What is the point of the 4th Official?

January 31, 2015

In the recent Chavs/Dippers match, Diego Costa stamped on a Liverpool player. The referee “didn’t see it”, it happened right in front of Phil Dowd, the Fourth Official.

Now, it seems most unlikely that Dowd also missed it, so why didn’t he signal to the ref that a foul had been committed?

The Ref, after having watched the video stated that had he seen the offence he would have dismissed Costa, Chelsea would have been down to ten men. Liverpool would have been handed an advantage and justice would have not only been done, but seen to be done, instantly!

Instead, after a fast-track hearing and an appeal Costa has been banned for three matches.

Thus an advantage has been awarded to Man City, Aston Villa and Everton, the three teams that Costa would reasonably have been expected to play against. Liverpool are left with only a sense of grievance.

So, back to my original question. What’s the purpose of the Fourth Official?

If he is not there to assist the on-field officials, why does a top grade referee have the job of checking the subs for necklaces, dodgy studs etc, keeping the opposing managers apart and holding up the board to indicate which players are being subbed and how many minutes of added time are to be played.

It seems the fourth official has no “official” duty in regard to the actual on-field activity.

So, why not?

written by Norfolk Gooner

Don’t Mention the War ….

October 5, 2014

I don’t want to write about him, so I won’t.

No, not the big mouthed class-less clown or even his vicious, neanderthal henchman – I have plenty to say about them. I am talking about the player upon whom the media are choosing to focus almost to the exclusion of there being two unbeaten teams meeting this afternoon. It will not be about one man but about 22.

I don’t like Chelsea, never have.

My first trip to the small club close to Fulham was in the ’60’s.  Along with the rest of the North Bank I marched to the Bridge. At that time (and probably today) Chelsea had a bunch of meathead followers called the Shed Boys – loonies to a man, every one a criminally violent fascist; it was the intelligentsia from the genteel streets of Islington who would attempt to “Take the Shed”. It will not surprise our regular readers to discover that I had no intention of hitting anyone or even less of being hit, after all it would have done severe damage to my karmic being, but I was carried along in the spirit of the North Bank as we entered the ground. The next hour was horrific as fights broke out all around me and the Shed became a battle ground.


The Shed

I have no idea whether the Shed was taken, all I know was that I vowed that from then on I would sit in the stands for away games at The Bridge. On my last visit I was with the Away Boys in the lower stand and above us were the Chavs; needless to say the whole game was ruined by them throwing coins, drinks, urine and other stuff down on us whilst the police and stewards looked away. I will never go back.

The days of the wonderful Chelsea Pensioners with their stoicism and humour are well gone. Want to know about Chelsea’s New Sophistication? John Terry is all the answer you need. Please, please. please let him get Diaby’ed this afternoon.

Then there is the manager. If I allowed it my keyboard would self destruct rather than let me write about him. Yes he is a brilliant tactician and has won time and time again. Yes, he has the Indian sign over Mr. Wenger. But let me ask you this …. would you let him go out with your daughter???  Just recall the spiteful and cowardly eye-gouge whilst at Barca, can you imagine Mr Wenger doing that? The High Priest of the Me-Generation has found his natural home

I can’t write about their team. They will surely win the title this year and are very, very good in every department. But so what ….. they are still Chavs.

Arsenal: Before we get all doomy it should be recalled we go into this game unbeaten on the back of a fine win against the Turkish Chavs.

We do not have the players to play defensively and I do not believe Mr Wenger will be over-cautious. No-one wants a repeat of last season but this is a game we should try to win as opposed to damage limitation. We have superb attacking potential and this is a game where Alexis will surely shine.

What do we need to do to get a result? Be lucky. Be resolute. Be tactically aware. Be fearless. Be ruthless. Be aware that we have huge pace and the centre of Chelsea’s defence is manned by Orcs.

My Team:

7th oct

The real concern with this side is the size of our midfield. Is there a more diminutive midfield in world football? If Mr. Wenger plays Cazorla instead of Ox he would lose 15cms and Ox is hardly a giant. Could Diaby be a solution – is he available? Or Bellerin at RB and Chambers alongside Flamini as a defensive shield?

We will not get many chances so Welbz will have to be potent.

The food from the Borough of Chelsea is , as you would expect, dreadful. Cakes and Buns mainly – not your lovely creamy jobs, more things full of fats and raisins.


The Chelsea Bun – Looks like something a dog laid.

Can we win today? It is a huge ask with Chelsea being in fine form and with our brave squad diminished by injury. The losses of Debuchy and Ramsey could hurt us today. As good as Chambers is, he is going to find the pace and trickery of Hazard difficult. Ramsey’s ability to score and his non-stop movement is hard to replace. But why not? We have an excellent team and we are unbeaten.

Trouble is Chelsea have one of my heroes playing in their midfield.

Don’t mention the war.  I did once but I think I got away with it.


written by Big Raddy.


A Good Man in Charge

March 22, 2014

Mr Wenger’s 1000th game in charge – may there be many more.

How do Chelsea and their manager celebrate this astonishing feat? By a typically snide remark which tells the whole story of our two clubs and why Chelsea, however many trophies they buy, will always be the 2nd club in London.

Rarely do two managers so precisely mirror the ethics of their clubs. Mr Wenger is a Gentleman – honest, intelligent, well-mannered,  believes in tradition and winning the right way. Me-rinho is a Snake Oil salesman – a man without honour – concrete evidence being the “eye-gouge”. His attitude is to win at all costs as long as He is the centre of attraction. If his team bore, foul or cheat so what – winning is all and it is the High Priest of the Me Generation who will take the plaudits..

And that is why if Arsenal win, lose or draw today Arsene Wenger walks away from Stamford Bridge a winner.

Given the choice of taking 3 points from an away tie against Chelsea or Spurs which would you choose? Yes, I know the answer is both but as pleasant as mashing the Spuds is, it has become an every season event whereas beating Chelsea is proving to be a stumbling block. So, BR’s choice is to win at Stamford Bridge.

Trouble is we haven’t won there since The Ox was in primary school. Can we break the hoodoo? Can Mr Wenger finally get a victory over Me-rinho? Will Arsenal break The Smug One’s incredible home record? Let’s be honest – it would be a shock.


I don’t like Chelsea, I don’t like the way they have changed football hugely for the worse. I don’t like that they win thanks to financial doping (© AW). I don’t like John Terry. Nor do I like the diving antics of Oscar, Hazard, Torres, et al.

I may not like them but I do have respect for them. Me-rinho is unquestionably a superb manager and he has created an efficient winning side. He knows how to get the best out of his players even the decrepit Terry.

The loss at Aston Villa has opened up the title race with 4 teams having a realistic chance of being crowned Champions. Win today and Arsenal are sitting pretty, especially if we can get something from the Man City home game. Trouble is our record at the Bridge in recent years is poor, make that very poor.

I won’t bore you with tactics that I know nothing about nor stats that will depress you. So …. onto our team selection:

Back 5 pick themselves. And so do the rest of the team – especially if Rosicky is out.

chavs v arse

The bench looks light and we really would be in trouble were we to lose another midfielder or, heaven forbid, OG. Nonetheless we can count on Vermaelen, Monreal, Fabianski, Gnabry etc

Chelsea: The name originates (apparently) form the ancient English for “place on the river to land limestone or chalk”. Seems a bit dubious to me.  A church synod (meeting of church leaders) was held at Chelsea in 787 AD. The Manor of Chelsea appears in the Domesday book.

King Henry VIII bought Chelsea Manor and both Catherine Parr and Anne of Cleeves lived there – Anne was divorced after just 6 months of marriage and Catherine outlived him. Kings Road (Kelsey’s old haunt) was built in the 1690’s for King Charles II  and was his private road from St. James to his palace at Fulham. Charles also ordered the building of the Chelsea Royal Hospital at the suggestion of his mistresss, Nell Gwynn.

Enough of that and back to the game ….

We have been stuttering of late, good at home and not so good away. We defended magnificently at Spurs but Lady Luck was with us, so too at Bayern. If we play with so little possession and so close to our own goal we will lose this afternoon.

A last word about Mr Wenger: Whatever his skills as a football manager his greatest talent is that he is a thoroughly decent man.


Big Raddy

One Team in London & How Many Chelsea players would get in our team?

December 23, 2013

Today is not just about the 3 points, it is also about regaining our position as top London club. As everyone in the world knows (yes, even those without access to TV/Radio/Internet) Chelsea bought our natural place as the Capital’s Premier club.

This is no jest made by a biased Arsenal fan – it is a fact.

Arsenal have been London’s finest since the Days of Yore. It is seldom stated but in the Magna Carta (1215), under the section Amendment to The Charter of Liberties, King John is instructed to commit the then Mayor of London  – a fellow called Serlo Le Mercer (I kid you not) – to enforce legislation that there should henceforth be but “One Team in London,” and that this club should be The Arsenal.

Much water has flowed under London Bridge since those days and the Charter has been consigned to the dusty confines of the British Museum but nonetheless it exists.

As in any legend the time of Yore is followed by a time of Chaos. It took an outsider to usurp King John’s edict and that man was a Russian by the name of Abramovich. His arrival with buckets full of gold and supported by the Forces of Evil in the shape of John Terry etc  led to a temporary change of who held the title of “The One Team”, this has to be resolved.

I ask you ….. is there any right-minded person who would prefer a financially doped team of  cloggers managed by a man whose main claim to fame is he won the CL with the worst team in recent memory (Inter)  to be London’s No.1 club? Of course not.

Chelsea. Can there be any doubt that Abramovich  went down to The Crossroads and sold his soul to the devil? How else can anyone explain the unbelievable run of good luck and dreadful refereeing decisions which led to their winning the CL and Europa Cups?

Mourinho: I have to admit to having a grudging respect for the man. The mere fact that Mr Wenger has yet to beat him is proof of his managerial abilities, but unfortunately it is the circus he brings with him which I object so strongly to. It is never the team who wins, it is The Chosen One – not surprisingly when they lose it is the team who lost!

What would any football fan rather watch – a Mourinho or a Wenger team?

Chelsea come into the game full of confidence and good form. In Hazard they have a young Belgian who will surely be one of the stars of the World Cup in Brazil – a fantastic ball-player. Add in Mata, FatLamps etc and we have a tough evening ahead. As with any Moaninho team they are set up to defend first and to counter-attack. I wonder if Ashley will start or if the chap with the unpronounceable name will try to stop Theo.

As usual for a tactical or statistical analysis …. look elsewhere.

Arsenal. This time round there can be no “tired legs” excuse, 9 days of rest should allow the team to play a hard running 90+ minutes. We lose Jack to the usual FA witch-hunt of Arsenal players. Koscielny is out which could prove costly, but we have a more than adequate replacement.

Should Rosicky or Cazorla start or neither? Would we be better playing both Flamini and Arteta and allowing Arteta to play further forward? Tough decisions and we still miss Podolski and The Ox!

My Team:


As always the attacking MF’s have lease to roam at will, Flamster must be disciplined in his role as cover to the defence as we are lacking Kos’s covering pace. Our bench remains strong and it would not surprise me to see  Rosicky on for Cazorla on 70 mins. If we are in front we will surely see Monreal.

Combined Team:

As you know, I write this page primarily for my own enjoyment and in the last post I wrote about a combined AFC/MC team. It was fun researching the opposition players and weighing them against our heroes. I have to admit that had I written the team post our defeat it would have been different!! But I will give it another go.

GK. Not easy. Cech is not as good as he once was, but he was exceptional. I expected him to fade to grey this season but he has been very good. TPIG let in 6 last week – none were really his fault but I have to give this to Cech, he has been the standout GK over the past decade.

FB’s.  Ivanovic is a beast. Sagna is good but this fellow is IMO Chelsea’s best defender. On the left there is Ashley or the other chap vs Gibbs. I have to take our boy who has improved hugely this year and if emotion were not in play would go to Brazil ahead of Cole.

CB’s. BFG /Kos/Vermaelen/Terry/ Luiz/Cahill. We don’t want Terry anywhere near this team and he is not as good as BFG, though he may have been in the past. A more interesting comparison is Cahill and Koscielny. I was hugely disappointed when we failed to sign Cahill – he is a Wenger player, but I was wrong to doubt the Great Man because Koscielny is becoming a world class CB – pacy, intuitive and strong, though still subject to lapses of concentration. Luiz should and could be a brilliant player, he is yet another example of a player ruining his career by being attracted to the money and not what is best for him.

Midfield DM. In an attacking team we should look at Ramires, Flamini, Arteta,and Mikel. Ramires just shades it, he is all-action, can score (unfortunately) and is younger.

Midfield Attack(ish). Ramsey is an automatic starter in any PL team, so is Mata. So out of Cazorla , Rosicky, Hazard, Wilshere, who gets the last MF place? Heart says Santi, head says Hazard – the Frenchie is a very good wideman.

Ozil or any of the Chelsea playmakers/attackers? Even Mourinho admires our German. I like their German (Schurrle) and predict he will have a fine PL career but Ozil is undroppable.

CF. Eto’o, Theo, Podolsi, Ba, Torres or Giroud? Torres loves a goal against us (as does Mata) but OG is the best frontman in a team needing a back to goal CF.

so ….


5 of theirs and 6 of ours which may show my AFC bias! This team would easily win the title – perhaps a little attack focussed but what the heck ….

Can we win today and regain our TOTL? Yes, says a quietly confident Raddy.


Because the Forces of Good and The Righteous always overcome the DarkSide.

written by Big Raddy who wishes each and every one of you a Merry Xmas

Woke Up, it was a Chelsea Morning: Preview

April 21, 2012

Remember when you were small (or in Chary’s case, smaller)?  Morning break – out came the football, lunch break, – out came the football, after school – out came the football. At weekends, a game Saturday morning and another in the afternoon, often playing until dark in summer.

Young Big Raddy slots one past a concerned Kelsey

What is the relevance of my opening paragraph? Well, it is the complete tosh talked about Chelsea having to play 3 big games in a week. These men are honed athletes who spend their lives doing something they love and are trained non-stop to do so. If I can play 30+ hours a week as a 12 y.o. then they can manage under 5 hours as adults. Am I right or am I right?

Chelsea have one of the biggest squads in World football. They have a World Cup winner and the most expensive player ever in the PL on the bench! They have Essien on the bench, who IMO has been the best DM in the PL since PV4.  But they moan about how the FA have been harsh. If the FA was harsh Meireles would be banned for being so damned ugly and frightening the horses.

It is true Chelsea will be missing some players through injury but who in their right mind would play Luiz ahead of Cahill against Arsenal?  Ivanovic is banned but they have a  €21m replacement in Boswinga (yes, €21m !!). Rumour has it that Drogba is out, and we all know that Drogba loves to play us, but in Torres, Sturridge and Kalou they have some very expensive and talented replacements.

Playing Barca on Tuesday will certainly be on their minds, however, should The Blues fail to win at Camp Nou and this afternoon they are likely to play a regular Thursday night game. So, this is a huge game for them and I expect nothing less than 100% effort and a full first team.

Knocking 5 past them at the Bridge was great and JT’s slip was one of the season’s highlights. However, under Di Matteo they have developed into the Chelsea of Ancelloti. Hard, physical, highly motivated and disciplined; we are unlikely to score 5 today. That Terry continues playing at all with 2 cracked ribs is a testament to the man. I have broken ribs skiing and could hardly breathe, how JT plays football is astonishing. I hope RvP gives the brute a couple of digs early on and then TV clatters him at a set piece. Actually, give Diaby a few minutes – he will sort him out 🙂

Our problems start and end with Arteta. His absence is statistically worrying (we have yet to win a PL game without him) but we showed against AC Milan how good we can be  if we really attack from the first whistle.  That said, we have shown a weakness to very fast counter-attack and Chelsea are certainly capable in that area.

My Team:

Will Mr Wenger give an out of form Gervinho another start? I wouldn’t. I would start with O-C and tell him to attack Boswinga and then cut inside. On the other wing we have to hope Theo gives Cashley a tough afternoon. Cole has been the best LB in the PL history and it is a huge regret that he took the 30 pieces of silver.

I have said before that if RvP scores today then we will win. In my opinion, he is the key player. His shooting has been a little off recently but he is The Man, and if we are to take 3rd spot Robin has to keep scoring until season’s end.

Today’s Gooner:  With the Olympics coming up and high hopes for Diving medals, it should not be forgotten that the man in the diving form of his life is a huge Gooner: Ashley Young of the Manchester Diving Team. It is hoped that he and Mr Wayne Rooney will represent GB in the Men’s Synchronised 10m Diving team. Given their past record, a podium position is assured.   Vital game for both teams today.

Arsenal must shrug off the disappointment of Monday and play without fear. If and it is a big If, Chelsea do suffer from fatigue we must punish them in the final 15 mins.

I believe we can beat the South West London Ponces.


Written by Big Raddy

Psst….. wanna buy a football franchise?

October 12, 2011

Chelsea FC  directors say their club needs more season tickets as the ground isn’t big enough. There is a  suspicion that their Russian Oligarch wants away from financing them and it’s time for them to stand on their own feet as Financial Fair Play looms large. Player’s wages versus gate receipts cannot be justified if they stay where they are. But still their fans bemoan the current tickets prices, whilst demanding the club doesn’t move.

So there you have it, all those happy fans who loved the spend, spend, spend days are now faced with the reality of what being in debt means. Don’t want to pay, don’t want to move, while their creditors circle in case the Russian goes off and takes his money to fight his election as Putin demands. What does the future hold for them and their club?

How different are Arsenal, debt almost eradicated gate receipts enough to cover wages and a profit being returned annually, enough to keep our owners interested?

But still some fans are objecting. They want trophies and for the club to spend some money and bugger the consequences. We want trophies, 6 years we have waited it’s a disgrace, what are these yanks up to, why won’t they spend the money, fire the manager, he has lost the plot. Let’s demonstrate, with some creative thinking, I know we’ll make a banner, a bloody big one, get our message across. We buy the tickets, it’s our club. Without us fans there would be nothing.

Wrong, my friends, oh so wrong.  Arsenal FC, like Chelsea and all the privately owned clubs have the potential to become a Franchise.  Should Chelsea move to Slough, Harlow or Wapping it matters not, they would be welcomed with open arms by local councils for the money they would bring in.

Their fans, not all of whom by any stretch of the imagination live in the borough, would continue to go, maybe some of the ‘I am here to be seen’  show business lovies might find the journeys a mite  too arduous, but they in all probability are only temporary anyway.

Professional sports clubs bring in fans by the thousand and their spending power feeds the coffers of local business and the transport companies that get them there. They provide jobs, as brilliantly broken down in yesterday’s post by GIE. 600 casual staff alone work at the Arsenal on match days and the club pays business rates worth many thousands of pounds.

Take test cricket as an example. There are 7 home test matches next year and 9 counties who with the help of investment from the local councils, have upgraded their grounds in the hope that they will get one.  Lancashire’s MD has expressed the view that those grounds that don’t get one are in danger of going broke. But still the local councils invest, why, because of the revenue a successful bid generates and all will bid every year desperate to succeed and stay in business

So it is with football, and for this reason if you have ownership of a club you are in the driving seat. You have the power to place your toy where you want, forget the football League they haven’t the balls to say boo to a big club let alone tell them what to do. Ask Leyton Orient as they contemplate the hammers moving onto their manor.

Franchises based on the American model could well be on their way here and fans had better wise up or they, like their American cousins could see teams uproot and move lock stock and barrel. Remember it doesn’t only  have to be in this country for the big boys, should a European League comes to fruition, then anywhere is possible.

Written by dandan

Oh Ye of Little Faith: Arsenal 3 Chelsea 1 (and ratings)

December 28, 2010

Where are they now then, the doubters and doomers, the carpers and cavilers?

There’ll be barely a squeak from them today and what little there is will be drowned out by another sound.

Do you hear it?

That low, grinding rumble?

It’s the sound of tectonic plates shifting; of seismic change in the English Premier League.

An edifice that hitherto had seemed rock-like and immovable is revealed as friable and fragile. Its place is suddenly vulnerable to a hard, new force that has been quietly forming and solidifying.

Or, to mix metaphors, the Roman empire is facing decline and fall, while Arsene Wenger’s belle epoque is about to begin.

Does this sound like hyperbole?

I don’t care. Monday December 27th will come to be seen as the day the Arsenal reclaimed its rightful place as London’s top club. (Yes, I know our history and record of trophy winning puts us streets ahead of any other club in the capital but, on the field of play, we have indisputably been second best to Chelsea for the best part of five years).

It was only one game, but the symbolism was immense.

Chelsea’s tired old warriors were out-played, out-passed and out-fought, while their younger colleagues looked weak and ineffectual. Arsenal exhibited fire, hunger, energy and skill.

The Chelsea bench had all the depth of a toddlers’ paddling pool.  Arsenal’s bench, by comparison, was the Marianas Trench. Just look at the respective line-ups:

Arsenal: Szczesny, Squillaci, Diaby, Rosicky, Arshavin, Chamakh, Bendtner.

Chelsea: Turnbull (who?), Bosingwa, Van Aanholt (who?), Bruma (who?), Ramires (what a waste of money), McEachren (who?), Kakuta (who?).

The victory was thoroughly deserved and the margin should perhaps have been bigger. But if you look beyond this single result the evidence for a shift in the balance of footballing power in London is even more compelling.

Chelsea have a relatively small stadium and often have trouble filling it. Their billionaire owner (whose roubles are the only reason that they have been able to compete at the top level) has snapped shut the wallet. If the rumours are to be believed, he is now focusing on the 2018 World Cup in Russia and is losing interest in his malfunctioning toy.

To replace ageing players of the calibre of Terry (30), Lampard (32), Drogba (32), and Cole (30) they will need to spend tens and tens of millions, because they certainly don’t have any real quality coming through the ranks.

It’s unlikely that Roman Abramovich will make the money available. And even if he did, who’s to say the new acquisitions would gel with the rest of the team, or that Chelsea would be able to compete with the even bigger billionaires at Man City (and, possibly, at Old Trafford, if the Qatar Royal Family story turns out to have legs)?

Any way you cut it, Chelsea are in for a period of decline. They won’t collapse like a house of cards, they will still win some big games and stay in touch with the championship race this season, but their time is over.

Our time, however, is just beginning. Arsene Wenger has brought together a squad of supremely gifted players at very little cost, nurturing talent from within and balancing the budget while moving us to a new 60,000 seater stadium and keeping us in the Champions League every year. In the future this achievement will come to be more widely appreciated for the astonishing piece of management it is. If you don’t believe me, just look at the fuss made about Old Twitchy and his Posse of Cocks for getting into the Champions League just once, despite having spent tens of millions more than Arsenal on players over the last 10 years.

The ‘Arsene Out’ brigade really needs to take the blinkers off and look at the big picture of what is being built at our club.

Yesterday’s result showed that our young team is finally ready to claim its destiny.

I have rambled on for too long now, so there will be no full match report, just some observations:

  • We were fantastic. A true team performance in which we completely outplayed the champions.
  • Djourou was immense and limited our nemesis Drogba to scraps and crumbs.
  • Chelsea’s goal came from a dead ball situation and, apart from that strike, they rarely threatened (and certainly not from open play). So much for our ‘weak defence’.
  • Playing Theo against Cashley was a Wenger masterstroke, nullifying the greedy traitor’s attacking threat.
  • The biggest factor that decided the game was our work rate. Every single Arsenal player bust a gut to help his team mates.
  • In other words, for a change, we played as well when we did not have the ball as when we did have it. This is the trick Barcelona have mastered.
  • We were better without Arshavin. I love the pocket Russki, but Theo’s defensive work (aided by his recovery speed) was a refreshing change and gave extra support to Sagna.
  • One man bossed the game from start to finish: Alex Song, take a bow.

After such an outstanding and emphatic win I don’t want to dwell on negatives but, like an impoverished Japanese home owner, I have a couple of small carps:

  • Cesc is still blowing hot and cold (he made some careless misplaced passes and was caught in possession a few times) but the ‘hot’ bits were scorching.
  • Koscielny could have done better for their goal, failing to get a proper challenge in on Ivanovich.
  • Fabianski’s position was poor for the goal – he neither came to claim it nor stayed on his line to save. Instead he came into no man’s land and seemed to try the unusual trick (for a goalie) of making himself small.

But, as I say, these are only small complaints in what was an all-round team performance of great confidence and power.

This should now give us the boost we need to go on a run of great results, starting tomorrow at Wigan.

Come on you Reds!


Player Ratings

Fabianski: Chelsea hardly troubled him, but he might have done better for their goal. 6

Sagna: excellent game from our Mr Reliable. 8

Djourou: at last we have a CB who refused to be intimidated by Drogba. Towering performance by the big Swiss. 8.5

Koscielny: lost Ivanovich for their goal, but apart from that did very well and made some very important tackles and interceptions. 7.5

Clichy: still prone to charge forward when we should be protecting a lead, and was dispossessed too easily a couple of times, but his forward thrust did help keep Chelsea pegged back. 7.5

Fabregas: some outstanding play from the skipper, including the glorious pass for Theo’s goal. His passing is still not back to its very best – but it will soon get there, and what an awesome prospect that will be. 8

Song: what can you say? He was immense, scoring the vital opener (and yet again making me eat my words for saying he should not go forward so much) and breaking up Chelsea’s moves for the entire match. 9 MoTM

Wilshere: made a few mistakes through inexperience, but the fact he held his own in such a big game at the age of just 18 is so, so encouraging. Imagine what he’ll be like at 21!  7.5

Walcott: kept Cashley confined to defensive duties and suckered him beautifully for the second goal. Was always a threat and took his goal well. 8

Nasri: almost scored with a sublime chip and was constantly probing at Chelsea’s right flank. Not as influential as in some recent games, but that was partly because we sent a lot of play down Walcott’s wing. Fluffed a great chance in a one-on-one with Cech. 7.5

van Persie: started very sharply and displayed good movement, but never quite got the game by the scruff of the neck. Tried a couple of ambitious shots that went well over the bar. 7


Diaby (for Walcott, 73 mins): didn’t really get into the pace of the game, but that’s hardly surprising after such a long lay-off. 6

Chamakh (for van Persie, 76 mins): slotted in to his usual centre forward role without fuss and held the ball up well. 7

Rosicky (for Fabregas, 88 mins): used his experience to help run the clock down, but not on long enough for a rating.

Loan Players.

November 19, 2010

At the weekend Danny Welbeck scored for Sunderland in the wonderful win at Stamford Bridge, not only did he score but he put in a fine performance that had Chelsea’s 2nd string CB’s running all over the pitch allowing others to attack. Fairplay one may say, good on him and good on Sunderland, but Welbeck is signed to Man Utd.

Sunderland first goal was one of the goals of the season scored by  full back Onouha. Onouha is on loan from Man City.

So Chelsea were undone (in part) by players from direct rivals, how can this be?

At Blackburn in our valiant 2-1 victory earlier in the season, Blackburn’s goalscorer was M. Diouf who gave our defence a torrid time. Diouf is on loan from Man Utd.

Last week we played a Wolves team who had Mancienne in their defence, an excellent young player on loan from Chelsea, and we face the prospect of playing Spurs at the weekend who may play Pletikosa in goal – another loanee.

Last season we loaned out young Jack to Bolton and this season we have gained the benefit of his experiences there. Had he scored in a win over MU we would have been delighted !

With the increasing gap between the wealth and quality of squads of the CL clubs and the lower PL clubs, it is inevitable that those players who have a value to the CL clubs but are not within their 25 player squad will be loaned out ( I realise this is simplistic due to the homegrown rules). Furthermore, we have some fantastic young players who will be too old for the youth/reserve teams and not good enough to replace an established player but need experience to develop. That player will go on loan, and he will go on loan to a club in the lower half of the table.

I assume there is an unwritten agreement that loan players do not play against their registered clubs, but why should that be? It weakens the team playing the loanee and therefore gives an added advantage to the loaning team.

I believe there should be an adjunct to the loan rules that stops clubs loaning to teams within the same division, thereby allowing the loanee to get experience  in a first team and does not advantage the loaning club. It did Chesney no harm 🙂

By the way, anyone know who was the last loan player who played in Arsenal’s first team?

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Arsenal celebrate failure on the pitch ……

November 2, 2010

…but off it, the football world celebrates complete incompetence and negligence.

Following the defeat at Chelsea I decided to give myself a little time to mull things over. A chance to let the hysteria die down. Losing the last game before the international break gives everyone two weeks to dwell on the shortcomings – in our case that we’re still unable to rough it against tough tacklers, that we flatter to deceive against the Mancs and Chelsea, and that Wenger’s refusal to ‘buy big’ means we haven’t won a trophy in five seasons, obviously.

I don’t mind that criticism so much. In fact, I don’t even mind the media ignoring that we took to the field against Chelsea like Christopher Reeve – with our entire spine missing (the loss of Almunia, Vermaelen, Fabregas and van Persie hardly got a mention).

And I can just about handle Mr know-everything-about-management (despite never being a manager) Andy Gray gleaming: “You have to ask how long the Arsenal fans and players will put up with this? How long can Arsene Wenger keep persuading them this is the right way?” – while ignoring what the fans of Liverpool, Everton, Middlesboro, Newcastle, Sunderland (and all those other clubs that have spent more than us over the past five years) are currently putting up with.

I can handle all of that… just.

But what I don’t understand is the media constantly waxing lyrical about Chelsea and all they achieve.

It’s true that Arsenal haven’t won a trophy for five years. And it’s true that, in that time, Chelsea won the Premier League in 2006 and last season; three FA Cups; and a League Cup.

Ignore the League Cup because it doesn’t count. Add in that Chelsea have spent more than £300m over the past five years, failed to win the league for three successive seasons between 2006-09, and still haven’t won the Champions League – and I’d suggest it’s not a great return. But you don’t hear that said in the media.

What you also don’t hear is criticism of, and this is my main point, is how Chelsea have achieved their success – and just how bad it is for football.

Chelsea’s business plan since Abramovic came in has simply been to “achieve world domination” – which doesn’t appear to be happening – and relies solely on the hope that Roman Abramovic won’t walk away.

If he does, Chelsea are dead. Chelsea say the loans given to them by Abramovic have now been turned into shares, and that the club is effectively running as a profit-making business. The truth, however, is very different.

It is true that the loans from the holding company to Chelsea FC plc were fully converted to shares. However, Abramovich’s loan to Chelsea Limited, the holding company which owns Chelsea FC plc, was not. That loan remains owing. In fact, it increased in the previous financial year because Abramovich loaned another £25m for extravagant spending and to cover the dismissal of Luiz Felipe Scolari and his coaching team – all of which produced losses of £47m.

The result is that the accounts of Chelsea Limited (whose name was changed during the year to Fordstam Limited), show the loan to Abramovic still outstanding. The total figure owed? Wait for it… £726m. The good news for Chelsea fans is the loan is interest free. The bad news is that it is repayable if Abramovich gives 18 months’ notice.

So if the Roman gets bored; or fed up that they still can’t win the Champions League; or if they do win the Champions League and then he feels he’s achieved all he can with that toy, what will happen to Chelsea? Do you think the club will attract a buyer willing to pay off a three-quarters-of-a-billion-pound debt to take the helm? Looking at the debacle at Anfield this past couple of weeks, I would say not.

Those activities at Anfield have finally started to persuade fans that winning silver cups in the immediate future is not all football is about. Supporters are taking an interest in the long-term futures of their clubs, and seeing that the Arsenal way – while painful for half a dozen years or so on the pitch – is putting the club in good stead off the pitch for generations to come. Online discussions like this one on BBC this week are now riddled with praise for what has become known as “the Arsenal model”.

I just hope that now the fans are seeing the light, the media might follow. I suspect Andy Gray and co will just continue to focus on the one measure of success they care about – titles and trophies. Don’t get me wrong. I would love Arsenal to have won the silverware Chelsea have since 2005. But not at their price.

I know that in ten years I will still be watching my team from where I watch it now. I wonder if Chelsea fans will be watching some re-formed non-league version of their club because they wanted ten years of success but then Abramovic walked away – and took their history with him?

Written by redandwhiteviews

The author of this article has his own site redandwhiteviews.

Keep it tight or they’ll kill us

October 6, 2010

Written by SharkeySure

Whilst still marvelling at the eloquence of yesterday’s post by charybdis1966,  I have to disagree with what I think is its central theme, namely that Chelski and Man IOU sit back in the belief that we can’t really hurt them.

The game on Sunday kicked off in a very end to end fashion, with both teams attacking with abandon.  After the opening skirmishes Chelski  retreated a little for a couple of reasons.

1. Diaby’s position.  These days Chelski  pass the ball around in their own half much more than they did a few years ago, and Diaby (ably supported by Song) was harrying Mikel and the Chelsea rear guard into mistakes or longer passes. In attempting to retain possession both Ramires and Essien were drawn deeper and closer to Mikel to offer more support.

2. Chelski were fearful of the early impact that both Arshavin and Nasri were having on the game, and it was also clear that Chamakh was going to give Terry (spit) and Alex  a lot more trouble than they were used to from an Arsenal CF.

From memory, their goal seemed to come slightly against the run of play but nevertheless it was a very good goal, and once they have scored then we all know that its ‘park the bus’ time.  So whilst I acknowledge that Chelski may have ‘invited us into their lair’ as a spider does to a fly, the difference is that I believe that was always our eight legged friend’s original plan, but  Chelski’s was an adaptation to the unexpected circumstances they faced.  I should give them credit for that but I won’t,  instead I’ll simply say ‘well played Mr Arachnid, enjoy your lunch’ !

Man IOU’s case is slightly different to Chelski’s for the simple reason that Chelski do not change their system to play Arsenal, its still their tried and trusted 4-3-3, that either pushes on or sits (/gets pushed?) back.  Red Nose gives up on his 4-4-2 whenever he plays Arsenal and has done for quite a while now.  Fergie goes 4-5-1 with Rooney either up top on his own, or shunted out to the left wing, much to Andy Grays dismay;  and workhorses like Fletcher and Park get their first starts of the season.  His  sole aim to is to crowd the midfield and prevent us from passing his team to death. He really does not expect to outscore us in an open game.

The Prawn Sandwich mob in the stands were aghast when Red Nose first started doing it, as it seemed to go against absolutely everything that the Club and Red Nose stood for.   I believe it was after the flying boot to Beckham’s forehead game, that Fergie ranted and raved like a frothing inarticulate loon and realised that it was better to shut the game down, even at home, than to see his team outplayed as they were on that day.  He does not expect to outscore us in an open game, and resorts to safety in numbers to stifle our brilliant attacking play, well, what else would an Arsenal fan call it !!