Is Governance the Problem at Arsenal?

November 19, 2015

Who owns Arsenal and how is it governed? Although many fans would answer that Arsenal belongs to us, the truth is that we fans are just consumers of goods and services from the club we love. We are very important to the club but this gives us no element of ownership. Good governance would normally include ensuring that decision making bodies are representative, decisions are transparent and both bodies and decisions are accountable. It is for you to judge how well Arsenal does in these terms.

Firstly actual ownership of Arsenal is the prerogative of shareholders as a whole. Currently this means that 66% are owned by a company called Kroenke Sports and Entertainments (KSE) which is wholly owned by Stan Kroenke a US billionaire who owns a number of sporting clubs and franchises mostly in the US. 30% is owned by a company called Red & White Holdings (RWH) which is jointly owned by Usmanov and Moshiri. The remaining paltry 4% is owned by a constantly decreasing number of older fans and their families.

The current situation emerged from a volatile and active Board disagreement on the new stadium. This led to a lock-down on share disposal from the Board initially and ultimately on the death of Danny Fiszman to the sale of his shares to Stan Kroenke who then exceeded 30% shareholding and had to make a formal bid to all other shareholders. This had been pre-agreed with all Board members and other major shareholders. The primary effect was to make Stan Kroenke effective sole owner of Arsenal and as a secondary effect put David Dein who had recently been removed from the Board completely into the wilderness. As a consequence he sold his shares to and briefly led RWH who garnered at that point just under 30% of the remaining shares.  This RWH share position is important because if Kroenke were to obtain a further 9% support then he could change Arsenal to a private company and this could involve all sorts of shenanigans as any Man U supporter will tell you in the light of the Glaziers following exactly this process. So Usmanov currently has an impregnable blocking vote on that.

There is one other aspect of share ownership that must be covered before we move on. Arsenal Supporters Trust (AST) who have as their members a large portion of the small independent share holders, sought to agree with Kroenke at the point of his bid and Ivan Gazidis as CEO that they would set up a Fanshare scheme to enable ordinary fans to have an opportunity to buy shares and so participate in ownership of the club. It is noteworthy that the nearly half a billion £ Kroenke has paid for his shares has not given a penny into Arsenal coffers- only new shares being issued would do this. In spite of intensive effort and pressure the issue of new shares was never agreed by Kroenke and the Fanshare scheme is going through the long, sad and arduous process of being wound up. So much for real attempts at involving fans meaningfully.

Day to day running of the club is of course the responsibility of the Board which is elected at the AGM by the shareholders (ie Stan Kroenke). The Arsenal board is currently very small, comprising only 6 persons. Two non-executive Directors are Sir Chips Keswick, a banker, and Lord Harris of Peckham a carpet retailer and Philanthropist. Neither are shareholders of any significance. There are two employees namely Ivan Gazidis as CEO and Ken Friar a very long standing employee of the club. Finally there are Stan and his son Josh Kroenke who attend with that 66% majority in their bag. The board meets monthly and all are wined and dined well at each match including away matches with luxury travel with the first team. No mean sinecure. The only major earners on the board are the two employees. Both Kroenkes and Sir Chips, who is chairman, draw a standard fee of £25k although Lord Harris donates his to charities. Neither agendas nor minutes are public documents so transparency is almost nil.

Real matters of governance concern would be that the board is in no way representative of the fans. It has no women although they are increasingly present at the stadium. It also should be noted that any skills set analysis would find the board very narrow and inadequate. There is good management and business skills but experience at top playing or coaching level is entirely absent.

When talking of the board the elephant not in the room is of course Arsene Wenger. He probably rightly has avoided siren calls to join but has zealously guarded his right to select and train all footballers on staff. He also expects the primary say in transfers in and out of the club although we have no knowledge as to what parameters may be set by the board eg specifically on total cost or value. Arsene in particular seems willing to let the buck stop with him in these areas.

Perhaps the best way to assess Arsenal governance performance is to consider issues and I have chosen three but you may well have your own and it would be interesting to see your cases and views in comments.

  1. For two years there has been a strong fan reaction to the news that a wholly Kroenke owned company has been paid £3 million each year for unspecified services commissioned and approved in particular by the two non-executive Directors. Now in principle I am not opposed depending on the services given and their true value. There are aspects of marketing and match day experience in which the US is a world leader but the problem is we are not told anything useful and so it is zero marks for transparency. Of course if it is just a means to pay Kroenke and avoid paying the nearly half again to RWH that a dividend on shares would entail then there are entirely new issues emerge.
  2. For several years local Islington Citizens supported by a number of fan groups and Arsenal blogs have been trying to persuade Arsenal to adopt the London Living Wage for it’s own staff and when the opportunity arises for external contract staff. This is clearly morally right for a company in Arsenal’s financial position and there are strong arguments that it would positively enhance the match day experience. And all at less cost than the Kroenke company fees. But in spite of being raised at the last three AGMs accountability is so poor that the policy still awaits a final board sign-off. Perhaps Stan Kroenke whose other half is not only better but also richer being a Walmart inheritor, where staff pay is notorious, has an undesirable influence here
  3. Arsenal are very rightly proud of the work they do as Arsenal in the Community. But it is extremely difficult to find a way of suggesting innovation. The FA has got itself into all sorts of foolish financial difficulty but there is a singular clear and pressing difficulty in developing youth and grass roots football. Could not Arsenal under the auspices of Arsenal in the Community set aside £5-£10millions to train and employ 25-50 new fully qualified coaches which could be offered to local schools and local cubs to build a new approach with the ‘Arsenal way’.

I have to say that for me the questions and principles that were posed in the opening paragraph are sadly evidenced that Governance at Arsenal is a long way from good enough and we as fans have to try to bring all the pressure we can to get improvements.

Vintage Gooner


Injuries Hurt!

November 18, 2015

One has to wonder if Arsenal have yet come to grips with these continuing cycles of injury that besets our players.

I suppose that one first needs to analyse the causes of the injuries.

It is obvious that some injuries are out and out thuggery by an opposition player, such as has happened to About Diaby and Rambo, for example.

Others may be a result of a genetic imbalance that makes some players inherit brittle bones, or ligaments that fail more easily than perhaps is normal in professional sport.

Then again, the warm up and warm down process before and after a game or when coming off the bench should be straight forward to apply and in most cases does not cause most players a problem.

The style or nature of some players needs to be taken into account as well, and it seems obvious that a ‘big engined’ non-stop, physically aggressive player is likely to suffer injuries more often than a laid back, skilful player who makes the ball do the work for him.

It seems obvious that there is nothing the club physios can do about the occasional bursts of thuggery that can be bad enough that it can cripple a player’s career, as it has done for Diaby and Eduardo and nearly put paid to Rambo too.

The same is also true of players who have been born with a genetic condition or predisposition to be more easily injured, which can only be medically ameliorated rather than cured.
It might be worth the club considering investigating a player’s family history in that respect before extending contracts, as paying someone to sit on the injured roster for months or even years is not helping the club or its devoted followers, altho that action does have moral and human rights significance, but in any event there is little the club can do about it.

The warm up and muscle conditioning process may need to be tailored to suit individual players, as Theo, for example, seems to be extraordinarily prone to apparently self-inflicted injury, as does the Ox, and Tomas R.

Overall it has to be recognised that football is a physical game and injuries are bound to happen whatever precautions are taken, and to help counter that the club needs the very best facilities to sped up recovery, and, as I write, new facilities are in the process of being built.

Contiguous with that, it is essential that the very best physios are retained to put in place the very best medical knowledge and apply the very best treatment, and again I think the Arsenal’s physios are among the best.

Let’s face it – injuries are buggers and when they occur, and however long the player is out is not simply a question of a mathematical calculation – there are many factors involved including the player’s age, physique, style of play and genetic disposition, so we just need to suck it up when an injury occurs and realise it is in no one’s interest for a talented player to be sitting on his ass getting paid big bucks and that everything that can be done has or is being done and to cut back on the criticism of the club for not handling it.

In my opinion – of course. 😀

Red Arse … RA…. Redders


Stay vigilant, Manager of the month‏

November 17, 2015

Morning all

We start a new week and boy what a week we have just had. Unsurprisingly, Arsène Wenger being voted Manager of the month has been overshadowed by world events. Of course the things that have happened have shocked us all, but that’s life as we know it now. The events that have led to these tragic stories, we can only hope, that it has shown what can and does happen in life, and hope we can learn from these tragedies.

Arsène of course is French, so he would have been knocked sideways by these happenings, but still Manager of the month, and in my mind well deserved, second in the league sharing the same points as leader’s Manchester City. Wenger has got the team together and pulled back the gap that had started to widen, he had stopped the rot you may say.

Yes through our fight, we have had casualties, at present we have almost a whole team of players injured, but by the time the Internationals are over we may just start getting a few back. I never like to predict who will come back from injury, as soon as you say they seem to have a relapse, and then we hear another couple of months.

Some who have had surgery will recover as per normal those with hamstrings should almost be back to normal those with groin trouble who can say, as the groin is a tender place as we all well know. The Internationals came at a time when a few of our players who normally join their countries squads, had been injured, so of course they couldn’t be included, for those who were ok, of course, they joined their squads. What we need to hear after this coming weeks games, is that we have no new injuries.

Our next league game is West Bromwich, hopefully we can assemble a team that can compete, and gain the 3 points on offer. There are some around us that want us leading the league clear by Christmas, and a good possibility of that happening if all goes well. Arsenal it has to be said have huge numbers of injuries every season, whether all clubs suffer the same numbers I am not that sure, but it certainly hurts us.

For those interested, I had my first Pike match yesterday, needless to say only thirteen turned up and only one pike was caught, sadly not by me, blinding bit of news I thought, a little more light hearted than the news we have been hearing, that’s for sure.

For those with season tickets or intentions of attending matches, keep vigilant and keep aware, big stadiums with many people need all eyes open to stay safe. Enjoy your football and respect your neighbour.

Steve Palmer

 


Who is going to be Arsene’s Successor?

November 16, 2015

There is clearly a need and indeed an obligation for a top football club, such as Arsenal, to have begun the intricate process of longer term planning for the managerial succession once Le Roi, Monsieur Wenger, finally calls it a day as he seems to have obliquely indicated in recent times.

The conundrum the Board have is that it may not be as straightforward as it might seem on the face of it.

All public limited companies, which includes Arenal Football Club are subject to the requirements of the Companies Act to avoid foreseeable risks and therefore they need to plan for the inevitable succession and also carry out due diligence would seem to rule out any appointment from left field which would rule out and this raises some problems.

For myself, I have absolutely no doubts that conversations between the Board and Arsene have taken place and he will surely have an input as to who his likely successor might be.

The need to carry on the momentum of the club and its need to remain at the top of the footballing tree, would seem to rule out any appointment from left field which would seem to rule out the appointment of an inexperienced wannabe manager including someone who is currently taking his coaching badges, such as Thierry Henry and the like.

What is needed is an established, successful, well grounded, experienced manager conversant with the needs of a top, top football club, and that would bring its own problems in terms of the timing of Arsene’s retirement, and the then availability of the required quality of mangers, with an eye on the advancing age of those currently managing other top clubs, as that is part of the price that is paid for experience.

I do not have any real idea who would be the fans’ favourite to take over, other than the obvious one of Guardiola, but no doubt you guys will have your own ideas on who should be recruited when King Arsene steps down and who will be crowned the new king of Arsenal.

There is an alternative to the above, which despite my pooh-pahing of a left field appointment could actually happen if all the pieces fall in order.

 

Arsene’s contract has been extended for another three season, so I have heard, finishing in the summer 2018. Meanwhile, the appointment of Remi Garde as the Aston Villa manager for a similar period has also been announced, and this may not be entirely a coincidence.

If an ‘Arsenal man’ is the preferred option for both the Board and the fans, other than the inexperienced ones, and it may not be, then it is entirely possible that someone who has had experience of running an EPL club by then and has also managed a top French team could be the answer.

Whatever happens, or whoever is appointed, it will be a novel experience for many of us after all these years of the Professor, but everything and everyone has a beginning and end, and I for one will be sorry to see Arsene step down, it will also be an exciting move into an new era at the club.

Vive La France, Vive Arsene, Vive L’Arsenal. 😀

Red Arse … RA …Redders…


Tragic events in Paris

November 14, 2015

Friday’s post has been removed following the tragic events in Paris on Friday evening.


Training Diet the Schwarzenegger effect‏

November 11, 2015

I watched some of the news last night on TV, and one of the things I noticed, was how drugs in sport has taken so long for the Authorities to see it as a problem. The people responsible for investigating, have come out and said, they are shocked to find its a bigger problem than what they first thought. Now I find that amazing, where have these people been. Sport is all about performance enhancing drugs it always has been.

I can remember as a kid, watching the Olympics and thinking when I saw eastern block competitors. and thinking, that woman looks like a man. Questions were asked at the time , and I suppose they had to examine these peoples bits to find out one way or the other. Would it be worthwhile to the country, to have sex changes, Men into women to win a gold medal.

Now i am no expert in the fundamentals, but i can remember many occasions when I felt cheating was in play and that’s 50 years ago, why has it taken so long, to now find that athletes are using drugs. I also remember a guy named Lasse Viren a distance runner, who was a very good runner at the time, and when he had a final, had his blood changed for high altitude blood that was full of extra oxygen, and they guy ran like the wind, bit different I know, but even in those days, they thought of ways to get an advantage.

Different sports had different ways to cheat, Drugs, blood, sex changes, its all the same, performance enhancing ways to find an edge. Arnold Schwarzenegger won many body building titles, I was always keen on this sport, as the manly thing was to look big and powerful. Seeing Arnie parade on stage was like watching a giant for me back then, bulging muscles and seeing a developed body that outshone every body else, the man was a colossus.

Arnie was a cheat he openly stated as i remember that he was a natural body builder, Nothing Natural about Arnie nothing at all. These people stand out from the rest, I myself trained to build a bigger better body, I can honestly tell you that its impossible to build a Schwarzenegger body without some kind of help no matter how hard you train. When I was doing it, and moaned that my body wasn’t developing quick enough, Other guys told me that you have to use the gear if you want results. I used to train every body part to extreme and even thought about using these treatments myself, not to win trophies just for myself, but it seemed wrong at the time and it still feels wrong now.

I remember just a few years ago when I watched Linford Christy sprinting for England, the first thing i said to my Mrs is his shape is not natural, i said at the time you cannot build a body like that in the amount of time he had, he was only young then, and nobody questioned it. He turned out a cheat, I knew it why didn’t they.

Tiger Woods, my idol at one stage, the best golfer I have ever seen. The best Golfer that ever picked up a golf club and it all looked natural For sheer talent this guy had it all, and he showed he was head and shoulders above them all. Now although Tiger was not caught taking drugs that I know of, Tiger had a secret life outside Golf, we all know the story so I wont bore you, but for a top sportsman, its also impossible to play world shattering Golf , and stay up all night with half a dozen women without some kind of help, even a fool can see that.

What’s all this have to do with football you may well ask, Well is their sports enhancing products, that can aid a young footballer, well of course there are. There are enhancing items for every sport, that’s why it has taken years for them to only start finding out Yeh Right. And not just the young ones, the old ones need help too, even more so.

People ask the question, why do Arsenal suffer more injuries than other clubs, why do our players break down more than the other’s. Boy wouldn’t we all like the answer to that one. When Arsene first came to Arsenal , he introduced new training new diets which has revolutionised the sport as we know it. Now I am not pointing the finger and saying we also used enhancing products, but the way we went about our business, has made me wonder at times, how a player has more energy and stamina by not eating certain foods. My mother used to tell me that a little of everything does you good, and i believed that to be true, but when Mesut arrived, to me he looked like a weak link, He used to perform what I felt like a misplaced player in a league which was too tough for him, he looked skinny and weak and went off regularly before the ninety minutes. Now Mesut looks like a trained athlete he looks to have gained weight he looks visibly stronger he looks the part, in fact he looks the player we thought we had brought.

As I said, I am not pointing the finger, but has Mesut done all this by training harder or even stuffing beef burgers or has he had help, as it seems a bit quick for me. Theo another who has been accused of being a weakling, not so long ago we were saying he gets shrugged off quite easily he seemed like a weak link , but just before he got injured, he looked bigger more muscled and a dam sight stronger, has he been on the burgers as well.

Body shape and mass does not happen overnight, and its not down to diet, stamina is built up and the same with strength, a player training 3 hours a day cannot build like that, but that is just my opinion, as I said I am not pointing fingers. Schwarzenegger has had lots of medical procedures for failing organs due to his Steroid abuse, once a man mounting he is a shadow of his former self, older of course but if you cheat it catches up to you in the end, injuries happen more frequently and then the body starts to ebb away.

I do believe we have not heard the end of drugs and enhancement treatments, training gets you fitter and stronger but it takes years and years, do not be fooled by diets and different training.

Steve Palmer


A Game of Mixed Feelings

November 9, 2015

So in the end no significant damage done. One of our tougher fixtures out of the way, played on the back of a number of injuries, and we are still joint top.

I must say that I really thought we were getting on top of these injuries but it seems to be rearing its ugly head again. It is entirely possible that we will fall just short in this title race because of injuries so it is really getting to the point where greater examination is required. Is it the types of players we buy? Is it that we don’t have a medical team as up to date with the latest sports science? Is the medical team actually fine but are not allowed to implement the regimes they want by the manager at the expense of a training regime he prefers?

Whichever, there comes a point when so much “bad luck” over such a long period of time has to be re-considered to a possible upgrade of incompetence, especially if it is the “n’th” season in a row and becomes the key factor that stops us winning a title we could have secured.

Now onto the game. We were poor in many parts of it but in terms of chances created and clear goal-scoring opportunities we were generally on an equal footing, so in the end I don’t think a draw overly flattered us. It was however one of those games where we again looked dis-jointed and by and large you felt we had been outplayed by the end of it. The injuries and lack of options from the bench didn’t help of course, but we did field a pretty decent side that still looked second best to Spurs in general play. Does this worry you?

Looking for the explanation to this dis-jointed performance, (and others before it), seems a tricky one but I feel a pattern is emerging. Identifying a pattern is the first stage to being able to put it right. Actually the game last year at WHL had a very similar feel to it. In that game we looked second best (and didn’t hold out for the draw in the end) but actually had a better team to choose from with better options from the bench then. I have a take on this regular return to disjointed performances………….but some of you will not like it…………and it is mainly concerned with the striker……….sorry!!

Looking at Pocchetino I feel he is one of the breed of new younger managers and is cut from the same cloth as the likes of Guardiola, Klopp, and Simeone. Obviously he doesn’t have the same players to work with that Guardiola does, but I feel he adheres to the high pressing game that Guardiola’s teams also play. This style of play seems to cause us problems, yet if we are coached to be the slick passing team that is the apparent hallmark of Arsene Wenger sides then why do we not overcome it?

The answer for me comes from looking at how the high pressing sides set up and what its potential weaknesses could be. The high pressing sides have to play a high defensive line once they have you defending. This compresses the space and makes it much harder to pass it out from the back. Also the high pressing teams like to face towards the opposition goal but the weakness of this is if you can turn them around and make them chase back. To do this you need to be able to by-pass the first couple of players pressing high and also have the ability to get behind the high defensive line.

The type of striker you are playing, for me, becomes very important in overcoming teams that want to play this way. It needs to be a striker who is moving into positions to offer himself as an option to the defence, but also one that can threaten the large space behind their high defensive line. As such I don’t think we have the right player in the squad at the moment for this, but unfortunately I still feel the quicker Theo is the better option.

Ollie just doesn’t have the pace and this allows the high pressing teams to lay their high defensive line without fear. I hope FGG doesn’t mind but I will use part of one of his comments if I may.

Even though Giroud missed some clear chances today, I think we would’ve really struggled had he not been playing. Spurs really pressed us and often forced us to play long. Imagine if all those long balls had been aimed at Walcott! Giroud’s finishing may be questionable but his ability to turn long balls into an attacking platform is second to none.

You see for me rather than that statement being a solution I see it as the problem. Firstly I don’t think Giroud secures the possession from balls coming his way as often as is made out when positively referring to him as being excellent at holding the ball up. Secondly long balls to him from defence are always going to be less accurate than a ground pass when played over a similar distance, and as such it is more likely the opposition defence will win it back and just recirculate the attack again. Thirdly, should we really be thinking along the lines of the best striker option for us is the one that is best at receiving long balls? Are we that team?

People can throw individual stats at it as much as they like, and feel free to do so, but I will make a point that I have made before. Regardless of whether he scores or not the whole team just seems to play better with the quicker Theo. Most of the performances we have been happy with have been with Theo starting as striker, while I feel most of the disjointed performances (not all) where we are scratching our heads are when Ollie starts. I just think the qualities of Sanchez, Ozil and Cazorla are more apparent when they play with the quicker Theo.

This is not a slight on Giroud. He is what he is for me, and I strongly feel he is an excellent impact sub at this level, nothing more or less. I feel Ollie is both under-rated and over-rated in equal measure. Interestingly I feel Theo is both Under-rated and over-rated as well, and he still doesn’t do enough for me in offering himself as a quick option when we are defending. He doesn’t move enough into the positions where he could receive an accurate ball (rather than a hit and hope one) and make sure the team has that “out ball” when we have broken down an attack against a high pressing team with a high defensive line. This is more sad for me because Ollie just naturally lacks pace to do this while Theo has it but lacks application for me.

I know Wenger’s hand’s were tied in his options for striker in this game, but part of methinks if Theo was fit he would still have started with Ollie. Impossible to know for sure but that would concern me. At the moment I still feel Theo is our best option to start games, but still think we need a new worldy as it stands, else we will continue to struggle against teams overseen by this new breed of manager with this high pressing high defensive line playing style.

Written by GoonerB


Who would you pick for a combined Arsenal/Spurs Eleven?

November 8, 2015

One of the ways I assess how we will fare against a team is to play the game “how many of their side would get a start in our first eleven?”, I am sure you do the same. Based upon this I was very doubtful midweek – I would have to say that all 11 BM players were better in their positions than our chaps, even Sanchez and Ozil would struggle to play for BM’s first choice 11, though they would certainly get on the bench. It is alarming to think that Vidal was their first sub – Gibbs was ours!

Unknown

I compared AFC with THFC  a couple of season’s ago on AA and the only Spud who got in was Lloris. Shall we try it today?

GK: A huge strength in both teams, statistically Cech is 1st and Lloris 2nd in the PL this season. By any measure Cech is the better player.

RB: If Bellerin was playing he would certainly be picked but he isn’t. Debuchy of last season was a reliable cog, not so this (so far). I know this is foolish but I rate Kyle Walker – the man is clearly a berk but IMO would make a decent deputy for Hector.

LB: Monreal vs Rose. Both fine players. Monreal’s experience and vast improvement makes him the chosen starter though Rose has proved (against us) that he is a decent attacker.

CB’s.: BFG & Koscielny are top players, they have a wonderful understanding and improve season on season. Spurs have Vertonghen and Alderwsomething. Also fine players and I was surprised AW didn’t sign the Belgian. Neither are as good as Gabriel who doesn’t get into our first 11. Maybe Vet’s would be on the bench for a combined 11. It has to be said that Martin Keown chose both Spurs CB’s ahead of our chaps, but if MK knew anything about football he would be managing and not clowning about on the sidelines! (just kidding Martin)

Midfield:  Santi, Le Coq, Ozil, Campbell vs Dier, Dembele, Alli, and Eriksen. In this case we are going in with 3 against 4 assuming Campbell plays further forward. Ramsey is better than all the Spurs midfield but sadly is still injured. All looks a decent prospect. Dumbbell is in fine form but not as good defensively as Le Coq, Santi is different gravy to Eriksen, who is Spurs most talented player. Dier is another decent young player and could be excellent, but could and is are far apart.

So, Spurs have a midfield which has potential to be excellent but we have a midfield which is already excellent. Would Eriksen get into our team? Without Ramsey the answer is Yes, with a fit Ramsey, No.

Forwards: Sanchez & Giroud vs Kane and Lamela.

Lamela is interesting – the Argentinian cost £30m which is almost the same as Sanchez!! Is he as good as our Superstar? Is the Pope Jewish?

Giroud or Kane is not so simple. Kane is more direct, faster and a better lone striker, but Giroud has better touch, is better in the air and a better team player, The question is would Kane be a better player with Ozil and Sanchez to play off? I think he would. Looking at their goalscoring record shows OG scores slightly less than OG since 2014 but Kane has played more games. It is a tough call but Kane shades it for me.

So the combined team looks like this

Cech

Walker  BFG    Koscielny    Monreal

Cazorla    Coquelin    Eriksen

Ozil   Sanchez

Kane

This team appears a little unbalanced and perhaps I would choose to drop Eriksen for Dumbbell to give more defensive control.

What do you think?

A worry is the appointment of the imbecile Atkinson as referee. Our record with him is abysmal (check out Untold Arsenal), essentially we will be playing against 12 men and very possibly Atkinson will find a way to make it 10 vs 12.

Any NLD is exciting but this one is special. Spurs are unbeaten in 10 and we are joint TotL. A draw seems the obvious result but quite frankly the idea of the blue-bellied Scum leaving the Emirates with anything other than a damned good thrashing is unacceptable. Just think 5-2. This is a reasonable and just scoreline.

You may think that I have been remiss in my usual bating of the Shite Hart Lane knuckle-dragging, cave-dwelling inbreeds; if so I can only apologise, but rest assured that my disdain for those poor miscreants whose mothers are also their sisters remains, as always, considerable.

If any of the Miscreants can read and are stupid enough to go onto an Arsenal blog, just remember …..  You won the League – In Black and White.

Much has been written about this being a MWG; in terms of winning the title I do not agree  but in terms of keeping the world righteous and in good order then Our Forces of Good have to win over the N17 Orcs.

As a famous Gooner who used to work at the Globe Theatre once wrote

“Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our Arsenal dead.
In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour’d rage;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;”

Cry God for Liam, Arsenal and St. Dennis

COYRRG


Tomorrow just another game. I don’t think so

November 7, 2015
Not had a great deal of time to blog this week, as i have been decorating my Daughters living room, not finished yet, but finished for the weekend. At my age now, i am feeling it and ache all over, but a week ends rest, and i will be back Monday with a vengeance. Arsenal players are very similar, although not the same age, but they have been busy throughout the week also. They of course just had the 90 minutes, where i had 8 hours a day, but that’s being pinikitty.
Our game this weekend is on Sunday, its done like that to give the players an extra day to get their strength back, after all, the flight out to Germany and ninety minutes play coupled with a flight home must have been tiring. Our game of course is against Tottenham a NLD that many of us have seen many times before, A must win game, Yes of course, the rivalry between players Managers and more importantly the supporters.
There has been great rivalry between the two clubs ever since our inclusion into the top league, we all know the story of being picked to enter the top flight over our North London rivals, who in actual fact should have been picked instead of us, but that also is by the board.  An Arsenal Tottenham game apart from the rivalry, is a chance for two North London Rivals to pit their strengths against one another, You could say for the top spot. win or lose the supporters will not be happy if the rival wins.
This game also has a significance in the league. We at present are second in the league, sharing the same points as City but behind on goal difference, Playing Sunday allows other clubs to get a clear gap between us, so a win is vital to us to keep the pressure on. These North London Derbies are Known to attract Londoners and supporters from all over, Tickets are sought after, if you have one, you know what i mean. There will be tickets changing hands for exorbitant fee’s but if your in. you will be one of the lucky ones.
NLD bring club supporters together, even in the Blogging world, where we all support the same club, we have our differences, but on game day the supporter bands together.  I predict a very good match, the players know what this game means to the fans and they will be under pressure to try and get the win, The Manager should he have injuries, will try and field the best side possible, Many players will still be carrying Knocks from previous games but will not want to miss this one that’s for sure.
They will walk out tomorrow, Proud to be wearing their club colours, chests  heaving and praying for a good performance, the Hatred of the past encounters, will be in many supporters minds, but for 90 minutes only this game will matter, the songs and the chants will be loud, both sets will try and drown out the other, supporter’s fuelled with a few bevies, and probably a meat pie, they will be expectant, they will be demanding they will want the win, the bragging rights they will just want to win.
This will be a day, where the three points on offer,  will probably not hit home until after the match, supporters will be seen on TV’s around the country and around the world, the reds and the whites will be clearly on display, A must win game. It surely is Come on you Gunners.
Steve Palmer

Arsenal bruised battered and beaten, but showed fantastic heart‏

November 5, 2015

Morning Gooners,

I am writing this straight after the match, you would think that I would be down with a 5-1 score line, but I have to say I was proud of the players. If you listened to the commentators or the studio pundits and you looked at the score you could be persuaded that we had a hiding and speaking the truth we probably did. We knew who we were playing, Bayern are probably classed as the best club side in the world right now and that is probably right, but what we did show was heart with a capital H.

We knew going into this game that it was important, we also knew that a loss or a draw still wouldn’t guarantee us going through. We had a depleted team, having Bellerin, Walcott and Chamberlain to add to the rest of the injured prior to the match and then losing Koscielny with an injured hip that was not completely healed in time. Wenger put him on the bench in case of a catastrophe but apart from the score a catastrophe never came about. He should have another few days to shrug the injury off before the NLD

We started the game on the attack, so it seemed the Manager had decided to play Bayern at their own game, and although we had an early shot from Giroud he acted slightly fast and shot wide of the target. Bayern when in possession were the side we knew them to be, a team with great players with oodles of talent.

Bayern got their MoJo working. They had most of the possession but it has to be said that although our defence were doing well, with those missing, holes would open up and of course that is what happened. I wont bore you with the goals but the first was scored by Lewendowski, making his forward defence splitting run just about perfect to get on the end of a perfectly flighted chipped forward pass that he just nodded into a corner leaving Petr Cech for dead.

Minutes later we broke away. The play was just fantastic fast and direct and the ball passed into the box aimed at Ozil who really had a blinder, he shoved his shoulder to ricochet the ball passed the stranded Neuyer. The crowd and the commentators, assumed a goal it went 1-1 on the TV screen but the Bayern players rushed to the officials claiming a handball, and almost straight away the decision was changed Ozil had a little groan and the ref responded with a yellow card.

Bayern took control of the game; it seemed that we couldn’t even get a free kick as our players were hounded, but as soon as we got back possession the ref decided we had fowled and possession given back to the home team. Speaking the truth I don’t think we had one decision in favour in the first half. The first half ended 4-0 and Bayern were worth the score line although I feel Ozil’s disallowed goal was a little harsh but Petr Cech saved many and 4-0 was about right.

The second half was much the same as the first but Arsenal did make several fast breaks, the first saw Santi Cazorla clean through with only the keeper to beat and the keeper made a magical save, minutes later Arsenal were still attacking and Cazorla found Giroud in space in the box he brought it down on his chest and guided it down to his left foot and blasted it past Neuyer which lifted all our players and sent Neuyer into a strop. There were one or two chances after that for us but just the one goal at the end. Bayern did add another goal and it has to be said it was another beauty,

This was a lesson in football at the highest level, and although we were on the end of what seems a hiding, I feel its only fair to say that Arsenal never gave up the fight, every Arsenal player gave their all right up to the final whistle. Wenger in his interview after the game had got his composure back and admitted that our defending was not good enough, not enough challenges had been made and we had not marked well enough.

Wenger I believe, with the side he had to pick from, would have been quite happy with our performance, of course in front of the camera he had to show we could have been better, but they worked and worked, and the best thing was they never gave up. Beaten Bruised and battered they gave their all, and I for one praise them.

Bayern with all their talent, and I must say it is vast, they still had weaknesses and we in all honesty, could and should have made that final score a lot closer. With a full team I believe they are beatable, who knows we may get to play them again with our strongest side, that I look forward to.

Steve Palmer