Arsenal Arsenal what’s the score? …. Arsenal … what’s the score?

October 21, 2014

In order to score more, do you need to be prepared to concede more?
Let’s face facts. City and Pool did last season and finished 1st and 2nd. They also played the most attractive and exciting football.


Question posed by MickyDidIt89

Never mind the quality – what about the width?

October 20, 2014

Yesterday Rasp asked the following question :

Incidentally I’m told by someone who was at the game that we were very narrow in the second half which led to the customary midfield congestion and lack of shooting opportunities – can anyone verify/explain this?

Now we have a player like Welby who is quick enough to get into the box, surely we need to get behind their fullbacks when attacking?

To which I responded with the following :

The balance in our width has been an issue for a while Rasp. How much should come from the FB’s or the more advanced wide players and in what balance are big debates. Have we got the right players for it and the right balance within the squad and who should play in certain positions and who should not? There is tomorrows headline post for you. 

To which Rasp responded with the following :

OK GB, thanks for volunteering – get typing

Now I had signed off at that point to tend to my pulled pork that I was preparing for family and guests (delicious if I may say so), so typing was not an option, but it struck me that how a team deploys and utilises its wide players is a big debating point. The more you think about it the more questions it raises.

The comments of “playing too narrow” and “over-committing our full-backs to the attack” are often stated on here and elsewhere in relation to Arsenal. To my mind this begs the following questions :

  1. Do we use the wide areas of the pitch effectively?
  2. Do we have the right balance in how we provide width in our play between the overlapping full-backs and the more advanced wide players?
  3. Could we improve how we use the wide areas of the pitch and if so how?
  4. Are there other teams that are better at using the width of the pitch to open teams up and should we be looking and learning?

Over to you A.A’ers. These are but a few questions that one could start with to get things going, but please feel free to bring any other aspect or question that you feel may be relevant to our club and how we use the width of the pitch in our general play.

Written by GoonerB


Class of 2014-15 – could do better?

October 19, 2014

Bit of a worrying performance, that one.

In midfield and up front it was a pretty decent team on paper, but we seemed very ineffectual with our possession.

Our only tactic seems to be to try and one-two our way through packed defences, but when that doesn’t work we look a bit lost.

Apart from a few periods this season (first half hour v Man City, the 3-goal burst against Villa, beating Galatasaray) we don’t seem to be gelling. I wish I knew why (and I don’t believe it’s all or even mostly down to injuries).

It would be ironic if, after all those years of getting top four against the odds while spending less than zero on net transfers, we missed out now that we have started spending the big bucks again…

Discuss …………..

Written by RockyLives

Back to football – Arsenal v Hull City

October 18, 2014

Morning all.

Matchday at last. And Hull as well. When did we meet them last? Yes, you got it right. Just go to the banner at the top if you don’t remember.

The entire Hull city descended on the capital that day. Driving down the motorway felt a bit strange and scary. Every second car had stripes and tiger banners. It felt almost like heading into enemy territory.

But that was different. Do or die for them. Yet another trophy for us. 😛

Today is league. Very different. A tough game. The tigers are tough. Period. I was surprised to note:

(a) Hull is only one of three PL teams that have scored in every game so far (other two are Chavs and Everton – not us, we play a beautiful game, silly! 😛 )

(b) Hull had 13 players on international duty last week. Eh! Some plating for obscure countries like Antarctica and Papua New Guinea! 😛

Tough game, first of 4 relatively easy (must win? 😛 ) games. Even the Arsenal website has a poll asking fans whether we will win all four!

Realistically speaking, I think we need to score twice. Where will be get the two goals? Hmmm.

Anyway, two goals or not, we are probably in for an exciting game. My best guess:

Bellerin, Monreal, Mertesacker Gibbs,
Arteta, Wilshere,
Ox, Cazorla, Alexis

Monreal and BFG in central defence will be exciting!

However, having said all that, this game has only one possible outcome. Unleash the demolition squad, Wenger. COYG!!!!!!

Written by arnie

AGM Today – looking ahead to 2017

October 16, 2014

Ahead of today’s annual general meeting, Arsenal Chief executive Ivan Gazidis, has looked ahead to the time when Arsene Wenger may leave the club. “Replacing the giant of a manager will be the greatest challenge to face the club” Or words to that effect, he said.

Fear not fellow Gooners, at least for the time being anyway, Arsene has just signed a three year contract extension which will see him through to 2017. Short of a disaster of cataclysmic proportions the chances of Le Professeur leaving before then are about the same as Nick Clegg leading the Lib Dems to a landslide victory in next year’s General Election.

According to Gazidis, “Wenger has steered the club expertly to this point, but that the transition is nearing”. Obviously the club will want to handle the situation somewhat more adroitly than a certain Northern Club recently managed their’s.

The choice of the man to take the club forward will depend on many factors, not least the state of the squad at that time. At the moment it would appear that Arsenal will be in rude good health in 2017. Financially sound, great stadium, state of the art training and academy facilities and, aside from that disaster of cataclysmic proportions, a solid and growing fan base both here in the UK and overseas. In addition the current “young” players in our first team squad, such as Szczesny, Chambers, Gibbs, Wilshere, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Walcott, Ramsey and Welbeck will all be in their prime. Nothing is more certain than that in the meantime Wenger will have introduced more youngsters into the squad who will be ready and able to push for starting places.

All in all the future looks quite rosy for whoever takes the reins when Arsene finally relinquishes them.

Apart from the name of the new man, one other question needs to be addressed, will the club appoint a Manger with the total control enjoyed by Wenger or will it be a Head Coach operating under a Director of Football?

Written by NorfolkGooner

BBC Price of Football…time to bash Arsenal

October 15, 2014

It’s that time of year again when the BBC like to release their Price of Football stats and we get our annual clobbering in the media for having “the most expensive seats”, “the most expensive season tickets” and generally get blamed for all that is wrong with football.

So I thought I’d arm you all with some facts that you can shut the numpties up with rather than buy in to their story.

The most important thing is that little asterisk that goes next to our Season Ticket prices which denotes that it includes 7 cup games. No other team does this, I wish in a way Arsenal would give a pro rata figure just for Premier League games so a fair comparison was drawn.

Let’s start there, taking away the 7 cup credits the price of our Season Tickets are as follows:
Cheapest £741
Dearest £1,471

So the cheapest is cheaper than Chelsea and Tottenham, and only £31 more than Liverpool. Whilst I’m sure it will be pointed out that we are still more expensive than the Manchester clubs it should be noted we are in London and as such our club have a different wealth to tap into, and that is why we should only really compare ourselves with the London clubs.

The most Expensive is cheaper than Tottenham.

So it is in fact Tottenham who have the most expensive season tickets, and when did they last win a trophy? And some of their tickets are still spoilt by looking at stadium roof supports.

Then there is the match day prices, cheapest and most expensive, on the most expensive tickets there is nothing much to say we are bang to rights the most expensive seat, however as I have stressed many times before we are talking about a very small section of the ground.

But the cheapest ticket well I personally think that’s where we really shine as a club, and where no one will focus.

Cheapest match day ticket £27, only half the clubs in the Premier League offer cheaper. Some of the clubs that charge more: Burnley £35, Chelsea £50, Palace £30, Everton £33, Liverpool £37, Man City £37, Man Utd £36, Southampton £32, Swansea £35, Tottenham £32.

And those cheapest tickets are quite plentiful, admittedly they are for Cat C games, but for a fan like me who travels infrequently to the Emirates these are the games I choose, all the lower tier behind the goal are at this price and they are not difficult to get hold of in the Clock End or on the Ticket Exchange as these tend to be the games that Season Ticket holders choose to miss.

So there you have it my take on the figures announced today and hopefully some ammunition for you to fire back at the media today and anyone else who decides to tell you that we pay the most expensive prices. Blah blah blah. It’s simply not true, don’t feed the hype.

Gooner in Exile

Do Arsenal have the right blend?

October 13, 2014

Little bit of background.

Two weeks ago I took my children to a local schools surf competition. The organizers had persuaded local legend Mike to judge. He is current UK Champion and Ex European Champion. I had never met him before, but we chatted for ten minutes or so.

Now yesterday. We head off to the beach. Park. Looking over the cliff at the Atlantic I “nah, what’s the point. Too small. You guys go on in”. A couple of “oh come on Dad’s” and we’re suited up and heading in. We leave my daughter and her chum in the shallower stuff, and my son and I paddle out in the hope that some freak micro tsunami that might appear over the horizon.

There we sit waiting. “Hello there” comes a voice, and it’s Mike. “Blimey” I say “didn’t expect to see your sort out here in this”. “Why not. It’s all good fun” says he.

I watch in absolute awe as he effortlessly rides the smallest wave time after time. Performing unreal manoeuvres that I thought only possible in more powerful conditions.

He chats away to us all. What a modest bloke. Surfers, like any sportsmen, can be arrogant, but here was THE local legend out in conditions that even rubbish surfers like me deemed unworthy. Chatting away, unassuming, charming, polite and supremely modest. No “look at me, I’m the big swinging dick around here”, and it got me thinking about personalities amongst sportsmen.

I’ve always leaned towards the maverick. The wayward genius. The Senna against the Prost. McEnroe v Borg. Fischer v Spassky, and in surfing Kelly Slater (the professional) v Andy Irons (the now deceased troubled genius).

However, I’m singling out examples in individual sports. Arsenal and Football is a team game. My question is this: Do teams need to have a blend. The wayward genius, the DNA blood man, the aggressive street fighter and the leader all in there to bring balance.

I’m not sure the current Arsenal side has the right blend. For me, our current squad is a bit nice, a bit predictable and a bit samey.

Any thoughts ?

Written by MickyDidIt89

Phenomenal Wojciech Szczesny

October 12, 2014

Germany, current World Champions after 33 straight international qualifying away wins, stretching back to 1998, are finally beaten by Wojciech Szczesny. A phenomenal performance from the Arsenal keeper resulted in an astonishing result – 2 nil to the boys in red and white. Poland failed to beat Germany in 18 previous meetings between the two countries.


Szczesny has been at the centre of some ferocious criticism and was branded as “one of many Polish goal keepers with huge ego and limited footballing skills”. I am guilty of doubting his ability to perform consistently. He has always been able to produce some spectacular saves, but at the next game he would deliver equally spectacular howlers.

Speaking of Szczesny last season Arsene Wenger stated  the 23-year-old is continuing to grow in stature.

“Certainly a part of his improvement is mental because he’s more mature. His decision-making is cleaner, sharper, quicker. He was always a very talented boy but because he’s intelligent he learns quickly from experience. I’m happy that I always gave him the confidence because he’s developing very well into a very strong goalkeeper and today certainly nobody would question that he’s one of the top five goalkeepers in the Premier League.”

One of the top five goalkeepers in the EPL? Are there really 4 goalkeeper better than Szczesny? What do you think?

Written by Eddie

Cook, Thief, Wife, Lover, Internet and Arsenal.

October 10, 2014

The title? Nothing whatsoever, just happen to like a film, and the words.

So, what’s on the chit chat menu for today? How about Blogging itself, and more broadly, the Internet and how it has altered football.


Back in the good old days, turn up Saturday at midday in chosen boozer. Meet mates you haven’t seen or spoken to since the last match. Drink four or five pints. Get to the North Bank three minutes before Kick Off. Final whistle, maybe another swift one and away into the night.

Therefore, my brief conversation starter for this bright sunny morning asks these questions:

–        Is blogging good for your Arsenal experience?

–        Is the increased transparency the internet provides good for football?

–        Throw Twitter, Facebook and Players into the mix, and what do you get?

–        How much would you like to read Stan and Arsene’s Text accounts?

written by MickyDidIt89


Calum Chambers and the Baptism of Fire

October 9, 2014

No not J K Rowling’s latest best seller but an appraisal of the meteoric rise and rise of a young footballer.

callum chambers

There can be no doubt that this young man’s explosive entry onto the Premiership stage has taken more than a few people by surprise. Only at the start of last season did he make his First Team league debut, playing a full ninety minutes of Southampton’s first game of the 2013/14 campaign at right back against West Bromwich Albion and this just seventeen days after signing a new four year contract with the Hampshire club.

Calum had joined Southampton at the tender age of seven and had risen through the Academy ranks until it was announced that he was one of four players promoted to the first team squad at the start of the 2012/13season.

During the next season he made twenty-five appearances in all, twenty-two of them in the league.

During the summer break Arsenal stepped in with a bid, believed to be potentially as high as £16 million, for the nineteen year old. On the 28th July 2014 he signed a long term contract with Arsenal.

With Bacary Sagna’s departure, Chambers was initially seen as a back-up for Mathieu Debuchy who had been signed from Newcastle United only a few days before, but it soon became apparent that he could just as well provide cover at centre-back. Indeed his very first game for Arsenal was in place of the absent Per Mertesacker in the 5 – 1 win over Benfica in the pre-season Emirates Cup.

At the time Arsene Wenger said that he, Chambers, would be used sparingly as he was only nineteen and had little experience of top flight football. Although signed as a right-back, he could also play at Centre-back but would, probably, in the future end up as a defensive mid-fielder. He would most likely play no more than perhaps twenty games in the season, concentrating on the cup competitions.

However, Chambers’ competitive debut for Arsenal was to be at Centre-back against last season’s champions Manchester City in the Community Shield at Wembley, a game Arsenal won 3 – 0.

After the match the BBC picked Chambers out for special praise stating “his mature performance defied his youthful years”.

Since the start of the season Chambers has been ever present for Arsenal in their seven Premiership matches against Crystal Palace, Everton, Leicester, Manchester City, Aston Villa, Tottenham and Chelsea. In addition he has played in the Champions League against Besiktas (home and away) and Galatasaray, and in the Capital One Cup. To cap a momentous period in his so far short career on the 3rd September he made his first appearance for the full England team as a substitute right-back, coming on for the last nine minutes in the 1 – 0 win over Norway.

On Tuesday he was called up from the England U21s to fill the vacant right-back berth vacated by the injured John Stones in the full England squad.

Chambers has received widespread praise for his composed, intelligent defending, he has good pace and excellent ball control and has shown the willingness and confidence to have a shot on goal when the chance arrives. Whilst he has accumulated five yellow cards in seven Premiership games, and one in the Champions League, there is no suggestion that he is a “dirty” player.

In none of the high profile games he has played has he been “found out” be they at a packed Wembley for the Community Shield or against the current run-away leaders of the Premiership, the current Champions or in the hostile atmosphere of Ataturk Olympic Stadium, Istanbul against Besiktas.

Early days yet maybe, but so far he has come through a severe baptism of fire virtually unscathed.

Written by  Norfolk Gooner.