Swansea 0 Arsenal 4……..A fan’s view and player ratings.

January 15, 2017

There is never anything wrong with winning four nil and that, as you know, is exactly what we got and it sure made a pleasant change from going behind and having to claw our way back all the while with stress levels climbing to unhealthy heights before Giroud scores his customary late equaliser or winner. No, not this time Giroud got his goal early on and the valium remained untouched.


Swansea started as expected, new manager and all; he certainly watched the Bournemouth game and clearly believed that rather than park the bus his new charges best chance of getting something was to take the game to us. Well that would have been my guess anyway as they came out full of beans and full of belief but the new manager momentum soon wore off and after twenty minutes and we took control of the game.

The first goal coming from the lumbersexual as I said above but he seemed to hurt himself in the process. Half time came and went and surprisingly to me we came out after the break looking very determined indeed. So often we are guilty of going ahead and then taking the foot off the pedal allowing the opposition to get back into the game. Not this time, the sheer force of numbers as we pushed forward was impressive.

The second came from Iwobi who in an attempt to fire the ball low across the six yard line had the good fortune to hit a leg of one of the Swansea players which looped the ball up over the helpless Fabianski.

When things are going against you they really do go against you and that is what was happening to Swansea. It seemed as though we got all the breaks, not that I mind that but it would have been nice to have saved some of that luck for the forth coming Chelsea game. Iwobi yet again tried to send a low cross into the danger area only this time it hit an ex-spud and ricocheted into the net to make it three nil.

The good fortune continued when the ball bounced up kindly to the waiting Sanchez who simply steered it home to make it four nil and put the game well and truly beyond Swansea.


With such a lead it gave us a chance to give Perez another outing and Welbeck a few more precious minutes, there is an elegance to the way he glides over the ground, a thing of real beauty. I stuck my neck out a long time ago by saying that he will become the best striker in the league, I haven’t changed my mind.

Player ratings

Cech: few doubts creeping in recently to the point where some where suggesting Ospina might be given more playing time but then the helmeted one goes and puts in commanding performance like that, including a series of fine saves and you go nah, if the clock works. 8

Easter: as much as we love Hector the reality is that he is more of an attacker than a defender, the opposite, of course, is true of Gabriel and for that reason he unsurprisingly gives the defence a more solid feel; he is particularly effective being able to cover Mustafi when he goes walk about. 7

Mustafi: hay, you know the rule, when the German plays and we don’t lose, what’s not to like about that? Basks in Koscielny’s glow a lot but then Kos seems to look more effective when Skod is playing next to him so it balances up a bit. I like him. 7

Koscielny: good to have him back, makes a huge difference commanding performance, if Easter’s house is made of straw and Mustafi’s house is made of wood then Kos’s house is made of bricks. 8

Monreal: they really tried to kick the Spaniard off the park in the first half; poor man spent most of it rolling around the floor holding one part or his body in pain or another, a usual Nacho performance although not responsible for conceding a goal this week. 7

Xhaka: getting better or at least that is what it seemed to me from my tv. I always feel that with Granit you have to be at the game to really access what he brought to the table as in the position he plays in it is just as much about what you do off the ball as much as it is about what you do on the ball and his off ball movement is not shown on telly. Still, there didn’t seem too much wrong with his performance. 7

Ramsey: a perfectly acceptable performance; adds an important defensive element to the attacking part of the midfield and augments the attack in the 18 yard box extremely effectively. 8

Özil: slow start but got better as the game went on, another player that you have to see live to really access his performance. Some may remember, earlier on, especially after his goal against Ludogrets, I started wondering if he had indeed started to breathe the same rarefied air as Dennis Bergkamp? Chas put a few Bergkamp show reels up and my perspective returned. Nevertheless, I remain a massive Mesut fan and right now, we’ve got Özil, Mesut Özil, I just don’t think you understand you know the rest. 7

Iwobi: gave just that little bit more than expected, more drive, more goal threat, more chasing back, more all round really and for that reason I make him my MOTM. 9

Giroud: clearly disorientated, obviously lost all sense of time, well he must have as he scored in the first half rather than saving our bacon close to the end, still wouldn’t start in my team though. 7


Sanchez: I have no idea what he was doing after he had been subbed, I mean it’s understandable that he wants to play and being reassured that he will always be picked if fit has got to have been one of the biggest deciding factors in his choice to come to THOF; well it has to be doesn’t it, can you imagine him at a club spending large amounts of time on the bench? Happened at Barcelona; he must have gone nuts, another excellent performance with a goal to boot. 8

An LB offering.

Clement to improve ailing Swansea?

January 14, 2017

Swansea. What a shame. Lovely small club, promoted to PL. Get big name manager. Do exceedingly well considering budget. Sell best players. Don’t re-invest. Manager wants better players, owners want profits, manager resigns.

Then it is all downhill. Managers come and go, results don’t improve. Relegation highly likely.


So far this season Swansea have had 3 managers and are in dire straits (60 y.o. Mark Knopfler as their play maker). That’s what happens with crap owners. It could happen to any club.

Arsenal. What makes our club special? A history of careful stewardship. What would have happened had Usamov taken control? We will never know.

Today’s game is a potential banana skin. Swansea have some confidence after their win over CP. They also have a new, very good manager in Paul Clement, Quite why he left Bayern Munich where he was assistant manager to take over at Swansea is a mystery . At Derby, he only lost once in 19 games!

We have the usual injury list but welcome back some faces. Hector and Kos return having put pen to paper. I would play Gibbs and give Monreal a rest

My Team:


Bellerin    Mustafi    Koscielny    Gibbs

Ramsey    Xhaka     Coquelin

Perez    Sanchez    Ozil

Why drop Iwobi? I don’t know, just so Ramsey can get a mother game under his belt. There is likely to be a midfield battle and we are away so I would pack the midfield, hence Coq/Xhaka.

We need to win today (as always) but it will be no easy victory.


Who Let The Dogs Out?

January 12, 2017

Apparently this is a new Red Action banner to be displayed at The Emirates Stadium.


The Gooniverse has generally responded in two ways: those who think it’s a rather touching idea intended to make Alexis feel at home; and those who think it’s shameful and trivialises a professional football club.

Where do you stand?

Do you think it’s harmless and could even help persuade Alexis to sign da ting?

Or do you think it encapsulates all that’s wrong with the Club – a bit like Giroud’s Scorpion goal celebration against Bournemouth?



Better Days?

January 11, 2017


The Old Days. We always think they were better …

Would you exchange the better standard of football we see every season at The Emirates for the mud and passion of Highbury?


Why do I long for a TA/Steve Bould  tackle which would “let the player know you are there” as opposed to the Guardiola idea of staying on your feet?

Some of the intricacy of our current teams passing football is beyond ken but I yearn for a Radford bullet header from a hopeful punt from George Armstrong. Why is hoofball so looked down upon as a short-term tactic?

Why did the architects of The Emirates build the stands so far from the pitch? It makes the paying punter spectators as opposed to being fans involved in  the play as we were at Highbury. Why can’t PL stadiums have a standing section?


Football has become sanitised (IMO). Is the sport better for it?

p.s. This post was inspired by a photo of the tunnel at Arsenal Tube Station published by Chas.

written by Big Raddy

Why are we going backwards?

January 10, 2017

Jan 10th 2016.

Arsenal are top of the table with 43 points.

Leicester the same point total.

MC 3rd with 40

Spurs 4th with 36

MU 6th with 34

Liverpool 9th  31 pts

Chelsea   14th  24 pts.



Jan 10th 2017

Chelsea  49 points

Liverpool 44

Spurs   42

MC   42

Arsenal    41

MU     39

We have just two points less than this time last season. Chavs have 20 more points! Liverpool 13 more, MC 2 , Spurs 6 and MU 5.

Only City are consistent despite the addition of Guardiola

What is happening is that either the clubs above us have improved enormously or the clubs below us have worsened.  Or is there another reason?

written by Big Raddy

Arsenal: a transfer epiphany.

January 9, 2017

You all know the Didit footballing code. Score goals and then score some more. A simple, elegant and entertaining formula. As always, with the transfer window upon us, my thoughts turn to acquiring expensive goal scorers.

At least, my thoughts turned that way until yesterday.

I fell off my surfboard, and in the style of Harry Kane, had forgotten to close my mouth. The body filled with salty water. Time became meaningless and I entered a state of calm. It was as though my old life had vanished as I became becalmed and floated on a peaceful and tranquil cloud. I was free and my mind could move to more pressing matters like the Arsenal transfer window.



Enter Epiphany.

Epiphany was not a striker, not even a wide boy heaving with goals, no, Epiphany was a midfielder.

Across the front, we have goal scorers. Sanchez, Ollie, Welbeck, Perez, Theo and even The Ox. Danny Welbeck has just turned 26, but due to a year out, his body is 25. I have said before I believe he will be a striker, and I also believe that within two years he will be world class.

Mesut plays No10.

Behind him is where Epiphany slots in. We know Coquelin and Santi are the strongest pairing, and we know Elneny, Xhaka and Aaron are squad players.

Arsene has tried every permutation of the above runners and riders and nothing works as well as Coq Santi, with the latter’s days numbered because of his short legs.

There is also another glaring weakness. A true leader. In other words, we’re looking at a man with the spirit of Adams, the touch of an angel, the heart of a lion and the vision of an eagle.

Are these kind of midfield generals easy to come by? Are there any out there?

Of course money is not an obstacle. We have cash and can also trade up. Any ideas?


Giroud Saves the Day — Again. Match Report, plus Player Ratings.

January 8, 2017

Arsene Wenger’s record of never losing a 3rd round FA Cup tie remains intact; I think the victory over Preston makes it a consistent 21 years which is pretty impressive but boy were we made to suffer for it – again. Surely we are due a game in which we score twice early, take control enabling us to get the sun loungers out, sit back, relax and pass the colourful cocktails with pretty little umbrellas around.

Well we may be due a game like that but that wasn’t how it started yesterday, no sir; we got a sneak preview of what life would be like without Ozil and Sanchez and it was not pretty; in fact, the first forty five minutes resembled a post apocalyptic waste land with aimless zombies running around in yellow shirts.

The first half was dreadful the only silver lining is that Preston failed to convert their second golden opportunity, the one where all he had to do was roll it across past Ospina for what would have been a tap in. That would have made it two nil and probably would have won them the game.


But they didn’t score a second and the mighty Arsenal came out after the break and showed once again what a great fighting spirit there is at THOF. Arsenal immediately upped the pace and upped the pressure and that paid off with Ramsey bringing us back on level terms with a powerful drive in what seemed like no time.

We huffed and puffed for another half an hour with few clear cut chances at either end before Johnny on the spot or should that be Giroud on the spot found a way to save our blushes. An excellent back heel from Perez arrived to the oncoming Giroud whose pure power found a way to get the ball past a confused goalkeeper and into the back of the net.

Another exciting fight back only this time we won which just leaves me to put the cherry on the top of the cake. Oh Danny Boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling. Welbeck returned and he could be a very, very important addition to our run in.


Ospina: Colombia’s finest always seems to give me the impression that he is weak in the air but thinking about that through the game I stated to realise that this is just an illusion as I can’t think of a time when he has let us down aerially, his shot stopping is excellent as is his distribution or it is certainly better than Cech’s anyway. 7

Maitland-Niles: I was looking forward to watching him play and he didn’t disappoint. Ok, I wasn’t expecting the air of a veteran and that certainly was not the case but his passing was extremely good and he grew in confidence as the game went on. 7

Mustafi: still shaking off the injury rust but getting back up to speed nevertheless. If we lost another midfielder he might be able to move up and play a Coquelin kind of role. 7

Gabriel: no doubting the man’s commitment, he cares about winning which is of course a good thing, also good is that he is getting game time to keep him up to speed but I expect him to return to the bench when Koscielny is fit. 7

Monreal: probably the guiltiest for the first goal and certainly the guiltiest for Preston’s golden opportunity to go two up; however, good going forward, always offering an outlet. 6

Xhaka: we got what probably was the first direct comparison with Ramsey and there was only one winner, with the Welshman head and shoulders better it makes me wonder where Granit will play if at all when one of the midfield berths has to go to someone who can defend, namely Coquelin. 6

Ramsey: Rambo missed a couple of chances that he should have converted but I view it this way: true he should have scored more but at least he was there to miss them, did you see Xhaka in those kind of positions, no you didn’t. He may have missed a couple of good chances but he did convert when we absolutely needed him to. Joint MOTM. 8

Iwobi: back to a more central role, the position he played so well in against Palace. The thing that I have thought has been holding him back is that he plays with a slightly too polite attitude; maturity was going to be the thing that changed this and we got a few glimpses of that in the form of a bit more grit. He was pushed on the side of the pitch, three weeks ago he wouldn’t have done anything but yesterday he pushed back. A very energetic and determined performance; gave the ball away a few too many times in the first half but still did enough good things to get my joint MOTM. 8

Oxlaide-Chamberlain: I thought the Ox was dreadful, poor passing, poor decision making, poor crossing, poor shooting, made one good recovery tackle in the second half behind Monreal. 4


Giroud: our matinee idol was at it again; he looked more confident than I have ever seen him; he knew he was right for that game and so it proved. But think about this, why is it that he scores more often than not late in the game? Because that is when he is most effective and this is also the reason I would still start him on the bench, let someone start the games who can cope with the way we play early on, someone with better close control and that way we might stop going behind so often. 7

Perez: Lucas Perez is a man, a grown man, an adult, a man who has been round the block and a person who can cope with tough situations, not surprising all this really when you consider that he moved to Ukraine to ply his trade and if that doesn’t put hair on your chest I don’t know what will. He is still finding his feet but he is getting better and better every game. Very unselfish in his play, love the comparison with Ljungberg. Still in the honey moon period with me and for that reason he gets a bit more favour but even so I would still start him as the number 9 ahead of Giroud. 7

An LB offering.

Who will play at Deepdale?

January 7, 2017

Preston? Never been there. Deepdale?  Never been there.  North End?  Same.  Did I ever see Tom Finney play? No. Have I ever heard of any of PNE’s players? No. Their manager, Simon Grayson …. well, I did see him play for Blackburn.

Unknown.jpeg Preston’s Finest

In other words I have no qualifications to write this pre-match other than my love for their opposition.

I love the FA Cup, always have. I love that we won it twice in the past 3 years. That said, some of my most painful memories are attached to the FAC (Wrexham 😦 ++). Is there anything as painful as losing in a Cup Final? Perhaps a kick in the crown jewels but not much else.

A loss today could be equally painful and it is not beyond the realms of possibility. Play like we did for the first 70 minutes at B’mouth and we are in peril.

Positives: Welbeck is on the bench and ready to establish himself as an Arsenal great. Nigeria didn’t qualify for the ACN so Iwobi is available for selection. Bellerin cannot play so poorly twice in a row. OG is in fine scoring form.


Not so Great:  We only have two fit and available MF’s. We only have Jenkinson should AW decide to give Hector a rest, though this is the level where he excels. Sanchez will be rested. Ozil is sick. Santi is out for the next few notes. Koscielny limped off at the Cherries. BFG isn’t fit yet.

I am hoping Holding gets another chance today, he is a fine prospect.  With Chambers doing very well at struggling Boro, we have two fine young CBs for the future.


My Team:


Bellerin    Holding    Gabriel    Monreal

Ramsey    Xhaka     Iwobi

Ox   OG   Perez

Actually it is not true that I know none of Preston’s players, they have Dane in the team – the 6´7″ Simon Makienok who is a central striker. He used to play for Brondby which is a major black mark.

We can expect hoof ball from PNE. We can also expect a dreadful pitch designed to negate our silky skills. It will be a hard physical battle and let’s just hope we can leave Deepdale with a victory and no injuries.

Let it be so.


Will Sanchez leave during this transfer window?

January 5, 2017

Maybe it’s just me but I’m worried that Sanchez is seriously considering leaving, in the last few games he has shown signs of disinterest and stands around with his hands on his hips and looks disgusted with his team mate’s decision making.


I first noticed this during our loss to Manchester City where he seemed to disappear from the game and for the last 20 minutes he seemed to become an extra mid fielder. I thought that he must have been nursing an injury and I was worried that we would be without him in the next game against West Brom – but that proved not to be the case.

I’m getting the impression that he thinks he’s wasting his time with us and is looking to move on to greener pastures.


Is it just me or should we be concerned?


Mustafi Refuses To Give Up his Unbeaten Record

January 4, 2017

What a crazy game of football! No wonder we are always on telly when we can be so easily  turned over and then forge such an amazing comeback, all in the space of a couple of hours.


How can Michael Oliver see Xhaka’s shove as different to the one which produced Bournemouth’s 3rd goal? It beggars belief.

Why did it take two thirds of the game for Arsenal to match the intensity of the Cherries?

Did Coquelin deliberately get injured so that Ramsey could move to a more natural position?

Lucas looked sharp when he finally came on to the pitch. I was really hoping he’d start. What a brilliant, controlled volley for his goal! More please, Mr P.

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - JANUARY 03: Olivier Giroud (1st L) of Arsenal celebrates scoring his team's third goal during the Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Arsenal at Vitality Stadium on January 3, 2017 in Bournemouth, England.  (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

(Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

Giroud’s celebration was pre-planned, but surely he could have left it for another, less crucial time?

Seven points from 9 from the three Christmas games isn’t too bad?

Maybe BR’s pre-match was portentous – go out on the pull and all of the excitement is encapsulated in the last 20 minutes. 🙂