We all know better than Arsène ………

March 30, 2018

This post was written in July 2012 and illustrates how playing personnel changes so much. I thought the journos’ questions about prioritising the Europa over the Prem, lineup-wise, were attempting to back Stevie Bould into a corner. Anyway, as excitement mounts for Sunday’s game, who would you play? 🙂

We all love doing it. I guarantee there to be at least one in every comments section of any Arsenal blog, forum or news site you can think of. The speculative lineup, it’s addictive. Why, I have know idea. There is just something so satisfying about writing the names of our beloved players down into a thoughtfully deliberated formation. Only a handful of us have a significant knowledge of tactics and almost none of us know anything substantial about the players apart from our parochial, emotion-fuelled observations during games and from their blogosphere reputations. And yet, we fancy ourselves as Arsenal managers and pick our own teams week in week out. So here we are in the pre-season, with the summer transfer window hotting up; this is the time where the phenomenon reaches its pinnacle. The debate over our team’s lineup is well and truly alive!

Something we don’t often think about is that your speculative lineup is actually a great indicator of who you are as a person and as an Arsenal fan. Think back to the lineups you’ve produced over the years (maybe even in the last few days!), and find out where you fit in the spectacular spectrum that is the whole gamut of Arsenal fans. So where do you fit?

1. Signing Obsessed

———————–Lloris————————

–Sagna–Vermaelen–Vertonghen–Baines–

———————M’Vila—————————

—————Wilshere–Gotze———————

–Dzagoev——-Giroud——Podolski——

How often do we see a lineup like this? All the players who are even remotely linked with the club are portrayed as saviours, must-buys and symbols of hope for the coming season. This type of lineup will usually be followed by a comment such as ‘Get on it Arsene!’ or ‘Make it happen Gazidis!’

2. Academy Mad

—————–Szczęsny ——————

–Yennaris—Miquel–Bartley–Gibbs–

—————-Gnabry———————–

———Wilshere–Lansbury/Eisfeld—-

—-Aneke——-Afobe——Miyachi——

A lineup like this will usually be followed by something like ‘Future Arsenal first team, 2 years away?’ If this is you, you may need an injection of reality. Explore the archives of blogs from seasons past and have a look at some of the teams suggested as ‘Arsenal’s future’. Jay Emmanuel-Thomas anyone? Jay Simpson? The fact is that – if we are lucky –  each season has only one or two academy players that have what it takes to make the step up to the first team. Last season it was Coquelin, before that it was Wilshere and Szczesny. Who will it be this season? How exciting!

3. Formation Fans

———————Szczęsny ———————–

—Koscielny—Mertesacker—Vermaelen—-

—————Song–Coquelin———————

—-Ox-Chamberlain—Rosicky–Diaby——-

————–Podolski—-Giroud—————–

There is always someone out there telling anyone who will listen that Wenger should being deploying his team in 3-2-3-2 or 4-1-3-1-1 or 5-2-4 or God knows what else. There’s always someone who’s certain the team would be better off with Vermaelen commanding the midfield or that so-and-so should surely be unleashed in the ‘hole’. Every now and then the fan knows what they’re talking about, not often though.

4. Nickname Fans

—————World’s Number One————-

–Sanga—Verminator—BFG——-Gibbo—-

—————–Rambo——–Le Coq———–

————————–LJW————————

——–Theo—The Boy Wonder—The Ox—

Football fans must be the only people in the world to give affectionate nicknames to men we’ve never met. But although we don’t actually know our players personally, in a deeper sense, we know them very, very well. Some of the nicknames are brilliant anyway, we don’t need to justify ourselves. I cannot stand when ostensible ‘fans’ invent hurtful nicknames for members of our beloved team such as ‘Flapihandski’ or ‘Ramilson’. Here’s a mystery I’ve often pondered. Why are some players known universally by their first name and others not? We always hear about Robin, Theo and Arsene and used to talk about Cesc all the time, but we never hear a thing about Mikel, Bacary, Laurent or Kieran.

5. England Snobs

——————-Szczęsny ———————

-Jenkinson—Vermaelen-Bartley-Gibbs-

————Ramsey—–Frimpong————-

———————Wilshere———————

—Ox-Chamberlain–RVP—-Walcott——-

Some fans are extraordinarily concerned by the amount of English players in the team. Nationality is their top priority. Ramsey’s Welshness is considered acceptable. They even prefer players who are half English or aren’t really English at all such as Jenkinson and Frimpong. As more English players have developed and integrated into Wenger’s new team, these types of posts have steadily become less common.

6. Trollers and P*ss Takers

—————-Almunia———————-

Djourou—–Squillaci–Silvestre–Traore

——–Denilson——-Bischoff————–

——Park—-Chamakh—–TGSTEL—–

Poor Djourou cannot play full back can he? I couldn’t even think of enough players but you get the idea.

7. Diaby lovers

——————-Szczęsny ———————

–Sagna–Vermaelen–Koscielny-Santos–

————–Song—–Arteta——————-

——————-DIABY—————————

——–Podolski—-RVP—-Walcott———-

Staunch Diabyists. They exist in their droves. But I do have this feeling like he’s gonna have an amazing season….

8. Fence sitters

—————————-Szczęsny ————————

—Sagna—Vermaelen—–Koscielny—Gibbs/Santos–

————————–Song—–Arteta/Ramsey————–

————————-Wilshere/Rosicky———————–

——–Podolski/Ox—-RVP/Giroud—-Walcott/Gervinho-

This sort of lineup is a good sign; it means the club is spoilt for choice, that we have a lot of depth and competition for places. They manifest themselves in a variety of ways: slashes, parenthesis, brackets. But it sort of defeats the point of picking a team. Alternatively some fans like to make two teams, a first team and a second team and sometimes even a third team.

So now that we’ve analyzed it, let’s indulge in the activity we love so much. How do you think we should line up next season? Remember, everyone’s an expert – except for Arsène of course.

Written by Gus

Advertisements

Arsenals Top Seasons 1990-91 – Our 5th Best

March 27, 2018

On 6 May 1990, the day he was expected at Heathrow to join his team-mates on an end-of-season tour of Singapore, Tony Adams was uninjured when he crashed his car, but after subsequent breath tests he was charged with reckless driving and driving with excess alcohol, but despite the ruling was told he was free to leave the station. A trial would be arranged and he would be required in court at a later date.

 After the heights and dramatic finish in the 1988-89 season Arsenal were disappointing in 1989-90 finishing just fourth. However in Graham’s mind Arsenal were edging closer to being ready to compete with the best throughout the coming year. In the weeks leading up to the 1990-91 season he added three new players to a squad he believed needed updating. He spent £4 million and purchased QPR goalkeeper David Seaman, Norwich City defender Andy Linighan and Swedish winger Anders Limpar from Cremonese.

Arsenal, were able to kick off their season in style, away at Wimbledon’s Plough Lane, they sauntered to a 3-0 victory, soon to be followed by a 2-0 win at home to Luton. Concerns were raised with successive draws at home to Tottenham and then away at Everton, but they bounced back emphatically when Chelsea arrived at Highbury only to be sent back to South West London on the wrong end of an assertive 4-1 loss. Two more wins were quickly earned, away to Leeds and at home to Norwich, before the unbeaten Arsenal team travelled to Old Trafford.

Arsenal fans had high hopes and confident that their squad, with their very stubborn defence (just four goals against in their opening eight league fixtures) could come away victorious. They did just that but the game had an intensity that was typical of encounters between Manchester United and Arsenal and as the hour mark approached it spilled over into an all out brawl.

Despite both clubs openly admitting their wrongdoing and fining a selection of the players involved, three days after the game the FA fined both teams £50,000 for their misconduct and for their roles in bringing the game into disrepute and both clubs had points deducted. Manchester United was deducted one point while Arsenal were handed a more severe two-point deduction.

Moving on from their success at Old Trafford Arsenal remained unbeaten with 5 wins and 3 draws including the December 15th draw against Wimbledon. Tony Adams drunken driving trial took place at Southend County Court on 19 December 1990.

He was fined £500, had his driving licence revoked for two years, and was sentenced to nine months at Chelmsford Prison; five months suspended for reckless driving and a concurrent three-month sentence for driving with excess alcohol. He was stunned by the verdict. Not once had he actually considered he could end up going to prison. On 18 February Adams’ absence came to an end as he was released from prison, his initial sentence commuted due in large part to his good behaviour while inside.

 In total he missed eight fixtures; draws against Villa and Tottenham, imposing wins against Derby, Sheffield United, Manchester City, Everton, Crystal Palace, and his side’s only loss of the entire league campaign: a tragic 2-1 defeat away at Chelsea.

He made his return to action in front of 7,000 fans at Highbury during a reserve team game against Reading the reception he received from the home fans almost reduced him to tears. After a handful more fitness-finding run-outs he made the team sheet once again, just in time for his team’s trip to Liverpool which ended in a 3 -0 win.

Arsenal’s league title triumph finally came in their penultimate game of the season, on 6 May, when they triumphed 3-1 at home to Manchester United in a match where top scorer Alan Smith scored a hat-trick. Anders Limpar then scored a hat-trick in Arsenal’s final fixture, a 6-1 victory over Coventry City at Highbury.

This was a season that was personified by our obdurate defense who only gave up eighteen goals, the lowest against in our history until our 1998/99 team let in only seventeen.

Division One appearances

Seaman 38, Dixon 38, Bould 38, Winterburn 38, Davis 36+1, Merson 36+1, Smith 35+2, Limpar 32+2, Adams 30, Thomas 27+4, Campbell 15+7, Groves 13+19, O’Leary 13+19, Rocastle 13+3, Hillier 9+7, Linighan 7+3, Jonsson 2, Cole +1, Pates +1.

Division One goals

Smith 22, Merson 13, Limpar 11, Campbell 9, Dixon 5, Davis 3, Groves 3, Rocastle 2, Thomas 2, Adams 1, O’Leary 1, own goals 2.

Also that season…

English sides were readmitted to European competition after serving a five-year ban, following the crowd disturbances at Heysel Stadium during the 1985 European Cup final between Juventus and Liverpool.

And… John Major succeeded Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister in November 1990, bringing to an end her 11 years in office.

Written by GunnerN5


Interlull Injuries

March 23, 2018

Not only is a 3 week lay-off mid-season inordinately dull, it is also costly to the Arsenal squad.

Unknown.jpeg

Both Wilshire and Koscielny have been withdrawn from their respective squads for games this weekend.

Fortunately both injuries appear to be wear and tear and not something as devastating as JW’s ankle knack when playing another meaningless game for England.

How does this help the club which pays their wages?

There isn’t an answer. If I were a player my ambition would always be to represent my country and friendlies, as crap as they are, are still a cap.

Let us hope nothing untoward happens to our Internationals before we play Stoke at home

written by Big Raddy


What’s Going On?

March 21, 2018

I am going back to having a musical theme in my headlines (competition for chas’s excellent literary work).

images-2.jpeg

There has been an absence, neigh a void, of proper football since we smashed AC Milan, just some inconsequential FA Cup games and Liverpool steamrollering poor opposition at home.

But what of The Arsenal?

The Youth team drew 2-2 way to Blackpool in the FA Youth Cup Semi-Final. Goals from John-Jules and Amaechi (a 17 y.o. Nigerian-born English winger who has been earning rave reviews).

5 Arsenal players have been called up to Young England squads – Maitland-Niles, Reiss Nelson, Eddie Nketiah, Willock and DaSilva

Then there are the players out with their respective national teams: 10 of them. Mustafi has been dropped by Germany which must be a concern ahead of the summer World Cup.

Mo Elneny rejoins his Egytian team-mates. If there is one question I would ask of the dread-locked midfielder it would be “why the hell didn’t you persuade Mo Salah to join Arsenal instead of the Dippers?” Both Mo’s, both shaggy headed, both Egyptian, both liking a red shirt – it was an obvious signing for Arsenal, especially with the departure of Theo.

Not much else. Unless you know better …

Big Raddy

 


Suddenly the FA Cup is Worth Winning?

March 19, 2018

2014

So, Arsenal FC win the FA Cup in 2014 and finish 4th in the League.

Arsenal fans …………. No-one’s happy as we didn’t beat anyone decent on the way to Wembley – only the spuds, Liverpool and Everton – yeah, but they were all at home. Fourth placed trophy again – we should be finishing above City, Liverpool and Chelsea.

2015

Then we win it the following year, crushing Villa and also come 3rd in the Prem.

Arsenal fans …………. Not good enough – still didn’t beat anyone any good on the way to the Final – only Man Utd at the Old Cowshed and a few other sh*te teams. Fancy comin 3rd to the chavs and blue mancs, why do we always finish behind them?

2016

No cup but a 2nd place finish, ♫ It’s happened again ♬

Arsenal fans …………. We only finished second thanks to the spuds spursing it up by coming 3rd in a two-horse race. We should have won the league and only came second because the spuds are bigger bottlers than us.

2017

Arsenal finish outside the top 4 for the first time in 20 years but manage to win the FA Cup for the third time in 4 years beating Abu Dhabi FC and the Fulham Oilers in the Final.

Arsenal fans …………. Tinpot trophy again – why can’t we win the League or the CL? Sack the board, sack the manager and get rid of most of the players. Spurs finishing above Arsenal for the first time in 22 seasons – that’s the final straw.

2018

This season Spurs, Man U and Chelsea all went out in the CL Round of 16 and all three are clinging on to the hope of an FA Cup win to save their season. At least two of them will finish potless this season (hopefully all three, cmon Soton! 🙂 ). Then again, probably 2 of them will have a 4th place trophy as well for consolation.

Arsenal fans………..Wish we were still in the FA Cup and had a shot at the CL, other than via the Europa.

Do we need some perspective?

chas

 

 

 


Arsenals Top Seasons 1933-34 – Our 6th Best

March 18, 2018

This was a season that was over-shadowed by the death of  Arsenal’s manager Herbert Chapman – he passed away of pneumonia on January 6, 1934. He was 55 at the time of his untimely death.

This is a short exert from GN5’s posts on Arsenal’s best managers.

Arsenal Football Club is open to receive applications for the position of Team Manager. He must possess the highest qualifications for the post, both as to ability and personal character. Gentlemen whose sole ability to build up a good side depends on the payment of heavy and exorbitant transfer fees need not apply.”

 Herbert Chapman moved to Arsenal soon after, attracted both by Arsenal’s larger crowds and a salary of £2,000, double what he earned at Huddersfield Town. Arsenal’s league form was indifferent but in 1927 they reached the FA Cup Final losing 1–0 to Cardiff City. That same year, Arsenal became embroiled in a scandal over illegal footballers’ pay. Sir Henry Norris was indicted for his part and banned from football, but Chapman escaped punishment.

 He showed his cunning during negotiations held in a hotel when looking to buy David Jack from Bolton. Chapman met with the barman and gave him two pounds and then said “This is my assistant Mr Wall; he will drink whiskey and dry ginger, I will drink gin and tonic. Our guests will drink whatever they choose but you will give them double of everything while Mr. Wall’s drinks and mine will contain no liquor.” His cunning worked as Arsenal paid 3,000 pounds less than Bolton had first asked.

 He went on to establish Arsenal as English footballs dominate force and his football concepts and ideas served as a template for teams and managers all over the globe. He won the first trophy for the club winning the FA Cup in 1930. His 1930/31 team scored an incredible 127 goals – still a club record. He championed innovations such as floodlighting, European competitions and numbered shirts.

 Herbert Chapman’s league record –

Games 336, Won 157, Drawn 84, Lost 95,

Goals for 736, Goals against 541,

Goals for per game 2.19, Goals against per game 1.61

Points won 59.3%

Average League Position 6.25

Total # of trophies won – 2 League titles, 1 FA Cup, 3 Charity Shields.

A bronze bust of Herbert Chapman was crafted by Sir Jacob Epstein and was commissioned and paid for by 12 of Chapman’s friends shortly before he died in 1934.

In June 2006 the bust was temporarily removed and two exact replicas were made by Morris Singer Art Founders in Braintree, Essex. One of the replicas now resides in the Diamond Club entrance at Emirates Stadium, and the other was presented to Chapman’s former team, Huddersfield Town in 2008 to commemorate their centennial. This bust is housed in the entrance to the Galpharm Stadium.

The original bust was returned to Highbury and forms part of the concierge entrance in the Grade II-Listed East Stand to the Highbury Square development.

courtesy Tessa Heywood

On the same day as Chapman’s death Arsenal played Sheffield Wednesday in a top of the table battle. As word filtered around the crowd of 34, 000 inside Highbury they became increasingly subdued. The players wore black armbands and 4 trumperters played “The Last Post” as the crowd stood to attention. Six of Chapman’s favourite players – Jack, Hulme, Hapgood, Lambert, Bastin and James carried his cofffin at the funeral. The card on the teams’ wreath read “To the boss from the players. Our hearts are sad and our hopes are well-nigh shattered, but your inspiration, memory, and affection remain ours forever”

Reserve manager Joe Shaw was given temporary control of the team for the rest of the season and they  managed a 1-1 draw against Sheffied Wednesday – but proceeded to lose the following 3 games after which they recovered and won nine of the following 11 league matches.

With David Jack moving on, Arsenal had signed a replacement for the talented forward in Ted Drake, who joined the club from Southampton in the latter stages of 1933-34 for  £ 6,500. Other new faces such as Jack Crayston and Wilf Copping also arrived. Cliff Bastin, George Male, James and Roberts were still there, as was goalkeeper Frank Moss, although Alex James had started to become injury prone.

The title was wrapped up with a game to spare,  for the second consecutive season Arsenal clinched the title at Stamford Bridge. Alex James and Cliff Bastin netted to give Arsenal the single point they needed in a 2-2 draw with Chelsea on April 28, 1934.

Bastin and Ray Bowden shared the top goalscorer honours that season, with just 13 league goals each. George Male was the only ever-present throughout the campaign, having been successfully converted to a right back by Chapman.

Some trivia.

The Dionne sisters, the first quintuplets to survive beyond infancy, were born in Canada. Two of the quints Annette and Cecile are still alive today at the age of 84.

Drake, a legend at Arsenal for his 1930s goal scoring feats, was also the first Chelsea manager to win the Championship. His 1955 triumph was the only time the Blues won the League before they became steeped in oil money.

Written by GunnerN5


Does Money Buy you the Premiership Title?

March 17, 2018

This was a reply to a GoonerB question which needed a wider audience

Everyone saw the recent Watford game in which we won 3-0. Was anyone really surprised? No. Why? Because Arsenal have a better team. Why do Arsenal have a better team? Because Arsenal have more money to buy better players. This is not rocket science. So I think it is fair to say that if Arsenal played Watford 100 times, Arsenal would win 95 of them.

It then naturally follows that if there were a league of just those two teams that Arsenal would win most of the time. However as the odds suggest Arsenal could have an off day as we did when Watford dumped us out of the FA cup. This is the equivalent of Leicester winning the league, they are the exception that proves the rule that the clubs with greater spending power are more likely to win the league.

Things should be clear now using the Arsenal – Watford example, where it gets complicated is when loyalty gets in the way because that can be the only excuse for not seeing that exactly the same applies to Arsenal and Man City. If they they played us for 100 consecutive games they are more likely than not to win 95 of them for the same reasons I give above.

Winning is quite simply all about money, it is not a case of Stan Kroenke loosening the purse strings; he is not competing against another rich man he is competing against an oil rich country. It cannot be won and should not be expected to be won.

So what does this mean? It means that yes we can still win the league but the odds are against us. What I want is a manager who understands this and accepts the challenge in order to increase the small chance of winning the league to the maximum that it can be. And who do I think is best placed to achieve this? Arsene Wenger and that is why I remain loyal.

That obviously needs explanation but I don’t want to turn this into a book.

Taken from a comment written by LB