Raving at The Craven.

A Spring day in London town, an away trip to that pleasant part of the metropolis, our team on a run of unbeaten games and against decent opposition, should be a good day out.

3 points would make it a great day out.

Fulham’s loss to Chelsea last week shouldn’t mask the quality of their recent play, they were the better team in the first half yet went in for their quartered orange slices two goals down – it was a travesty. I am sure Martin Jol will assure his team that today will be different.

Early in the season we were having a pub discussion about who would be the last man standing in a pub brawl amongst football managers, I am sure you have done the same…… Needless to say our beloved Mr Wenger wouldn’t last long, probably even less time than Fatboy Benitez. The unanimous winner was Martin Jol, a man who has a face like a dog chewing a wasp, but a good manager and a man players are unlikely to argue with!


Want Some?

What I like about Jol is that his team play for each other; Fulham have some fine talent in Berbatov and Ruiz, but essentially their strength comes from unity. How else can you explain Big Phil Senderos getting 20 games this season. I have always like Big Phil and thought he could be a future Arsenal Captain, sadly injury, lack of composure and a slower turning circle than even our BFG, has hindered his career.

Let us be under no illusions, today will be a tough game, Fulham beat Spurs at White Hart Lane  only a couple of weeks ago and in Berbatov have a player who likes to score against The Arsenal, but as always this will be about how we play. The loss of two points to Everton was a result of a lack of quality finishing; we won the game in every department but failed to be clinical.

My Team:

arse v fulham

Of course, the above could turn out to be complete tosh, and AW will go with a 3 man midfield of JW, Santi and Mikel, but should he field my team I think we will win the game.

AW has been in the press saying nice things about The Ox – that he is maturing and will have more games next season. Is this a carrot to an unhappy player or will Alex find his place in a team which seems settled with Alex on the bench? The latter hope because he is an essential element in the Triple winning team of 2016.

Today’s English Explorer:  Many of our explorers have been rich men who travelled to find fame, but of course most of England’s great explorers had one thing in mind when they left behind the Cliffs of Dover – Money. Great Britain became Great on the back of trade and opening up of new markets or finding new items for sale was hugely important. Think how the import of silk, sugar, tobacco, teak, cotton etc affected the country we know and love. Charles William Barkley (1759 – 1832) was one of those traders. Going to sea aged 11 working for the East India Company, he was mainly sailing between the Far East and the West Indies. In the 1790’s he went to British Columbia, Canada – there is a sound named after him (the Barkley Sound near Vancouver). The Pacific was his domain and he started trading fur between China and Canada.


There are no images of Barkley but I found this old pic of the Young Raddy

Barkley traded all over the Pacific bringing huge wealth to both The East India Company and his English backers. During this time he opened up unknown areas of the Canadian Pacific coast. He died in Mauritius aged 73.

Can we win today? Well, we have been very good on the road, the team is consistent and the sun is shining. What do you think?

p.s. It isn’t really the Young Raddy – he was better looking.


Big Raddy

151 Responses to Raving at The Craven.

  1. Rob Lucchi says:

    I think Giroud and Podolski as our front two will be more lethal than either Giroud with Walcott or Giroud with Gerv.

  2. Rob Lucchi says:

    btw, nice pic Raddy! 🙂

  3. dandan says:

    Have not read your post yet BR, but following on from Micki And GIE this morning. This was published in this mornings Times and may answer somw questions.

    Smart black shirt, grey strides, expensive-looking shoes and Zorro-beard neatly trimmed, Theo Walcott looks sharper than a carving knife when he walks into the Arsenal training complex. But, football dressing rooms being what they are, he has taken grief that morning for the crime of dressing up for photographs.
    “I’m normally a jeans man, but actually I like looking smart,” he says. “There’s talk of compulsory suits next season on match days, which I think is great. More grown up.”
    Ah, growing up. It is a theme that comes up lots in conversation with Walcott, who, you almost have to remind yourself, is 24. He is no longer the kid so impossibly young that he looks like a mascot in Arsenal team photographs.
    He speaks now as a Barclays Premier League and England player of eight years, 31 international caps and more than 250 games for Arsenal. More pertinently, he talks as the hardened veteran of one of the most baffling contract renegotiations of modern years; months of angst concluding with Arsenal re-signing their own forward for a lot more money than he would have accepted in the first place.
    If there was an upside to all the palaver, Walcott talks of the toughening-up process that came from having to stand up for himself in the face of accusations of greed and disloyalty, with his employers pressuring him to sign a new contract and the manager leaving him out of the starting XI for nine Premier League matches.
    Those around Walcott, friends and family, worried how he might be affected. He is such a nice, polite lad. Too soft, some have thought. They worry about that a lot less now after Walcott proved that he could enjoy the most productive season of his career, despite all the distractions.
    “There’s always pressure in football, but there was a lot more than I’ve had to deal with,” he says. “More than going to the World Cup as a teenager or missing out on the World Cup when I thought I should go in 2010.
    “This was bigger than all of that, especially because I could affect it. The World Cups, I didn’t play. It’s out of my hands. This was different, and tough. With this, if I’d hit bad form I could guess what people would say. I had to perform to my best.” Or else.
    Walcott has endured bouts of criticism from Arsenal fans for the sin of inconsistency in a frustratingly inconsistent team, the worst of it against Tottenham Hotspur last season. While his family suffered in the stands, he came out for the second half and scored twice in an astonishing 5-2 win. That took steel, and there is a flash of it now.
    “Last year, against Tottenham in the first half, I got a lot of abuse from the fans, which wasn’t fair,” he says. “I’m sure they would be nice to my face. People always are nice when they meet you. They would come up to me and say, ‘We hope you stay, but respect your decision.’
    “It’s only on messageboards or Twitter and stuff — or when it’s in a crowd — that it turns nasty, and that’s why I avoid all that stuff.”
    Tougher than any criticism was not playing. Walcott was banished from the starting XI as Arsène Wenger demanded a quick answer over the pay negotiations. “Last season I played for 52 games and then I was left out for nine — it was very difficult,” Walcott says. “Being left out made me angry.”
    It was then, Walcott says, that he found a new inner resolve as he went to see Wenger to ask why he was being exiled. “Going to see the manager used to be like sitting outside the headmaster’s office, biting my nails, thinking, ‘Oh s***, what am I going to do now?’ Feeling like I was sweating,” he says.
    “But I think the whole business showed me that I had to decide what I wanted and go for it. I think that did change me. I would like to think I’m still a nice guy, well brought up, but maybe more determined now to get what I want. If I want to talk to the manager, I’ll go do it. Maybe in the past I would fret — ‘Should I, shouldn’t I?’ That’s a different side of me. I came out of the meeting with bit more understanding of what the manager wanted and that’s fine. As long as I did what he asked I was back in the team.”
    Walcott was recalled and, in January, a new 3½-year contract worth more than £100,000 a week was agreed. Walcott insists that he never wanted to leave Arsenal and never asked his agent about other offers, even though they could have made him rich beyond anything on offer at the Emirates Stadium. Chelsea or Manchester City would have been getting a £20 million-plus footballer for nothing. “I was hoping you would say £60 million,” he says, laughing.
    “People now can surely see it didn’t revolve entirely around money. I could have hung on and walked out for nothing and who knows what I could have made then? My agent might know, but he never told me and I never asked. I just wanted to be in the team, playing well.
    “I always said I wanted to stay. I know what I owed to Arsenal and to the manager, getting me when I was 16. I did want to repay the club. Others might say that and not believe it, but I do.
    “When a club and a manager have shown interest in you at such a young age, when you’ve done next to nothing in the game, and they’ve helped you reach the top level, helped you develop and work around top players, you don’t lightly walk away from that. I wanted to stay because I still think this club can go on to achieve something. It’s ‘when’ and not ‘if’ we win something.
    “If anything came out of it all, I think it’s a bit more respect between me and the manager. We’ve shown faith in each other and I feel there is a bit more responsibility on me to create something out of nothing.”
    Despite that period of exile, Walcott remains Arsenal’s top scorer with 18 goals this season — although he is more pleased to find himself in second place in the Premier League list of assists, his ten putting him one behind Juan Mata, of Chelsea.
    He has not scored since the end of January, which, just to prove that you can never please all the people, resulted in Wenger being forced to deny that Walcott is too comfortable with his fat new contract.
    “Robin [van Persie] went through a tough goalscoring period — it happens to the best and no one questions if he is still giving everything,” Walcott says. “I’m not in some comfort zone. How can I be when we’ve got five games to go and a fight for a place in the Champions League?”
    Walcott is confident that Arsenal will stay ahead of Spurs. “I think because we’ve had the experience of doing it at the death and Tottenham have a history of phasing out, we have the upper hand, definitely, the experience of coping with the pressure of it,” he says. “Losing at their place was obviously a blow, but we’ve bounced back from that and when you’ve expected them to win they don’t and that has to make you wonder about how much they want it.”
    That question has been asked a few times of Arsenal, and Walcott himself, but he insists that the statistics, the stability of the new contract, his age and experience point to his peak years coming up.
    There are other signs. He turned to a sports psychologist 18 months ago, but dropped it because he feels much more self-reliant. With England, one of the coaches pulled him aside recently and explained how they were looking to him to step up as a senior member of the squad.

    There is his overt eagerness to play as striker. “I haven’t done it much. I might have to ask for another word with the manager,” he says.
    Then there is his marriage in the summer to Mel, his girlfriend from childhood. All part of the growing-up process; beard, suit, wedding bells and, he insists, a new assertiveness. We really must stop talking about him as a kid. Now over to Walcott to prove that we are seeing a man in his prime.
    Theo on . . .
    … Contract row ‘There’s always pressure in football, but with the contract there was a lot more than I’ve had to deal with. More than going to the World Cup as a teenager’
    … Discipline ‘I got booked in the Champions League for kicking the ball away — I was actually having a shot. Trouble was it went towards the corner flag’
    … Ambition ‘I would like to think I’m still a nice guy, well brought up, but maybe more determined now to get what I want’
    … Spurs ‘We’ve got the experience of coping with the pressure. When you’ve expected them to win they don’t and that has to make you wonder about how much they want it’
    … Self-belief ‘At times, with myself maybe I haven’t believed how good I am. People around me, my agent, my dad, say that to me sometimes. I think that might be the case’
    From boy to man: the Walcott years
    August 2005 Makes Southampton debut against Wolves aged 16 years and five months
    January 2006 Joins Arsenal for fee ultimately agreed at £9 million
    May 2006 Becomes England’s youngest player when he faces Hungary aged 17 years and two months
    June 2006 He is a member of England’s World Cup finals squad but does not play
    August 2006 Finally makes his Arsenal debut against Aston Villa
    February 2007 Scores in League Cup final but Arsenal lose 2-1 to Chelsea
    September 2008 Strikes a hat-trick in England’s World Cup qualifying win away to Croatia
    June 2012 Scores three minutes after being introduced as a substitute in Euro 2012 win over Sweden
    October 2012 Hits a hat-trick as Arsenal recover from 4-0 down to win 7-5 away to Reading in the Capital One Cup
    Words by Bill Edgar

  4. dandan says:

    Enjoyable article BR as always, Saturday is not the same without your worldwide wanderings.

    As far as todays game is concerned my only disagreements would be Jack for Thomas for the first hour as I believe it will be a physical battle “early doors” and the Plod through the middle instead of Giroud . But there we go opinions again.

  5. Gooner In Exile says:

    Nice PM Raddy, I don’t like Cravrn Cottage for us, it’s a tight ground and the fans can pile on pressure. We sometimes struggle in those circumstances. We need to get ahead early and make it convincing lead that they give up on.

    We need these 3 points today.

  6. Big Raddy says:

    BR not around today.

    You onliners will be one short.


  7. chas says:

    Excellent, BR.

    I particularly like the Triple winning team of 2016.

    Is that (twice) Knightley with the whiskers?

    Have we got a bearded (or even mustachioed) AA’er?
    Rumour has it that Evonne can grow a fearsome set of mutton chops if roused.

  8. evonne says:

    and I have hairy legs and armpits, and eat skinny whimps like you for breakfast

  9. evonne says:

    Thank you for PM Raddy, excellent read!
    I was asked what are my plans for today. I looked at them as if they were completely mad – it’s a matchday, so I will obviously start with Raddy and hopefully finish with Irish and GM gloating.

    I don’t like Fulham, even less since Jol was appointed their manager. I think that not only he would be the last man standing, but also will finish in top 5 of best EPL managers. The fact that he has a face like a pug makes him even more lovable

    But we MUST win, must, must must. Wenger and Jol go a long way and have each other’s tactics sassed out, so I expect a slow game where we cancel each other out. hopefully we win by 1 goal

  10. chas says:

    Thank you ever so much for calling me a skinny whimp on my birthday. It’s been years since I’ve been skinny but I’m the closer now than I have been for 15 years. I love being skinny. 🙂

    p.s. I’m not sure about the offer of eating me for breakfast. 🙂

  11. Been sifting through the pics of ladyboys you met when you visited my neck of the woods, eh Big Woofty.

  12. Happy birthday young Chas.

    I don’t know your age, but judging by your posts, the cost of candles won’t have bankrupted your mum.

  13. I actually arrived in first place today, but after working my way through “War and Peace – the unabridged version” at 9.52am, I posted in 11th place. Bah! 🙂

  14. chas says:

    Cheers Big Al,
    The juvenile nature of my comments do beli the fact that I’m an old scrote really. I’m so hoping for a nice present of 3 big ones.

  15. chas says:

    * belie

  16. evonne says:

    Happy birthday Monster!
    You are 1 week older than me 🙂

  17. I was trying to determine your age, evonne, from the ‘Dancing Queen’ video I saw yesterday.

    “(Are You Ready) Do The Bus Stop” by “Fatback” could also have been a good suitable music score. You and Chas won’t remember that one.

  18. dandan
    sorry,… forgot 🙂

  19. chas says:

    Do The Bus Stop in Fulham 🙂

  20. evonne says:

    Big Al – I will be 54 next week and Chas is 53 going on 12 on match days

  21. “(Are You Ready) Do The Bus Stop” birthed the development of line dancing [wiki].

  22. Approx year 2000 I visited a great little music shop in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire. I had been tipped off about the bargain prices on retro stuff in particular. Being something of a music buff I caught a train with credit card in pocket.

    I came home with two bags of CD’s (brand new, cellophane wrapped) at a fiver each. Bob Marley, Marvin Gaye, Supremes, Curtis Mayfield, James Brown, Funkadelic, Pariament, and many more. My purchases included half a dozen “Fatback” albums.
    Some Blues albums too.

    I revisited the shop a few more times. Must have spent around five or six hundred pounds in total in the space of six months.

    The name of the shop is “FOPP”. Back in 2000 I believe there were only 5 or 6 branches in England, and one in Edinburgh.
    Now, the figure is in the region of 100, around the country.

  23. Gooner In Exile says:

    “evonne says:
    April 20, 2013 at 1:11 pm (Edit)
    Big Al – I will be 54 next week and Chas is 53 going on 12 on match days

    It’s comments like that which make me feel young 😀

  24. Gooner In Exile says:

    Jack out Tomas in:

  25. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Superb Raddy

    Love the caption with pic of Jol. Another great explorer. My son and I have just skinned a deer. Maybe we could open a fur trade with China 🙂

    Very very Happy Birthday. I know what you want, but she and her sister are busy. So it’ll have to be the three points.

    GiE @1:58
    It’s comments like that which make me feel old 🙂

    Don’t like our team as Santi or Mozart will be out leftish.

  26. Gooner In Exile says:

    It’s okay Micky they will roam 😀 except Theo….he will run down the right.

  27. evonne says:

    Blimey, Raddy almost got the team right. I would prefer Gibbs over Monreal, but happy with the rest

  28. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Thought you might say that 🙂
    As for Theo, well I hope he does just that, as opposed to being in his “I’m a striker really” mood and drifting central and standing next to a defender.
    Do what you do best Theo.

  29. evonne says:

    GiE – I was listening to some Stoke fans yesterday. They hate Pullis and said that even by their standards the team plays rubbish. I recon that even if they survive in PL for next season, he will be disposed of and hopefully will never get another job in UK

  30. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Hi Evonne,
    If we’re doing the “I would prefer” thing, then I’d have Santi central, Gerv left, and Pod down the middle 🙂

  31. MickyDidIt89 says:

    It’s a bloody shame I’m not a Manager really 🙂

  32. evonne says:

    Now that is greedy Micky 🙂

    I am watching last Saturday game on Polish TV 😦 The 2 main TV companies merged recently and more than doubled the price, so in protest I terminated my agreement

  33. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Time to tune in.
    Come on you Gunnnnnnnnners

  34. Adrian says:

    Good spell of possession for us so far

  35. Adrian says:

    Red card!! Surely we must win it now!

  36. evonne says:

    am I seeing red??

  37. Adrian says:

    Actually thought the ref pulled out the red card by accident, thought it was going to be a yellow. A soft red for me tbh.

  38. evonne says:

    just as well we got rid off Sidwell when we did, what a doughnut

  39. Adrian says:

    This ref is doing everything what the ref in the everyon game isn’t – actually booking fulham for bad tackles.

  40. evonne says:

    Marriner is the best referee in England

  41. Bloody hell only switched stream on 10 minutes ago, and didn’t know we were playing against 10 until looking here……am currently failing to see the thrust….

  42. Adrian says:

    Come on.. Need to press them higher up the pitch.

  43. Adrian says:

    Surely when playing against 10 men we should be pushing them high up the pitch?

  44. Adrian says:

    Once more another great ball into the box and Koscielny did well to win it for Mertersacker to tap it in

  45. evonne says:

    best German ever!!!

  46. Bloody ell Bould and Adams combine 😀

  47. Adrian says:

    Great ball into the box by Theo*

  48. Adrian says:

    Not a bad first half but not that great either considering we’re playing against 10 men. Should be playing with more attacking intent and pushing then higher up the pitch. The ox should come on in the second half to add more thrust in the final 3rd – surely would be great against 10 men.

  49. Adrian with the goal Fulham can’t play for the draw now, if they sit back to maintain goal difference then we should play out a boring second half and not commit men forward, if Fulham come out to have a go, we will have the space to utilise Theo’s pace, and as you say add Ox or Gerv to the fray.

  50. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Early goal second half would be very nice.
    They have nothing to fight for, so that really would kill them off.

  51. 10’S for that dive

  52. evonne says:

    not even 2 more goals for us could make Berbatov walk even slower

  53. Not sure what the russian commentators are saying but the “tut tut tut” as they showed the replay says they were unimpressed

  54. Adrian says:

    Ramsey’s passing has been poor

  55. Adrian says:

    Can’t believe how many back passes are being done ffs.

  56. Adrian says:

    This isn’t working, we look like we’re playing against 11 men. Think its time for some subs

  57. Adrian says:

    There’s a reason why United’s gonna win the league – they’re ruthless all the time and they wouldn’t be only one goal up right now if they were playing against 10 men. We need to move the ball quicker and I don’t get why we’re sitting so deep.

  58. evonne says:

    good girl 🙂

  59. Adrian says:

    That was fking bs, the linesman waved for offside and the ref played on. Fulham then scored only for it to be ruled offside. Would be so pissed if that was counted.

  60. This is why we needed to get a second, listen to the crowd pile the pressure on

  61. Adrian says:

    Why are we still fking passing the ball backwards ffs?!

  62. Adrian says:

    The scoreline flatters us, and that really says something when we’re playing against 10. Bring the ox on please..

  63. Adrian says:

    How about playing with more urgency.. We have been poor.

  64. We are playing a dangerous game here, trying not to concede rather than taking the game to them, need to hold the ball and need to support each other and squeeze the play up the pitch……

    If we can’t manage that I’m going outside to smoke away the last 5 minutes not watching!

  65. Merseforever says:

    Very poor performance. Why is Arsene not playing the Ox and why is Giroud still on the pitch.

    But as long as we see it out who cares!!

  66. Adrian says:

    Giroud sees red.

  67. Thats a joke!!!!!! He slipped

  68. he is not trying to roll his foot over the ball in a million years!!!!

  69. But anyway it’ll please those who think we should be a little bit “harder”

  70. Adrian says:

    Seriously for the life of me I can’t fking understand why we’re playing so sh*t this game against TEN men. No urgency at all and sitting so deep, why are we trying not to concede instead of scoring a second? And why not bring the ox against a tiring 10 men team?

  71. Adrian there’s the answer we broke just then and 9 men stayed on our 18 yard box…..the handbrake has been firmly applied today

  72. Adrian says:

    Even if we see this through I’m far from happy with this performance. Absolutely below par and I can’t stand the complacent attitude of not going all out to get a second and instead sitting so deep.

  73. We haven’t held the ball in their half of the pitch so it would have been absolutely useless putting Ox on (imo)

  74. Adrian says:

    Ramsey’s one on one miss says it all.

  75. MickyDidIt89 says:

    That has to be the biggest “phew” of the season so far!

  76. Not a great performance, and now three games without Giroud……but most important thing? 3 points in the bag! Job done (even if it was a bit shoddily done)

  77. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Whatever else, great three points.
    Could we read a positive into the red card what with forcing Pod to play CF?
    Must fly, taking children to the cinema.
    Happy Birthday Chas 🙂

  78. 3 points on Chas’s birthday, I’m guessing Ant and he will sink a few yards tonight in celebration 😀

  79. RockyLives says:

    the only thing Ramsey’s one on one miss says is that it’s a bloody relief we’ve got him in the side and that after running non stop for 94 minutes he still had the energy to make that run out of defence and take the pressure off for the final few seconds to allow us to scrape home.

  80. Adrian says:

    Didn’t manage to catch the first five minutes of the game, out of curiosity was there a minute of silence or any other similiar gestures before the game due to the Boston bombing?

  81. RockyLives says:

    That was a hard watch in the second half. Blimey – I’m exhausted.

    Still, it’s all about the points and seven points from the three games we’ve had since the Spuds last played is a very decent return. At the very least it keeps the pressure on them and the Chavs.

  82. Adrian says:

    Don’t misunderstand my comment about Ramsey, I wasn’t blaming him for that narrow victory (to be fair, I didn’t really expect him to score anyway). Just implying that we had a terrible performance against 10 men and imo, lucky to actually win 1-0. No matter how you look at it, this isn’t champion material.

  83. Big Raddy says:

    Happy Birthday Chas.

    3 points. Happy Days.

  84. Big Raddy says:


    Is it 4th place material?

  85. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Good afternoon to you all,

    Just back from a pleasant few days in London, topped off with an early lunch of pie, mash, liquor and stewed eels in Greenwich.

    Then a quick drive through the Blackwall tunnel and up the M11/A11 back to dear old Norfolk.

    Just discovered that we got the three points at The Cottage, couldn’t care less how we did it, we won and that’s what matters.

    C’mon The Glorious Gunners!

  86. RockyLives says:

    Goes without saying that it was a great pre-match BR.

    Now I’m going back to read the comments…

  87. William McGoonagal says:


    Come on Goons it wasn’t that bad a three points!! BIG pressure on sperz tomorrow even with ‘tomdaley’ available!(Will Giroud get off on appeal like Kompany V Arsenal?)

  88. RockyLives says:

    We had a few too many players not quite on their game today (Santi, Theo, OG) but Fulham played very well after going to 10 men and made it hard for us.

    OG’s was not a red card in my opinion, and if Marriner had not issued the red for Sidwell’s tackle I have no doubt Ollie would have stayed on with a yellow card.

  89. RockyLives says:

    Is it definitely a three game ban for Ollie?

  90. Big Raddy says:

    Don’t know Rocky. It is violent play so probably 3 games.

  91. chas says:

    Didn’t watch the game. Completely stress-free 3 points. I’d recommend it. Happy Birthday to me. 🙂

  92. RockyLives says:

    Happy birthday Chas
    You’ve reached a fine age 🙂

  93. RockyLives says:

    BFG or Arteta for MoTM for me.

  94. LB says:

    Too many sloppy passes from Arteta.

    BFG, solid, marshalled the defence perfectly and scored the winner.

  95. Hi all

    Happy Birthday Chas 🙂

    Great three points, excellent result even though it sounds like it was a bit of a bore fest to watch – I was listening on the radio, soaking up the sunshine 😉

    We’re going to need a post for tomorrow so if anyone can write a match report or give us a few comments to start the day off that would be grand.

  96. Gooner In Exile says:

    Lets be honest everyone gets a 6 apart from the defence who get 7 for keeping a clean one, Koscielny gets 7.5 for making the most of a a bad ball, and BFG gets 8 for showing centre forwards and midfielders how to follow in.

  97. evonne says:

    7.5 for Szczesny for staying awake and being sharp, but no more than that for letting the lucky-for-us-offside in

  98. RockyLives says:

    Arteta – 92% successful pass completion. I thought some of his defensive work today was of the highest order.

    I thought Ramsey had more misplaced passes than in recent games, but still made a very important contribution overall. And his passing was still 88% accurate.

    Santi was our least effective midfield passer with 85%.

  99. RockyLives says:

    It wasn’t so much letting the follow-up shot go in, but – once again – palming the save straight into the path of an attacker.

  100. chas says:

    The result is all that’s important at this stage of the season.
    Ask Everton.
    Thanks BFG. 🙂

  101. RockyLives says:

    In fairness, Szcz did everything else right.

  102. Gooner In Exile says:

    It was a nervous save Rocky, but I guess that reflected the nervy performance of the team second half.

  103. Big Raddy says:

    We may not have played particularly well going forward today but quite frankly who cares?

    The points are all that matters at the moment.

    Tomorrow is a big day as well. If Spurs beat Man City it could be a very tense end to the season especially with MU as our next game.

    We live in exciting times

  104. evonne says:

    yes Rocky, hence 7.5 🙂
    Polish commentators were saying that Szczesny was becoming a bit of a liability on Twitter, appeared arrogant and self conceited; they seem to think that Wenger put him in his place and dropping him from games did the lad a world of good. I agree, nothing like a cold shower for over zeallous

    Mind you, same commentators said that £70m will be available to Wenger this summer to buy 3 players to challenge the title. How would they know that??

  105. dandan says:

    Adrian peace !! my friend, we will and have oft times played much better for less reward. Be Happy, the spuds will be seething,we have the points on the board and they face City tomorrow 🙂

    What happens next year is for next years team to worry about, in the meantime enjoy us riding our luck, its better than cursing the ref or bemoaning our misfortune.

  106. GunnerN5 says:

    Russian tycoon Usmanov tops Sunday Times Rich List.

    Russian businessman Alisher Usmanov has topped the Sunday Times ranking of the wealthiest people in Britain and Ireland with a fortune of £13.3bn.

    The Surrey-based tycoon, 59, who has a 30% stake in Arsenal football club, owns iron ore producer Metalloinvest.

    Mr Usmanov started his business empire with the manufacture of plastic bags.

    His interests now include Russia’s biggest iron ore producer Metalloinvest, a stake in internet business mail.ru and a holding in mobile phone operator MegaFon which became listed on both the London and Moscow stock exchanges last year.

    Mr Usmanov owns Sutton Place in Surrey, the former home of the late oil baron J Paul Getty, as well as a £48m mansion in north London.

    Rich List top 10
    1. (2) Alisher Usmanov (mining and investment) £13.3bn
    2. (5) Len Blavatnik (investment, music and media) £11bn
    3. (4) Sri and Gopi Hinduja (industry and finance) £10.6bn
    4. (1) Lakshmi Mittal and family (steel) £10bn
    5. (3) Roman Abramovich (oil and industry) £9.3bn
    6. (9) John Fredriksen and family (shipping and oil services) £8.8bn
    7. (8) David and Simon Reuben (property and internet) £8.2bn
    8. (7) The Duke of Westminster (property) £7.8bn
    9. (6) Ernesto and Kirsty Bertarelli (pharmaceuticals) £7.4bn
    10. (11) Charlene and Michel de Carvalho (inheritance, brewing and banking) £7bn

  107. Thanks for the smooth and accomplished P~M Big and Randy. as good as your favourite germans(Herr Schenker) performance with the Flying V which I saw live last night.

    I’m going to start to appreciate winning ugly now, of course we played sloppily yada yada yada but we won’t look at our points haul at the end of the season and think, well we didn’t really deserve those 3, but that 3 points was better.

    Hope the oilers win and the manc scum lose so that there’s no chance Van Judas can win the title at the Grove next week.

    That would be final and conclusive proof that while there may be a god, he supports Fergiescum’s devil spawn,

  108. and thanks for the vid of the goal birthday boy monster – 21 today ha ha ?

    I won’t have to bother watching Motd with the blithering idiots on the “expert” panel probably giving us stick again.

  109. Gooner In Exile says:

    All that matters at any stage of the season is points on the board. MotD can say what they like….as I said earlier they won’t criticise Giroud’s tackle because its what we did when we were successful.

    Still think its a very harsh red, but due to where he impacts and without replay I can see why he goes. For me he is trying to put his foot over the ball and turn back but you see his right foot slip on the turf and he loses control.

    But I’d place a bet now that Hansen will call it a cowards challenge.

  110. If Hansen says that GiE then he should get the middle finger salute he deserves.

  111. LB says:

    If a player had a 99% successful pass rate but the one misplaced pass he made led to an equaliser would that be case of him having fantastic stats or would it be a case that he misplaced a key pass at a vital moment?

    I just don’t understand this reliance on stats.

    Arteta had a good game as per usual but, by his own high standards, he uncharacteristically misplaced more passes, especially in the first half, than he usually does.

  112. RockyLives says:

    I’m sorry but I saw it differently. I thought it was one of Arteta’s best games for us. His passing was up to its usual standard, but I lost count of the number of times he stopped really dangerous moments from turning into Fulham goal chances.

  113. Gooner In Exile says:

    LB people use stats to see if what they saw was what happened….and the Opta boys have been selling their wares for a while to the PL clubs so must be right.

    v Swansea 55/60 = 92%
    v Reading 100/108 = 92%
    v WBA 45/51 = 88%
    v Norwich 95/102 = 95%
    v Everton 53/59 = 90%
    v Fulham 104/113 = 92%

    So you are right he gave the ball away more today (9 times) but actually relatively not that many given it was his highest passing game in the last 6 games.

  114. Gooner In Exile says:

    What I am more worried about today is that with 71% possession and also territorial advantage and 237 passes in the final third compared to Fulhams 72 with so much apparently direct and intent talent on the pitch we only managed 11 attempts on goal to Fulhams 7.

  115. LB says:

    So, this mini debate is about who is more worthy of the MOTM award.

    Rocky suggested it was between BFG and Arteta, both had very good games but as GIE points out: Arteta misplaced 9 passes where as the BFG scored the winning goal that will most probably put us above spuds at the end of the season.

    Seems pretty straight forward to me; it was the liness who put her flag up to deny Fulham an equaliser.

  116. Gooner In Exile says:

    Haha LB I must admit I didn’t pay enough attention to game (as stream was a bit ropy) to be able to judge MotD….having just watched MotM Szczesny made 3 good saves to deny Fulham (4 if you include the free kick) so could have a shout for MotM.

    Although I’m happy to see Sian Massey get it, does she ever make errors? Sun in her eyes and she correctly called it, she is very calm and unflappable.

    Having watched Girouds red again it is clear he slips but the pundits have not mentioned it.

  117. Gooner In Exile says:

    Anyone see Dowds decision to book Mignolet yesterday and scratch their head?

    The Sunderland defender tries to play it back to his keeper from about 30 yards from his own goal….misjudged the contact and it was sailing over Mignolets head towards goal….he catches it to prevent the own goal and gets booked for handling a back pass. He had no option, there was no way he could have played it with anything other than his hands. Booking seemed very harsh….the free kick probably has to be given although.

  118. LB says:

    Morning GIE

    Szczesny is a very good call for MOTM

  119. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Morning all,
    5 five points ahead having played 2 more, or the other way around.
    I know where I’d rather be, and that’s before you throw in the extra point for having a better goal difference. 🙂

  120. LB says:

    Does Sian Massy ever make errors?

    I am sure someone will come up with some stats in an attempt to prove what they would like to be true. Lol

  121. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Here’s my uneducated point about stats.
    I like a player with a few failed passes if those attempts are potential match winning through balls.

  122. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Nothing ventured and whatnot.

  123. LB says:

    Morning Micky

    Absolutely agree.

    It’s the failed passes that shouldn’t have happend that are the ones that I judge a players performance on.

  124. MickyDidIt89 says:


    We have a bet. Ollie or Pod most goals in all comps. I think the red has swung things firmly in your favour 🙂

    Having said that, my comment after the game that it may prove to be a blessing in disguise as I’d love to see Pod central.

    Would be so happy to send a food parcel to Denmark if the German’s goals see us above Spuds.

    I’m really enjoying this closing of “gaps” 🙂

  125. LB says:

    And what’s more, neither your view nor my view would ever show up in any set of stats; which, when I think about it, is my argument in a sentence.

  126. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    I only use stats when they work in my favour because without context they are meaningless.

    One pass can change a game whereas 100 short passes out of defence will have little effect etc etc

    If a forward shoots 10 times during a game and scores with one then he is a hero, if he doesn’t score he is wasteful etc etc

  127. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Part of our problem is that the new breed of Arsenal fan cannot tolerate/cope with any degree of perceived failure, and that includes an ambitious pass or mazy run. For example, Gerv may burst pass one defender, cut in and lose a second, but failing to beat a third will still be met by groans.

  128. Big Raddy says:

    Micky. My hope is that in the next 3 games Pod bags at least 5 goals 😀

  129. Big Raddy says:

    Oh dear. How dull – we are all saying the same thing.

  130. MickyDidIt89 says:

    7 and really rub it in is absolutely fine by me.

  131. MickyDidIt89 says:

    If you are really lucky you may get some of my unbelievably good smoked venison. Began the salting yesterday, so the timing could be perfect!!

  132. Big Raddy says:

    Fab. I will have to get the seal flippers marinated. We tend to use a mix of crashed puffin and minced seaweed which after time goes rancid and adds a bit of bite to the flipper.

  133. Big Raddy says:

    I thought you were kidding about skinning a deer!

  134. Morning all

    Is anyone writing anything for a post for today?

  135. MickyDidIt89 says:

    We kid not about these things. Serious business. Oscar skinned his first ever yesterday.

  136. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Copy and paste from some obscure paper 🙂

  137. MickyDidIt89 says:

    How about instead of a match report (that we’ve all seen, iscussed and read about) we do Post Match Thoughts.
    Titled: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.
    It was about the points not the performance.
    Does the team operate properly without Santi as the dedicated AM with everything built around him?
    Dropped points from both/either todays’ games a massive plus.
    Chelsea fixture pile up
    How will the Ollie Red effect the run in?

  138. Micky – that’s what I’ve been saying for weeks, we don’t necessarily need a match report just a few comments rolled together to start the days blogging. I haven’t seen the game or even MOTD so I’m not taking this one on 😦

  139. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Morning Peaches,

    That’s a good idea from Mickey, not the cut and paste one, 🙂 I’ve e mailed an offering along the lines suggested.

  140. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I thought mine WAS a post 🙂
    Post it, and away we go, I say.

  141. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Here goes then:_

    Having watched the replay on Sky last night, while already knowing that three valuable points were in the bag, I was struck by the number of easy/safe passes that the Arsenal team played. Nobody seemed prepared to take a chance with a “killer pass”.

    I am sure that we must have racked up the highest number of completed passes in the league yet we are always ready to make just one too many. There seems to be an annoying reluctance to take on the shot at goal or to take the ball into the penalty box in the hope that some frustrated, clumsy defender will bring the player down and give away a penalty.

    On one occasion yesterday I think I counted six or seven passes before the ball crossed the half way line, probably ten more before we got the ball into Fulham’s penalty box, we then passed the ball back out of the box, back over the half way line and eventually all the way back to Szczesny. Throughout this futile passage of play there was no attempt on goal and nobody even looked as though they were going to try a shot.

    I think one word sums up Arsenals football in yesterday’s game…Predictable!!

  142. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Meant to be going on some parish charity walk at 1:30, and I’m praying for rain, or a sprained ankle, or anything, as the pull of staying put and watching someone drop points is pretty strong

  143. Norfolk Gooner says:


    If you were in Norfolk your hopes would be dashed, the sun is blazing down from a cloudless blue sky, but that’s not going to stop me watching in the hope that a certain pair of clubs drop points. 😀

  144. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Off now! Time for a livener!

  145. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Bravo Norfolk,
    I’m guessing that by “predictable” you are referring to the three points 🙂
    Seriously though, fair points. Do you think playing Pod central in light of the Ollie Red will help in the next three games?

  146. MickyDidIt89 says:

    11:15 Livener!!
    Strewth, you take these things seriously don’t you.
    It’s spitting with rain 🙂

  147. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ok, that’s it. You’ve all made me feel guilty. Off to find something to mend or break.

  148. Thanks for your report Norfolk – I’ll publish it as a headline post as per Peachy’s instructions.

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