Our Frenchies are better than Theirs.

November 26, 2013

Let’s start with the good news. Marseilles have 8 games in 24 days and as such are likely to play a reserve team tonight. Of course, they will have some first teamers but their ambitions lie elsewhere.

They won 3-1 away in Ajaccio (beautiful place) on Friday so are in form but let’s be honest, Arsenal not taking 3 points from this game would be a surprise. However, let’s not take anything for granted, any team coming to THOF is inspired and we will have to be alert.

We mashed them in France and could have scored more than the paltry two – OK, a massive exaggeration – in fact we could have been at least two down at half-time and scored with our first shot on target, a superb Theo volley. Aaron wrapped up the points with a sweet finish.


What of The Arsenal? Not quite at the top of our game even if we are TOTL. We all know there is more to come from this side. Theo has yet to get a run of injury free games. The Ox is out, as is Podolski. Ozil is going through a quiet spell, though he is still making runs and passes which allow other players to perform. Santi has yet to find the form of last season and Jack is not yet playing at the level we know he can.

That said, the defence has been superb of late, an improvement which has taken place under the media radar. We look solid with every player on top of his game and working as a unit. The emergence of BFG as the defensive lynchpin has altered the way we defend. Take him out and we suffer (see OT). Our defence of set plays has improved with OG, Sagna, Merts, TPIG and Gibbs strength in the air meaning we are less liable to concede (unless it comes off the shoulder of a traitorous kaaskop – look it up!). Our marvellous midfield maestro, Mr Arteta is fit and named in the squad.

Some stats: Marseilles have lost their last 7 CL games. They have conceded at least two goals in each of those losses. Arsenal have won 6 of their last 7 CL games. and kept a clean sheet in 5 of them. Mmmmmmmm What do you think?

My Team:

a v m

As players recover from injury we are arriving at the point where hard choices must be made. Arteta is back to full fitness but could be rested thus giving Rosicky a place on the left. Perhaps Monreal can get a game giving Gibbs a rest. Or should we revert to playing Cazorla out left leaving Flamini as our sole holding MF? Or should Ramsey be rested ahead of his return to Wales at the weekend thus giving Wilshere the opportunity to play?

We have to win tonight so perhaps a more attacking lineup could be considered with Wilshere starting in place of Flamini? So many combinations and mutations.

Once Podolski returns (could be for Cardiff) we have to find games to rest OG. A forward line of Ozil, Theo and Lukas is very potent.

I have a feeling that Mr Wenger will play it safe and include both Arteta and Flamini but if we can score early and be two up by half-time (a big IF) then he can relax and make substitutions. I would rather we went into the game with a full complement of attackers.

Win this match and we are almost out of the Group of Death from which few commentators gave us a chance – lose and we are looking at Spursday night football 😦

But we won’t will we? Another stirring night of European football awaits.


p.s. Do you know why condoms were called Frenchies?

written by Big Raddy

Forward The Arsenal

September 18, 2013

Cannon to the Right of them,

Cannon to the left

Onwards in to the Group of Death

Rode the Mighty Arsenal

So we start yet another CL season, our umpteenth campaign. Consider this …… Only MU and Real Madrid in the whole of Europe have taken part in more consecutive CL seasons. This is quite some record for a team for whom 4th is a Trophy 😀

Of course, we haven’t won Big Ears yet and I doubt we will do so this term but you have to be in it to win it (Are you watching Tottenham?).

What of Olympique de Marseille? We played them in 2011 and won at the Stade Velodrome 1-0 thanks to a Ramsey goal. However, OM go into the game having only lost twice at home in a year and with 6 new signings who appear to have quickly settled. We know about Valbuena, Gignac and Ayew who gave us a test last time, but they just signed Florian Thauvin who is being touted as the new Hazard. Last year he was signed by Lille from Bastia but loaned back for a season, he had such an impact that Marseille paid €13m for him, giving Lille a €10m profit on a player who had never played for them!! Thauvin is a playmaker in the Hazard/Ozil mould (but not as good).

Then there is Payet, a CF who has scored three times in OM’s first 5 games.


Not sure what Ché has to do with Marseille!

Arsenal:  Injuries. Many have fallen before we hear the sound of musket fire. Those that are left will be roused by trumpets and sent against the heathen ranks. But will our glorious survivors have enough to overcome the infidel? Your guess is as good as mine, and mine is that the answer is in the positive.

The return of Merts is important because it allows Sagna to take his place at RB where he will face the flying Ayew. This will be one of the key battles. If Bac can stop the balls into Gignac and Payet we are almost home. If not, we must hope that BFG and Kos are on form.

Koscielny. What to say? 6 games played. 2 stupid penalties given away. Red and yellow cards. Shape up man, you are a brilliant player and you don’t want to lose your place to our club captain.

The midfield is superb even without the influence of Arteta. That said, we haven’t really been tested by any team other than AV who had 14 players on the pitch. Even with the loss of Cazorla, Arteta, Ox and Mozart (which is a formidable midfield) we look strong.. The addition of Mesut is just the cherry on top.

Upfront. Theo has to get amongst the goals before it starts to affect his confidence. He grows when he knows he is dangerous. OG is going to take a kicking both from the Marseilles defenders and his fellow countrymen in the stands who are less than impressed with his recent performances for the national team. Let’s hope he sticks up a metaphorical two fingers and scores a brace.

My Team:

18th sept

The bench still looks weak and we have few attacking options. The inclusion of Akpom shows how constrained we are. Can anyone explain why Bendtner isn’t fit and raring to go?

The pundits think this will be a draw. If we are to progress from the group then tonight is a must-win. 3 points away from home  will propel the team forward into the next round of matches. The tough games are yet to come……

Forward you Gunners

“Charge for the Guns”, AW said,

Into the Group of Death

Rode the Mighty Arsenal


written by Big Raddy

Close to the Edge: Marseilles preview

November 1, 2011

Still basking in the glory of a wonderful Saturday afternoon? Me too, but time to move on.

3 points tonight and the CL Group stage is almost put to bed, which would allow Mr Wenger to rest some of his players for the remaining fixtures. We all know the damage done when AW has not closed out group qualification, and we must hope he has learned from last season’s mistakes.

Marseilles arrive having started to turn their Ligue 1 season around, unbeaten in their last 6 games and fresh from a 2-3 away win at Dijon.

Let’s be honest, our win in Marseilles was surprising. Marseilles were shockingly defensive and hardly attacked for the whole second half; considering they have some fine forwards it was a puzzling tactic.

rai o’r eich bod yn anghyfreithlon Ffrengig  

(Welsh for Have some of that Frenchie ….)

I fullt expect Marseilles to attack tonight, though it would be understandable if they played for a draw which would be a very good result for them. For details of their major players please refer back to the away OM pre-match.

As to our lads – would it be unthinkable to start with Park and bring on RvP at 60 minutes?  A frontline of Gerv, Park and Theo should be enough to dent the OM defence.

Thinking of Boy Wonder, GIE gave some fine stats (which I can’t find!!) when writing of the supposed Arsenal reliance upon Van Persie. He pointed out how much Barca rely upon Messi – this season he has played 16 times scoring 19 with 11 assists (phenomenal), does this make Barca a one man team?  Or Real Madrid – Ronaldo; 15 apps 12 goals. Yes, RvP is in the form of his life and yes, without him we may not score as many BUT RVP is paid to be our main striker and he is performing his job. He doesn’t score the goals in isolation, it is a team effort. and we have seen with the loss of Cesc that it is the team not the individual which creates success. He is no more than a very important cog in a machine which is starting to purr.

I would like to see CJ return if fit, JD improved second half at the Bridge but he will never be a right back. CJ had a good game in Marseilles until forced off with injury and has the makings of a fine player (get well soon Bacary).

My team

I cannot see TV lasting a whole game but it would be great to see him start tonight, particularly as OM rely on pace upfront which is certainly not the BFG’s strong point.

Ideally we will attack from the whistle and get to halftime with a decent lead at which time Mr Wenger can ring the changes and rest players ahead of the weekend.

Been searching for an inventor from Marseilles and have found Bertrand Gascogne Duchoux who is said to have invented the famous seafood soup Bouillabaisse, recently perfected by our very own Mickydidit89.

It would be wonderful to win tonight and continue this excellent run.

I see no reason to expect anything less.


Big Raddy