Vote for Flamini

September 30, 2014

In the summer of 2013 we were despairing of signing a defensive midfielder. Arteta was over 30 and not really attuned to defensive work, we had been Diaby-ed once too often and we had sold Denilson, Eastmond, Frimpong and a host of other defenders (remember Andre Santos?). The mega-signings of Özil and Sanogo were exciting but didn’t fulfil the long-term demands for a DM.


We read that Flamini was training with the team in an attempt to get match fit prior to trying to get a contract somewhere …. anywhere. He had been binned by a dodgy AC Milan side after a season in which he halved his wage demands.

Stoke beckoned.

But No! Our charitable French manager saw a bargain and a cheap solution, a sticking plaster for the gaping DM hole which had been evident to us fans since the days of the Invisible Wall.

At the time I wrote that signing Flamini was a backward step and one which would have a detrimental effect upon the squad. Then Mr Wenger signed Kallstrõm! Both, in my opinion, acts of desperation.

Perhaps Arsene was waiting for Carvalho (or someone else, maybe Matic?). Maybe he thought Diaby would survive a season in the first team, perhaps he saw Ramsey as his DM cover for Arteta. Whatever it was he signed Flamini in the summer window.

It must be said that the first games Flamini played were a revelation; he was better than when he left. Milan had taught him to be more defensively aware and less like the Mathieu we allowed to leave – perhaps he had matured. A few fine performances, a number of yellow cards, some crunching tackles, the black boots, the cut-off sleeves and a number of all-action 90 minutes allowed us to forget the acrimony of his departure.

But, and here is the rub, Flamini is not good enough to help us to silverware. He just isn’t. He hasn’t the pace or the tactical awareness. Sure he can make a tackle and certainly leave “a reminder” but so can Joey Barton and I wouldn’t want him anywhere near the Emirates.

In my opinion we bought Flamini because Mr. Wenger wouldn’t spend the money needed to bring a world class DM into the club.

What do you think, Is Mathieu good enough for The Arsenal?


written by Big Raddy


Sanchez and Ozil and Gin and Vodka

September 29, 2014

My Uncle Earnest had a First Cousin, known to all of us as Auntie Bob.

I don’t know where the Auntie bit came from because he was definitely all Man. He was an alcoholic, and drank heavily from an early age, but stuck to the odourless vodka when flying Mosquitos as a Pathfinder in the last war. Later in life, he cared far less about what people thought, and switched to Gin when flying.

This brings me nicely on to Alexis Sanchez, as I’m not aware that he likes either Vodka or Gin, or indeed that he flies aeroplanes.

So…..what’s going on with Alexis then?

I spent an unhealthy amount of time last season drooling over Liverpool. They had by far the most effective forward in the League in the shape of Suarez. Then we bought Sanchez, and I drooled again. Much drool in fact.

Then things got complicated. Ollie got injured, but I wasn’t fussed as it would only speed the move of Alexis to the central berth. Alas, not so easy. Danny arrived.

Wouldn’t have been so bad had Danny not showed blistering pace and great movement, and I think this may have confused Arsene.

I’ve read the “Can Sanchez and Ozil play together?” line, and I got myself all flabbergasted, I did. They are without any doubt the best footballers at the Club. Settling in time? Piffle. Settled roles, yes, and pronto please.

Final consideration is this. Are we lofting in high balls towards Danny? No, thankfully, we are not. So, let’s prove that Sanchez supplied by Mesut through the middle will produce better football than Liverpool.

Written by MickyDidIt

North London’s Finest held to a draw.

September 28, 2014

The fact that we feel as frustrated as we do by yesterday’s draw just goes to show how far we have come and just how big the gulf is between the two clubs. Maybe I am underplaying this: dropping two points to the knuckle draggers from N17 is kick the cat around the living room annoying. Those points are not for sharing; they are ours and I, for one, want them.

As far as action in the first half goes there was little of it. We were the best team by some distance but the best chances fell to spuds, who were wasteful. We had one decent break which saw Wilshere powering though the middle but he played it behind the on coming Ramsey rather than Özil who was better placed to his left. That is it as far as action and my memory goes but as we all know the talking point was the fact that we managed to loose our entire midfield to injury: Arteta, Ramsey and Wilshere. It is testament to the depth of our squad that we were almost seamlessly able to replace them.

Many may argue, in fact, that Flamini, Cazorla and Özil are a better midfield triumvirate. Well, maybe not Flamini who is spending today on the naughty step for giving the ball away so poorly that it led to spud’s goal but the other two are a very good idea.

The good guys started the second half with much more purpose, driving forward which almost brought a goal within five minutes of the restart. The ball seemed to stop on spuds goal line; we had to wait a good ten minutes before the goal-line technology decided that it hadn’t gone in, good to see that working so efficiently. They obviously waited until they were absolutely certain that it wasn’t a goal before they showed it to us, I doubt they would have even bothered had it crossed the line.

Spuds goal was not only against the run of play, it was against nature, it is just plain wrong that they score against us – ever. It did, however, focus the collective mind and Özil responded to the rallying cry magnificently, the man orchestrated the rebalance with the authority of a future captain. I almost wrote a post about three weeks ago entitled ‘Can someone remind me why I thought Özil was so good’ now I want to write a post entitled ‘How could I have possibly doubted Özil?’. The German was brilliant and Man of the Match again by a country mile.

I can’t remember how our goal came about, I know it came from the left but I have no idea how the ball got itself across the goal mouth but I do remember Welbeck’s embarrassing air shot before Oxlaide-Chamberlain powerful struck it into the roof of the net. Cue pandemonium, relief and every other wonderful emotion that can possibly be felt.

Some may say that a draw is better than a loss which it is of course but I still feel slightly deflated.

Oh well, we shall just have to wait to beat them at their place which is, of course, even more satisfying. In the mean time we remain unbeaten, so that’s something, onwards and upwards. Enjoy your Sunday.

Written by LB

Why Worry?

September 27, 2014

Dear Tom,

I have done many shameful things in my life, many things I regret and others which today fill me with embarrassment. You have always been like a son to me which brings me to perhaps the most shameful act of my life, well actually it is more a non-act because sometimes doing nothing is worse than doing something  negative  …. you know what I talking about. I allowed you to become a Spurs supporter.

I sat back and allowed others to lead you into a life of frustration, broken promises, false hope and desperation. It could have been so different had I taken you to The Home of Football all those years ago but I was absent, many miles away and took my eye away from your upbringing whilst you succumbed to evil influence.

I can only apologise

much love

Big Raddy

Excuse me for taking a couple of paragraph’s for a personal note but having done so let’s get back to today’s game 😀

Yesterday we had an excellent post exploring the fans confidence ahead of today’s NLD. Are Arsenal that good that we can dismiss any Spurs team? Not in my opinion, these are always stressful, tense games – even when we beat them by the usual 5-2 there have been times in the games when I despaired – it is almost always thus.


The New White Hart Lane 

Spurs have been hapless over the past few weeks – losing to an average L’pool and then a bottom of the table WBA are not good results. Nor were the draws with Sunderland and Belgrade, but this should be tempered by a good win mid-week.

Our form has been a little better and let’s be honest getting hammered by Dortmund in the CL is less painful than struggling in the Europa 😀 We have two more points than the neanderthals, not much but we have struggled to find cohesion; 90+ minute goals have saved blushes and points. We are slight favourites mainly because we are at the Emirates (and because we are the forces of good and Spurs are menial servants of Beelzebub)

There are too many permutations for Mr Wenger’s team today. To Wilshire or not to Wilshire? To Alexis or not? Flamini to counter Eriksen? I expect our Boss to completely ignore how Spurs set up and play his favourites.

How many of the men who played on Tuesday will start today?

Here’s my guess:


Chambers     BFG       Koscielny     Gibbs

Ox     Ramsey     Arteta       Alexis

Ozil       Welbeck

I fancy AW to go all out attack today against a suspect defence. I choose Ox over Wilshere for this reason plus I expect Ox to play deeper as he gets further in his career.

I have yet to write about the odious Spurs fans. Why? Because this morning the sun is shining, Mrs. Raddy is smiling, I enjoyed a fine breakfast and life is good. Why besmirch it writing about excrement? Isn’t it better to let them into the ground, allow them to tear up the seats, defecate in the stadium and after they crawl home to their hovels get out the water cannons and clear up.

I haven’t written anything about Spurs’ team. Sorry but you will have to look elsewhere. No surprise that Spurs arrive with a new manager; Pochettino appeared to have some pride when at S’ton, going to WHL where Mr Levy has sacked 14 managers during the Wenger years shows an excess of self-belief and a jot of madness. Shame.

The people outside of The Emirates talk about “bragging rights.” Win or lose today Arsenal have them because although the game is important we are so far ahead of them in terms of trophies, history, fans, ground and class there can be no question as to who is the biggest and best club in North London.

We are the Arsenal and We are the Best

We are the Arsenal – so F**k all the Rest!


written by Big Raddy

Are we too confident

September 26, 2014

Apologies Raddy if your pre match was going to look at this, but am I the only one a little worried that there is not much tension pre the visit of the miscreants from N17?

Last season the home fixture was preceded with worrying a about the £100m they were spending whilst we sat on our hands.

The FA Cup 3rd round came amidst another spell of fretting, and even the away league game had 4th place riding on it.

Both the league games were tense affairs, yet there has been no “if we get beat by Spurs on Saturday” comments on the blog or any conceivable tension at all.

Are we over the “they might finish above us” stuff, are we too confident, or are we all keeping any concerns well hidden whilst we divert our attention to the Ryder Cup?

I’m not normally a pessimistic fan but on the other hand I am not a full on optimistic nutter who thinks we will win 4-0 every week no matter who we line up against.

We are stretched at the back, we have yet to find out best system going forward and we haven’t got the greatest record against smaller clubs.

So why is everyone (fans and media alike) so confident this is another notch in the win column for the good guys?

Written Hurriedly By Gooner in Exile

THE DEFENSIVE MIDFIELDER – Is there more to it than meets the eye?

September 25, 2014

Yesterday when commenting on Chas’ report on the game against Southampton, I made the comment that I would have liked to have seen how Francis Coquelin would have performed in the holding midfield role.

My reasoning for this comment is that I feel the holding midfield role is a highly important cog in our wheel with regard to our current squad and best formation, or at least what I consider, and reading between the lines, maybe what Arsene considers to be our best formation. It is also an area where I feel we are currently lacking in top level quality and would need an upgrade in if we want to compete for the top prizes with the best in England and Europe.

RA in response to my comment said the following :-

Forgot to mention, GB, that we or that is to say you – should as a group, or you as an individual should define what you mean by a ‘holding midfielder’.
To me a HMF is not the same as a ‘beast’ of a DMF (defensive), much as I like dislike the term ‘beast’, and should be someone who links the central defense and the forwards, and to do that should break up play, and pull the strings when we are attacking.
The trouble is many will see that as a No.10s role, or the guy who ‘sits in the hole’ behind the forwards, and maybe it is all of those things, so how you can say that Diaby, in particular, or Jack, or Rambo could not be such a player in that role, mystifies me.

So indeed I think firstly an examination and definition of what one considers to be a holding midfielder and what one considers is a defensive midfielder, and whether they are different or one and the same, is warranted.


To my mind the great PV4 has undoubtedly been our best player in the heart of midfield in recent times but how would you define him?

I would also like to also ask which players in our current squad do you see best fitting the above definitions and why? In addition do you feel we have adequate strength and quality in these defined roles or do you feel we need to bring in a player of greater quality? If so who would you prefer and how would you view them in terms of the definitions of holding or defensive midfielder.

Over to you A.A’ers.

Written by GoonerB

 Out but not Down – Match Review

September 24, 2014

I had a very hazy view of the game but here goes.

Ospina….. Made a few excellent stops. He looked a bit short in the team photo and Clyne’s worldie sailed over his head, but this was partly down to the swerve on a brilliantly hit ball. The goal reminded me of one Thierry scored against Roy Carrol in front of the North Bank.

Bellerin….. Looked composed on the ball and particularly good when making recovery tackles. Must be that lightning speed.

Chambers….. What a buy!

Hayden….. Stepping up and didn’t look out of place. 4th choice CB, maybe?

Coquelin….. A few positional errors but largely a super performance at an unfamiliar left back. As LB says, perhaps we have more cover at left back than we thought.

Diaby….. Great to see the big man back, purring like a Rolls Royce. Fingers crossed.

Wilshere….. Jack never stopped driving the team forward. Unlucky to be on the losing team.

Rosicky….. From what I could make out Tomas is unsurprisingly a little ring-rusty. Tried a lot of stuff which didn’t quite come off. His challenge to get the Saints back in the game was stupidity itself.

Podolski….. Did very little to stake a claim for a first team place. I would have thought he’d be champing at the bit to impress, not just biding his time riding the pine.

Campbell….. I really liked what I could make out, especially in the second half. Needs game time also, but I’m not sure where he’s going to get it now we’re out of the Mickey Mouse Cup.

Sanchez….. Man, what a player we have. He never stops running and has as many tricks as Paul Daniels. His free kick was amazing. Perhaps the GK thought it was sailing over the bar as he helplessly watched it dip from outer space just under the crossbar. Stunning.


Admittedly the Saints had a few good chances on the break but our rookie defence could not be blamed for either of the goals.

The midfield looked good. If Rosicky had been sharper, Jack and Abou’s good work might have brought more reward.

The only thing the performance lacked was more goals.

What did you think? Especially if you were lucky enough to be at the Emirates.


Akpom. The New Anelka?

September 23, 2014

We are at home. The tickets are cheap. It is an autumn night. There are few expectations. We have a big enough squad to play some top players mixed with exciting youngsters. Southampton play expansive, attacking football.

Wish I was going.

Given the size of our squad and the strength of our bench I believe our B team can win the Capital One Cup. It would be a fine addition to the trophy cabinet and something we haven’t achieved since Rasp had hair …. without looking it up, when were we last League Cup Winners? (see bottom of post).

Reading Koeman’s pre-match thoughts it appears as though S’ton are going to play a very strong team, as close to the first team as possible. I can understand why because winning a piece of silverware – any trophy at all – would be huge for S’ton whose last trophy win was back in 1976, almost 40 years ago!


S’ton, 6th in 2nd Div. beat Man Utd at Wembley with a goal by Bobby Stokes 1/5/1976

How will Mr Wenger respond? Well, we know that Diaby will start and I wish him all the best. He is such a good player whose career has been hampered by injury, at 28 he still has the chance to achieve his ambitions.

Ospina will start his first match for the Gunners. This is a strange signing for me – a fine signing for the club but weird for Ospina. Perhaps he believes TPIG is not very good and that he has a chance to usurp him, I think he is mistaken but I guess he is earning a far higher wage and is happy to ride the pine for the foreseeable future. As I say, an odd decision for a much in demand International class keeper.

Another point of interest will be the progress of Akpom. Chuba has played and scored for England at every Youth level, he is the fastest player over 10 yards in recent AFC history (beating both Walcott and Henry) and recently scored a hatrick for the U-21’s. He looks excellent when playing in the U-21’s but it is a huge step up to play with the Big Boys. Ray Kennedy did it, Anelka did it, can Chuba Akpom?

Then there is Isaac Hayden. Could he be the reason Mr. Wenger didn’t buy a back-up central defender? He did well in his previous outing with the first team when he played the defensive midfield role and looked very composed in the recent U-21 win over WBA.

It is upfront where we have so much in reserve. A forward line of Podolski, Akpom and Campbell is dangerous, add in the attacking midfield of (I assume) the Ox or Rosicky and we should score goals. The problem, as ever, is in defence.

Possible team:

23rd sept

This team could be a bit light defensively so perhaps Akpom will be on the bench and Ox play on the left with Campbell through the middle. Another alternative is Flamini at left back rather than Gibbs. Why? Because there is a rather important game on the weekend and we do not want to risk an injury-prone Gibbs.

So …… did you recall the last time we won the League Cup? Yes, it was in the 1992/3 season when we won the Cup Double against Sheffield Wednesday. I went to all 3 games at Wembley and this was the first. It was the Coca-Cola Cup in those days and we won 2-1. Sheffield scored first, the Merse equalised then Steven Morrow scored the winner. It was the famous occasion when Tony Adams broke Morrow’s arm whilst celebrating


Morrow’s Big Day Out and a pre-recovery Merse.

Win this and there are just 9 PL teams left in the draw. Lose and we free up some game-time. Here’s to an entertaining match.


written by Big Raddy


Can Özil and Sanchez play effectively together?

September 22, 2014

Özil’s perceived lack of form, motivation and effectiveness in the team has been debated by fans and journos alike over the past months, weeks and days. Some have even questioned Wenger’s alleged favouritism in steadfastly retaining for Mesut a starting position despite his lack of impact on our game.

In this space, we have debated whether Özil is being played in his best position, or whether a central role would be better suited for him and the team. A view has also been expressed that maybe we have too many similar midfielders. With the arrival of Alexis, we have asked ourselves whether we have an embarrassment of talent in the midfield. Should Mesut and Santi therefore play in rotation.

And then the going got tough, with Özil singled out, I think somewhat unfairly, for lack of effort in a lacklustre performance away to Dortmund, Just then, as if to silence all critics and faithless doubters, the tough got going. With Alexis sidelined very late away to Villa, Mesut mesmerised us with a fantastic game. One goal, one assist, dominating the midfield and involved in everything that Arsenal did well on the night.

ozil goal v villa

Speaking on Match of the Day, Martin Keown said: ‘With Alexis Sanchez not playing, the team was dancing for his boots. Sanchez will obviously come back in at some point but Özil was magnificent in the central role today’. This then begs the question: Can Özil and Sanchez play effectively together?

Tactical bolleaux of this nature is not my forte. I know f*** all about tactics. Nevertheless, in a simple-minded way, I think the strengths of the two are very different and they can effectively do this together.


Early in the season, the team was being organised with Giroud as the front man. The option of Alexis as a striker was explored, but without great success. Perhaps, that would have settled matters with Mesut in the centre of the midfield. Then came Giroud’s injury and Welbeck arrived. With this, I think another dedicated front man is no longer essential.

Besides, I think Alexis would be a waste at the top. That way, we will lose his enormous skills in distribution. However, there is another attribute to Sanchez’s game that is different from what anyone else in the team can offer. Alexis is good in challenging for 50-50 balls in the midfield and can break up opposition play. In this role, he takes away 2 or 3 opposition players with him. This then leaves space for other players to operate with.

I think this is ideal for Özil. Mesut is brilliant when he has a bit of space to work with. If Alexis can wrest possession from the opponents, and Özil can then distribute to onrushing players, this will be just ideal.

It remains only for the good guys to forge this combination effectively. Whereas we now have a mildly potent attack, we will then have a powerhouse in attack.

What do you think, chums?


Written by arnie

Arsenal are Back in Business.

September 21, 2014

For people like me who believe that we have the right man for the job as manger then today was particularly satisfying. Arsenal’s win over Aston Villa vindicates Wenger’s tactics, his signings and his team selection and sends those involved in the mini meltdown, which took place as a result of loosing our first game since April, scurrying to collect their toys they were oh so quick to throw out of the pram in the week.

But I write this with a sigh of relief; Wenger came under huge pressure to change things but, no, he was having none of it or very little at least. The three players who bore the brunt of the criticism, namely Arteta, Ramsey and Özil were all included and it wouldn’t surprise me if they were the first three names on the team sheet such was Wenger’s defence of them following the midweek reverse.

Whatever the thought process it worked: Arteta looked back to his best, some may argue that he should be judged on his performances against top European opposition such as Borussia Dortmund rather than early season, high flying Brummie upstarts – and those people would have a point but it is also true to say that you can only beat who is in front of you and we did.

The second in the trio was not quite so good, I chuckled as Ramsey took to the field having changed his hair style back to the way it was last season, I thought to myself: there’s the headline and the reason why the Welshman has not been as good as he was last season; but no, his passing was just as poor regardless of hair style and he was rightly subbed – however, having pointed out the bad I think for the sake of balance I really should point out the good and that is that Ramsey’s positioning was absolutely first rate; he was always in the right place at the right time without exception.

Which brings me to the best part; this is a bit like eating a meal and saving your favourite bit to the end: childish I know but sometimes you just can’t resist. In the space of five minutes Mesut Özil went from a player out of form to the future Arsenal captain. His goal was clinical, his pass to Welbeck to score his first goal was exquisite and his swagger throughout the rest of the game was the reason why it suddenly hit me that one day this man will lead our club.


There is little doubt in my mind that recent criticism had found its way to him and that he had a choice to either hide or come out fighting, well our Mesut found his inner German and chose the latter; he ran the show and was Man of the Match by a country mile. I wanted to try and find a way of getting the line in ‘Ozil finally swaps his flip flops for football boots’ but I couldn’t find a space. Lol

The game, the game I really should say a few words about the game: determined is the word that keeps on coming to mind and rightly so because that is exactly what the team projected from the first minute to the last. It was a very determined performance and a deserved win.

I haven’t had time to cover all aspects of the match and obviously not all the players, perhaps people could add these in the comments.

Written by LB