Our home record against Fulham

December 31, 2018

Fulham were formed in 1879 as Fulham St Andrew’s Church Sunday School F.C., founded by worshippers (mostly adept at cricket) at the Church of England on Star Road, West Kensington (St Andrew’s, Fulham Fields). They won the West London Amateur Cup in 1887 and, having shortened the name from Fulham Excelsior to its present form in 1888, they then won the West London League in 1893 at the first attempt.

The club gained professional status on 12 December 1898, the same year that they were admitted into the Southern League’s Second Division. They were the second club from London to turn professional, following Arsenal then named Royal Arsenal 1891.

Famous names like Johnny Haynes, Bobby Moore, Rodney Marsh and George Best had been part of the team through the years.

Our first league meeting with Fulham was in Division 2 on March 14th 1914 and it ended in a 2-0 victory for Arsenal. Overall we have played them 27 times at home and Fulham have never won a single game; they have managed just 5 draws and have been outscored 67 to 23.

Arsenal v Fulham 1914

Complete league results

Fulham’s Bobby Robson clears the ball from Arsenal’s Jon Sammels


At the time of writing Fulham’s 2018-19 record is W2, D5, L12, GF17, GA43 and they are in 19th place.

I cannot envisage anything other than a victory for Arsenal.



An Egregious Abomination at Anfield – Ratings

December 30, 2018

First Half

Poor old Ainsley, scores his first goal in a game he’ll never ever want to recall again in his entire life.

Here’s Auba’s heatmap from that first half. Four of his 9 touches were restarts.

Second Half

Shame you can’t just throw the towel into the ring like in boxing.


Can’t quite decide if it was the ref or the kit which caused such a cataclysmic trail of ignominy. 🙂

Here are a few stats from Orbinho on twitter to contemplate………..

Goals conceded at Anfield last six seasons

Arsenal 22

Swansea (5 games) 16

West Ham 16

Everton 14

Man City, Watford (3 games) 13

Newcastle, Spurs (5 games) 12

Stoke, WBA (5 games) 10

Southampton 9

Arsenal have played 10 games away from home in the Premier League, scoring 22 times, conceding 21 goals and keeping zero clean sheets.

The last time Arsenal conceded more than 30 goals after 20 league games was in 1966 (39)

Michael Oliver has awarded seven penalties against Arsenal in the last 10 Premier League games he has officiated.

This is my favourite – finding some light from somewhere …………


A two for everyone apart from threes for A.M-N for his goal and Wobbly for his assist.

Getty Images

A Tough Early Evening Up North..

December 29, 2018

We should start today’s post by saying farewell to Mr Hill-Wood, a true Arsenal stalwart and the last of the traditional Arsenal men. His father, Dennis, was AFC chairman which means that Peter was born into an Arsenal family. He was involved in bringing George Graham, David Dein and Arsene Wenger into the club. On a personal note, as a teenager I washed cars on Sundays in Hampstead Garden Suburb and HW was one of my customers!

He needs his own post as Mr Hill Wood has been hugely influential in the development of AFC into the monster it is today.  One for GN5, I think.


Two AFC Greats

Tough game today. Hands up who thinks we can even get a point. Not many of you. My hands were firmly on the keyboard.

In yesterdays post, GN5 highlighted our miserable PL record at Anfield. Apart from one very significant game in 1989, it has not been a happy hunting ground. And we go into the game suffering a serious depletion in available players with Ozil the latest to be unavailable.

Ozil. Knee knack? I thought Emery said his substitution at half time vs Brighton was tactical. What do you believe?

But Ozil-gate is for another day.

Can Arsenal reproduce the fine performance of Liverpool at home? A game we should have won (yet another). If, a huge if, we have a couple of returning defenders we have a chance, but this is unlikely. The biggest loss is Bellerin. Against a side blessed with pace we will struggle, especially against Mane and Salah.


Liverpool’s defence is the best in the PL, a testament to their buying policy (Red Arnie). A winning team has a quality defence, witness GG and early AW, Klopp’s team play flowing attacking football based upon a very athletic, dynamic back 5. It works.

An example of the excellence of Liverpool’s current policy of spend, spend spend is that of Shaqiri. They have a very similar player in The Ox, who cost over €30m, Ox gets crocked for a season and L’pool buy a costly short-term replacement. Will Arsenal  do the same for Holding and Welbeck? I doubt it.

Can they win the PL? I hope not as it will cost me a fish 🐟.

Can we afford to play both PEA and Laca in this game? I would but I believe that attack is the best form of defence (once said to me by the Spurs legend Dave Mackay). Laca can be played a little deeper and take the Ozil role.

My Team:


Licht    Greek Bloke   Koscielny

Curly   Xhaka   Terrier   Wardrobe


Lacazette   PEA

This requires the old Swiss FB to spend much of his time in his own half and not play the over-lapping FB role. He hasn’t got the legs anymore. AMN (Cons) is a possible but he hasn’t the experience or the black arts of Lichtsteiner. However, this team is lop-sided and perhaps AMN would add some right side threat. Otherwise Ramsey will have to do so.

If we get a point it will be a victory. 3 would be heroic.



Our away record against Liverpool

December 28, 2018

Early Liverpool

The origins of the city of Liverpool date back to 1207, when King John issued letters patent advertising the establishment of a new borough – ‘Livpul’. Soon after, in 1235, the building of Liverpool Castle was completed. This stood on the spot where the Victoria monument now is (on the aptly named Castle Street) and was removed in 1726.

In its early days, Liverpool comprised of just seven streets, which are all still there today – Bank Street (now Water Street), Castle Street, Chapel Street, Dale Street, Juggler Street (now High Street), Moor Street (now Tithebarn Street) and Whiteacre Street (now Old Hall Street). It would remain a relatively small and unimportant city until its rise to prominence in the 18th century as part of the booming transatlantic trade.

In 1715 the first ever commercial wet dock was completed in Liverpool on the River Mersey, originally known as Thomas Steer’s Dock. The dock accommodated up to 100 ships and was originally a tidal basin accessed directly from the river, and by 1737 via Canning Dock.

In July 2004 Liverpool received the UNESCO World Heritage accolade after a bid centred on Liverpool as a Maritime Mercantile city, reflecting the significance of the city as a commercial port at the time of Britain’s greatest global influence.

The World Heritage Site stretches along the waterfront from Albert Dock, through the Pier Head, up to Stanley Dock and through the commercial districts, such as the Ropewalks area, to St George’s Hall.

Liverpool FC’s origins lie with their neighbours Everton. Founded in 1878, Everton moved to Anfield in 1884, a facility owned by the club’s president, John Houlding, a former Lord Mayor of Liverpool. In 1892 a dispute arose between Houlding and the Everton board of directors, over the club’s tenancy of the ground. The annual rent had risen from £100 in 1884 to £250 in 1892; Houlding wanted to sell the ground to the club, which in turn wished to agree a long-term rental. Houlding would only agree to this on the basis of a rent at a level unacceptable to the club. Negotiations having failed, the directors decided to leave Anfield and find another ground, leaving Houlding with an empty stadium. His response was to form a new football club to occupy the stadium. He attempted to retain the team name “Everton” by registering the name “Everton Football Club and Athletic Grounds Company, Limited” with Companies House, but the Football League decided that the name belonged to the departed Everton club, which acquired new premises at Goodison Park. Houlding therefore adopted the name “Liverpool Football Club” for his new venture.

Our away record against Liverpool is less than stellar. Our last win was on September 2nd 2012. In the EPL era we have only won 6 league games in 26 attempts, and our overall league record including stands at 24 wins in 94 games.

Our last game was a 4-0 thrashing, am I confident? – not in the least.

Liverpool are this week’s Champions Elect what with City floundering.

Since Liverpool last won the League title, we’ve won up at Anfield 7 times in the top flight (once in the old First Division and 6 times in the Prem) plus victories in both the FA Cup and the League Cup.

There’s always hope when 22 men stand over a pig’s bladder in the middle of a field. Who knows, tomorrow could be our day!


Brighton v Arsenal – Match Ratings

December 27, 2018

No expectations going into this game. We don’t generally fare very well over the Christmas rush. Too much Xmas pud and brandy leaves a stodgy feeling on Boxing Day. Then again, maybe Emery had them all eating healthy pasta and fruit, so they’d have plenty of carbs to burn.

First Half

I didn’t see much of the game at all but from what I did see, it seems our predilection for giving poor opposition a chance was clearly manifest in a half we should have been far away and sailing over the horizon before gifting them a goal. Perhaps this tendency wasn’t anything to do with Arsene but, somehow in the genes of the Club?

In our long unbeaten run we were often defying the expected goals with lethal finishing. That run has come to an end at the same time that relatively straightforward chances are not being snapped up.

1-1, you’re kidding, aren’t ya?

Second Half

Didn’t see any of the second half, but the full time score tells me everything. From the stats it appears we created almost nothing of note. Thank Dennis, I had something better to do with my Boxing Day.


We came, we saw, we capitulated to mediocre opposition. Thank the lord I didn’t have to suffer watching that garbage. Half time subs seemed necessary and effective in previous games but are now starting to look a bit clueless and desperate.


Leno – Made the finish easy for the Brighton player but he had been exposed … 6

Licht –  Glorious assist for the Brighton equaliser    … 4

Kos –   Rusty … 5

Papa – Adequate but without a huge amount to do … 6

Kola – Not as effective from left back … 6

Terrier – looks knackered after being given the early part of the season to acclimatise … 6

Xhaka – magnificent passing stats but how many did any damage to the opposition? … 6

Guendouzi – heart of a lion but needs some help from his more experienced colleagues – can’t drag the team up by the bootstraps on his own … 6

Mesut – subbed? – back spasm or more dissention within the ranks? … 6

Laca – Huff ‘n puff – his substitution took away something … 6

Auba – lost his strike rate – had to score that second … 6


Iwobi – sometimes you get the impression he’s a bit pants …  5

Rambo – sometimes you get the impression he hides … 6

Maitland-Niles – his injury has knocked him back somewhat … 5


Here’s FGG’s assessment of the situation which gives far more sense than you’ll ever get from me……..

At the beginning of the season I said this year is about improving and regaining some sort of football identity within the team and I didn’t really care where we finished in the PL just as long as we could see the club has a vision and is moving forward. At no point did I think ‘it’ll be sorted by xmas’ and at no point during the long elunbeaten run did I think ‘we’ve done it. This is the new Arsenal’.

We are a work in progress and probably will be for another 12 months. There have been some really good signs of improvement in the side, espescially when we don’t have the ball, but there are still lots of things for Emery to sort out which will take time. Of course Lichtsteiner is average, but we can’t forget that Wenger left us without a sub RB. The lad has been brought in on the cheap as a stop gap and I’ve no doubt a more long term replacement will be found very soon.

One thing I am struggling with a little is Emery changing things constantly throughout the game. We’ve gone one extreme to the other! Seeing a half time sub now and again is good to see, but sometimes you have to give the players a chance to grow into the game and trust that they can find weaknesses in the opposition themselves. Bringing Lacazette and Özil off every game just seems to be angering the players and I don’t think it helped the side at all today. As soon as we lost them we seemed incapable of getting the ball to feet in between the lines, something that both of those players are very good at.


Brighton. A Lovers Repose

December 26, 2018

Having played all our home games for 2018 we finish the year with away ties at Brighton and Liverpool.

Brighton is the home to many an ex-lover (as was discovered on the blog on Xmas Eve). Strange that. Must be the air.


My First Love, now residing in Brighton

Also in the strange department is the fact we are playing in a black kit – apparently our second away kit – against a team who plays in blue and white. Being an old fart I cannot understand this, are ther new rules that teams cannot use their home kit when playing away? And even if that is the case, which numpty designed a grey/black kit or for that matter, an awful peppermint outfit? Thankfully we change our kit sponsor next season.

Last season Brighton beat us at the Amex, they play good football under their very popular manager, David Wagner,and the atmosphere created by the Seagulls fans is fervent. This will not be an easy victory. But, we have finally overcome the monkey of leading at half-time. An ealry goal for the men in black would be very welcome

Our squad is suffering from a plethora of injuries, A greek chap, Holding, Catwalk, Naco, Mustafi, Mhki, Smith Rowe (Lab) and Big Danny all out; some for lengthy spells. Given the very recent and less than impressive return of Koscielny, there is clearly a need for purchases in January.

So, who remains standing? We can still put out a strong team. Terrier and Ramsey were rested at the weekend and will surely play today (unless our Welsh Wizard has already signed his transfer papers.

My Team:


AMN  (Cons)     Sokratis     Koscielny     Wardrobe

Ramsey    Xhaka   Terrier

Ozil    Iwobi


With the Liverpool game in a couple of days, I think PEA will be benched.

Ramsey to play in his preferred role in front of the midfield. Looking at this team it is crying out for a proper winger.

Any money spent in January will surely be on defenders, our defensive record is as bad as I can remember. We have only had 3 clean sheets this season and I do not expect another today. Brighton are a tough team at the Amex.

Don’t forget the later kick off

We need 3 points this afternoon if top 4 is remain on the horizon. Let it be So.


Arsenal FC – Our away record against the Seagulls

December 24, 2018

Brighton and Hove are twin towns, now combined as one city, on the South Coast of England in the county of Sussex, and are well known as tourist destinations.

Professional football in the area was the brainchild of Edgar Everest, a Sussex Football Association official who founded Brighton United in 1897. Playing at the Sussex County Cricket Ground, the club collapsed in 1900. A high-class amateur side, Brighton & Hove Rangers, was formed in its wake but also folded after just one year.

But the will to provide the towns with a successful club was already strong. The former manager of Brighton United, John Jackson, was the driving-force behind a third club.

Brighton & Hove Albion F.C. were founded in 1901 and 19 years later, in 1920, they were elected to the Football League’s new Third Division – having previously been members of the Southern League.

In the Southern League they won their only national honour to date, the FA Charity Shield, which at that time was contested by the champions of the Southern League, and the Football League, by defeating Football League Champions Aston Villa in 1910.

Our first game against Brighton was in the third round proper of the FA Cup played on January 12th 1935 at the Goldstone Ground in Hove and it ended in a 0-2 win for Arsenal.

In league play we have only met Brighton on ten occasions, eight in Division 1 and two in the EPL.

Here is our complete league away record –

Treat it like a cup tie – our recent record at the Amex (or whatever mercenary, corporate name it has now) is good in the FA Cup.


Arsenal 3 Burnley 1 – Player Ratings

December 23, 2018

Before the game

Superb fun on the 8:45 from Nottingham. A complimentary full English included in the price of a first class ticket. Our only dilemma was how to fit in the three accompanying beers. Once in London, beers in the World’s End, Finsbury Park with LBG and two hip flasks of surgical spirit, plus a lovely discussion about a match photo on the pub wall, all preceded meeting up with the ticket fairy outside entrance F.

We all knew how Dyche would set up his team to maximise the chance of sneaking something with the bang average players he has at his disposal – kick the opposition and hope for a goal at a set-piece.

First half

Harum scarum start to the game. Could have been goals at either end in the first couple of minutes. Eventually the footballing side shone through and deservedly took the lead when Auba scored. Mesut’s through ball to Kola was mind-bending; such vision in a crowded penalty area. No-one else in the Premier could have played that pass. One nil to the Arsenal. Burnley’s 354 away fans were distraught.

Second half

Arsenal should have been sailing gently down the three points river after Auba doubled his tally with a classy pile-driver high into the net at Hart’s near post.

Instead we let the Neanderthals back into the game with a series of dreadful attempts at clearances from a dead ball. A Dyche team scoring from a dead ball – who would have thought it?

At this point I could see two eventualities 4-1 or 2-2. Luckily Wobbly popped up with the winner when played onside by the Burnley right back. His goal-bound effort was close enough to the goal not to sail over the bar!

get your head over it, lad

The fourth was not forthcoming, so we had to be content with just 3-1 and three lovely points. 🙂


A worthy three points against a team of cloggers. Shame Mesut didn’t play as defensive midfielder! 😊


Leno – Sound performance … 7

Maitland-Niles – lackadaisical and no threat going forward … 5

Sokratis – MOTM – a Greek Tony Adams – stood up to Barnes who could have been sent off twice – Auba calls him ‘Papa’, sounds good to me … 9

Monreal – solid but bandy legs caused another injury … 6

Kolasinac – not much to do defensively which played to his strong suit – some majestic power challenges … 7

Xhaka – where was he playing? – was he good or bad? You decide … 7

Elneny – Bang average – Animal from the Muppets – how bad is it when you only get picked when the Terrier needs a rest and even then you can’t last 90 mins without being subbed?… 5

Guendouzi – not one of his best – needs a haircut … 6

Ozil – masterminded Burnley’s downfall, pass for the first goal was world class – run for the third mesmeric … 8

Aubameyang – does what it says on the tin … 8

Lacazette – sparky and full of spunk, needs a goal but instrumental in the crucial second … 7


Lichtsteiner – not the best passer but he wasn’t signed for his sweet passing – a great squad player … 7

Iwobi – did very little – apart from seal the victory … 6

Torreira – shouldn’t have been needed for Burnley … 6


Emery – tricky day for him with so many out, but did a fair job at juggling his resources … 7

Dyche – like some hideous reincarnation of all of Alex Ferguson’s worst traits. Comments after the game ridiculously laughable … 2


Burnley. Home Record and Probable Line-Up

December 22, 2018

Another two part post this morning  – you lucky folk.

Burnley FC History

Proud founder members of the Football League, Burnley Football Club began life as the ‘Burnley Rovers’ rugby club and became Burnley Football Club in 1882. They moved to their Turf Moor home shortly afterwards, at the invitation of the town’s cricket club, which is still uniquely situated next to the stadium.

FA Cup campaigns gave way to organised football in 1888 with the foundation of the Football League – and since then Burnley have claimed every major honour, with the exception of the League Cup.

The first honour was a Second Division title in 1897-98 and the club’s improved fortunes were finally reflected in an FA Cup triumph at The Crystal Palace in 1914, with a 1-0 win against Liverpool coming just months before the outbreak of the Great War.

Following the War, the Clarets continued to make their mark on the domestic game and in the 1920-21 season the team enjoyed a remarkable unbeaten run of 30 league matches as they led the club to an inaugural First Division title, having been runners-up the previous season.

That magnificent league record stood for over 80 years, until being battered by Arsenal in the 2003/04 season.

We have only met Burnley at home on four occasions and we hold a perfect record, if our leaky defensive wall is repaired in time we should keep that record intact.

Here are the Premier League home results

Our overall League home results


Part 2:

Burnley will prove a stern test this afternoon, having lost against an astonishingly lucky Spurs team in the 99th minute last week.

Like the town, they will be dour.

We need to score early and open up the game but this is not the Emery way at the moment. It would be great to go in for half time oranges with a lead.

Given the poor showing midweek the team will want to return to winning ways and hopefully show they are not replacing the old “crap in November” with “crap in December”.

My Team:


Mustafi   Sokratis    Nacho

Ramsey   Terrier   Xhaka    AMN


Laca    PEA

If Wardrobe is fit he should play in place of AMN, though I would like to see the young man get a run of games in the team.

An important game against rugged opponents, we need to garner 3 points.

Let it be So




Meaty, Beaty, Big And Bouncy

December 21, 2018

No, we’re not talking The Who compilation albums but the effects of both removing managers and of installing new ones.

Thought AAers might be interested in the fascinating discussion on radio by a sports psychologist of two “effects” relevant to the Moaninho story and, I thought, relevant to us.

First effect is called the “false kick”. He was suggesting the problems at Manure are higher up and throughout the Club rather than at the managers door. The false kick believes all the problems will be removed by getting rid of him, and he was doubtful.

The comparison with the Arse was interesting to me. Did we get rid of the main problem by ousting AW? (Much more complicated, of course because we have changed the structure dramatically at the same time).

The second effect he talked about is the “bounce”, one we are very familiar with, even recently (don’t mention St Mary’s). The result of a new man coming in and the change in “motivation” from the same players who were seemingly not performing for the last manager, suddenly start playing like men possessed.

Again, surely we have witnessed a bounce from Dick’s arrival!?

I liked his comparison with teaching.

When a new teacher arrives, all the kids don’t know how to react (including the baddies, in my experience). How should we react, what will he/she be like, what are the rules?

This is the strongest moment in a teacher’s reign. Doesn’t last long though, folks.