Welcome Wrong Suarez

January 31, 2019

A shiny new signing arrives at the Emirates. €2m for a January to May loan deal. Same amount as we paid for the whole of Rob Holding.

I read of his signing on the BBC website – many were complaining that the BBC had duped them into thinking that it was the Biter we had signed. There are some very, very stupid people out there.

No, we have signed a 25 y.o Spaniard, named Denis Suarez Fernandez. Denis started his career at Celta Vigo and was signed by Man City as a 17 y.o. During his two years at The Northern Oilers he was voted Man City Youth Player of the Year, then Barcelona called. A short loan at Sevilla before Barca sold him to Villareal with a buy back clause which they activated. After 43 games for Barca he has arrived at a proper club – The Arsenal.

Essentially we have signed a Journeyman. Just turned 25 and on his 6th club.

We have a fine history of Spanish players – Cesc, Nacho, Santi, Reyes, Arteta, Catwalk – if he hits their heights we have got a bargain but why Suarez?


Another Spanish Pretty Boy

Suarez plays on the right of midfield i.e. where Ramsey plays. So why not play Ramsey and sign Suarez in summer? it is not as though we have loads of money to burn on chaps riding the pine. Emery knows him from his Sevilla loan and must have seen something in the lad which he believes Arsenal are lacking. Just what that is we will soon discover. Suarez is undoubtedly an Emery signing.

Also in the news today, our very exciting prospect Smith Rowe is going on loan to Lepzig. Fine move for all 3 parties. Smith Rowe (Lab) is a right sided midfielder, much like Ramsey, and Suarez.

And, the elephant in the room – Mhkitaryan.


Henrikt is a very highly paid player, he is a right sided attacking MF. Perhaps Mr. Emery has a penchant for midfielders, much like his predecessor. Arsenal overloaded for MF’s, surely not?

Can Suarez play as a right winger? Mr. Emery said we need wingers and he is right, we do. Hopefully, we will sign one in the next few hours. As it is, we have an exciting new player and I wish him every success.

Written by BR.


Arsenal 2 Cardiff 1 – Player Ratings

January 30, 2019

Mesut as Captain.

What’s this? Have they made up or just a sop against a lower team?

We shall see.

First Half

Absolutely dire in the sleet. Two poor teams.

Cardiff might have thought they shaded it with slightly more dreadful efforts off target.

Stuart MacFarlane

Neither keeper had his hands warmed in 45 minutes of something you could barely call football.

Laca should have had a penalty when kicked from behind in first half stoppage time. Dean was poorly positioned and didn’t see the challenge.

Second Half

There was a slight improvement after the break with Wobbly on for our centre back screenplay writer.

A penalty was awarded at last when (even) Dean couldn’t pretend he hadn’t seen Kola being tripped in the area. Wobbly’s pass behind the defender was the best pass of the whole game and created the penalty. Finally, we had a clear chance of  scoring. Auba obliged.

Laca scored a well deserved second after 83 minutes having got back on his feet after being fouled (one of the only ways of escaping having someone kicking your ankles on a night for the brave).

Cardiff’s consolation was fortunately too little, too late.


A strange team selection which was 100% reflected in a poor first half from the boys in red and white.

No real pattern or structure in Arsenal’s play. I’m still flummoxed.

Still, three valuable points on a miserable January night.

Stuart MacFarlane


Leno – nothing to do, can’t blame him for that  … 7

Lichtsteiner – subbed for Jenks about summed up how effective he was… 6

Mustafi – it seemed incredible that he arose from the dead like Lazarus after seemingly jarring his ankle irreparably to not only continue but also make a few decent challenges – deserves an extra point for tomorrow’s swelling on his ankle  … 7

Elneny – ’tis a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. … 6

Monreal – thank heaven he was fit – our best defender by a mile   … 7

Kolasinac – flat pack special from the wardrobe – has become plan A … 6

Torreira – still have no idea what his role in the team is meant to be and, it seems, neither has he  … 6

Guendouzi – deeper than Torreira in the first half- why? Kicked so many times without recourse from Dean – his legs are going to be blue tomorrow – still only 19 years old, he’s going to be some player if he survives … 7

Ozil – a test or a punishment? – could be either. Not his best performance or his worst. Waved to the crowd when he was subbed  … 6

Lacazette – worked his couilles off as usual – extra point for the decisive goal  … 8

Aubameyang – reminded me of Adebayor’s first touch in the first half, slightly improved after the break – scored with the pen which is all you would ask … 7


Iwobi – added some forward impetus – superb Mesut-like pass for the pen  … 7

Jenkinson – tried hard and did his best while looking slightly like he’s playing in the wrong league  … 6

Ramsey – did ok when I’m sure he would have preferred to stay in his warm sleeping bag, nearly got the third … 6


Emery – some seem to have a clear vision of what his aim is for team structure, I’ve none – three points not to be sniffed at, though, even if it was against relegation fodder … 7

Wagner – ‘brave’ showing from his team of average footballers asked to run around like crazy, nipping at ankles like Jack Russells on heat  … 5


If it wasn’t for bad luck, we wouldn’t …

January 29, 2019

Much of the pre-match attention will focus on the tragic loss of Sala. In a sport dominated by brusque masculinity it is rare to hear someone speak with as much dignity and emotional honesty as Neil Warnock. Hats off to the chap (henceforth known as David Wagner). I know Arsenal will handle the event with the tact and grace we expect from our club.



I appreciate Mr. Wagner the man but certainly not his footballing philosophy. Wagner/Warnock knows his teams don’t have the skill sets to compete so he instills them with aggression, shit-housery and an ability to PTB. All of which we will witness this evening.

As you would expect the prime reasons for Cardiff being in the relegation zone are an inability to score goals allied to an propensity to concede. They have scored only 19 goals, second lowest to Huddersfield, and conceded 44, second highest to Fulham. Mr. Wagner has problems. Thankfully, David is used to the relegation battle and I wish him luck in keeping Cardiff in the PL, hopefully at the expense of some Northern team of cloggers.


Mr. Emery. These are our 3 Best Players

We go into this match with a skeleton crew of defenders. Two lost in our last match. With both Bellerin and Holding on a gap year and the young Greek lad still in the treatment room we are down to bare bones. It must be awful if Mustafi is the first name on the teamsheet 😦

There is the possibility that Koscielny may play with a mask – he can be our be our Lone Ranger with Monreal as Tonto and Mustafi as Silver (only the older reader will get that joke!)

Elneny can play central defence. A chimp can write Macbeth.

No problems upfront, just a selection. Does Mr.Emery play an attacking team or continue with the midfield diamond? You know my opinion. We are at home against a team in 19th who have picked up 5 points on the road, scoring just 6 times. It is a night to unleash the attacking talents in the squad.

I would like to see Iwobi start, alongside Ozil, PEA and Laca. Drop Ramsey and Wardrobe and Nacho playing left of a back 3. This requires Iwobi to cover much ground but the lad is young and will love running about on a chilly night in London.

We need a win after the confidence draining result last Friday and with a trip to Maine Road on Sunday.

Let it be So


Arsenal FC – Our home record against the Bluebirds

January 28, 2019

Cardiff City was founded in 1899 as Riverside A.F.C. In 1905, Cardiff was granted city status by King Edward VII, and as a result the club put in a request to the South Wales and Monmouthshire Football Association to change their name to Cardiff City, but the request was turned down as they were deemed to be not playing at a high enough level. To combat this they arranged to join the South Wales Amateur League in 1907.

In 1908 the club changed their name and in 1910 they entered the Southern Football League – in 1920 they joined the English Football League. Since 1908, the club’s home colours have been blue and white, leading to a nickname of The Bluebirds, with the exception of a period between 2012 and 2015 when the club’s owner, Vincent Tan, changed the home colours to red.

They are the only club from outside England to have won the FA Cup, doing so in 1927. They have also reached three other cup finals in English competitions, the 1925 FA Cup Final against Sheffield United, the 2008 FA Cup Final against Portsmouth and the 2012 Football League Cup Final against Liverpool, suffering defeat on each occasion, and have won the Welsh Cup on 22 occasions.

Ninian Park – 57,893 fans crammed in to watch the League clash with Arsenal in 1953.

The team’s longest period in the top-tier of English football came between 1921 and 1929 and they have spent nine seasons in the top-flight since this period, the most recent being in 2018–19.

Cardiff’s main achievements

FA Cup Winners:  1927     Finalists:  1925,  2008

FA Charity Shield Winners:  1927

Football League Cup:   Finalists:  2012

Welsh Cup

Winners: 1912, 1920, 1922, 1923, 1927, 1928, 1930, 1956, 1959, 1964, 1965, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1988, 1992, 1993

I’ve written about their 1927 FA Cup win on several occasions; suffice to say they beat Arsenal 1-0.

This clip is from 8th January 1955 the next time we played Cardiff in the FA Cup. The Cardiff kit was exactly the same layout as the Arsenal kit but in blue. Thank Dennis real life wasn’t in black and white!

Here is our home record in the League.



Arsenal 2 Cardiff City 0 – 1st January 2014

The last time Cardiff were in the Premier League, we sneaked past them with two goals in the last 3 minutes of the 90, courtesy of Lord Bendtner and Theo Walcott. Solskjaer was watching from the stands and took over as the Bluebirds’ manager shortly after. He couldn’t save them from relegation though and was sacked after a poor start to their following season Championship campaign.

Another home victory for Arsenal is the most likely result. GunnerN5

More Mesut

January 27, 2019

There was a fine discussion on AA yesterday. No surprise that Mr Ozil was the centre of attention.

As I have the floor, may I take the opportunity to expand my thoughts?

It comes down tho this, do I want Arsenal to become a defensive unit in the manner of George Graham’s teams post ’89 or do I want to watch a team which can win through artistry rather than endeavour? ( hopefully we can have both).


Once GG won the title his modus operandi was to denude the team of inspiration to the point where the midfield consisted of water carriers to supply the mercurial God8. It was successful but awful to watch. In retrospect the singing of “1-0 to The Arsenal” may have assured GG that we were happy. Like many I was relieved when he left.

Why were we so happy with Wenger? Because we shed the Boring Boring Arsenal tag. Over almost 20 years we were privileged to watch artists encouraged to be creative, in later years AW struggled but we still watched Cesc or Rosicky or RVP or Arshavin etc

Today we have PEA, Ozil and Lacazette who have the skill sets to get you out of your seat,  Especially Ozil.

Those who question his work rate do not acknowledge his non-stop movement in the quest to find space. From this space he can create opportunity for the strikers but inevitably Ozil has weaknesses, and in particular, his unwillingness to defend (though I think this is exaggerated). I don’t care but Mr. Emery clearly does.

Like all on AA, I am willing to give Unai time; this is not his squad, nor is Ozil the type of player he likes. At Seville he built a team based around a strong defence. At PSG he was sacked because he couldn’t work with Neymar, nor play the type of attacking, flowing football required by the Qatar Oilers. Let us not forget that he won the French treble before he was asked to leave so it wasn’t due to a lack of silverware.

This is purely my opinion and possibly/probably not the view of the majority but … we are not going to compete with MC/MU/ Chelsea or Liverpool  for the next few years because Mr. Kroenke will not invest. We may win a Cup. So what are we left with? If we perform exceptionally we MAY get Champions League which would be a major  achievement given the outstanding quality of the Top 6.

Anyone who believes Emery will make a root and branch clear-out of the squad is mistaken, we don’t have the money. As such, he must make the very best of the players we have and Ozil is our very best.

Summarising, the Ozil argument is about pragmatism versus artistry. Give me entertainment every time even if this results in frustration and disappointment.

To see Guendouzi/Mhiki/Iwobi/Ramsey repeatedly picked ahead of Ozil infuriates me. Give him 60 minutes and if he is lost sub the man but please don’t waste his talent.

written by BR

Arsenal’s Drama Queens Overreact

January 26, 2019

My macro view of the state of things:

  • We have the 6th best squad in England
  • We have the joint 3rd best 1st X1 (= with Utd, Totnum and Chelsea)
  • We lost 1-3 at home and that hurts
  • Our season’s priority (including another summer’s transfer window) is to rebuild, find a new identity and get back to being a top four side
How’s it going?
  • In his first window, Emery bought two defenders, two defensive midfielders and a goalie
  • Our defence is as bad as ever BUT….when was the last time Monreal, Kos, Sok and Bell had a run of games? Exactly
  • Holding was looking good 
  • Emery certainly got things right against Totnum and The Chavs in the league
Last night:
  • It is not a good way to start the weekend by losing 1-3 at home in The Cup, and I don’t care who that is against
  • We started the night with a back four of M-N, Kos, Sok and Kol. That lasted 29 minutes.
  • The opposition then scored in the 31st and 33rd, thus allowing them to sit back and counter against a defence that very soon went and lost its other CB.
Could it have been different?
  • Mmmm, maybe, but realistically we’re looking at the first half hour and our inability to score first 
  • I think we set up without enough in the middle ie against Chelsea we had Granit, Terry and Ouzi, with just Ramsey supplying a front two of Auba and Laca
  • Auba is not a bloody winger, he is an elite goal hanger 🙄
The Drama Queens
  • Post match I had a very rare sniff around other blogs. Dear God, I promise that will be the last time
  • Things were very bright post Spuds and Chavs, so surely a reasonable level of reaction to last night shouldn’t be too much to ask 
My feelings
  • Our attacking midfielders are Mesut, Ramsey, Iwobi, Danny and Mhki
  • Only one of those has top two teams level quality to set up Auba and Laca
  • Emery doesn’t like that player.  At all
  • I do get concerns over his work rate, and we also know Ramsey is off. While I’m just about ok with  Mesut being off loaded as well given the manager’s view, this presents a HUGE challenge. He needs to find two Terrier level age/price/quality players to fill the Ramsey/Mesut hole and that is a very, very big hole
  • We’re now left with just the League and Europa, which given my previously stated season’s objectives is not bad as we’re free from any distractions. Chelsea are the bookies Europa favourites and we can beat them.

Ok, I’m bored of this now. We have free weekends. Enjoy.


A Friday Pre-match

January 25, 2019

Friday night kick off. Reminds me of 26/5/89. A similar result would be lovely.

OGS has walked into a perfect situation, any team relieved from the yoke of Merino-dom is certain to play better, especially one which contains so many highly-priced egoists. Dropping Pogba and Martial in order to inspire them was never going to work.

Will we see the blood and thunder of previous MU cup ties? I hope so but very much doubt it. Gone are the days when Arsenal had players who would “get stuck in” though we are better than under Mr. Wenger in the art of sh*thousery, Sokratis, in particular, is Lauren-esque in his attitude. As always, we will need a strong , unbiased, efficient referee


I expect Mr. Emery to start with his strongest team because this is an important game for him. Having beaten a poor Chelsea team Arsenal will want to cement the growing confidence in the squad. After beating Spurs we lost our mojo, we do not want a repeat

Will Mr Emery continue with the midfield diamond which worked so effectively last weekend? MU have so much pace upfront, it would seem the best tactic but perhaps he will revert to a Back 3 given the injury to Hector.

The Corporal, AMN or Licht at right back? My choice would be AMN simply because of the pace on MU’s flanks; Martial, Rashford,  Ratface Lingard and the Dog Fancier.

Sanchez is an odd case – I expect him to get a frosty reception but why should he? He scored some wonderful goals for us and for a season or two carried the team, why the hostility? It is not as if Sanchez was a Gooner; he was just a hired hand who left to get more money. I don’t blame him. €400k a week is quite an incentive to leave the Arsenal.

Winning the F.A. Cup is part of the Arsenal tradition, it remains high on our priority list. United are our rivals for a CL place and our long-term rivals in terms of glory. We need to beat them.

Let it be So