Arsène Wenger manages the Dream Team

June 24, 2011

Written by Gooner in Exile are currently running an all time dream team vote. The problem with this it is often only the young who vote and recent memory can skew the result.

We have a wide church here with regard to ages so how about we all pick our all time eleven, manager, coach, physio and you can even throw in a few squad players.

One stipulation you must have seen them play or manage whilst you’ve been alive. On second thoughts this could put the younger members of the forum at a disadvantage so perhaps we can allow two wild cards for positions where you believe a player from before your time may have added some.

I’ll start us off:


Lauren   Adams  O’Leary  Winterburn

Pires    Vieira  Talbot    Limpar



Coach : Don Howe
Physio : Gary Lewin

Manager : Arsène Wenger

That was tough and I’ve only been watching them for 29 years, good luck to our older supporters.

So just to say I know that’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea but hey it’s my fantasy you all get to have yours too.

Admittedly some have been chosen for how they did things on the pitch, they may not all be the best in their positions but in the case of a few:

Wright……his pure enthusiasm for the game, affinity with the fans and love of scoring goals and also because of that goal against Big Nev, the whole of Highbury singing Ian Wright Wright Wright for a good ten minutes after he scored it.

Limpar…..I was there when he beat Hooper from the halfway line and it was probably the best goal I ever witnessed at Highbury.

Caesar… have to have an anti hero to have a hero, he was always good for a laugh (unfortunately for him we weren’t laughing with him).

So there is the challenge pick away. Don’t ask me to justify my selections I made them in five minutes and will probably change them every ten.

Smash the Villains

May 15, 2011

The final home game in what has been an ultimately disappointing season, and a chance to almost cement 3rd place.

It hurt watching the Manchester clubs yesterday. Manchester City won the FA Cup  and congratulations to the knuckle dragging, bog dwelling mingers upon winning the Title.

I can write in two words why we didn’t win the PL in a year when we were surely the best football team – Home Form. Hardly rocket science but nonetheless had we been able to establish Fortress Emirates we would without question have won the title. United have won 6 (yes – 6!) more home games than us and Chelsea 3. Furthermore, MU drew one to our 4. That adds up to 26 more home points than we gained  – yes – 26!! Yet should we win today we will be just 7 points behind them.

There has been much written on AA as to why this is so, much of which AW will have read and considered. In my opinion we have become constrained by our football ethic and opposition managers have an easy tactic to deal with it – defend in depth on the 18 yard line and wait for a set piece to attack. Any team who has attacked us from the opening whistle (apart from WBA) has been beaten.

Today’s opponents have had a far worse season than us. Their fans must be reeling from witnessing a club with such resources (fanbase, players, coaching staff and financial backing) wallowing close to relegation; there is still a chance they could go down if results go against them. A team with the talents of Young, Agbonlahor, Downing, Freidland, Dunne etc are surely too good to be in their current position. And then there is AV’s record signing, the big AFC fan, Darren Bent. Should we have signed him? His goal scoring record is excellent. I can only imagine it was his very high transfer fee which caused AW to demur.

Statistically, we should win. Villa have won just once in 24 visits to AFC, though they  have only lost one of the last 4. However, our home form is so inconsistent and a draw would confirm AV’s premiership status.

Today’s highlights have to be the return of two Arsenal favourites – TV and the great Robert Pires. Vermælen’s absence has been enormously costly as Mr Wenger struggled to establish a consistent CB pairing (thanks to injury and poor form). The Belgian is our best defender; strong, a fine tactician, a potent attacking weapon, and a born fighter – he has been sorely missed. Expecting him to return in top form may be unrealistic but his return is very, very welcome.

This is likely to be Bobby’s final appearance at THOF. He has graced the shirt and will be remembered as one of the finest players to have ever played for Arsenal. The fact that he has bought a flat at Highbury is evidence of his love for the club. Who can forget the adulation he received from the 2002 side when he limped up to raise the trophy. Let us hope he gets a few minutes pitch time in a 4-0 Villa loss!!

There has been rumour of AW selecting a weakened team, but this is surely just rumour. We need these 3 points and the fans deserve to see a decent performance. Cesc, Nasri, Diaby and Koscielny are out.
My team:

However, it would be no surprise to see Bendtner or Chamakh get a start as the team above is seriously lacking in inches.

Villa are blessed with 2 giants of the Heavy Metal world as fans: Ozzy Osbourne and Geezer Butler, both ex- members of the Black Sabbath. Nigel Kennedy and Amy Winehouse are also big fans. Anyone who has been to Villa Park (scene of the awful FAC semi-final when DB10 missed that penalty) knows how charming the area of Aston Villa is.

Please Arsenal, give the fans who spend so much money, time and emotion  attending the Grove a pleasant end to our home season – smash the Villains!!!


What’s with the negative vibes, man?

November 27, 2010

Feeling lucky punk? Well are you? I am, and here is why. We are a very good team who have suffered from a mixture of bad form, bad luck and bad refereeing over the past two games. Prior to that we had won two difficult away games and had discovered our fighting spirit.

Does the dire 45 mins v Spurs and the very poor performance in Braga mean we are a poor side fortunate to be in 3rd place?  I would shout a definite “No”. We still have the ability to beat anyone and we are still title contenders. Some may say (and do say) that this side is brittle, lazy, and lacking in spirit; some say we lack leaders, that the defence is a shambles,  the GK is a fool and Mr. Wenger should be reading his P45 on the bus home (are there still P45’s?). Rosicky is finished, JW is overworked, Denilson is not good enough, Nik, Diaby and Theo must be off-loaded, Squillaci is wooden, Koscielny too weak for the PL and Chamakh won’t shoot. Oh, and Clichy is too inconsistent,  Sagna can’t cross and Arshavin isn’t trying. That is without Cesc constantly thinking about Barca!!

Cobblers I say. This team is on the verge of something special. We are in the mix and with a good run can be top going into the New Year. Now I know one could counter and ask “upon what do you base your positive opinion” My main answer would be that I prefer to believe we are going to win than to lose. Plus we have seen this team destroy other sides – it is not so long since we dismantled Man City.

Our away form is good, for once better than our home record. What that shows I have no idea, we have played more difficult sides away!

Villa. We have an OK record against them at Villa Park. They are struggling to adapt to their new manager and the loss of two midfielders (Milner and Barry). The signing of Stephen Ireland looked inspired but he has yet to achieve the influence he showed at Citeh, 20 y.o. Bannan  has been on fine form and is highly rated by Villa fans. Upfront there are the usual motley crue – Heskey, Young, Carew, Agbonlahor and the new rising star Delfouneso. We should have enough to hold them, though on current defensive form we are almost sure to concede and will be looking to our attackers to create a winning platform.

Of course there is a special player in the Villa squad, one who is a particular hero of mine, a man who lit up the green fields of Highbury and many other pastures, a player who was so respected by his  colleagues that they all bowed down to him when he limped up to take his PL medal on that great day at Highbury. I hope Bobby gets some pitch time when we are 3 up with 10 minutes remaining, but unlike Eduardo doesn’t score!

The loss of Cesc for a few weeks is painful – he was just returning to some form, but Nasri has the opportunity to take his creative role. Once again, I lament the absence of Diaby, who plays well in tandem with his French midfield buddy

My team:

I would love to see van Persie start but “chocolate legs” doesn’t seem to have the confidence of his manager.

Finally, much is said about the “5 years”. If one takes out the League Cup (winners in ´94 & ´96) the last time Villa won a trophy was 29 years ago, though to be fair, it was the European Cup! Maybe it is our turn this year  ………


written by Big Raddy