Blackpool Rocks….- written by BigRaddy

Written by BigRaddy

It seems an age since we thrashed Fulham on a bright sunny day at the Emirates. The first home game of the season always creates a frisson of emotions; the excitement of the resumption of  pre-match customs. The meeting with your football mates (those people with whom one has shared so many highs and lows and yet have little to do with our non-Arsenal lives). The road beer as you leave the pub full of positivity and bonhomie for the stroll to the ground. The mounting excitement as one walks the familiar streets of Islington taking the lucky route to the Emirates. The first sight of the season of the magnificent  and ever impressive stadium. Not the homely , welcoming  and stately sight of Highbury nestling on the side of the hill, but the Emirates, a reflection of the new stature of our club – stand-offish, modern, imposing powerful, and above all else Big.

Through the turnstiles and into the ground climbing those dull concrete stairs to the concourse. Another beer and then up the steps for the season’s first view of the pitch. The imagination soars. For me, this is the finest view in the whole world – you can keep the Taj Mahal, the Grand Canyon, The Barrier Reef – the view from the terrace entrance is imbued with such emotion and awe that nothing can beat it.

On to today’s game. It feels like Same Same but Different. Same injury problems, same transfer frustrations, same criticism of GK’s and defence, but some different personnel. Chamakh’ s first game will I am sure bring him a goal and the start of a fruitfull career at THOF. He looks an excellent signing. The same can  be said for Koscielny who sadly (thanks to an awful refereeing decision) is unavailable today.

Who will play?

Doubts surround the fitness of Djourou, Song, Diaby, Arshavin and Cesc, so my prediction is almost certainly wrong!

Blackpool arrive having had an astonishing win at Wigan – perhaps one of the most surprising first day results in many years. Without exception, all the pundits have predicted relegation and an embarrassing campaign for the Tangerines. Having excelled themselves in the run to the play-off’s and then excited us with their attacking, adventurous style, they are surely doomed when playing PL opposition, but last week’s result may be an indicator of an unexpected resolve. Today will be a big test for them.

According to some sources Blackpool is so named because a drainage ditch emptied from a peat bog into the sea creating a black pool of effluent (really!!) at this point on the Lancashire coast (coincidentaly Dublin is Irish for black pool).

Chris Lowe (Pet Shop Boys) hails from Blackpool (as do Jethro Tull, one of the finest bands of all time), and as everyone knows Chris is a season ticket holder at The Arsenal and a proper Gooner – well played that man.

A convincing win today and a chance for the strikers to fill their boots!


65 Responses to Blackpool Rocks….- written by BigRaddy

  1. Morning all

    Lovely morning here in North London, the early clouds have gone and the sun is shining. Shall I wear the old lucky knickers (clean of course) or start the season off with a new pair?

    Really looking forward to taking my seat today and will probably cry when we start singing Cesc’s name – he’s a lucky boy isn’t he?

    Robin and Chamakh to score for sure for me but Raddy has no Theo or Eboue in his squad!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Big Raddy says:


    No way would EE get in my first 11. As I keep coming back to ….. no end product. A couple of decent games pre-season does not make him good enough.

    As to Theo. Should AW feel confident he will start but I expect him to be an impact sub.

    Then again, I have never been correct with my team selections 🙂

  3. Rasp says:

    Morning all,

    Great write up Raddy.

    It seems our rumoured transfer targets (Squillaci and Schwarzer) are further away from completion than some would like to believe.

    I wonder if AW is thinking ‘I’ll just see how Djourou does today’ and if he puts in a good performance he may decide to stick with what we’ve got and advance Nordveit into the squad.

    From what I read, Stekelenburg is available but we’d probably have to pay the £4m we’re not prepared to go to for Schwarzer.

  4. Red Arse says:

    I am almost there Big Raddy, you paint a great picture of the first home game of the season.

    Peaches, unless the old ones (clean) are in Arsenal colours, then go for new ones (clean, obviously). 🙂

  5. Red Arse says:


    I read Arsene had backed off Steklenburgerbar earlier on because he was priced at £8m.

    Too rich for Wenger, but if we need someone so badly, that seems a reasonable sum.

  6. dandan says:

    good read Raddy, Will peaches put her kiss me quick hat on today. I think Theo will start his pace will frighten the life out of them.

    I am considering doing a post on your namesake Big Raddy, every time I see a cross to the far post with no one arriving there I think of him and Kennedy and how they would have cleaned up. GG used to take the near post

  7. Red Arse says:


    I understand you are a web genius, what do you know about the “Free Football” site on this link;

    I still haven’t sorted out my ticket yet and I am tempted to pay the £9:95 to see the game live on this site.

    But do you think it is too good to be true?

  8. Rasp says:

    Hi RA,

    Sorry, your comment went into spam because it contained a link (we don’t know how to stop that!)

    If only I was a ‘web genius’ just a struggling amateur I’m afraid. The comment’s up so maybe someone can help with the problem …. good luck 😉

  9. Pat7 says:

    Good post BR – nice history lesson!

    I get the feeling AW would rather have Swartzer who can gradually move into the coaching role to let the boys take over. Unfortunately, a new keeper need for Fulham has got to come first & then there’s Hughes to deal with………..

    I really hope AW goes for Stekelenberg who can provide quality at a less fragile age & if the kids are good enough they’ll take over anyway. There’s always the cups to play in anyway for them!

  10. Rasp says:

    Hi Pat7,

    I agree. I get the idea that Arsène is in this mode again where he believes that a player/players are just on the edge of an epiphany and all of a sudden they will come good and he will have been right all along.

    I reckon if Almunia and Djourou have decent games today he will feel that the pressure is off to find replacements.

  11. Pat7 says:


    I do hope he does not make that decision again. We NEED those new signings & have done for years now!

  12. Pat7 says:

    If he bought Stekelenberg he could probably make a profit on him!

  13. London says:

    Great read BR

    I cant see Djourou and Song starting but I do expext Theo to be out there from the off.

  14. London says:

    Three points are vital today so we need a vote.

    A…..Do you think Peaches should wear her lucky underwear (clean of course)?

    B…..Start the season with a new pair ?

    C…..or go commando ?

  15. Red Arse says:

    Steady on London, you’ll frighten the horses! 🙂

    Thanks Rasp, I’ve just got back so couldn’t reply earlier.

  16. Amerigooner says:

    Thanks for the info, I love Tull but didn’t know they hailed from Blackpool! Gonna see Ian Anderson in October actually.

    Chamack for a hat trick on his home debut today!

  17. Charybdis1966 says:

    At a coffee shop on Blackstock road waiting for Peachy and crew to turn up. Stomach churning with excitement, or is it too many jalapenos on my nachos last night ?

  18. Davi says:

    @Raddy – EE has no end product but theo does!??! Eboue’s goals record last year was the same as theos, granted in a few more games, BUT playing all over the pitch, and you must have noticed atht eboue’s delivery into the box is far superior to theo’s? especially recently. Theo is VERY wasteful with the ball. Manu also saved us in at least 2 games last season and his dribbling is the most effective of any player in our squad currently at opening teams up (particularly the smaller teams), and this makes space for other players.
    I hope theo is dropped from the squad frankly, but i know that wont happen, and I think this is a perfect opportunity for vela to be given a start. It’s not the strongest opposition defensively, and arshavin has been a bit poor recently, possibly because he’s not fit. Might as well give carlos a proper chance to impress. His attitude looked great in preseason, and its clear he has talent, so why not? He’s always had better “end product” than theo as well!

  19. Big Raddy says:

    First 20 minutes Theo on fire.

    Hate to disagree Davi but Theo offers so much more than EE in an attacking vein. Eboue he is a decent backup for Sagna – nothing more

  20. dandan says:

    Go Go Theo, bit worried about Diaby he looks a bit lost back there. We actually need a 30 year old C H who speaks French to organize these guys, go buy him this week AW.

  21. Big Raddy says:

    No-one around but that was the one of the most suicidal first half performances I have ever seen at THOF by Blackpool. Theo has totally bamboozled their FB and not to give him help was madness from Holloway.

    Good half from Blackpool’s GK. It would be easily 6 if not for him.

    Tough sending off, but inevitable.

  22. Big Raddy says:

    Sorry DD :-).

    2nd half will be relaxed viewing for once.

  23. dandan says:

    Goal difference could be important this year hope we keep at it

  24. Davi says:

    Raddy – How can you say “nothing more” without answering what I said? Last season this “nothing more” than “decent backup for sagna” played many excellent games for us higher up the pitch and was vital to a couple of victories at least.
    On theo – pleased he scored a hattrick today, and his general play was excellent, but he must take this form forward. Every time this has happened before he has faded badly over the following few games. I dont think he deserved this chance. Blackpool is a pretty easy target, and is the sort of game you can use to give confidence to some attackers, and imo vela was much more deserving of this opportunity from the start.

  25. dandan says:

    Davi; Vela has had many chances and doesnt have a right foot, Theo is important to Arsenal and England, we paid a lot of money for him and we need him to come good.Which he will do.

    Vela in my opinion will leave the club at season end.

  26. Big Raddy says:

    Devi we clearly disagree about EE. To me he is no more than a backup FB. Show me the games that he changed? I can show you times when he embarrasses the club (not as often as in the past but still a diver). Loads of missed chances – his shooting is appalling. His crossing no better than Sagna, apart from a peach of a cross for an RvP goal.

    EE is clearly one of your favourite players and I apologise if I upset you by giving my opinion.

    Theo had a brilliant game. What more can he do? I agree B’pool are hardly the best opposition but we were excellent all over the park. Let us hope Theo can get 20 goals this season. Why not?

  27. Davi says:

    how is theo important? He had I think one good game last season. How many good games has he had in total since hes been here?
    He is in no way important to arsenal. He hasnt shown any consistency in his performances in four years, and if anything he has held back the club by not performing, and held back other young players by being given so many chances while they rot in the reserves or on the bench. Merida might well still be here for example, and he has some real talent.. I hope theo proves me wrong this season after today’s game, but we’ve been here before many times.
    Vela on the other hand has never been given a chance. Do you really think he has had anything like the opportunity that walcott has had? Van persie didnt have a right foot when he joined eitehr, but now hes great on either side, and carlos has obviously improved in that regard since his first season.

  28. Red Arse says:

    Big Raddy,

    Were you watching in Denmark?

    If so do you get all the PL games?

  29. Davi says:

    Raddy – I dont find what you said upsetting and respect your right to an opinion. I just didnt feel you answered my points properly and rather just restated your opinion.
    Embarrasses the club? He just plays football, and hes much better than 80% of players in this league *at least*. And the way he conducts himself is actually very nice. Did you see how he celebrated with walcott today? the guy who took his place in the side for no good reason?
    I join you in praising walcott today, I agree he was brilliant and couldnt do much more. I just dont want to get excited because we’ve been in this situation with him many times before, and he didnt deserve this chance because he hasnt shown anything recently, and has failed many times before. He can be the best player in the world once or twice a season, but for the vast majority of it hes either average or poor. I have nothing against him and hope he does finally come good now, but Im not optimistic in truth, and he has held back the club and other young players. (Of course its not HIM who’s done it, it’s wenger)

  30. Big Raddy says:

    Following today’s disallowed “goal” and their fortunate escape midweek, can anyone doubt that Spurs are the luckiest team in the PL?

  31. dandan says:

    Davi I don’t know how many reserve games you have watched but in my opinion, Vela is a show pony, great coming in on his left foot but his right is a total swinger, hence the chance he missed today.
    All our English players are important under these new rules. Theo Like Wilshire, Gibbs, and Lansbury are also important to England.

    Good luck to Vela he will do well elsewhere, incidentally I would agree with you that EE is an emerging player, he has shown great character to come back from the booing, but it was a shame that it took that to show him his dying swan act was not what is expected of an Arsenal player

  32. dandan says:

    Arry is famous for his luck, wonder if the tax and customs boys will change that. LOL

  33. Davi says:

    Its not english players who are important, it is “home-grown” players. Where is the logic in saying that theo is important because he is english? He will be important when he shows he is a reliable player, who will at least play reasonably well when we need him to 9 times out of 10. fabregas and song are important players because they do that and we clearly miss them when theyr injured. We never seem to miss walcott though.

    What reserve games has vela played in btw? I dont think its been very many…
    Show pony? wtf? I dont think hes playd enough for you to make that judegement. He has a great touch, and he *scored and assisted many goals* when hes started games up front. I suppose a show pony wouldnt do that, right? Some of the goals he has scored very few players could score as well.
    I repeat, van persie was awful with his right when he joined, bt now is very good. At 21, of course vela is not going to be absolutely perfect, hes a better bet than walcott tho.

  34. Big Raddy says:

    Devi. Had Vela played on the right and TW was not at AFC, he would surely have had more opportunities. Like you I think he is a fine player.

    We disagree entirely about Eboue. Imagine we are 1-1 at home to L’pool. AW takes off a mifielder and puts on EE, are you excited? Of course not,. Do you think OK we can go on from here and create more chances? No. Wjhereas if Theo comes on there is every chance of us improving as an attacking force.

    However, should we be 2-1 up, Eboue is the better option, because of his defensive ability.

    IMO Eboue flatters to decieve. I would even go so far as to say I prefer to see Denilson’s name on the teamsheet than EE. I will concede he is a lovely man and his improvement from the nadir of two seasons ago is a testament to his powers of application and determination.

    But for me he remains “not good enough”. I answered you by stating why I believe that to be the case.

  35. Davi says:

    “We disagree entirely about Eboue. Imagine we are 1-1 at home to L’pool. AW takes off a mifielder and puts on EE, are you excited? Of course not,. Do you think OK we can go on from here and create more chances? No. Wjhereas if Theo comes on there is every chance of us improving as an attacking force.”

    I think your first sentence is entirely correct because depending on who eboue replaces my answer might very well be yes.
    “Every chance” – not in my experience. Theo WAS a super sub 2 years ago, didnt really show that last year except for a fortunate goal against barca, after which he was well and truly shut down by keita.
    Anyway, fair enough, I guess we’ll just continue to disagree mate. Good result today, and let’s hope that theo does prove me wrong this season.

  36. Red Arse says:

    For what it is worth, this is my take on the players you are discussing.

    Vela is potentially excellent. He has not had the chances of other players but popping over to Mexico every 5 minutes dose not help.

    Theo has been a huge disappointment to me. I wanted him to set the place alight. He is potentially a v. good player maybe a brilliant player but he needs to show us his improvement this season. I very much hope he does.

    Eboue is someone with an engaging public persona. But for me he just does not meet the needs of a top PL team and he still dives! The test is; what other top 6 team would want him? Not many, if any.

  37. Big Raddy says:

    BTW. Jack Wilshere was magnificent today as was Rosicky. A fantastic performance, so much so that Cesc was hardly missed

  38. Red Arse says:

    Big Raddy,

    Go on, make me jealous, did you watch it in Denmark?

    If I am being too curious, tell me to watch the highlights tonight! 🙂

  39. Big Raddy says:

    RA. Yes I did. The PL is on normal terrestial TV here. Right now I am watching the Chavs. ( it’s that or the wife wants to take me to Gay Pride in the Park!!)

  40. dandan says:

    I saw it in bits on line but the feed kept going down Red, Theo was superb. taken off after an hour to a standing ovation.

    Theo has had many injuries lets hope he stays fit and he will be a top player.

    I am of course aware of the home grown rule, but still say an English nucleus to the team that have come through the system is highly important to the club and the young men I have mentioned are used to playing together and mates. That will add an extra dimension when the tough times come.

    But you are entitled to your opinion, you may well be right and only time will tell what the future holds.

  41. Red Arse says:

    Thanks Raddy, you lucky devil!

    Chavs are on here too, on Sky. I would prefer gay Pride myself, ooer, what am I saying. 🙂

    Dandan, what feed is that? Is it safe? My McAfee gets the hump at the slightest thing. 🙂

    Incidentally, I think your point about guys who have played together or in the same squads do have something extra when the going gets tough.

    Look at the then young Manure team with Scholes, Beckham, Neville etc; I did not like them but they proved your point.

  42. Red Arse says:

    BR, DD,

    It’s really encouraging that you both saw some good stuff from Jack and Theo.

    I had my ear glued to the radio, but you don’t really get a real feel for what is going on. They mentioned Theo a lot because of the goals, of course.

    Just watch the “nay sayers” come out with the old, “it was rubbish, Blackpool were down to 10 men, they have only just come up … blah de bloody blah”.

    I have just heard the full 90 minutes from the Emirates is being repeated tonight on Sky at 8:25. Yaaay. 🙂

  43. London says:

    Chavs-gay pride march, Chavs-gay pride march, Chavs-gay pride march, Chavs-gay pride march……that’s a tuffy.

  44. Pat7 says:

    RA – I saw it over here on a Turkish Package they do!

    A good performance – terrific from Theo & Arshavin a lot better today, Chamakh not! I thought Jack played well but should have been subbed at the hour mark. Maybe he’ll miss the next game. Sagna did very well today as did Song.

    My only disappointment was them not using the game to improve their goal difference but treated it as training fun for the last 30 minutes.

  45. Pat7 says:

    What’s happening on Avenell & is Rico OK – haven’t seen her lately on the blogs?

  46. Big Raddy says:

    No idea Pat. Hope all is well with them.

    IMO Chamakh was good apart from one glaring miss. The fact the B’pool GK had a stormer didn’t help him, but he never stopped running and seems to be very good at closing down the opposition CB’s. He will be a fine addition to the squad.

    All in all, everyone played well.

  47. Pat7 says:

    I thought Chamakh put in the work but it didn’t seem to be happening for him – he looked just slightly off the pace/not quite in it which is hardly surprising in his 2nd Prem match. His goal was a great header & he might have had another but for the tackle that led to the penalty……….

  48. Evening all

    It was the Theo show without a doubt whether the opposition were up for it or not Theo certainly was. He was strong and bossy and took his goals really well and could have had a couple more.

    Diaby was a bit worrying early on but grew into his role – he was guilty of a few bad passes when he took too long to think about what he was going to do or the ball got nicked off of him – no change there then.

    Almunia had nothing to do but he was captain again – for those who didn’t go to the game I can confirm that there wasn’t a poster of him in the middle of the programme – usually the first home game would have the number1 as its centre-fold.

  49. London says:


    Do you need a report?

  50. Ooooh yes please London – do you fancy doing one, that would be lovely – you know how I love your match reports and you’ll love doing this one 😉

  51. dandan says:

    Peaches did Rasp have a smiley day.

  52. London says:

    Consider it done. My body clock is up the swanny so I will put it in drafts, if I haven’t posted it myself by 9 please whoever is awake press print as I my not get up until one, as happened today… fact, if I wasn’t woken by Mrs London I would have slept through the game — damn jet lag.

  53. Forgot to mention that Song really was the man today, impeccable at centre-back – didn’t put a foot wrong.

    One Song, we only have one Song xx

    Thanks London – don’t worry leave the publishing to us – have a good sleep

  54. Davi says:

    @Red Arse – I do think most top6 teams would be happy with eboue in their squads. In fact I think he’d be a number 1 fullback in most sides. REmember how he was always lnked with barca and other top euro teams. It’s quite possible there was something in that. It depends on how they like to play. Imo/to my knowledge only maicon and dani alves are clearly better attacking right fullbacks in the world right now. Ivanovich is probably a better all round player, but going forward eboue is better.

    @ Raddy – agree wilshere and rosicky were great today. Especially rosicky. That was one of his best games for arsenal. His passing was insanely good. He is looking like the best substitute for fabregas currently. He was always meant to be one of the most talented players around, but his injuries have seriously held him back in his career.

  55. RockyLives says:

    Got to give a big mention to our little Mozart. I thought Rosicky was outstanding today and (this feels like heresy but I’m going to say it anyway) we seem a bit more direct with him pulling the strings in CM than we do with either Cesc or Nasri. If he can stay fit and in the form he showed today at the Scousers, he’s going to be one of the first names on the team sheet.
    BR – thanks for the great read. Now that I’ve moved across the Atlantic I’m gutted to be missing that special magic of the first home game. Nice to namecheck the Tull, too.

  56. RockyLives says:

    * should be “today AND at the Scousers”

  57. dandan says:

    Morning all…..Interesting article to wake up to.

  58. kelsey says:

    Morning dandan and all.

    I was asked to do the match report but I see London is preparing one, it makes much more sense as he was actually there.

    A few observations and questions as others will have their own views of the display.

    At 1-0 Blackpool had their only real chance, but Sagna was off the pitch and not for the first time Clichy wasn’t close to his man.

    Did RVP get a bigger cheer than Cesc, who looked a tad embarrassed when he came on.

    My guess is that RVP wasn’t fully fit and may well be missing next week.

    I wanted to see Almunia tested but in all fairness we could have played without a keeper.

    Great confidence booster for Theo, but why take him off when he was in full flight ?

    Most outstanding performances on the day, Sagna,Rosicky,Walcott and a revived Arshavin.

    The defence hardly needs a mention,as one hardly noticed them.

    3 points in the bag, 6 goals scored, none conceded and a good workout for those still seeking fitness.

  59. Rasp says:

    Morning kelsey, dandan,

    Rosicky and Sagna were stand-out players for me (obviously Theo too). Sagna just seemed more lively and offensive,but I suppose that was because we really didn’t have that much defending to do.

    Dare I say that we haven’t really missed Cesc so far. Obviously at his best he is outstanding, but Nasri, Rosicky and Wilshere (and Ramsey when he’s back) can all do the same job. I didn’t like to hear people being critical of Chamakh yesterday.He is still finding his feet and like the other player who went to man city, he works tirelessly.

  60. dandan says:

    I didn’t think Diaby looked very clever defensively. Theo was taken off to give Vela some minutes it is a balancing act keeping all fit

  61. dandan says:

    Sorry morning Rasp, Kelsey

  62. kelsey says:

    you meant unlike…. rasp.

    Interesting that all Theo’s goals came from a more central part of the pitch and Chamakh went out on the wing when RVP came on.

    Diaby is more naturally an attacking midfielder, and i would say his goal was the best of the 6, but he remains an enigma.

  63. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All

    I would love to be an enigma

  64. Rasp says:

    New post ….

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