Arsenal. Europe. Why bother, and if so, how?

Let’s be clear, The UK tumbling out of Europe is one thing, The Arsenal tumbling out is an altogether more serious matter, however, it’s not just us. Why?

My first thought was that having just been reminded about the wretched League Cup, it would be down to our larger league and excessive fixtures. I turned to Bayern as a point of reference. To my surprise, I discovered Bayern only played one less game, although they had 41 domestic fixtures to our 46. Here are numbers of games played last season:

ARSENAL

PL                                 38

FAC                                5

League Cup                     2

Charity Shield                  1

CL                                   8

Total                            54

 

BAYERN

League                           34

DFB (Their FAC)              6

Supercup                         1

CL                                  12

Total                             53

cl-trophy

However, English sides were far more successful ten years ago, despite the same difference in games played between ourselves and our European chums. Below I list how English Clubs have fared over the last 10 years, from the last eight, semis and finals of the CL, and there is a remarkable decline.

English Clubs record CL last 10 years for last eight, semis and finals

2016    City semis

2015   None

2014   Chelsea semis

2013   None

2012   Chelsea win

2011   Spurs, Chelsea last 8. Utd Final

2010   Arsenal, Utd last 8

2009   Pool last 8, Chelsea Arsenal semis, Utd Final

2008   Arsenal last 8, Chelsea Pool semis, Utd winners

2007   Utd Chelsea semis, Pool Final

 

Some possible conclusions:

  1. The more the cash flows into the PL, the worse English clubs do in Europe
  2. Leagues in Germany and Spain have a bigger divide between elite clubs and the rest
  3. It’s an English problem as much as an Arsenal problem
  4. Those four additional League games equates to a winter break
  5. It is not the number of games played by English sides that is the only problem, but I suspect it is how competitive they are that really takes its toll.

QUESTION: are we happier to watch more competitive league games on a weekly basis to the detriment of being successful at the top table?

MY VIEW: I want my cake and to eat it, so I’d merely say reduce the fixtures as much as possible to give us a better chance, as I think there are only two alternatives: firstly, more elitism amongst Premier League teams, or, just accept it’s tougher for an English side to be successful in the CL.

Written by MickyDidIt89

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144 Responses to Arsenal. Europe. Why bother, and if so, how?

  1. mickydidit89 says:

    Wow
    If at least one person doesn’t comment on the enormous amount of research and charts and shit I did for you, then I’m definitely going to storm something 🙂

  2. chas says:

    Micky, fine bit of research and shit.

    I reckon all 5 of your possible conclusions play a part.

    Bayern have the advantage that they simply buy up any player they want who has performed well the season before in the Bundesliga.

    Real and Barca have massive wage bills, play in a pub league and their players aren’t subjected to GBH every weekend. 🙂

    Yep, occasionally someone like Chelsea spawn the CL but it’s becoming more rare.

  3. fatgingergooner says:

    I think physicality is one of many reasons behind the struggles. Firstly, players in the PL are playing a faster, tougher and more demanding game week in week out and very rarely have the opportunity to be rested due to playing a ‘poor’ team. The PL is becoming more and more competitive and anyone can beat anyone. Having said that, I do believe this season is the first time in a while we are starting to see a more dominant top 6 and I think that gap could open up again going forward and we will improve in Europe because of it.

    The other side of this is the way the game has developed to the detriment of English football/teams. Whenever you hear ex-pros talking about how they won in Europe they always talk about how the opposing teams tried to kick them but they were too strong blah blah blah. This is no longer the case and the way the game has gone is to reward the more technical side of the game rather than the physical side of it. As a country we started way behind the others in terms of technical ability and we are still trying to catch up to some extent. The way the game is refereed now is totally in favour of technical football and the old English traits of power and tough tackling have no benefit in Europe and even in the PL these days. The influx of foreign players has started to move us more towards being better in Europe but we still struggle at times with teams like Barca/Madrid/Bayern etc far superior.

  4. Rasp says:

    Excellent question Micky … and impressive research/charts/shit ….

    I think it’s all down to the quality of the players. Are we really attracting the cream?

    It looks like the only way we can attract the very top players is by paying obscene amounts. Most of the top players that have come to the EPL have had a substantial increase in wages.

    The climate, food and tax levels are a negative in the buying process, so it’s a question of money and winning trophies … and we don’t currently score that highly in those areas 😦

  5. RC78 says:

    I think we need to reassess when the league starts, when it ends and the inclusion of a x-mas break. The EPL teams are really screwing themselves up with all the fixtures at X-Mas.

    Also – I think that the UEFA MUST include a very basic rule for all clubs:

    1. Premier league/division teams MUST FIELD in their starting XI, at least
    -> 3 players that come from their academy/reserves;
    -> 3 players that are home-grown.

    The 5 other players can be subject to the current rule.

    Why do I bring this up? This would force teams to use more of their academy/reserve players and rely less on their usual big-money foreign stars. I think we would have fresher teams, help squads develop an identity that can work at EPL and European level from the start.

  6. RC78 says:

    Arsenal’s quality at the moment compared to EPL rivals and CL rivals is lesser. There are only 5 players that could maybe walk into a top team’s starting XI:

    Cech – Bellerin, Koscielny – Ozil – Sanchez

    The other players would be considered for a starting berth at all.

    I look at PSG and these are the only players that my home team would take:

    Team A: Cech – Bellerin, T.Silva, Koscielny, Kurzawa – Rabiot, Verratti – Draxler, Ozil, Sanchez – Cavani

    Team B: Trapp – Meunier, Marquinhos, Mustafi, Maxwell – Ramsey, Motta, Oxlade – Di Maria, Walcott, Wellbeck

  7. Eddie says:

    wow micky! that is an amazing post and shit. thank you very much
    I think I have a man flu, not feeling well at all. I will read it again and respond shortly

    But I think you have made a very good point – our schedule is severely congested and a few less games would go a long way. Having said that I want to see Shitty performing tonight. you might be barking up the wrong tree and conclusion 3 is good for Fox news viewers only.

    Can we opt out of FA and Micky Mouse cups at the beginning of the season? Not lose deliberately but say – hey, we are not interested, We have a cabinet full of FA and Micky cups and we are running out of space to store those. Whereas our European cabinet is empty and the trophy long overdue

  8. fatgingergooner says:

    Looking at the decline in more recent years then there are a number of factors:-

    City went out in a group that included Dortmund/Madrid, group that included Bayern, Barcelona when they won it and Real Madrid when they won it. Not exactly an embarrassment and difficult for a team that is relatively new to Champions League football. They’ve improved each season and are getting closer. With a decent draw this year they can go far.

    Chelsea went out in a group that included Juventus, Atletico who ended up in the final, and PSG twice. Again, some tough teams in there and all during times when they were chopping and changing manager and the squad was changing quite a bit.

    United have gone out to Madrid, Bayern, and last year in a very poor group, but they too have had massive management changes and their squad has had to be totally rebuilt. So no surprises they have struggled.

    As for us, we’ve lost to Bayern twice, Monaco and Barca. Again, pretty tough fixtures apart from Monaco where we let ourselves down. We don’t have the excuse of management changes but I would say we’ve had only a couple of years of available spending that could get us anywhere near the other teams in Europe. We don’t seem to be progressing much but difficult draws have also been a problem.

    During the last 4 seasons, the likes of Barca, Bayern, Real, Atletico and Dortmund have all had periods of really solid management and quality squads that have developed over a period of a few years. You could argue that in the last 4 years none of the English sides have had that other than us, but we’ve decided not to spend in a way that could see us challenge (another argument for another day). We are starting to see Barca and Bayern having to alter ageing squads this season and they don’t seem to be the same forces because of that, so it will be interesting to see how they do this year. Dortmund have undergone a lot of changes recently and have dropped off, whilst Atletico and Real are still going solid and look decent. PSG are the newcomers who have developed their squad over a few years and now have a manger who knows how to win European trophies.

    There are many factors at play here but I would simply say that success comes in waves and I wouldn’t be surprised if the English sides are back in the mix from next season. The top 4 in the prem will have mangers who are settled in their jobs and able to put their own stamp on their squads and the English representatives will be very strong again.

  9. fatgingergooner says:

    Rasp makes a very valid point too. How many of the worlds best players currently play for Barcelona/Real Madrid/Bayern/PSG/Atletico?

    How many play for English clubs?

  10. mickydidit89 says:

    Thanks all. Storming cancelled

    I’m busy, but to pick up on two comments

    FGG, regarding a top six here becoming dominant, that is still very different to other leagues in France, Spain, Germany and Italy where it’s unusual for there to be more than two

    RC, I get your point about academy/reserves and homegrown, but wouldn’t that disadvantage English teams even more 🙂
    I’m not up on that sort of thing and am aware that homegrown is a fairly elastic term that can include young wizards from abroad but still

  11. fatgingergooner says:

    Oh dear. Seems the pie eating from the Sutton GK was a bit dodgy. A betting company had odds of 8-1 that he would eat a pie during the match and he knew about it as he mentioned it in interviews after the game. He didn’t bet on it himself but knew a few lads who did! The club also didn’t like the way he made himself a celebrity by being a 23 stone GK. He’s now been asked to leave the club according to Sky News.

  12. Big Raddy says:

    This is some heavy shit, man. Stats and everything! Nice work, young Didit.

    I think that we dine on the second level table and it is very difficult to get acceptance at the Top Table.

    MC haven’t been able to do it despite spending billions, Chavs fluked a CL win (actually make that bought referees), MU lost their place at the table and are not even contenders.

    Which leaves 3 Spanish clubs, one French and a German. One of which will win Big Ears

    We may have the best league but we do not have the best clubs.

  13. Ant says:

  14. mickydidit89 says:

    That’s dining on level 2 table, Ant 🙂

    We want ‘Ol Big Ears

    So, the Sutton goalkeeper was just a fat bastard after all. So disappointing 🙂

  15. mickydidit89 says:

    And Juve, Erik.

  16. mickydidit89 says:

    Serious question

    Does anyone here watch continental football (I suspect RC is the man). My question, on the back of Erik’s comment, is do we have best league?

    I know it’s competitive and that is exciting, but are all other leagues 1-0 affairs like the Italians used to be?

  17. GunnerN5 says:

    I’ve been thinking over my comment @10:43pm yesterday and I’ve decided that I have no reason to quit blogging with a group of people that I both admire and respect. So I’ve decided to continue to blog and to speak my mind in a respectful manner – if Rasp wants to shut me up then he will have to ban me.

    I would also like to thank those who, privately, reached out in my support.

  18. mickydidit89 says:

    Just googled last league fixture weekend. Both 7 games
    Italian League 23 goals
    PL 15 goals

    Bologna 0 – 1 Inter FT
    Chievo 1 – 3 Napoli FT
    Pescara 5 – 0 Genoa FT
    Sampdoria 1 – 1 Cagliari FT
    Udinese 1 – 2 Sassuolo FT
    Roma 4 – 1 Torino FT
    AC Milan 2 – 1 Fiorentina

    Arsenal 2 – 0 Hull City FT
    Manchester United 2 – 0 Watford FT
    Middlesbrough 0 – 0 Everton FT
    Stoke City 1 – 0 Crystal Palace FT
    Sunderland 0 – 4 Southampton FT
    West Ham United 2 – 2 West Bromwich Albion FT
    Liverpool 2 – 0 Tottenham Hotspur

    Just googled last league fixture weekend. Both 7 games
    Italian League 23 goals
    PL 15 goals

  19. mickydidit89 says:

    What channel is Italian football on? 🙂

  20. GunnerN5 says:

    Micky it’s always been the case that money talks in football, the Spanish sides continually overspend and get bailed out by either the city or government.

    British teams have not done that badly over the years with 6 different teams winning 13 of the 60 cups that have been presented.

    1 – Real Madrid – 10
    2 – AC Milan – 7
    3 – Bayern Munich – 5
    4 – Barcelona – 5
    5 – Liverpool – 5
    6 – Ajax – 4
    7 – Internazionale – 3
    8 – Manchester United – 3
    9 – Juventus – 2
    10 – Benfica – 2
    11 – Nottingham Forest – 2
    12 – Porto – 2
    13 – Celtic – 1
    14 – Chelsea – 1
    15 – Hamburg – 1
    16 – Marseille – 1
    17 – Steaua Bucharest – 1
    18 – Aston Villa – 1
    19 – Borussia Dortmund – 1
    20 – Feyenoord – 1
    21 – PSV Eindhoven – 1
    22 – Red Star Belgrade – 1

  21. fatgingergooner says:

    Micky,

    It depends what is classed as ‘best’. Do we have the most competitive? Yes, by far. We are in a league where the bottom sides can beat the top sides and there are very few easy games. Most of the other European leagues have a couple of top sides and then a real drop in quality to the rest. Our teams also fight until the end. Even at 3-0 the game is never over. I’m not sure you can say the same about other leagues. You could argue other leagues are having a better title race than we are but overall ours is the most competitive.

    What makes a league competitive though is having as small a gap as possible between the best side in the league and the worst side in the league in terms of quality, and that’s what the makes the PL so good, but that doesn’t mean our best team is on par with the best teams in Spain, Germany, Italy and France, and that is the area in which we struggle. We may have fierce domestic competition, but the very very best players still hang around at teams like Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and PSG where winning domestic competitions is easier and the weather is warmer.

  22. fatgingergooner says:

    One thing that has changed very recently, which I think is going to coincide with great players coming to England and English teams doing well in Europe once again, is that we now have the best managers.

    Klopp, Mourinho, Guardiola, Wenger, Pochettino, Conte.

    That’s a pretty amazing list of managers and I think players will be looking to come to England to be part of their teams.

  23. GunnerN5 says:

    To go one step further British teams have also lost in 8 of the finals that have been played. So therefore we have had teams competing in 20 or one third of the finals.

  24. GunnerN5 says:

    FGG you missed out the Tinker man – he’s not all that bad.

  25. GunnerN5 says:

    Another interesting fact is that 18 teams have appeared in 21 finals without winning once.

  26. mickydidit89 says:

    Ok lads, here’s another slant and it can’t be just the weather either, but there’s enough loot sloshing about in wages at our top clubs, so why don’t the best players come?

    I think it is BECAUSE we don’t have one or two dominant teams

  27. GunnerN5 says:

    Micky one of the reasons that we don’t attract many of the worlds best players could be the British taxation system and it’s possible that they get higher salaries as a way to compensate them.

    I wouldn’t be so quick as to say it’s not weather related as who the hell in their right mind would choose to play up north vs many of the great locations in Europe?

  28. mickydidit89 says:

    “who the hell in their right mind would choose to play up north”

    Mmmm…..fair point 🙂

  29. fatgingergooner says:

    Micky,

    It could simply be nationality. A lot of the best players are Spanish or Portuguese speaking and therefore it could be easier to stay in Spain. A lot of the Germans tend to stay in Germany too. Could be as simple as that.

    Also, whilst there is lots of money over here, there is enough money in their leagues to mean they dont have to move. Is it that much of an attractive prospect when you consider weather, tax, language, uprooting family, having to work harder in games, playing over Xmas etc etc?

  30. mickydidit89 says:

    Do I now have to google top tax rate in each country?

  31. GunnerN5 says:

    Well you started it so now you have to finish it!!

  32. GunnerN5 says:

    FGG there can be little doubt that playing football in the PL is far less attractive/lucrative than playing in the sunnier parts of Europe.

  33. fatgingergooner says:

    GN5,

    Agreed. Although I do think the quality of manager could finally be the thing that attracts some of the big players.

  34. mickydidit89 says:

    Ok tax rate. As I suspected, not much difference

    UK 45%
    France 49
    Germany 47
    Italy 45
    Spain 42
    Greece 65!!!

    Tell you what for bloody nothing, Spain and Italy will be right up there with Greece soon!

  35. GunnerN5 says:

    No disagreement there FGG.

  36. GunnerN5 says:

    Wow that surprises me Micky but it certainly tips the scales in favour a week. When they earn 250,000 quid a week that equals an additional 390, 000 a year in tax – why give that away to play in dear old Manchester?

  37. GunnerN5 says:

    —-tips the scales in favour of Spain.

  38. Eddie says:

    ant – before my time mate. I’ve only been here 38 years.

    playing in Italy or Spain more attractive than playing in UK? I am genuinely surprised. I was sure that most footballers would chose England before Italy, Germany, France. Spain…maybe not. They have it all there, including lowest top tax rates and off shore accountants with magic wands

  39. fatgingergooner says:

    I’m not sure money comes into it too much. We are not talking about any players here, we are talking about the very best players, so they get bucketloads of money wherever they go. I’d still like to believe that the very very best will go where they can win trophies and have the best managers. Recently that has been Barcelona, Madrid and Bayern, but you could argue that Barcelona and Bayern are in rebuilding stages at the moment due to key players getting old (Xavi, Puyol, Iniesta, Dani Alves, Alonso, Robben, Ribery, Lahm etc). It will be interesting to see if some of their other players decide it’s worth a change of scenery to continue winning the biggest trophies.

  40. GunnerN5 says:

    I’m tending to agree with your points FGG, many of the top players also crave the attention that goes along with the teams that are consistent winners and those clubs tend to have two things in common – namely open bank accounts and great managers.

    But I also feel that it’s the existence money that makes great mangers and without being bankrolled many of the mangers would not have been as successful.

  41. mickydidit89 says:

    “Bayern are in rebuilding stage ”

    Really? Shit a brick, that’s a scary thought

    Back to the tax bit, yes you could the 3% difference between UK and Spain is a lot, but it’s a lot to you and me, whereas it’s 10 days’ earnings to them.

    I agree with FGG, if we were a CL winner, yer Messi’s would want to come to The Ems

  42. Eddie says:

    another thing about foreign leagues is the fact that Bundesliga only have 18 places, and La Liga and Serie A have 20 each but only about a handful of any good ones.

    In England there are at least 10 very good teams and they are all fighting for same footballers and therefore neither club has all the world class players like Barca and Real for example

    Solution is obvious – join neighbouring clubs to produce European super powers. Liverpool and Everton become one, Mancs only one team to finance and Arsenal…hm Chelsea or Spurs. Difficult choice that one

  43. Eddie says:

    should have told him 3 times, maybe the little fecker would finally understand

  44. GunnerN5 says:

    Eddie,

    Your 7:17 is a definite non starter – it would cause the biggest riots in UK history.

  45. fatgingergooner says:

    Monaco could cause City real problems tonight. Looking forward to a high scoring game

  46. fatgingergooner says:

    That doesn’t sound like Wenger! 😂

    Micky,

    Maybe Bayern are not quite rebuilding just yet and are still getting use out of ageing players, but it’s coming very soon. They’ve not been great this year apart from demolishing us!

    Eddie,

    I agree with your point about the top teams in those other comps having the pick of the best players in the rest of the league. Mourinho was saying the other month about how United can’t poach from other PL clubs anymore like they used to do.

  47. Eddie says:

    Fattie – I’m worried shout you. Not only you read the gossip page, but you listen to Mourinho!! What’s up? Are you OK?

  48. Rasp says:

    City 1, Monaco 2 🙂

  49. fatgingergooner says:

    Mbappe just scored. Looks a hell of a player. They have 2 quality attacking full backs at Monaco aswell. A good team.

  50. fatgingergooner says:

    Eddie, think I’ve got PMSD. Post Munich Stress Disorder!

    Anyone watching the City game? Great watch so far.

  51. GunnerN5 says:

    FGG, Monaco are looking really strong. Falcoa is a classic example of players excelling in one league but not the PL, he has one goal today and has scored 14 in 15 games for Monaco, whereas at Man U he was considered to be a flop..

  52. GunnerN5 says:

    And then he misses a terribly taken penalty.

  53. fatgingergooner says:

    What.A.Finish.

  54. GunnerN5 says:

    and then scores his 2nd with a fantastic chip to retake the lead 2 -3

  55. Class Micky

    Apologies for not been around lately. Since recently turning heterosexual I have become deluged with mindless tasks involving shopping and DIY.

    Continentals are better than us because there sneaky. When I look in a mirror my automatic thoughts are “I like feta cheese and my god, I’m a sneaky bastard”

    What they have done is decide to match us for commitment and then outplay us with superior technical skills. Cads the lot of them.

    I will give you an example. In the mid fifties my old man came over here from Greece so his older brother tried to get him out out of national service by sneakily informing the Home Office my dad was a year older than he was and military uniforms turn him homosexual.

    The net result was that he still got drafted Into the army with his age and Greek accent mistaken as a trait of late development were as the Pension Service started paying his pension a year late.

    At his funeral I gave a very moving speech on how he was taken to early, 365 days to early in fact.

    Mourners were driven to tears as I recounted how he would give his monthly pension money to me with the loving words “Here’s your money son. Are you sure the government now pay Parents there middle aged kids pocket money?”, and how been taken a year early had financially ruined my dreams of becoming a man without need to work.

    Sneaky

  56. If Pep was Arsene he would be called tactically naive, unable to organise a defence, and past it. He would also speak French and have the gaunt look of an aristocrat.

    Just saying

  57. GunnerN5 says:

    Terry 🙂 🙂 🙂

  58. mickydidit89 says:

    Just logged onto the game
    5-3
    proper football

  59. GunnerN5 says:

    Micky proper attacking football – tragic defending.

  60. mickydidit89 says:

    Excellent, excellent 🙂

  61. mickydidit89 says:

    ’till first light

  62. fatgingergooner says:

    Wow! Happy to go without Arsenal for a couple of weeks if all the games are like that. What a match. Monaco just faded massively. I can see them winning at home though and scoring a few so not over yet. Good result for Atletico aswell. 4-2 away at Leverkusen. I remember when CL games used to be tight affairs. So far the 6 games have produced 29 goals! Nearly 5 a game….

  63. chas says:

  64. chas says:

  65. chas says:

  66. mickydidit89 says:

    Good stuff Chas

    Which film 6:45

  67. mickydidit89 says:

    Brilliant, hadn’t even heard of it let alone seen it. MWF 🙂

  68. chas says:

    Oh, btw, I watched Designated Survivor over 3 days on Netflix and really enjoyed it.

    I’m currently on season 3 of The Good Wife – I think it was Aaron who recommended it, so thanks.

  69. mickydidit89 says:

    That was excellent until the damn thing ended. We were all slack jawed as we didn’t know there were more episodes to come

    Really hard to find something all four of us are happy to watch

  70. Eddie says:

    micky – enjoy whatever they want to watch, it won’t last for much longer! BTW how did you get on with your daughter’s boy friend’s Gooner father?

  71. Eddie says:

    how many games City play per season? considerably less than us?

  72. chas says:

    56 games and finished two places below us in the League.

  73. Eddie says:

    i didn’t ask you, I asked micky 🙂 🙂

    unless you finish 1st, 5-6, or 18-20 does it really matter? you didn’t win the league, you are in CL next season, you play on Thursdays, you are relegated – so what does it matter if we finished 2nd and City 4th? Oh yeah, the CL playoffs, so they played more games than us. Plus you know, because you know everything that City, Chavs and Manks had a terrible season last year.

  74. Eddie says:

    very immature response.

    I am off to bed, have a man flu, can barely walk.
    Laters

  75. mickydidit89 says:

    Immature 🙂

    Eddie

    Ex boyfriend. She binned him, and I’m not watching what they want to watch.
    I am, however, thinking of becoming an explorer, but I think it’ll take at least a year to prepare.

  76. Eddie says:

    exploring what exactly?

  77. mickydidit89 says:

    I think my zone would be the north, from Norway to Scotland, Iceland, Greenland to Canada

    I need a boat and I need to learn how to drive it using sails

  78. GunnerN5 says:

    Micky just exploring Canada and the North West Territories alone could take a lifetime.

  79. GunnerN5 says:

    SMART ASS

    One day a farmer’s donkey fell down into a
    well. The animal cried piteously for hours as
    the farmer tried to figure out what to do.

    Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the
    well needed to be covered up anyway;
    it just wasn’t worth it to retrieve the donkey.

    He invited all his neighbors to come over
    and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began
    to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the
    donkey realized what was happening and cried
    horribly. Then, to everyone’s amazement he
    quieted down.

    A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally
    looked down the well. He was astonished at what
    he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his
    back, the donkey was doing something amazing.
    he would shake it off and take a step up.

    As the farmer’s neighbors continued to shovel
    dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it
    off and take a step up.

    Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey
    stepped up over the edge of the well and
    happily trotted off!

    Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds
    of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well
    is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of
    our troubles is a steppingstone. We can get out
    of the deepest wells just by not stopping,
    never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up.

    Remember the five simple rules to be happy:
    Free your heart from hatred – Forgive.
    Free your mind from worries – Most never happen.
    Live simply and appreciate what you have.

    Give more.

    Expect less.

    NOW…

    Enough of that crap. . .The donkey later came back
    and bit the farmer who had tried to bury him.
    The gash from the bite got infected and
    the farmer eventually died in agony from septic shock..

    MORAL FROM TODAY’S LESSON:

    When you do something wrong,
    and try to cover your ass,
    it always comes back to bite you.

  80. Eddie says:

    micky – send us a postcard 🙂 will you try to explore during international breaks? you love the transfer windows too much to miss it

  81. mickydidit89 says:

    Eddie
    Given that I’m terrified of the sea, and given my chosen area is the wild north Atlantic, summers seem the sensible option 🙂

    How’s the flu?

  82. chas says:

    Here’s the real one. 🙂

  83. mickydidit89 says:

    Definitely prefer the first one 🙂

  84. mickydidit89 says:

    GN5

    Canada is very appealing, but I’m too old to explore great distances either on foot or in a canoe, hence the boat

  85. mickydidit89 says:

    Are there any sailors here?

  86. Rasp says:

    He’s a spud?

  87. Rasp says:

    Oops, I genuinely didn’t see that 🙄

  88. chas says:

    haha, neither did I when I first looked

  89. RC78 says:

    late response about the best league in Europe. I think that the EPL is definitely the most intense in Europe and the one that has the most density of good players. It also has the closest gaps between the top 8 teams. You also have the best managers overall. Do you have the best league? It depends on what you assess as the best league. The most entertaining for sure. The most commercial for sure. The one with the largest fan base as well. However; if you want to look at home-grown players or success in Champions League as your benchmark then I would say that Spain is better. I also think that Germany produces in average better quality squads with local players. I love watching the EPL and the Bundesliga because they are entertaining and the EPL is just full of stars but ultimately, I think that if Barcelina, Real and Bayern win the CL regularly the case could be made that their league is at least as good as the EPL in certain aspects.

  90. Eddie says:

    why is Southampton game postponed?

  91. mickydidit89 says:

    Mornin’
    The Hitch pic wins this mornings show

    Eddie
    They play Utd in the League Cup Final on sunday

  92. mickydidit89 says:

    I’d like a vote today, but cannot think of anything worth voting about

  93. Eddie says:

    was Hitchcock a psychopath? had to be to come up with some of the stuff he did

    thanks micky, good luck to them.

  94. Eddie says:

    Rooney. Net worth about £100m!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And he wants to go to China???? What the feck for? That really is sheer greed

  95. Eddie says:

    we could vote on Wenger’s successor with current odds being:
    Eddie Howe 11
    Diego Simone 12
    Leonardo Jardim 14
    Patrick Vieira 12
    Joachim Low 20
    Luis Enrique 20
    Manuel Pelligrini 20
    Brendan Rodgers 8 ????????????????? ey??
    Dragan Stojkovic 25
    Juan Carlos Unzue 25
    Marco Silva 25

  96. chas says:

  97. Eddie says:

    I cannot believe it – Metro are running ‘my’ poll today. I swear I didn’t see

    http://metro.co.uk/2017/02/23/poll-whod-you-pick-as-arsenal-manager-if-they-could-bring-their-star-players-with-them-6465553/

    no, actually it is better than ‘mine’ 🙂 it offers formations, mostly 4-2-3-1

  98. mickydidit89 says:

    Eddie

    If your poll included Arsene as well as the Dortmund and Juve managers, then I reckon it’s a goer

    I would make it two votes with same list

    1. Who do you think will be manager next season
    2. Who would you like to be manager next season

    Some may say it’s rude to discuss as it’s dis’ing Arsene, I say we’re fans and it’s just something we discuss down the boozer

  99. mickydidit89 says:

    Finally Eddie, you’d better include a don’t know option 🙂

  100. chas says:

  101. mickydidit89 says:

    Why do we have those two horrible specimens on here, not forgetting we had to endure Chivers yesterday

    As for the away strip…yeah right 🙂

  102. mickydidit89 says:

    Chas
    I did consider a don’t care option for you

  103. Eddie says:

    ha ha ha micky – I was just going to say to include an option for chas 🙂 ‘Don’t care, whoever he is I will support him’

  104. chas says:

  105. GunnerN5 says:

    Samir Nasri defends Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger
    By Matthew Treadwell

    Last Updated: 23/02/17 9:56am

    Sevilla midfielder Samir Nasri has spoken out in defence of his former manager, Arsene Wenger

    Former Arsenal player Samir Nasri has come to the defence of under-fire boss Arsene Wenger, saying it is “impossible to criticise him”.

    The France international is on a season-long loan at Sevilla from Manchester City and played in their 2-1 win over Leicester in the Champions League on Wednesday.

    But Nasri spent three years working under Wenger at the Emirates, scoring 27 goals in 125 appearances between 2008 and 2011, and he feels criticism of his former manager is unfair.

    “You cannot criticise a guy like that, it is impossible. Arsenal was a big club but he made it even bigger,” Nasri told Sky Sports News HQ.

    “People need to be fair. It is not because Arsenal don’t have success in the league that it’s his fault, that is the players who are on the pitch, it’s the players who do not get the results.

    “It’s hard for me to say something about him because I owe him a lot of things. I came to the Premier League because of him and I have had a good career because of him too.

    “He gave me confidence and he made me a better player and I just think all the players who played with him, when they left they became better players.

    “I don’t think it’s him, there are a lot of things at Arsenal; the players, the board, that need to be checked out and not just Arsene.”

  106. Eddie says:

    I don’t think I have seen wind like that before – my garden furniture is flying around the garden 🙂

  107. chas says:

    Maybe we can snap up Ranieri

  108. Eddie says:

    I’d rather Rogers

    is it windy your way? no reading between the lines please

  109. chas says:

    It was windy until about 6pm, it’s now very calm.

  110. chas says:

    Dele Alli sent off.
    Couldn’t have happened to a nicer or more likeable chap.
    Only trouble is, do we want the spuds to continue being distracted by their Wembley fiasco?

  111. chas says:

    Was it Dicko who said he’d get him sent off within 20 minutes?

  112. chas says:

  113. fatgingergooner says:

    Gent? Really? Gutted. I wanted Spuds to lose in the final. Never mind.

  114. fatgingergooner says:

    That’s an absolute shocker from Alli. Lucky he hasn’t broken his leg or done his knee ligaments when his knee jarred back.

  115. chas says:

    Piers Morgan’s Life Stories
    9pm, ITV

    In which Piers Morgan meets Nigel Farage: the ad breaks have presumably been sold at premium rates to companies that repair televisions, or the windows they have been flung through. The pair should at least enjoy a rapport, perhaps mutually marvelling at the degree to which iron-clad obnoxiousness can be forged into a lucrative career. Possibly endurable if thought of as the final episode of a reality show quest entitled Britain’s Worst Man. Andrew Mueller

  116. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    Spurs very disappointing. The more games the better.

  117. mickydidit89 says:

    I would think Ranieri would be delighted as being fired, rather than walking, he gets the full compensation package

    He still has a League Winners Medal and good riddance to Leicester

  118. mickydidit89 says:

    ha ha such a great sketch 🙂

  119. Eddie says:

    aha, I didn’t know Ranieri was sacked, shameful really

    According to Peaches spurs players are suuuuuch lovely boys, she loves them coming to her house. sadly, my granddaughter likes them too, at 3yo flirts with them shamlessly, I don’t know…

  120. Eddie says:

    ha ha ha Blackadder 🙂 that Richard Curtis is an amazing man, how can one be so clever and so good? Superior human being

  121. Eddie says:

    mancini to Leicester? ha, they are aiming high. I think I would like him at the Ems

  122. Big Raddy says:

    The Tinkerman got shafted.

    No surprise, football and in particular, the PL, has lost any sense of decency.

  123. Eddie says:

    I feel sorry for Ranieri, first Chelsea (Dead man walking) now Leicester. Proud man, good luck to him

  124. chas says:

    Today we are so lucky to have not one, but two posts on Santi Cazorla.

    NEW POST

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