Do we need a Centre Back or a Defensive Midfielder? Vote.

December 31, 2014

To CB or DM, that is the question?

We are rapidly approaching the January transfer window and let’s be honest we are aquiver with excitement (slight exaggeration!) We have a gaping hole in our squad and AW is sure to fill it, but how?

CB: Do we need another centre back? With Monreal, Debuchy and Chambers all able to understudy BFG and Koscielny, is another CB essential? Will we be able to attract a young player to sit on the bench or will the new chap take over BFG’s starting role? There are fears that Kos will leave in summer, I have not heard anything which convinces me he is Barca-bound but who knows? If he is then a big money signing is a must – Hummels or someone of his standing will be the order of the day. BFG has played almost every game this season and he needs a break – is it any wonder his form has suffered, but perhaps his loss of form is permanent as the Big Man becomes even slower.

But if they both stay and we buy someone who will be benched? My gut reaction is neither as we will try to continue with the personnel already at the club.

DM: Flamini’s contract is for 18 more months, Arteta is starting to creak and is prone to muscle injuries – his absences are costly as Flamster, despite his energy and commitment, is simply not good enough. We need to sign someone who can play DM and at a push CB. But they are much in demand and expensive. Carvalho – the flavour of the month – is valued at over €25m and the only time I have seen him the man was anonymous. However, we are in need of a direct replacement for Arteta or are we? Can Ramsey, Wilshere or Ox or even Chambers play the role?

What do you think?

Written by Big Raddy


Mesut, Santi, Sanchez. You sort it out

December 30, 2014

At one end of the scale you have a Manager like ‘Arry. He likes to change eleven players from one game to the next, and at the other end, you have Maureen, who will pretty much pick the same eleven, and play them in the same order.

At Arsenal, we really don’t know as Arsene has not had the luxury of choice this season due to injuries, but many of us armchair experts like nothing more than playing Manager, and I am the leader of this particular gang. I do “Best XI’s” all the time, and with our injury list seemingly easing, this is becoming increasingly difficult, and nowhere more challenging than the No10 role.

Now before all the real experts leap up and down saying we don’t play with one, and that we have stealth this and false that, it’s my post and my rules, so let’s not get bogged down with facts and details, ok.

So, for the sake of today’s little chit chat, I’m making some assumptions. Staggeringly, I’m opting for a Goalkeeper as well as four defenders. Also, in front of that lot, two defensivey types, and if you want to refer to one of them as a box-to-boxer, then rock on if that’s your bag.

Finally, we will play with at least one of Ollie and Danny, so that leaves, at best, three vacancies.

So, we need someone to orchestrate. Another thing I’ve factored into my thinking, is that we simply aren’t creating enough chances when we dominate possession, so we need the eye-of-the-needle-threading-passers very badly. Best of these are Mesut, Santi and Sanchez.

Over to you. One, two or all of them, and where?

Written by MickyDidIt89

Arsenal sink Eastenders

December 28, 2014

A pulsating London Derby resulted in Arsenal taking the spoils in the East End.

Entrance to the Boleyn Ground

Entrance to the Boleyn Ground

An hour long journey for me from North West London to East London was very eventful to say the least. Throughout the train journey there were lots of Hammers fancying their chances in this game given Arsenal’s recent defensive frailties and the return of the ‘woman beating'(allegedly) Andy Carroll who can of course throw his weight around.

As the team sheets filtered through there were many raised eyebrows at the inclusion of young French midfielder Francis Coquelin having recently returned from a loan spell at Charlton Athletic. However, Coquelin would have the last laugh as many Arsenal fans were left pleasantly surprised come the final whistle at Upton Park.

View from the away end

View from the away end

As the Arsenal fans roared into the ground the game got underway and from the start, West Ham applied pressure and hearts were in the mouths as Alex Song’s strike was ruled out for offside much to the relief of the travelling Arsenal faithful. It was evident that being a London derby this was going to be a feisty affair and it lived up to that expectation as there were many tackles all across the pitch. West Ham by this time were trying to exert pressure but the Arsenal defence stood firm.

Then the turning point. The magician Santi Cazorla’s quick feet bamboozled the West Ham centre backs resulting in reported Arsenal target Winston Reid clipping him to the floor and conceding the penalty. The Spaniard dusted himself down to tuck away the penalty himself sending his compatriot Adrian the wrong way.


The opening goal seemed to give Arsenal a morale boost and it was soon followed up by a burst from the Ox who supplied a low cross for Danny Welbeck to score a second and put the Gunners in a commanding position at half time.

Arsenal could hardly believe their luck but there were still concerns in the stands given the aerial threat which the West Ham posed. Per Mertesacker saved a certain goal and then that threat came to fruition as nine minutes into the second half Arsenal failed to clear their lines and Kouyate gave the Hammers a glimmer of hope. Arsenal lived dangerously throughout the second half despite having the chance to kill the game off with Adrian making two great saves from Cazorla and then Chamberlain’s diving header.

There were lots of disgruntled fans however as Arsene Wenger did not bring substitutions on until the closing stages, a time when Chamberlain was tiring. As the closing moments approached the Arsenal’s goal was under siege; the game became scrappy and another headed effort deep into injury time fortunately landed on the roof of the net.

The final whistle blew and a vital three points were going back to North London which Arsenal can build on heading into the New Year’s Day fixture.

Arsenal now climb above their London rivals and with the transfer window only round the corner, there is a fresh wave of optimism and this result can provide an injection of life into Arsenal’s season.


By @SirAHussain14

WHU: Jump

December 28, 2014

This is going to be short as Mrs Raddy has plans 😦

West Ham. The Boleyn ground. Unhappy memories of this place. Bananas thrown at Kevin Campbell. The Chicken Run and the Inner City Firm (look them up). Returning to the car and finding it keyed. Liam Brady playing against us. Can you believe that in the late ’90’s the men’s toilets had nowhere to wash hands? Hateful place.

Of course it wasn’t always thus; there were the days post-’66 with Peters, Moore and Hurst. The Football Academy developing the skills of Trevor Brooking, Alan Devonshire etc etc.

Sadly, new ownership and poor management ruined the club. Until now….

I hate to say this but Allardyce is doing a great job. He may be a gum-chewing walrus but his team are punching way above their weight and this is due to his management. Teamwork, pace, strong defence and midfield, and hard work have pushed WHU to the top 4. Add to this the attacking power of Carroll, Sakho and Valencia and we can see West Ham have the potential to surprise

Yet, we have a fine record against the happy Hammers and should not be cowed by their physicality. Admittedly we are down to the bare bones in certain areas of the pitch (defence and midfield) but we have enough to compete.

Then there is Alex Song. A majority of Gooners seem to think we should have taken him back – especially as it is a loan deal. Why didn’t we? My guess is that AW feels we have enough midfielders and that Song was simply not improvement upon what we have. I think he was wrong  – just as I think he was wrong not to re-sign Fabregas. Rumour has it that Song became Jimmy Big Bollocks in the dressing room and the players were happy to see him leave. Could be true.

Given the 3 game ban for OG there is a possibility of playing an extraordinarily fast forward line of Welbz, Theo and Alexis. Could be very exciting.

My concerns are the set pieces. We have a nasty habit of giving away free-kicks around our area and WHU have the personnel to take advantage. Allardyce knows this, so does every Tom, D & H, and if we all know it why can’t it be fixed?? Buy. Buy. Buy.

A tough fixture against a team bang in form. A win at the Boleyn would be an unexpected Xmas Sale gift.


written by Big Raddy



A Comfortable 3 points?

December 27, 2014

Well, well, well, that was a walk in the park that almost resulted in a mugging.

Good start, even got a penalty awarded after seven minutes when Alexis is brought down by Traore, what a mug he’s learnt nothing since he left Arsenal. I thought there was an unwritten rule that the player fouled doesn’t take the penalty, but Alexis refused to give the nominated player, Cazorla, the ball and took it himself. Note to coaching staff: Alexis needs some pointers on how to take a penalty. Easy save for Rob Green.

The game meandered along much the same as before, Arsenal playing with a ball and QPR watching. Then a nice move between Welbeck and Cazorla saw the ball played out wide to Gibbs who crossed beautifully for Alexis to nod the ball in completely unopposed after thirty-seven minutes.

Half-time and half the job done.

Second half was much the same, although QPR did get hold of the ball a bit more but seemed at a loss as to what to do with it so gave it quickly back to Arsenal.

Fifty two minutes, enter stage left The Village Idiot! For no perceivable reason Giroud decides to take umbrage for a slight push in the back by Onuoha, so he head butted the QPR defender who, naturally, went down like a sack of s**t. Martin Atkinson, who was no more than three yards away from the incident, had no option but to dismiss the Arsenal striker. Nice one Ollie! A three match ban at the busiest time of the season.

Then on sixty-five minutes Alexis mesmerised the QPR defence, weaved his way into the box and laid one on a plate for Rosicky to put away with aplomb.

Only now do QPR finally wake up and start to play football, The pressure builds and QPR win a penalty on seventy-nine minutes, which Austin puts away, 2 – 1. Increasing pressure convinces Wenger to make changes, so off goes Rosicky to be replaced by Chambers, Arsenal are now being pinned in their own half, Welbeck replaced by Coquelin, With no Arsenal player up-field QPR are free to besiege the penalty area with impunity but the headless chicken defence holds out to take all three points.

written by Norfolk Gooner

QPR: T’was the Day after Christmas

December 26, 2014

Firstly. I hope all our readers had a wonderful Xmas and received all that was on the list you wrote to Santa Claus – unfortunately I must have got Santa’s address wrong because I got a bunch of stuff which will be taken to the charity shops next week 😡

Thankfully we have a game to relieve the tension of entertaining family members and it should be an enjoyable one.

Most London fans have a soft spot for QPR. From the old days of Marsh and Stan Bowles they have been my alternative London club (alongside Barnet). Why? Because we usually beat them. Unfortunately some dunderhead decided to appoint the objectionable ‘Arry as manager which has reduced my enjoyment – as many know I find the cheeky chappy/wheeler dealer, East London cabbie act seriously annoying.

But if I had to pick a game for a chilly Boxing Day evening, QPR would be the one. They are unlikely to park the bus, will be very competitive, have dangerous strikers but are beatable, and we need a win ahead of a difficult to trip to WHU. Statistics and history mean little but QPR have yet to win away this season and it is some time since they won at our place.

Joey Barton. Let’s leave it there.

Charlie Austin? Is he as good as the mug pundits insist? If he is the under-fire BFG will have to shape up.

Talking of which, BFG made a mistake at Anfield but it was his only one in the game – admittedly a very costly one. Why is Alexis in the red zone and not BFG? The man clearly needs a break but Mr Wenger’s CB transfer omission has resulted in our creaking German looking out of sorts.

Who starts today? I say the best players available. Until Arteta regains fitness Flamini is an automatic choice – we cannot rely upon Coquelin and other than him the cupboard is bare.

We welcome back the Invisible Wall that is Ospina – invisible because he has been AWOL; good to see TPIG get some competition. Also back are Theo, Yaya and Tomas. I would love to see Rosicky get some pitch time.

OK ….. Mrs Raddy is getting antsy for us to enjoy the winter sunshine.

Santa make my Xmas, bring us 3 points and an OG hat-trick. Pretty Please.


written by Big Raddy


Season’s Greetings

December 25, 2014


What strategy, Arsène?

December 24, 2014

We are where we are. Not much use ruminating. However, there is a job to be done. Gaining 3rd or 4th in the EPL. And this will require all feet and heads on board. But also strategy?

Which brings us to the question. Does Arsene do strategy? Or are we one-dimensional, playing the same way all of the time. If we do strategy, what strategy would work best for us?

Following the admission recently by Arteta that we prepare for a game based on who our next opposition is, there has been some discussion on AA in the past few weeks. But the bubble burst spectacularly against Pool at Anfield.

One of our keenest observers of the game, Norfolk Gooner, wrote (December 22, 2014 at 3:56 pm):

“I think there was a plan……. of sorts,

1) Keep it tight at the back for the first twenty minutes. DO NOT concede an early goal.

2) If successful, try to hit them on the break before half-time. DO NOT concede a goal.

44 minutes gone and the plan is working.

Oh no it’s not!

We give the ball away and there’s no Corporal Jones to shout “Don’t Panic! Don’t Panic”.

We panic and go one down.

Plan goes out of the window, everyone bombs forward and, wonder of wonders, we score with our first attempt on target.

Half-time team talk,

1) Repeat item 1 above.

2) If successful try to hit them on the break before full-time.

19 minutes gone and the plan is working, we hit them on the break and score.

DO NOT concede a goal.

Deep into injury time and the plan is working.

Oh no it’s not!

We give the ball away and there’s no Corporal Jones to shout “Don’t Panic! Don’t Panic”.

We panic and it’s two all.

Deja-vu all over again.”

Which brings us to the question. Against the Hammers and Soton away, what strategy, if any, should we adopt?

AAers, you have your say.


Could This Be Mertesacker’s Last Season As First Choice Centreback?

December 23, 2014

I like Per. He’s a great guy. He always leads the players around the pitch to applaud the supporters after games.

I never bought into the ‘he’s too slow’ argument because his reading of the game and his very effective partnership with Koscielny where they complimented one another’s play was really good for the first couple of seasons.

But lately (and without Koscielny by his side) he has worried me. He has been outshone by rookie stand-in CB’s in the shape of Monreal and Debuchy. He has not shown the on-pitch leadership I would expect from a player of his experience. A player of his stature should have been captain, but Arsene chose Arteta over an International footballer and world cup winner – why?

Chambers has come on the scene and everyone is tipping him as a future CB. But he’s only 19 and we have seen errors and too many cards creep into his game recently. That’s only to be expected from a young player. I know he is a star of the future but I don’t think he is ready to be a first choice CB at a club like Arsenal yet.

So what do you think. Can Mertesacker carry on as a first choice CB? Should Chambers replace him? … or should we be looking to recruit a top class CB in the summer?

For me it’s thanks but TTFN BFG.

A plea to Arsene … if you do buy another CB, please can he not be so nice ….. a mean b%$&^£d is what we need 😕



Arsenal … Like for Like … there’s not much to like

December 22, 2014

There can be very little to celebrate about yesterday’s result except that we managed a point in a game where we were second best. Most of us have posted comments repeating things that we have said many times before regarding the reasons for our frailties …. quite frankly its become boring.

The table below shows the like for like fixtures compared to last season (it pays homage to GiE’s much maligned swingometer) We won all 6 games against newly promoted teams last season and so any draws or losses to this years newcomers is a worse result.

The conclusion is that we’ve been better in 2 games, the same in 10 games and worse in 5 games … hardly progress 😦

Make of it what you will and give us your views in comments.