What’s Going On?

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


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



54 Responses to What’s Going On?

  1. GunnerN5 says:

    Morning Raddy,

    Reading sack Jaap Stam is about the biggest headline of the day.

    Not much happening on the blogs either, must be hibernation time.

    Spring has arrived it’s only -3c this morning going up to +3 in the afternoon, no snow forecast for the next 7 days and temperature going up to +9.

  2. Rasp says:

    Thanks Raddy … naff all is the answer to your question 🙂

  3. RC78 says:

    How do you rate your chances at the World Cup? I think England will be in the last 8 for sure.

    My ideal quarter-finals:

    Germany – England
    France – Belgium

    Brazil – Spain
    Portugal – Argentina

    It would have fire and intrigue

  4. GunnerN5 says:


    Englands Placing

    1930 – Did not Enter
    1934 – Did not Enter
    1938 – Did not Enter
    1942 – War Years
    1946 – War Years
    1950 – First Round
    1954 – Quarter Finals
    1958 – First Round
    1962 – Quarter Finals
    1966 – Champions
    1970 – Quarter Finals
    1974 – Failed to qualify
    1978 – Failed to qualify
    1982 – Last Sixteen
    1986 – Quarter Finals
    1990 – Semi Final
    1994 – Failed to qualify
    1998 – Last Sixteen
    2002 – Quarter Finals
    2006 – Quarter Finals
    2010 – Last Sixteen
    2014 – First Round

    I have no reason to be excited about England’s chances in Russia.

  5. RC78 says:

    GN – I see your point 😦 although 1990, 2002 and 2006 were not so bad 🙂

    If Kane is healthy, your first 11 squad is very solid

  6. RC78 says:

    plus in you were robbed of a goal

  7. RC78 says:

    in 2006

  8. Big Raddy says:

    England haven’t had a decent team since 1990. The current team has little potency apart from Kane, little creativity (JW?) in midfield, a leaky defence backed up by a dodgy Keeper.

    They should do well 😀

  9. LB says:

    The only crumb of comfort I get from missing out on Salah, is thinking about how so much more unhappy Chelsea supporters must be.

    Who was their wonderful, know everything manager at the time?

    I dread to think of the melt down there would have been if Wenger had let him go at the same stage.

    Did someone say De Bruyne?

  10. GunnerN5 says:

    I will be watching every England game at the WC with great anticipation, as always, but I feel the end result will be one of disappointment – as always. 1966 was a one off that may not be repeated in my lifetime.

  11. Big Raddy says:

    If possible so will I. The World Cup is always exciting though in recent years with the inclusion of teams with no chance, the early stages can be tiresome, though who would have expected Iceland to beat England in the EC?

  12. chas says:

    Thanks for the post, BR.

    Salah and the dippers are an interesting one. He isn’t really a striker is he? More like Sterling maybe.

    Firmino, Sane, Mane, even David Silva and De Bruyne, all seem to be part of a new type of forward with undefined roles and positions.
    Fluidity of movement and immaculate tekkers seem to be the hallmark of this new breed.

    The CL semi should be interesting. I doubt the dippers can repeat their dominant victory over Abu Dhabi fc at Anfield earlier this season but what do I know? Sweet FA.

    Idea for a series of posts. GoonerB gives us an analysis of each of the teams above us giving insights into how they attack and defend, use of DMs (if any), team balance etc.

    Why did Klopp ultimately hit the skids at Dortmund? Will the same happen at Anfield eventually?

    When will Pep get bored of life at the Emptihad? Have City got any chance of winning the CL?

  13. chas says:

    Proper shorts, proper shinpads, proper boots.

  14. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    Interesting idea for posts chas. Only problem is I know nothing about tactics. Get GB writing 😀

  15. LB says:

    I agree there is a post about the tactics of the top four in relation to Arsenal but again I am not the one for that. Slim has always struck me as the person with his finger on the pulse of that matter but he tends to only write straight after a game.

    However, there is also a post or twenty about the top four managers in relation to Arsene Wenger; thats to say, beyond the blunt tool approach that his methods are out of date or, the one that I often trot out, that it is simply all about money.

    I will give it some thought but if this inspires anyone please don’t hold back on either subject, it will give me something to bounce off.

  16. Rasp says:

    Morning all, I also think there is mileage in examining the buying policy and targeting of new players … are they chess pieces, missing parts of a jigsaw … or commodities, an investment that will give handsome returns?

  17. Rasp says:

    I’m fast coming to the conclusion that algorithms are a huge blight on us all. They’re dominating share trading, used by intelligence services and the media to manipulate us covertly and no doubt play a part in the analysis of players in the transfer market.

  18. RC78 says:

    MOURINHO and creative players:
    Is Mourinho turning away creative players? His teams have always been very successful and he has landed trophies everywhere but there seems to be a trend whereby he manages to alienate creattive players.

    At Man Utd – Miky is the prime example and th ings were not easy for Mata for a while
    At Chelsea – Salah, De Bruyne and then Hazard are good examples

    It seems these players would be happier under coaches like Guardiola, Klopp and AW but still, will Sanchez get tired of the Mourinho?


    Your GKs are all fine, no great but all solids
    Your RBs are world-class
    Your LBs are world-class
    Your CBs are solid but not great
    Your DMs are solid
    Your CMs are solid
    Your AMs are world world-class
    Your FW are world class

    Here is my 23 for you:
    3 GK:Hart, Pickford, Butland
    4 FB: Walker, Young, Rose, Bertrand
    3 CB: Stones, Cahill, Maguire or Gomez
    3 DM: Dier, Trippier, Delph
    3 CM: Henderson, Wilshere, Oxlade
    2 AM: Alli, Lallana
    2 Wingers: Sterling, Lingard
    3 FW: Kane, Vardy, Rashford

    Starting line-up:
    Hart – Walker, Stones, Maguire, Young – Henderson, Dier, Wilshere – Alli, Sterling – Vardy

    There are not so many teams worldwide that are as good on paper.

  19. Rasp says:

    Vardy ahead of Kane?

  20. RC78 says:

    Hi Rasp – depends on your club’s policy:
    -> Rich clubs – spend on finished products + exciting youth – Keep the assets and pay ridiculous money for them
    -> Medium rich clubds – spend on exciting players + potentially exciting youth – develop the assets and OK to sell them but not all of them
    -> Other clubs – do your best to get solid players at a bargain.

  21. Rasp says:

    Hi RC, I’m no scout and not as well informed as you, but Guardiola brought in some players (and not all hugely expensive) that I’d never heard of that have looked amazing playing for City. I think he looks for pieces of a jigsaw because the money is almost irrelevant at city.

  22. Rasp says:

    I think Arsene likes to buy chess pieces.

  23. RC78 says:

    France starting XI most likely at the WC:

    Lloris – Sidibe, Varane, Umtiti, Hernandez – Matuidi, Kante, Pogba – Dembele, Griezzman, Mbappe

  24. RC78 says:

    Rasp – Below the list of players Guardiola bought for the first squad.

    We may consider them cheap now but he broke the records for every defender in terms of price. He also invested heavily for Sane and Bernardo Silva and while both are really good, he definitely overpaid for Silva. Ederson is a fair price and Gabriel Jesus is a good bargain given the fact he was already toutes to be great. Gundogan is also a bargain while Danilo, Nolito and Bravo have not lived up tot he expectations so it is hard to say.

    I think that Guardiola does look for pieces for his jigsaw but does not have to worry about the price so he is in an ideal situation.

    Aymeric Laporte – 58.50 Mln Pounds

    Benjamin Mendy – 51.75 Mln Pounds

    John Stones – 50.4 Mln Pounds

    Kyle Walker – 45.90 Mln pounds

    Leroy Sané – 45 Mln Pounds
    Left Wing

    Bernardo Silva – 45 Mln Popunds
    Right Wing

    Ederson – 36 Mln

    Gabriel Jesus – 30 Mln Pound

    Danilo – 27 Mln Pound

    Ilkay Gündogan – 25 Mln Poind
    Central Midfield

    Nolito – 16 Mln
    Left Wing

    Claudio Bravo – 16 Mln

  25. RC78 says:


  26. Rasp says:

    That France team looks a lot better than ours RC

  27. Rasp says:

    RC, we paid similar amounts for Xhaka, Lacazette and Aubameyang

  28. RC78 says:

    Rasp – I am not so sure. It is very fast and a bit too young for my liking.I would rather play:

    Lloris – Sidibe, Varane, Umtiti, Hernandez – Kante, Tolisso, Matuidi – Pogba – Griezmann, Giroud

    I think in this set-up, we would be hard to break and have enough options in terms of game plan. Then we definitely have game changers on our bench with Mbappe, Dembele, Martial potentially Fekir, Coman, Payet, Thauvin, Ben Yedder

    At the moment, our 23 would be (b/c of injuries):

    3 – Lloris, Mandanda, Areola

    4 – Sidibe, Pavart, Hernandez, Digne (or Mendy if fit)
    4 – Varane, Umtiti, Koscienly, Kimpembe

    3 – Kante, Tolisso, Matuidi
    3 – Pogba, Rabiot, Lemar

    3 – Mbappe, Dembele, Coman or Fekir or Thauvin or Ben Yedder
    3 – Griezzman, Giroud, Martial

    Who could make it still:
    – Jallet, Laporte, Kurzawa
    – Kondogbia, Sissoko
    – Payet, Gignac, Haller

    It is a team full of potential and speed and trickery but that lacks industrious players at the back (especially full back) and also at defensive midfilder position. That it why I favour playing 3 midfielders that can actually get the ball back and have the engine to cover our FB and Wingbacks.

    I hope that FR meets EN in the semi-finals and that one of us goes to meet BR or GER in the final and bring the trophy home 🙂

  29. RC78 says:

    Rasp – we did but besides Auba, the rest were panic buys and we overpaid by far.
    I am not sure if you remembered by comments regarding Lacazette, he is not a Top 4 EPL player. He should have gone to Germany, Italy or Spain – he can’t cope with the pace and power of defenders in the EPL. He is a very good player but he needs the team to play in a 4-4-1-1 and he would be the 1 in front but the one behind him needs to be extremely mobile, creative and able to score as well. We do not play in this set-up anymore and with Ozil, Miky and Auba in the squad now, he would only be Auba’s sub if we reverted back to a 4-4-1-1.

    Concerning Xhaka – we need to play him as a CM and not a DM. At CM, on the right side of a midfield 3, he would be much better but next to him, you need a great RB, FW and a very active DM. Don’t get me wrong, he is a good player but needs to play RCM and this is where we have Ramsey so for me, Xhaka is a squad player. Did we overpay for him? It is hard to tell as he is not being played in his position. He has goals in him and we are not giving him the chance to score…

  30. GunnerN5 says:

    On the subject of post series.

    I’ve written 8 out of the 13 posts in Arsenal’s top seasons so I’ve got 5 left to be written. They do not seem to get many comments (6 on the last one) so my question to you is – should I write the last 5 individually or simply write a summary post on them, or not bother at all?

  31. RC78 says:

    Summary post for 4 of them and 1 post for our best season 🙂

    By the way – sorry, sometimes I do not comment although the post is interesting. It is just that my comments may not add much meat to the discussion.

  32. chas says:

    Please write 5.
    We’re getting to the good ‘uns ☺

    Comments do not a good post make. (Neccercelery)

  33. RC78 says:

    Question of the day:
    Which AFC player will be a starter at the next World Cup according to you?

  34. Rasp says:

    Hi GN5, I’m sure a lot of people read your posts … but fewer comment as it’s not a topic that divides opinion. You should carry on 🙂

  35. RA says:

    Good Afternoon, each,

    I think RC78 does compile some excellent comments, and clearly has a great deal of information on players – some I barely know.

    Credit to you sir. 😀

    That leads me to ask a question that is like a hornet in Terry’s pants (which could be construed as abuse to hornets) – — Arsène used to be the top expert in identifying wonderful but ‘undiscovered and cheap’ French footballers in the Ligue 1 pie — he’d put in his thumb, and pull out a plum, then say what a good boy am I.

    What’s happened to his magic thumb?

  36. RA says:


    Your Posts have always been magic, too. Please write more!

    Responses can be in short supply, but that is the nature historical, fact driven articles — many people will enjoy them and say (probably to themselves) “I didn’t know that”.

    They bring the history and the culture of the club to the eyes of many who otherwise would not know ‘the who’s and what’s’ of a gloriously interesting past.

    God on you! 😀

  37. RA says:

    “God on you” indeed — but that was a typo for “good on you’. 🙂

  38. Rasp says:

    Hi RA, he changed his policy from looking for missing pieces to complete the jigsaw to collecting his favourite chess pieces 🙂

  39. Big Raddy says:

    RC78. Very interesting comments today. Thank you.

    French squad. No Benzema?

    GN5. Definitely individual.

  40. Big Raddy says:

    RC. WC player to start? Xhaka, Elneny and probably Ozil & Wilshire

  41. chas says:

    PSG and Monaco have first dibs on up and coming French talent these days.

  42. GunnerN5 says:

    RA – In future I will say “amen” at the end of my posts.

  43. GunnerN5 says:

    I appreciate reading your opinions and based on your thoughts I will be happy to write the last posts individually with the very able help from Chas – who trouble shoots all of my errors and adds his own flair to the posts.

  44. fred1266 says:

    Not dembele think giroud would start

  45. VP of Oz says:

    gn5, your posts a brilliant to ready and then are archived for prosperity. please continue

  46. VP of Oz says:

    GN5 your posts are brilliant to read
    sorry its 5:40 am here…

  47. Big Raddy says:

    VP. Just up or was it a Big Night?

  48. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    Chas. Is that your painting of Sir Elton?

  49. GunnerN5 says:

    Oops I must have walked into the wrong room!

  50. Big Raddy says:

    There is a New Post (just a refresher)

  51. GunnerN5 says:

    They are all asleep Raddy you need to knock louder……..

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