Thrashing the Thracians?

To be quite honest I had absolutely no idea which country PFC Ludogorets Razgrad came from until I started writing this. Bulgaria is the answer and I sincerely hope my appalling ignorance and downright lack of awareness is not matched by the manager and team of Arsenal Football Club.

Looking at Ludogorets’ record in the Champions League, their biggest home win was 1-0 v Basel in 2014 and their biggest away defeats were both 4-0 to Basel (again) and Real Madrid (both in 2014). At present their biggest away win is …… non-existent. A continuation of that record for another few days would be great. (n.b. they’ve only been in the group stage once before) .


Razgrad itself is in north-east of the country and a couple of Bulgaria’s famous landmarks have parallels with landmarks in England.

First there is the Bulgarian Icarus statue.


According to legend, the man known as the “Bulgarian Icarus” was also a builder. Apparently a Turkish Sultan survived a terrible disaster, so he decided to build a mosque in Edirne in gratitude to God. At that time, Bulgaria was part of the Ottoman Empire. So, the Sultan summoned the most famous builder and this was Bulgarian, Manol. He worked for seven years and constructed a miraculous temple. After it was completed, the Sultan asked him: “Can you build a more beautiful mosque than this one?” and Master Manol replied: “One always has more to learn. Maybe I made some mistakes here that I will avoid in the future and I will be able to build an even more majestic temple.” Hearing this, the ruler ordered that Manol be shut in one of the mosque minarets until his last breath. The inventive craftsman, however, managed to create another miracle – he designed himself wings made of wood. And one day, the people in Edirne saw a huge flying creature soaring in the sky and heading home to Thrace. In this way, Master Manol managed to save his life and turned into a favourite hero in Bulgarian folk tales and songs.

This tale reminded me of the Angel of the North statue when some Geordies launched an enormous Alan Shearer shirt over its shoulders.


Whilst the statues have similarities, Master Manol and Mr Shearer are almost polar opposites, one an educated and erudite craftsman builder and the other a football pundit.

The second parallel is between the beautiful Razgrad clock tower and our own clock tower at Highbury Barn.


Team News

It would appear Rambo and Ollie G. are continuing to train alone. I’d imagine Granit will start due to a soon-to-be enforced absence from the Prem and EFL Cup (cheers, J. Moss).

It appears we emerged unscathed from the Swansea game so perhaps the team isn’t likely to be changed to any significant degree. Perhaps Kieran Gibbs could get a game after Nacho’s run around on Saturday. Oh, and Oooooooooooo-spiiiiiiiii-naaaaa may get the goalkeeper jersey.

‘Complacency’ seems to be the watchword for everyone with regards to this game. Theo and Shkodran have both issued warnings to their teammates to be on their guard against assuming it will be an easy and straightforward 3 points. Each and every player has to be thinking the same, especially after escaping by the skin of our teeth against Swansea.

Note…. Big Raddy is currently on manoeuvres in Ireland and without pre-match writing facilities. Thankfully this hiatus from normality will only be fleeting.

P.S. we need a nickname or shortened version of Shkodran. Any suggestions?

Written by chas

100 Responses to Thrashing the Thracians?

  1. chas says:

    It just struck me that maybe my attention was drawn to Icarus because the tale could be used as a metaphor for our CL campaign history.

    Perhaps this season the wax won’t melt. 🙂

  2. Didit says:

    Call him Sh

    Bloody hell, Chas, this is brilliant. Too early, but brilliant. Love the builder stuff. Superb.

    Massive thank you, as I was bracing myself given no-one else can be arsed

  3. Didit says:

    Agree gloves for Ospina and other than that, I can’t see Arsene making any changes to his First XI

    Personally, I’d rest Santi today, and ensure Lucas gets 20 mins so that he can start to give Sanchez the odd breather starting on saturday

  4. Didit says:

    My very favourite part of your post is the second parallel “between the beautiful Razgrad clock tower and our own clock tower at Highbury Barn”

    They ARE towers and they DO HAVE clocks 🙂 🙂

    However, I really like your idea of drawing parallels between two things where really none exist 🙂

  5. Didit says:

    ps Chas
    Brilliant work on Stanford Bridge

  6. Didit says:

    Copied from wiki

    “Thrace is a historical and geographic area in southeast Europe, centered on the modern borders of Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey. In antiquity, it was also referred to as Europe, prior to the extension of the term to describe the whole continent.”

  7. Ant says:

    Ohh..alright perhaps it’s not a kebab

  8. Ant says:

  9. Ant says:

  10. Eddie says:

    very, very good post, thank you chas. Did you write it or was it a copy and paste little job?

    you are so right about being complacent, we got some kicking for this sin in the past. But today with all the good will from the lazy and the not caring, we cannot lose, not possible. They are shite.

    shkodran – Kod? 🙂

  11. Eddie says:

    I love the story about Bulgarian Ikarus. My horrible uncle is an artist and a carpenter by trade. My brother had to produce a model of Ikarus for his history summer homework (otherwise the teacher would fail him and he would have to repeat the whole year). My uncle stepped in and made a beautiful working model of Ikarus. The bloody teacher never gave it back to my brother, took it home, the cow.

  12. Eddie says:

    ant – you are up early today, trying to catch an early worm?
    Great photos. @8:18 – the Ems are not so flat, are they?

  13. Ant says:

    I am up early to cut the grass for the last time before Winter and have a great day watching the Arsenal again.
    I am no photographer but I think the flattening of the Ems pic is called artistic licence Eddie.

  14. Eddie says:

    I give the grass the last cut yesterday 🙂 But according to Peaches I have the wrong lawn – fast growing variety which will give me nothing but trouble 😦

    are you not heading south today?

  15. Eddie says:

    artistic licence – anything can past as art – Emin’s filthy bed and now Hamilton’s arse. I am glad me is not artistic

  16. LB says:

    Thanks for that Chas.

    It’s odd playing a team you haven’t got a clue about.

  17. LB says:

    You are artistic Eddie, everyone of your comments is a work of art 🙂

  18. Rasp says:

    Excellent towering and educational PM – thanks chas.

    We are united in our ignorance re Bulgaria 🙂

    GD could be a decider as to who tops the group so I hope we don’t go 2 up in the first half and take a rest in the second.

    We could call the 2 CBs Lauren and Stafi?

  19. Didit says:

    You’re good at team selection stuff, what, if any, changes do you expect from AW

    2nd, what changes would you make?

  20. Didit says:

    I thought I’d titillate you with some google research into the local Bulgarian cuisine.

    If an army marches on its stomach, and there is also a grain of truth in contemporary dietary sports analysis, then we’re going to thrash Ludogorets very badly indeed.

    While we turn up on a diet of delicately steamed fish and gently infused truffled leaves, apparently them lot are coming over filled with ‘monastery style’ bean soup. Hearty is a word that kept cropping up, and to me that screams cheap fat cuts and below ground vegetables.

    Believe it or not, after that lot it, it gets worse. A national dish involves the mud dwelling carp!

  21. Eddie says:

    LB – I think I know what you mean. All the lights are on, but there is nobody at home.

    Normally I would never advocate playing rookies, but tonight is probably the best opportunity to see what they are made of

  22. Eddie says:

    carp and bean soup yum yum yum 🙂 Jellied pigs’ trotters and some tripe desert, and any eastern European is in heaven

  23. Didit says:

    ha ha ha Eddie

    Mind you, maybe you’ve spotted something. Perhaps the northern and eastern European diet makes tougher people, as opposed to the rather wet lot from around the Mediterranean

  24. Didit says:

    I want some team predictions

  25. TotalArsenal says:

    Fanchastique! A match preview in the BR style that delights and informs. Cheers Chas. ⚽️⚽️

  26. Eddie says:

    I can start the team selection for you

    Gibbs xx Jenkinson Monreal

    Ox Elnany Xhaka Jeff
    Perez Chuba

    Bench – all the stars in case they are needed

    Don’t jump to my throat if some of the above are injured or on loan, I am no shard

  27. Didit says:

    Thank you Eddie

    I’d go First XI until we’re 7-0 up, then make changes after 20 minutes 🙂

    Maybe Elneny instead of Santi

  28. JM says:

    Coquelin was with AW in the pre-match press conference. He will start in midfield.
    Ospina is AW’s goto GK for CL, so he naturally starts when fit.
    Koscielny, Mustafi, Bellerin and Monreal should similarly continue in defence.
    There is a case for Xhaka to start alongside Coquelin, since he will be missing for next 3 domestic matches (Middlesbrough, Reading and Sunderland). Otherwise, Coquelin-Cazorla partnership resumes.
    The attacking quartet could be any of the available players from Ozil, Alexis, Walcott, Iwobi, The Ox, Lucas, The Jeff.

  29. chas says:

  30. VP of Oz says:

    I searched Google to find something interesting or insightful on pfc ludogorets or Bulgaria to contribute but could only find the one about that horse who was a bad magician? He gave up for a while but now he’s back in the saddle.

  31. chas says:

    Thanks all, for kind comments.

    Copy and paste little job? How very dare you.
    I thought you knew I’ve always been an expert in Bulgarian folk tales and songs. 🙂

  32. Didit says:

    And towers with big watches on them

  33. Didit says:

    Thanks JM

    It would be very interesting to see Lucas start

  34. Didit says:

    Train or car Chas?

  35. GunnerN5 says:

    Morning all I just glanced at your post Raddy – I will read it in a few minutes but I like the idea of shortening Shkodran – the most obvious to me is “Shark” – our shark – the shark ………..

  36. chas says:

    Trains after the game are rubbish in midweek.

  37. Ant says:

    I like Eddie’s Kod!
    That 10.52 team is amazing.. Maybe 2 correct?
    And Mickey replies with a replacement for someone not in Eddie’s original team.

  38. Didit says:


    I cunningly preceded ‘Maybe Elneny instead of Santi’ with I’d go First XI

    You’d make an excellent BBC Foreign affairs news editor 🙂

    You concentrate on the drinking and leave technical bollocks to us 🙂

  39. chas says:

  40. LB says:


    I have only just seen your question.

    But I, like everyone else, don’t have a clue about Ludogrets so I have no idea how difficult this game is going to be and without that I can’t be my usual opinionated self.

  41. Eddie says:

    LB – nonsense! of course you can be opinionated, where is fun in being always well informed?

    hello shard 🙂

    antie – where was that photo taken, in London so early?

  42. chas mobile says:

  43. GunnerN5 says:

    In an effort to increase our knowledge of Razgrad here are the most
    notable people born there.

    Ivan Ivanov Bagryanov (born 1891), Bulgarian politician who briefly served as Prime Minister
    Petar Gabrovski (born 1898), Bulgarian politician who briefly served as Prime Minister
    Dimitar Nenov (born 1901), Bulgarian classical pianist, composer, music pedagogue and architect
    Stoycho Stoev (born 1962), Bulgarian former footballer and manager
    Diyan Angelov (born 1964), Bulgarian former football player
    Nikolay Antonov (born 1968), Bulgarian former athlete
    Boncho Novakov (born 1935), Bulgarian former cyclist
    Emanuil Dyulgerov (born 1955), Bulgarian former athlete
    Mecnur Çolak (born 1967), Turkish former footballer
    Sofu Mehmed Pasha (governor) (died 1626), Ottoman administrator
    Neriman Özsoy (born 1988), Turkish female volleyball player

    It reads like a – who’s who? of WHO!!

  44. GunnerN5 says:

    Also notable is that there’s nobody deemed notable after 1988.

  45. GunnerN5 says:

    Now I can only hope that that don’t get a notable victory over the Gunners……………

  46. GN5 – Tom Whittacker’s grandson has just put a comment on your post titled Arsenals Greatest Manager pt 2

  47. I’m in the pub, I’ll see if I can get the comment on the blog

  48. Didit says:

    No Xhaka apparently
    Gibbs, Ox and Coq start

  49. Didit says:

    Osp, Bell, Kos, Must, Gibb, Coq, Santi, Theo, Ox, Mesut and Sanchez

  50. Didit says:

    Ha Ha, this is from official AFC website

    •Arsenal substitutes: Cech, Gabriel, Monreal, Elneny, Xhaka, Iwobi, Alexis

    Arsenal XI: Ospina, Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Gibbs, Coquelin, Cazorla, Walcott, Ozil, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Alexis

    We have two Alexis’ 🙂

  51. Didit says:

    How many subs should there be?

  52. Didit says:

    OK, according to Sky, Lucas is on the bench

    Nobody’s here are they? 🙂

  53. GunnerN5 says:

    Peaches, here is the post, thank you for pointing it out..

    It’s very satisfying, to me, that our posts get such widespread readership.

    Bruce Whittaker says:

    October 19, 2016 at 5:40 pm

    My paternal Grandad! Tom Whittaker!! A real gent and a warm and kind human being who was totally dedicated to the club!!

  54. Didit says:

    Errr, YOUR post GN5
    Well done Sir

  55. Didit says:

    Come on you Gunnners

  56. Eddie says:

    my team selection 🙂 🙂 8 wrong 🙂 🙂

  57. GunnerN5 says:


    No OUR posts – I’m sure that many of our post headlines catch the attention of many varous readers.

    On many occasions when I’m researching for my posts – up pops a post written by an AA poster.

  58. GunnerN5 says:

    Think positively Eddie – you got 3 correct.

    Off out on a school run to pick up the grand children. Game being recorded for later.

  59. Eddie says:

    wooooooww!! lovely goal

  60. Eddie says:

    chas and and, and peaches and rasp, and LB – telly pundits were just discussing if Sanchez is a true centre forward 🙂 and he scored, here is the answer for you, you ****

  61. Eddie says:

    GN5 – I am positive, it should have been 3:0 by now and I am not even crying

  62. Didit says:

    Eddie on the sofa. Nice

    Agree, superb goal. I’m not 100% certain Iwobi could have done an awful lot better 🙂

  63. Didit says:

    Barca 1-0 City
    If you like that sort of thing

  64. Didit says:


  65. Eddie says:

    ha ha ha 🙂 ox 🙂

    didit – I am going to whisper this, because I am scared of the backlash – sshhhhh…I don’t like Iwobi 😦 After I had seen his video being a total tool I sort of lost any sympathy. He ain’t Phillipe Sanderos and I have a thing about thickos

  66. Eddie says:

    Gabriel and Perez on the bench, I think we will see both of them 2night

  67. Didit says:

    Won’t tell a soul Eddie 🙂

    Luckily I didn’t see the vid of him being toolish

  68. Didit says:

    I’m quitting if I get one more connection breakdown. Been awful

  69. Didit says:

    I’m off
    Really wanted to see Lucas but he’ll probably bring on Elneny and Monreal

    Anyway, g’nite Eddie

  70. Didit says:

    Ooooo saw that
    Mesut 🙂

  71. fred1266 says:

    Who made the pass for Ok goal

  72. Eddie says:

    good night Brexiter

  73. Didit says:

    Good night remoaner 🙂

    Just checked in. Mesut three! Look forward to some goal clips in the morning

    Very goodnight from him. Goodnight.

  74. LB says:

    I have written something it is in drafts, it needs a title and some pics and a proof read because I am tired. Night, night what a great night.

  75. Thanks LB, I’m so tired but I’m not sure I can sleep, need to see those goals again.

    See everyone in the morning

  76. Red Arnie says:

    wow, what a brilliant PM, Chas! 🙂

    travelling, again, but managed to catch most of the game. what great fun! 🙂

    a bit sorry for the oilers, their plight brought back dark memories.

  77. The problem with Mesut Ozil is he makes it all look far too easy. So easy that us sitting in the stands think it is easy……its not.

  78. chas says:

  79. Didit says:

    That flick. Ooo purr

    I missed all of Lucas and two more Mesut goals. Can you help?

  80. chas says:

    Ant pointed out last night that if we finish level on points with PSG (yeah, I know, still a long way to go before that happens), it’s the two games between us and them that really count.
    Goals against Ludogorets only count if it gets down to criteria ‘f’ below. 🙂

    Article 17 Equality of points – group stage
    If two or more teams are equal on points on completion of the group matches,
    the following criteria are applied in the order given to determine their rankings:
    a. higher number of points obtained in the group matches played among the
    teams in question;
    b. superior goal difference from the group matches played among the teams in
    c. higher number of goals scored in the group matches played among the teams
    in question;
    d. higher number of goals scored away from home in the group matches played
    among the teams in question;
    e. if, after having applied criteria a) to d), teams still have an equal ranking,
    criteria a) to d) are reapplied exclusively to the matches between the teams in
    question to determine their final rankings. If this procedure does not lead to a
    decision, criteria f) to l) apply;
    f. superior goal difference in all group matches;
    g. higher number of goals scored in all group matches;
    h. higher number of away goals scored in all group matches;
    i. higher number of wins in all group matches;
    j. higher number of away wins in all group matches;
    k. lower disciplinary points total based only on yellow and red cards received in
    all group matches (red card = 3 points, yellow card = 1 point, expulsion for
    two yellow cards in one match = 3 points);
    l. higher club coefficient (see Annex D).

  81. chas says:

    When the stadium announcer said Mustafi’s name, he pronounced the first name ‘Skod-ran’.

    I quite like ‘Skod’ as a nickname, sounds a bit like ‘god’ with an ‘s’ sound before it.
    That’s what I’m going to call him anyway.

  82. chas says:

    Here’s the Arsenalist page for last night’s game. Loads to look at again.

  83. chas says:

  84. chas says:

    Love this photo for some reason.
    The caption is
    London Underground under Construction in 1860s – Notting Hill Gate Station.

  85. Didit says:

    Thanks for Arsenalist link. Great catch up site.

    Perez is not that slow is he, or a terrible passer come to think about it. That is very exciting to see

  86. Didit says:

    Wow great tube pic. I have stood on that platform many many times

  87. RA says:

    I read the pre-Match Post and thought how great it is to have the Raddish write it so well and get us in the mood.

    Then I found at the end it was Chasser who had written it. We are spoilt with two very good authors, so thank you, Chas.

  88. RA says:

    A tremendous game last night, [sorry, Mickish, to talk football at such an unearthly hour] but anyway, that is the sort of game I love, and for Mesut to score a hat-trick was the icing on the cake.

    Is the other accomplished author, LB, writing the post match — if so, I think he is going to wax lyrical on many levels. 🙂

  89. Eddie says:

    and 4:0 to Barca, they wiped their arses with City, wow. Not sure how to feel about it

    How was Perez? Micky sent me to bed early so I missed him

  90. Eddie says:

    mesmerizing photo of the tube station – perfect proportions 1/3 ground 1/3 above ground, 1/3 the arch. Central point disaapearing into the middle, Great shadows and light combo. Very skilful snap. I am not good at this kind of staff but my mate at work was so he taught me some tricks.

  91. Eddie says:

    …I am waiting for LB’s match report…
    …still waiting…
    …how was Perez?…
    …I thought Coquelin was brilliant, probably his best game

  92. Shall I put it up now?

  93. ok here goes ………………………….

    New Post everyone ……………

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