Friday Night Football at the Emirates

August 9, 2017

For the first time in the Premier League history the season will kick off on Friday August 11th when Arsenal will host Leicester City at the Emirates with the game starting at 19:45.

We played our first game against Leicester 125 years ago on January 7th 1895 – back then the teams were known as Leicester Fosse and Woolwich Arsenal, we lost the game 3-1. Overall we have played 124 league games against each other with Arsenal having an overall record of – W58, D38, L28, GF247, GA169.

Woolwich Arsenal 1895 – courtesy Arsenal.com

We have not lost a league game against them for 23 years when Leicester beat us 2-1 at their ground on November 23rd 1994.

Our starting line up then was:

Goalkeeper David Seaman

Defender/Right back Lee Dixon

Defender Steve Bould

Centre back Martin Keown

Centre back Andy Linighan

Left back Nigel Winterburn

Midfielder Jimmy Carter

Midfielder Stefan Schwarz

Midfielder Ian Selley

Forward Paul Dickov

Forward Ian Wright

Ian Wright scored from a penalty in the 19th minute while Leicester’s goals came from Andy Linighan 16′ (og) and David Lowe 28′.

Here is our league record against Leicester for the past 40 seasons.

After our performance against Chelsea in the Community Shield I’m feeling very confident that we will win our opening game to set us on the right track for the season ahead.

Written by GunnerN5

(Ed – other notable Friday night Arsenal fixtures….)

Friday May 26th 1989

Friday April 16th 2004

 

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Arsenal: Tight Fisted Scrooges or Profligate Wastrels?

July 31, 2017

The Emirates Cup was a strange mixture of youthful carefree enjoyment in a deeply satisfying and fun filled first game against Benfica, and an inhibited and surprisingly chaotic lurch into the tippy tappy football of the older more experienced players who did not appear to gell in the second game.

It would be pointless to read too much into the games with many different variables conflating to make it impossible to predict what will be the strongest team that AW will put out for the start of the season.

We meet the Chavs, again, next weekend in the pre-season FA Community Shield, with donations going to the Grenfell Tower support fund, a worthy cause.

The problem is that Chelsea gave a very youthful Arsenal team a bit of a pasting 3 : 0 in an earlier pre-season, so-called friendly, and now they will look to go into the new season on a high by repeating the dose at the weekend and in doing so have the opposite effect on our lads.

So what can we make of all that? Well to start with we had several players making appearances in the Ems Cup who may, or may not, be sold on or let go this summer. Confusingly we also had players who played who are looking to leave us, although the manager has resolutely maintained that every one of them, including the ‘flu stricken one, and his dog, will stay, come what may.

All I can say to that is …… hmmmmm?

The stance by Arsene is at least a gamble, because keeping players who are disillusioned with the club, or who are mendaciously wanting to stick their snouts deeper into the money trough demanding increases to their already sky high salaries is risky because angry employees, and they are only employees, cannot be relied upon when the going gets tough.

An interesting side note is that if we keep Sanchez (boo, hiss) and Özil (brilliant but spasmodic) and the Ox (excellent – in patches) then at a market guesstimate, of £60m + £60m + £3om the club stands to ‘lose’ £150m.

Does that ‘don’t care’ attitude sound like the club, or Wenger? Experience tells me no way, José.

Then there were those playing like Chambers and El Neney and Ospina and Giroud and Le Coq who were heavily rumoured to be playing their last games for the Gunners – although we all know how much bollix is spouted through bloody rumours.
What was the point of playing them – if the rumours were accurate?

To cap that, we had oodles of Tyros, young wannabees playing at the tender ages of 17 to 20, many of whom like Reiss Nelson and Joe Willock and Nketiah and Maitland-Niles were making a good fist of their chances to impress the manager – but frankly for all their skill, energy and enthusiasm have not got Chas’ cats’ chances in hell of playing in anything but cup games next season.

Confused? Me too.

Then there is the other side of the club, or Arsene, (indistinguishable?) we spent what seemed to be weeks negotiating the purchase of La Caz, and that tactic revolved around bidding the lowest figure possible, having it rejected and increasing the bid incrementally.
Look it is a seller’s market – ask them what they want – evaluate it and pay it or leave it.
But no – this is the parsimonious side of deal making and it is ineffectual.

Lesson learned? Nope. We are allegedly trying to buy Lemar a very highly rated young midfielder – and blow me down — the same ‘negotiating’ tactic is being used with the lowest, and most implausible bid offered to start with, which predictably gets refused and is currently creeping up in incremental bands.

These club owners are mostly already billionaires – they are not billionaires because they are stupid. They will say what they want – give it to them or gracefully walk away, and stop getting our hopes up.

There we have it – two sides of the same coin – prepared to blow £150m on a year’s worth of playing time from three reluctant if not recalcitrant ‘stars’ who are not for bending, but then farting around over £5m or £10m for Mr Lemar, a player many of us believe is essential for our chances next season – and that defies logic.

So, what is it? Parsimonious nitwits, or profligate spenders throwing good money after bad?

If the various rumours and leaks are mostly correct in these cases, I would sell SOO for £150m (you work it out) – sell Chambers, Giro etc for £50m (if that is what the powers that be have decided) and reinvest that dead £200m into completing the deal for Lemar and then buying at least two others to stiffen the spine (as we pundits call it 🙂 ) at CB and CF and hey presto we are in good shape – if not I will blame Terry. 😀

Written by Zee


Better Days?

January 11, 2017

 

The Old Days. We always think they were better …

Would you exchange the better standard of football we see every season at The Emirates for the mud and passion of Highbury?

Unknown.jpeg

Why do I long for a TA/Steve Bould  tackle which would “let the player know you are there” as opposed to the Guardiola idea of staying on your feet?

Some of the intricacy of our current teams passing football is beyond ken but I yearn for a Radford bullet header from a hopeful punt from George Armstrong. Why is hoofball so looked down upon as a short-term tactic?

Why did the architects of The Emirates build the stands so far from the pitch? It makes the paying punter spectators as opposed to being fans involved in  the play as we were at Highbury. Why can’t PL stadiums have a standing section?

Arsenal-Supporters.png

Football has become sanitised (IMO). Is the sport better for it?

p.s. This post was inspired by a photo of the tunnel at Arsenal Tube Station published by Chas.

written by Big Raddy


Bournemouth Bullet Points.

November 27, 2016

Must win game.

Wilshere not playing.

Bournemouth managed by a good chap who may one day succeed Mr. Wenger

We are “stuttering”.

Xhaka?

Coquelin to be rested?

Sanchez burn out.

Giroud to continue his scoring run.

Walcott needs to get back to early season form.

18 game run

B’mouth have never beaten AFC

B’mouth only one away game since February without conceding a goal.

My Team:

Cech

Jens   Mustafi    Koscielny    Monreal

Xhaka   Ramsey     Iwobi

Walcott   Giroud    Ozil

I think that sums it up

COYRRG

 


Thrashing the Thracians?

October 19, 2016

To be quite honest I had absolutely no idea which country PFC Ludogorets Razgrad came from until I started writing this. Bulgaria is the answer and I sincerely hope my appalling ignorance and downright lack of awareness is not matched by the manager and team of Arsenal Football Club.

Looking at Ludogorets’ record in the Champions League, their biggest home win was 1-0 v Basel in 2014 and their biggest away defeats were both 4-0 to Basel (again) and Real Madrid (both in 2014). At present their biggest away win is …… non-existent. A continuation of that record for another few days would be great. (n.b. they’ve only been in the group stage once before) .

ars-v-ludo3

Razgrad itself is in north-east of the country and a couple of Bulgaria’s famous landmarks have parallels with landmarks in England.

First there is the Bulgarian Icarus statue.

icarus

According to legend, the man known as the “Bulgarian Icarus” was also a builder. Apparently a Turkish Sultan survived a terrible disaster, so he decided to build a mosque in Edirne in gratitude to God. At that time, Bulgaria was part of the Ottoman Empire. So, the Sultan summoned the most famous builder and this was Bulgarian, Manol. He worked for seven years and constructed a miraculous temple. After it was completed, the Sultan asked him: “Can you build a more beautiful mosque than this one?” and Master Manol replied: “One always has more to learn. Maybe I made some mistakes here that I will avoid in the future and I will be able to build an even more majestic temple.” Hearing this, the ruler ordered that Manol be shut in one of the mosque minarets until his last breath. The inventive craftsman, however, managed to create another miracle – he designed himself wings made of wood. And one day, the people in Edirne saw a huge flying creature soaring in the sky and heading home to Thrace. In this way, Master Manol managed to save his life and turned into a favourite hero in Bulgarian folk tales and songs.

This tale reminded me of the Angel of the North statue when some Geordies launched an enormous Alan Shearer shirt over its shoulders.

angel-of-the-north-711688609

Whilst the statues have similarities, Master Manol and Mr Shearer are almost polar opposites, one an educated and erudite craftsman builder and the other a football pundit.

The second parallel is between the beautiful Razgrad clock tower and our own clock tower at Highbury Barn.

clock-towers

Team News

It would appear Rambo and Ollie G. are continuing to train alone. I’d imagine Granit will start due to a soon-to-be enforced absence from the Prem and EFL Cup (cheers, J. Moss).

It appears we emerged unscathed from the Swansea game so perhaps the team isn’t likely to be changed to any significant degree. Perhaps Kieran Gibbs could get a game after Nacho’s run around on Saturday. Oh, and Oooooooooooo-spiiiiiiiii-naaaaa may get the goalkeeper jersey.

‘Complacency’ seems to be the watchword for everyone with regards to this game. Theo and Shkodran have both issued warnings to their teammates to be on their guard against assuming it will be an easy and straightforward 3 points. Each and every player has to be thinking the same, especially after escaping by the skin of our teeth against Swansea.

Note…. Big Raddy is currently on manoeuvres in Ireland and without pre-match writing facilities. Thankfully this hiatus from normality will only be fleeting.

P.S. we need a nickname or shortened version of Shkodran. Any suggestions?

Written by chas


Valentines Day. Love Arsenal

February 14, 2016

Valentines Day. I woke up thinking why and who? Do you know? Do you care?

Why would you on such a fantastic day of sport?

I am praying to St Valentine (a Roman Christian martyr) for 3 victories and a draw.., England x 2, a draw for the Northern Oilers and at The Emirates – I am not sure.

Unknown-1

Arsenal vs Leicester: You know the runners and riders, you know the state of the ground (good to soft), the recent form, the health of the stables, the colours, the on-field odds, the background “fairytale” etc etc. So I am not going to spend this post teaching you to suck eggs (whatever that means!)

Instead I would like to briefly explore what football means to you, or more to the point, me.

Valentines is about emotional attachment and appropriately my connection to The Arsenal  and football as a whole is purely emotional based. I love football and I love The Arsenal. Which do I love more? BTW this is a slow build up to my point 🙂

Why do I not really care if we lose today? Because IMO it would be just marvellous for the game if Leicester won the title. And I say that knowing that for them to win it we would have to lose it.

I have been struggling with this all week. Which is more important, an Arsenal victory or a Leicester title win? I find that my romantic nature supersedes my desire for Arsenal glory. The truth is that I love the sport more than my team (I think).

However, if we win and go on to win the title I would be thrilled; my fears are that we could win today and balls up the title run-in. Oh, come on – you know you feel the same!

Unknown

Arsenal: Defensively we have been looking better – could it be the emergence of Gabriel or just we have been playing poor teams? Rumour has it that The Archangel is injured; if he is then our tactics will have to be adjusted to allow for BFG’s lack of pace. Much is made of the pace of Vardy and Leicester’s counter attack, yet we have faced much faster frontlines and coped. It is a question of organisation and concentration.

We knocked 5 past young Kasper up at Filbert Street and I cannot see him keeping a clean sheet this lunchtime. OG must be due a goal as too is Alexis.

I expect us to start with Ox on the right and a return for Coquelin, other than that the team picks itself. I will bet Mrs.Raddy’s Valentines Day gift (a Snickers bar) that OG starts ahead of TW.

What I really, really do not want to happen this afternoon is for us to draw and the cave-dwelling, knuckle-dragging N17 miscreants to win up at The Etihad. That would ruin my day and dent both our and Ranieri’s title ambitions.

I may love football more than Arsenal but if Young Aaron smashes in the third at the Clock End I will be out my seat, jumping up and down and convinced this is OUR year.

And if it isn’t, how great would it be for a top chap like Ranieri to take a team which a year ago was relegation fodder to the title?

COYRRG


The history of Arsenal’s grounds through the ages

July 9, 2015

Arsenal’s Ground’s

(From 1887 to present))

I thought it would interesting to go back to our roots and take a look at the various grounds that we have played on from our inception in 1887 to the present day.

Let’s start with our very first games which were played on Plumstead Common –

Plumbstead Common

From January 8th, 1887 to June 30th, 1887

(No League games were played)

The Royal Artillery exercised their horses on the common which left the playing surface badly rutted and almost unplayable. The changing rooms were located in several local Pubs and the teams goal posts were stored in a neighbouring back garden and had to be erected for every game. They only played 5 games on the common before looking for another location.

Sportman’s Ground

From September 30th, 1887 to February 12th, 1888

(No League games were played)

The Sportman’s ground was located close to Manor Field and was previously a pig farm. The ground was also located on the edges of Plumstead Marshes and was constantly water logged. Arsenal was beginning to attract hundred if not thousands of fans and that created a problem due to the soggy grounds and inadequate facilities.

Manor Field

From August 1st, 1888 to June 30th, 1889

(No League games were played)

This was another ground that did not fit the team’s needs, they used the Railway Tavern as a dressing room and they borrowed wagons, to create elevation, for the fans to stand on. It became obvious that they had to move when an estimated 10,000 fans turned up for the London Charity Cup final.

Invicta Ground

From September 1st, 1890 to May 31st, 1893

(No League games were played)

This ground was perhaps the best in Southern England as it had a grandstand and a half decent pitch. Although they were shunned by other Southern clubs they went ahead and applied for membership in the league and their application proved to be successful.

In 1891 Arsenal became the first Southern club to turn professional. When the landlord of the Invicta Ground decided to increase the rent Arsenal took the opportunity to move on and they made the decision to purchase Manor Field. Their final game at Invicta was a 0-1 loss to Stoke City on April 29th, 1893.

Manor Field

From August 1st, 1893 to April 27th, 1913

(343 League games were played)

10, 000 fans were in attendance at the first game played here; it was against Newcastle United on September 2nd, 1893 and ended in a 2-2 draw. Their highest attendance was 32,850 against Aston Villa on October 8th, 1904. Their biggest win at Manor Field (which was also their highest all time league victory) was 12-0 against Loughborough on March 12th, 1900; it was also proved to be their lowest crowd when only 600 fans showed up.

In 1893 the club now known as Woolwich Arsenal FC was elected into the Football League Division 2. Due to a crowd disturbance against Burton Wanderers the ground at Manor Field was closed for 5 games; during this period Arsenal played 1 game at Priestfield Stadium and 1 game at Lyttleton Ground.

Sir Henry Norris purchased a plot of land 10 miles away in Islington and Arsenal started to build Highbury Stadium.

Highbury

From September 6th, 1913 to May 7th, 2006

(1,691 League games were played)

The first match at Highbury was 2-1 victory against Leicester Fosse and was watched by a crowd of 20,000. The final match against Wigan Athletic resulted in a 4-2 win and 38,359 people were in attendance.

The highest attendance at Highbury was when 73,295 watched a 0-0 draw against Sunderland on March 9th, 1935. The lowest attendance was when only 4,554 watched Arsenal lose 0-3 to Leeds United on May 5th, 1966.

The biggest home win was a 9-1 victory against Grimsby Town before 15,751 people on January 28th, 1931. The biggest defeat was a 2-6 loss watched by 30,000 against Sheffield United on March 26th, 1921.

Emirates Stadium

From August 19th, 2006 to post GunnerN5

( League games played TBD )

The move from Highbury to the Emirates Stadium enabled the club to increase the capacity from 38,419 attendees at Highbury to 60,432 at the Emirates. The increased revenue was needed to allow Arsenal to become more competitive in the transfer market.

The first league goal at the Emirates Stadium was scored by Olof Mellburg of Aston Villa the game ended in a 1-1 draw.

The Emirates story is in progress and will not be completed for many more seasons.

 

…………………………………………………………………………………………..

Compliments of Arsenal.com here are some famous home and away Firsts…

First competitive match (as Woolwich Arsenal):
v Newcastle Utd (h) – Manor Ground Plumstead 2 Sept 1893 – League (Second Divison) Drew 2-2 (W Shaw, A Elliott)

First competitive match at Highbury (as Woolwich Arsenal):
v Leicester Fosse 6 Sept 1913 – League (Second Division) Won 2-1 (Jobey, Devine pen)

First competitive match as Arsenal:
v Bristol City (h) 4 April 1914 – League drew 1-1 (Winship)

First league match at ‘home’:
v Newcastle Utd (h) – Manor Ground Plumstead 2 Sept 1893 – League (Second Divison) Drew 2-2 (W Shaw, A Elliott)

First league match away:
v Notts County (a) 9 Sept 1893 Lost 2-3 (A Elliott, W Shaw)

First Premier League match:
v Norwich City (h)15 Aug 1992 Lost 2-4 (Bould, Campbell)

First FA Cup match (Played at Manor Ground, Plumstead):
v Ashford United (h) 14 Oct 1893 – FA Cup (1)) Won 12-0 (Elliott 3, Henderson 3, Booth 2, Heath 2, Crawford, Powell)

First League Cup match:
v Gillingham (h) 13 Sept 1966 (Round 2) drew 1-1 (Baldwin)

First home match in European competition:
v Staevnet (Denmark) 22 Oct 1963 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup Lost 2-3 (Skirton, Barnwell)

First away match in European competition:
v Staevnet (Denmark) 25 Sept 1963 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup Won 7-1 (Strong 3, Baker 3, MacLeod)

First match in UEFA Champions League:
v RC Lens (a) 16 Sept 1998 Drew 1-1 (Overmars)

First match in Charity/Community Shield:
v Sheff Wed at Stamford Bridge. Oct 8 1931, Won 2-1 (Joe Hulme, David Jack)

First match at Emirates Stadium:
v Ajax (Dennis Bergkamp Testimonial) 22 July 2006. Arsenal 2 (Henry 55, Kanu 80) Ajax 1 (Huntelaar 37)

First competitive match at Emirates Stadium:
v Aston Villa 19 August 2006. Arsenal 1 (Gilberto 83) Aston Villa (Mellberg 54)

First player to be sent off at Emirates Stadium:
Ivan Campo (Bolton) (2 yellows) 14 April 2007 (Lge) (won 2-1)

First Arsenal player to be sent off at Emirates Stadium:
Philippe Senderos (v Portsmouth (Lge) 2 Sept 2007 won 3-1)

(Copyright 2015 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to http://www.arsenal.com as the source 8 Jul 2008)

GunnerN5