Cheating Costa to get his Comeuppance?

September 24, 2016

What would we do without the comedy villain? In the past it has been Shearer, then Sheringham, Van Nistelrooy or Keane, Shawcross etc. I guess it has always been such as we construct our narrative about our favourite game. Chelsea are unusual insomuch  as they have two.

And we all know who we want to get a good shoeing and a red card this afternoon.

Diego Costa is a player whom I would love to see in the red and white of Arsenal, he is a horrible but efficient, destructive player. I suspect that off pitch he is a really good bloke but on-pitch he changes. We do not have anyone like him and perhaps we are the lesser team because of our “niceness”. Perhaps Xhaka will change this.

Of course ,the other villain is the ageing and possibly missing JT . Be honest – if he had been in the Arsenal shirt and under the tutelage of Mr. Wenger for the last 15 years we could have been a legend; instead Terry is a boor.


We need to win today, we need to beat Chelsea and get this monkey off the back. Me-rinho has gone but we still haven’t beaten them in too long, much too long.

Let’s be clear, whatever they do Chelsea will always be in our shadow. Arsenal are the biggest club in London and no amount of illicit money will change that. Yes, they have won more silverware in the past 10 years than we have but so what? We have history, Chelsea have Russian money.

I still admire Fabregas. Bear with me, this is a man who desperately wanted to return to his home club in Barcelona, got binned and saw the error of his ways. He wanted to re-sign for Arsenal but Mr Wenger decided we  had better, it wasn’t Cesc’s fault that we signed Ozil and Cazorla. Why castigate the poor chap who has to pull on that repulsive Blue shirt? Isn’t that enough punishment? Imagine the pain every time he has to walk into the dressing room. I think the chap deserves our sympathy not our dislike.

We go into the game on a strong run of results and must be confident. The Alexis experiment is likely to continue and I expect AW to pick the same team which won at Hull

My Team:


Bellerin    Mustafa    Koscielny    Monreal

Cazorla   Coquelin    Iwobi

Walcott    Sanchez    Ozil

One of the most interesting aspects of today’s game will be how Mustafi copes with the aggression of Costa, let us hope he can control himself better than Gabriel!

Also, how will Hazard play? If he is on-song the man is a potent weapon and will certainly stretch our defence.

It should be a cracking game, especially if Chelsea  and Conte choose to attack.

I see no reason why we cannot win against a team who, quite frankly, have besmirched our wonderful sport since the days of the execrable criminal Ken Bates. We are the men in the white hats waiting for the outlaws to arrive. let’s give them a thrashing and send them home crying.

Let it be so


Southampton pre-match

September 10, 2016

In the 2001 census Southampton and Portsmouth were recorded as being parts of separate urban areas, however by the time of the 2011 census they had merged to become the sixth largest built-up area in England with a population of 855,569. This built-up area is part of the metropolitan area known as South Hampshire, which is also known as Solent City, particularly in the media when discussing local governance organisational changes. With a population of over 1.5 million this makes the region one of the United Kingdom’s most populous metropolitan areas.

Here are a few miscellaneous pieces of trivia about Southampton.

The Mayflower, the famed ship which brought the Pilgrim Fathers to America, actually set sail from Southampton. There were in fact two ships – The Mayflower and The Speedwell, which left Southampton together in early August, 1620.

However, the smaller Speedwell was soon found to be taking on water, so the two ships diverted to Dartmouth for repairs before setting sail again, only for The Speedwell to spring yet another leak. All the passengers then clambered onto The Mayflower and continued on for Cape Cod in New England that September.

God’s House Tower, on the corner of Town Quay, Lower Canal Walk and Platform Road, was the first dedicated artillery fortification built in England. It was constructed in 1417, as part of the drive to fortify Southampton following the French raids some 80 years earlier. The town gunner was paid sixpence a week.

Southampton played a major role in the success of fish fingers. Clarence Birdseye tested herring sticks and cod sticks on shoppers in Southampton and South Wales. The Southampton customers loved the cod sticks, which then became known as fish fingers and rolled out across the country.

Arsenal and Southampton have played against each other 34 times in the Premier League

The record is –

Away – W6, D5, L6, GF23, GA21

Home – W12, D5, L0, GF41, GA 14

Our home record is most impressive not losing a game and winning 80.4% of the points.

I see no reason for this to change and I predict a straightforward 3-0 win.

My prediction for our starting eleven will be –



Subs – Ospina, Gibbs, Holding, Mustafi, Coquelin, Cazorla, Ox.



Wenger: End of an Era or a New Beginning?

September 8, 2016

Is Mr. Wenger building a squad for his successor or as a squad to see him through his next contract?

Arsenal have spent over €100m this year, it is unprecedented; add to this the signings of Ozil, Sanchez and Gabriel and you can see that the squad is very different from that we had  just a few seasons ago.

Mr. Wenger has regularly built squads over his 20+ years, often assembled around a player (Fabregas) or a style of play (Invincibles). This one reminds me of the early days of Petit and Vieira.

It remains to be seen whether Xhaka and his fellow midfielders can have the influence of the PV/EP axis but I have a good feeling about it. Whether it will be Xhaka, Elneny and Ramsey or Xhaka, Coquelin and Cazorla or another combination, it is the midfield where the power of the new Arsenal will crystallise.

For many years the fans (AA’ers included) have begged for three signings – a CB, a DM and a striker with pace. We have them. The next question is whether the signings are good enough. As usual, they are not from the current top-drawer – no Pogba or Higuain for us – but Mr. Wenger has a history of signing good players and making them great.

There is much to discuss about the transfer window; why were Campbell , Wilshire and Chambers allowed to leave? It is clear that Arsene has made some tough decisions on players who have stalled in their progress. Perhaps the alarming improvement in Walcott’s attitude is due to a new fear factor within the club. If so, this is a necessary development as some players have not had enough competition for their places and become complacent.


Today we have a squad where no-one apart from Ozil, Bellerin, Sanchez and Koscielny is an automatic starter. This has to be of benefit to Arsenal over the coming years.


Then there is the age of the squad. We have a number of players approaching 30 and AW has managed to buy in youth (apart from Perez). In my opinion, we have some very exciting times ahead as Mr Wenger moulds what could be his final squad. Let us hope he has as much success as SAF’s last hurrah.

The Ghosts of the Thirties are Stirring

written by Big Raddy

Hungry Perez Can Do A Wrighty

September 6, 2016

Cast your mind back to September of 1991. George Graham had just lashed out a club record £2.5 million to sign 28 year old Ian Wright from Crystal Palace.

Here we are in September 2016, and Arsene has just signed 28 year old Lucas Perez (well, he will be 28 in 4 days’ time) for £17 million.

LPPerez has had to work hard to get where he is. Born in Coruña Spain, he travelled Europe with stints in Ukraine and Greece before returning to play for his beloved hometown team, Deportivo. There, he helped his club avoid relegation by way of goals, heart and fight.

While all International breaks are a pain in the arse, the first one hurts especially as after the footballing vacuum of summer, it’s sprung on us after only three games. However, the first one usually gives us the opportunity to review new signings and do some tactics bollocks about new formations shit and how things will pan out as a result.

Sadly, while we’ve seen exceedingly promising performances from Xhaka and Holding, we’ve yet to see Mustafi or Perez. For now, however, Mustafi doesn’t matter because we’re discussing Perez.

Like many, youtubing clips are the sum of my knowledge regarding Perez, and while we know the stats, that was Deportivo in Spain, and this is Arsenal. Here, he plays with Mesut.

At this point I must lob in a cautionary note. During the height of the summer’s transfer fever, I scanned newsnow. “A source” had said we’d bid for Vardy, and also explained one of the reasons he had decided to stay in “over land and sea and Leicester” was that he’d had a conversation with Arsene, and he hadn’t liked what he’d heard about his proposed role at Arsenal. To me this implies either he wouldn’t have been guaranteed first choice striker, or far more worryingly, it’d been suggested he play wide.

I’m hoping Perez had no such conversation, and cannot wait to see him play. Then, next international break, we can do tactics and formation bollocks and talk about the New Wrighty.


Spend, spend , spend …. has the Premier League gone crazy?

September 2, 2016

After just 3 games we have already seen the influence of new managers and the untold wealth they have had at their disposal. The only teams with 100% records are Manchester City managed by Pep Guardiola, Manchester Untied managed by Jose Mourinho and Chelsea managed by Antonio Conte. All three managers are new to their clubs and only Mourhino has Premier League experience – with Chelsea.

They are all competent managers and have managed and been successful in various different countries. Other than their success they all have another thing in common – they have all moved to clubs with seemingly endless cash availability and none of then wasted any time in proving that they are also good at spending.

Conte has already spent 120 million at Chelsea on five new recruits

Michy Batshuayi 33m, David Luiz 33m, N’Golo Kante 30m, Marcos Alonso 20m and Eduardo 4m.

Mourhino wasted no time at Manchester United and has spent 158 million

Paul Pogba 90m, Henrikh Mikhitaryan 36m and Eric Bailly 32m.

Not wishing to be outdone Guardiola has left no doubt about Manchester United’s cash reserves and his willingness to spend by setting a Premier League record in the amount of 181million on nine – yes nine new players

John Stones 47m, Leroy Sane 43m, Gabriel Jesus 27m, Ilkay Gundogan 23m, Claudio Bravo 15m, Nilito 15m, Marlos Moreno 5m, Geronimo Rulli 4m and Oleksander Zinchenko 2m.

Meanwhile at Arsenal Arsene Wenger has spent a club record of 113 million on five new recruits ….

Granit Xhaka 45m, Shkodran Mustafi 41m, Lucas Perez 20m, Takuma Asano 4m and Rob Holding 3m.

So even though we spent over 100million we were still outspent by the big three.

(The transfer amounts are all taken from the Transfermartkt .com)

It has the making of being both one of the most competitive and the most exciting seasons for several years.  Gaining one of the coveted top four positions will be more difficult than ever before. Our purchases have been very impressive but we did not manage to add an out and out super star striker which many of us felt was a must buy. Lucas Perez looks to be a superb player who is fast and tricky he has a good eye for goal plus AW has stated that he is also technically gifted. He may not be the sparkly diamond that we were hoping for but he can most certainly be described as a diamond in the rough.

Personally I’m very excited about the 2016/17 season and feel that we will gain a top four slot but what position we finish is anybodies guess.

Where do you think we will finish?


Do Arsenal Supporters Smell Different?

August 29, 2016

A fairly easy win against Watford really and a win that was rightly expected; if it had gone the other way though the knives, as we all know, would have been out and sharp, very sharp. This possibility was obviously anticipated by Arsene who wisely held conformation of our two new signings back until after the game. It never hurts to add good news to a good win but it would have been a life saver for him had we gone and done something as stupid like lose.

I was fortunate enough to get a ticket, although, it was amongst the home supporters. All my in laws are Watford season ticket holders; they usually make themselves scarce when this game comes around and I come begging for a ticket but this time I got lucky, someone they knew was on holiday and so I got the nod.

Watford supporters are a bit like Scots, when they find out that you have one in the family they immediately warm to you. I know this because my girlfriend’s mother was a Scot and I saw this happen on a few occasions, as soon as my girlfriend mentioned that her mother was Scottish they were offering to buy her a drink in preparation for a long chat about the auld country. At the same time they were never quite sure what to make of me or what I was thinking which was just as well as most of the time I was considering what a wise decision it was to have built a wall between our two countries.

The same is true when I meet Watford supporters; they are a bit shy and hesitant in letting on which team they support especially after I have mentioned that I support Arsenal but as soon as I say that all my in laws are Watford season ticket holders I am immediately accepted. This doesn’t stop me thinking though that a wall could have been built a lot further south.

I am of an age that going to games at a few remaining clubs and sitting in the away end still holds a certain amount of concern for me all due to a history that is probably well out of date. For example, as much as Tottenham – Arsenal is my favourite game of the season and I love going there I find the idea of sitting amongst them uncomfortable to put it mildly. Not so with Watford though, I always got the feeling that they are victims of supply and demand; that’s to say, if there had been more season tickets available at Arsenal they would all be turning up to the Emirates week in and week out.

I didn’t know where I would be sitting but in the event that the seat was behind their goal which could have been a tad tricky should they score I wore my yellow top to blend in a bit. However, as it turned out there was no need for concern as I was in the family enclosure and that couldn’t have been more civilised if they had brought their nans along with them and actually thinking about it some of them did. It was refreshing to be around people who just wanted to get behind their team: one nil down, no despair around me, no calling for the manager’s head, two nil down, no screaming for the club to spend some money, three nil down and not one “c” word, not even an utterance under the breath, just love, support and encouragement.

Interesting comparison with the Arsenal fans who until Watford scored were in fine voice and so they should being three nil up but when the home side got one back you could have heard a pin drop in the away end; the concern was tangible even from where I was sitting.

I have to say that it was easier getting up to applaud the Watford goal being three up than had we been three down, although, I was bit late in getting to my feet, I forgot for a split second where I was and what I was supposed to do, I got a couple of unusual looks for the moment I was still in my seat longer than anyone else but this was rectified after I was up and clapping.

It crossed my mind that they might be able to smell that I was an Arsenal supporter; do we smell differently? I never anticipated that I might be in danger if they found out but it would have been a bit embarrassing. Anyway the game went on, we survived the mini Watford come back and with five minutes left, when it became apparent that we were not going to mess this one up, the Arsenal fans found their voices again.

I made my way to the Red Lion which is the only pub opposite the ground, flashed my Watford season ticket which allowed me to get in, gave it back to a couple of family members and made my way back home, a happy bunny having had a very enjoyable afternoon.

Gunners sting Hornets and Xhaka can!!!

August 28, 2016

A confident Arsenal performance was too much for Watford as Granit Xhaka put in a man of the match performance on a warm afternoon in Hertfortshire.

Much of the talk en route to the game was of incoming transfers as Arsenal have raided La Liga with the signings of Lucas Perez and World Cup Winner Shkodran Mustafi. Fans were then delighted to hear of the news that Mustafi’s compatriot Mesut Ozil was named to make his first start of the season.

The Arsenal away fans were in full voice yet again showing their fantastic support despite the negativity around the around the club in recent weeks.

The game kicked off and Arsenal came flying out of the blocks with Alexis looking lively and the Gunners using the flanks to exploit Watford’s weaknesses. Granit Xhaka was starting to impose himself on the game and fans were purring at his range of passing. One fan commented that the boy is “different gravy.” The talk in the stands was that the fans were pleased to see Granit put his foot in and stamp his authority in midfield.

Arsenal’s fast paced start was rewarded as Alexis was clattered and Santi Cazorla stepped up to take a penalty. He sent Gomes the wrong way and 1-0 to The Arsenal as the fans were singing Cazorla’s name.

Arsenal then controlled the game with Xhaka’s passing combined with the movement of the Arsenal attacking players causing all sorts of problems. Walcott was then denied by Gomes with a low effort assisted by the the impressive Cazorla. The noisy away support were then shouting obscenities at referee Kevin Friend and when he booked Prodl it was greeted with sarcastic applause.

Arsenal were bamboozling their opponents  but Watford did try to get rewarded by floating in crosses for Deeney and the dangerous Ighalo. Arsenal fans at this point were seething especially at Bellerin and Monreal claiming they were not going out to stop crosses. Cech had to be alert saving from a defected effort. Arsenal then looked to  ramp up the pressure and on 40 minutes a lovely cross from Theo Walcott was met by Alexis whose effort was over the line to send the Arsenal fans in raptures.

Then on the stroke of half time Alexis turned provider and fan favourite Mesut Ozil headed home a lovely move and Arsenal supporters were jumping for joy and the deafening chant broker out- “We got Ozil! Mesut Ozil! I just don’t think you understand!” Half time and Arsenal were cruising to their first win of the season. Arsenal were brilliant but the name on everyones lips was Granit Xhaka. My friend came to me from the lower row to tell me that Granit was running the show  and at 23 years of age he was showing so much maturity.
The second half began and Watford were trying to restore some pride. Arsenal though took their foot off the gas and Watford then scored through Pereya with a close effort. Arsenal fans were complaining about the players failing to clear their lines and that if they got another one then it would be squeaky bum time. Some fans to the right had some toilet roll which was taken from the toilets and wanted to throw in the air at the right moment with a young fan claiming “this used to happen in the seventies!”

Arsenal were then hanging on as Cech made a save from Holebas and later made a fantastic double save showing his goalkeeping prowess. Troy Deeney looked like he was still on his holidays with a fan next to me eluding to the fact that he was 55 and not as fat as Troy Deeney. He commented that “he looked like a Sunday league player!” The same fan was enjoying himself and amusing the other Arsenal supporters around him as he then mocked Isaac Success who came on for Watford stating players have funny names now and that he has not joined the right club if he wants “success!”


Mohammed Elneny, Jack Wilshere and Kieran Gibbs then came on to shore things up but Ighalo had a chance late on when his spectacular bicycle kick was over the bar. Arsenal saw the game out and secured their first win of the season.

The away support was unbelievable yet again and as fans were leaving the stands Granit Xhaka was being praised for a masterclass performance. The passing was sublime and he made some snapping tackles which made the supporters happy and feeling we have a player who will give us the bite in midfield.

Still work to be done but a big win and we look forward to the home match against Southampton after the international break.

If anyone can, Xhaka can! Up the Arsenal!!!

Written by Sir A