3-5-2. What’s that all about, then?

January 18, 2017

Quite apart from the fact that it’s all the rage, we go to Chelsea in a few weeks, and we know this is how they will set up.


What is considered the best formation to counter the 3-5-2?

Do managers build a team around a formation, or a formation around the players they have?

Is the classic No10 role redundant?

After all these years, how come there isn’t a definitive formation?

What happened to the Libero, remember him?


What the hell was wrong with 2-3-5?

Ps this would be my Arsenal XI under the new pattern:


………..Sanchez  Welbeck

Gibbs Santi Coq Mesut Bellerin

………Holding Kos Gabriel



Written by mickydidit89

Swansea 0 Arsenal 4……..A fan’s view and player ratings.

January 15, 2017

There is never anything wrong with winning four nil and that, as you know, is exactly what we got and it sure made a pleasant change from going behind and having to claw our way back all the while with stress levels climbing to unhealthy heights before Giroud scores his customary late equaliser or winner. No, not this time Giroud got his goal early on and the valium remained untouched.


Swansea started as expected, new manager and all; he certainly watched the Bournemouth game and clearly believed that rather than park the bus his new charges best chance of getting something was to take the game to us. Well that would have been my guess anyway as they came out full of beans and full of belief but the new manager momentum soon wore off and after twenty minutes and we took control of the game.

The first goal coming from the lumbersexual as I said above but he seemed to hurt himself in the process. Half time came and went and surprisingly to me we came out after the break looking very determined indeed. So often we are guilty of going ahead and then taking the foot off the pedal allowing the opposition to get back into the game. Not this time, the sheer force of numbers as we pushed forward was impressive.

The second came from Iwobi who in an attempt to fire the ball low across the six yard line had the good fortune to hit a leg of one of the Swansea players which looped the ball up over the helpless Fabianski.

When things are going against you they really do go against you and that is what was happening to Swansea. It seemed as though we got all the breaks, not that I mind that but it would have been nice to have saved some of that luck for the forth coming Chelsea game. Iwobi yet again tried to send a low cross into the danger area only this time it hit an ex-spud and ricocheted into the net to make it three nil.

The good fortune continued when the ball bounced up kindly to the waiting Sanchez who simply steered it home to make it four nil and put the game well and truly beyond Swansea.


With such a lead it gave us a chance to give Perez another outing and Welbeck a few more precious minutes, there is an elegance to the way he glides over the ground, a thing of real beauty. I stuck my neck out a long time ago by saying that he will become the best striker in the league, I haven’t changed my mind.

Player ratings

Cech: few doubts creeping in recently to the point where some where suggesting Ospina might be given more playing time but then the helmeted one goes and puts in commanding performance like that, including a series of fine saves and you go nah, if the clock works. 8

Easter: as much as we love Hector the reality is that he is more of an attacker than a defender, the opposite, of course, is true of Gabriel and for that reason he unsurprisingly gives the defence a more solid feel; he is particularly effective being able to cover Mustafi when he goes walk about. 7

Mustafi: hay, you know the rule, when the German plays and we don’t lose, what’s not to like about that? Basks in Koscielny’s glow a lot but then Kos seems to look more effective when Skod is playing next to him so it balances up a bit. I like him. 7

Koscielny: good to have him back, makes a huge difference commanding performance, if Easter’s house is made of straw and Mustafi’s house is made of wood then Kos’s house is made of bricks. 8

Monreal: they really tried to kick the Spaniard off the park in the first half; poor man spent most of it rolling around the floor holding one part or his body in pain or another, a usual Nacho performance although not responsible for conceding a goal this week. 7

Xhaka: getting better or at least that is what it seemed to me from my tv. I always feel that with Granit you have to be at the game to really access what he brought to the table as in the position he plays in it is just as much about what you do off the ball as much as it is about what you do on the ball and his off ball movement is not shown on telly. Still, there didn’t seem too much wrong with his performance. 7

Ramsey: a perfectly acceptable performance; adds an important defensive element to the attacking part of the midfield and augments the attack in the 18 yard box extremely effectively. 8

Özil: slow start but got better as the game went on, another player that you have to see live to really access his performance. Some may remember, earlier on, especially after his goal against Ludogrets, I started wondering if he had indeed started to breathe the same rarefied air as Dennis Bergkamp? Chas put a few Bergkamp show reels up and my perspective returned. Nevertheless, I remain a massive Mesut fan and right now, we’ve got Özil, Mesut Özil, I just don’t think you understand you know the rest. 7

Iwobi: gave just that little bit more than expected, more drive, more goal threat, more chasing back, more all round really and for that reason I make him my MOTM. 9

Giroud: clearly disorientated, obviously lost all sense of time, well he must have as he scored in the first half rather than saving our bacon close to the end, still wouldn’t start in my team though. 7


Sanchez: I have no idea what he was doing after he had been subbed, I mean it’s understandable that he wants to play and being reassured that he will always be picked if fit has got to have been one of the biggest deciding factors in his choice to come to THOF; well it has to be doesn’t it, can you imagine him at a club spending large amounts of time on the bench? Happened at Barcelona; he must have gone nuts, another excellent performance with a goal to boot. 8

An LB offering.

Will Sanchez leave during this transfer window?

January 5, 2017

Maybe it’s just me but I’m worried that Sanchez is seriously considering leaving, in the last few games he has shown signs of disinterest and stands around with his hands on his hips and looks disgusted with his team mate’s decision making.


I first noticed this during our loss to Manchester City where he seemed to disappear from the game and for the last 20 minutes he seemed to become an extra mid fielder. I thought that he must have been nursing an injury and I was worried that we would be without him in the next game against West Brom – but that proved not to be the case.

I’m getting the impression that he thinks he’s wasting his time with us and is looking to move on to greener pastures.


Is it just me or should we be concerned?


Are refs biased? Discuss

December 29, 2016

Worthless Boredom Wood?

December 9, 2016

Within a space of just a few days, the flame of the youth project flicked just briefly and then fizzled out. So sad! First it was crashing out to Saints in the Mickey Mouse Cup and then to Basel Juniours in the youth version of the CL. With that went the chance to watch our youngsters for another year. Eddie and some other regulars have often expressed the opinion that the youth project is not worth it, while GiE and Total have been discussing the loss to Saints. Perhaps it is time then to organise a full and proper funeral?

It looked very promising two years back when Andy Bonkers had joined in, when youth graduate Gnabry was knocking on the doors of the first team following from The Ox, while Sanogo, Akpom and Zelalem were waiting in the wings. Fast forward to the summer of 2016 and with substantial infrastructure investments and personnel changes in place, there was still considerable discontent. It was reported at one point that Bonkers was leaving, but this turned out to be a false rumour. Henry was under-18s coach but was told he could not continue both a coach and TV pundit, so he left. However, Freddie and Tony are still very much there.

Arsenal staff graphic.jpg

On the progression side, there has been good excitement, with Iwobi and Holding breaking through with credit into the first team, with Reine-Adelaide and Maitland-Niles waiting their opportunities in the wings. All sounded good, except that the juniours then crashed out of two significant competitions within a week. In the UEFA Youth League they had to score at least twice and defeat Basel away. They put in a valiant effort and created several chances, but could only open the scoring around the 80th minute through Nketiah. They they went into all out attack and conceded a last moment goal from a counterattack. There were some significant gains from teh competition, with Mavididi, Nketiah and Keto being the top stars. Not a disgrace, but an exit nevertheless!


Which then brings us to the painful manner of the exit to Saints in the Mickey Mouse Cup. Yesterday, resident tactician-in-chief Gööner-In-Exile wrote: “I think it should also direct us back to the Southampton game where many of our squad players were questioned, amazing how different they look when surrounded by first team regulars … After that game there was a lot of hand wringing here and elsewhere about the quality of our reserves.” Which brings me to the question, if football is about playing one-two-three, and admittedly such Wengerball requires substantial understanding between the players, would we not have been better served by playing our juniours in the Mickey Mouse Cup against the Saints?

Well, we tried that in the past and then Wenger was criticised of disrespect. Damend if you do, damned if you dont! But, given the manner of our loss, would it not have been nice to see for ourselves what the likes of Willock, Bielik, Mavididi, Nketiah, Reine-Adelaide and Maitland-Niles can do as a team? A significant opportunity lost?

Red Arnie

Arsenal v Basel: a classic risk assessment

December 6, 2016

Fans of Big Raddy are about to be seriously disappointed, although probably not entirely surprised. More than any, they will understand the challenges he faces in being a hippy, and the lasting effects of a life bombarded by cosmic rays and shit like that.

Right, me here, so brace up and deal with it.

We all know what’s going on tonight. We could win. Paris could draw. We could top the group.

As I said earlier, a classic risk assessment is needed. I’ve had a quick gander, and Sanchez travelling gives us a glimpse into the Wenger mind. We could top the group and still get a very tough tie in the next round. For me, we had our chance, didn’t take it, should smell the coffee and lie low.

Having said all that, we could still field a very strong side and gain much, in terms of progressing as a squad. Embedding new understandings and combinations that could serve us well later in the season.

Just so you know, Basel are already 12 points ahead of second placed Young Boys in their domestic league, and steaming towards their 8th consecutive league title. They may well field a strong team simply to take another scalp.

I think we’d all pretty much agree on the players for whom an injury would hurt us the most, so I’d like to see them rested.

Lucas Perez is someone I’d like to see more of, and as striker. He scored 17 goals for a very low placed Deportivo last term. Arsene has so far deployed him largely on the left, and while Ollie is a great option, Perez may be the one to rotate with Sanchez if we wish to keep the same style.

I won’t put up my guess for an XI, and leave that for you lot. I will be interested to see how you’d play things tonight, and of course, ultimately what Arsene will do.

Written by MickyDidIt89

Arsenal travel to the London Stadium

December 3, 2016

Today’s pre-match is written by a long suffering West Ham supporter, hope you enjoy the read.

Towards the end of last season, the vertically challenged of the porn brothers was asked whether the club were about to offer Slaven Billic a new contract, given his impressive first season.  In classic Sullivan style, he said not yet as the owners wanted to make sure Slav wasn’t a one season wonder.  Many pundits thought this disrespectful and just plain wrong.

But over in East London, we have a bit of history in this area.

In 2001 Harry Redknapp was replaced by Glenn Roeder.  The supporters were rather perplexed as he hadn’t achieved anything from a managerial standpoint but by the end of that season Roeder led the club to a respectable 7th place .

Unfortunately his second season was nothing short of an unmitigated disaster culminating in relegation.  Quite a feat that with a team boasting David James, Jermaine Defoe, Michael Carrick, Paulo Di Canio, Joe Cole, Trevor Sinclair and Freddie Kanoute to name just a few.  Incidentally, many fans believe the first home game of that season set the seal on what was to come when 2-0 up with 30 minutes to play, goals from Wiltord and Henry denied the Hammers a winning start.  By the time of the return fixture in mid January – won via a skanky hat trick by Henry – we had failed to register a single win at home.

It took 3 seasons and two play offs to make it back to the promised land.

Fast forward to 2008/09 and early in the season, Alan Curbishley threw his toys out the pram following the sale of George McCartney to Sunderland and was replaced by the flair, but managerial inexperience, of Gianfranco Zola.  A respectable 9th place finish was achieved playing an attractive brand of football.  Although there was turmoil off the pitch with the Icelandic owners checking their bank statement and discovering they were more likely to be shopping at Iceland than at Harrods, supporters looked forward to the following season with great anticipation.  Incidentally the Gunners took 4 points from us that season with a 2-0 win at Upton Park followed by a hard fought 0-0 draw at The Emirates.

Sure enough, a combination of off field turmoil, second season syndrome and the arrival of the Porn brothers created enough instability to take the club spiralling back towards the Championship.  The only thing that saved them (and their paltry 35 points) were three worse teams in the shape of Portsmouth, Hull and Burnley who finished with 19, 30 and 30 points respectively.

That season also saw a reverse of the 2003 fixture between the giants of North and East London as The Hammers came back from 2-0 down (Van Persie and Gallas) to draw 2-2 at Upton Park.  Zola was dismissed at the end of that season but it was hard not to feel sympathy for him as that genius football club chairman David (Dildo) Sullivan weaved his magic wand in the January transfer window.  Desperate for a goal scoring forward he recruited Mido and Benni McCarthy who legend has it both signed their contracts at McDonalds on the A13 where they’d been holed up for 6 months gorging on Burger and Chips.  Unsurprisingly, neither registered a goal during their short but ill-fated stay.

Having failed to ensure relegation that season, The Porn Brothers recruited Avram Grant and sure enough, got the job done 12 months later.

So, fast forward again to now and what does the future hold following another successful first season for a new West Ham manager?  Well, to be honest, it’s not looking good at all.  Once again we have ‘off the field’ turmoil, this time between the club and supporters, who have now realised they’ve been sold 2 pups.

The first in the shape of an athletics stadium masquerading as a football ground.  The atmosphere at times is toxic and promises made a year ago by The Duchess, in a video promoting the new ground, have been proved to be outright lies.  A recent survey on popular forum ‘Kumb’ suggests only 35% of season ticket holders are certain to renew their season tickets next season. There is even talk of a protest tomorrow in front of the cameras.

Secondly, the move was sold as our chance to challenge the Premiership big guns by attracting world class players.  At the end of last season, buoyed by a seventh place finish and a prospective European campaign, Sullivan boasted about getting ready to sign a top quality goal scorer spending £25 million plus in the process.  But despite repeated attempts to entice Carlos Bacca and Arsenal target Alexander Lacazette to East London, we have ended up with a promising but untried striker from Man U, a promising but untried young striker from Argentina and a loan (with an option to buy) joke of a striker from Juventus.

Coupled with the obligatory Andy Carroll injury before the second Premiership game of the season (he may be on the bench tomorrow) and a sulking Diafra Sakho who came back to pre-season in a shocking physical state (is now injured again and out for 6 weeks having only just made his seasonal bow) we have had zero cutting edge.

We also failed to solve the problem right back position and managed to destroy the confidence of one of our best attacking players, Michael Antonio, by playing him in a back four where he clearly struggled. (and NO – we don’t want Jenko back).

Payet, without a target man to find, has failed to reach the heights of last season (there is actually a feeling that he has pretty much thrown in the towel and will be off in January), Ayew, who the club had a chance to sign for free last year, but stupidly paid Swansea more than £20 million at the start of this season has been out for pretty much the whole campaign.  Creswell has only recently returned from 4 months out only to get injured again at Old Trafford on Wednesday night (and also looks like missing out tomorrow).  Mark Noble, outstanding last season, has been poor and Lanzini, also injured before the season began has struggled to recapture last seasons’ impressive form.

We sit in 17th and with matches against you boys and then Liverpool away, we could soon be sitting in the bottom three as we head towards Xmas (and we all know what that means).  So the prospects for tomorrow are not great.  Our defence are unable to keep a clean sheet and we have no one to put the ball in the back of the net.

Big Raddy tells me he has a bad feeling about the game but I’ve known him for close to 50 years and he’s one of the worst predictors of a football match I’ve ever come across – I’m expecting a 2 goal win for The Arse with Walcott getting one and Ozil the other.

I also think Bilic will be gone by the end of the season (sadly) and the Porn Brothers and The Duchess still there (a bigger shame) but we will retain our Premiership standing (just).

Enjoy the game.

Written by WestHamBob