Paul Easter and Arsene Wenger.

October 9, 2015

I watched the interview with Gabriel on last night, wow, now that is what I call a tough upbringing but nevertheless while watching I started to access his time at Arsenal and realised just how close he came to being propelled into the stratosphere of adulation among us Arsenal supporters — that is very close until the Costa incident.

I mean, he was playing so well that excited comments like Wenger has found another Koscielny were being spoken in deferential tones but this all came to an abrupt halt after the really naive way he acted against Chelsea.

On the day, I was a tad more forgiving, thinking that it was the first time that he had come up against the dirty piece of work that Costa is and, really, who wouldn’t want to kick Costa? but, in fact, it was not the first time; Gabriel had previously faced him in Spain on numerous occasions which makes the fact that he fell into Costa’s trap even more infuriating.

Paul Easter, is a great find and his defending is going from strength to strength, we will forget the Costa incident, time will heal and it is only a question of time before he is acclaimed as the great defender we all secretly think he is.

And if that isn’t enough there is the other hidden bonus that people like me enjoy: we can continue to sit contentedly in the knowledge that Wenger got it right again and all those who were waving their big sticks shouting about Wenger should have strengthened in the summer were wrong or at least the signing of Gabriel shows that Wenger does act when players become available and I feel totally confident that if another striker or a HM or any player who would have improved that squad for that matter were available, Wenger would have done everything he could have to sign them.

Arsenal 3 Manchester United 0

Still too early to forget this.

written by LB

Blast from the Past No. 18 England’s World Cup History

June 13, 2014


The World Cup competition began in 1930, and has since become the world’s largest sporting event. It has been staged every four years since then with the exception of 1942 and 1946, when the Second World War forced its suspension.

England did not enter the first three competitions of 1930, 1934 and 1938. Although FIFA sought England’s participation, the Football Association declined all invitations. Not until the fourth tournament in 1950 did England take part.

England has entered all 16 post-war competitions. They reached the final tournament 13 times. They qualified through play in the preliminary competition on 11 occasions (1950, 1954, 1958, 1962, 1982, 1986, 1990, 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2010), as host country once (1966) and as reigning champions once (1970). They failed to qualify for the final tournaments on only three occasions (1974, 1978 and 1994).

England has had only moderate success in the World Cup, and that is perhaps a fair reflection of their standing in world football.


They have won the tournament just once, in 1966, when it was held on English soil and they played all their matches at their home ground, Wembley Stadium, an advantage extended to no other team in World Cup history. Their 4-2 extra-time victory against West Germany in the only final match they have reached has remained clouded by the controversy over whether their third goal, the first of extra-time, actually crossed the goal line.


England reached the semi-finals on only one other occasion, at the 1990 tournament in Italy, where, following extra-time victories over Belgium and Cameroon, they went down to West Germany on penalty kicks after a 1-1 extra-time draw. They then lost the third-place match to the host nation, 2-1.

Englands WC placing

England has reached the quarterfinals on six other occasions, at the 1954, 1962, 1970, 1986, 2002 and 2006 tournaments. At the 1982 competition in Spain, where the final tournament was conducted through two group stages with the teams topping the four second-round groups proceeding directly to the semi-finals, England finished the second group stage unbeaten but was therefore eliminated.

England have been eliminated in the round of 16 teams stage on two occasions since the final tournament was expanded to more than 16 teams in 1982–at the 1998 final tournament in France and the 2010 final tournament in South Africa.

England have been eliminated at the first round group stage on two occasions 1950 and 1958, when they finished level in group play with the USSR but lost a playoff match.

The World Cup has been a frustrating odyssey for England, particularly since 1966. At several tournaments, their performances have filled their fans with justified hope, but in the end, they have just not had enough to overcome the world’s most powerful teams in crucial knockout matches.

Consolation-seekers like to point out that it has been England’s misfortune to meet the eventual World Cup winners in the knockout stages of four tournaments. They went out to Brazil, 3-1, in the quarterfinals of the 1962 tournament, to Argentina, 2-1 by way of Maradona’s “Hand of God” goal, in the quarterfinals of the 1986 tournament, to West Germany, on penalty kicks after a 1-1 extra-time draw, in the semi-finals of the 1990 tournament and to Brazil again, 2-1, in the quarterfinals of the 2002 tournament after holding the lead.

On three occasions they have been eliminated in penalty-kick shootouts, in the 1990 semi-final against West Germany, the 1998 round-of-16-teams match against Argentina following a 2-2 extra-time draw in which they played a man short following the expulsion early in the second-half of midfielder David Beckham. On a third occasion, in the 2006 quarter-finals, England were eliminated by Portugal following a 0-0 draw.

Perhaps most disappointing was their elimination at the 1982 tournament in Spain. Having won all three of their group matches quite handily, all they could muster in their second-round group was a pair of goalless draws against eventual finalist West Germany and hosts Spain. They went home unbeaten, having yielded only one goal in five matches.

Our first game in the 2014 group stage is on June 13th vs Italy.

There will be no predictions from GN5 I simply want our team to play up to their top potential and hope that Lady Luck favours us.

world cup history

World Cup Finals
1 Jul 30 1930 Uruguay 4 Argentina 2
2 Jun 10 1934 Italy 2 Czechoslovakia 1
3 Jun 19 1938 Italy 4 Hungary 2
4 Jul 16 1950 Uruguay 2 Brazil 1
5 Jul 04 1954; Germany 3 Hungary 2
6 Jun 29 1958; Brazil 5 Sweden 2
7 Jun 17 1962; Brazil 3 Czechoslovakia 1
8 Jul 30 1966; England 4 Germany 2
9 Jun 21 1970; Brazil 4 Italy 1
10 Jul 7 1974; Germany 2 Netherlands 1
11 Jun 25 1978; Argentina 3 Netherlands 1
12 Jul 11 1982; Italy 3 Germany 1
13 Jun 29 1986; Argentina 3 Germany 2
14 Jul 08 1990; Germany 1 Argentina 0
15 Jul 17 1994; Brazil* 0 Italy 0
16 Jul 12 1998; France 3 Brazil 0
17 Jun 30 2002; Brazil 2 Germany 0
18 Jul 09 2006; Italy* 1* France 1
19 Jul 11 2010; Spain 1 Netherlands 0
* Won on Penalty Kicks

wc finals appearances



Samba de Denilson

June 11, 2010

If there is one player who divides the Gooners it is Denilson. A young man in whom Mr Wenger continues to have faith in whilst the vast majority see nothing above the ordinary. Why?

Some history. Denilson was born in the poverty stricken favelas of Sao Paolo, raised by his father – his mother dying when he was 10. Footballing ability kept him out of the drug gangs though many of his contempararies died in street gun battles. This is a tough kid. He came to Arsenal on the back of fine performances for Sao Paolo in the Copa Libertadores, as an 18 y.o. reserve team player the fee of £3.4m appears very generous to say the least. Arriving at Arsenal with no English, he must have been terribly homesick and fearful. Denilson seems to be a very shy lad and has consequently struggled to establish his persona on the team.

Denilson has played over 100 games for Arsenal which comes as some surprise. In fact he scored on his 100th appearance – the cracker against Standard Liege. He would seem to be an integral member of Wenger’s squad and as such it is interesting to analyse his input, because many do not see how he improves the team.

AW says of Denilson that he is a cross between Rosicky and Gilberto Silva. He can play “the Invisible Wall”, and be creative. He certainly has a powerful and accurate shot. It is often pointed out that statistically Denilson is one of the most efficient midfielders in the PL, his pass completion is excellent, he is one of the most succesful tacklers and his pitch coverage is also very good – though it is in this area that Denilson has come under the most scrutiny. That the referee beat his trackback for the Rooney goal at THOF last season opened him up to damning condemnation, this was proof of Denilson’s laziness and lack of application. Poppycock. Lack of concentration – certainly, rank poor defending – definitely, but laziness? Not in my opinion. Denilson is one of the hardest working players in the PL ….. and his stats prove it 😉

Of course people say his excellent pass completion is due to him passing sideways and delivering short balls to Cesc or Nasri/Diaby. Well, that is his game and what he is paid to do, Cesc has better vision and part of Denilson’s job is to get the ball to his Captain as often as possible and as quickly as possible.

Our no.15 scored 5 goals in 25 appearances last season and all were from outside the box. Surely this is evidence of his value to the team, for aside from RvP, who else shoots?

What Denilson lacks is the ability to impose himself upon the game, his slight physique is a major negative compared to Song, and he hasn’t huge pace. Nonetheless, he is a fine tackler and it should be recalled that he at just 22 y.o.  he is very young for a DM. Plus he has suffered with back injuries over the past 2 seasons which have hindered his development.

I am not suggesting that Denilson is the answer to our DM problems, but he is a fine back-up and will hopefully continue to develop. He was our 6th highest scorer from only half a season’s games and that from a deep lying position. Furthermore he will surely learn to concentrate for 90+ minutes after his MU humiliation.

As to his future at Arsenal there must be some doubt. The purchase and initial development of Ramsey will caste a shadow upon Denilson’s future. Ramsey (assuming a full return to fitness) is a wonderful prospect and sure to be an integral member of the first 11. He has what Denilson lacks – visibility – you know when Ramsey is on the pitch, whereas Denilson like Silva is “invisible.” Will Denilson accept a bench role?

I see a fine player in the making but a player in the wrong League. Sadly for Denilson, he is too lightweight for his position in the team and Song has proved this. I would keep him for another couple of seasons to see if he bulks up, and to shepherd in the arrival of Ramsey. Then sell him to Spain where I would expect him to have a fine career.