Hello Arsenal, Shanghai Shenhua calling”

December 30, 2016

32 year old Carlos Tevez transferred from Boca to Shanghai for £70M.

Oh, and if you think that’s funny, then let me tell you his wages: £615,000. Per week.

We’re talking New World Order stuff here, and I reckon David Beckham could be lacing up again any minute. I would.


These are exciting times, but like all good things, the window of opportunity will be small, and by that I mean the gulf in value between some old has been and serious investment value European old world value.

32 yrs Tevez at £70M, 23 yrs Pogba £90M. The world’s highest wage earner v the world’s highest fee. Wow, this does not stack up.

I don’t want to be a shit stirrer here, but just thinking out loud, we have a buyers and a sellers market at the same time. That is insane. What would be even madder, would be to keep any cash in the bank (I know, it has been for a while), as it should be so easy to trade up in quality.

Any player with any kind of pedigree and star quality has seen his market value rocket.

If I was, Ooo I don’t know, say Theo for example, I’d be thinking: chances of playing for Barca or Real slim, winning the CL with Arsenal slimmer still, success with England don’t care, had a new baby and he’s going to want a new iphone any minute now and these things ain’t cheap.


Ring, ring “Hallo Shanghai, Theo here. I’m free, and I may well have two mates as well who’d be interested”

Or, will the phone call be coming from the other end!


Are refs biased? Discuss

December 29, 2016

NO to boring games: The Plan

December 28, 2016

The excuse: we’re poor minnows and can’t out football you, so we’ll out bore you for a point.

My response: bugger off and don’t darken our doorstep again.


The object: reward adventure. Stamp on dullards. We want goals.

My plan: 1 point per goal and a further 2 to the victor. O further points for the draw.

Your thoughts: how can we stamp out the bus parkers, and other ideas?


Arsenal vs WBA: Player Ratings

December 27, 2016

This is what I think.

Cech: if you keep a clean sheet you must have done something right. Commanding, confident and his usual array of hoofing the ball upfield. 7

Bellerin: the curious thing about Hector is none of us know how good he is going to end up being; his upward curve of improvement continues at the same angle as China’s global trade output. I say this because although he is not putting away that many chances of those that come his way it suddenly dawned on me — what would happen if he did? 7

Easter: as I said above, you can’t knock a clean sheet but Mustafi he ain’t; still, playing against a Pulis mob is never an easy task and he did well. 7



Koscielny: the doomsday scenario would be if Kos got injured; he has been playing so well he has become irreplaceable again another great Captain’s performance. 8

Gibbs: we are very lucky to have such quality back up for the LB position but that is what he is, back up; he is so one footed it gets a bit embarrassing; defenders show him inside which he takes and then realises that he is so out of his depth that he makes a meaningless pass to salvage something but yesterday he tried to run with his right foot; he inevitably lost control and then to compensate unnecessarily lunged to recover, the result being that he got injured – again. 6

Coquelin: Francis pretty much has to start as he is the only midfield ball winner we have; we may be chock full of midfielders but he is the only defender amongst them. This is, of course, a double edged sword; he is a defender so against teams that come to park the bus and time waste he is not as multi functional as we need; that’s to say, he is not about to join the list of goal scorers in the foreseeable future and that is exactly what we need from our midfield. 7


Xhaka: both he and Coquelin are the problem; they were the problem against Everton, against City and were five minutes away from being the problem yesterday. As a partnership they are incapable of augmenting the attack and without that you have the four in front of them being easily harnessed or more easily than they should. Ramsey may not be everyone’s favourite Welshman but he is capable of adding weight to the attack. As for Xhaka I don’t get it, his arrival confuses me. 7

Ozil: I have had a theory about this man for a while, there are in fact two Ozil’s the one that you see on telly and the one that you see when you go to the game. The problem with this is that it cannot be proved; I either have to watch the game live or watch it on telly. Every time I watch this man play at THOF he spends 90 minutes running his heart out, making me wonder how anyone could ever question his commitment to the cause. Not a bad game, not an outstanding game but he still did send in the superbly weighted cross for the lumbersexual to head home. 8

Giroud: and on the subject of the lumbersexual, I think I really should start by complimenting him on how well he took his goal which put a stop to a stadium erupting in booos just five minutes later and trust me, that is exactly what was about to happen. Giroud is OK; I would still have Perez playing for the ninety minutes but hay ho. 7


Sanchez: a centre forward, hmmm, really, the fact that we still discuss this shows that he jury is still out. The red hot chili pepper was on the wing yesterday and mercifully he was feeling the need to beat two players, before he passed, far less and it helped — it helped a lot. 7

Iwobi: West Brom were predictably going to be extremely well organised so we needed the silky skills of everyone’s favourite Nigerian to try and twinkle toe his way past the lines of defence and break the dead lock. It didn’t really happen for him, he is a great prospect but he still wouldn’t make my starting eleven. 7

written by LB

Arsenal’s Redemption or Atonement?

December 26, 2016

Two losses are a sobering experience so I doubt our chaps will have piled into the beers and port over Yule. My guess is that they are really raring to go and make the end of the year a positive.

West Brom and Pulis are not exactly the opponents Mr Wenger would have chosen, my guess is that he would have liked to play a Top 4 side but instead we play a team who are punching above their weight, sitting in 8th.


A few stats: We have only lost to WBA once in our last 11 meetings. They have only beaten us once at The Emirates (2010). The last time we played WBA on Boxing day was in 2002, we won 2-1.

The papers seem to be indicating that if we can stop Matt Phillips, we will be OK as he has been involved in 7 goals in 7 games.

Pulis. I have written extensively about this fellow over the years. I am too mellowed out to start again now 🙂  Suffice to say, I don’t like him, his tactics or his cap.

Arsenal: I expect to see the same team start which started at The Etihad. They have to show their poor second half was an isolated occurrence. I am sure there have been post-mortems aplenty.



Given the number of games over the next days there is sure to be rotation but I expect this to happen vs Palace and beyond.

My Team:


Bellerin    Gabriel    Koscielny    Monreal

Xhaka    Coquelin    Iwobi

Walcott    Sanchez    Ozil

We have to win. Not just because we need the points. Such is the Arsenal fanbase that any faltering in our title bid is greeted with angst and opprobrium. Goodness knows how the “supporters” will react to losing at The Emirates. No doubt a chorus of booing and Wenger Outs.

But that won’t happen because we are going to win.


Written by Big Raddy



The Great Uncertainty.

December 18, 2016

How is this season going? In some ways very well and yet there are big question marks remaining about the team. On paper we all agreed this is the best squad for some time, we felt there is the depth of quality to get a few more points than last season and win the title instead of being runners-up.

Somehow this confidence is slipping away; not amongst the team but in the stands. Losing at Everton whilst every one of our rivals won was painful, yesterday’s results didn’t help. Going to a very strong Man City will be a litmus test.


Don’t be fooled by MC lacking 3 big players, Fernando (or it that a Madonna song) may be out but his replacement is Yaya Toure. City have a fine squad, which they should have given the ridiculous amount of money they spend.

Guardiola: Given the man’s pedigree how can anyone question his ability? I guess it is the short-termism of modern life that anything other than immediate success is looked upon as failure. What happened to working towards success?

My Team:


Bellerin    Gabriel    Koscielny    Monreal

Xhaka     Coquelin    Iwobi

Walcott    Sanchez    Ozil

I may be tempted to play Perez in place of Theo given his anonymous performance midweek. In his defence the ball has to be passed to Theo for him to be effective! The same can be said for Ox.

Our record at The Etihad is OK. We have a good team. We need a win. Mr. Wenger has been talking about attacking intent. It should be a good game.


Draxler to Arsenal.

December 16, 2016

January  transfer window coming up. even the busy time coming up let’s think about our squad and if it needs tweaking.

Keeoer. No. We are good.

RB. Bellerin , Boosh, Jens, and Gabriel. Perhaps we could use another backup but most probably an area to look at in summer.

CB’s. Fine. Never better.

LB. The same.

Defensive Midfield. Happy with our choices.

Attacking Midfield. Packed tighter than a Japanese metro in rush hour.

CF. Lovely. Top players can’t get a start. And Welbz to return

Wings. On paper, fine.

But —-

What if a world class player whom Mr Wenger has been trying to sign for three years becomes available. Do we buy him?


Draxler is top quality. Potentially another Bobby Pires and German to boot. One could question his attitude as he tries to escape from Wolfsburg but AW is not a man to worry about signing “characters” (Wiltord, Ade etc).

Thing is, does Draxler improve the squad, and if so, do we sell one of our chaps, and if so, whom?

Or, heaven forbid, Sanchez may not be willing to extend his contract in which case we will need another Worldie.

So, Draxler. €40m. 23 y-o- German WC Winner. Mate of Mesut. Would you?


Written by Big Raddy

Carl Jenkinson. A Worry.

December 15, 2016

We do not think much about the travails of the modern PL footballer, we assume that the fame, bright lights, supercars, surgically augmented girlfriends  and vast wealth must make for a wonderful life, and in most cases it seems to – but as with most things this is not the whole truth. Let us look at one of our own, Mr Carl Jenkinson.

A gooner all his life with a dream to play for his club, something all of us have dreamt of but in Carl’s case it became a realty, sadly, not bringing the joy he must have assumed would come from his achievement.


The Birmingham Mail are reporting that Carl is about to be loaned to Aston Villa in January. Does this herald the end of his Arsenal career? Were a couple of quite frankly piss-poor performances enough to convince Mr Wenger that Carl cannot cut it at Arsenal? Perhaps.

West Ham Bob assures me that Carl did well in his first few games at WHU but towards the end they were delighted that he got injured, such was the negativity surrounding his play. Carl returned and got fit, Boosh was injured, Hector got injured, Carl got his chance, failed, Boosh got 20 minutes and Gabriel was brought in at RB. How will that affect the confidence of a man already questioning his abilities? Not well, one would imagine.

Arsenal are known to have a team of top psychiatrist and motivators, they realise how much stress is placed on young men with no life experience other than being lauded for being excellent at football. Just the fact that 80+% of footballers go bankrupt within 5 years of retirement highlights this naivety. Goodness knows how many succumb to addictions in a futile attempt to fill the gap of the dressing room.

Mental fragility is never discussed about top sportsmen but skill is not enough. In golf, there is something called the “yips”, when a player who has previously been able to putt with astonishing accuracy suddenly cannot. It is a nervous complaint and very, very difficult to remedy; it has cost players their careers. As a team sport footballers have less focus but not much.

Carl’s performance against Southampton when he couldn’t find a pass, completely lost his ability to judge where he should be in relation to the play and continually ran into trouble was reminiscent of the sad day when Eboue ‘s form disappeared. Eboue had the strength of character to resurrect his Arsenal career. Can Jenkinson?

On the AFC website today there is a piece on Jenks coming back from rehab, I could be wrong and Carl may well have a glorious future as Bellerin’s understudy, but I fear for him. Above all I wish him well.

Everton Pre-Match: Team and Statistics

December 13, 2016

In recent games we have been playing teams which are quite frankly, crap. Tonight we go to a proper club looking to extend our unbeaten run; none of the Orc, snarling Mancs, dodgy Swiss or East Larnderners variety. Everton are proper Top Table diners.

Here are a few facts about Everton:

Goodison Park was the first dedicated football ground built in the world.

The longest run of seasons in the top division

They have scored and conceded most goals in the top div.

Drawn and lost more games than any other team in the top div.

Top scorer ever in a season. Dixie Dean 60. Yes, 60!!

It is fair to say, that Everton have history. They may not be the behemoth they were in other times but despite a small(ish) ground, noisy neighbours and not being an Oiler club, they have managed to be there or thereabouts. Bringing in Koeman is a step in the right direction, though the chances of his taking them into the Top 4 are unlikely, he may well (given time) improve them ….

But, Everton are on a poor run of results and the fans are questiong the big Dutchmen’s abilities.

Here’s a stat: Koeman is the highest scoring defender in World football history, having scored 193 goals in 553 games at club level (inc. 67 for Barca) and 14 for his country.


There is much to say about Arsenal. 12 goals in 3 games. 3 wins in 8 days. There is a need to rotate before going to the Ethihad on Sunday. Picking a team will be difficult. Does AW dare drop either Ozil or Sanchez? Does he play Gabriel or Holding at CB? Who will play in the centre? Will Giroud get his first start of the season? This is what AW earns the big bucks for.

This is my guess, for which I am not paid a single sous….


Bellerin     Gabriel     Koscielny      Monreal

Ramsey    Coquelin     Iwobi

Walcott    Sanchez    Ozil

Pretty standard apart from dropping Ox and Granit, who will both be on the bench.

Why? Because if we can take 3 points at Goodison it will be a huge fillip ahead of a tough weekend, and as we all know, 3 points are 3 points 😀

Here’s another stat: In the PL years we have played Everton 48 times and lost just 6. A fine  and surprising record.

At home, at night, after a roasting from both the fans and the management the Everton players will be looking to win in style tonight. We should expect a tough game.



Arsenal swagger to the top of the league? Player Ratings.

December 11, 2016

There has never been a lot to like about the Arsenal — Stoke fixture: nothing glamorous, no excited anticipation; we receive untold amounts of criticism if we lose and next to no praise if we win. Stoke is miserable place in the middle of nowhere with a horrible manager, a bunch of knuckle draggers for a team and the thickest of supporters who sing the most stupid song about some bint called Delilah, best thing to do is beat them convincingly and send them back up the motorway suitably humbled to make pots or whatever they do up there.

1949 Hollywood screen goddess, Hedy Lamarr stars in "Samson and Delilah" directed by Cecil B. De Mille.

It was a convincing performance, wasn’t it? There is a whole new level of determination emanating from this group of players; a will to win that I haven’t seen in I don’t know how long.

Sanchez and Özil, our two super stars, head and shoulders above the rest, are showing the way; there is so much enthusiasm from them, so much desire to win I ask myself what is going on behind the scenes that we are unaware of?

We all know that there are in contract negotiations taking place in an attempt to keep them at the club, so if you were the manager and the chief negotiator who I assume is Gazidis what would you do?

I have read here and there in, I must admit, not the most sophisticated of publications, demands from ex Arsenal players that Wenger should spend everything it takes to keep Özil and Sanchez at the club. This kind of talk baffles me; beyond Wenger making it clear to the board that he wants them to stay at the club he has no more involvement at all. He doesn’t decide what the club can and can’t afford.

If this were me I would decide how far I want to push the boat out with these two and the club, as we all expect, is going to be slashing about in the middle of the Atlantic with these two and then having decided on a figure I would make the offer to them on the basis that we win the league this season. They both want to stay at the club but they both understandably want to be paid the correct value for their labour so the figure I imagine that has been put to them is no doubt eye watering but there is a clever little incentive attached.

Not convinced, fair enough, but those two are showing no signs of players who want to leave, that I am sure you agree on. It seems more than likely that offers have been put to their agents for them to consider but what I would do is say this amount that I am sure would be the GDP of a small country is dependent on us winning the league. A solution will of course be found if we don’t win the league but the players and the agents know that it is a done deal if they do bring that kind of glory to the club.


OK, you try and find something to talk about after an Arsenal – Stoke game…….Arsenal brushed Stoke aside to swagger to the top of the league with three goals coming firstly from Walcott who deftly steered Bellerin’s pin point cross past their helpless keeper to bring us back on terms; the second and probably the best came from Oxlaide-Chamberlain’s growing works of art, his cross was a thing of beauty but Ozil’s exquisite looping header was a master piece. The cherry on the cake came from Iwobi, who after Sanchez had been up ended in the most agricultural of ways, continued to drive into the box before steering the ball past the Stoke keeper – well yeah, but now what do you write?


Player ratings.

Cech: outstanding as ever, less hoofs up the field and more calm playing out to our team, a far better idea Petr, instead of increasing the chances of us losing possession we are guaranteed to retain it, simples. 8

Easter: he was getting better and better playing in his adopted position of right back, Rasp made a good point a couple of weeks ago, when he stopped trying to be a wing back and just played as an additional CB he found his feet. It was of course very useful that he was completely up to speed to fill in for Mustafi. Hector came on taking up his usual berth; I think it took Wonder Boy less than ten minutes to help bring us back on terms. 7

Mustafi: Easter did perfectly well when he replaced our lucky charm (we have never lost when he has played) but we also got a clear comparison and as good as Easter is he ain’t no Mustafi, we can only hope the second best German we have will not be out for too long. 7

Koscielny: masterful, did everything and more that we would want from our captain. 8

Monreal: rested in the week but made to sit on the bench while Gibbs put in a five star performance reminding the Spaniard that he better keep on his toes if he wants to keep his starting spot; which, to be fair he did. 7

Xhaka: I have said this before but I am going to say it again: this man has had a talking to; he is not the same player who arrived and played in such a gung ho way. A much more calm thoughtful performance and clearly so much more room for improvement. 7

Coquelin: another one who was rested in the week who came back in and put in a top performance, very impressed, if Özil wasn’t in such commanding form Francis would have been my man of the match. 8

Oxlaide-Chamberlain: and yet another one who was rested in the week and hit the ground running; there really is a fantastic little battle going on between him and Iwobi for that spot out on the left, it’s hard to tell right now who is ahead, although as the Ox is starting it must be him. 7

Özil: the German genius ran the show again; man the match and a rare headed goal to boot. 9

Sanchez: is there another centre forward in the world who while the team are in full flow attack can come back and take up positions in the centre circle and not a person bats an eye lid or moans one bit; when you think about it that really is quite amazing. Another excellent performance, hopefully he was taken off for cautionary reasons and will be available for Tuesday against Everton. 8

Walcott: what is it about having someone on the bench, who scored a hat trick in the week, breathing down your neck, ready to take your place at a moment’s notice that brings out the determination to do whatever it takes to keep your place? Well that is what Perez did to Walcott. Theo made a very good start to the season as we all know but has fallen back a bit over the last couple of weeks but then dropped to the bench his replacement scoring for fun looks like it scared Theo back to his determined best and his very important goal should not be forgotten. 8

Wenger: he really is deploying the troops well, resting where necessary and creating competition where needed. I am hoping that the resting part bodes well over the manic Christmas period that we are about to embark on. It is this energy sapping month that takes its toll on all teams and Chelsea are no exception, they have a small squad and one injury to Costa and it is bye bye league; his absence should be enough to get us over the line in May, although, a bolt of lightning to Hazard wouldn’t go a miss. 9


An LB offering.