Arsenal face a stern test to end a very good year

When listening to the TV pundits raving about the wonders of Man City, the genius of Suarez and Liverpoool, the calculating charm (?) of Chelsea and Mourinho and the magnificence of the current champions, one may be surprised to learn that the team who picked up the most points in 2013 was none other than our beloved Arsenal. Has anyone praised the magnificent job done by Mr. Wenger? Through the summer there were daily reports (also from so-called Arsenal fans) about Our Leader losing the plot. Has he hell – he remains the best manager in the PL and probably Europe. As Terry says “the ghosts of the thirties are stirring” 😀

Can we repeat the magical final day win of just 6 months ago? On that wonderful day we defended like lions and had the inspirational Laurent Koscielny to thank for the victory. It also gave me my funniest moment of the year when the feckless Spurs fans mistakenly celebrated what they thought was a Newcastle goal …. click here to relive the moment.

Newcastle have moved forward since then, primarily thanks to two of their glut of Frenchmen, Remy and Cabaye. Would Remy have been an ideal fit as striking partner for Giroud? Would we have signed Ozil had the bids for Cabaye been successful? Either one of them would look good in the red and white but whether either would be starters is open to question.

Looking at the Newcastle side there is every reason for the Geordies to be optimistic about their chances this afternoon. The return of Tiote (the battle with Flamini could be explosive!) will add steel to a decent midfield. Sissoko and the wingman Gouffran (who has scored in his last 5 appearances at home) make up the numbers – it should be an interesting battle for control of the middle of St. James’ Park.

Upfront are Remy and Ameobi, pace and power but nothing that our defence cannot contain if they remain as cohesive as usual. Mr Wenger has talked about his admiration of Remy and it would not be a total surprise to see us make a bid for a man not CL cup-tied in January (not that I expect another expensive signing).

Defensively they have improved but it must be recalled that we are very strong on the road.

Newcastle are on a fine run having won 7, drawn one and lost one of their last 9 games.

Arsenal: I must start by going against the flow – following the WHU game many said we are better without Ramsey because it allows Podolski into the team and Santi to play centrally. No, No, NO. OK, he isn’t scoring as freely as a couple of months ago but Aaron is a top, top player and currently the beating heart of the team. Sure he needs a break but one or two games not the long layoff his injury could cause.

Random thought. Where the hell is Oxlade-Chamberlain?

Vermaelen or Koscielny? Rumour has it that Kos is fit to play. I wouldn’t take the risk, we have many battles ahead and TV has played well in Kos’s absence.

Monreal or Gibbs? Given the pace and trickery of both Gouffran and Ben Arfa I feel we have to start with Gibbs.

Should Giroud start? In my opinion definitely. He looks a bit leggy but Podolski is not a central striker and quite frankly Bendtner, though a starter against Hull is not in the same class.

The next question is whether Podolski should start or whether he needs more recuperation ? I have a feeling Mr Wenger is looking to ease the German back and use him as an impact sub for the next few games.

So, my team:

toon v arse

It pains me to leave out Cazorla after his excellent game at the Boleyn and perhaps Ozil will be rested but I can’t see it. Given that we are away Wilshere or Rosicky give more defensive security.

Go on …… argue your case for including either Cazorla or Podolski.

Today’s referee will be important in a game where midfield dominance is key. Unfortunately the ref is Lee Probert, a man who has a dreadful record with Arsenal. (see Untold Arsenal for details ).

We have suffered at St. James from diabolical decisions in the past as the Geordies put pressure on the ref (4-4 Phil Dowd) and if ever there were a “homer” it is Probert. GN5, after the shabby work of Mike Dean vs Chelsea, said that if we score then we take the opportunity to derail us away from the referee, it is a point well made, but there must come a time when the refs are able to use technology to correct their mistakes because Dean’s (and others) failures could cost us dear.

This will be a tight game as once again we face a side who are at the top of their game – playing away in front of a packed and enthusiastic crowd, with a referee who is known to be poor, without Ramsey & Kos, with a tired Ozil and Giroud – would you take the draw? No, neither would I.

Another nail-biter in prospect.

written by Big Raddy

225 Responses to Arsenal face a stern test to end a very good year

  1. evonne says:

    NG – I thought about it too and took offence as i am in a process of knitting a cardi for a little Gunner girl. Was the scarf in wrong colours?

    Saving Raddy for later

  2. Big Raddy says:

    Happy Birthday Rasp.

  3. kelsey says:


    Nice write up and research Raddy and undoubtedly this will be a test
    .A word for our travelling awesome fans who will have to get up at some unearthly hour as it was deemed appropriate to have a Sunday lunch time kick off during the Xmas holidays
    If I was to believe despite statistics that refs are totally biased against us I think I would give up watching football.

    I feel it is a must that Santi plays and Kos if fit ,as at least on paper this is a far harder game than our next, at home to Cardiff

    .I also expect Podolski to have a cameo role ..

  4. kelsey says:

    Happy Birthday Rasp, is it 60 or 61 🙂

  5. Rasp says:

    Thanks guys – I was hoping to keep that quiet …. who let the cat out of the bag?

    It’s not going well so far, I was hoping to take the day off work but we’ve got so much illness and absenteeism that I’m having to make up the numbers 😕

    Still, a Big Raddy pre-match is a great way to start the day. A win for the good guys will certainly go a long way to cheering me up 😛

  6. steiner1010 says:

    Why is Giroud an automatic start for you?
    He has scored maybe 1 (or none) goals outside of London and has a terrible record against top 6 teams (has never scored against a top 4 team EVER).

    He misses sitters regularly and is the cause for us not being some points clear at the top.
    Hold up play is all well and good but is something strikers do as well as scoring goals not instead of.

    Podolski came on and the game went from 1-0 down to 3-1 up in around 10 minutes.
    Carzola is more use on the pitch than Wiltshire at the minute who appears to be dispossessed at will or simply pass to the opposition.
    Time for the Wiltshire/Giroud rose coloured glasses to come off.
    Wenger made a mess of the transfer window again in messing around and not buying a striker and was lucky not crafty that he got Ozil on deadline day.
    He let Mourinho play him on deadline day like an amateur stalling him with Ba when he could have bought a back up striker.
    Wenger played checkers that day, Mourinho played Mahjong like a pro.

  7. Gööner In Exile says:

    Happy Birthday Rasp….hope Arsenal give you a good present 🙂

    Raddy the only quibble I have is that Jack does not provide much defensively to the team.

    I hope that Toons smaller squad and our ability to bring in some fresh legs over this hectic period will help us achieve victory, although away from home two games running is never ideal over this time of year, thankfully one was in London.

  8. mickydidit89 says:


    Superb. Some wit, some tactical bollocks, and useful info on the opposition. Perfect aperitif.

    As I’ve said already, I’m in the Pod and Santi camp. Then we have LB who has spotted Mozart with the right colour training bib on, so it will be fascinating to see what AW does.

    Rasp. Happy Birthday. May your wishes come true.

    Norfolk. Please explain the Granny’s Scarf to us thickos. 🙂

  9. fatgingergooner says:

    If Wenger doesn’t play 2 DM against Man City away, then I’d be very surprised to see him play them against Newcastle away.

    Sagna Mertersacker Verm Gibbs
    Özil Flamini Wilshere
    Walcott Giroud Cazorla

    I would like to see Cazorla given a central role but this can only really happen if Podolski plays LW as he will do more defensive work than Özil.

    There are numerous different selections so it will be interesting.

  10. mickydidit89 says:


    Love the line up. Well, ‘ish 🙂

    I’d rest Ozil, as their defence will be tired, and a fit Podolski would be a nightmare for them. Then, earlier today, Chas posted some twister rumours that Mesut hadn’t travelled.

    Any updates on that rumour from anyone?

  11. mickydidit89 says:

    Off out for a brisk walk on a very rare sunny day.

  12. Sav from Australia says:

    Top post as usual BR. How you do it, I don’t know.

    Particularly liked the part near the end ‘would you take the draw? No, neither would I.’ Hehe.

  13. fatgingergooner says:

    A win today would make it a decent December. 3 wins, 2 draws, 1 defeat, and top of the league, would be more than acceptable considering the fixtures. A draw or defeat and December wouldn’t look so good.

  14. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Evonne and Micky, Dear old Auntie had a difficulty spelling the name of our illustrious club.

  15. GunnerN5 says:

    TEAM NEWS: Wenger makes four changes

    Arsène Wenger has made four changes to his team for the Premier League game against Newcastle on Sunday.

    Tomas Rosicky returns from a short-term injury to make his 200th appearance for the Club with Jack Wilshere also returning to the starting line-up after completing his two-game suspension.

    Mesut Ozil misses out with a minor shoulder problem with Laurent Koscielny coming in for Tomas Vermaelen who is sick.

    Team in full: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Flamini, Wilshere, Rosicky, Walcott, Cazorla, Giroud

    Subs: Fabianski, Jenkinson, Ryo, Arteta, Bendtner, Podolski, Gnabry

  16. Gööner In Exile says:

    Interesting Monreal not travelled expected him to be in starting line up….guess Cardiff Home and Spuds in FA Cup are easier games for him, will need Gibbs and other defenders on their game today, let’s hope Kos can do 90 don’t really want to see a back four of Jenks, BFG, Sagna and Gibbs.

  17. Gööner In Exile says:

    In a weird way though injuries are occurring in right positions and right times allowing Arsene to rotate without upsetting too many.

  18. Gööner In Exile says:

    Toon have gone defensive but have an attacking bench…Ben Arfa, the Amoeobi’s and Cisse

  19. GunnerN5 says:

    Toon have a huge advantage – their home crowd are close to fanatical.

  20. Rasp says:

    Hi GiE, surely Monreal must be unwell/injured, its not like Arsene to leave us vulnerable in defensive cover like that – you can bet your bottom dollar that if we do pick up any injuries it will be to a defender 😦

  21. evonne says:

    NG – oh dear, how did she spell it? Arseanal?

  22. fatgingergooner says:

    not sure Wenger will have wanted to change all 3 of his CM’s at once as this can sometimes lead to poor performances. Hope that isn’t the case.

    Looking at the Newcastle side, it doesn’t look any better than the one that was getting beat earlier in the season. It’s amazing what confidence can do. Their whole game runs through Cabaye, so let’s hope Flamini plays well today. Going to be an interesting match up.

  23. Oooooh Come on Arsenal ……..

  24. Gööner In Exile says:

    GN5 we need to silence them and then not let them get interested.

    Sometimes I think that’s been one of our mistakes in the past giving the opposition fans some encouragement to cheer their team forward from losing positions.

    Never thought Man City fans were particularly vociferous but they seem to in recent weeks have done a very good job in getting linesman on their side.

  25. Gööner In Exile says:

    Hope you’re right Rasp about why he hasn’t travelled and wrong about defensive injuries today….

  26. evonne says:

    Jack and Koz on the pitch

  27. mickydidit89 says:

    Come on you Gunnnnners

  28. GiE – there’s always a moment in a game when we like to give the oppo a chance …….

  29. evonne says:

    no Ozil
    happy b’day Rasp xx

    Raddy – goody good PM, thank you. Interesting about most points in 2013.

    off to watch, come on you beauties!!!

  30. RockyLives says:

    Nice one BR

    Bit worried about our starting line-up today without Ozil, Arteta and Ramsey. We may not have our usual control of the ball today.

  31. GunnerN5 says:

    Oh for a decisive final pass…………….

  32. GunnerN5 says:

    Is Jack going down too easily or is he being fouled??

  33. fatgingergooner says:

    Starting to understand why we have a poor record wih this ref!

  34. fatgingergooner says:

    Cazorla getting in some great positions but final ball poor so far.

  35. fatgingergooner says:

    We will get chances today. Need to make sure we bury them.

  36. fatgingergooner says:

    Wish someone would tell Giroud to stop doing that stupid thing with his hand when he’s injured.

    Also, this ref is a joke!

  37. GunnerN5 says:

    FG, Giroud deserved the yellow, stupid tackle

  38. GunnerN5 says:

    The downside is that his stupid tackling could lead to a red.

  39. mickydidit89 says:


    “Bit worried about our starting line-up today without Ozil, Arteta and Ramsey. We may not have our usual control of the ball today”

    That’s the first half of the match report done 🙂

  40. fatgingergooner says:

    I’d be tempted to put Podolski on for Rosicky and play Theo LW and Pod RW. There is shooting room at the edge of their box and our wingers could be lethal coming inside rather than outside.

    Also it would push Debuchy back as he would have a proper winger to think about. At the moment Debuchy is bombing on because he has nobody making him defend.

  41. mickydidit89 says:

    Very good shout FGG.

    I’ll text Arsene immediately.

  42. fatgingergooner says:


    Giroud’s yellow wasn’t my issue. It was that Cazorla was fouled just before it and nothing was given, Walcott was tripped early on when he would’ve been through, Wilshere has been fouled numerous times with nothing given, and to be fair, Sissoko was tripped on the edge of our box and nothing was given. He’s been awful.

  43. GunnerN5 says:


    The poor old referee is never right, but so far Probert has been pretty even handed and is letting the game flow.

    I seriously believe that Jack goes down too often, which in turn creates a credibility issue with the referee’s.

  44. Gööner In Exile says:

    Not sure whether Jack expects free kicks feels like he is beginning to get a reputation for going down to easily, and to be fair to the refs he doesn’t try that hard to stay on his feet when he is fouled so maybe he just needs to find a bit of strength in his legs and use that backside a bit more, side by side much harder to get free kicks compared to putting your body between ball and opponent.

    As others have said this game has been crying out for a final ball, and that’s what Ozil gives us.

    Think there were positives early on as we tried the occasional ball over the top to mix it up a bit…all gone a bit short tika taka since the opening twenty.

    Also liked the way we were committed to win the ball back early and up the pitch that’s something that both TR7 and Santi do better than others and as both are pressing we were successful with it and the crowd were getting on Newcastles back, more of that this half please.

    Would probably put Pod in for Giroud soon, the big man needs a rest, Pod looked up for it when he came on against West Ham so can see them creating a bit more.

  45. GunnerN5 says:

    Stick or twist – that is the question..

  46. Gööner In Exile says:

    Twist without a doubt.

  47. GunnerN5 says:

    Unless AW is content with a single point we need an injection of both pace and power…….

  48. GunnerN5 says:

    Has either keeper been seriously tested?

  49. RA says:

    Vermalen and Monreal are/were both sick.

  50. RA says:

    In fairness Newcastle are becoming a very good team, but we seem to have regressed from the bright, bubbly displays of early season.

    Missing Ozil already?

  51. Rasp says:

    We need to get Cazorla in the middle, being on podolski for Rosicky and rejig the midfield

  52. Gööner In Exile says:

    The tip over by Szczesny the only one from memory GN5.

    Certain players showing signs of tired legs in their passing, others like TR7 always gives the ball so that the receiver either can play one touch or move away from the closest defender.

  53. Gööner In Exile says:

    Nananananaaaaaaaa Giroooooooud

  54. GunnerN5 says:

    So he’s not just a pretty face…………

  55. fatgingergooner says:

    Great ball, great header.

    Any more on that and it’s straight at the keeper. Deft header.

  56. GunnerN5 says:

    Now for the Newcastle fireworks.

  57. GunnerN5 says:

    That was a real Wally…

  58. GunnerN5 says:

    Gee I just hate squeaky time.

  59. Rasp says:

    We need another goal, release the pod!!!

  60. GunnerN5 says:

    This could be the perfect Birthday present Rasp.

  61. Rasp says:

    I’m hoping GN5, I can see a red card soon – we need another goal

  62. GunnerN5 says:

    Three on yellow, very concerning.

  63. Gööner In Exile says:

    Bit of nastiness about us today….I like it.

    Watching Tiote my guess is he’d see red every week if he wore red and white.

  64. mickydidit89 says:

    Oh do relax Raddy. I can feel your tension from here 🙂

  65. evonne says:

    fecking Orcs moved to Newcastle
    how big are those guys?

  66. Rasp says:

    What????? A defensive sub ….. Nooooooo

  67. Jenks for Theo??????????

  68. Rasp says:

    We’re going to invite them onto us

  69. Gööner In Exile says:

    Gone three centre backs…who said Arsene doesn’t do tactics.

  70. fatgingergooner says:

    Holy shit Szscesny!

    Think both teams gone 3 4 3. Although more like 3 6 1 in our case!

  71. Szczesny !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  72. evonne says:

    I hate Szczesny!!!! And if you try to defend him GIE I will end up hating you too

  73. Gööner In Exile says:

    Wow heart in mouth then….concentrate Arsenal!!!!

  74. Rasp says:

    That’s the 3rd time this season sz had done that – why doesn’t he learn?

  75. This is so difficult to watch

  76. GunnerN5 says:

    This is driving me crazy another 10 minutes of this – talk about acid reflux time…………………

  77. GunnerN5 says:

    We have encouraged this onslaught.

  78. Gööner In Exile says:

    If they went three up top and we stayed 4 at the back we would have been more susceptible to an equaliser, whilst this is difficult to watch, keeping them out makes us champions material.

  79. Adrian says:

    FFS wtf Jenkinson stop dreaming. Great chance to take an open throw in for Bendtner there UNMARKED at the final third

  80. I think you’re right GN5

  81. evonne says:

    this is terrible

  82. RA says:

    Who is that guy impersonating Jack Wilshere?

  83. Gööner In Exile says:

    Squeak squeak squeak

  84. Deep breath Szczesny, count to ten

  85. Adrian says:

    Man of the fucking match : Tomas Rosicky.

  86. evonne says:


  87. GunnerN5 says:

    Holy moly……………We are top ending 2013

  88. Gööner In Exile says:

    Top of the League

  89. RA says:

    The Great Tyneside Robbery!!

  90. fatgingergooner says:

    Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!

    Champions style victory!

    Thought Rosicky was motm just for his work rate if nothing else. Great result.

  91. mickydidit89 says:

    There’s Part 1 of your Birthday wishes, Rasp.

    Good luck with Phase 2 🙂

  92. fatgingergooner says:

    Wenger did the right thing IMO.

    We couldn’t have dealt with their 4 up front without a tactical change. We got the win, that’s all that matters.

  93. Need someone to write something about the game for tomorrow’s post please …………

  94. Top of the League !!!

  95. RA says:

    Never had any doubt. 🙂 🙂

    That last 10 minutes was the definition of TENSION!!

  96. kelsey says:

    Rosicky outstanding all the others a very gritty performance.
    Strange subs by the boss and how did Giroud miss that goal.
    never mind just double up on the valium.

  97. JanMan says:

    Massive, massive, massive 3 points! Happy Birthday Rasp. For sure not our best performance but we showed some real bottle to see out the win. Just like the old days, 1-0 to the Arsenal. Watched the game live on German Skysports and they said Özil will miss the next 2-3 games?

  98. RockyLives says:

    Blimey, that was stressful.

    Fantastic result.

    Rosicky was exceptional today for the entire 94 minutes. Easily our MOTM.

    I hear what you’re saying GiE, but I can’t agree that AW’s tactics (going all defensive at the end) made any sense. Any one of those balls bouncing around our 6-yard-box could have ended in a goal. We defended well, but relied on plenty of luck as well. If Ben Arfa wasn’t so greedy we might also have been made to pay.

    Until that crazy last 15 when we basically invited them to bombard our goal, I thought we were comfortably the better team, but that our final pass selection and execution was disappointing.

    I’m delighted that Ollie got one, but that chance he fluffed shortly afterwards (after Theo’s dink was headed onto the bar) shows why we may need another option up front.

  99. fatgingergooner says:

    OG got grief after the Chelsea game (from myself and others) because he wasn’t clinical enough to get us the win.

    He scores the winner today with his first real chance and gets grief for not scoring his second! Haha

    The life of a striker!!!

  100. Gööner In Exile says:

    Similar reported on Sky here JanMan.

    A word on Szczesny, many of us have played golf I assume, I know when I focus on not hitting it in to the bunker it normally ends up in the bunker. Focus on the green and with good technique you land it on the green.

    Biking is similar look at where you want to go not the obstacle you are trying to avoid.

    And yes kicking the ball as a goalkeeper exactly the same….bit of visualisation work required for Szczesny.

  101. RockyLives says:

    If he’d messed up the second chance while on a run of decent scoring form, nobody would really care.

    Trouble is, that chance was on a plate for a real goal poacher (to at least get a shot on target) and Ollie made a right Horlicks of it.

  102. Rasp says:

    Hmmmm, we defended really well …. but the luck went our way.

    I am beginning to get concerned about Jack. He receives the ball, turns and then there is an obvious pass that will keep the flow of play moving forward – but he doesn’t make the pass. He often turns in another direction and then gives it to a player (Sagna) who has no choice but to pass back to a CB or GK.

    I know he can (and will) be a brilliant player and today he may well have been told to stay back, but we didn’t see any of his surging runs – he just looked a bit leaden footed.

    The fluidity in midfield wasn’t there today. 2 reasons: 1 no Ozil, 2 Cazorla playing wide, but Rosicky was excellent

  103. RockyLives says:

    I can do a write-up Peaches.

    I promise not to be mean to Ollie, FGG 🙂

  104. Rasp says:

    OG’s missed chance today and one of the missed chances against Wham were down to the fact that he has no right foot.

  105. RockyLives says:

    Fair comment about Jack, although over all I thought he had a better game today than he has had in his other recent outings.

    He does have a habit of turning into trouble a bit too often.

  106. JanMan says:

    GIE: The German news was reporting a shoulder injury for Özil and that Vermaelen and Monreal were sick. Surprised at the subs today but I am sure that Wenger knew what he was doing 🙂

  107. fatgingergooner says:


    It was a poor effort, but he still won us the game. If he gets grief for costing us 2pts against Chelsea, then surely he should get praise for winning us 2pts today?

  108. RA says:

    Jack and Theo are similar in one respect, both of them tend to lose the ball when trying to dribble in circles, fall over and then complain to the ref for a foul. 🙂

  109. JanMan says:

    Rasp. JW looked somewhat lost today and out of his depth. Cazorla also did not have his best game, is it down to the absense of Özil? Who knows, anyway I am not going to criticise anyone and I’ll just sit back and enjoy the 3 points and the fact we are top of the league. It will now be interesting to see what activity we make in the Jan transfer window!

  110. fatgingergooner says:


    Changing all 3 CM’s certainly didn’t help fluidity. I think JW is lacking a bit of confidence, not only in his mind but also his body. He’s always clutching his ankle after most challenges, yet plays on. Maybe it’s a psychological problem. No doubt Wenger will give him the time and games to work through it, just as he did with Ramsey.

    Happy bday btw!

  111. Rasp says:

    Hi Rocky, I think Jack is trying too hard to be brilliant when most of the time just ‘very good’ is all that is required. H;’s never going to have great pace, but he is probably about as quick as Cesc. He just needs to know when to release the ball – and in most cases that is as soon as possible. If the defenders back off of him and space opens up, by all means bring the ball forward, but today he managed to get himself into tight positions by shunning the obvious.

  112. RA says:

    You are right, FGG, we need some balance here.

    Ollie has a great right foot. and a Vieira sized todger!! 🙂

  113. JanMan says:

    FGG: Good point but what disturbs me with JW is that he “appears” to go down to easily and always stays on the ground too long.

  114. Rasp says:

    Hi fgg, I agree, Jack always seems to be nursing an injury – or the expectation of an injury. I also think a lot of it is in his head. He’s trying too hard and ‘thinking’ too much. At his best he is purely instinctive. He is a natural who has lost a bit of his mojo at the moment, that’s all.

  115. Rasp says:

    Hi Janman, I’d be very surprised if we brought in any players in January that are ready made to slot into the first 11 (or subs bench) ….. but then I was completely flummoxed when we bought Ozil – so anything’s possible. I still like the idea of the young lad from Real …. but don’t forget, we have The Pod

  116. JanMan says:

    Rasp/FGG: Maybe if JW had a run of 5-6 games in the side it might improve his confidence?

  117. JanMan says:

    Rasp. Here in Germany the reports are about 90% that we will bring in the young lad from Real and the deal is basically done?

  118. Norfolk Gooner says:

    That’ll do for me, three points away from home against a team at the top of it’s form and chasing a Europa League place as well.

    What’s not to like?

  119. IanRealGunner says:

    Is it just me or does Tiote bring absolutely nothing to the game except fouling. When he wasn’t fouling, he was attempting to foul. Nervous last 10 mins for the good guys but a hard fought 3 points

  120. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Oh! I forgot, Happy Birthday Rasp, I can e-mail you an application form for a bus pass. 😀

  121. fatgingergooner says:


    If he’d swung his todger at it rather than his right foot, he might have scored!

    In future maybe he should put a sock and boot on his todger, just in case! 🙂

  122. fatgingergooner says:

    Am I right in think the Morata rumour is a loan deal?

    He looked awesome at the U21 tournament.

  123. JanMan says:

    I would prefer a draw today with Chelsea and Liverpool but my immense dislike for Mourinho and the Chavs would prefer a thrashing for Chelsea

  124. JanMan says:

    FGG: A loan deal is what the German press are reporting.

  125. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Chavs 0 Bindippers 1, after 4 mins.

  126. Rasp says:

    Thanks Norfolk …. rumours of me reaching retirement age have been grossly over exaggerated 😕 Although, I could do with a rest 🙂

  127. fatgingergooner says:


    Will be interesting to see how many games he gets if he comes.

    Or maybe he will be used to put pressure on existing players, like Viviano. Szscesny is having his best season thanks to Wengers masterstroke!!! 😉

  128. fatgingergooner says:

    Great finish by Hazard.

  129. Rasp says:

    Manone is proving that he was the second best keeper at Arsenal. He’s very brave, I can understand why he moved on. I hope Fab2 gets a move to somewhere he can play too as I don’t have a lot of confidence when he is in goal for us.

  130. fatgingergooner says:


    We definitely need a decent 2nd keeper, but those are difficult to find.

    Maybe an ageing Casillas would be ideal?

    Just realised there’s a mid table clash going on at the moment as well! 😉

  131. fatgingergooner says:


    Just noticed Casillas is only 32! At his peak right now.

  132. jnyc says:

    Look at us today. Everything against us. Newcastle home with remy, cabaye, debuchy wanting to show Arsenal why we should want them. They with little to lose.
    We with no Ramsey, ozil and top of the league pressure.
    Everything against us and we still ground out the result away.
    Much to be positive about.

  133. RA says:

    FGG, 🙂 🙂

  134. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Eto’o for the Chavs, 2 – 1.

  135. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Why am I sitting up here on my computer, I’m going downstairs to watch the match live.

    Back later.

  136. fatgingergooner says:

    Suarez the world beater has 16 shots, 3 on target, 0 goals, 0 assists against Arsenal, Man City and Man Utd (Capital one) this season. So far he’s done nothing against Chelsea.


  137. GunnerN5 says:

    Looks like Liverpool’s credentials as a pretender for the title are being seriously exposed, Chelsea are by far the better team in the 1st half.

  138. RA says:

    None of my business to intrude on Pool’s public grief but Jourdan is hobbling about and making their midfield useless, hence the Chavs are skinning them.

    Brenda’s master tactics or is he doing the poison dwarf Maureen a favour? 🙂

  139. jnyc says:

    And forgot newcastle has
    been on a hot streak as well. No matter how the season plays out, we should be proud of our boys, , considering the injuries especially.

  140. Gööner In Exile says:

    People often complain that Areene does not respect the opposition enough, if I was part of the a Toon Army I think I would think Pardew gives too much consideration, with the attacking talent he has at his disposal he could have won that game today if he had had the courage to start with Ben Arfa and Cisse or Ameobis on the park.

  141. RA says:

    Quite right, GN5.

    Without Suarez on fire the ‘Pool are very short (to use a Wengerism) elsewhere in their team.

    I still feel the money boys Citeh and the Chavs with their huge squads are the main protagonists this season with us trying to spoil their party.

  142. fatgingergooner says:

    Also, 14 of Suarez’ 19 goals have come at Anfield, and all the games he’s played against the ‘big 4’ have been away from home.

    God I’m bored!

  143. Big Raddy says:

    Easy 3 points. 😉

    Can anyone explain how AFC picked up 3 yellows and a cynical Newcastle none?

    BFG my MotM, superb performance especially in the final 15 mins

  144. Big Raddy says:

    Chas must have had a fine afternoon. Wishing him a safe drive home ….. And you arnie

  145. fatgingergooner says:


    Not a clue! How Tiote didn’t get booked will remain a mystery. I wasn’t a fan of the ref today. Missed quite a few blatant fouls.

    As for BFG, that’s a great shout. I lost count of how many headers he won.

    Your last statement summed the game up today BR, it was a knuckle biter!

  146. Big Raddy says:

    FGG I thought an early tackle on OG could have been a red, the Newcastle player flew into him both legs off the ground and crunched OG’s ankle.

    No card! Tiote at least 5 nast tackles, no card.

    I could go on but it seems like sour grapes. We won a difficult away fixture and sit TotL going into 2014.

    BR is a happy chap

  147. evonne says:

    bloody joke, Chavs getting away with murder

  148. Gööner In Exile says:

    I can see why Liverpool have decided to pay Suarez £200ka week, all those goals against the small sides.

  149. Gööner In Exile says:

    In 2013 calendar year, Suarez has played against all the traditional top 4 twice…..2 goals so far…..not as clinical a big game player as some would like to think either….he isn’t that clinical against the smaller teams to be fair.

  150. evonne says:

    cahill is outstanding, Suarez cannot breathe; especially when he has JT’s elbow in his face

  151. Gööner In Exile says:

    Those 2 goals came from 35 shots!!! (Not including today)

  152. LB says:

    What’s that expression they use in the States “A car park film?” They use it to describe a film that people are unlikely to remember by the time they reach their cars in the car park.

    Well, today was one of those days, the only thing that is likely to stay in the memory longer than I can swim around the gold fish bowl is the fact that we got three points – but as that was the object of the exercise, it was mission accomplished, I suppose.

    It wasn’t pretty but we got away with it and we can find a lot of comfort in knowing that we are top of the league as we go into the New Year.

    Rosicky seems to be the popular choice for MOTM which must be for his work load because his passing left a lot to be desired. The same with Cazorla; again, can’t fault his work rate but he brought the wrong set of clubs with him because his little chips and dinks were finding their way to the bunker, he improved when Arteta came on, those two work much better as a pair.

    Wilshere: well reading through the comments it seems as though people have finally started watching the same player as I have all season.

    He is chosen to play out of fear of the player he might turn into and not on his present form. That’s to say that if we don’t play him and he gets upset and wants to leave and then turns into the next Maradonna we look stupid. So Lil Jack must be kept happy.

    The question is: What is more important, winning the League or keeping Jack Wilshere happy? We got away with it today but it could have just as easily have gone wrong. With Wilshere’s injury we are playing with the equivalent of ten and a half men when we could and should be playing with eleven.

    My MOTM was Koscielny, I thought he was close to perfect, the BFG was his usual brilliant self, Sagna is back firing on all cylinders and I hope Gibbs isn’t injured too badly.

    Some poor team in the not too distant future is going to face both Ozil and Podolski and God help them when they do.

  153. fatgingergooner says:


    Exactly the point I was making. Would you rather have a striker who scores 2,3 or 4 in easy games, or someone who gets you 1 in the big games.

    He’s a great player, but he’s nowhere near the level Steven Gerrard keeps bleating on about. Worlds best? No chance!

  154. fatgingergooner says:


    Having said all that, if he was at a team like Madrid, he might become a world beater!


    I’m not sure it’s a question of keeping Wilshere happy, more of letting him find his form. Ramsey was allowed the time and we are reaping the benefits, surely Wilshere should be allowed that too?

  155. evonne says:

    webb found a new employer

  156. LB says:

    Suarez scores more against so called smaller clubs because he gets more chances — makes sense? The fact that he scores less against bigger clubs is more of a reflection of the inferior players around him and fewer chances they present him rather than clinical finishing or lack of it.

  157. GunnerN5 says:

    GIE, ETAL,

    If Suarez had the type of support a side like our’s could supply then I would offer those stats would improve vastly.

  158. evonne says:

    I agree LB. He had 2 great chances today and each time was blatantly fouled by Chavs. No penalties because he is Suarez

  159. GunnerN5 says:

    Wow, it seems that LB and I may agree on something – must be time for me to go……………

  160. LB says:


    How much time do you want to give him, how many points do you want to risk to keep Lil Jack happy?

    I just don’t understand why people compare Ramsey with Wilshere?

    When did we lose the opportunity to win the league because we persevered with a below par Ramsey?

    Look at today — that is what we are doing.

    How ineffective does Wilshere have to be before the penny drops.

  161. fatgingergooner says:

    Whilst agree with the theory, 2 goals in 35 shots suggests he has plenty of opportunities. Though, maybe those shots were all from 30 yards!

  162. fatgingergooner says:

    Again LB, you talk about keeping JW happy, as though he would sulk if out of the team. It’s not about his happiness, it’s about getting the best out of the player so that he can help us win the league.

    Wenger sticks by his players and trusts them, I don’t see why he would change that with JW.

  163. LB says:


    I agree with a lots of things you say.

    I think the thing we have most in common is that we were the two unswerving Wenger loyalists when he was his most troubled.

    Unsurprisingly, I am sure you would agree, we have been proved to be right.

  164. GunnerN5 says:


    Must be time for me to clean off my hatchet and put it away?

  165. LB says:

    It’s a view Slim

    I am not trying to change your mind, if you think Wilshere should play regardless of his form then fair enough. I don’t and the idea of playing him on the off chance that he might come good like Ramsey is a gamble I don’t think we should be taking.

  166. LB says:

    In fact Slim I will go a bit further.

    You compare Wishere with Ramsey saying that Wenger stuck with Ramsey and low and behold he came good — fair enough, Ramsey did.

    But by making that comparison you are acknowledging that Wilshere is not right now and like Ramsey needs time to come good.

    And here is the crux of my argument: there is no guarantee that the same thing will happen to Wishere as it did with Ramsey and in the mean time I come back to my point that this is a gamble, a gamble that unnecessarily increases the odds of us winning the League.

  167. RA says:

    We often talk about refs’ biase against Arsenal but today Webb proved himself open to all takers when he watched a stonewall penalty against the Chavs and gave nothing.

  168. fatgingergooner says:

    It’s a fair view LB, and one I know a few people on here share with you.

    All I would add is that this isn’t an 11 v 11 game anymore. It’s about squads and rotation, and Wilshere will no doubt get his chance, Espescially with Ramsey and Özil injured. It doesn’t mean Wenger doesn’t care about his form, it just means he’s the best option at the time.

  169. Gööner In Exile says:

    I actually thought Jack was better today in the first half than he has even for most of te season.

    As for Suarez the thing is the media are raving about him because of his x goals in x games. My point is 4 goals against Norwich in a 6-0 win are not thy important, neither are 2 against Spuds in a 5 goal win.

    He had chances today, two shots, if that was for us and his name was Giroud he would te pelters.

    I’m not denying he is a good player, is he worth £200k a week or more than £40m I really don’t think so. The media does because it enables them to say Liverpool are genuine title contenders with a talent like him and we aren’t because we have Giroud.

    I asked after the Chav game when someone said Giroud had had piss poor service for most of the second half but still complained that Suarez would have won us the game because I was told that Suarez can make something from nothing…now it is lack of service that means his goals in those games come up short. Maybe it is because against better defenders he struggles to use the tricks and turns that lead to him brushing aside teams not used to playing the likes of Messi, Robben, Ivanovic et al. Champions League defenders lets say.

  170. Big Raddy says:

    RA. Not just one penalty either. Terry on Suarez and then Eto’o.

    Last minute, Oscar goes through Lucas – not even a card wen it should have been red. Be interesting when they get together in the Brazil dressing room

    Webb is meant to be the world’s best ref!

  171. LB says:

    The thing is Slim, I don’t agree that Wenger selects him as the best option, how could he, did you watch Wilshere today?

    So why does Wenger pick him?

    How much do you think he will be worth to the club in five years time?

  172. RockyLives says:

    Just you and GiE kept supporting AW then? Cheeky bugger 🙂

    As for Jack, I agree with some of your reservations about him but I don’t really agree with your interpretation of why he is being played and I wonder if your view of him is so fixed that you are blinding yourself to his good moments (today there were many)?

    I think he is being played because AW wants to win the league and JW is among the excellent group of players from whom he has to chose.

  173. RockyLives says:

    *you and Gn5

  174. LB says:

    Koscielny you are picked because you played brilliantly, BFG you are picked because you are a leader and a worthy Captain, Arteta you are picked because you look like you want to win the league more than any other player at the club. Jack you are picked because you played “a bit better”.

    That’s enough from me today.

  175. LB says:

    Ahh, but Rocky

    You wobbled, I remember.

  176. RockyLives says:

    Show me…

  177. RockyLives says:

    Jack, you are picked because you are a great player. End of.

  178. Big Raddy says:

    LB. I am a fan of JW but he is not a member of our first 11.

    You agree that we need rotation and in JW we have a player who does his job, not as well as the players ahead of him in the squad but well enough.

    If Ramsey or Ozil had been fit JW would not have started, and yes, if Arteta is rested then JW is the best option.

  179. fatgingergooner says:

    LB, based on your argument JW would not be playing at all. What do you want AW to do? Loan him out? Sell him? Put him in the reserves?

  180. Big Raddy says:

    At least LB is consistent in his view 😀

  181. RockyLives says:

    Those who are getting on Jack’s back now will be silent by the end of the season, just like those who were getting on Ramsey’s back this time next year.

    Because I have always had faith in Arsene, and Arsene has faith in Jack, I know this will come to pass 🙂

  182. RockyLives says:

    True BR
    LB is consistent and his view is honestly held and deserving of respect.

    Still wrong though 🙂

  183. RA says:

    I am an unashamed fan of Chesney and he has played well for most of the season so far.

    Trouble is he seems to get bored and sometimes wants to liven up his game and our viewing by doing something really loopy.

    The ball smacked into Remy’s face from 4 yards that rebounded almost into the goal was the most recent example.

    The boy is mad!! 🙂

  184. Gööner In Exile says:

    Raddy I think Oscar got yellow for that foul but there is a reason he didn’t see red, I think Webb would ordinarily have shown it as it was a scissor tackle and both feet left the floor.

    However I’m pretty sure in my reading of the laws at various times over last few years if a red card offence occurs the ref must halt play immediately. Webb started by trying to play advantage (due in part to the stage of the game and Liverpool on the attack) he only pulled it back because of the resultant handbags between Lucas and Oscar, but if he had then showed red I think he would have been marked down by his Assessors for not stopping play when it happened……if that makes sense.

  185. Big Raddy says:

    GIE. Thanks, didn’t know that

  186. GunnerN5 says:


    As you are aware I have always been an unabashed supporter of Arsene but I also believe that he has a tendency to stick with iffy players for too long. However having said that I have no idea what is higher his rate of success or failure. But a certain Spanish goalkeeper is one that comes to mind.

  187. GunnerN5 says:

    The finals of the World dart championship are taking place over the next two days. Having played for years in a semi pro environment here in Canada I know just how brilliant these guys are. I’ve met many of them and it’s one of the few games/sports where you can mingle with the best in the World.

    I’m so into it that I watch it live on the internet.

  188. RockyLives says:

    I feel the same as you Gn5

    I have always supported AW, but that doesn’t mean I support every decision he makes (i.e., I thought he was wrong to invite so much pressure on us towards the end of today’s game).

    Re the darts – I take it it’s not on any of the channels here, Gn5?

  189. chas says:

    Great win today.

    Some in the away support were clamouring for Giroud to be replaced just before he scored. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
    Up the Arse.

    Happy Birthday, Rasp.
    3 points is a fine present, though I’m sure you’ve had better. 🙂

  190. GunnerN5 says:

    Rocky no it’s not I suscribe to PDC.TV darts – costs about $20.00 per month.

    The quarters are being played today Michael van Gerwen is the favourite to win the championship. right now he is playing Mark Webster and MVG won the 1st set in 4.5 mins with finishes of 139, 124 and 122 – simply stunning. Now up 2 sets to zip.

  191. chas says:

  192. RockyLives says:

    Thanks Chas and Gn5

  193. fatgingergooner says:

    Darts is on Sky Sports!

    Great entertainment, I love it. Although I’m also a huge fan of the NFL and it’s the last game of the regular season tonight so I’m going to be watching 2 games back to back on Sky Sports, and then a game later tonight on Channel 4. There’s also a game on Monday night on Eurosport and for most of the season a game on Thursday nights on Sky! The coverage in the UK is amazing with 5 games a week!

    Best thing is its on so late that I can also watch all the UK sport!

    The wife isn’t such a big fan! 🙂

  194. kelsey says:

    Well I enjoyed the game even if it was nerve racking yet I still don’t understand the subs that AW brought on. To be honest when I saw Gibbs replaced with Flamini going to LB was it because Gibbs was injured ?

    We are an attacking side and the last half an hour was like The Alamo a complete change of policy from AW this season and not for the first time.
    Giroud was hobbling as he walked around after the final whistle, Ozil out with a bad shoulder for three weeks /?(I don’t believe it, I think he is being rested)
    If Wilshere is good enough for England he must have something. He is only 21 had 17 months off and I thought he had a reasonable game today no better or worse than several others.

  195. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Wenger speaking post-match on Ozil; “It is an inflamed shoulder, it should be one more week maybe less, I don’t know, but not a long time.”

  196. Big Raddy says:

    Kelsey I hate it when AW shores up the defence with 10 mins to go. Taking Theo off gives Newcastle less to fear of the counter attack as OG will never score running from the halfway line.

    Gibbs must have been injured as must OG following the number of crunching (read fouls) he received.

    Expect NB to start vs Cardiff or the Pod/Theo combo

  197. Norfolk Gooner says:

    BR, I agree, if Walcott had stayed on the pitch there was no way that Krull would have dared to come forward for corners and he certainly wouldn’t have been approaching the half way line to launch balls into our box.

  198. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Good night all

  199. Gööner In Exile says:

    Right my version of events on the Theo sub.

    Jenkinson was pointing to Flamini to go to midfield and he would go left back, the number held up was 7 (Rosicky)….Wenger jumped up to change it to Theo, telling Jenkinson to go to right back and holding up three fingers to the centre backs, he also grabbed TR7 and spoke to him.

    My guess is he could see Haidara going on for Toon and feared getting overloaded on the flanks so added Jenks to the right and removed Theo, let’s be honest the least likely to track and defend.

  200. Gööner In Exile says:

    Raddy….here is the legislation I referred to eearlier:

    “Serious foul play

    A player is guilty of serious foul play if he uses excessive force or brutality against an opponent when challenging for the ball when it is in play.

    A tackle that endangers the safety of an opponent must be sanctioned as serious foul play.

    Any player who lunges at an opponent in challenging for the ball from the front, from the side or from behind using one or both legs, with excessive force and endangering the safety of an opponent is guilty of serious foul play.

    Advantage should not be applied in situations involving serious foul play unless there is a clear subsequent opportunity to score a goal. The referee must send off the player guilty of serious foul play when the ball is next out of play.

    A player who is guilty of serious foul play should be sent off and play is restarted with a direct free kick from the position where the offence occurred (see Law 13 – Position of free kick) or a penalty kick (if the offence occurred inside the offender’s penalty area).”

    Same for other sending off offences.

    Actually quite interesting if anyone fancies a read:

    Click to access log2013en%5fneutral.pdf

    Pundits definitely could do with reading this….one of the interesting bits that just caught my eye was how a player can “endanger the safety of others” without making contact.

  201. GunnerN5 says:


    Yet another example of knowing the strengths and weaknesses of his squad.

  202. GunnerN5 says:

    I was referring to AW of course.

  203. fatgingergooner says:


    That’s how I saw the Jenks change, although I never saw TR7 number go up, I just thought he called him over. Pardew definitely went to 3 4 3 and so Wenger reacted by putting Jenks on and basically playing 3 6 1 or 5 4 1 depending on how you look at it.

    They barely had a shot on goal and we won the game, so can’t really argue with it. Although I will admit it was very unpleasant to watch!

  204. 26may1989 says:

    I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas.

    A good, hard-working performance today, at the far-off home of an in-form opponent, backed by passionate fans, and without some key personnel available.

    The win was both deserved and welcome – seeing City scrape to a home win over Palace yesterday and the Chavs get lucky with Webb today just underlines how thin the margins are. We can’t afford to sniff too much at an away win like today’s.

    As for performances, I thought Mertesacker, Flamini, Sagna and Rosicky did well today. Cazorla had moments, and like Exile, I thought Wilshere was fine today, though it was noticeable how much he tired in the last 20 minutes or so. But he still had the highest number of successful passes of any player today, was at the heart of our passing game and played in a few real beauties, including one that Walcott should have scored from.

    Szczesny made an excellent fingertip save, after Koscielny had given the ball away, but he also went walkabout once (and was dug out of it by Sagna), plus had the near-howler into Remy’s face.

    Ironically, given that they were the creator and scorer of the only goal, the let-downs I thought were Walcott and Giroud.

    Now onto the home match against the division’s soap opera club, Cardiff City. With both Chelsea and City away at tricky opposition (Southampton and Swansea), perhaps we’ll be able to rebuild a lead.

    PS: Belated happy birthday to Rasp!

  205. arnie says:

    yoo hoo hoooo!!!!!! (Belated) happy birthday Rasp! And what a birthday present as well!!!! 😀 😀 😀

    Top of the League!!!!!! 1-0 to the Arsenal. What more is there to say!!!!

    Reached Lansing safely. It was not as bad as I (we) feared.

    Micky: Icy rain on top of the Smokies, but we did a fair bit of sightseeing nevertheless.

    RedArse: Lovely story yesterday!!!! 😀 😀 Back laters.

  206. arnie says:

    Raddy: lovely pre-match, and lovely discussion. 😀 😀 😀

  207. LB says:

    Interesting debate on who should have been subbed: Giroud or Walcott.

    I don’t think it is right to suggest that Krul wouldn’t have come forward if Walcott had stayed on. The reason the keeper came forward was that it had became irrelevant how many Newcastle lost by, so he would have come forward with or without Walcott on the pitch.

    And that being the case, better to have the aerial support that Giroud provides.

  208. LB says:

    I am also of the view that the “shoulder injury” to Ozil smacks of a man needing a rest.

    Although it is not a bad time to give him one: the game against Cardiff should be seen as a banker and the FA cup shouldn’t be our priority even if it is against spuds.

    They will be as tired as we will be but we have better depth: Podolski, Bendtner and Gnabry etc should be strong enough to take care of that and if we lose we can sing the top of the league song all the way home.

    Although, again, I take comfort in the knowledge that no team under Wenger has been knocked out in the third round of that competition.

  209. Gooner in Exile says:

    Just having a look at the Top 7 mini league (excludes Newcastle).

    Pld Won Draw Lost Pts Home Games
    Manchester City 6 5 0 1 15 5
    Everton 6 2 3 1 9 3
    Chelsea 6 2 3 1 9 2
    Arsenal 6 2 2 2 8 4
    Liverpool 6 2 1 3 7 1
    Manchester United 6 1 2 3 5 3
    Tottenham Hotspur 6 0 3 3 3 3

    What interested me was that Manchester City have played 5 of the 6 games at home, we have played 4, which means our return from these games has been a bit disappointing.

  210. Gööner In Exile says:

    Toon would have 10 points if included from 3 home games, City going up to 18 (6 home games) us 11 (4 home games), United same points but 4 home games, Liverpool 8 with same home games, Spuds same points with 4 home games, Chavs same points with same home games, Everton 12 with 4 home games.

  211. mickydidit89 says:

    Great chart Exile.

    I’ve just spent 10 minutes staring at it trying to unearth an intelligent insightful gem, and nothing 🙂

  212. mickydidit89 says:

    Just had a look at City’s prem record, and the games they have lost, have all been against strugglers: Sunderland, Villa, Cardiff and Tottenham.

    Don’t think this means anything whatsoever, but there you go 🙂

  213. chas says:

    I’d quite like to see a table of each of the top 7s points against the bottom 13 teams.
    Just for completeness. 🙂

  214. mickydidit89 says:

    Well, Chas, you can add Norwich to that City list.

    Personally, I’d rather see a completely incomprehensible heat map, or chart of any description 🙂

  215. chas says:

    What I want to know is what was Szczesny doing in Krul’s box?

  216. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    GIE Interesting chart.
    As you say, our home form against the others disappoints, however, given our strength away from home it bodes well.

    I would like to see a comparison against last season,

  217. Manthan says:

    Good Morning all,

    It was good win yesterday. I was bit scared when we sat back and started taking pressure.. Luck was on our side and in the end we are top of leauge..

  218. evonne says:

    Schumacher in a coma 😦 Skiing accident.

  219. Rasp says:

    Morning all ……..

    ….. New post ……..

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