Arsenal, Sunderland and Tony Soprano.

The FA Cup or as it should be referred to from now on: ‘Cosa Nostra’. I was having a bit of an Italio/Latin afternoon yesterday. I have no idea why but anyway did you ever notice how the Romans used to call the Mediterranean ‘Mare Nostrum’? There is a justifiable sense of ownership about it, a confident swagger as they referred to it as ‘Our Sea’. You have probably twigged where I am going with this now: ‘Cosa Nostra’, the FA Cup, Our Cup and if anyone tries to take it away from us they will have to answer to Tony Soprano, cah-peesh?

Well there was no need to bring out the heavies yesterday afternoon; it was just about as perfect as it could get really. We draw home advantage, check. We play a team whose priorities lay elsewhere, check. We are able to rest key players while some youth and fringe get important game time, check. No one gets injured and we win and progress to the next round, check, check, check.

Everyone was handed a script prior to the game and everyone knew what to do, or so we thought. Unfortunately two of our players namely Gibbs and Koscielny fluffed their lines early on and allowed Sunderland to take the lead. The problem is, when this happens there is always a nagging doubt that even though we know we have the better team, an upset could always be on the cards.

As it turned out we didn’t have to worry for too long as parity arrived in the shape of Campbell shortly after with a well crafted goal involving Iwobi and Walcott down the left flank before everyone’s favourite Costa Rican guided the ball home to make it one – one.


Wenger had chosen his team well; just enough to do the job but no unnecessary wasting of energy, only the smallest amount of extra pressure in the form of Arteta and Ramsey’s introduction was required to finish the day’s work.

Man of the Match was Bellerin who ran Sunderland ragged down the left flank; it was he who was finally able to send the ball across for Ramsey to show Walcott how to finish, the third goal gave us breathing space and that came in the form of yet another beautifully weighted pass from Bellerin which made its way all the way across the goal mouth for Giroud to tap home.

Giroud fa cup 2

Wenger had plan B, C and D on the bench, if we had just been one ahead with ten minutes to go he would have sent on Monreal for some proper defensive cover in an attempt to avoid a draw and a horrible, energy sapping return trip to Sunderland that would follow but as we were two up he was able to give Jeff his long awaited debut.

We get our new signing next week, why am I so sure? Look at the pattern. The club announce medium level signings only after Wenger has given certain players, usually youngsters, a chance to shine. In the close season it is normally after the Emirates Cup, the reason being is so as not to harm the confidence of those who might be hoping to make a particular position their own or older players wanting to re-establish themselves after injury.

In yesterday’s case Chambers was the youngster being protected and Arteta was the experienced player trying to re-established himself. Although they have now had their games, improved their confidence, had their chance to show what they can do or still do in the case of Mikel without the confidence sapping knowledge of already having met someone in the training ground who is more than likely to be taking their place in the very near future.

But, next week gentle sensitivities will be put aside and we will get someone who can do a Champions League level job in the form of El Neny, the much talked about Egyptian. By the way, with world class players the club announce them as and when they happen there is no pattern or not one that I can see.

Villa at home in the next round please?

Cech: Zen and the Art of Goalkeeping. 9

Bellerin: MOTM, most of the team were functioning at 60% output but not our Hector, 100% for him. 9

Gabriel: Perfect game for him, if it wasn’t for that Costa incident he could well have been the break through player of the season, gets better with every game really, only a question of time before he becomes first choice. 7

Koscielny: someone near to me at the game asked the question, who is Captain, I didn’t know but low and behold it was Kozzer; the guy next to me said that he expected him to make the captaincy his own. I looked at him, smiled, said nothing but knew he was wrong as it is going to Özil. 6

Gibbs: this competition thing between him and Monreal is working really well, Gibbs is rightly second choice but you can see that he does give it everything. 7

Oxlaide-Chamberlain: Did you hear the rumour that Chelsea might try and sign him if Hazard leaves? What was your reaction? Was it, oh no, you’re not having another one of ours or was it, hmmm, if he goes who could we buy? He is getting his run of games but he is still not impressing. 5

Chambers: perfectly decent job but he is not going to make Wenger think twice about buying further defensive midfield back up. 6

Iwobi: some good touches, lovely drag back in the first half, perfect game for him to take his training wheels off. 6

Campbell: getting better but with Ozil and Sanchez setting very high standards I still have my doubts. 7

Walcott: I have made so many predictions that he is going to leave to another club and have obviously been wrong every time, I have decided to change tack and predict that he will stay at Arsenal so long that he will become the next manager. 5

Giroud: perfect example of someone doing just what is needed with the least amount of effort. 8

Written by LB

143 Responses to Arsenal, Sunderland and Tony Soprano.

  1. Eddie says:

    Great match report! Check, check, check – one would think that everything went according to the plan 🙂 Well, it almost did, except for those nerve times in the beginning of the first half. Call me a doomer, but we have seen on more than one occasion our team disintegrating after first conceded goal.

    But not yesterday, oh no. convincing win and sadly progress to the next round of a meaningless cup.

    Bellerin – 100% for him = 9 out of 10 🙂 classic 🙂

  2. Rhyle says:

    Good write up, LB. Think you’re absolutely right about Wenger giving fringe players a chance to impress or build confidence in second priority games…as for our draw, I’d like us to get the winner of the Eastleigh/Bolton game!

    With regards to your ratings for the game I think you were a bit harsh in places! Iwobi, Walcott (I’m one of his biggest critics but his movement yesterday was good) and the Ox in particular were underscored – Iwobi a 7, Walcott a 6…if only for his involvement in Joels goal, great pull back, and the Ox a 7 for sure.

    Thought the Ox created a lot of space, was very near to hitting the net and involved in 2 of the goals – in particular his pass to Bellerin for Girouds was great (but no, not as great as THAT ball from HB!).

    Thinking about the goals…I think you’re right with a 7 for Campbell, but a great finish and wonderful touch in the 1-2 with HB for Ramsey’s goal state a good case for an 8!

  3. Rasp says:

    Lovely celebration of the game, thank you LB.

    I was never worried about the outcome. Bellerin, Campbell and Gibbs were good I thought and Iwobi put in a very decent performance and constantly showed for the ball.

    My man Jeff could have scored with his second touch of the game – he’s going to be some player, as I said yesterday, he may turn into the player we wanted Diaby to be.

    All in all a good performance where we did enough without having to stretch ourselves … and no injuries 🙂

  4. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Being a Saxon, I never did like them Romans, however, I loved your opener 🙂

    I admit that when I saw the team sheet, I was terrified. I just couldn’t see the shape, cohesion and continuity.

    Sadly I missed the first half, so it’s hard to comment, but I do take this tournament seriously and believe it should be top priority. As you say, we got away with it without injuries and are in the hat. So very pleased with the outcome.

    A few easy home draws, then beating Spuds in the final would make a wonderful season 🙂

  5. Gööner In Exile says:

    Thanks LB, have watched the brief highlights of the game on MOTD.

    Glad we won, glad players got run outs, but also glad we didn’t over rotate..apart from in the engine room, which given the miles Rambo and co put in was totally understandable.

  6. TotalArsenal says:

    LB 🙂

    Another beauty of a MR and I love the Theo summary at the end. I don’t think he will become our manager, but he could become our PR expert after he has hung up his boot: is there a slicker, more silver-tongued Gunner in front of the camera than Theo?

  7. LB says:

    I wonder if Cockie will allow us a day pass to support the Foxes today?

  8. kelsey says:

    Well done LB though I am still worried about our defence vunerability.Kos and Pers is quite different to Kos and Gabriel.

    Despite going a messy goal down I felt we generally controlled the game and all our goals were well worked.
    I said yesterday Bellerin was our man of the match and going forward and his crosses be they on the ground or in the air will lead to many goals.
    The Ox did hit the post and I am not sure if he is trying too hard, isn’t god enough or needs a change of clubs.If he were to go I wonder wha tvalue he might fetch.
    Walcott continues to frustrate, 10/11 years after joining us, like so many is never consistent , has one good game and two shockers.

    2 tough games coming up but the league is there for the taking bu default or not so please spend AW.

  9. Rasp says:

    I didn’t know Messy played for Sunderland 🙂

  10. oz gunner says:

    great breakdown. Hopefully your walcott tactic works.

    Afobe is back in the league. Would rather him at the moment

  11. kelsey says:

    Happy Birthday Rod who is 71 today.The secret of his success is to get a new blonde model every few years 😉

  12. Fabulous post LB, an enormously enjoyable read from beginning to end.

    I’d said earlier in the day how we could collapse if we went behind (and I still think we have the ability to ably self destruct) but not yesterday, yesterday we were in control. Although there were the usual scary moments when the team seem to collectively decide they’re going to give the opposition a couple of chances to score but luckily the orcs weren’t good enough 🙂

    Cech made another couple of amazing saves where he seems to be able to extend his fingers to pluck the ball out of the air. Love him.

    Bellerin was super dooper and for about five minutes in the second half it was the Joel Campbell show, he sure has some skills.

    I thought Iwobi was exciting to watch and was thrilled that Jeff got some minutes too.

    Giroud was so laid back I reckon he’d been told he was just there to make up the numbers, hardly broke sweat 😉

    I missed Ozil yesterday and I agree with you LB that making him captain would be an excellent move.

    Thank you again for the report.

  13. RA says:

    Excellent stuff, LB, and a very enjoyable read of the key aspects of the game.

    Your after-match reviews can be enthralling and are becoming a paradigm for all excellent and easy on the eye Arsenal match reporting. 🙂

    There is one point I totally agree with you about, and one where I would be little more magnanimous.

    The agreement we have is your comment about Theo – I will not repeat the point, as it can cause unnecessary angst.
    The other matter refers to the rating and review of the Ox.

    Before saying where the differences in our respective opinions lies, I will have to admit that I only saw the highlights of yesterday’s game on TV – so with that caveat, – I felt from what I also heard on the radio (I know – hearing something through another’s subjective opinion is fraught with difficulties) 🙂 but –
    – the Ox hit the post with one of his powerful drives, and it rebounded out, when it could just as easily have deflected in for a goal;
    – he also hit a superb, Messi like, pass off the outside of his right foot, which perfectly found a marauding Belli Button, who was able to accelerate onto it, and then crossed beautifully for the third goal;
    – and overall his more mature performance and control from his preferred position in midfield spoke volumes about a young man who will rapidly develop into a star, given time and patience.

    Definitely worth a ‘7’ in my opinion. 🙂

  14. chas says:

    Flippin excellent, LB.
    I hope you enjoy writing these because they are such fun to read and appear to come from happy fingers. 🙂

    Great result, great goals, great match report.

    I just looked up Cosa Nostra and was surprised to find out it meant “our thing”. I always assumed it was “our family”.
    Last time we lost an FA Cup tie was Feb 2013 – our thing, indeed.

    “Hey, I don’t even let anybody wag their finger in my face” 🙂

  15. chas says:

    p.s. I bet kelsey comes on to talk about that Feb 2013 defeat. 🙂

  16. chas says:

    Nice to see you, RA. 🙂

  17. chas says:

    Haha, you’ve got me watching Sopranos clips now (beware some swearing).

  18. Le Coq Monster says:

    Clean the stables….check
    5 minute plank exercise….check
    2000 ab exercises….check
    600 squats….check
    7 mile run….check
    Read quality match report…..check
    Get Little Le Coq`s Petr Cech Helmet ready for Spud Vs leicester game in case I do my self some harm ……check

    Come on Leicester…..We love Leicester and we love Leicester….we are the Leicester….. lovers !…………………………….actually, a gruelling draw would probably be best followed by the longest penalty shootout ever in the replay !.

  19. st1g2013 says:

    Tell you what !……….Ox must have been really shit for the rest of the game, because on Arsenal Player he looked great !…..incidently, you see a bit more on Arsenal Player (about 13 mins of highlights) than you do on BBC`s MotD !

  20. RockyLives says:

    Simply terrific report LB – thank you. I can’t put it any better than Chas’s brilliant observation about your match reports: “… they are such fun to read and appear to come from happy fingers.”

    Throw in a ‘paradigm’ and a ‘magnanimous’ from RA and the AA crew are really on form today.

    Stig (and RA) – having watched the whole game, it was a curious performance from Oxo. He did some brilliant things (the pass to Belli, the shot that hit the post, some surging runs) but he also continued to make some really bad decisions at times. He sometimes holds on to the ball too long and runs into a clump of opponents when he could have laid it off earlier.

    This habit led directly to a few ‘goals against’ earlier in the season and there was one moment yesterday where I feared it was going to happen again (Oxo picked up the ball on our right, charged into the Mackems’ half, had a great opportunity to lay it off to an Arsenal player either outside on the right or inside on the left but instead kept running. Suddenly he was faced with having to dribble through four Sunderland players. Inevitably he lost the ball, they broke – and went close at our end).

    I happen to think he can be coached to make better decisions with the ball and his natural talents are sufficient for us to remain optimistic about him.

    But overall, I back LB’s rating…

  21. Gööner In Exile says:

    In some ways it is upsetting that Afobe is going to be in the EPL but not playing for us.

    Always rated the lad when I saw him play, and with a season and a half injury free he has been scoring for fun. Firs on loan at MK Dons and then at Wolves after we sold him last January, and now lookalike he will be at Bournemouth. My guess is he left by mutual consent last January when he wanted to establish himself and he has to get a lot of credit for never acting the prima donna and has rolled his sleeves up from the old third division spells with Huddersfield and MK Dons and then in the Championship with Wolves.

  22. chas mobile says:

    Leicester v spuddies at Filbert street ( 🙂 ) replay.
    Gotta be good for us all ways up. 🙂

    Maybe Wenger realised Afobe had to be allowed to fly the nest, because he realised the FP would keep him out of the first team for a couple of years at least?
    Haha. Maybe not, too?

  23. Red Arnie says:

    nice one, LB. 🙂 No complaints. Apols for bad manners, Ant n’ Duck, and thanks for the fine post yesterday. 🙂

    Micky, yes, the bearded one is alive 🙂 but knot ear. Yet. 😦

  24. chas says:

    Hello, Arnie

    You’re so kind and a massive liar.

    Let’s hope BR will be up and running again come Wednesday when we’re at the dippers. Hope all is good in the land of the Danes.

  25. chas says:

  26. chas says:

    You probably see more, about 90 minutes plus a couple, if you’re actually at the game like LB.

  27. kelsey says:

    Trust chas to mention me 😉

  28. chas says:

    Surely better than everyone ignoring you? 🙂

  29. kelsey says:

    I don’t usually talk abou refs but that as a stone wall penalty deied to Micky’s hero.

  30. kelsey says:

    Talking about doom.AW has said today that Debuchy can leave,so who covers for Bellerin, Chambers ? Who covers for Coquelin.Chambers. Who covers for Arteta when he is injured,Chambers ? etc 😉

  31. Le Coq Monster says:

    Good day…..Spuds get extra fatique sapping game and we will get £1.8M from the Afobe transfer which will go towards the Elneny fee !. Cant see anymore deals for us, so Arsene will walk like an Egyptian all the way to the bank again !.

  32. Le Coq Monster says:

    Unfortunately, chas, I`m only a PT Van Driver and cant afford to go and watch the arse every week and only get 13 mins on `Player !………now if I was lucky enough to sell my body wearing Kylie Gold hot pants, I`d probably make enough to get an Exec` Box and let you lech bastards in…..but some other lucky felcher has possession of the pants !.

  33. chas says:

    Yep, Cockie, you had me fooled with st1g2013.

    I should have recognised the exclamation marks and backward-facing apostrophes immediately. 🙂

  34. Shard says:

    Campbell was a star, Bellerin too. Two players, who in successive seasons, were written off as not even worthy of being in the first team squad. Combined with Iwobi’s performance and Jeff’s obvious potential, it bodes well for our future.

    The ox was nowhere near perfect yesterday, but he played well. Hopefully he’ll keep getting beter now. He’s had a bit of an extended slump, bt again, his talent and ability is clear to see. Maybe he is the Santi replacement in waiting rather than Wilshere, as I first thought. Needs more defensive discipline and awareness, but that’ll come with experience.

    Anyway, after more than 5 months in the UK, which involved a knee surgery, a few months of physiotherapy; and twice going to the stadium to watch the team, meeting the vines, Gie, Rasp, Peaches, and of course Arnie, I’m going back home tomorrow evening. Hopefully I’ll be back soon, but for now it’s farewell to London. Though I’ll probably be more active on the blog once I’m home 🙂

  35. RockyLives says:

    Safe travels Shard

  36. Gööner In Exile says:

    Don’t forget Shard one wise Arsenal fan was very quick to tell Joel to get out while he could at Stoke Station…….

    Hey how can I be narked with anyone, I’ve spent all day playing with Brio:

  37. Shard says:

    Haha.. I hadn’t forgotten JC, though I maintain Ant chose the worst photo of me to put up on twitter 🙂

    Thanks Rocky.

    Gie, that looks like such fun.

    Packing all done, except for the stuff I need tomorrow morning. I’ll be catching up with a friend in central london tomorrow afternoon for a while, in case anyone wants to meet for a quick pint.

  38. chas says:

    Cheere, Shard.
    Bon voyage.

  39. chas says:

  40. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Safe journey Shard

    When you said there was only one option with the Brio, can we assume the track you built was the one that runs along behind the Emirates North West Bank 🙂

    Right, vids and pics to catch up on now eh, Chas

  41. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Me is off to manoeuvre

    Back for Pool game

  42. chas says:

    Heavens, David Bowie.

  43. Eddie says:

    sad, I didn’t know he had cancer

  44. Rasp says:

    What is it about people with the initials DB – they’re all innovators. Very sad to hear about Bowie, he was the soundtrack to my youth R.I.P.

  45. ha ha Eddies NY resolution didn’t last long.. welcome back your highness 🙂

  46. LB

    Excellent match report, love the link woth the Sopranos and the cosa nostra and the Romans. A lovely read, thank you

  47. where the feck is everyone?

  48. Apparently Joey (the cunnut) Barton is reading this at the moment… is he late to reading a classic because he’s only just learnt to read ha ha

  49. Morning O bouffant man 🙂

  50. Wankdorf….. ha ha. Just found out that a stadium in Bern has that name.

  51. RIP what a fecking life he had… and some great music along the way as well 🙂

  52. I’m lurking and waiting……

  53. oz gunner says:

    Sad to see him go. Love his music…even the labyrinth!

  54. GoonerB says:

    RIP to the great David Bowie.

    Morning all and a big thanks and thumbs up to a great LB post that I couldn’t get to comment on yesterday.

    LB I agree with pretty much everything you said, but you have also raised an interesting point regarding the Ox, and likely one we will have differing views on.

    It is a topic worthy of discussion or a post in its own right IMO, because whether you are a fan of his or not I think most would agree that we are not seeing as much as we had hoped.

    I sifted through some of the online papers ratings on the game. Two papers, which admittedly we mostly all take with a pinch of salt, offered him up as MOTM. Contrast that to your rating as the joint worse performing player and I am not too sure how to view his performance. Having only seen highlights I will always bow to someone who saw the whole game so I am guessing that the truth lies somewhere between your rating and theirs.

    The Ox for me has truly world class potential. There are current more regular first teamers that could be seen to be contributing better at the moment but don’t for me have anywhere near his potential. Personally I currently see the Ox as being somewhat a victim of his own adaptability as a player, and strongly feel that we are not playing him in his strongest role to date, and that he has had very limited time in his best position.

    With pace, strength, the ability to go past players, and the ability strike the ball off both feet, he can play either wide position or in the box to box role. I have often controversially felt he may even make a great CF given the opportunity.

    Certainly at the moment his goal tally wouldn’t indicate this but I feel he is often operating out of his best position as I said above. Given his abilities and strengths, I think he spends way too much time operating from a deeper position, and we aren’t playing him high enough up the pitch enough nearer the opposition goal for my liking.

    Further, when played wide, I think he is playing from the wrong side, being used predominantly on the right. I know at times the wide players switch but in reality it is only a fleeting visit to the other flank.

    For me AOC has all the hallmarks of Alexis Sanchez but just not as polished due to his lack of playing time in the role. He has a great shot and his ability to drive into the box, (onto his right foot if played left), would be a frightening prospect for opposition defenders. I think there are a significant amount of goals in the OX if we use him correctly and I am really disappointed that while Alexis has been injured we have not used the opportunity to play him there and have a look.

    Alexis’ time with us is not a long term given. His performances have made all Europe’s top clubs cast glances in our direction, and it would only take him holding out on a contract extension, knowing other top clubs want him, to force our hand. Knowing we had an option that could become as good would be useful, so I think we are missing a trick.

    When I read about Chelseas interest in him, which was to replace Hazard, my feeling was of abject dread that they would play him in, what I consider to be), his strongest role, and we would all have to watch with our guts doing somersaults as he thrived in the role with goals a plenty coming as he drove in off the left flank wearing the wrong coloured shirt.

    I may be completely and utterly wrong of course 🙂

    Longer than intended so if any of the powers that be wish to use this topic as a post, feel free. I guess we could be asking (in each persons opinion) is he; overated, underated, being too harshly judged in his performances, or not being used properly by the manager and coaches.

  55. GB

    I saw the whole game and apart from one terrific shot by the Ox which hit the post and could have gone either way and I think one good pass…….. the rest of his game was pants… he tried to dribble too much and lost possession too often, some of his passing was appalling. He had energy though… but is that enough? He hasn’t really progressed and sometimes seems to be regressing. I like him but do we really need him?

  56. This is Major Tom to Ground Control
    I’m stepping through the door
    And I’m floating in a most the peculiar way
    And the stars look very different today

    For here
    Am I sitting in a tin can
    Far above the world
    Planet Earth is blue
    And there’s nothing I can do

    Read more: David Bowie – Major Tom Lyrics | MetroLyrics

  57. Le Coq Monster says:

    A successful January transfer window could give a team the edge in this season’s title race, according to Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger.

    Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes the January transfer window could be decisive in this season’s intriguing Premier League title race.

    The Gunners boss is predicting that most of the top flight will be busy throughout this month, with a number of player transactions going through at both ends of the table.

    Wenger, whose side lead the league after 20 matches, acknowledges that any team that deals well in January could well gain the upper hand in a keenly fought battle for the title, with the top four separated by just six points.

    “Of course it can make the difference,” he said when asked whether the window could impact on the title race.

    “Teams who respond well in January will have success sometimes. I would say that for the media you could have some good news this January window, because I believe many clubs will be active.

    “You go from clubs who are down in the table like Aston Villa, who have to do something, and the clubs at the top who will be very active as well.

    “My prediction is it will be one of the most active January windows. First of all, down to TV [money], also the anticipation of inflation could exist after this season in England.

    “The anticipation to do business now could be important. At the bottom and top everyone thinks there is a responsibility to do something because we have a chance to improve squads.

    “At the bottom especially with the new television deal, the teams who fear to go down will be under pressure not to just accept the situation.”

    Wenger also remains hopeful that Arsenal’s deal to sign Basel midfielder Mohamed Elneny, 23, will be completed soon.

    He said: “I expect movement, yes. This week we are positive it can happen.

    “The situation should be sorted this week, [there has been] a lot of work permit problems. There is special paperwork to do, a visa. We hope we can finalise it this week.

    “As long as it is not signed you have to be cautious, but I am optimistic.”

    I agree with all that has been said by Arsene. Sticking point !……No good talking the talk, you need to walk the wallet !.
    How can he say all of the above and then not spend at least £100M on a striker ?.
    He`s going to look silly (again) if our rivals splosh the dosh and we dont win the easiest chance of a title in years !. When you are ahead, you need to try and stay there and with £230M in the wallet you have no excuse not to try and keep us there.
    The scenario !……..End of January and we buy no new strikers….1st February, Giroud and Walcott get injured !…..Wenger collects his mug of the year award !….alright for him, at least he gets a trophy and I will laugh myself insanely silly !. hahaha


    RIP David Bowie. You disappointed me in the film The Man who fell to earth. I like my Aliens to be green and scaly, or at least hold a forged passport, but your music and style was great.

    Great stuff LB. I really enjoyed the game. Iwobi looks a real prospect. Very raw, but plenty of physical power and skill.

    The one player who i was really watching was Sunderland’s Duncan Watmore. Hes the one who looks like an overgrown Harry Potter actor. Thats twice now ive been impressed with this kid. Great stamina, skill, and awareness. I bet you any money he would have shagged that Hermione bird. Forget about Potter, to busy playing with his wand. Hope Arsene makes a bid this summer

    Very busy at the moment with Jan 31st tax deadline so was forced to complete some Butchers tax return whilst at the game. its funny how football can influence your mood. When we went one down he was paying tax of £7,921 but by the time we got our third, his tax had fallen to £2,325

    On the way home however some lout mucking round with his mate threw a hot dog and I got it straight in the face. Through cowardice I laughed it off, but inside I was fuming, there was no bloody mustard.

    For that reason the Butcher is now paying £9,246. Anyway, sod him, the mans a sadist. The way he looks at raw meat would frighten a psychopath..

  59. Bournemouth have signed Afobe for £10m and we may get a work permit nightmare midfielder for £7m…. don’t make sense!

  60. GoonerB says:

    NB, playing AOC from the right as a right footer is a very English or British type of game plan to me. It encourages more running at the full-back, trying to beat them and then put in crosses from wide, but with less goals.

    Contrast the top European sides and they almost all play lefties from the right and righties from the left. Alexis Sanchez often over-dribbles and surrenders possession but his goal-threat, work rate and goal tally more than cover it. I will put my neck out and say that Sanchez from the right would see his goals reduce than greater than 50%.

    I remember a game with Utd that we lost (2-1 I think) because they had the stronger 11 in general, but AOC was the best player on the pitch that day playing from the left. I believe it as one of the Brazilian twins and the Ox tore him a new onethat day. The other great performance against Milan was when he played centrally, but with obvious licence to get higher up the pitch.

    I feel he is hampered in his freedom from the right and playing too deep and we are therefore not really seeing what he can do.

    You are right though IMO, that as it stands, in the way we are using him and position he is mostly playing, that we don’t really need his services as such. I do however think that is a big mistake on AW’s part though and we may end up cursing it.

    I do believe he is a natural heir to Sanchez on that flank looking at his skill sets but you have to play them there to find out. AW hasn’t so that could be a tad worrying for me if my feelings turn out correct, and we may end up seeing him at another club in this position putting in top class performances.

  61. GoonerB says:

    Agree with your earlier Cockie. When ahead look to get further ahead so we can stay ahead. The ones we are ahead of are invariably looking to overhaul us so we shouldn’t stand still, unless we can say hand on heart that we are well covered in every position, and with world class options in all positions.

  62. GoonerB says:

    Rasp is the one for accurate gut feelings, but I have a gut feeling that Sanchez will not be with us for as long as we would like. Love to be proven wrong and see a new contract signed.

  63. GoonerB says:

    and Terry 🙂

  64. Rasp says:

    Hi GB, the Ox surely has potential and could make it as an Arsenal first teamer once his decision making improves, but my opinion is that Jeff is a much greater prospect.

    I watched him closely when he came on and was very impressed. He has the poise and ball control of Iwobi but with a much more attacking edge. He’s strong and mobile and created 2 scoring chances in the short time he was on the pitch.

    Just to repeat myself ad nauseam – I think he could be the player we all hoped Diaby would be (obviously not in relation to injuries 😦 )

  65. Rasp says:

    GB, my gut feeling is that Cazorla will leave in the summer and …… brace yourself, it is possible that Ramsey could leave for Spain (or a big pay packet elsewhere in the EPL) as well 😦 😦

  66. Hello Rasp…. your as bad as Lelsey and his crystal balls 🙂

  67. Rasp says:

    Hi NB …. I got it right about Elneny didn’t I? 🙂

  68. Rasp… he ain’t signed yet… and if he does, the work permit problem could mean he’s sent out on loan?

  69. This whole work permit thing pisses me off…. you’ve got refugees coming into the country and going straight for the dole office and housing benefit, but a player who will probably be on the minimum wage of at least £5000 a week and paying tax accordingly, can’t get a fecking work permit. It’s flooking mad it is!

  70. GoonerB says:

    You may be right Rasp with regard to AOC. He makes some wrong decisions at times but all players do. I just think he is not in his best position and the wrong decisions seem to be more obvious than with others.

    I know it is different in so many ways, but it reminds me of when Bale was a FB. He had the obvious talent going forward but was suspect further back and would make wrong decisions. Many Spurs fans would have been rid of him back then. It took a couple of progressions in his position to see what he was really about. I feel we have stalled on these progressions with the Ox hence his progression has seemingly stalled (injuries aside of course).

    I do also feel he is being somewhat unfairly scape-goated at present. It seems to me that he is trying our patience, but it could be his patience that is being tried as well. I could see a scenario where another environment brings the best out of him, if there happens to be a falling out of love from both sides of the current relationship at THOF.

    To me he looks like a gap filler or plugger at the moment, (due to his adaptability in different positions), rather than a player we should be grooming to become a future great and game-changer. I haven’t been that certain for a long while now that Arsenal is the best at the development of talent that we have all liked to think now for so long.

    I could be wrong of course and he may not be as potentially good as I perceieve.

  71. Rasp says:

    I’m pretty sure we will overcome the work permit issue NB although I agree it is crazy and apparently a UK ruling that is the problem. We wouldn’t be buying him to send him out on loan, so unless the club has cocked up, you can expect a positive announcement by the end of the week.

  72. GoonerB says:

    NB your 12.47, spot on. It does make the whole thing look ridiculous.

  73. Rasp says:

    Hi again GB, my point was not to dis OC but to big up JRA – I just think he has a greater presence than the Ox and is destined to be a great player …. so I’ve probably just given his career the kiss of death.

    I never felt that optimistic about Sanogo and so far have been proved correct 😦


    Your right about Jeff Rasp. The kid just glides across the turf. He looks very special.

    I also agree with 69 and GB on the inadequacies of the asylum system. If it was all done correctly Bowie would never have got the part of the alien. Elneny would have got it instead.

  75. RC78 says:

    RIP Bowie

    Score line is flattering given the fact that we defended horribly and without Cech, we would have been out of this round…

    We really need to up our game defensively because in the last few games, we have been horrible. Our GK has to make too many saves and thank God, he can make them but if he gets injured, we will basically concede goals for fun because our defensive block and display is just horrific at times…

    Ox had a decent game and I really think that he should slowly be eased into being a B2B mid rather than a winger.

    Good workrate by Cambell and honorable display by Iwobi.

    In the end – it is a win but nothing to boast about (except the second goal).

  76. RC78 says:

    Now let us go and win at Anfield – this will demand great defensive efforts above anything else.

    I am playing:

    Cech – Bellerin, BFG, Kos, Monreal – Ramsey, Flamini – Ozil – Ox, Giroud, Walcott

    Bench: Gabs, Chambers, Arteta, Campbell, SANCHEZ

  77. RC78 says:

    Sanchez out of the game…Iwobi or Jeff then

  78. Le Coq Monster says:

    Yes !….RIP Bowie !…..instrumental in my gangland youth, resonsible for some of the best knives I`ve had to keep sweet yielding anoraks at bay !.

  79. Rasp says:

    I reckon Campbell will get the shout over the Ox against pool.

  80. Le Coq Monster says:

    Probably against the grain, but I love the Ox and he would be in my first XI all the time. I remember the abuse Ramsey got, lets cut him some slack, anyway, for 13 mins on Arsenal Player he was a the best player on the pitch after Bellerin !….and I refuse to watch the whole game on `player for fear of him being shit !.

  81. kelsey says:

    Ramsey to Spain 😉 I don’t know one Welshman that speaks Spanish let alone English properly.
    Bale hasn’t learnt the language but of course he is off to United.

    With regards to the Ox you have to look generally at Wenger’s philosophy and he likes players who can play in numerous positions not necessarilly his chosen one and as far as the Ox is concernened,he is poor when in a defensive role. He might do better at another club but in all probability Wenger will persevere with him.

    What ever you do, don’t reply to this comment.

  82. Rasp says:

    John Toshack has managed all over Europe including Real Madrid!

  83. kelsey says:

    I don’t know him personally Rasp 😉

  84. Rasp says:

    😆 Kelsey, I’ve just twigged the insider’s joke in your previous comment

  85. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Bloody awful news about Bowie

    I am not a weeper, a mourner, a griever, a candle lighter, a vigilist or a collective sorrowist, but I’m genuinely sad about this.

  86. Le Coq Monster says:

    Arse Vs Burnley

  87. chas says:

    Burnley at home

  88. LB says:

    Tony Soprano is happy.

  89. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Agree, great draw, but we could have done with a few tougher ties for any rivals we might have

    This is where luck does play a part 🙂

  90. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Enjoyed the chit chat about The Ox

    I remind myself that Ramsey had his break through season at the same age as Ox will be next term.

  91. Nice draw for us 😃

    Anyone got anything for a post tomorrow.

  92. LB says:


    Have a look at the clip in my 10.59am.

  93. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Sorry, took a while. 10:59 yesterday
    Anyway, bloody superb 🙂 🙂
    (although you do want to strangle the mum or dad who thought it was ok to keep the screaming brat in the room. no excuse at all)

  94. MickyDidIt89 says:

    You must have met Bowie

  95. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Well, I’ll take that as a yes from a discreet and private man 🙂
    Quite right.

  96. LB says:


    No, I didn’t met the man, the closest I came to it was that “his people” phoned me asking if the artist I was representing would like to do something with him. I was young and angry and told them to f—k off. I viewed his involvement at that stage of his career as the kiss of death.

  97. IanRealGunner says:

    We’re waiting for Elneny to get injured before we sign him!!!

  98. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ha ha brilliant story LB 🙂

    I’m watching Bowie stuff on youtube right now
    Up to Thin White Duke phase, and the urge to take drugs is really rather strong 🙂

  99. LB says:

    I think I am about to go for a bit of “Rebel, Rebel”.

  100. LB says:

    Hot Tramp I Love You So.

  101. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Right, my ears are on fire
    Best go somewhere dark

    Still love that story LB 🙂


  102. Red Arnie says:

    RIP DB 😦

  103. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Gone salon?

    Well morning all anyway

  104. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Perhaps, mobile device on machine in front of mirror in salon?

  105. chas says:

    Nah, I’m at home

  106. chas says:

    Phone only ever used for music in the gym.

  107. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Not in salon??!?!!?!

    What two days after, and one day before, a fizzy drink and savoury snack attack.

    Perhaps a gentle walk like us other mature gentlemen. Perspiring is sooo undignified 🙂

  108. MickyDidIt89 says:

    So when you’re on the running machine, do you listen to epic hero muscle music like theme tune from Sly Stallone Rocky shit?

    Or perhaps some up-tempo disco

  109. chas says:

    Last day of marking yesterday.
    Visiting ex’s parents today.
    Back swimming tomorrow.
    I can’t ever imagine you talking a gentle walk for some reason.
    Where’s BR?

  110. chas says:

    More like this….
    (beware bad language)

  111. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Erik mentioned in his last comment something about comms being tricky for geographical difficulties, as he put it

    I translated that as, being a champagne leftie, he’s on holiday.

    Massive fan of the brisk walk me.

  112. chas says:

    Yep, ‘brisk’ as opposed to ‘gentle’ was far more as I had imagined.

  113. MickyDidIt89 says:

    ah ok, so the brutal frantic exercise routine. Nice. Effective.

  114. chas says:

    High energy, short duration – a bit like other areas of my life.

  115. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Did I say gentle? No definitely not. 4 mile circuit. Great countryside. Quiet lanes. Goes downhill, uphill, flat, uphill, flat. Perfectly divided overall into a third of each. Best performed in high winds and driving rain. Big fan of weather me. No sports clothing required.

  116. MickyDidIt89 says:

    ha ha 🙂

    Unlike that Cornish Geezer on here who at nearly 60 yrs old can still do one and a half million ab squats while skipping around 150 miles of countryside. Must be built like Yifta The Shifta or su’ink 🙂

  117. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Later. School run.

  118. Eddie says:

    7:53 – and the Landie still in 2 gear

  119. Eddie says:

    my ex-boss knows most there is to know about music, he eats, sleeps, breaths music and Chelsea, and fat books. He was very sad yesterday following the news of Bowie’s death. I couldn’t help myself and texted him ‘you know he was a Gunner?’ He replied ‘What, David Bowie at a football game?’ I admitted fibbing 🙂

  120. chas says:

    The idea of ‘breathing Chelsea’ makes me feel queasy.
    Though the nauseous quotient has fallen from 98 to 95 with Maureen gone.

  121. Eddie says:

    ….and Costa becoming a decent, honest player.

    See, and my mate who really knows about football is very sad to see Maureen gone!! I told him I was sad too – all the fun has ended 🙂

  122. chas says:

    Got to go.
    Ta ra.

  123. MickyDidIt89 says:


    Give me 30 mins. I’ll make coffee and get scribbling.

  124. Rasp says:

    Sorry Micky, I’ve beaten you to it ….

    Can we have yours for later in the week? …..

    …. New post ……

  125. Adrienne says:

    From tomorrow i’m gonna lose weight. Summer is comming girls!
    Who starts with me? I found a good method in google and want to give it a try, simply type in g0ogle: fitMarikka

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