Not by the hair on my chinny chin chin: Napoli 2 – Arsenal 0

Arsenal arrived in Napoli knowing they had to leave with nothing more than a 2 goal deficit. That is not the best recipe for a winning performance, we have seen it in the past. Not just by us but by many other teams.

The simple fact is that when the CL Group draw was made many of us were contemplating whether it would be better to exit in totality or join that other mob on Spursday.

The fact we went into this match in such a strong position is testament to the form of the team this year.

Arsene sent an experienced side on to the pitch, this was probably one of the oldest average age squads we have seen take the field in red and white for quite a long time, only Jenkinson and Szczesny under 25. The game plan was simple soak up pressure, get the ball up to the three of Cazorla, Ozil and Rosicky and try and keep the ball for as long as possible.

To a certain extent the first half was very comfortable, we were rarely threatened and Szczesny was not forced into serious action, the centre of defence was calm and assured with Mertesacker and Koscielny seeming to build on their growing confidence together, if Mertesacker didn’t win first ball then Koscielny swept round with consumate ease. We even managed to have an effort or two of our own, Giroud denied after some lovely build up play.

But in the main this was a game of containment, Napoli were quick to pressure us with the ball, giving away a number of small fouls which the experienced heads were winning to take pressure off us.

At half time I was quite content, whilst we hadn’t created much we had not conceded many chances and a point looked assured. I was pretty sure Napoli could not keep up the intensity of their press for the next forty five minutes.

How wrong could I be? Napoli seemed to come out energised perhaps by knowing the scoreline in France and that even a 1 goal win would see them progress, they came out firing and we found it harder to keep the ball and harder to shift our defensive line up the pitch.

There were a few reasons for this:

a) Typical Italian Centre Half play preventing Giroud from bringing down the high ball.

b) More hurried long ball clearances in the second half rather than finding feet as we had done in the first half, meaning the quality of ball up the pitch was poor an coming straight back at us. This was because we were lacking options in front of the back 4, several times Mertesacker, Jenkinson, Gibbs and Koscielny were faced with three yellow shirts in front of them and no movement to find an angle from Arteta or Flamini. This got worse after Arteta’s dismissal.

c) Not shifting the line up the pitch, when we were in possession, this is maybe where Arteta’s weakness as a defensive midfielder highlights Flamini’s strength. Flamini was imploring his teammates to move forward with him to press Napoli higher up the pitch, with Arteta refusing to budge from a position ten yards in front of the centre halfs there were large gaps for Napoli to play in and leaving us defending our eighteen yard box.

Back to the game, Napoli got their breakthrough with 70 minutes on the clock, Higuain fed too easily inside the box and allowed to turn and shoot in one motion and he found the bottom corner.

Arteta effectively took away any chance of an equaliser by earning himself a second yellow card, admittedly Callejon earned a row of 10’s for the triple summersault tucked salko that followed marginal contact, but I would expect Arteta to know better, I sometimes suspect he thinks the captains armband exempts him from soft yellow cards.

Meanwhile Szczesny was doing his best to waste time at every opportunity, despite Arsene’s protestations from the sideline for him to “Play”. I was glad I saw Arsene doing that because it tells us who was responsible for the mentality shown on the pitch. More work to be done by Arsene on instilling the philosophy.

Most surprising that down to ten men and a goal down Napoli didn’t go for the jugular, they had one guaranteed way to progress, win by three, but they played it around at the back content to win 1-0 and hope Marseille could hold out.

As news filtered through that Dortmund were ahead Napoli pressed as hard as they could and found a second goal with a minute of injury time to play, Jenkinson allowing a pass round his body and Mertesacker outpaced in behind, Szczesny advancing on a bouncing ball all conspired to give Napoli the slimmest of hopes.

Thankfully the referee feeling guilty for his part in the last twenty minutes called a halt to the game within seconds of the restart.

Through to the knockout stages…again, but second in the group, at the end of the day you have to beat good teams to win this competition, if we think we can win the tournament, an easy tie in the first knockout makes no difference, if we think we can’t win it surely better to be done and dusted early?

More important is the trip to Manchester on Saturday lunchtime, rest those legs and figure out how we are going to set about them. I predict a few changes across the midfield and perhaps a run out for Theo.

Written by Gooner in Exile


140 Responses to Not by the hair on my chinny chin chin: Napoli 2 – Arsenal 0

  1. JanMan says:

    Good morning, thanks GIE.
    Somewhat disappointed that we did not manage at least a draw last night. Still don’t understand why Walcott wasn’t used as I feel the game was crying out for us to use his pace. I don’t want to make anyone a scapegoat but again Jenkinson showed his weakness, I have said a few times he needs to concentrate on defending as he was caught out far too often. With that said lets’ not forget how tough this group was, so to qualify from it is an achievement but it would have been so much better to have been 1st as coming 2nd gives us some massive teams to play in the next stage. Granted we would meet them at some time or other so does it matter?
    My big concern is can we recover in time for the early kick off on Saturday? Should we lose on Saturday we are then under huge pressure against Chelsea should Chelsea win this weekend. Things could get very bad for us real soon! Some how I will try to keep faith 🙂

  2. Motning all, thanks for your pragmatic views on the game Signor Exile.

    That was as poor a second half performance as I have seen all season and more worryingfly I felt someone was summoning up the spirit of Almunia as evidenced by Chesney’s antics.

    The damage done by last nights result is the prospect of facing one of the big guns, even PSG or Athletic are no pushovers, and the erosion of the players confidence going into a crucial match on Saturday.

    The most baffling aspect of the team selection was not just why didn’t Walcott start, but why was he not used at all ? If he’s fit enough to be on the bench then he’s fit enough to come on to the pitch – if he wasn’t fit then why drag him over to Naples to merely ride the pine ?

    Which team will have been bouyed by their performance in Europe this week when the two meet at the EmptyHead on Saturday?

    I fear Evonne’s sofa will be having many more hiding behind it if the season ahead is foreshadowed by last night’s shambles.

  3. Manthan says:


    Very good Post match report. Yesterday there was so much negativity among fans after match.. I would like to say one of your line from report to them that is “IF WE THINK WE CAN WIN THE TOURNAMENT, AN EASY TIE IN THE FIRST KNOCKOUT MAKES NO DIFFERENCE” Kudos 🙂

  4. Manthan says:

    I was not happy about result but it was one of those tricky games we played this season because if we go for attacks exposing back four was a problem.. I think yesterday all players were playing with little caution.. Jenkison has to learn dragging back he always seems to be attacking and which expose our right flank.. Yesterday he was running with ball without passing.. i think he will learn it soon.

  5. Rasp says:

    Thanks GiE, nice to read a technical rather than emotional analysis of what went wrong last night.

    There are a couple of things that stand out to me. I have always been a great fan of Arteta. He is a fantastic player to have and is excellent against teams that don’t press us hard, but in a game like last night, he looked slow at times – Flamini is more effective.

    Top sides must have pace particularly in attack. We have Theo, Gnabry and hopefully The Ox will be available soon – we need to give then a chance, they are potential game changers.

    Much as I love Giroud, we do definitely need a goalscorer who has pace.

  6. Manthan says:

    Rasp I totally agree with you.. I was about tell that point arteta is not effective when team press high. He was in trouble when we played BVB away, EVerton at home…

  7. Manthan says:

    Santi is not effective in flanks either.. he was best when he was playing in middle I would love to see OX and Theo on flanks which will give us more speed

  8. Rasp says:

    Another point is that Jenks should take a leaf out of Sagna’s book and not try to get behind the full back – he’s not quick enough. He ends up just kicking the ball into the defenders legs. He needs to deliver the cross earlier before he is closed down.

  9. Exactly Manthan, why on earth didn’t we unleash Theo when Napoli were desperately pushing forward ?

    I want Wenger to say that Theo pulled a muscle while warming up to come on as his absence makes no sense otherwise.

  10. Rasp says:

    I also agree with the ‘hoofing it up the pitch bit’. We ceded possession so easily at times. We have regressed back into some of our bad old ways temporarily. I was screaming at the telly when Sz was time wasting, we should have tried to get the equalizer at 1 nil down not sit back and hope they don’t score 2.

  11. jordangooner says:

    I agree fully with your summary, we missed Sagna,Jenkinson showed his inexperience once again. Arsenal home or away must be more positive. Like the way we played Napoli home and even Dortmond away,whilst we defended much in Dortmond,you always felt we could get a goal.
    For the Citeh game whilst we have to have a good defensive shape, we have to be get control midfield and attack much more. The passing must be better, Walcott and Wilshere must play and stand up and be counted. We must get at least a draw. COYG

  12. Rasp says:

    Welcome Jordan, I agree. We won’t beat city by sitting back deep. The midfield hasn’t clicked for the last couple of games, we need it to be fluid and positive on Saturday.

  13. Norfolk Gooner says:

    ‘morning AAers,

    Well done GiE a rational resume, presumably written in the cold light of day rather than in the heat of the night.

    Let’s not get too downhearted, we’re through to the knock-out stages and not too many pundits predicted that at the start of the campaign.

    Yes there were flaws visible last night, Szczesny got a bit rattled, Jenks was a bit over ambitious going forward, Giroud’s lack of real pace was exposed the one time that we were in a position to break quickly, with Walcott in that situation there would have been a goal at the end of it, and I doubt if Ozil has ever had to do so much defending in a single game before.

    The BFG summed it up for me after the game when he said “with the situation we were in (only needing to draw) you maybe give ten percent less in the mind”.

    I think Wenger and the entire team were caught between two stools, go all out for the win or defend to the death. Neither came off.

    Arsenal’s Man of the match…Tomas Rosciky, he never stopped running, harrying Napoli’s players in possession he worked like a Trojan. Oh! what might have been if Tomas had been fully fit over the past few seasons.

  14. Manthan says:


    Always loved Mozrat workrate.. He defends attacks, he has all the quality to be world beater but shame he had suffer so many injuries…

  15. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Mozrat? I hope that’s a typo Manthan. 😀

  16. TT says:

    Very nice match review, Mr Exile. I love this format that leaves out player ratings. The review feels more integrated because of that.

    So… whom do people want Arsenal to face? Barcelona/Munich for some good ol’ revenge? Real for Ozil to have a reunion? PSG for more stories about “Zlatan doesn’t do auditions”? Any link to make with Atletico?

  17. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Rasp/Peaches, post e-mailed.

  18. Teams Arsenal could play in Champions League last 16 :

    Bayern Munich
    Real Madrid
    Paris St-Germain
    Atletico Madrid


    Had Arsenal held on to win the group, we would have faced one of these sides in the last 16 :

    Bayer Leverkusen
    Zenit St Petersburg
    AC Milan

  19. TT says:

    Yes, Big Al. Feb+Mar will be really tough for Arsenal. Liverpool, ManU, Spurs, Chelsea, ManC, and four more EPL fixtures, plus two against one of those folks you listed. Not to mention FA cup round of 16 and quarter final, if Arsenal make it that far.

  20. Manthan says:

    Yes It was typo mistake :0


    Cheers GIE

    This is all working out perfectly. I wanted 2nd in the group so we could play one of the big boys.

    This will enable us to gain experience, belief, and increase desire. This current arsenal team is unproven so must do it the hard way.

    There is logic in my madness

    I also like the fact we have City and Chelsea coming up. we are gaining the taste of a title challenge and will now experience the feeling of big time pressure.

    What ever the results, this all bodes well for the future. A future that we will emerge triumphant.

    The Ghosts of the Thirties are Stirring

  22. Big Raddy says:

    TMHT. Not thought of that!.

    GIE. Fine analysis. Your point about Flamini trying to get the MF’s forward is well made.

    With Napoli’s FBs playing further up the pitch in the second half, it was time to bring on Theo. Instead Monreal came on and played just behind OG. It made little sense to me.

  23. Rasp says:

    Thanks Norfolk @10:56


    This is all a learning curve Raddy.

    Next season we will be better and we will keep improving until our level matches and eventually surpasses all others.

    What we have to remember is that the Club is just beginning to emerge from the earthquake of the stadium move.

    Nothing like an earthquake to hone the senses. When I was a kid in Crete I experienced the full force of such a tremor.

    I was out in the backyard and all of a sudden the chickens started going crazy, chasing and violently pecking me.

    At first I thought it was because I was wearing yellow trousers and that they had took exception, but then I was almost trampled by the Goats who had escaped there pen.

    I thought, I must be wrong, what would Goats have against yellow trousers?

    Anyway, I decided to go indoors to tell my Gran that the chickens were bullying me, when all of a sudden I lost my balance and the ground started to shake. Though I was more concerned about fighting of the pecking chickens who had seized the opportunity to jump me.

    Its hard to recover from something like that. I for instance, now keep a very close watch if ever surrounded by poultry.

    This is were Arsenal are. A bit unsure, nervous, and experiencing some trepidation of what is to come, but there is no need.

    The Club is in fantastic shape, and as long as we stick to our guns, a great period of success awaits.

  25. Belfastgooner says:

    TMHT just brilliant. Life’s better if you’re n optimist! Great post GIE thanks

  26. Belfastgooner says:

    What about the atmosphere in Napoli? Despite being only 2/3 full I can’t remember a more intimidation ground when we were in possession. All good experience for the boys come May

  27. Sniffer back again ? Shall I blitz him ?


    Cheers Belfast. Yeah, good experience for May

    Nahh, leave him chary. Hes making a fool of himself

  29. Rasp says:

    chary @ 12:31, you’re always welcome to perform site cleansing duties …. I’ve done it on this occasion

  30. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Troll Alert! Troll Alert!!

  31. arnie says:

    Good man, GiE. Well done!!!!!!

    I hope: 1. Theo is protected, so that there are fresh legs on Saturday. 2. We never again try to maintain such a low line. The Shitty defence is ripe for a nice bashing, let us give it to them. 3. Our home form is good. We fear the Chavs, not, and neither any of the group toppers in CL. No repeat of BvB at home. Bring on the games.

    On with the show!!!!! 😀 😀

  32. OK Raspers, I think trolls like that detract from the enjoyment of the blog.

  33. Gööner In Exile says:

    Afternoon all, thanks for comments.

    Couple of points…I don’t think Wenger wanted Theo and Jenkinsom on same side of pitch, as a lone front man Theo would get knocked about but may offer a better outball later on if prepared to chase hopeful clearances.

    I think Monreal only ended up playing centrally because of Arteta’s red card.

  34. Gööner In Exile says:

    Btw anyone get the title?

  35. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Thanks very much Exile.

    We all know how busy you are, so I’ll mock anyone who says they’re too busy. If they simply don’t want to, then fair enough, but busy….piffle.

    Brilliant as well.

  36. arnie says:

    GiE: I tried to decipher the title, but no luck ….. 😀 😀

  37. arnie says:

    OK, “Three Little Pigs”, and then?

  38. arnie says:

    The big bad wolf (Arsenal) is able to blow down the first two pigs’ houses, made of straw (Marseille) and wood (Dortmund) respectively, but is unable to destroy the third pig’s house, made of bricks (Napoli)? Probably incorrect, but my best attempt!!!! 😦

  39. MickyDidIt89 says:

    The DidIt version of why things went wrong.

    Aaron Ramsey.

    I said to someone a short while back “what happens when Aaron’s goals and form dry up?”

    It’s ok lacking high speed down the flanks, if you can dribble and thrust your way through the middle. We’ve been doing it nearly all season, and key to this (and the goal tally) have been Ramsey.

    Wo’ do ya reckon?

    Must dash, busy 🙂

  40. RockyLives says:

    The little pig said “You can huff and you can puff but I won’t let you in, not by the hair on my chinny chin chin.”

    I reckon we were the three the little pigs last night and Napoli the wolf.

    The first house (built of straw) got blown down (Napoli’s first goal).

    The second house (built of sticks) got blown down (Napoli’s second).

    But the third house was built of bricks and the wolf got shagged out from puffing and ended up missing the knock-out stages of the ECL.

    How’s that 🙂

  41. RockyLives says:

    Favourite line of the day:

    “I for instance, now keep a very close watch if ever surrounded by poultry.”


  42. RockyLives says:

    Great write-up GiE.

    Very measured.

    Yes, there were a few concerning factors last night but we can’t expect every game to go the way we want it to.

    I’m not the slightest bit worried. We’ll bounce back with a win on Saturday.

  43. arnie says:

    Fantastic, Rocky ……. 😀 😀

  44. MickyDidIt89 says:


    It’s why we needed Puff The Magic Dragon

    Oh dear. Coat.

  45. RockyLives says:

    Or Puff Daddy (who writes on here under his pseudonym of Big Raddy)

  46. MickyDidIt89 says:

    You mentioned the chicken line. Knew it would be Transplant, so zoomed back up to read his comment.

    One of your best Transplant, and that is really saying something 🙂

    Now, really am busy, but am at least smiling.

  47. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Spelt Puff wrong there!

  48. arnie says:

    Micky “at least smiling”, which means not grumpy any more … ha ha ha 😀 😀 😀

  49. RockyLives says:


    Good line from Arseblogger: “Even the best teams we had, with Vieira, Pires, Henry and Bergkamp, had their struggles in the Champions League, so I don’t see why this defeat should spark such outrage and contempt.”

  50. Bayonne Jean says:

    GIE, excellent summary, and thank you for highlighting that Napoli were also in the “caught in two minds” trap after they scored. And with the fat Spanish waiter at the helm, he must have felt that the risk of turning a lead into a draw was not worth it while BVB were still tied. But he had to know during halftime that Marseille were down to ten men and were more likely to concede. In retrospect, thankfully the Klopps left it to late, so little time was left for Napoli to do damage.

    Two other things. One, result underscores just how valuable Sagna is; AW, please get him to sign da ting.
    Two, given who Arsenal could face in the next round, Arteta’s absence in the home leg could prove a blessing, as AW would be forced away from the Arteta/Flamini defensive structure into a more offense-minded side. For as good as all the opposition teams are, they are all (maybe Bayern aside) eminently attackable.

  51. arnie says:

    No outrage, and certainly no contempt, at least on AA. Just an acknowledgement that much more hard work is required. 😀 😀 On with the show!!!! 😀 😀 😀

  52. jnyc says:

    Good job GIE,
    as someone said, i hope this doesnt hurt our confidence for saturday.

    it shows we are no good at trying to play that defensive style. We are outstanding defensively
    when we play our normal style, and i hope we have no trouble switching back mentally.
    also we should feel little pressure this saturday because we are not expected to win in manchester. I know we can. I just want to put yesterday behind us, and i would be very happy with draws in the next two, because these teams need to gain on us, and draws only feel kike setbacks for them.

  53. RA says:

    I always enjoy a Big Gooner post match, and this is no exception. It was an excellent and accurate summing up.

    The only part I had to stop and re-read was the comment about Chezzer wasting time. I had not noticed that, but what I did notice was his rubbish kicking with the ball going out of play on the full or straight to the oppo defence. Pointless.

    The catalytic cause of this was the incessant back passes to Chezzer despite our defenders knowing what was happening and still continuing to pass to him.

    Surely outfield players are better positioned to pass the ball than giving it to a keeper to wellie it? 🙂

  54. RA says:

    Professor arnie, re: your 3:03 p.m.

    It may be my imagination, but having read through last night’s and today’s comments I was sure you were laying into the team like a venerable headmaster whacking Bunter’s buttocks.

    True or not? Any answer in the negative will make me move my lazy arse and unhorse you! 🙂

  55. arnie says:

    Redders: Disappointment, yes, criticism, very much yes, but constructive criticism, Wielding the stick (Raddy style), certainly by all means. But not outrage, and no contempt, that is the domain of the enemies, not the fans …… happy, now? 😀 😀 😀

  56. The Goats in 30 Degrees are Starkers !.
    I think the stirring was in Stretches Y-Fronts !.
    Understandable, a hot blooded Crete boy and not a women for miles !.

  57. LB says:

    Good write up GIE.

    I am definitely in the “happy with the situation” camp. Our job was to qualify and qualify we did. Yes, coming second means we could play teams like Real or Barça, so what, if we didn’t this round then we would have in the next.

    If we are to lose against the likes of Barcelona then better to do so in the next round rather than the one after, at least that way we have more time to concentrate on winning the league.

    As far as I am concerned, it’s all still going to plan.

  58. RockyLives says:

    Spot on LB 🙂

  59. RA says:

    That sounds about right, Professor. 🙂

    It is my liking for a daily constitutional wander around the other blogs which at times fills me with outrage, because to read some of them – and it is only some of them – you would imagine Arsenal had been cast into a pile of poo for ‘only’ qualifying.

    Extraordinary! The occasional moan; the questioning of tactics; a comment about a player having a lapse; etc is all grist to the mill of chatting about this opinion or that – but scandalous and outrageous vilification is just not acceptable.

    Thankfully this site does not condone such nonsense. 🙂

  60. jnyc says:

    Good point lb.

  61. MickyDidIt89 says:

    “it’s all still going to plan” or as I like to think, “nice places to go in the next round. I mean, have to seen the possible destinations had we won the sodding group. Oh dear”.

    Well played 🙂

  62. LB says:


    Culinary waste lands Micky.

  63. RockyLives says:

    I would like to see a good unhorsing.

    Arnie – better watch yourself – Redders is 9ft fall and weighs 800lbs…

  64. arnie says:

    Rocky: ha ha, will bear this in mind 😀

    Redders: very well put, sir 😀

    For the sake of transparency, let us put this issue in perspective. As Redders said, unlike other blogs, we have a culture of constructive and progressive discussion here in AA. One of the main reasons we were able to do this on AA was GiE’s fantastic post, which raised points of introspective criticism without being overtly contemptuous. This is a difficult balance to strike, and it takes a lot of careful attention to achieve this. Hats off, GiE!! Well done, Sir. 😀 😀 😀

  65. RockyLives says:

    All true Arnie – no-one’s been out of order on here…

  66. RA says:


    The last time we met in Toronto you wanted to go to the house of mirrors despite being three sheets to the wind.

    You have confused memories of my sylph like and very manly 19 stone figure with the distorted reflection of your good self. 🙂

    Have you noticed that arnie is conforming to a mysterious inversion perhaps related to his chosen profession?

    You see, most of the Scots I know (all of them?) over the age of 21, live in England, whereas most of the English guys I know claim to have Welsh or Scottish antecedents because either their great, great grandmother, twice removed, once bought a bouquet of lucky Scottish heather or one of their four bears – or forebears – once served Welsh lamb for dinner in the 17th Century.

    It was subsequently pointed out to me that the ‘Scots’ wanted to go to Uni in Scotland where they would not pay any fees, whereas the ‘Welsh’ wanted to play rugby for a lot of dosh (?) after being enticed by Warren Gatland the (Australian) Welsh manager to cross borders.

    The UK can be a complicated place to figure out! 🙂

  67. Gööner In Exile says:

    the three houses were the three goals….well done Rocky.

  68. Big Raddy says:


    I took a mixed group around the castles of CPH and as part of my spiel I do comparative history with UK/US & DK.

    Some Scots stopped me and told me to stop using the word “English” to describe our nation’s populace.They insisted I use the term “British” to which I responded that in the Oxford Dictionary of “English” the common generic word is in fact English.

    Of course they didn’t believe me but it is true.

  69. chas says:

    Excellent, GIE.
    Bring ’em on, whoever they may be.

  70. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ah Raddy,

    Is there anywhere on the list that you fancy “being there” for a Win and a Nibble?

    Real Madrid and Bayern Munich tickle me bits the most 🙂

    Luckily for us, I do not fancy any of this lot: Bayer Leverkusen,
    Galatasaray, Olympiakos, Schalke, St Petersburg (in Feb) or Milan

  71. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Oh, and Raddy, and you can book the sodding car and hotel this time, and we can cut out the moaning 🙂

  72. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Mmmm, must start being extra nice to Gorgeous 🙂

  73. RA says:

    Hi Raddy,

    It is nice to know that I am not the only one confused by a magical interplay of UK nationalities in the British Isles, which geographically could be lost in Lake Huron – size wise. 🙂

    If you type ‘define English person’ in Google search, it appears that it has been hacked, as the answer is a 4 letter word banned on AA.

    But isn’t – an English person defined as = a native of England?

    Do you have the Oxford ED definition to hand?

  74. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Aren’t we English just plain old Angles

  75. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Oh and don’t come over all maths on me, I’m referring to some lowland bog on the Continent 🙂

  76. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Oh, I get it, mention of another trip together, and The Raddy has scarpered 🙂

  77. Big Raddy says:

    Just thinking …… Madrid would be good, not sure about BM. Beer great, food disappointing but then the frauleins …….

  78. chas says:

    Thierry doesn’t want to play Atletico because “they don’t give you one centimetre”.
    It’s “inch”, Thierry. 🙂

  79. MickyDidIt89 says:


    I’d love Munich. Never been and we have a score to settle with schnitzel. We were wronged and it needs to be righted.

  80. RA says:


    I am not the person to ask re: Angles, Saxons, Normans, not to mention Celts, Vikings, residual Romans etc, etc. all intermingling 🙂

    Of course anyone born in England is deemed to be English so someone with Chinese, African, Indian sub-continent, etc, etc born in England would not have too much connection with Angles — but what do I know? 🙂

    Ta ra folks!

  81. Big Raddy says:

    MUK. True re: schnitzels.

    RA. That is the point – they are still English.

  82. William McGoonagal says:

    If Arsenal draw Barca AGAIN they should appeal! I mean ! law of averages?

  83. Chary, TMHT, Rasp, Norfolk Gooner… have I added two and two and made five?

    I’m referring to a “Sniffer” comment.
    I didn’t realise for one moment that you could possibly be referring to me, until a short while ago, when I couldn’t re-enter the site (never happened before).

    Most of you on this site know my age (roughly) and background, I believe. I’ve supported Arsenal longer than most on this site (saw my first game at the ‘old’ stadium in 1963 at nine years old, and would like to think I’m a match for most, if not all at AA, not only regarding my enthusiasm in supporting the Club, and football per se, but also my knowledge of the club/football. Apologies if that comes across as arrogance. Let’s call it pride.

    My post @ 10.57 was abrupt for two reasons… 1) I’m incredibly busy at the mo’ and have been for quite some time. 2) I was seeking a simple response by posting simple facts; a response was afforded to me by ‘TT’ only.

    A rather important point – the snippets of info I provided for your perusal were copied-and- pasted from a BBC webpage, no less.

    Go the 3rd entry down, click in word ‘report’, on this match report page (left-hand side) are two small text boxes… READ.

    If you are in fact referring to me then I have to say I’m very offended, especially as the “Sniffer” comments are from regulars, not ‘newbies’. However, if you was in fact referring to the real “Sniffer” ignore this post.

    Finally, I will repeat my first line question : have I added two and two and made five?

  84. chas says:

    Yep, Big Al, you have.
    Sniffer’s comments are often deleted leaving others unaware he/she/it was about.

  85. …..”He trolls when he want`s…..he trolls when he want`s…..Trollvestite Sniffer……he trolls when he want`s ! “.

  86. …..He gets binned every time….he gets binned every time……Trollvestie Sniffer…..he gets binned every time ! “.

  87. dhakka09 says:

    Having had a cooler head with a day’s worth of contemplation under my belt, maybe this is an opportunity for our club.

    If we win our next knockout round vs big-guns, then that would prolly give us enough belief to snowball it into an avalanche and take CL crown by gusto.

    If we get knocked out by the big-guns, it will be apparent that our boys need one more season together before they can aim for CL, in which case it saves us effort and wasted commitment to one more round of ultimately doomed loss vs big teams; which will help us in the league.

    See? I filled the glass not only half but three-quarters full 🙂

  88. RA says:


    Not that you have invited me 🙂 but aren’t schnitzels Austiran as in Vienna schnitzels?

    No don’t worry – you are only trying to confuse me again. 🙂

  89. RA says:

    Hi Big Al, 🙂

    Long time no see.

    I can’t stay, but hope you come back on again soon – we missed you, the beach, the girls and the beer! Lucky devil! 🙂

  90. dhakka09 says:

    GiE, a very fine post too. I didn’t notice TPIG trying to waste time and gaffer imploring him not to; maybe I was too busy craning my neck to catch a glimpse of Theo behind on bench, hoping he’d come onto pitch.

    Like you, I’d like to believe that Theo is primed for a start on weekend. He is our Ace up the sleeve and needs to be used judiciously 🙂

  91. fatgingergooner says:

    I’m delighted to say that future Arsenal fan Jack David Steele was born today by C-section at 17.20 weighing in at 8lb 11oz!

    Both mum and baby are doing fine.

  92. chas says:

    Congrats, fgg.
    Many happy days ahead.

  93. Räsp says:

    Big Al @ 6:55

    First, welcome back 🙂

    Secondly, unfortunately not everyone complies, but this is our policy regarding your question ….

  94. Räsp says:

    Brilliant news fgg, many congratulations. We already have a ‘By far the greatest baby boy’ soon to be followed by a ‘by far the greatest baby girl’ widget …. is Jack David ginger by any chance? We could have a ‘By far the gingerest baby boy’ widget 😆

  95. A finely scribed description of last night’s game under difficult circumstances, well done.
    I’m neither up or down about the result, it’s exactly what I expected.
    Arsenal aren’t rubbish, and Arsene Wenger isn’t the worst manager, but they are no longer a winning combination at the sharp end..
    Arsenal are undoubtedly a big enough club to win the European Cup, but off the park they don’t have the dynamics or the mind-set to even consider themselves as genuine contenders. That’s exactly why whenever a scenario like last night comes around, the cautious safety-first approach is automatically triggered. There is no-one within Arsenal either brave or intelligent enough to change that philosophy. Arsenal don’t deserve a European Cup because they’re not that bothered about not winning it.
    Money people are desperate for Arsene Wenger to sign the new whopping £24m* (*allegedly) three year deal, because although his days of being a winning manager are now in the distant past, he does at least make the club money through CL qualification. (Yes, Arsene, fourteen years out of sixteen qualifying from the group stage, but your overall record in Europe’s elite competition is disgraceful!).Only an insecure manager with limited ambition feels the need to constantly remind people what he has done and qualify that as a success.
    Genuine football fans who aren’t obsessed with how every penny is spent and want to see the club challenge for major trophies have been drowned out by the new Corporate Arsenal, who shout passionately from roof-tops with no sense of shame or irony, how great it is to finish third or fourth.
    All that’s happened is that the signing of Mesit Ozil and a kind run of fixtures allied with the three main protagonists all having teething problems adjusting to new/old managers and dropping silly points against the likes of Stoke and Cardiff has brilliantly masked Arsenal not addressing deep-rooted flaws that have existed for some time.
    Cl qualification is a nailed-on cert, major silver-ware is a long long way off. That’s Arsenal’s place in football right now and for the forseeable future.

  96. Gööner In Exile says:

    Congrats FGG…..snap on sex, weight and delivery option 🙂

    Get your JGs membership sorted for the little man ASAP fun times ahead. Enjoy it!

  97. Gööner In Exile says:

    Good to have you back Big Al.

    Glad your better WATA.

  98. Gooner in Exile says:

    Rasp you can promote George to by far the Greatest Toddler 😀 (not that he is toddling yet, but it won’t be long)

  99. Congratulations FGG!

    Hi Gooner In Exile, hope you and the family are well.

  100. dandan says:

    And we think Stuart Robson is biased, take a listen to this.

  101. fatgingergooner says:

    Thanks guys.

    Rasp, he does have a covering of light ginger hair! I was thinking ‘By far the fattest ginger baby…?!’. That could be a talking point for new visitors! 🙂 complaints may increase though.

    GiE, he will definitely be visiting the Emirates with the Yorkshire Gooners in the future no matter how many Leeds United shirts his Grandad gives him! 🙂

  102. fatgingergooner says:


    I live in Castleford and that rugby clip tickled me a lot!

    I’m a Leeds Rhinos fan and have been to the last 2 away games at Castleford with it being just around the corner, and I can tell you that nothing’s changed! 🙂

    Are u sure that’s a commentator and not just a fan stood next to the microphone!

  103. RockyLives says:

    Congratulations FGG

    The world welcomes another Gooner 🙂

  104. MickyDidIt89 says:

    In the immortal words of Evonne: “Where is everybody?” 🙂


    Mmm, so no-one latched on to my theory equating Arsenal form to Ramsey form. Quite frankly, mind boggling 🙂

  105. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Cripes, sorry FGG, many congrats.

  106. RockyLives says:

    Good evnung Micky

    I spotted your Ramsey comment. Clever sounding sort of stuff. But it’s based on a false premise: namely that Ramsey’s form and goals will dry up.

    I predict a brace for the Welsh Messi at the Emptihead Stadium.

  107. chas says:

    If there’s no central thrust, where’s your penetration into the box going to come from?
    Is that what you’re trying to say, Micky?
    Maybe we’re crying out for Walcott to use the backdoor?

  108. RockyLives says:

    If we draw the right sort of city in the ECL next round I might try and make it across the Great Atlantlc Ocken for a bit of a trip.

  109. RockyLives says:

    Blooming heck Chas, that’s a bit intense for this time of the evnung.

  110. RockyLives says:

    It’s quite late here in Canadia and I’m just in from the pub, where I’ve been quaffing an interesting Belgian beer called Afflinghem (or something similar).

    Minus 10 and snow on the way.

    Quite looking forward to it.

  111. RockyLives says:

    Blimey, I’ve scared off the Motning Crew.

    That’s probably my cue to go to bed.

    Night all.

  112. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Blimey, hello, and Rocky as well, what a pleasant surprise.

    So funny how some people would view a Schalke as a better draw than Real Madrid. One, industrial dump, the other heaving with beauty, slippery fish dishes and a team actually worth bothering to beat 🙂

  113. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Did you ever see my comment trying to team you up with a new chum of mine. Lawyer, Canadian, lives Toronto, but office in London as well, and a Gooner. Has season ticket and attends games regularly. Mentioned you to him.

  114. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Oh bloody cosmic. You don’t get a reply for 30 seconds, so bugger off 😦

  115. chas says:

    I’m looking forward to Rocky, Micky and Raddy on tour.

    It’d be like a remake of the three gay caballeros………
    or Wilson, Kepple and Betty sand-dancing through Madrid.

    (I’m not saying who’s Betty)

  116. chas says:

    Here’s one for you, Micky.

  117. chas says:

    When are you going to thrill us with your twatter photos?

  118. MickyDidIt89 says:

    ROLF at The AA Tour 🙂
    Don’t like The Clash pic. They were in their temporary Utter Knobs phase.
    I have signed up to Twatter, for the sole purpose of posting one pic, but the next stage of actually doing something so epically alien to me frightens the Didit.

  119. chas says:

    “Priest and maidens, drunk as pagans, they had the bottle of smoke. Fuck the yanks and drink their wives, I’m happy as the horses shite, up came the bottle of smoke”

  120. chas says:

    Must go.
    Couldn’t you sympathise with their Utter Knob phase? 🙂

  121. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I know you’ve now buggered off as well, but don’t go being lead astray but that Raddy bloke. UK, indeed 🙂

    Best offski myself.

  122. Big Raddy says:


    FGG. Many congratulations and a fine name for the lad. Did your wife understand the significance?

  123. evonne says:

    another baby Gunner 🙂 🙂 🙂 I am so happy! Well done ginger!
    Jack and George, and Nicole, what lovely names…..I am all gooey

  124. evonne says:

    GiE – just read your post, excellent of course. I was the one thinking that we should defend, defend, defend. Park a bus and try to snatch on a counter. How wrong was it? We are simply not capable of playing defensively. All the Arsenal DNA shouts to attack and I suspect the team never practices parking and doing a 3 point turn, so how could they deliver on such a big day?

    Nope, they should play their usual game, regardless.

    Two things – my observation – why play Giroud for 90mins? He really needs to rest. Secondly – overheard people saying that Koscielny is constantly covering up for Per and makes him look good. I don’t think it is the case, BUT at Napoli Per failed to shine

    thank you for the post !!

  125. arnie says:

    Motning all. Congrats FGG. Ah, what a wonderful day!!!!! 😀 😀

  126. Big Raddy says:

    evonne. Agree. Arsenal should never play to defend for 90+ mins. It against AW’s ethos. whereas under GG it was the only way we could play (for his final few seasons)

  127. arnie says:

    Evonne: Winning away to Shitty playing an attacking game will be good.

    Parking the bus
    Does not work for us!!!!


  128. evonne says:

    Raddy – that’s the Plan B that we do not have. There are occasions that any team has to play ugly to get a result, it can get them very far.

    Never mind, we lost, second in the group, spilled milk.
    What are our chances tomorrow? Bleak?

  129. arnie says:

    Shitty are long overdue a spectacular collapse at home! This must be our time!!!!

    Our attacking game is pretty
    Takes out rubbish Shitty!!!

  130. arnie says:

    That was a rubbish effort at rhyme, by teh way. But who cares????? 😀 😀

  131. evonne says:

    arnie, drugs do permanently damage your health!

  132. Big Raddy says:

    For us cricket lovers this has been an ugly few weeks.

    Thank Goodness for AFC

  133. arnie says:

    Evonne: Drugs?&%^^%&^%? AA, you mean?

  134. Manthan says:

    Hello Guys,

    Good Morning!! I want one information if you guys can help out.. How to get match day ticket? I am planning to visit emirates next season my uncle stays near wembley bit he ain’t football so he don’t have any idea about where to get tickets// And how much will be price? Thanks in adavncae

  135. Räsp says:

    Morning all ……

    ….. New post ……

  136. Räsp says:

    Hi Manthan,

    We can probably help you with the the tickets. Ideally we’d need 2 months advanced warning of which match you’d like to attend although we can often get them closer to the time.

  137. Manthan says:

    Ohh tats great I will inform you people before 2 months hope fully it will be in September 2014

  138. Time for the first of my twice yearly visit to this erudite and most enjoyable site.Good morning Raddy, Räsp, Peaches et al.
    Really looking forward to the game this weekend. The Prem’s two best footballing sides going head-to-head, a mouthwatering prospect. Alas, I can’t be there – I did get to the old homestead to watch the lads demolish Tottingham – but work and lack of €€€ forfend another trip before Christmas.
    Trying to figure it out I think we (City) have a slight edge after our reserves’ away win in midweek and with our great home recored, although with your away form you will fear no-one. That said, I wouldn’t be too surprised to be on the receiving end of a 0-1 (the resultant 9 point gap would be hard to take, even though the show’s not over until Huddlestone sings). The City team more or less selects itself with the exceptions of Clichy/Kolarov. The former is a better defender, the latter is the man for pushing forward; also Demichelis/Lescott – both have disadvantages. Les is the most one-footed footballer I’ve seen since… me. Also Hart/Panto. Panto commands his area better and is a much quicker distributor but I think I’d prefer to start with Hart who can pull off impossible saves on occasions.
    Anyhow, great contest in prospect.

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