Give Us A ‘C’: Arsenal Alternative Alphabet

May 28, 2014

And so we move on to the ‘C’ words in our alternative Arsenal Alphabet.

C is for:


We Arsenal fans have been blessed with a simply wonderful pair of Charlies: first, there was Charlie George – an Islington boy who went from terrace tearaway to Wembley wonder. The picture of him lying on the turf with his arms in the air after scoring in the 1971 FA Cup Final is one of the most enduring Arsenal images of all time. Our second Charlie is Charlie Nicholas, the mercurial, genius Scot whose goals clinched us the first trophy of the George Graham era (he scored a brace against Liverpool in the 1987 League Cup Final). Sadly his love of the high life soon grated with disciplinarian Graham and he was on his way not long after that Final. However he’s still very fondly remembered by the supporters.


Whenever we need a laugh all we need to do is glance up the Seven Sisters Road and look at their ludicrous club crest: a chicken standing on a basketball.


How many great moments have been shared by the faithful beneath the Clock End at Highbury? The only mystery about the clock is why it took the club so long to figure out that they should install it at the new ground when we moved to Ashburton Grove. At least they got there in the end.


There was a story put about that, when the stadium was being built, a construction worker who supported the Spuds buried a Totteringham shirt somewhere on the site in an attempt to curse us. Given the shaky start to our trophy efforts at the Grove some Gooners even began to give credence to this tale. Well, the FA Cup win over Hull should put paid to that nonsense. The buried Spud shirt had all the efficacy that Spud shirts normally have – namely none.


If only, if only… how many times in recent years have we wondered what might have been if our key players had managed to stay out of the treatment room? Our injury record is simply appalling and I really hope that dealing with this recurring problem is a priority this summer. Although the portents are not good: apparently we’ve agreed a three year deal for Mr Bump, while we have also made an official bid for Humpty Dumpty.


Poor, poor Cashley Hole. He could have been an Arsenal lifetime legend, instead he almost crashed his car because of our terrible pay offer of 60 grand a week, held illegal meetings with The Special Needs One and decamped to Chav Towers, lured by filthy luchre and the attraction of the club’s impressive three year history. Now the Chavs don’t want him any more and he’s trying to find a new club. He needs to start calling up his contacts… now where did he put that mobile phone?

OK, over to you for your own C Word contributions…



Young Guns Primed …. The Return of the Striking Viking?

September 25, 2013

The games coming like London busses. The Interlull followed by two games a week – but tonight we have the very enjoyable opportunity to see how deep our squad is.

Whether we win or not depends upon how WBA and Steve Clarke approach the game. If as I suspect they put out a first 11 then we are in for a tough evening, if like AFC they go with a weakened team, then we should see an exciting game.

The Capital/Milk/Rumbelow’s/League/Littlewood’s Cup is one we should have won in the past couple of years. The painful loss to the soon-to-be relegated Birmingham is a memory which needs to be replaced by silverware, but my guess is that Mr Wenger will insist his priorities lie elsewhere. Inevitable given our growing injury list.

The one area we could not “stomach” another injury was the attack. With Ox and Pod both out for the foreseeable future it is a blow to hear of Theo’s injury. Young Didit told me over the summer that Mr Walcott was our most valuable player and much would rest upon his fitness – I have to agree. Theo gives something to the team no-one else can and that is searing pace; he may not be the most lethal striker but he scares the bejeesus out of defenders.

It will be a big night for one of our players in particular – you know the one – that Danish nutter. It is good he will make his return away from the “cauldron” that is the Emirates, a cynical crowd could badly affect him. If Nik hits the ground running he could be a major player for us, sadly the evidence of the past few seasons suggests it may be a forlorn hope.

Unbelievably Fabianski was injured on Friday!  I really feel for the man – he has done nothing wrong and yet every time he gets an opportunity he suffers an injury.

Gnabry’s promotion to the first team causes problems. He will be needed at the weekend and this opens up a place for either another MF – Eisfeld most probably or another forward. . Little has been mentioned about our missing man, Mr Park. He is back in training with the first team, so why not let him try and earn his corn?


Come on Arsene, Make the Marketing Dept. happy

We have some experience in the squad and the game is well timed for the return of our Club Captain and the man with Lego hair.

My team:


We can have one of our midfield geniuses on the bench in case of problems, but my inclusion of Park (no, it’s not a joke 😀 ) shows just how bare the cupboard is. Of course, Mr Wenger could choose to start Akpom but I think his time will come – he doesn’t appear strong enough as yet.

As to West Brom. Quite frankly I know next to nothing about them (apart from them employing traitor Anelka.) I am sure they are hard-working and will sweat blood to beat the Mighty Gunners. However, much like the first team, your pre-match writer is taking a day off from researching the opposition!

Much depends upon how Mr Wenger views the CC.  I think he views it purely as a chance to give his youth players experience and if they do well then review at a later stage, as such the draw of a PL side away from home was unfortunate. However, a trophy is there to be won, so let’s go out and win one.


Just because it makes me happy


written by Big Raddy

What can Arsenal Realisticaly Hope to Win This Season?

August 14, 2013

We are about to enter the new footballing season. For a soccer supporter it is almost like a New Year of the Gregorian calendar, but better. All the hopes, dreams and the impossible will happen THIS season. Our team, whatever it might be except for Spurs, will reach the highest honours and we will scoop all the trophies. We can already picture ourselves attending celebrations, bus parades, the CL final in Lisbon. We must plan our holidays carefully so we don’t end up missing any of the important games! We have all heard about the idiot that handed over planning of his wedding to his fiancee and ended up missing the final in Paris!! What a div!!

So what are you hoping for this coming season? It would be nice to win a quadruple, obviously, but it is not going to happen, So let us be grown up about it and see what we can realistically hope for.

EPL – can we be the League winners again? I cannot see why not. We will be competing against Manchesters, Chavs, Pool and Spurs. All of these teams are good, with some excellent squad members, but none of them without problems. Both Mancunian teams have new managers, who are likely to introduce changes that will require time to take effect. Same with the Chavs – can Maurinho pull it off again, or has he finally calmed down after the scorching attack from Real Madrid’s representatives. Pool and Rogers are going to struggle without or with demoralized Suarez. Spurs I am not even going to entertain, they will never win the league.

CL – your guess is as good as mine. We have seen the greatest teams in Europe winning the trophy and the likes of Chelsea keeping it for at least 1 season too long. This competition is all about luck, which teams and at what stage of the season we are going to draw. Of course we can win it,but we could also be knocked out by Fenerbache this very month. Would this be a tragedy? I think not. It could be a good thing for the team – less competitions, more time to concentrate on the domestic league. We would suffer abuse for a few weeks from those supporting lesser teams, but hey,we are big enough to handle it. Please don’t get me wrong – it is the last thing I want to happen and I sincerely hope that we will go to Lisbon in May and come back triumphant.Yes, for me it would be the biggest achievement for the Club ever and the one I personally want most.

There are 2 more trophies to be won, ie the FA cup and the Capital One cup. Both of these competitions are the ‘easiest’ in my opinion because of the fewer fixtures, including playing lesser teams that we should beat. Yes, I do remember Bradford City and Birmingham, but that’s in the past and we are concentrating on the future here. Luck and referees play big parts in these competition, but a strong resilient Arsenal squad should/could win both. Frankly, if it was just the Capital One cup for takings, I’d rather we didn’t win it. It would give scope to those who love to belittle our club, so why encourage them. Let’s give the ‘Carling cup’ a miss.

I would like to invite you to vote in 2 polls

1. What is a minimum achievement this season that you are hoping for? – you can vote for up to 3 options

2. What do you realistically think we are going to win?  – you can vote for up to 3 options

And before you ask – yes, 4th spot is an achievement and if you are in doubt ask Tottenham how they feel about it.

This is not a secret ballot and you are encouraged to make your views known

And finally I would like to wish you all a Happy New Season!!

Written by evonne

Into Silicon Valley in search of Silverware

October 30, 2012

My expectations for tonight are not great. Away to PL opposition is always difficult with a reserve side, but on the other hand these are the type of games when we really see how our lads perform under pressure.

Will Reading prioritise the League Cup (or whatever it is called this season)?  Their next two PL games are QPR away and Norwich at home, both games against direct relegation rivals which will surely have an effect upon McDermott’s selections.

Reading’s last game was an exciting 3-3 draw with Fulham, scoring in the final minute through Robson-Kanu who had trials at Arsenal (no relation to the great man). The manager, Brian Mcdermott was of course a Gooner – probably still is. In ’84/5 he played 45 games under Don Howe. Sadly, George Graham didn’t appreciate his talents and he fell from grace, but he was at AFC for 7 years. McDermott recently called Arsenal Football Club “world class” which shows he is a keen and astute football man.

Another ex-Gunner is Stuart Taylor who also had 7 years at Highbury winning a league title, FA Cup and two League Cup medals – almost all from the bench (like Nasri). He may play tonight. Pogrebyak is a Russia regular and a friend of Arshavin, should he play, he will be a handful for our  CB’s.

Will Mr Wenger play any of the players returning from injury? If Gibbs is approaching fitness I would give him 45 mins to sharpen up ahead of MU. With Szczesny approaching a return it may be a last hurrah for Mannone but can AW take the risk of an injury? Of course not so Martinez will get another chance to show us why he is considered so promising.

My Team:

As you can tell I have little idea of the team. Mr Wenger has to make decisions about whether to risk any first team players in what will be a feisty game, though the above team appears too defensive and there is no real left back,

Chamakh needs to start if he is to find a club in January (assuming he hasn’t already done so). Either that or Walcott could be given his chance as central striker. Who would you pick?

Today’s top man:  Sir George Everest  (1790- 1866) . An explorer and surveyor who spent much of his life in India. Surveying was extremely important in those days  because people had no maps and no real idea of the correlation between places, and without maps people didn’t know where there were. Imagine how grateful the natives must have been when they could say “I live 42 miles North West of  Faizabad”. Couldn’t have been done without surveying and the British surveyed the world. Knighted in 1861 there is a mountain named after him.

Sir Everest in his Sunday suit

Tough game tonight but one we can win. We are sure to be solid in defence with Martinez given a chance to shine. As Reading are scoring freely and porous in defence we should see an attacking game.

It’s a Cup, we need silverware.

Written by Big Raddy

Arsenal Question Time

June 23, 2012

Morning all. No surprises last night with Germany progressing to the semi-finals. I wasn’t sure they wanted it until Greece equalised but then they went about their business with a typically cool Germanic air to break the Greeks hearts. They will be hard to beat.

To fill in some time before “life” starts again, on August 18th when we play Sunderland at home, GunnerN5 has set the following quiz to test  your knowledge on Arsenal history.

1. Q. How many times have we appeared in the FA Cup Final?

2. Q. How many times have we won the FA Cup?

3. Q. What season did we have the most wins – and how many?

4. Q. What season did we have the least wins – and how many?

5. Q. What season did we have the most losses – and how many?

6. Q. What season did we have the least losses – and how many?

7. Q. What season did we score the most goals – and how many?

8.   Q. What season did we have the least goals against – and how many?

9.   Q. What season did we get the most points – and how many?

10. Q. How many seasons did we play in the 2nd Division?

11. Q. How many seasons did we have in the 1st Division?

12. Q. How many seasons have we played in the Premier Division?

13. Q. How many games did we play in the 2nd Division?

14. Q. How many games did we play in the 1st Division?

15. Q. How many games have we played in the Premier Division?

16. Q. How many consecutive seasons have we played in the top flight?

17. Q. How many people have managed Arsenal?

18. Q. How many total trophies have we won?

19. Q. How many of our managers have a winning % above 60%?

20. Q.  How many of our managers have a winning % below 50%?

Have fun and good luck, we’ll put the answers up later today.

Another Seven Years without a Trophy?

May 3, 2012

How to be a happy Gooner, despite not winning any silverware for seven years and counting!

About twenty years ago, I read for the first time, the well-known ‘Management’ bestseller ‘Seven habits of highly effective people’ by Stephen Covey. The one bit I still remember clearly from Covey’s book is ‘Habit two’: ‘Begin with the end in mind’. He asks his readers to imagine their own funeral: who they would like to attend and what they would like the key people in their life – partner, son/daughter, best friend and best colleague/boss, etc – to say about them. Once readers have envisaged what these dear-to-them-people ideally should say at their funeral, Covey instructs his readers to turn the content of these imaginary speeches into their personal, lifelong objectives.

For a long time, I thought this was very powerful, until I spoke about this to a good friend of mine, who had an instant and very potent response: ‘what really matters is what you think about yourself’. And she was right, of course.

By now, you will be asking: but what has this got to do with football, with Arsenal, for heaven’s sake! Well, I would like you to think for a moment about what really matters with regards to your and my beloved Arsenal.

Let’s return to Covey’s slightly macabre idea of envisaging your own funeral, but this time, to the period just before your future death (hopefully very, very far away!).

You have some time left, and are not in too much pain and still very lucid by brain, so there is time to reflect on your life, and even some time to reminisce about Arsenal. Your lifelong, best Gooner mate is with you as well.

What will be your finest memories about Arsenal? What will you choose to talk about with your mate? And what will you choose to watch again?

One thing I am pretty sure about is, you will not be looking very long at statistics of how many cups we have won in our history, or even during the time you were alive, or where we are positioned in the all time league of best clubs in the UK and Europe. I am also pretty sure that you will not be looking very long, if at all, at a picture of the Arsenal trophy cabinet, however impressive it is.

As time is of the essence, you will want to make sure you’ll use it well and talk about YOUR memories, YOUR experiences that really matter, and not about objects, or facts and figures.

And there are plenty of good memories for us Gooners!

I am sure, come that time, we will be talking about the best cup final games and key title-clinching matches, but also about individual performances of sheer brilliance, about some of the best footballers that have played at Highbury and Ashburton Grove. There will also be fond memories about certain matches, which by themselves might not have led to winning silverware, but were simply a joy to experience. On top of all of that, there will be the many wonderful personal memories, often of an insignificant nature to most other Gooners.

Although I am pretty sure other periods will generate more fond memories, the recent trophy-less period of 2005-2012 will still play a key part during the final review of our time supporting Arsenal.

I bet, our home-win against Barcelona, and in particular the goals by RvP and Arshavin last season, will always remain engraved in our brains. The same goes for Fabregas’ goal, Arsenal’s second, against Milan in 2008, and Arsenal’s heroic performance with 10 men against Barcelona, in the CL final of 2006, and in particular Sol Campbell’s bullet header. And what about RvP’s phenomenal record goal scoring year in 2011, and the 2011-2012 season – epitomised by his wonder goals against Everton (home) and Liverpool (away)? And there is plenty more for us to reminisce about of from this trophy-less era!

It is also the period in which we moved to our new, 60,000+ capacity stadium, back in 2006, and in which we played some of the best ever football to have been played on UK soil. And yet, we did not win any silverware.

In the end, it is experiences and memories that matter most because objects cannot compete with experiences! It is those memories of experiences that are really important, not the number of trophies we have won. Of course, the very best memories are created by phenomenal football that leads to winning trophies, but the latter is not a necessity for us to enjoy our football. And the really good thing is that Arsenal has achieved that too, and more than once!

We don’t need to listen to the press, rival fans and, unfortunately, fellow Gooners and teasing partners, about not having won any silverware recently. What others say and think is not important, what is important is to remember the beauty and joy from the games Arsenal have played recently, because that’s what really matters in the end – that’s what we will remember more than anything else long term.

We should also not get stressed too much about winning something in the near future. Arsenal should aim for winning as much as possible, and use its resources as clever and efficient as possible to achieve this. But it might not work out, as there are – luckily, to a certain extent – no guarantees in football. Seven lean years might not be followed by seven fat ones, but seven more lean years instead.

I personally believe the ‘fat years’ are around the corner, as Arsenal has all the basics in place for a period of prolonged success, despite the enormous competition we are facing as a result of the cash-for-cups oil barons littering the football horizon.

But whatever happens, it will still be the mighty Arsenal, playing in a World-class stadium, playing World-class football, under the guidance of a World-class manager, who is the most loyal to playing the beautiful game of all managers. On the way, Arsenal will be creating many more immortal footie experiences and memories. Hopefully, it will lead to us winning silverware again, but if it doesn’t, it really is not the end of the world.

But why wait till the very last days of our lives to realise this? Let’s take a deep breath and realise how good it is to be a Gooner, right now, right here.

Well, at least that’s what I will be trying to tell myself, next time I feel a mini-bout of melancholy coming over me, when realising again we have not won anything for seven years and counting.


Carling Cup Curse Will Help Arsenal

March 2, 2012

The euphoria of last Sunday’s win will soon dwindle if we don’t get any points at Anfield on Saturday.

Not that it hasn’t been fun.

Even the densest of Spudders (which is a bit like saying ‘the tallest of giraffes’ or ‘the reddest of tomatoes’) have learnt to think twice when asked “what time is it?” by their Arsenal colleagues.

Meanwhile a quick trip round the Spud blogs reveals a hilarious outpouring of rage at ‘Arry, at Monkeyboy, at Adebarndoor, at Assou-Ekotto… in fact at anyone in a LilyLivered shirt.

But in terms of our league campaign it’s still only three points. Beautiful, heart-warming, Spud-humbling points, but still only three of them. Now it’s time to get another three in Liverpool.

With the return of real full backs and with Rosicky hitting his groove (hopefully he’ll be fit), with Theo having found his scoring boots again and with even Benny the Goon showing what he can contribute, there are reasons to be optimistic.

And there may be one other factor in our favour.

As we all know, Liverpool charged to a triumphant, buccaneering victory on penalties over Championship Cardiff in the Carling Cup Final last weekend.

You would think that would fill them with new confidence and vigour, but if you look back through the records, you’ll find that teams that win the CC often struggle thereafter.

The phenomenon is so marked it has even led to talk of the Carling Cup being a “cursed” trophy.

Look at Birmingham last year. They nabbed the cup in the dying minutes thanks to Koscielny and Szczesny’s Laurel and Hardy act, then went sliding down the table like a turd down the toilet pan, except with less glamour.

In 2010 Manchester United were gunning for the title. They won the CC final – and promptly let Chelsea in to take the Championship.

In 2008 the power and might (sorry, I meant “shower of shite”) from up the Seven Sisters Road captured the Carling Cup. They managed only three wins from the 12 games they played afterwards and ended up 11th in the table. Which sort of suits them, if you ask me.

In 2007 Chelsea had title aspirations, won the CC and gave the league away to Manchester United.  In 2006 the reverse happened – Man Utd got the CC and the Chavs got the title.

In 2004 unfashionable Middlesbrough picked up the trophy while also going good guns in the league. Like the Spuds after their victory, they went on to finish 11th, winning only five out of 13 after lifting the CC.

Liverpool were the CC winners in 2003, but couldn’t subsequently get themselves into the all-important Champions League places, finishing 5th.

Then there was Blackburn in 2002 – Carling Cup champions, 10th in the table at the end of the season; they took 8 points from a possible 21 in the seven games after their trophy win.

Liverpool again in 2001: In the five games immediately after winning the CC they took just 5 points out of 15.

There have been a couple of exceptions in that period: Man Utd in 2009 and Chelsea in 2005 both managed to win the CC and the EPL Title in the same year, but in both cases they had incredibly dominant teams during the seasons in question.

Will the Curse of the Carling Cup strike Liverpool on Saturday?

Who knows, but we can all hope…


£800m Investment vs. Wengerball

November 30, 2011

Written by Total Arsenal

Arsenal 0 – 1 Manchester City: Match Review


During the day there was a lot of discussion whether we should take this game seriously or not. Most bloggers felt we should not risk any injuries to our key players and it would not be a disaster if we would be eliminated tonight. After all, it would mean fewer games to play in the crucial and demanding winter months. However, Arsene does not like losing, especially not in front of the home support. The team he put out tonight was a mixture of young talent and experience, but only one of them has been a regular in our first eleven this season: the wonderful Koscielny. Manchester City put out a strong team with the likes of Nasri, Johnson and Dzeko upfront, a decent enough back four and De Jong and Hargreaves in midfield to add experience and steel to their team. After 30 minutes, Kolarov was substituted for Aguero and it became clear that Mancini was very keen to win this match.

Although Arsene had added some experience to the team in all areas, I felt that our team was not strong enough to deal with Citeh’s embarrassment of riches: after all, their team on the pitch had been purchased for the princely sum of £119m, and that is excluding Aguero’s little price tag! Luckily, I was wrong as Arsene once again showed what Wengerball really means, and it almost was enough to reach the semi-finals of this relatively unimportant cup competition.

First Half

Both teams showed great industry from the start, as they were trying to establish a coherent shape to their play and get a passing game going. The biggest battle was in midfield, but it was our boys: Coquelin and Frimpong, aided by the industrious Benayoun and the supertalented AOC, who took more and more control over that crucial area. In the 11th minute, just after Johnson saw a great effort from distance almost dip into the top-corner, Arsenal had their best chance of the match to score a goal. Chamakh, typically playing with his back towards the opposition’s goal, shields off Citeh’s two central defenders and passes the ball perfectly sideways to Coquelin – the latter does not hesitate and puts a peach of cross in towards Park who, although hindered by a defender, makes decent enough contact to hit the target and score. It was not to be as the beautifully named Pantilimon is able to save the effort with a strong hand. Such a shame, as a goal would undoubtedly have given this unfamiliar team a real boost of confidence and purpose. After that, the game continues as before with a lot of endeavour on both sides and a hungrier Arsenal, but very few changes. Out of nothing, the Ox produces a fantastic shot from distance – pretty similar to the one Johnson produced earlier – that looks bound for the top-corner, but the giant Pantilimon makes a great flying stop to deny him. Both Chamakh and Park are trying hard to get involved but are missing sharpness, cutting edge and football intelligence to find the right runs. It is fair to say though that many chances were neither carved out for them on the night.

Second Half

The second half continues down the same lines as the first. There are very few clear-cut changes, but once again Oxlade-Chamberlain keeps driving our attack by trying to create something – unfortunately without success. The pivotal moment of the game comes seven minutes before the end of the game. In the 83rd minute, Djourou collects the ball from his own box and drives forward, and combining with Gervinho they almost find Benayoun in the box, but the MC defence is there just in time to put the ball out for a corner. The subsequent corner-kick by Oxlade-Chamberlain, once again, does not beat the first man and Citeh are able to break. Dzeko, who had a brilliant game last night, uses his strength and speed to get past a few players and plays the ball to Johnson, who had made a clever run away from Frimpong. Johnson combines a fine first touch with spinning cleverly just outside the box to get the ball to Aguero with the outside of his foot who, from that distance, leaves the keeper with no chance. All night Citeh managed only one shot on target – compared to five by Arsenal – but unfortunately they make that one count. Arsenal keep attacking after that but to no avail.

A Few Conclusions

We missed real cutting edge last night, and that was the only difference with Citeh (although our defence did a great job in keeping them from scoring). Unless Joel Campbell is to join us soon from Lorient, Arsenal really need to do some business in January to fill this obvious gap. Park needs more time, although I cannot see him making it at our club: it is just a gut-feeling but something is missing. Chamakh, for me, tried hard but it was not to be. Just like Arshavin, he seems to have reached such a low in confidence that nothing seems to go for him anymore. It is time to move on for both Chamakh and Arshavin, and buy one or two new wingers/strikers of decent quality.

The real positives have been the performances of the Ox, Frimpong, Coquelin and all of our back-four players. Coquelin reminds me of Gilberto. Such a graceful player with real power and determination, and he just did not show any fear or too much humility on the night: a super prospect. Frimpong is just steel and enthusiasm combined: another great prospect. The Ox was simply phenomenal on the night and that at 18 years of age! What a joy to watch, and tonight he proved for me that he can play in the first team from now onwards. The same goes for Coquelin, and that is the real gain of last night’s match.

We narrowly lost this battle, but we made progress in the war with the club of bottomless pockets and weightless morals: Citeh. Our cheap and cheerful team displayed so much quality on the night, and the potential of our second string team is simply enormous. The margin between them and us was very small: in fact, if Arsenal would have played their first-team strike-force, just like MC did last night, we would have won this game with ease. But Wenger has bigger fish to fry with Arsenal and decided to rather take the risk of losing gallantly on the night (words borrowed from Rasp), than the risk of potential injuries to our first eleven players.

Despite an eye-watering investment of £800m in the last few years, MC are no better than Arsene’s sustainable Wengerball, and I am now more than ever confident that Arsenal will show who is boss in a few weeks time at the Citeh of Oil stadium.

Player Ratings:

Fabianski: 7

Back-Four: 7.5, Koscielny 8: all had a good game and worked well together to my surprise. Miquel had a nervy start but really improved after that.

Benayoun: 6.5: had some good spells, but was not consistent/dominant enough.

Coquelin: 8: what a prospect: an absolute joy to watch.

Frimpong: 7.5: another great prospect – has improved a lot since the start of the season.

Park and Chamakh: 6: tried hard enough, but just not enough quality/end product.

The Ox: 8.5: he drove our attack last night. Fearless and never gave up: top-quality performance. Man Of The Match.

Hide Park? – no longer

October 26, 2011

Last night saw Bolton put out of the Carling Cup by an Arsenal team containing a mixture of  new young players with the added bonus of the experienced Arshavin, Benayoun and the return of the Verminator. Many supporters had come to see if Ox, Park and Young could live up to their hype and whether they were ready for the first team.

These were the players that started the game Fabianski in goal, a back four of  Yennaris, Vermaelen, Squillacci and Miguel, a mid-field of Frimpong, Coquelin and Benayoun with a front three of Oxlade-Chamberlain, Arshavin and J Y Park.

Surprisingly, Bolton played pretty much a first team and when they lined up it was difficult to know how the game would go.

Yennaris was really impressive at right back and Miguel – who I think is a great footballer – was played out of position at left-back and was very solid.

Bolton had the first shot on goal which Fabianski handled very well. Throughout the game his shot stopping couldn’t be faulted and he made some great saves but his distribution was appalling. Kicking up to Arshavin is never really going to work and he could have taken a bit of time to choose his man more carefully. Still, he kept us in the game on quite a few occasions and he’s good cover as a keeper.

Once Bolton had a shot our boys decided they would also like to join the party and there were some rasping shots from outside the box. The link-up play between Arshavin and Park was a pleasure to watch with Benayoun doing a lot of the running to keep control of the game.

Frimpong and Coquelin were not having the best game in mid-field. Coquelin seemed to pick up an injury early in the first half but played on with too many of his passes going astray. He’s a terrier so when he loses the ball he fights to get it back. Frimpong we know can be a bit rash in the challenge so maybe his game was affected by the famous ‘hand-brake’.

The first half ended 0-0 which was pretty fair.

The second half started badly as we looked like we were half asleep and soon went behind – Coquelin and Frimpong were exchanging passes deep in our half and Muamba stole in to nick it off  Frimpongs foot and after a quick exchange with Tuncay slammed the ball into the roof of our net.

But, it was to be Arsenal’s night and within 10 minutes the tie was turned on its head.  Arshavin was having a great time playing in the middle behind the striker and soon got his chance to put us level, collecting a pass from Ox and drilling his shot into the bottom corner.

Within 5 minutes Park received another great ball from Arshavin and unleashed a curler into the top corner 2-1. This is what Arsène had to say about Park

For me I am very pleased with his performance. He had a very, very good game. He has shown intelligence in his link play with others. The quality of his movement was exceptional and his finishing is absolutely fantastic. He has shown tonight that he is a very, very good player. He is ready to play in league games, yes.

Compared to the player who played in the first match [against Shrewsbury] where he was a bit inhibited, tonight I felt he played with freedom and has showed what a good player he is.

So, it looks like Park really is the real deal. I was at the Shrewsbury game and he did look terrified to receive the ball whereas last night he played a big part in the fluency of the team and he has a great connection with Arshavin.

Vermaelen was subbed with four minutes to go which was really strange but I’ve read that he had tight calves and wanted to come off. He is such a classy player, he could have been on his own in central defence and we’d have been just fine although Squilacci played well too.

This is the ninth year that we have got to the quarter finals of the Carling Cup, whether you think it’s important or not we seem to always have a good run. Maybe we should just forget that we got to the final last year and see it a chance to win some silverware. The draw for the next round should be interesting.

It’s been said before but we do seem to be marching on.


Some comments and player ratings from Harry

Morning all, sorry Rasp / Peaches just got into office and have a meeting at 10am, so havent time to write anything……

Shame because comments like Park isnt ready for the PL yet, are so far of the mark……….

I have read a couple of write ups and comments across the blogs, I am amazed of some of the comments………

So many positives out there last night……………….

I read somewhere that Benayoun was quite and had an ineffective game? what match was he watching……….?

The only player who had a poor game was Ox, he seemed to get annoyed with himself when he messed up a chance and he didnt regain his composure, his time will come…….

All others had good games, yes made some mistakes and misplaced passes which was our biggest weakness last night, but overall, everyone for me gets a 7 minimum except Ox probably a 6.

TV gets a 9, outstanding display………MotM, dynamic and powerful, name me a better defender in the premier league……?

Miquel and Yennaris both get solid 7.5………Take into account age and out of position for Miquel…….Squillaci gets a 7 for me, for all his criticism did ok………

Fabianski 7, did ok, some good saves, got down well and quick, one swerving shot was vicious and nearly caught him out. His weakness was his distribution which was scattergun effect…….gets a 7.

Frimpers and Coquelin, both get 7.5, hassled and worked hard throughout, soem great tackles, both were guilty of giving cheap possession away at times……..which is where their goal came from.

Arshavin 8 is an enigma, desperately lacking interest one minute to the sublime, stepped up when needed, gets a lucky 8 for me…..

Benayoun 8, was excellent throughout, gets a solid 8. always probing and driving forward.

Park 8 was excellent, his movement excellent and if the linesman knew the offside rule would have more chances. His touch was sublime and his goal, well if messi had scored it, the media would be creaming their pants…………

Subs didnt have time, but Ozakup looked as good as the reviews I have heard about him……..time will tell. Ryo is so fast and will definitely add a dimsension to our squad. Boateng was only on for minutes……

Overall, a good team performance by a mixture of youth and experience, held their own and rarely looked troubled…..Goal against was unfortuante, perhaps didnt quite get into gear from the whistle. But apart from that, the team defended ok. some great blocking and tackling,led by the imperious Vermaelen…..

Next up, Quarters, Palace at the Emirates would be nice with United playing City……….

The Young Ones: Carling Cup Preview.

October 25, 2011

Another night of stress-free excitement tonight. We love to see the kids play and we love to see them beat PL opposition even more.

Of course we have selection problems due to some of the second string being forced to become first string. For example, who plays RB? Can we rest both our CB? Is Squillaci fit and if so does he play? And what about LB? Dare we risk Santos? In fact I have no idea who AW will play at LB.

Mr. Wenger instructing our new Left Back

If we have selection problems what do Bolton have?  6 points from 9 games, rooted in the relegation zone and away to Swansea on the weekend. Dare they play a full first X1? Cahill was missing when we thrashed them a few weeks ago and I expect he will be absent tonight. And …. what will happen to their fragile confidence should they lose to what will be virtually Arsenal’s C team?  You are right …. who cares!

We have already scored one against them this week albeit through one of our loanees. Nik got a tap-in to consign Bolton to a home defeat versus Sunderland. Bolton have some good players in their squad who didn’t feature at the weekend – Muamba, Klasnic, Kakuta and Tuncay among others

As I said this is a difficult team to predict but   ….

I think this team has a decent mixture of youth and experience  and should win tonight depending upon how seriously Bolton take the tie.  The Ox/Park combo is exciting.

It would be good if the ground was more than half full; perhaps the club could give away tickets to local schools in order to create a decent atmosphere – it would start some kids in their Goonerdom and become a regular feature of Arsenal in the Community.  It worked at Wembley and I believe would be beneficial to the club in the long run.

Is there another inventor from Bolton? Yes there is! Samuel Crompton who invented the Spinning Mule which revolutionised the  spinning industry. No pic because he is too ugly (not even sporting a handsome beard) and would not only frighten the horses but give the more sensitive nightmares. Google him at your peril.

It is 9 years since we failed to reach the quarter finals of the Carling Cup. Let’s keep up the good run.


Big Raddy