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


Is the Arsenal Man United rivalry a thing of the past?

January 24, 2019

Yesterday’s post suggested that the aggressive, no holds barred Arsenal v Man U animosity originated in February 1988 when Nigel Winterburn castigated Brian McClair for blasting a penalty into the North Bank right at the end of a fifth round FA Cup tie with United 2-1 down. Funny as that was, did the seething dislike of one another begin then?

As far as supporters go, the Cockney Reds (London-based Man U supporters) have always been universally disliked by fans of London teams. Between 1967 and 1993, Man U did not win the League title. We won it three times but it was Liverpool who dominated the 70s and 80s.

Arsenal won the title in 1989 with the famous last game of the season triumph at Anfield. That McClair/Winterburn spat had occurred the season before so perhaps it had been that which sparked the mutual loathing. Certainly October 1990 at Old Trafford saw a 21 man brawl, when McClair started kicking Winterburn after a dodgy tackle on Irwin.

As David Rocastle said, “It was our team-mate, our little blood brother, in trouble. They were kicking Nigel like a nightclub brawl. That’s what got us upset. If it was just a bad tackle, you wouldn’t go in like that, no chance. But when I saw them kicking Nigel I ran over thinking, ‘You can’t have this!’ We went in there and we stuck up for each other. At Arsenal we never, ever started any brawls – we just finished them.”

Arsenal won the game 1-0 thanks to Anders Limpar but we were docked 2 points, the mancs docked only 1, even though they had instigated the violence. Arsenal ran away with the League losing only the 1 game all season and the fans enjoyed singing “you can stick your 2 points up your a*se” as the title win was confirmed.

During the early and mid 90s, United dominated the League once Ferguson found his feet. He had been within a cat’s whisker of being sacked (oh, how things might have been). Once a certain Monsieur Wenger transformed the dreadful George Graham mid-90s Arsenal into a team which could compete for the title again, his rivalry with Ferguson was set and became a feature of the late 90s right up to the 2005 FA Cup Final.

Other outfits complained that it had become a two team League with either Arsenal or Man U winning it every season. The biggest games every season were the blood and thunder London/red Manc showdowns. Overmars in 1998, the epic 1999 season (which sadly all went United’s way) and the battle of the midfield titans of Vieira and Keane were all hall marks of that time.

United hated Arsenal’s 2003/4 dominance and several times used tactics more suited to Gorbals street fighting to close the gap in class. Our 49 game unbeaten run came to an end at the hands of grievous bodily harm all over the pitch, a pathetically lame excuse for a referee in Mike Riley and a disgraceful Wayne Rooney dive. If Fergusion couldn’t win fair and square, it was obvious he would do anything in his power to conjure up an advantage.

These days he sits in the stands like a genial old uncle who commands respect and admiration by all those around him. However, Arsenal fans will never forget the beatings our players took, especially at Old Trafford, which were the work of one man alone.

Since 2005, Arsenal slipped and it was only the revolting Robin van Persie who revived the animosity with his ‘listened to the little boy inside’ nonsense.

Are there any players left who might still understand the depths of hatred which caused mild-mannered bloggers like Chary to lose their rag whenever Man U were mentioned? Herrera is a sh*thouser’s sh*thouser but he’d be like that whichever team he played for. Maybe the new, baby-faced United manager would know more about it than anyone else involved tomorrow.

Rooney knew the score, van Nistelrooy would do anything to turn us over, the Neville brothers were manc-versions of the Krays in some of those early noughties games at OT, Schmeichel and Wright squared up over allegations of racist taunts and corresponding two-footed tackles, Keown caused the Dutchman to soil his pants in 2003, Lauren cut Ronaldo in half at Highbury, Vieira made Gary Neville look like a schoolboy in the tunnel at Highbury.

Andy Hooper

Where has all this resentment gone? Swallowed up by Chelsea and Man City buying the League, maybe. Would we want it all back how it was, maybe not. Perhaps with both teams currently more likely to be fighting for the 4th CL slot or Europa football rather than Championships, it has taken some of the edge off it?

What do you think? Are we now looking back at an intense rivalry consigned to history?

One thing’s for certain, when the whistle blows for kick off tomorrow evening, I hope the Arsenal team show the passion and pride they’ve shown in the two big London derbies at the Emirates so far this season and go out to humiliate Solskjaer’s boys with the quality of their football.


Arsenal FC – Our record against Man U in the FA Cup

January 23, 2019

Amazingly, out of the 14 times we’ve been drawn against Man U in the FA Cup (it’ll be 15 with Friday’s game), the record stands at 7 wins each. You’ll never guess how the goals for and against stand either – yep, 19 a-piece.

Of course our record is far superior because we’ve won 2 Finals (the less said about semi-finals, the better).

So in the FA Cup (and before Friday’s 4th Round tie) we’ve played the red mancs:

  •   at neutral venues in 2 Finals and 3 Semi-Finals (1 of those going to a replay);
  •   in 2 home games;
  •   and in 7 where we were drawn away.

Maybe just documenting the wins would seem a sensible option 🙂 – so here goes.


10th March 1906 – Man U 2 Woolwich Arsenal  3 – Quarter Final

Venue – Bank Street, Clayton – attendance 26,500

Our first FA cup game against Manchester United was an away quarter-final fixture on March 10, 1906.

The attendance at the game was reported as just shy of 30,000 by The Manchester Courier. Gate receipts totalled £951- and admission was only three-and-a-half pence.

Arsenal team: J Ashcroft; A Cross, J Sharp; J Bigden, P Sands, R McEachrane; B Templeton, B Garbutt, B Freeman; T Coleman, T Fitchie

Hosts United, were third in the Second Division at the time, while Arsenal were in the midst of a relegation battle in the top tier.

Charlie Sager opened the scoring for the hosts within one minute of referee J.B. Brodie’s first whistle. But the United supporters had barely captured their breath before the Gunners were on equal terms. From the re-start, Arsenal advanced and Billy Garbutt forced United keeper Harry Moger to parry into the path of the prolific Bert Freeman, who tucked away the rebound. Around the half-hour mark, Peddie restored United’s lead with a neat, high finish but the visitors went into the break level after Tim Coleman netted from close range.

The second half was all about one man: Arsenal’s first England international, goalkeeper Jimmy Ashcroft. United looked threatening throughout the second half but the brilliance of Ashcroft proved to be decisive. United’s Charlie Roberts was man-marking Tom Fitchie but that gave speedy Freeman space to run and the forward tucked in his second after a splendid dribble, handing Arsenal the lead for the first time in the match.

Despite United’s best efforts to force a replay there was no way past Ashcroft and, at the final whistle, the 28-year-old was carried off the field on the shoulders of his jubilant peers.


30th January 1937 – Arsenal 5 Man U 0 – 4th Round

Venue – Highbury – attendance 45,637

Arsenal were cruising through the Thirties, Cliff Bastin, Ted Drake and Alex James regularly trampling over other teams. We were the FA Cup holders, they were second in Division One, and the following season the Gunners would win our fifth title of the decade.

United, on the other hand, had been bouncing between the bottom of the First Division and top of the second since the end of the first World War. Promoted in 1936, they were bottom of the table when 1937 was ushered in.

A cup shock might have been on the cards but the home team went three goals up in seven minutes.

This result still stands as Arsenal’s largest home victory over United. Bastin opened the scoring from distance before Jimmy Brown put the ball into his own net under pressure from Ted Drake. The third went to Alf Kirchen, and before half-time the rampant home team added a fourth when Robert Trimming Davidson (Con) sent a cross-shot past Thomas Breen.

With regard to the spirit of the competition, United attempted to attack in the second half, but were unable to dig out anything remotely resembling a goal. Drake nodded home a deserved fifth, and the Times had this to say:

The ground was an unpleasant mixture of melting snow and mud, and its surface was very treacherous. The accuracy and speed with which Arsenal carried out their movements was therefore all the more remarkable.

As for United? A journalistic ‘well played’.

Manchester United were outplayed from the start of the game, but they must be given every credit for the way in which they stuck to a hopeless task, and for the spectators and players alike the game was made all the more enjoyable by the fact that never once did the Manchester players attempt to stoop to the employment of questionable tactics. (This was to change in the Ferguson era….ed)


12th May 1979 – Arsenal 3 Man U 2 – FINAL

Venue – Wembley – attendance 100,000

Between the two of them, United and Arsenal have played in 34 of the 133 FA Cup finals. But have only run into each other twice.  For 85 minutes of the 1979 final, Arsenal strolled around, Liam Brady purring like a majestic, ball-playing panther. Brian Talbot scored the first goal after 12 minutes, Frank Stapleton added the second just before half time, and as the clock ticked around to five o’clock, the contest looked done.

Then everything went mammaries up. In the 86th minute Steve Coppell slung a free-kick across the Arsenal penalty area, Joe Jordan sent it back into the middle, and Gordon McQueen poked the ball home. And just two minutes later, Sammy McIlroy danced past two stumbling defenders and slipped the ball underneath Pat Jennings.

Supporters heads went down. From the restart, Brady (who later claimed that he was just trying to get the ball out of the Arsenal half and away from his shell-shocked defenders) bustled his way to the edge of the United penalty area, then poked the ball wide to Graham Rix. He chipped the ball to the far post; United’s keeper Gary Bailey, perhaps anticipating a low cross, flapped and arriving at the far post, Alan Sunderland tucked the ball home before running off screaming and clenching his fists.


20th February 1988 – Arsenal 2 Man U 1 – 5th Round

Venue – Highbury – attendance 54,161

The following is the match report from an SBNation article on memorable Arsenal v Man U FA Cup matches

There is, on the face of it, no logical reason why Brian McClair shouldn’t have taken this penalty. He was a decent footballer, he wasn’t likely to lose his bottle or his legs in the course of his run up and, by the time he stepped up in the last minute of this fifth round tie, he’d already scored four from the spot that season.

It was 2-1 to Arsenal when he did. United came into the game in good spirits; they’d beaten Arsenal at Highbury a couple of weeks previously, and were in good away form generally. Arsenal, for their part, were slumping a touch in the league: apart from two cup games against lower-league opposition, they’d won just twice since the beginning of December.

So naturally, Arsenal started like a proper football team and United started like a rabble. The first goal is remarkable for the defensive chaos in the visitor’s ranks: each desperate hack clear only created a greater hole, and by the time Nigel Winterburn clipped a cross onto Alan Smith’s head, there were more attacking players in the six-yard box than there were defenders. This was followed by a perfect corner routine: Mike Duxbury rose and flicked the ball on, then his teammate Gordon Strachan crashed the ball into the roof of the net. His own net.

We can, perhaps, assume that the half-time break brought an early deployment of the Alex Ferguson hairdryer, for United steamed into their opponents after the break. McClair nicked one back with a sweet left-footed volley, and a couple of other efforts were hacked from the line. Then, with three minutes left, Norman Whiteside was tripped in the area by Michael Thomas, and up stepped McClair.

“This defeat amounted to a kind of funeral for Manchester United’s season,” wrote Hugh McIlvanney in the Observer, “and Brian McClair will be remembered as the undertaker.” But as United’s season died, something else was born: in the aftermath of the missed penalty, Winterburn took the opportunity to share some feelings with his dejected opponent. Winterburn has claimed not to remember what  he said precisely, though The Sledger’s Handbook by Liam McCann records that he delivered the positively Wildean dismissal: “You’re shit, you are”.

Whatever was said, it stung. Two years later, up at Old Trafford, Winterburn dived into a tackle, McClair dived into Winterburn, and one of English football’s most notable 21-man brawls unfolded. (Arsenal goalkeeper David Seaman was the conscientious objector.) Both teams were docked points, and a glorious rivalry was born — one that would rumble through much of the 1990s and 2000s, taking in Martin Keown and Ruud van Nistelrooy, Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira, before reaching a farcical nadir (or zenith, if you’re that way inclined) when Cesc Fabregas allegedly lobbed a slice of pizza at Alex Ferguson.


15th February 2003 – Man U 0 Arsenal 2 – 5th Round

Venue – Old Trafford – attendance 67,209

Being able to rest Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp and still stroll to a comfortable 2-0 victory was the curious tale of this fifth round tie.

Goals from Edu Gaspar and Sylvain Wiltord either side of half time sealed the victory but not before Bryan Giggs had missed an open goal after rounding Spunky. This game will be remembered for a fiery start and fairly typical of what became Ferguson’s gruesome attempts to kick Arsenal off the pitch. Jeff Winter had to call the captains together to calm the situation. It’s a shame that other referees since haven’t had the necessary cojones to stamp on Fergie’s bully boy tactics in a similar manner.


21st May 2005 – Man U 0 Arsenal 0  (5-4 on penalties to the good guys) – FINAL

Venue – Millennium Stadium, Cardiff – attendance 71,876

We beat United 0-0. Or rather they should have romped the match but somehow it finished goalless. 9 penalties out of 10 were scored including the decisive last one which turned out to be Patrick Vieira’s final kick in an Arsenal shirt. Paul (Mr Charisma) Scholes succumbed to the baying of the Arsenal fans to miss the only spotkick of the ten taken.


9th March 2015 – Man U 1 Arsenal 2 –  6th Round

Venue – Old Trafford – attendance 74,285

A game largely remembered for the winner scored by Danny Welbeck returning to his home town. 8,000 plus Gooners took over a corner of Old Trafford and had a wonderful evening. Nacho Monreal opened the scoring but his goal was cancelled out by Rooney’s header minutes later.

Danny’s goal was vigorously celebrated by him, the attending Arsenal faithful and millions of Gooners worldwide. Angel Di Maria was aggrieved to be cautioned for diving and was promptly sent off for petulantly grabbing at Michael Oliver’s shirt. (Michael Oliver has been getting his own back on us ever since).

We went on to smash Villa in the 2015 Final and win the Cup for the second year in succession.

Danny, Mesut and Santi, March 2015

This will be only our 3rd home game against United in the FA Cup and we won the first two – I have positive feelings about making it three in a row.

GunnerN5 plus some chas additions

What are we going to do without Hector?

January 22, 2019

It appears that Hector Bellerin has totally knackered his knee .Minimum 6 months out and most probably 9 months.

In my opinion, an in form Hector is an integral part of our team, he provides something no-one else does … pace on the wing. Not just pace but pace allied to excellent close control and an ability to bring others into the game; for a full back, he is an assist master.

Tackling may not be his strong point but we defend better with him in the team as can be seen by our results when he is missing. Sadly, Catwalk is going to be spending his days traveling between the treatment table, the gym and stupidly expensive designer fashion shops.


Should Mr. Emery buy/loan a replacement or use other members of the squad at right back? Let’s look at the alternatives.

1. Mr Lichtsteiner. As far as I can tell the Swiss Chap has played some role in 17 games, 9 in the PL. Whilst he as been on the pitch we have managed ONE clean sheet (PL). He has yet to perform to the level I expected from a man with his CV and reputation, I like the fellow, he is a master of the Dark Arts, something we have been lacking for many years, but can he really play week in, week out at his age? Does he have the stamina to get forward and back for 90 mins? I doubt it.

2. Mr. Maitland-Niles. Super prospect. Big bloke, strong, energetic, confident, an eye for a pass. In his few games at full back he has yet to make his mark. Let’s face it, the man is a midfielder and is being shoe-horned into a position which he is not qualified for  – yet. I know Flamini managed it a few seasons ago but he was an experienced player, AMN (Cons) is not. However, this is a huge opportunity for Ainsley (who calls their child Ainsley??), one he may well take with both hands.

3. Play a Back 3. I have only one word to say about this …. Mustafi.

4. Sign a loan player. Is there anyone out there who is good enough to immediately fit into our team. If he is, then why would a club allow him a loan loan move in January? Clyne might have worked.

My guess is that Mr. Emery’s solution will be a mixture of all of the above (perhaps not a signing). For him, and for The Arsenal the injury to Bellerin is very unfortunate.

written by BR.