeping the opposing managers apart and holding up the board to indicate which players are being subbed and how many minutes of added time are to be played.

It seems the fourth official has no “official” duty in regard to the actual on-field activity.

So, why not?

written by Norfolk Gooner

All I want for Xmas.

December 21, 2014

Where were you in February? We were on a “holiday of a lifetime” sailing around the Caribbean. I was avoiding football in an attempt to appease Mrs. Raddy, however as we sailed to a supermarket to buy a boatload of food and booze for six people; much to my delight they were showing the Liverpool/ AFC game. By the time the heaving trolley had got to the breakfast cereal aisle we were three down.

So what makes everyone so positive about a win today?

Liverpool: Even without Suárez, Sturridge and the Loony, L’pool are capable of beating anyone at Anfield yet they are struggling as this season quickly becomes a disappointment to the Scousers

How could this happen to a team who were so exciting last season? Could it be the loss of just two players? Rodgers made what appeared to be some good signings in summer. He strengthened a dodgy defence, bought quality MF’s and Lambert and Balotelli. It should have improved the squad, instead they look a shadow of last season’s team. Bedding in time, the slow demise of Stevie Me, the loss of Agger, discovering Suarez is irreplaceable all have contributed to Rodger’s problems.

One thing for certain is that Sturridge is becoming a better player each week he is missing with injury. In my opinion he is a poor-man’s Welbeck and when fit the pressure upon him will tell.

Balotell: A bullet avoided or a player we should have signed? No doubt in my mind – the bloke has been awful for Rodgers. Given Liverpool’s use of the T-shirt messages to support a racist, what will they wear to validate another player banned for racist comments?


And then there is Suarez/Alexis. L’pool wouldn’t sell us Suarez and went to the media to joke about how we only offered £40m +a quid, and then we sign the bloke they desperately want to replace him for 5mill less. It’s Karma, man.

Arsenal: Positives – we are getting players back from injury. Negatives – we are losing players to injury again.

The team almost picks itself with Chambers working alongside BFG. It didn’t work at Stoke but a week’s practice and the return of Debuchy could make the difference.

It will be interesting to see whether Mr Wenger continues with the OG/Welbz combo. I hope so as they look potent.

Food. What do they eat in Liverpool? Well, according to the terrace chant it is dead rat (in your Liverpool slums), but what else? Quite a lot – Lancashire hotpot, Clog and Billycot’s fish pie, Malkin pie, Lancashire cheese, black pudding, Liverpool toffee but as we have been talking about Piebury Corner, let’s have a look at the famous Lancashire Foot.


Lancashire Foot is a pie made from puff pastry, cheese and onions. Easy and cheap to make and a tasty dish if you are going down a mine or working in the docks.

What to expect this afternoon? Who knows? Look at the difference between our play against Stoke and Newcastle. Play like last weekend and we will blow them away but the Scousers will not let our midfield run the game and in the (hard to say this) excellent Sterling they have a player who will undoubtedly cause problems.

A strong referee will be needed today as Ox and Alexis will torment their defence and Henderson and Gerrard will look to hurt them – just checked, it is Michael Oliver :-(  :-(

Given the thrashing we got on our last trip to Anfield (also reffed by Oliver) I will be happy with a point but much happier with three :-D



Flood Alert …… Arsenal’s defence to triumph at ‘Pool

February 8, 2014

Today’s early kick off sees the good guys travel up to Anfield, risking hub caps and (pockets to be picked) in search of three points to sustain the title challenge that was comfortably dismissed as a flash in the pan by the so called experts back in September when we had the temerity to top the table.

Where am i ?

Where am I ?

Following the football cliché of “taking each game as it comes” nothing will be said about the following games so looking at the form of the ‘dippers/mug smashers (delete as applicable) we see they have won 3, lost 2 and drawn 2 of their last 7 games.

It would be remiss of me not to point out both those losses were to the oil slick teams (CSKA Fulham Bus stop and Abu Dhabi FC, or maybe that should be the Amoco Cadiz and the Torrey Canyon) and one of those wins was a resounding thumping of the Toffees 4 zip so this calls for the Arsenal to be at their sharpest.

Having said that our form over that same period is 6 wins and a draw so I would expect home advantage to be the only thing that may tilt the bookies odds away from us.

The team news for our opponents is that four defenders are unavailable, Johnson, Sakho , Enrique and Agger, while Leiva misses out in midfield. Much will depend on how the axis of Henderson, Gerrard and Coutinho perform assuming Rogers picks the obvious first XI. To my eyes Henderson has been improving whilst Gerrard seems to be slowing and perhaps is being picked for non-footballing reasons.

At the moment the ‘dippers strength is up front with everyone’s favourite cannibal leading the scoring stats for the Premier League by a hefty distance, ably assisted by the slightly sulky Sturridge, an Anelka in the making perhaps.

Turning to the Arsenal the only change to the squad from the Palace match, my first without seeing any of the AA crew at the Tavern beforehand, will be the addition of Wilshere to the squad, most likely in place of Zelalem.

The back five picks itself except for the left full back position where I think Wenger will plump for Gibbs who will be able to deal with pace of Saurez/Sterling/Sturridge a bit better than Nacho man.

In the middle I would like to see Wilshere, Özzy and Rosicky with Santi, Prince Poldi and Olly up top, although I think Wenger will pick this team:

pool v arse

Tactical bollix wise I would suggest exploiting the ‘dippers main weakness, their defence and strangling their midfield so that their lethal front three are forced to drop deep to pick up the ball.

After Kolo’s howler that resulted in two dropped points against the Baggies last week confidence may not be sky high along the back line so early pressing of the centre backs of the day is in order.

Despite my good natured ribbing of today’s opponents above I don’t dislike them terribly, nothing like the contempt I feel for that Salford team or the Orcs for example. They serve as salutary tale for a once top drawer club that, from the heyday of the 70’s and early 80’s, allowed themselves to fall from grace and only now seem to be, possibly, climbing back to the top. I remember bonding with a group of their supporters, in a bar near Charing Cross before a Scorpions gig, over our mutual hatred of ManUre.

A perfect combination of Polynesian and Scandinavian

A perfect combination of Polynesian and Scandinavian

In that same era as an adolescent in Essex I was mainly aware of two things, football and developing early crushes on actresses, in particular one Maren Jensen, of Danish and Hawaiian parentage.

She was the first in a long line of such crushes that made the male-female polarity dilemma such a feature of my teenage years.

Remembering how topsy-turvy the late 70’s were, I’d also not want another aspect of that era to return, namely a period of Liverpool dominance.

Wenger will know what is required to win at Anfield and if I could say anything to him regarding his preparation I would like him to attempt to nullify our opponent’s strengths, so we can then concentrate on our game.

Whoever starts for us tomorrow will no doubt know that we(and they) want the 3 points – make it so.


By ChärybdÏß1966 (on Twitter @charybdis1966)

Liverpool: Title Contenders?

November 2, 2013

What do Jimmy Tarbuck, Steven Gerrard, Ken Dodd, Cilla,  Jamie Carragher, Les Dennis,, Derek Nimmo, Freddie Starr, and Joey Barton, have in common apart from the fact they are all tools? I have no idea…..

Over the years I have enjoyed many a laugh both with and at my Liverpool mates and their undying support for their team. They remain convinced LFC are still  potent and relevant in these days of domination by the money clubs. How many years is it since they won the title?

Now I realise I am on thin ice here what with our lack of a Big Ears cup, but really, they are about as relevant as a beta-max video machine.

Except, and I hate to write this, this season they look like a team who have the potential to actually break into the big boys. Alongside those miscreants down the road, who are finally learning to stand upright, they threaten not just our Top 4 place but also, dare I say it, the Champions.

Oh stop it, Big Raddy – you know as well as Alan Hansen that Liverpool will self-destruct just as they have year after year – is it 20 now? No Raddy – it is almost 24. Makes our 10 years since a title seem paltry.

Liverpool:  OK I’ll admit it, I was wrong. I thought Brendan Rodgers was totally out of his depth and would have been sacked by summer, instead he seems to be doing an excellent job. It is early days but Rodgers’ barmy management style seems to work with the dullards he has in his team. How else can we understand how Sturridge has suddenly become a top striker or how a cart-horse like Henderson is showing good form?

And much worse, they are playing attractive football!

Suarez: Had he come along with Ozil we would be probably ToTL :-D Sadly, his form is such that there is no way he will be sold in January however much is offered for him. He would look so much better in a proper shirt and playing in a decent stadium.

All over the pitch Liverpool look strong; the resurgence of Skrtelllll (a sub-orc) alongside Kolo and Sakha(s**t) at the centre of defence is solid as is their central midfield. Mignolet is an excellent signing given the waning powers of Reina. The loss of Lucas for almost the whole of last season was very damaging and his return has given Stevie M a new lease of life.

Is Stevie G a top, top player? Of course he is. At any time over the last XX years he would have walked into any team in the country – or would he? Would he get into the Invincibles?

But what is most concerning is that they are playing as a team and not just a bunch of over inflated egos like the usual Scousers.

Arsenal:  Will we ever have a full squad to pick from? Once again this is a game where Theo would have been a vital attacking force, primarily because if there is a weakness in the L’pool side, it is lack of pace in defence. However, once again we go into a series of hugely important games without key personnel.

Given the importance of today and Tuesday it was a huge surprise to see a first choice midfield take the field vs the Chavs; sometimes Mr Wenger makes decisions that I just cannot understand.

The back 5 continue to leak goals even to lowly opposition like Palace. – perhaps we should be buying the entire Southampton defence, they may not be as high-profile as our boys but they know how to keep a clean sheet (until they come to the Emirates). I liked Monreal at LB and think his midweek performance deserves a start. We have two fine LB’s and rotation is important.

It is so disappointing not to see The Flamster try to tame Suarez and he will be sorely missed but we still have the weapons to subdue him. Arteta and a disciplined performance from JW should do the job (I hope).

My Team:

arse v pool

This may be a bit attacking but we are at home. I would like to see Gnabry get at least 30 minutes and add some pace late in the game. Another who had a fine game midweek was our captain, Mr Vermælen; given the developing understanding between our first choice CB’s it is unlikely he will start, but if this continues I cannot see him staying at Arsenal – he is too good to sit on the bench.

So can we win? Of course we can. We are at home, top of the table and playing well. My fears are how our little wizards will cope with another dynamic physical midfield. If we can stop the balls to Suarez then he cannot create havoc.

Should be a great game.


written by Big Raddy

Suarez to Arsenal?

January 30, 2013

Why? Because this guy is as close to Ian Wright Wright Wright as we have seen since the retirement of the great man. If I had a choice of any striker in the PL, or perhaps even the world, it would be Suarez.  Brilliant player, plays for the team, runs non-stop, huge ego, controversial, he has the whole package and alongside OG would be superb.

How much would he cost? €40+m probably, but we have the money and  ……

OK, OK, calm down. It’s only a fantasy. Why would any club sell their lethal striker to a rival???


 26/5/89. Deep Joy

Tonight we will see if the recent improvement in our team can continue. 2 consecutive wins were vital after the previous losses.

Liverpool’s recent humiliation at the hands of the mighty Oldham is history and we are unlikely to see Rodgers experiment with his defence, though it should be noted that Coates who looked totally out of his depth cost over €8m.

This is a very important game to both clubs. A loss tonight would be costly and painful. So, we won’t lose. Stupid defensive mistakes must be eradicated. Thankfully, Liverpool do not have a strong aerial threat and rarely throw the ball into the box from distance. No, they tend to attack at pace and try to get Suarez one on one with a defender. BFG beware.

There are loads of stats about this game none of which interest me enough to put into the post. I recommend Newsnow.

I was going to write about the old days when Liverpool and Arsenal were The football forces in the land, of the Keegan days and the Dalgleish era and the Barnes/Rush team who were the second best English team I have ever seen live (you know who is first :-D). But tonight is about the new era of both clubs as they struggle to compete with the Oilers.

Liverpool have spent a fortune trying to sit at the top table. Huge amounts of money wasted upon players who don’t get near the first team (some reduced to West Ham). Perhaps things are finally turning in the right direction – it is high unlikely they will repeat their  8th position and 37 points off the top.

Some good alternatives in midfield mean they do not have to rely on Stevie Me for inspiration, though he is in fine form. Shelvey, Allen, Henderson,  Lucas, Downing and Suso are all good players.

Upfront, the emergence of Sterling and the purchase of Sturridge means that the Scouse have weapons all over the pitch. Thre are still defensive lapses and the reliance upon Carragher gives us hope.

As does the fact that Liverpool have yet to beat a team in the top half of the table this season! (sorry, dull stat)

Onto the Good Guys…..

Can OG continue his scoring run? Carragher and Agger are both strong men who cannot be bullied but OG has other weapons in his armory, Have Liverpool the pace and organisation to stop Walcott?

In my opinion, the game will hinge upon Wilshere. If he gains control of the midfield and I fully expect him to, we will win.

Runners and Riders:


Given Ramsey’s recent performances I am tempted to let him continue as Diaby regains his fitness and form, but Diaby is a special player and he needs to play. Mr Wenger may well rest OG and play a 4 man midfield, but I hope he takes the more attacking option.

Today’s English Explorer: Sir John Smith (1580-1631). Once more we delve into the Days of Yore. This fellow was the first to map and explore Chesapeake Bay in North America,  furthermore, he named the area New England. In North America he was captured by  a Red Indian tribe, the Powhatan, and saved by the famous Pocahontas (later immortalised by Disney – real story well worth a read)


Full Set. Knighthood.

Leaving home at 16 Smith became a naval mercenary, fighting the French, Dutch and Ottmans. Smith was an expert duellist and was knighted for killing 3 Turkish commanders! He was eventually captured by Turks and sold as a slave before escape. On return to London, Smith joined the Virginia Company setting sail for America and fame. He died in London in 1631. A fascinating man and well worth further investigation.

Arsenal are close to having a very good team, a few considered signing and the world is our  lobster. Forget Diame. Forget Wanyama. Sign Suarez and we will win the CL (at the very least)


Written by Big Raddy


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