The Opener.

August 14, 2016

It starts.

What an interesting couple of games to get us going – especially with our injury situation.  Two teams beginning with L. No idea what our record is agains teams beginning with different letters of the alphabet but I know we do well against T teams.

Strangely last season Liverpool struggled upfront despite having Origi, Benteke, Ings, Sturridge and Balotelli😀. This is a massive investment into centre forwards but Klopp is so unsure about his attack that he has spent another bucket of money on the potentially excellent Mane (who would have fitted well into our squad).


I noticed that they have signed an ex-Gooner in Alex Manninger. A pleasant and unexpected  addition to Alex’s pension fund.

If you look at Liverpool’s squad they are very strong in all positions, especially midfield. Klopp has strengthened an already promising team and in Coutinho they have a player who is almost Ozil-esque … almost.

But despite having a manager we coveted, a team which cost way more than AFC’s and a huge fanbase, they have consistently failed to get amongst the Big Boys. Why? In all honesty I do not know and more to the point I don’t care; this is an Arsenal blog!

So, what of our boys? Well, the Boyo is likely to start following his heroics in the Euro’s, so is our new boy, Xhaka, who is likely to have a major influence upon our season should he stay fit and strong.

Injury problems in defence will surely result in us playing with two DM’s to assist the youngsters. It will be interesting to see whether Coquelin or Elneny starts alongside our the Swiss chap. Midfield is going to be fascinating as we progress through to Xmas we have Cazorla, Ramsey, Iwobi, Wilshere, Ox and Ozil all vying for the attacking MF position.

My Team:


Bellerin    Holding   Chambers    Monreal

Xhaka   Coquelin


Ox     Walcott     Sanchez

It hurts to leave out Santi – he is such a wonderful player and perhaps he will take Ox or Ramsey’s place, more likely he will be a super-sub. Iwobi is a Wenger favourite, and rightly so, but I just cannot find a place for him although an alternative could be to play Ramsey on the left in place of Ox with Iwobi on the right of midfield

Walcott has to lead the line; he is a confidence player and should he score a goal we will benefit.My fear is that the Emirates faithful will scapegoat him should he endure a poor half and then we know that Theo will hide. Alongside Ox, Sanchez and Rambo we should have enough.

I don’t think we can judge how the season will unfurl from this afternoon – we lost to Villa a couple of season’s ago and our record over the past 5 seasons is W1 D3 L1, not too dusty.

A win today would be terrific, the bookies have us at 55% likely to win and Liverpool just 33% (the remainder is the draw).

Come On You Rip Roaring Gunners

written by Big Raddy



Another 2-0?

January 13, 2016

I love Anfield night games for only one reason – I can mentally re-run the glorious events of 26 May 1989. A night never to be forgotten and as important to the development of mankind as the invention of the wheel, the conception of language, the development of steam engine and electricity, the invention of the spinning jenny and the birth of Dennis Bergkamp.

However, this evening , though important, has no dramatic finality; a win and we extend our time TotL,  a loss and we are still in a podium position with much of the season remaining.

Let’s start with Klopp. I have to admit I was hugely disappointed to see him at Anfield, my hope was that he would succeed Mr. Wenger and bring his charm to The Home Of Football. I am not convinced that his football philosophy is suited to Arsenal but there can be little doubt he would have challenged to likes of Gazidis to make the club more media-friendly. His public regard for Mr. Wenger says much about him.  He will do well at Anfield.

As to his current team; once again we have been duped by the Scouse loving media. All that guff about “ham-strung,” L’pool will start with a very strong team  and are probably better in central defence than when playing the bald thug bloke and the odd looking fellow they signed from S’ton. Having said that, Kolo’s last appearance at the Emirates was proof that he remains a Gooner – let us hope he repeats his performance tonight😀

The new look Liverpool are a decent team and Arsenal will have to be much better than they have been in recent games. Fortunately Coutinho is hamstrung but they still have some fine attacking players.

As to Arsenal, the team almost picks itself. Many had a relaxing time riding the pine on Saturday and are fit for fight. As I am on a foreign computer I cannot do a team plan but you already know who will get a start.

Central midfield will be important. Lucas is a fine CM, better (IMO) than anyone we have at closing down the area in front of the defence. We have more skill, they have more power. I like to think skill wins.

Our forward line is a concern. OG is scoring but seems ill at ease, Theo has been anonymous and if he wants to maintain his place in the team when Sanchez returns he will have to influence the game far more than he has since his return.

Anfield is always a difficult fixture and L’pool are unpredictable – sometimes rubbish, sometimes very good. They played very well at The Emirates where we were outplayed for much of the game. I expect us to dominate possession and L’pool to try and use the power and pace of Benteke.

I would be satisfied with a point tonight.



Mixed Feelings ….. Arsenal v Liverpool

August 25, 2015

So Petr Cech has showed us we have have a world class keeper now. Happy with that. Again the footballing gods have betrayed us……a proper goal incorrectly ruled offside and Mignolet pulling out a couple of blinders (the only problem is so did Cech so that probably cancels itself out).

Well by my reckoning we should be at least 7 points from 9 after 3 games, and I say at least. So we sit on 4. It is easy to say that this is not so much a problem so early in the season with so many games left, but the EPL is so competitive these days that a top team like us, (capable of winning the EPL), could probably lose it in the first 5 games if they leave themselves too much to do.  I believe playing catch up is now far harder to do and you will not see the likes of our overhaul of Utd in the 1997-1998 season again.

I believe playing catch up is now far harder to do and you will not see the likes of our In the last 2 seasons we have either finished as the winners in the first half or second half of the season but have not put 2 great halves of the season together and won the title. Consistency I guess is the order of the day. We could probably argue that injuries have played a large part historically, and I couldn’t disagree with that. Not quite having those extra 1-2 quality players in the right positions could also be an argument. I couldn’t disagree with that also.

However, despite all this, and my personal feeling we still require 1-2 key top players to be an absolute certainty as a top team, we still have a squad with the potential to beat any team out there and win the top prizes. So it is my assertion that we are not making the most of what we have available to us.

Boring I know to mention it again, but I still feel Arsene has a blind spot when it comes to favouring playing the types of players that he likes most as opposed to playing the best balanced side.

Don’t get me wrong, Liverpool are not a bad outfit, but are a side in transition with a lot of new players and are not ready for a serious title charge. We did play parts of the game in the ascendency with some good spells but the sheer quality of the players on the pitch tends to guarantee that at times. One of the serious title challenging teams will expose Liverpool this season and the fact that we didn’t do this, and also win the game, potentially doesn’t bode well.

In a more general sense I would say that I can’t think of a modern successful team that doesn’t have an abundance of pace and penetration from 2-3 sources in attack. In this game we really only had Sanchez as a true pacey attacking player from the start of the game. When we did introduce the extra pace players was it too late to have the time to influence the game

I said before the game that my biggest worry this season was not in who we did or didn’t recruit but in how we used the squad we had available to us to get the most balanced and fluid of teams. Others may see our problem areas as different of course and I always enjoy a different perspective, this is just the main problem as I see it

Walcott and AOC left on the bench for more slow but technical ball players? Were they introduced too late in the game? Were we just unlucky? Is it too early to make a judgement on us this season? Are bad habits resurfacing that will see us fall just short when we didn’t need to

A draw with Liverpool need not be a source of concern under normal circumstances, but for me there were possible worrying signs that we haven’t learnt from the past and that would be a shame for a team that I feel could win the EPL with what it currently has. Aside from the injuries this reminds me of the start of last season when we had a great team on paper but looked out of sorts. Arsene needs to sort it out quickly or we may end up the EPL champions for the 2nd half of the season again, and unless I am wrong they don’t give you a trophy for that.

Written by GoonerB

Loopy Lovren to do a Kolo?

August 24, 2015

Liverpool at home is always an exciting prospect and the first home night game makes it even more so. Wish I was going😦

Plus this is a big test against a team who have spent almost €200m in two seasons! Selling your best players doesn’t help but Rodgers has to prove his success of two seasons ago was not purely a result of having a brilliant striker in the form of his life.

AW has been there; selling your best players inevitably has an effect, fortunately the past two seasons has seen us keep our players and add to the quality of the squad – who knows who will be arriving at AFC over the next 7 days!

So …. Liverpool. Never liked them. Hate the awful dirge of YNWA. I think I would even go so far as to say it is worse than Yellow Submarine! Just think of the dorks who have worn their shirt…. Keegan, Owen, P.Thompson, Dalgleish, One Minute, Emlyn Hughes, Suarez – the list is endless … but they are a very good team when in full flow, always have been.

The question is, has Rodgers put together a winning team? The lack of a quality finisher (in the absence of Sturridge) hurt L’pool last season and the signing of the excellent Benteke gives them considerable attacking strength. Add in the wily Firmino and the excellent Coutinho and we can see why L’pool are confident of an improvement on last season’s disappointments.

We smacked them last season when Kolo repaid AW for bringing him to Highbury – I doubt dirty Skrtel or Loopy Lovren will do the same.


As to us, we have to improve. WHU – terrible, CP good for 45 mins, tonight – who knows? And that is what concerns me; we have the potential to be brilliant and very successful because this is the best squad for a very long time but as yet we continue to be unpredictable. Consistency is what wins titles and can you honestly say you are sure we will play well tonight?

Thankfully we have an almost fully-fit squad (apart from Abou Wilshire and Abou Rosicky). Mr Wenger “just” has to pick his best team. Not easy – my guess is that if we all put in our best 11 that there would be many different 11’s. Theo or Ox? Theo or OG? Ramsey on the flanks? Cazorla alongside Le Coq? Monreal or Gibbs? Czech or Ospina etc etc.

It is being suggested that pace will win this game for Arsenal thanks to L’pool’s static central defence – I agreee and would certainly start with Theo alongside OG in the middle. The problem with this is that it results in the Ox having to ride the pine. The Ox is one my favourite players and he needs to know he has the confidence of AW to be a central cog in this team – he is too good to be a bit-time player.

It should be a good game between two attack-minded teams with Arsenal edging it.

p.s. Hope Rodger’s master-signing Balotelli plays🙂

I am 52% confident


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

All I want for Xmas.

December 21, 2014

Where were you in February? We were on a “holiday of a lifetime” sailing around the Caribbean. I was avoiding football in an attempt to appease Mrs. Raddy, however as we sailed to a supermarket to buy a boatload of food and booze for six people; much to my delight they were showing the Liverpool/ AFC game. By the time the heaving trolley had got to the breakfast cereal aisle we were three down.

So what makes everyone so positive about a win today?

Liverpool: Even without Suárez, Sturridge and the Loony, L’pool are capable of beating anyone at Anfield yet they are struggling as this season quickly becomes a disappointment to the Scousers

How could this happen to a team who were so exciting last season? Could it be the loss of just two players? Rodgers made what appeared to be some good signings in summer. He strengthened a dodgy defence, bought quality MF’s and Lambert and Balotelli. It should have improved the squad, instead they look a shadow of last season’s team. Bedding in time, the slow demise of Stevie Me, the loss of Agger, discovering Suarez is irreplaceable all have contributed to Rodger’s problems.

One thing for certain is that Sturridge is becoming a better player each week he is missing with injury. In my opinion he is a poor-man’s Welbeck and when fit the pressure upon him will tell.

Balotell: A bullet avoided or a player we should have signed? No doubt in my mind – the bloke has been awful for Rodgers. Given Liverpool’s use of the T-shirt messages to support a racist, what will they wear to validate another player banned for racist comments?


And then there is Suarez/Alexis. L’pool wouldn’t sell us Suarez and went to the media to joke about how we only offered £40m +a quid, and then we sign the bloke they desperately want to replace him for 5mill less. It’s Karma, man.

Arsenal: Positives – we are getting players back from injury. Negatives – we are losing players to injury again.

The team almost picks itself with Chambers working alongside BFG. It didn’t work at Stoke but a week’s practice and the return of Debuchy could make the difference.

It will be interesting to see whether Mr Wenger continues with the OG/Welbz combo. I hope so as they look potent.

Food. What do they eat in Liverpool? Well, according to the terrace chant it is dead rat (in your Liverpool slums), but what else? Quite a lot – Lancashire hotpot, Clog and Billycot’s fish pie, Malkin pie, Lancashire cheese, black pudding, Liverpool toffee but as we have been talking about Piebury Corner, let’s have a look at the famous Lancashire Foot.


Lancashire Foot is a pie made from puff pastry, cheese and onions. Easy and cheap to make and a tasty dish if you are going down a mine or working in the docks.

What to expect this afternoon? Who knows? Look at the difference between our play against Stoke and Newcastle. Play like last weekend and we will blow them away but the Scousers will not let our midfield run the game and in the (hard to say this) excellent Sterling they have a player who will undoubtedly cause problems.

A strong referee will be needed today as Ox and Alexis will torment their defence and Henderson and Gerrard will look to hurt them – just checked, it is Michael Oliver😦  :-(

Given the thrashing we got on our last trip to Anfield (also reffed by Oliver) I will be happy with a point but much happier with three😀



Flood Alert …… Arsenal’s defence to triumph at ‘Pool

February 8, 2014

Today’s early kick off sees the good guys travel up to Anfield, risking hub caps and (pockets to be picked) in search of three points to sustain the title challenge that was comfortably dismissed as a flash in the pan by the so called experts back in September when we had the temerity to top the table.

Where am i ?

Where am I ?

Following the football cliché of “taking each game as it comes” nothing will be said about the following games so looking at the form of the ‘dippers/mug smashers (delete as applicable) we see they have won 3, lost 2 and drawn 2 of their last 7 games.

It would be remiss of me not to point out both those losses were to the oil slick teams (CSKA Fulham Bus stop and Abu Dhabi FC, or maybe that should be the Amoco Cadiz and the Torrey Canyon) and one of those wins was a resounding thumping of the Toffees 4 zip so this calls for the Arsenal to be at their sharpest.

Having said that our form over that same period is 6 wins and a draw so I would expect home advantage to be the only thing that may tilt the bookies odds away from us.

The team news for our opponents is that four defenders are unavailable, Johnson, Sakho , Enrique and Agger, while Leiva misses out in midfield. Much will depend on how the axis of Henderson, Gerrard and Coutinho perform assuming Rogers picks the obvious first XI. To my eyes Henderson has been improving whilst Gerrard seems to be slowing and perhaps is being picked for non-footballing reasons.

At the moment the ‘dippers strength is up front with everyone’s favourite cannibal leading the scoring stats for the Premier League by a hefty distance, ably assisted by the slightly sulky Sturridge, an Anelka in the making perhaps.

Turning to the Arsenal the only change to the squad from the Palace match, my first without seeing any of the AA crew at the Tavern beforehand, will be the addition of Wilshere to the squad, most likely in place of Zelalem.

The back five picks itself except for the left full back position where I think Wenger will plump for Gibbs who will be able to deal with pace of Saurez/Sterling/Sturridge a bit better than Nacho man.

In the middle I would like to see Wilshere, Özzy and Rosicky with Santi, Prince Poldi and Olly up top, although I think Wenger will pick this team:

pool v arse

Tactical bollix wise I would suggest exploiting the ‘dippers main weakness, their defence and strangling their midfield so that their lethal front three are forced to drop deep to pick up the ball.

After Kolo’s howler that resulted in two dropped points against the Baggies last week confidence may not be sky high along the back line so early pressing of the centre backs of the day is in order.

Despite my good natured ribbing of today’s opponents above I don’t dislike them terribly, nothing like the contempt I feel for that Salford team or the Orcs for example. They serve as salutary tale for a once top drawer club that, from the heyday of the 70’s and early 80’s, allowed themselves to fall from grace and only now seem to be, possibly, climbing back to the top. I remember bonding with a group of their supporters, in a bar near Charing Cross before a Scorpions gig, over our mutual hatred of ManUre.

A perfect combination of Polynesian and Scandinavian

A perfect combination of Polynesian and Scandinavian

In that same era as an adolescent in Essex I was mainly aware of two things, football and developing early crushes on actresses, in particular one Maren Jensen, of Danish and Hawaiian parentage.

She was the first in a long line of such crushes that made the male-female polarity dilemma such a feature of my teenage years.

Remembering how topsy-turvy the late 70’s were, I’d also not want another aspect of that era to return, namely a period of Liverpool dominance.

Wenger will know what is required to win at Anfield and if I could say anything to him regarding his preparation I would like him to attempt to nullify our opponent’s strengths, so we can then concentrate on our game.

Whoever starts for us tomorrow will no doubt know that we(and they) want the 3 points – make it so.


By ChärybdÏß1966 (on Twitter @charybdis1966)