Barnet v Arsenal – more mouthwatering than the World Cup final

How many weeks have we waited? – its been far too long; like being separated from a lover, knowing that the date and time is set for a reunion, counting down the hours and minutes until we are re-united.

I’ve really missed Arsenal. I’ve watched a lot of football  in the last few weeks and although it was nice to have Cesc and van Persie in the World Cup final, to see a whole team in the glorious Red and White, heralding the beginning of our preparation for the new season …. what can compare to that?

This afternoon I’ll be at Barnet FC to welcome Arsene Wenger, Pat Rice and our players, new and old – a mix of gifted reserves spiced with a smattering of first team stars who were spared the exertions of playing in the World Cup. I would imagine some managers (Domenech and Capello) may now be regretting the ommission of Arsenal players who would undoubtedly have performed better than the forlorn figures who returned early in failure.

Friendlies at Barnet can be anything from a thrilling 11 goal celebration of beautiful football to a tepid nil nil.

Having watched the way Spain laboured to win the World Cup 1-0, I’d love to see us bang a few in for fun. Here are the results of the games so far this century:

The Barnet fans always make me laugh. They used to sing about ‘the Highbury Library’ and ‘shall we sing a song for you’ etc etc, but like most Arsenal fans, although I’m really excited about the game it would be a bit pathetic to go overboard as we are playing a team from the 2nd division  (apologies to the Barnet faithful). Having said that, I much prefer Barnet to the other team starting with ‘BAR’ who publicly embarrassed our captain in that ‘shirt incident’.

The look on Cesc’s face said it all. Take my word, he will be an Arsenal player next season and he will play with all the passion and conviction that makes him such a great footballer.

This is the 22 man squad as announced on

Manuel Almunia (GK)
Andrey Arshavin
Nacer Barazite
Marouane Chamakh
Johan Djourou
Craig Eastmond
Jay Emmanuel-Thomas
Lukasz Fabianski (GK)
Emmanuel Frimpong
Kieran Gibbs
Conor Henderson
Laurent Koscielny
Henri Lansbury
Ignasi Miquel
Samir Nasri
Havard Nordtveit
Tomas Rosicky
Armand Traore
Thomas Vermaelen
Theo Walcott
Jack Wilshere

Looking at that list, I would love to to see the new boys, Chamakh and Koscielny get some time on the pitch. It will be fascinating to see which centreback pairing takes to the field against pool for the first game of the season. Today we may get an insight into how Vermaelen/Djourou and Vermaelen/Koscielny combos would work.

It will also be interesting to see Havard Nordtveit. The Norwegian is now 20. He’s grown to 6ft 1 1/2 in. (tall for an Arsenal CB!) and has spent the last couple of seasons playing first for Lillestrøm in Norway and last year FC Nuremburg in the Bundesliga where he was deployed as a defensive midfielder, not a centreback?

Slightly more depressing is the choice of Goalkeepers – Almunia and Fabianski. Although I think the latter can become a good keeper, Almunia surely cannot be trusted to perform under pressure in the ‘big games’. Why on earth won’t we get a chance to see Szczęsny? They’ve been raving about him at Brentford all last season. He’s been playing in the league above Barnet, so surely he could have been given a chance. We know what the other two keepers are like to our cost!

The Bees (Barnet) always put in a spirited performance characterised by pace and endeavour – but let us all pray they don’t forget the ‘friendly’ nature of the occassion and injure any of our boys before the season starts.

A group of ‘Arsenal Arsenal’ bloggers will be at the game and I am hoping that each will write a short paragraph on their impression of the game for a ‘composite’ match report tomorrow.

Come on you reds………..

Written by peachesgooner

44 Responses to Barnet v Arsenal – more mouthwatering than the World Cup final

  1. London says:

    Morning all

    Love the title, so true, I noticed it last night, made me chuckle then as it does now.

    Have a great time at the game all those who are going.

  2. GunnerPete says:

    Great to be back….wish we had signed another goalie like Hart and another CB like Jones of Blackburn but our squad looks very strong even without the world cup players. I was on Barnets books in 1959 so I know & love the old club. Just wish they had a rich owner to tart up the stadium. Also wish AFC would allow others to show repeats of the AFCTV for people like me.

  3. Rasp says:

    Morning GP,

    Are you going to the game?, if yes, I’d love to hear your opinion as part of tomorrow’s match report.

  4. Le Winger says:

    I really wish Barazite plays well in pre-season games and promoted to the first team. He can just make difficult things being very simple.

  5. Rasp says:

    Hi Le Winger,

    I’ve been a fan of Barazite for a couple of years. He’s a big strong lad, a bit of a midfield playmaker who is always composed on the ball and has a decent shot.

  6. Morning all

    Thanks rasp for putting the post up 🙂

    I wonder how Arsene will break up the squad this year. Two halves of a mixed team or one half first teamers and the second half ‘reserves’ and younguns

  7. Hi GunnerPete – nice to have you on

  8. hnic says:

    Sorry to dampen spirits!! However, I’m a bit pissed with wenger!! He knew we needed a keeper and has still yet to buy one!!
    We could of had eduardo for 3.5 million euros!! A definite world class keeper. Much better than any option we have! And I’m not saying that only based on his world cup performances! Although they were also outstanding!! all I’ve heard is that we’ve made bids 4 schwarzer! A keeper on the same levels as almunia!! Pointless!! And for more money!! Reminds me of when we could of got shay given for around £4 million and he didn’t even put a bid in!!
    I can tell u guys from now, no matter what defence we have, if we aint got a world class keeper we won’t win the trophies wenger will be concentrating on which are the champions league and the premiership!!!

  9. Fatgingergooner says:

    Wouldve loved to see Szczesny get at least a half, but if Fab is gunna be no.2 next season then he needs to build up his confidence so if he gets the nod in front of Almunia then that might help him along. Can’t wait to see how Koscielny gets on, but I’m equally excited about Djourou n Nordviet getting a game. Might get a hint as to wether AW can trust em as 3rd n 4th choice, or wether we need another CB. Personally I think it’s a couple of year too early for Nordviet n we need another body brought in, but hey, I sit n play Angry Birds on a night whilst Wenger runs the best team in the world!!!!!
    Would love to see 4-4-2 with Chamakh n Eduardo together aswell, I think Eduardo would absolutely love playing with a selfless striker like Chamakh, certainly a partnership that could work if VP gets his usuall injury lay off.
    Fingers crossed for Barnet aswell, was chatting to one of their fans the other day who was optimistic that they could push towards the play offs this season (not sure about that!), would be nice to see em stay up this season.
    Let’s start as we mean to go on…….come on you Gooners!!!!!

  10. Fatgingergooner says:

    Just a footnote aswell, absolutely brilliant to see Englands next left back return to the side. Traore doesn’t do anything for me, but Gibbs looks like (it pains me to say!!!) he could become the next Ashley Cole. Great to have him back.

  11. goonermichael says:

    it’s nearly here. It’s a bit like 4 in the morning at Christmas when I was kid

  12. London says:


    You leave some really good comments on here, I usually agree with most of what you say but reading through this morning I came across something I didn’t understand…..what are “Angry Birds”?

  13. ArseChicago says:

    Have fun you guys. Looking forward to reading the reports. Definitely a good day to put transfer worries aside and enjoy the talent we have.

  14. Jay-Jay says:

    Afternoon folks:

    It’s glorious isn’t it? I may just be, all respected intended, Barnet at the Underhill, but it brings with it hope and relief that we no longer have to watch national teams because they have one of our own playing for them.

    I’m not going to the game – the pains of living in Bristol – but I shall be making sure I catch it on TV or online (wherever it’s on). I think we’ll certainly get a look at Chamakh and Koscielny, and I’m also looking forward to see Djourou and Nordtveit.

    I hope all you guys going to the game have a good time!

  15. irish gooner says:

    looking forward to this game but the 2 keepers in the squad is really pissing me off,were is our new number 1? its less than a month until anfield and god help us if they are still here,,,,,

  16. Irishgunner says:

    I found a stream but its cack so will catch highlights later.

    Apparently Almunia isn’t there AT ALL, Fabianski started with Chesney on the bench. Simpson started as well and has scored.

  17. SharkeySure says:

    YOu ain’t missing a lot Irish.

    Even the tream is sketchy. I lose sound or get a freeze almost every five minutes…its improving though.

    Arshavins goal was announced on the text side bar, but was still a whole minute away on the stream. I switched to an atdhe stream and it was a whole 5mins ahead of mine !!!

  18. Irishgunner says:

    Ha ha Sharkey I’ve given up, maybe the streams are just bad – added to my internet connection its not worth it.

    There’ll be highlights up somewhere later I’m sure.

    Its mad how much the squad has changed overnight, no Almunia and where did Simpson come from? Maybe A.N. Other club came to have a look at Simpson and that’s why he’s playing?

  19. Jay-Jay says:

    0-3, Arshavin looking pretty good.

    My stream has just decided to stop working.

  20. SharkeySure says:

    Dozing off weatching the 2nd half…

    Frimpong and Wilshire absolutely lit up the first half !!

  21. kelsey says:

    I got the whole game on Iragi TV with the Arsenal FC commentary,mainly Stewart Robson.
    Nice workout Frimpong and Wilshere excellent in the first half and Arshavin showed moments of class. Complete new team in the second half and no one was outstanding but nice to see Gibbs and Djorou have a solid game.I am sorry can’t say the same about Theo, though he did put in a few crosses to nowhere.

    Strange no Almunia or Eduardo and even more weird that Mannone who had come on at half time for Fabiansky was subbed for Chesney. Does that tell us something about our keeper situation.

    Like the new shirts and the Arsenal Arsenal banner in the crowd.

  22. Irishgunner says:

    Apparently Almunia has the flu.

  23. kelsey says:

    Well just been browsing over at the other channel and for a moment I thought i was watching an episode of Jackanory.
    Apparently our whole team is shite, the reserves are shite, the regulars are shite and the new signings are shite.oh dear oh dear.

  24. Irishgunner says:

    Kelsey – Don’t forget Wenger is shite and only in it for the bonus he gets 😆

  25. kelsey says:

    aparently Almunia has got the sh….. 🙂

  26. Irishgunner says:

    😆 Poor Mooney ha ha

  27. Hiya – great first half – not great second half

  28. Irishgunner says:

    “There was a lot of unneeded talk,” he said. “It is not pleasant to read this every day. Now, the story has to stop.

    “Cesc is our captain, he is so important to us and we want to keep him, that is why we were not listening to any offers.

    “It was not a problem of money, just the desire to keep him at the club.

    “We can only influence our own behaviour, and I believe things have now gone straight again with Sandro Rosell. We always had a consistent attitude and were always reluctant to talk about Cesc’s departure.

    “It is very important we give the impression that because somebody wants a player from us, we don’t just give in,” he went on.

    “We have shown our love and care for Cesc since the start. I believe Cesc loves the club, has shown his attachment to the club many times and I am very confident the story will end there. We want Cesc to be part of our club next year, and that is it.

    “What we want is to build a team for the future, to develop our team and are not in any talks for next year or the year after – we want our players to be focused on the targets we have at the Club.”

  29. kelsey says:

    Apparently some that paid their £3.00 didn’t get a good link or none at all.

    peaches what did you make of the new boys and others.

  30. Irishgunner says:

    “The Arsenal fans displayed an X-rated anti-Barcelona banner at Underhill” – Is this true?

    Read more:

  31. Irishgunner says:

    “I believe that Gallas and Silvestre will sign somewhere else,” said Wenger. “Sol Campbell is still in no man’s land at the moment.”

    Arsenal have been linked with a £4million move for Fulham goalkeeper Schwarzer but, when asked whether he was interested in a deal, Wenger replied: “Not really.

    “We are still looking at various situations, but I would not like to come out on any individuals.”

    Manuel Almunia missed Arsenal’s friendly win over Barnet on Saturday through illness and Wenger is yet to decide who will be his first-choice keeper during the coming campaign.

    He added: “At the moment, in pre-season, there is no No.1 – you have to give a chance to everyone to show how good he is. You cannot decide that today.”

  32. kelsey says:

    “Sol Campbell is still in no man’s land at the moment.”

    Ah he’s still in Scotland then.

    Is Almunia really ill ?

    IMO Jack should definitely stay with us this season,he can only enhance the squad.

  33. 26may1989 says:

    Flu or no flu, those words from Wenger could hardly be clearer: he’s definitely working on replacing Almunia. Here’s hoping he succeeds and gets a serious new guy in.

  34. Rasp says:

    If we keep Almunia, the fans will begin to get on his back if/when he makes mistakes as they did with Eboue.

    There was a shining light in the game today, but I shall reserve my thoughts until tomorrow’s post.

  35. I didn’t see an anti-barcelona banner – did you Rasp?

  36. Rasp – do you want to do the first half and I’ll do the second?

  37. Rasp says:

    Hi peaches,

    I’m not sure I can do anything – do you want to make a start.

    I didn’t see any anti-Barca banner either?

  38. London says:

    There was an anti Barcelona banner, going up hill, if you face that goal it was at the back on the right.

  39. Hello London – didn’t notice – were you there?

  40. London says:

    Hi Peaches

    No I didn’t go, I have been to so many of them over the years, this time I watched it on ATV, the picture was fine all the way through.

    There was only one moment when I wished I was there and that was when the Chamakh song was sung for the first time…..loved it.

  41. There was a section of the crowd where the song for Chamakh came from and they were really up for singing to the players, it was great – in fact they’d just sung to Nasri and he scored less than a minute later.

    We had some very small children sitting in front of us that got bored and a family from Scotland that knew very little about football or Arsenal and talked the whole way through very loudly 😦

  42. 26may1989 says:

    Now now peaches, we’ve got to spread the word and get as many sprogs into Goonerism. I’m sick and tired of the little so-and-sos round my area all donning Chavski blue. The more that go the enlightened way, the better.

  43. Morning all

    Theres a NEW POST

  44. […] Barnet v Arsenal – more mouthwatering than the World Cup final How many weeks have we waited? – its been far too long; like being separated from a lover, knowing that the date […] […]

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