Does Money Buy you the Premiership Title?

March 17, 2018

This was a reply to a GoonerB question which needed a wider audience

Everyone saw the recent Watford game in which we won 3-0. Was anyone really surprised? No. Why? Because Arsenal have a better team. Why do Arsenal have a better team? Because Arsenal have more money to buy better players. This is not rocket science. So I think it is fair to say that if Arsenal played Watford 100 times, Arsenal would win 95 of them.

It then naturally follows that if there were a league of just those two teams that Arsenal would win most of the time. However as the odds suggest Arsenal could have an off day as we did when Watford dumped us out of the FA cup. This is the equivalent of Leicester winning the league, they are the exception that proves the rule that the clubs with greater spending power are more likely to win the league.

Things should be clear now using the Arsenal – Watford example, where it gets complicated is when loyalty gets in the way because that can be the only excuse for not seeing that exactly the same applies to Arsenal and Man City. If they they played us for 100 consecutive games they are more likely than not to win 95 of them for the same reasons I give above.

Winning is quite simply all about money, it is not a case of Stan Kroenke loosening the purse strings; he is not competing against another rich man he is competing against an oil rich country. It cannot be won and should not be expected to be won.

So what does this mean? It means that yes we can still win the league but the odds are against us. What I want is a manager who understands this and accepts the challenge in order to increase the small chance of winning the league to the maximum that it can be. And who do I think is best placed to achieve this? Arsene Wenger and that is why I remain loyal.

That obviously needs explanation but I don’t want to turn this into a book.

Taken from a comment written by LB


Snow White and the Seven Tiny Midfielders

March 1, 2018

Succinct PM :

Up against it against a better organised and balanced side.

Arsene, play your best balanced and strongest 11 not just put your 11 best individual (or most favourite) players out there.

Play a proper HM to protect the back 4 not an attackingy type CM in this position…..and not 2 of them to make up for this as it wastes a valuable player elsewhere in the line up.

Get some width in the team and / or instruct certain players to give us that width at the right times. Tell them when this is most important.

Get more support to the striker so he is not isolated with 2 CD’s on him.


Go win game.

Cheers, simples.



A Sinking Ship? Player Ratings

February 26, 2018

Are we a sinking ship or just a side in transition which is completely out of form?

Yesterday’s trouncing hurt. I don’t agree that there was  lack of effort or fight, in my opinion (and I know it is not some of yours) it was a lack of quality. We simply got outplayed and out-thought. Both the players and the management.

Not one AA’er thought we would win, some may have hoped but none honestly believed we would leave with the Cup. What we all hoped for was that Arsenal would compete and for much of the first half we did, in fact had PEA not missed a sitter (or was it a superb tackle) we could have been even at 45 mins. What happened next was a shock. What changed? We just couldn’t get the ball, our passes when we had the ball were wayward, our attackers had no chances. Ozil and PEA were passengers. Was it AFC who got worse or City who put on a masterclass of movement and possession football?

Whatever it was, we were embarrassing for 30 minutes, especially after the second goal. We rallied towards the end but created only a single opportunity (PEA for Iwobi)

Player Ratings:

Ospina. Second time in 4 days he was beaten by a cross shot.  5

Chambers. Battled hard  5

Mustafi  Terrible for the first goal. A flaky defender who needs to find consistency  3

Koscielny. Had a decent game. My MotM   6

Bellerin.  Managed to keep Sane relatively quiet but could not get forward   5

Ramsey. Clearly unfit.  4

Wilshere. Plenty of drive and action, not enough creativity.   5

Xhaka. Poor performance. Worked hard but simply not good enough   3

Monreal/Kolasinac. Thank goodness Sterling was injured.    4

Ozil. Anonymous. 3

PEA. Tried hard but got no service. Missed our only real chance.  4

Wenger. Looks lost and must be sitting at home dazed. We got tonked and it seems as though his final season (hopefully) will be his worst.   4 (one extra for looking so smart at kick-off)

Looking at the above, I am surprised that I gave the defence higher marks, but it was not their fault there was a tidal wave of City attacks., for the most part they defended well, though Mustafi’s weakness for the first was very poor.

Still … onwards and upwards. Let’s beat them on Thursday.

wriiten by BR



Come On You Rip Roaring Gunners

February 25, 2018

4th Wembley Final in 5 years. It is a home game and we must approach it as a though we own the ground.


My first attendance at a League Cup Final was as a youngster and I am still scarred by the event. Don Rogers scoring in the mud as lowly Swindon beat my heroes in a David and Goliath victory. The year before I watched the highlights of Dirty Leeds in black and white – I should point out that this was 7 years after Spurs last won the League 🙂

Today: Our away form is so disastrous that if Mr Wenger sets up his team to be conservative we are bolloxed; quite frankly this Arsenal defence is not good enough to halt the City attack. So, the answer is to be on the front foot from kick-off.

Sadly, we have a history of starting games slowly, feeling our way into the match, assessing the opposition and then trying to step up a gear. I expect the same today.

We have a plethora of attacking talent, if they fire as a unit, we could be kushtie. Ozil and PEA will cause any team problems … IF.

And what of Manchester City? From top down the Northern Oilers have created a powerful organisation. The inevitable, financially driven, ascendancy took time but today MC are clearly a cut above the opposition on a season long basis, same as PSG and BM (and the Chavs , until the Russian lost interest). But on a one-off game they can be beaten, Wigan did it.

Evidence of the financial doping? Mr Weger has spent£349m in his 21 years as AC manager. Guardiola has spent £371m in his 21 months at MCFC. This sums up all we need to know about why AFC are not competeing for the title.

How can we win? A couple of sending-offs would help –  preferably Sterling and Stones. A lucky goal or two from Hector and Nacho. A few thrilling saves from Ospina and defensive meltdown by the City defence. It is possible..

My Team:


Koscielny    Mustafi   Monreal

Bellerin  Ramsey   Xhaka   Elneny

Wilshire   Ozil


The above team has little potency and it will require a goal or two from midfield.

The Number 5.

We have lost more League/EFL/Rumbelows Finals than any other team, 5

We have only scored 5 goals on the way to the final.

There will be 5 goals in the final, let’s hope they are in our favour.



In A League of Our Own

February 12, 2018

We had a game this weekend, it was won by the home team. It wasn’t a surprise.

Have you looked at the PL table? It is possibly the most unusual in a few decades. To see one team so dominant that they are 16 points ahead of 2nd and likely to harvest the highest number of points in PL history (though they will lose 3 when we beat them at The Emirates).

City are a brilliant team, team being the operative word. They have fine players but unlike United they are not dependent upon individual skills. Me-rinho knows he cannot compete as a manager with Pep but he can spend a few hundred million buying players who can win a match on their own. It will get him 2nd or 3rd spot

Spurs and Liverpool are on season highs as Chelsea  plummet. If Spurs get 4th will it be considered a trophy 😀

And what of Arsenal. When Chelsea win tonight we will be 7 points off 5th and 8 off 4th. Realistically it is all over for the top 4 place.

Yet, we are also 9 points ahead of 7th place. We will finish 6th and in a league of our own. Had Arsenal a clue when it comes to playing away from home, this was a season when we could have finished much higher but our mysterious away form.

There is a problem arising in the PL. None of the teams below are going into the Top 6 in the near future.. Everton have spent a fortune, so have Leicester yet both of them are almost 20 points off top 4 and 10 points behind us.

Everton and Leicester are in competition with Bournemouth, Burnley and Watford for 7th place (Europa?).

Given our BoD’s decision to loosen the purse strings and buy our way back to the Top 4, 2019 will be exciting.

Strange Days.

written by Big Raddy

A Serious Test of Mental Strength.

November 5, 2017

If, as so many pundits and even Gooners expect, we get creamed, will I be able to enjoy the excellence of Man City? This is what I woke up to think about, then I had a cup of Builder’s and reconsidered. What if we beat them?

Unlikely but not beyond the realms of imagination.

It has been both alarming and a guilty pleasure watching Guardiola prove the short-termist numbskulls wrong – he is a brilliant manager, the Arsene Wenger of recent years. Admittedly, Pep has the resources of an oil-rich country behind him as he develops a superb side. Sadly, this is the unpalatable future of football; money talks.


Given the vagaries of our defence have we any hope? Depends upon a few factors. Tactics, personnel, concentration, form and, dare I say it. luck.

Mr. Wenger says we are going to the Ethihad with the intention to attack and not PTB – good. With the current first team we do not have the defensive steel to last 90+ minutes against a team who have such a potent attack. We will see whether AW is telling the truth when we see his team selection; if Coquelin or Elneny start then we are looking to shore up our leaky defence.

If our attackers combine as they did at Goodison we can certainly score goals, especially if Ozil finds space. City’s frailties are on the flanks as their FB’s are very attacking (Walker will cause problems). Had OG played well mid-week I would have given him a start but he didn’t, did he?

Holding, BFG or, if fit, Mustafi? Has to be Holding as MC’s pace upfront could embarrass Mertesacker but as Rob played midweek, it will be our Captain.

My Team: As expected …


Kos   BFG    Monreal

Bellerin    Ramsey    Xhaka    Kolasinac


Lacazette    Sanchez

Where we can match MC is on the bench. We have International players who cannot even ride the pine for AFC.

If both sides play to their potential this will be a terrific game. I would love to have seen the current MC team play the Invincibles – we would have thrashed them. The current team seriously lacks a PV4. It turns out he is irreplaceable.

Pre-game I am excited, let’s hope I am more excited post-game 😀




Champions 2017/18?

August 10, 2017

How do you think we will fare this season? Will the strengthening of the squad be enough to propel us to the Title? Will it be enough to regain our Top 4 status?

Here’s what BR thinks (subject to change depending upon results 🙂 )

Let’s look at the opposition, starting with:

Chelsea: We have recently  beaten them twice in two important games and lost a meaningless friendly. We are better than them – full stop. Yes, they may be Champions but I fear for them and doubt they can repeat their mid-season run of form which propelled them to the title. They are lacking in midfield (why sell Matic??), are half the side without Hazard and are about to sell their best attacker. Morata? €60m is a huge gamble on a man who has yet to play a full season in a first team (RM made €30m profit  on him after just 26 games!!).

We will finish above them.

Man City:  Spent a fortune – over €100m on just full backs! Almost €40m on a GK who has yet to gain a full International cap. If their first 11 stay fit and Stones starts to show why he is so highly rated they will do well.

Champions? A team with De Bruyne, Sterling, Aguero, Gundogan and Sane will not be far off but somehow, they just don’t do it for me.

Man Utd. Mourinho has to deliver. Winning the Europa was good but not considering the massive investment made in the summer of ’16, Finishing just 6th could have been a sackable offence. Over €150m spent (added to the €165m last summer) makes this a hugely expensive squad. They have managed to recoup less than €10m in sales! MU should have the best squad and if they had a manager who had the slightest intention to entertain we should be happy to see such wonderful talent in the PL BUT they don’t, and MU remain a dull team to watch. The purchase of Lukaku points to a Route One season They were awful in the Supercup where Real Madrid made them look amateur.

MU should be favourites in a financially doped league.

Spurs: If any other team had achieved what Spurs have I would be delighted and rooting for them to go one step further – but it isn’t, it is Spurs and I have an innate dislike of anything Blue & White – to the point where I will not even allow a blue & white toothbrush into my bathroom. FairPlay to them, they have managed to retain the bulk of their squad (so far), sold players for massive profits and look potential Champions. But, there are two huge problems , firstly, they are playing at Wembley, and secondly, and much more importantly, they are Spurs.

Relegation awaits.

Liverpool: Dark horses. On paper they look excellent. Solid in every position. If they can keep Coutinho it will be a signal of their intent. Salah is a good signing and if Sturridge can form a partnership with Mane, they are strong in attack. Klopp remains a terrific addition to the PL . Good enough to move on and win the title? Good enough to maintain a top 4 place?

I doubt it.

Everton: Given their ambitions and expenditure they have to be considered. Koeman is doing very well and has created an excellent defence, strengthened by Pickford and Keane. Given the loss of Lukaku how will they cope in attack? Will Rooney have the legs? Where does he fit into the team? Not in midfield where Everton have Schneiderlin, Barkley, Davies and Barry. Goalscoring could be problematic.


Arsenal: If Sanchez, Ozil and Ox stay plus we sign another body, then the title is ours. The development of Iwobi and Xhaka, plus the purchase of Lacazette means that both Ozil and Sanchez can leave in 2018. However,they need another season to bed in. Rumour abounds about Gabriel being sold but I doubt it, nor Chambers who has a future at AFC. Mustafi has had a bedding in season and the 3-4-3 means that we have choices, especially given the exciting arrival of Kolasinac.


written by Big Raddy