Get it done please, Ivan

January 29, 2018

Who would have thought the January transfer window was going to be so busy and exciting?

Coq out, Theo out, Sanchez out – Henrikh in as part of the latter deal.
If we manage to get Pierre-Emerick over the line, then it would be seen as a successful window, surely?
If not, the squad would appear depleted and the pervasive mood one of deflation.

Does the Aubameyang sale depend on Dortmund finding a replacement?

Did BVB initially want Big Ollie as part of the deal but we slapped a ‘Not For Sale’ notice on his beard?  Would you be happy losing our plan B?

In today’s cash-rich footballing world, the difference between 50 million and 60 million seems negligible – is that how Arsenal see it?

We can surely afford to reduce our cash reserves a little so are there any other considerations regarding wage bills?

Do other clubs have these seemingly interminable transfer sagas and we just don’t notice them?

Ivan, bearing in mind we can’t force Dortmund to sell and if it is humanly possible, please don’t allow yourself and Arsenal Football Club to end up with egg on our faces by 11pm on Wednesday.

We can’t even blame Dick Law now.


Luck be a Lady tonight.

November 26, 2014

This is one of Frank Sinatra’s career highlights (just listen to the arrangement by Billy May and the Nelson Riddle Orchestra). The lyrics tell of a gambler and his relationship to luck and romance.

Last night City were being humiliated at home by a 10 man Bayern and yet with within 3 minutes two of the world’s most reliable defenders make elementary mistakes leading to a highly unlikely MC victory. True, the goals were well taken but the victory was as lucky as I have seen in many a year. Furthermore, MU’s win on Saturday was secured by a healthy dose of good fortune

Some people say “you make your own luck” which quite frankly is total bolleaux. Whilst accepting that hard work has an influence upon results there is such a thing as good fortune and in Arsenal’s case, bad fortune. How else can one explain the two long term injuries in the only area of the pitch we were inadequately covered? Or the shots to goals ratio or the increasing number of wrong refereeing decisions or the opposition scoring more goals than shots taken or two GK’s out or Giroud not in the squad as Welbz gets hurt or the Ozil and Theo situations or the  …..  you get the picture.

Mr Wenger says he is confident we will have a good season, for him to be correct tonight is a good starting point because we play a fine opponent. Borussia Dortmund are tonight’s victims and are having their worst start to a season under Klopp. They have a lengthy injury list yet have already qualified as winners of the group.   As I have written 3 times about Dortmund in the past 2 seasons – that’s your lot about them!


Proper Fans

They can be beaten. This is How: We attack with more menace, defend with greater cohesion And our Luck turns. With those three elements in place we can beat anyone.

No need to go through the team, if you bother to read an Arsenal blog you probably have as good an idea as I do! Instead let us look once again at the midfield …. to Flamini or Rosicky? Should Santi be dropped for Podolski?

If Welbeck is injured it must be better to play Podolski with Alexis central than to give another start to Sanogo.  Rosicky may be less defensively capable but Flamini brings nothing to the attack and Tomas always brings momentum from midfield. We are at home – we attack. Simple. But Mr Wenger will almost certainly disagree and start with the Arteta/Flamini axis.

What a night for young Martinez.  A first home start for the 22 y.o. Argentinian – please let the gods of good fortune shine upon him and give him an error free evening.

Ox to score tonight. You can do it for England now do it for those who pay your wages!

Very Important. How do we influence a change of luck? I have tried changing lucky socks – didn’t work. I have moved my Ganesh to face the TV screen – nothing changed.  Stopped using my lucky toothpaste – nada. Changed my lucky Valpolicella to a so far unlucky Merlot. Stopped eating the lucky cake and am trying various crispy snacks. Stopped wearing my 49’er shirt and gone back to wearing the home shirt. All to no avail.

Have you got any ideas?


Written by Big Raddy



BVB. The Return.

September 16, 2014

The Signal Iduna Park. Scene of one of the best football nights of my life. Regular readers will be bored with yet another reminder of the why’s and wherefore’s of Didit and my victorious campaign to German soil. We came, we saw, we conquered. Enough said.

However, a repeat of the Arsenal victory may kick start our season and I can see no reason why we cannot beat them again.

To begin with BVB have lost important players – Lewandowski (who scored at the Emirates) has joined Bayern and Gundogan, Reus, Hummels,  Sahin , Ji and some bloke with an unpronounceable name from Truskolasy in Poland are all out injured.  However, Sven Bender and Kagawa are fit as is some Armenian CF who is a bit tasty and whose name I cannot spell.

BVB are finding their feet in the Bundesliga having won two and lost one so far. Kagawa returned to a heroes welcome at the weekend and scored in an easy win over Freiburg but Arsenal are (hopefully) a sterner test.

Arsenal have defensive problems …… Debuchy knacked,  Monreal banjaxed, Chambers 50/50 (throat knack). Thankfully Gibbs is fit and I suggest we may see Flamini take the right back shirt with Arteta returning to the conductor’s podium. Or we could blood Bellerin. Would you?

Now I have high hopes for Bellerin – I like that he comes from the Barca factory, that he has phenomenal pace and that he has a ridiculous haircut. Plus his parents were irresponsible enough to name the lad Hector. Can you imagine going into the 5th form classroom and introducing yourself as Hector? He must be well hard by now.

Mr Wenger has taken Bellerin with the squad to Germany so he must trust the boy.


Does this chap look the full shilling?

These defensive injuries are certain to arouse the smug  “I told you so’s” amongst some of the AFC fans but before you get all Jack the Peanut – the defensive frailties have been highlighted by every single football fan and you are not cleverer than Mr Wenger – so sit down and shut up. Mr Wenger was obviously after a specific target and didn’t get his man. Nor did he find a suitable player to improve the squad. Like everyone else I think this was poor, make that piss-poor from our Purchasing Dept.

Elsewhere we abound with outstanding talent, so much so that great players cannot even get on the bench and that is without Giroud, Walcott and Diaby. I would start Podolski tonight instead of  ….. mmmm I don’t know who 😀

And that is the problem. We have too many quality players.

My Team:

16th sept

Perhaps we could rest Welbeck, play Sanchez centrally with Rosicky or Podolski playing a more defensive left sided role. We have been exposed recently by our over-zealous attacking fullbacks. I don’t blame them – I would prefer to look at the tactical awareness of the midfielders who must see the huge gaps Monreal and Debuchy leave behind.

The local food in Dortmund is unsurprisingly beer and sausage. The local brew is Dortmunder Pilsner and I can tell you from personal experience it is possible to almost drown in the stuff without losing consciousness (5.5% alc).  A fine tasting brew. I am told it is best accompanied by the “Salzkuchen mit Mettente” which is a curried sausage in a caraway seeded, bagel type roll. I have only tried the bratwurst (hugely disappointing).



So will we come home with the points? It is undenianable that BVB are a fine team, one of Europe’s best and the sense of lassitude about tonight’s game is purely repetition rather than opposition. It must be the same for Messrs. Klopp and Wenger, whom we are told are good friends which may be very exciting when thinking about Arsene’s successor! Both teams are weakened by injury, both teams are struggling for form as their international players recuperate from the stresses of the World Cup. I would be delighted with a repeat of 1-0 to the Arsenal.

Lastly, I am disappointed but not surprised by ITV’s decision to show Liverpool against a team of East European hairdressers as opposed to what is the plum tie of the round. No doubt we will hear that the “atmosphere is incredible as Liverpool return to the Big Stage” etc etc  Anti-Arsenal bias? You bet.

written by Big Raddy



The Dortmund Tickle. A view from Block 70

November 13, 2013

This is a description of a fantastic two days, written primarily for my benefit so in later years I can remember details. Please ignore it if bored and get to the comments where we can discuss other things……

Late afternoon flight from a sunny and, as ever, lovely Copenhagen. Many years have passed since I followed my Arsenal into  foreign lands against such a quality side – and I must admit I travelled with trepidation hidden behind a calm exterior.

Would Didit arrive on time? Would he have the tickets? Could he drive on the “wrong-side” of the road? Would we find our way to the ground? Could we survive on bratwurst, schnitzels and sauerkraut? But above all, would the Gunners get hammered at the Signal Idana?

At this point I should describe my traveling companion but given the nature of blogs and my innate compulsion to exaggerate perhaps I should limit myself to this – Micky is a top bloke and rose to every challenge (apart from occasional lapses of driving concentration when his co-pilot would scream “your on the wrong side of the effing road”).


So ….. we arrived in Dusseldorf Airport at exactly the same time and picked up our hire car. Didit had booked a sewing machine with wheels but thankfully listened when I insisted upon an upgrade and a sat-nav, without which we would still be circling the airport ring road desperate for a drink and a bathroom. It must be stated that German road signs leave a lot to be desired, No, make that they are completely crap.

We stayed in the Ibis Dusseldorf Airport Hotel ….. You know those Ryanair flights that go to an airport that looks as though it is close to the city of your destination but turns out to be a €50 taxi from town? Well, our hotel was the same  – 18kms from the airport with nothing except trees, fields and a bewildering number of roads around it! The reception closed at 10 p.m. and early the next morning we met a chap who was forced to sleep under a tree because he arrived too late!

Weds Morning: Up with the lark (well, Micky was) and out on the road to Dusseldorf in search of a fine breakfast. One of my friends lived there for two years and when I asked “Is there anything you can recommend us to do or see?”, she replied “No, nothing whatsoever!” She was right. Typical grey city centre with lots of the same-same shops and chain restaurants – think Gloucester with a bit of Weimar architecture. We found an old style breakfast place and then left for Dortmund (I had scrambled eggs and MDI something with eggs and vegetables)

An hours drive through industrial flatland took us to the city and we headed straight for the stadium car park arriving around lunch-time. Didit was on a mission, he wanted Bratwurst and so we took a local train from the carpark into Dortmund.

Now think on this …… In Germany a match day ticket will give you free public transport on the day of the game. The ticket cost just £37 and we could have taken a return train trip from anywhere in Germany for nothing! TFL are you reading this?

Dortmund city centre was dull and grey and all you would expect from a city which had been pulverized not so long ago by the Valiant Few. We found the town’s best Bratwurst stall and had lunch. No doubt at all  – a Lincolnshire or Cumberland sausage is vastly superior, but at least we tried it.


By now it was raining and we looked for the traveling fans. They were easy to find – the noise was our guide. All the red and white were in a square which unsurprisingly was edged by bars and pubs. The atmosphere was rowdy but fun with much imbibing of the local brew. There was a Gooner in a kilt, a middle aged German woman went up to him and asked if what she had heard was true – he turned his back, lifted his kilt and mooned her. She and all the locals loved it!

Didit and I looked for an authentic German bar and found one nearby. Not too many of our boys but a welcoming atmosphere. After a few minutes a couple of “older” gentlemen sat by us and Micky realised he knew one of them from his train trips up from the West Country. We spent an alcoholic few hours with Nigel and John discussing the team and Mr Wenger. I was on a beer called DAB, a fine brew. Didit, being the driver, stayed on the non-alcoholic beers and I have to say they looked as insipid as they probably tasted. Oh, and we ate a dreadful schnitzel cooked in very stale oil.


Onto the ground. We took an absolutely packed train back to the ground where the atmoshere was building nicely. No aggro, just thousand upon thousand of people looking forward to an epic encounter. The BD fans were very pleasant in a condescending way, fully expecting us Gooners to be sadly trudging home a couple of hours later.

Entering the ground was crap. Only word for it. Crap. Everyone was body-searched prior to going through the turnstiles – if there had been a crowd surge (as there would be in England) it would have been a dangerous place to be.


Into the ground. We were in Block 70, left of the goal. The main BD stand – the one in all the vids – was already full of singing fans but the rest of the ground remained half-empty 10 mins before kick-off which cannot be said of the AFC end. There were 3,300 of us and we made one hell of a racket. All the usual songs were being belted out with gusto as the team warmed up in front of us.

There was a DJ and the sound system was so loud it was difficult to hear the BD fans singing their anthems. They did the usual stuff of naming players by their first names allowing the fans to shout out the surname. Just small screens at each corner of the ground, none of which showed replays but perhaps this is a CL directive.

From the first no Gooner sat down – somewhat exhausting for a man of my advancing years..

Just in front of us was a lad with a blow-up model of a Spitfire which he held over his head for most of the match!

Kick Off.  I will not write about the game because you have all seen it but I can assure you that apart from the singing in the ground it was a deadly 45 mins. A couple of times BFG saved us and his song rang out. At half-time I was convinced we were doomed, Didit was more confident.


15 minutes of tension, all around us imploring the team to get just one attack or shot. Then it happened. We went absolutely mental. I cannot recall such madness since TA scored against the Spuds at Wembley in the FAC semi-finals. It was bedlam. If we were loud before now we turned it up to 11. The Aaron Ramsey song was sung for 10 minutes non-stop.

Being of a nervous disposition I was desperate for the final whistle and the last 20+ minutes seemed a lifetime, had it not been for the singing I might have had a coronary. But at the same time the team seemed totally at ease and Micky was adamant we had it won – he was right.

Leaving the  ground was as brilliant as you would imagine. We were “released” at the same time as the BD fans which surprised me but there was no animosity whatsoever. The BD fans were superb in defeat – if only ours could be. The chaps I spoke to were looking forward to beating Bayern next week and felt they were unlucky but wished us luck.

It had stopped raining. We talked to French Gooners, Gooners from Kiev, Gooners who had traveled from Singapore, 20 Gooners who had come over from Kuala Lumpur for the Liverpool and BD games and were going home on Thursday morning – what a  memorable trip they had!

A long but very enjoyable drive back to the Hotel Fleapit during which we reminisced about the game. We spent time assessing our players and giving them ratings which were exactly the same as Arnie’s apart from Mertesacker – we gave him a 10 because we both thought he played a perfect game.

Thursday morning we had planned to do some sight-seeing but quite frankly the weather was awful, the local area was at best dull, and we were exhausted. My vocal chords were shredded (which is bad news for the people who have hired me to sing at their party tonight 😦  ) So we went to the airport and spent a few delightful hours chewing the fat.

In the departure lounge I met a group of Swedish Gooners with whom I travelled back to Copenhagen –  a tired but very, very happy Gooner.

Highlights of the trip? The Gooners and Micky. Both excellent company.

Can’t wait for the next time

Written by BigRaddy

And here is the account from the other half of the travelling duo ………..

The Champions League draw is made, and we are grouped with Marseille, Napoli und Dortmund. So, which game to go to?

Mmmm, great food in France and Italy. Beautiful Cities Marseille and Naples. Dortmund has neither, in abundance! Also, let’s not forget that probably the best chance of winning either would not be in Germany. So….where to go?

“I know, let’s go to Germany”.

Why? Because I like the feeling of taking a risk and coming out on top. It’s where the best memories are to be banked, and I knew that although an away win here came with the smallest probability, if, and if we pulled it off, we’d have the “we woz there feeling”.

20:10, November 5th, and within moments of each other two aeroplanes touched down at Dusseldorf International Airport. One, from Copenhagen with a Big Raddy aboard, and the other from London with a Didit and very handsome German Frauline aboard.

Raddy: “Didit, you old git, great to see you. Which company did you rent the car from?”

Didit: “Err, dunno. Forgot to print it out”.

An hour later, and our two heroes pull out of the airport.

Raddy: “Didit, you f***ing idiot, you’re on the wrong side of the road”

Didit: “Jeepers, Daddy, calm down. It’s no big deal”

Moments later…..

Didit: “Hey Daddy, just had a thought. We’re in Germany where there are no speed limits”

Didit applies the pressure from his right foot. Raddy, noticeably tensioning himself for impact, goes pale”.

Raddy: ““Didit, you f***ing idiot, can’t you see the 50 speed limit signs everywhere”

Didit: “No, I’m meant to wear glasses for driving. Please relax, there are people in this world with real problems, you know”.

Ok, this is just a taster, or mood setter. To be fair, things calmed down, and although we got very lost, we eventually settled into our digs. Next day, into Dusseldorf. Crap place, don’t bother, but a fine breakfast was had in a lovely pub. Back to the car and up to Dortmund and the ground. Parked. Tram into town. Got Bratwurst Hot Dog. Verdict: edible. Although this from a bloke who thinks raw limpets are edible, but they are nevertheless “disappointing”.

Passed the massed Gooners in the main square, and dived into a lovely old bar. Here we felt settled and happy. We were talking to a great Gunner here, who kept slithering drinks over to his seated, back turned, very rain sodden dishevelled chum. I get another round, and tap said heap on the shoulder. He spins round.

“Didit, you old git, how are you”. Here’s a lesson, and I’ve actually mentioned this guy on here before, but we sometimes chat Arsenal for a couple of hours as we share the train journey back West from The Emirates. He’s about 70, and still goes to all home and aways. Wow.

We spent many very happy hours with these two epic Gunners, and Raddy and I got in the mandatory Schnitzel.

Then, crammed into a train with expectant Dortmund fans, we went to the biggest stadium in Germany, home to one of the noisiest crowds in football, to play one of last year’s finalists, and won.

As for their legendary fans, ok, they do make one heck of a lot of noise, but to me it is somewhat orchestrated. A combination of deafening pa, some git on the pitch before the game coordinating the four stands in turn, and then during the game itself two “leaders” atop a platform in front of the “home” end, facing the fans. For me the effect was certainly atmospheric, but it seems somewhat artificial. There is no doubt in my mind they lack the wit and spontaneity of the English Fan. As I’m sure Chas will testify, the away fans have a camaraderie and togetherness you don’t get at home games. This, combined with being in the minority does appear to gel the boys into a unit who feel “we’re in this together, and we’re fighting against overwhelming odds”. By the way, even these legendary fans do appear to only “sing when they’re winning”.

It was truly a fantastic feeling, and shivers were in me timbers. The three thousand plus Gooners stood from beginning to end, and I don’t believe one did not become totally overwhelmed by the occasion. We sang, shouted, screamed, danced, and sang some more.

Then we scored, and suddenly it was us who owned the stadium. The final whistle came accompanied by sheer unadulterated and complete joy. I hugged the bare chested drugged up lunatic next to me. For that one moment, I really really liked him very much.

As we made our way down the concrete steps inside the stadium, arms aloft while “Aaaaron Raaamseying” at full pelt, I turned to Raddy “It’s not often grown men get to do this”. Then more, “Aaaaaron Raaaamsey, Aaaaron Raaaaamsey”.

Next morning, and having coffee in the hotel.

“Didit, you old git, how the hell are you?” Two more acquaintances from post home game pub drinking. We give them a lift to the airport.

There is no moral or anything to learn from this, but I have never had a better away night as a Gunner.

So, did we make the right choice of games? Big time. I’ve already forgotten about the game itself, but I’ll never forget the experience. Oh, and after two days together, Big Raddy is still talking to me. Double result.

As we parted company, my last words to the Great Man were: “Life is about banking memories. We just did a big one, Daddy”.

Thank you Raddy for being great company, and thank you Chas, for making it possible.

Written by MickyDiIt

Another great game of Football?

November 6, 2013

Big night ahead. Can we really beat last season’s finalists at their massive ground?

There will be 80+k fans in the Signal Iduna Park including two of our very own AA’ers and very excited they will be!

Given the manner of our home defeat there is cause for cautious optimism – I really believe we can get something from the game. Two silly defensive mistakes cost us the points and we can be sure the Welsh Messi will not try and dribble his way out of trouble in our area again.

So – we have seen why Dortmund are so highly rated but they have seen why we smashed Napoli and the Scouse. Both teams will have respect for each other after the excellent game at THOF.

Dortmund:  As I gave a breakdown in my last BD post it seems superfluous to repeat it, but I must make mention of Lewandowski. One chance at THOF and he scored, a 16 minute hat-trick on Friday, 12 goals from 14 games so far this season, the man is on fire – the chances of his coming to THOF in January are almost non-existent.

But is he as good as Ollie Giroud? Could he execute that flick to Wilshere in the goal of the month? I don’t think so.

Another major threat is Marco Reus. Now here is a bloke who should be playing at THOF. Left sided attacker, 20 goals in 43 games for BD and 7 in 17 for Germany, 24 y.o. – perfect. Apparently Man Utd are trying to buy him, but who would want to go to that flea-pit when he is already at a bigger and better club?images

Must be windy in Dortmund

Klopp has been very complimentary about both Mr Wenger and Arsenal. Stating that he should be Sir Wenger and that AFC have been the best English football team over the past 10 years, maybe he is shovelling it on in case of defeat, but who knows  perhaps Klopp is sincere.

Arsenal:  Once again we have to talk injuries; Jack and Gibbs are out though thankfully we have excellent replacements. The absence of Flamini and the long-term absentee Theo are less easy to accommodate. Away in the CL is just where these two flourish.

My concern tonight is lack of pace on the counter. On Saturday we saw Ramsey lead a counter-attack but the defender outran him and AR was forced to turn and pass back to an oncoming player. If Theo had been there then  ……..

A major plus is the return to fitness of Santi. I love this bloke,his imagination is boundless.

A repeat of Arteta’s fine game at the weekend and another lesson in hold up play from OG will be the keys to our success.

My Team:


Sagna    BFG    Kos    Monreal

Ramsey    Arteta    Rosicky

Ozil   OG    Cazorla

We are still struggling for attacking options from the bench, hopefully Gnabry is fit enough to travel.

The team showed on Saturday a determination and work-ethic which will hold us in good stead tonight. If we manage to press BD higher up the pitch we can do well tonight and given some luck and the run of the ball and a decent referee, then we can bring him the points. Why not?


BR will be wearing a red jacket & Micky a red and white scarf – in case you are looking for us!

p.s. Mickydidit and I will be your foreign correspondents at the stadium as, thanks to Chas ,we have tickets for the game. No doubt we will be full of bratwurst, sauerkraut and Lowenbrau as we look down upon our heroes.

For most games Peaches has the armchair fans in her pocket as she cheers on the lads, tonight I can return the favour. Photos will be taken but probably not uploaded to the site until Friday.

Written by BigRaddy

Wemberley ……

May 25, 2013

“Wemberly, Wemberley,  We’re the Famous Arsenal and we’re going to Wemberly” . We should be singing this song as we walk down Empire way to watch our heroes take on the mighty (but beatable) Borussia Dortmund.

Can you remember back to that Emirates night in February? ….. the manly Oliver Giroud strikes a sweet shot which is heading into the net but cruelly and very unfortunately hits Neuer’s leg, 3 minutes later Bayern Munich break, Mandzukic’s shot hits Sagna and bounces over Szczesny …. 1-3, when it should have been 2-2 and with Arsenal pushing for a winner.  Yes, we got trounced in the first half but were coming strong in the second, which became an Arsenal trait throughout the season.

Second leg, we gave them a lesson – yes, the finest team in the history of football were hammered in front of their own fans by a team which apparently was in terrible shape and about to disintegrate under their “hapless”manager who was clearly too long in the tooth to motivate his team. Had we scored one more we would have won the tie – and we could have. Then we would certainly have beaten a poor and dispirited RM in the semis.

Such are the vagaries of football. (Biased? Delusional? Moi?  😀  )

Instead we have an all German Final, and thank goodness for that. Both teams have been playing the best football in the CL this season, both play with a genuine passion without resort to theatrics, and both managers believe in the beautiful game. We have enjoyed the Spanish domination (well, some of us have) but their blatant cheating has finally received it’s due reward.  We are in the Audi era. Beautifully built, efficient, powerful and desirable.

BD have had over 500,000 ticket applications! The support of both teams is astonishing and they SING.



The loss of Gotze is a massive blow, both to BD and the Final. He is a wonderful player and will be missed, but what delights we have in store – there is hardly a player who is not top quality. From BD’s Lewandowski to BM’s flying Austrian baby FB, Alaba, every player is worth watching. BM’s midfield is just awesome – Schweinsteigger and Martinez – but so too is BD’s, who may have less famous names but nonetheless are hugely competitive.

This is Heynkes final game before the arrival of Pep, and Klopp is everyone’s favourite manager; that alone is interesting. Both will want to impress the billions of viewers. Both have teams with potent forward lines and players who can express the imaginative tactics of their respective managers. I think we are in for one of the best CL Finals ever.

Now for a German Explorer. Although the English discovered 95% of the World it did leave a few places for Johnny Foreigner to plant his flag, and Alexander Von Humboldt (1769 – 1859) did so with remarkable regularity. Take the places named after him – they are in all over the West Coast of USA USA, Venezuela, New Zealand, Greenland, Mexico, +++. There are National Parks named after him in Cuba and Peru. Simon Bolivar referred to Von Humboldt as “The real discover of South America”. Not only was this fellow an explorer he was also a hugely eminent scientist and wrote books (in particular The Cosmos) which are still referred to today.


During his lifetime Humboldt became one of the most famous men in Europe and was feted wherever he went. He eventually became a diplomat and was a huge favourite of European royalty. Von Humboldt died at the age of 89 in Berlin.

Back to the football. Wembley is about to be occupied by the Germans tonight (no joke, please Raddy).  Thankfully we will not be treated to another appalling display of negative football that both Chelsea and Mourinho’s Inter Milan brought to the world’s biggest club game of the season – No, what we will hopefully see is the two best teams in Europe serving up a feast of attacking football.

My allegiance tonight is purely based on the fairytale of Dortmund’s rise in the face of the juggernaut of German football’s biggest club.

“Los gehts BVB, kampfen og siegen”

Written by Big Raddy

High Hopes: Borussia Dortmund Preview

November 23, 2011

Cut and paste the post for the Dortmund away fixture …..

Except, Arsenal were in the midst of our terrible run and some of the players who have now bedded in were still struggling. That is not all, our Centre Backs had yet to be formally introduced and with Aaron out, Benayoun started.  The stadium was full of fervent  and expectant BD fans. For those who were three sheets to the wind in order to combat the nerves, BD equalised with a wonder goal in the 86th minute. A draw was a very good result given the circumstances.

Arsenal must surely be confident on the back of such a fine run of results, however the same can be said of BD who this weekend went to Munich and beat Bayern – never an easy task and even harder this season as Bayern rediscover their pedigree. BD know that should they lose tonight their CL adventure is all but over, they talk about tonight as a Cup Final. Coming to THOF will  give the Germans a huge challenge as they play in front of the best supporters in world football in the best stadium in world football – it could inspire them or petrify them, let us hope for the latter!

Nights like tonight are special – a slight chill, time to have a beer or two in the pub, some banter with mates, the floodlights, a full ground, top opposition; I wish I could be there – instead I will be sharing the experience with other AA’ers who are not so privileged.

60,000 Lucky Ones

A worry must be Koscielny playing at RB. True, he had a good game on Saturday but playing against Pilkington is very different to Kagawa who showed in Dortmund that he is a fine young player.  The improvement of our midfield 3 bodes well for the future. Arteta appears to have the football intelligence required to assist his young playmates –  Song looks better and Ramsey is improving weekly alongside the Spaniard who is proving to be an inspired signing.  Another huge difference is the return of The Verminator, what a monster player this man is.  He give us more defensive security, leads the team from the back, improves all the players around him, is superb coming forward and is all round a top, top player.

My Team:

* Raddy’s team selection has been amended following the late news that Gervinho will not be playing due to a personal problem.

Looking at the above team I ooze confidence. Santos is a different proposition to Gibbs (who played in the first leg), especially at home where he will have more opportunity to get forward – not that he needs an invitation ! Diaby is on the bench and we look forward to seeing him contribute during the coming months; if he can stay fit he is a marvellous albeit infuriating talent.  Should Walcott play as he did on Saturday I can see him on the scoresheet and we can only hope if AA plays in place of Gervinho, that he will prove as effective as the Ivorian has been lately. If our defence can keep them out, we will win.

A new BR feature for home games will be famous Arsenal fans and we start with Harry Beck. You may not be familiar with the name but you certainly are with his work. Harry created the schematic London Underground map which is a work of true beauty. Harry lived in Finchley Central and was a Gooner through the Chapman years dying  (happily) just after we won our first Double.

Harry wearing his favourite Arsenal away shorts. ( out of picture but take my word for it)

Where we have a major advantage is in the experience of our manager. Mr. Wenger will analyse  the previous fixture and make adjustments to the way we play. AW stated at his press conference that BD were in form and “developing,” He expects a fine game of attacking football, plenty of thrills and a topsy turvy night. So do I.

Written by BigRaddy

You’ll Never Walk Alone

September 13, 2011

You’ll never Walk Alone has always been my favourite football anthem, it reminds me of the wonderful Liverpool teams of the 60’s/70’s and Bill Shankly and the Kop and black and white TV and my first visit to Anfield. It is THE football anthem. Why am I writing about YNWA?  Well, because it is Borussia Dortmund’s anthem, and I have a feeling that with 80,000 Germans singing and cheering on their young and extremely talented side our boys in Red are going to be feeling very alone. Alone but hopefully not afraid.

Like most fans I was hoping that we would not draw BD in the final group of the CL draw, and  am sure I was not alone in using a 4 letter word when we drew them. Borussia are  a top, top team and despite losing Sahin to Real Madrid (he was voted Bundesliga player of the Year) they have (unlike us) retained their squad, even rebuffing a reported €40m bid from Arsenal the 19.y.o Mario Gotze.

Gotze is just one of the exciting talents in this Dortmund team, but let us focus upon him for a moment. Just 19, already touted as the future of German football and hailed by German Football Association’s technical director Matthias Sammer who called him “one of the best talents that we’ve ever had” –  high praise indeed. Remind you of anyone in our squad?  How we miss our Little Jack.

Barrios, a Paraguayan, plays upfront for BD and last season was top scorer in the Bundesliga in 2010 and scored heavily last season. Kagawa an attacking MF is one of Japans most talked about young talents, at 22 he already has 25 International caps. Subotic is a monster Serbian CB whom Chelsea  (and supposedly AFC) tried to sign in summer,  just 22 and a class player. I could continue but you will just get as depressed and anxious as I am.

BD’s stadium holds 81,000 fans and is the largest in Germany, they have an average attendance of  over 77k a game, the highest in Europe. Interestingly, BD are quoted on the German Stock Exchange – the only publicly owned club in the Bundesliga

Arsenal go into this difficult game missing Wilshere, Ramsey, Rosicky and Diaby in midfield. We have an untried defensive unit and are missing our best defender (apart from Chesney). And yet, we have cause for optimism: We have a terrific frontline, we have a midfield with PL experience  (if not CL), a defence that has a good mix of pace and height, and we are at our best playing away in Europe (OK – that might be an exaggeration)

My team:

World’s No.1.

Sagna Mertesacker  Koscielny  Gibbs

Song  Arteta  Frimpong

Walcott  Van Persie  Gervinho

Tough call on whom to play alongside Song and Arteta in midfield, but Frimpong adds some defensive steel and energy which will hopefully allow Song to get forward and be creative.  The front three have pace aplenty which will be important in what is sure to be an open, attacking game.

Most pundits have written off our chances of getting even a point from tonight. They cite our current lack of form and Dortmund’s undoubted home strengths (their loss this weekend was the first in over a year), but these pundits are always writing us off. We have reason to be confident, Dortmund have only 7 points from 15 this season, they are stuttering upfront and have an ageing defence. Their team has little Champions League experience and winning the Bundesliga is nowhere near the achievement it once was, I firmly believe Arsenal would win it with our current squad.

A win is a tough ask, but why not?


Written by Big Raddy