Newcastle: “looking good at Subbuteo is not enough”

September 2nd 1893, The Woolwich Arsenal play their first competitive match against Newcastle Utd.

Then there was Supermac.

However, those are not the greatest ties between ourselves and today’s opposition. Newcastle were my favourite opponents on my Subbuteo baize. Always liked the red and white of Arsenal against the Magpie black and white.

I’ve only seen this Benitez side once, and that was against Brighton during their title winning campaign last season, and they were good to watch. They now sit one point above the bottom three, and my guess is there must be great pressure to bus park in tougher looking away fixtures.

Compound that with the fact that Rapha will have noted how ineffective we’ve been at breaking down massed defences recently, my hopes for the game rest squarely on us scoring early.

This will require all our good players, the dribblers, the scoopers, the eye of the needle threaders and the intelligent runners to be at their best, but more importantly, I think we have to up our tempo dramatically.

Also, and this will lead on to my team selection, I think we need to adjust our approach to risk.  In essence, be less afraid to fail with the killer pass or the one-on-one take ons. This is how space is made in the danger areas.

For this to be less worrying from a defensive point of view, defenders need to be quick to cover the counter.

I read suggestions by RC and FGG for alternative DM’s. While we play three at the back, the speed of the DM is less important and therefore Xhaka is fine, but I have a sneaky feeling Arsene may go with the four. If so, then I like FGG’s idea of Maitland-Niles in that DM role, as opposed to RC’s Monreal. Partly because I think Monreal is a far better attacking LB than The Beast in a back four.

My hope is that a positionally disciplined performance by M-N, combined with his high speed in covering back, would allow Monreal and Bellerin to provide the width in attack, but of course, they’d both need to be aware of who was making a run and at such time hold their defensive positions.

My XI:

……….Sanchez    Lacazette

……………….. Mesut

……..Wilshere  M-N   Ramsey

Monreal  Koscielny  Mustafi   Bellerin


Message to Newcastle and Rapha: “looking good at Subbuteo is not enough. Come and play football”.

Up The Gunners.

Written by MickyDidIt89

98 Responses to Newcastle: “looking good at Subbuteo is not enough”

  1. mickydidit89 says:

    Ha ha ha, love the Keown V-N Subbuteo pieces

    Thanks Chas

  2. mickydidit89 says:

    Forgot to mention that I’m sure I remember M-N playing the DM role in a Cup game last season, and being impressed.

  3. chas says:

    Smashing PM, Micky. Cheers.
    Tactical bolleaux and everything. 🙂 🙂

  4. chas says:

    M-N (Con) played right back in the League Cup game against Forest that Ant and me went to last season.
    He may well have played DM in another game though.

  5. chas says:

    I’m liking dribblers, scoopers and eye of a needle threaders. 🙂

  6. chas says:

  7. mickydidit89 says:


    Defo. remember M-N at DM.

  8. Chas says:

    And they’re off.
    Apologies to all lovers of quality tactical talk and general Venga-outing. The next couple of hours on here may not be for you. 💃💃💃💃

  9. Chas says:

  10. Antt says:

  11. Ant says:

  12. Ant says:

  13. GoonerB says:

    Great post Micky and not a DM in sight 🙂 Bit disappointed you didn’t have Giroud in at CD. Great addition Chas with the Keown VN characters.

    What are you on about Chas? I can enjoy 2 hours of train, beer and crisp pics and still say Venga out 🙂 some men can multitask you know

  14. chas says:

    I had a quick look back for that Forest team. M-N definitely playing right back.
    I’ll have a look at the other League cup games.

  15. Ant says:

    I be you can’t multitask, Gooner B when writing one of your blog essays.. for at at least ten minutes

  16. chas says:

    Ten minutes?…….?….?
    Those ten thousand word dissertations must take at least an hour.

  17. chas says:

  18. GoonerB says:

    I’ll prove you 2 wrong. You just see if I don’t.

    p.s was scratching my a..e while typing this.

  19. chas says:

    I’d imagine your arse-scratching is pretty legendary in Hertfordshire 🍑

  20. Rasp says:

    Morning all ….. thanks for the PM Micky. I could never see the appeal in Subbuteo … hope today’s game has more entertainment value 🙂

    I guess we have to expect more of the same.

    I don’t buy the ‘what can you do against a packed defence?’ argument….. you can try something different.

    You can stop being so intricate and try to be more direct.
    You can draw them on to you and then get the ball forward quickly before they get a chance to regroup.
    You can dribble the ball into the box at pace and look for a foul (not dive!)
    You can drill the ball into the box low and hard so any number of ricochets could work to your advantage.

    The better teams invariably work out a way to win against a packed defence. We need to be less Arsenal, less predictable …. we need to forego possession for more incisive attacking strategies.

  21. Ant says:

    Subbuteo is a fantastic game when played as an adult after lots of alcohol.. I won my University final in front of a packed bar and got a nice cup.

  22. chas says:

    We are currently on an East Midlands train at Bedford station.
    There is a Mexican stand off as the train manager has refused to allow the train to leave the station with the number of passengers on board.
    They keep asking for passengers to leave.

    After a 20 minute stand off we are finally moving. No idea if anyone got off.

    Fuckin third world country!!!

  23. mickydidit89 says:


    Did your more direct approach imply Giroud starting and the word hoof?

    If so, then you’ve given up on life itself and any values that matter 🙂

  24. chas says:

    Proper football

  25. chas says:


    Fantastic tactical nonsense Micky, and thanks for the subbuteo pic chas. I’m my time I was a great player, until my opponents got nasty by becoming physical and putting of my best player by turning up with a one inch beautiful plastic figurine ballerina with no obvious sign of glue repair.

    Good thing about today is to win all we need to do is play our natural game.

    Of course we have to beware unpredictability, I was once served by a schizophrenic barmaid who went from all smiles and “what you having love” to upon mention of the word Martini, threats of cold ice and an unimaginable amount of froth.

    If we get at there crappy defence we should take them to the cleaners, but as I said, nothing is guaranteed. The other week I popped into the Doctors to book an appointment and noticed the receptionist had the scent of “Wanting it”. For those that don’t know, forget that talking bollox, always go for the scent.

    A few days later I was back for my appointment and hopefully to seal my date when I noticed the scent was now of revulsion? This was confirmed by her awkward glances at my nether regions

    It was obvious, though only a receptionist, she had somehow acquired access to my medical records and therefore knew that I had a cyst in an inexplicable area? Angered by this I complained to the Doctor, who also happens to be a personal friend, but he just sneered “in your case others have a right to know what’s on your cock”

    With a healthy dose of patient doctor confidentiality, we should win this.

  27. LB says:

    Cold, cold, cold, it’s on days like this I am glad I opted to pay that bit extra for a heated seat.

    Thanks for the read Micky.

  28. Ant says:

  29. Ant says:

    Heated seat on a bike.. next thing you’ll say you have a bar as well

  30. Chas says:

    A bar on the handlebars – what a good idea.

  31. Rasp says:

    Micky 🙂 I’m not advocating the ‘Giroud hoof’ …… but if we decide to play Giroud, we need to instruct the other forward players to play off of him. So often he flicks the ball on to no one.

    We can still get the ball forward quickly whilst playing it on the ground. The place to take risks is the attacking third. It’s been my contention for a couple of years now that the midfield has been our problem. If we could just find a no nonsense defensive midfielder and a passing maestro we’d be made 🙂

    Too many of our forward and midfield players receive the ball with their back to goal. This is because we’ve slowed play down and they’re waiting patiently in the hope that we might not keep passing the ball back to the CBs.

  32. Rasp says:

    I’ve just seen the team. Full of attacking flair … let’s hope the CBs don’t see so much of the ball today (except when defending), because if they do, that attacking flair will be wasted.

  33. LB says:

    I was talking about a heated seat in the ground. Don’t you have one?

  34. mickydidit89 says:

    Come on you gunners

  35. mickydidit89 says:

    Magnificent mesut
    Superb football so far

  36. There are advantages to peaches being poorly on the couch

  37. Is it video? Sorry I thought it was 😦

  38. mickydidit89 says:

    And all that
    Joy to watch

  39. Three points, excellent return for a great goal from Mesut 😁

  40. fatgingergooner says:

    Stunning goal. Were we dull or did we manage some decent football?

  41. I was listening to the commentary on – they didn’t sound particularly excited by the football.

  42. Ant says:

  43. Ant says:

  44. Chas says:

  45. chas says:

  46. fatgingergooner says:

    Getting a lot of joy out of watching City and De Bruyne at the moment. Football how it should be played. Not quite as good as Özils volley though 😍😍😍😍😍

  47. chas says:

    Dec 16th

  48. chas says:

    Dec 17th

  49. Morning all

    Contrary to popular opinion and those who opinions do not matter, I thought we played quite well.

    i quite like Newcastle, proper football club, and i also have a soft spot for Benitez. The mans hair is fascinating? Receding to the point of oblivion but somehow retaining the crown area? After this I will post a picture of his barnet on The Bald Truth forum, sending fellow patrons into a frenzy. He also looks a bit glutenous, so Francis Drake would have enjoyed giving him a kicking.

    Newcastle, despite been haunted by the outscoring ghost of Kevin Keegan, defended well. They tried to copy Saints and West Hams defensive wall of 10 at the back, nut now and again succumbed to the memory of Jackie Milburn, so left some gaps.

    Pete Czech: Very commanding performance. The man exudes an authority reminiscent of a tuxedo at a dinner party. If he were not such a nice guy he could assassinate an unsavoury politician with ease and return to the dining table saying he just popped out for a cigar.

    Hector: A bit disappointing? Lots of effort and graft but affords his opponent to much space and seems to lack aggression. Something is bothering him? Been young I suspect hes just discovered that the love of a girlfriend, unlike that of a mother, is conditional. This is a serious psychological issue for many young men which needs to be looked at. Especially for those incapable of washing there pants.

    Niles: What a revelation. The guy shows no nerves. Its as though he has been playing for years. His pants are probably imaculate

    Kos: I thought he played well, hes a top defender.. Its not his fault Arsene asks him to play like Beckenbauer. if i was him i would knock on Arsenes door and proclaim “I’m shit on the ball and proud of it”

    Nacho: Mr Consistent and for me, our current player of the season. He also has the look of someone who cant be trusted, which i like.

    Jack: Showed some nice touches but more importantly, looked fit. If Jack keeps going like this he is a certainty for the England team, its also certain that he will celebrate by abusing Totnumb fans in Black & White, which is a bonus.

    Granite: Gets quite a lot of stick. He seems to take to long to move the ball. Not sure if its because he is a student of relativity that he seems to make a black hole of things, or just that hes a bit crap, but at the moment, for me anyway, its not working.

    Iwobi: Played very well. Always looking to drive forward and make things happen, though probably through inexperience, when he does, not a lot happens.

    Alexis; Not happening for him at the moment but certainly not through lack of effort. He has a very dynamic style, reminds me a bit of Kevin Keegan so maybe he was feeling sorry for the Geordies or maybe is feeling gutted that hes soon to leave the greatest team in the world for a crap side like City.

    Lacasette: Blew a bit hot and cold. Likes to get his shots of early but yesterday never really had his shooting boots on. Think he will be a big player for us in the future, but apart from Granite, none of us can be sure what the future holds.

    Ozil: What can I say. This season the mans gone up a level and is pure class. Hes so good i almost forgive the Ottoman occupation of Greece were a bunch of the Sultans soldiers viciously and cruelly slew my great grandmothers chickens and enjoyed a marvellous Roast dinner.

  50. ha ha chas, that 8.35 is the best one yet.

  51. mickydidit89 says:

    One of the finest MR’s there Transplant


    Won’t comment as I suspect it will get a page of it’s own.

    Morning Both

  52. Rasp says:

    Morning all …. it’s a lovely morning to be waking up and knowing we’re above totnum in the league 🙂

    Are we going to steal TMHT’s comment for some match feelings?

  53. Rasp says:

    Apparently Ramsey is nursing a slight injury. I do hope that when he’s fit, he comes back in for Xhaka and not Jack.

  54. chas says:

    Rafa and Vincente Del Bosque.
    Rafa with the look of a man who knows his impending baldness will be glorious.

  55. chas says:

    Whack it up, Rasp.

  56. chas says:

    Everyone hates Xhaka at the moment.
    The miserable old fucker in front of us is constantly berating him during games.
    A current day Jon Sammels?

  57. Rasp says:

    I don’t hate Xhaka at all … I just don’t think he’s the kind of midfielder we need at the moment and there are others who will bring more to our game.

    I’m at work, but may be able to do some ‘whacking’ later….

  58. LB says:

    I agree more or less with Rasp: Xhaka is an excellent player but he is just not the player we need; he is not a defender so he does a poor job of shielding the back 4 and he has just a tad more chance of scoring than Coquelin so he adds very little to the attack. As for berating him, not sure if I see a need for that.
    Just before Xhaka arrived we were all crying out for a really good DM and many of us assumed that Granit was the answer — he isn’t.

  59. LB says:

    The Wilshere contract thing amuses me, there are many who never miss an oportunity to knock the club for allowing his contract to run down as far as it has and thereby giving him the chance to walk away for free. Has it crossed anyones mind that, that might be exactly what the club want to happen?
    He falls into a very similar category as Xhaka, he is not a particularly good defender and he is not that good as an attacker, his goal scoring record is poor.

    I suppose the reason why Xhaka gets a bit more stick is that Jacky boy is English, salt of the earth, gaw blimey, up the apples and pears where as Xhaka is obviously not.

    Wilshere has been shining on Thursday nights and many including me were eager to see him play with better players around him, well he has had his chance but unfortunately he has not set the world on fire.

    We have seen once again that he is Bournemouth average.

  60. LB says:

    Maitland-Niles. I don’t care how many times it happens I love getting excited about new talent; probably, nine out of ten players don’t live up to expectations but I still don’t care, until the bubble bursts I am 100% on board.

    I love trying to imagine what kind of player they will become, in MN’s case I see Pirlo, yes, that slightly languid style that Pirlo had when effortlessly moving the ball around the pitch. Although, unlike Pirlo, of course, when MN gets up to speed he moves over that ground quicker than most players on the park.

    Needless to say I am very excited about our young Tory.

    PS I thought Wilshere was the next Maradona but hey ho.

  61. LB says:

    I do like the look of those pies up there.

  62. LB says:

    A friend of mine wrote this after yesterday’s game which made me smile.

    Cech = Clarks

    Bellerin – Nike Air Zoom

    Koscielny – Dr Marten

    Maitland Niles – Converse

    Xhaxa – platform boots

    Monreal – Dunlop green flash

    Wilshere – Ballet pumps

    Ozil – Wizard of Oz ruby slippers

    Awobi – Run Forrest run [ available at Tesco’s]

    Sanchez – Rita Hayworth heels

    Lacazete – Ian Wrights old boots that are worn out a bit.

    Giroud – Stilettos, six inch.

  63. GoonerB says:

    Was at the game. Thought I might run into the vines but they obviously saw me coming and put on the same disguises that thwarted our Fred 🙂

    Happy with 3 points but thought the performance was again a bit turgid. We seem to lack some inventiveness and fluidity. The balance and angles of attack and how we use the width of the pitch to stretch teams seems a bit poor. Sorry to say it but I think we will see more West Hams and Saints type performances and results before the season is out.

    Ozil was good and I thought Maitland Niles and Jack were good. Agree with Rasp and LB on the Xhaka thing but not the Jack thing. Given an injury free run I feel he is a top drawer player and it is not down to him that we are struggling, just not like it is down to the 4 time (I think) German player of the year. Ozil has played in most of the games in our struggles over the last 2 years so we need to look at a bigger picture rather than just certain individuals.

    Watching the game I felt that Xhaka should have been covering and freeing up Wilshere to get us going on the front foot but by the end I felt Jack had done more in defence than Xhaka as well as trying to drive us forwards.

    Bellerin looks a mid table player at present and always seems to receive the ball statically in the wide advanced areas and often gets boxed in with no-where to go. It leaves us exposed when possession is surrendered there. The positioning of players and how they move to change the angle of attack all looks wrong and a bit static, lacking incisiveness. It is a training and coaching issue for me that needs to be addressed because I think it will lead, if not already, to a drop in individual and then collective confidence.

    We can be much better than this.

  64. Aaron says:

    LB- we have a back 4??

  65. LB says:

    We did yesterday Aaron

    Bellerin, Koscielny, Monreal, Maitland Niles

  66. LB says:

    Mustafi still out suffering from an acute case of embarrassment.

  67. Aaron says:

    But, we have not played with the same back 4 or 3 for 10 games straight, will never go on extended run away from home without it!

  68. LB says:

    Ahh, I see what you mean.

    I think you are probably right, a stable back four or even back three goes a long way. Someone sitting infront of them helps as well.

  69. Aaron says:

    We have him-his name is Miles!

  70. Zee says:

    Morning, Folks, on this bright sunny morn. Hope all is well.

    LB, I cannot disagree with your comment, – “a stable back four or even back three goes a long way. Someone sitting infront of them helps as well – of course that is on the assumption you meant sitting in front of them on a heated seat?

    How the other half lives — heated seats and all. 😀

  71. LB says:

    Heated seats made me laugh when I wrote it.

    As if…………….

  72. mickydidit89 says:


    Anyone bored in a sporty way?

    Tune in at 6pm GMT now for final day world surf tour in Hawaii

    Reigning champ from Hawaii John John v previous champ Medina from Brazil

    Could be epic

    Here’s a warm up and link to youtube channel

  73. mickydidit89 says:

    And for the sound tracks to this years pipe…..Iggy Pop. Stoked 🙂

  74. mickydidit89 says:

    guess you’re all dying to know who won.
    aren’t you?
    John John did 🙂
    I go sleep

  75. chas says:

    Dec 18th

  76. chas says:

    Dec 19th

  77. mickydidit89 says:

    The reverse slider

  78. VP of Oz says:


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