Another Victory.

May 17, 2017

Are we going to talk football? Why not?

Strange game last night. First half a meandering dull affair enlivened only by speculation as to why the Emirates was a quarter empty.

Ozil playing beautifully but Giroud the opposite. Sanchez scoring two but losing the ball way too often. Gibbs having his best game for a few seasons.


Referee, once again, crap. Two clear penalties declined, too many yellows for AFC whilst that thug, Cattermole escapes having crunched Ozil, Ramsey and Sanchez.

Ramsey. Finally finding some form following a run of games without injury. Sadly, it looked season ending damage for the Welsh Wizard. Hope not.

Defence. Another clean sheet but Cech exposed way too often, if Sunderland were not so poor in attack, we could have been in trouble. We miss Koscielny as Monreal is too concentrated upon attack. Mustafi improving as the season progresses and will be very good next season. Loved the no-look Monreal back pass to Cech, top entertainment.

Cech showed why he still has a few more years at the top. Faultless. I love his urgent distribution to get the team on the front foot.

We looked so much better with Welbeck and Iwobi on the pitch. More pace, more incisive, more problems for a tiring S’land defence.

Holding. Who didn’t love his run upfield? The man looks a future star and a huge bargain. Who said AFC can no longer scout talent from the lower leagues?

All in all, we played OK with some sublime work from Ozil and Xhaka. The headlines go to Sanchez but goals apart ( ūüėÄ ) I thought he had a poor game. My MotM was definitely Ozil.

We had to win to keep our run going and put pressure on L’pool, we did. Just need to win the next two games and the season will look much better than a couple of months ago.

written by Big Raddy


Down to the Wire.

May 16, 2017

The Hammers cowardly capitulation at the hands of Liverpool has put a slight dampener on tonight’s challenge, but as Micky rightly points out, the Fat Lady has yet to sing.

I have never experienced the depression of relegation with Arsenal, neither have you. We have no idea what it must be like to feel like Sunderland fans and probably never will, for that we must be thankful. We must also be thankful that we do not live in Sunderland ūüôā


We are on a fine run of wins, starting to play with a degree of confidence and have an almost fully-fit squad. A win tonight should be possible.

My Team:


Mustafi    Koscielny    Holding

Ox   Ramsey    Xhaka    Monreal

Ozil    Sanchez


In my opinion, this is our strongest team when playing at home (perhaps Santi for Ramsey) . It will be fascinating to see how AW (if he stays) will fit Iwobi and the new signings into this team.

Should we win our last two games we will finish with 75 points, loads more than we finished with last season yet be lower in the table. What does this signify? Much to discuss through the summer .

Can we win and win well? Of course we can.

Let it be So


The Thin Red Line

December 5, 2015

I should stop here – this post will not get better than the title ūüôā


The Northern Hordes are coming to the Emirates flying the flag of Attila Allardyce and our brave few are going in to battle defending the honour of free-flowing, intelligent, attacking football.

I have written enough about The Walrus and his brand of football but if one wants to see the damage he can do to a club just look East of the Emirates to West Ham. A sorrier tale of a club’s traditions reneged for the sake of points will be hard to find. Sure he could ¬†keep a dreadful Sunderland team in the PL but at what cost? He is the prime example of Money over Aesthetics. Serve up “19th Century Football” (thank you Jose) and you may win points but certainly no fans and the locals will hate you for it. Keep doing it once you are secure in the billionaire playground of the Premier League and you get the spanish archer (cockney slang for El Bow”).

A man who will never get the spanish archer is our manager. Many believe Arsenal are wrong to commit so firmly to the Wenger philosophy but win, lose or draw people watch Arsenal. Why? Because in a few seconds you may see something not witnessed anywhere else in England – imagination of pass construction at a speed of thought which at times seems inhuman. OK, we do not win as much as a huge club should but in my opinion the manner of victory is more important than the victory. The only time I have considered giving up on Arsenal was in the last few Graham years – I just couldn’t stand watching them any more.

Can I get through this without mention Santi, Welbz, Little Jack, Alexis, Tommi, Arteta, Kos, Gibbo et all? Clearly not, but they cannot help us this afternoon, so who can?

Will Mr Wenger let Theo play against a team committed to hoofball or will he sacrifice Campbell? Given the big game midweek I would give TW 15 minutes .

There remains enough attacking talent to win. Concentration and strength at  defensive set plays will be essential. If we go behind it will be a long climb back.

Given our recent poor form and injuries I hesitate to suggest we will win at a canter but I do think we have enough to win this


written by Big Raddy


Will 95% be enough?

October 25, 2014

Long trip up north for the fans especially after an away CL game.

Sunderland: have you ever been to Sunderland? I have. Went to watch the lads at the Stadium of Light in 2003, we won 4-0 with a Freddie hayrick. Do you know they have coal on the beaches and a freezing cold wind blowing in from the sea! No wonder their fans moan. It must be a difficult transition for chaps who grow up in warmer climes and bigger cities to play for the Mackems Рwhich may explain why many leave soon after arriving.

Which brings me on to Gus Poyet. Now this bloke seems like a decent egg, he is unfailingly polite, speaks decent English and would make a fine Uncle BUT any team that signs a manager with Spurs connections is doomed. History proves it. Sunderland made a miraculous escape from relegation last season thanks to startling ineptitude from other teams and a very suspicious win at Poyet’s old club, Chelsea – it was the first home defeat for Mourinho. Lose today and Poyet could well be sacked.


Why Me???

I hate playing teams who have just been thrashed, they are determined to show it was an aberration so go onto the pitch fired up and ready for violence – we will need a strong a referee today (Kevin Friend). Furthermore, they focus heavily on defence and one of our faves Young Vito Mannone will be wanting to show Mr Wenger that it should have been him between the sticks at Anderlecht. Goals could be hard to come by.

Sunderland have their fair share of nasty ankle kickers; Cattermole, two MU rejects at CB, a massive lump called Conor Wickham and a spiky (read nasty) Scotsman in Fletcher. Add in the excellent Seb Larsson and you can see our players and Kevin Friend will have to be alert.

When Sunderland signed Jack Rodwell I have to say I was surprised. Before his injury this chap looked the chiens couilles but how quickly his career has stalled. He played his first game for Everton at just 16, appeared to be England’s next Bryan Robson and then made the huge mistake of signing for a Man City side who already had YaYa in his position. Got injured, moved on, and is likely to become a Championship player in 2015.

Thinking of such things – have you seen that Frimpong was released by Barnsley after just 4 months and is now playing in Russia at some shitballs club called Ufa who have a stadium capacity of less than 6,000? Dench!!

The Arsenal: You know the story. No defenders, an injury list as long as a Danish winter, Jack suspended, Aaron off-form, unable to score against teams who defend deep and as Mr. Wenger says “playing at 95%”. It does not bode well. However, we are still able to play 11 full Internationals (The Flamster picked up a few in his first spell at AFC)

My Team:


Chambers    BFG    Monreal    Gibbs

Ox    Ramsey    Flamini

Sanchez    Welbeck    Cazorla

Despite my picks I would love to see Campbell start ahead of Santi. Just to give us some extra bite upfront. Podolski’s time has run at Arsenal (much as I like him) and I cannot see him starting another game in our shirt . ¬†The bench will be a few reserves and a couple of player’s wives.

Food: Sunderland is not known as a hotbed of culinary delights, it does have a Festival of Food though this seems to concentrate on every type of food except good old local fare. The top restaurants on Tripadvisor are all selling African, Chinese, Thai, Italian etc everything bar foods from Wearside . There is a restaurant which apparently makes one of the nations best cheese and onion mash. Sounds appetising.


Excellent with a pint of Stout

We have the players, we lack the cohesion and confidence. How does it return? By winning and winning a run of games. Can the run start today? Why not?


written by Big Raddy


A Mackem Mission

February 22, 2014

So here we are at the end of our first cluster of serious challenges. It didn’t go brilliantly, but didn’t go terribly for us either. We are still major contenders for the F.A cup, have a chance of progressing in the champions league, (against the odds admittedly, but bet against us at your peril!), and are still one of the 4 realistic teams that can win this years EPL.

We now face Sunderland F.C. In the Premier League, so what do we know about them?

Sunderland F.C were formed in 1879 which makes them one of the oldest institutions in football. They have a rich and ancient history, much like ourselves, so respect where it is due on either side, and that should lend itself to a vocal but respectful atmosphere at the game.

I have a couple of friends who emanate from Sunderland and they are good chaps, so if you run into any Mackem’s at the pre-match pub get together I hope you enjoy their company and here are some tips of things not to say :

1 Are you a Geordie?

2 I really like that stripey bar code look.

3 That Alan fellow from Match of the day, (not the smug Scottish one), seems a nice and well reasoned chap.

On to us and I would say that we should be moving ahead confidently. The Bayern defeat, and the way it transpired, really shouldn’t affect our overall confidence at all in any way and I fully expect us to dominate this game, BUT, it is a game against a team that could prove more difficult than we originally envision if we don’t get our act together from the start.

Sunderland are managed by Gus Poyet who, although may sound like Speedy Gonzales, I think is a good manager that plays the game in the right way, and has shown in recent games that Sunderland will not be an easy team to beat. We definitely need to be rid of any hangovers from Tuesday night and I am hoping for an early productive onslaught with a relaxing final twenty minutes rather than a tense finish.

We have Gibbs, Vermaelen, Walcott, Diaby, Kallstrom and Ramsey injured. These are some key players but we still have a lot of great available players in the squad which exemplifies our strength in depth. I also feel we may need to rotate a little, but not a lot, because we have a week off after this. As such my team would be :

arse v sund

I am not sure that this will be Arsene’s starting line up. If AOC is injured then I would put Gnabry straight in. I also think Arsene is likely to include Ozil, who I feel already is, and will increasingly be, a great player for us that will continue to become even better. I do however think he has maybe been somewhat overplayed in his first season in the EPL, and would take him out of this game, but I think Arsene will consider the Bayern game as the equivalent of falling off a bike and will push him back into the fray to re-establish himself. I can see the sense in that because the current British media would go into overdrive with their interpretations of Ozil dropping to the bench. If you are reading Mesut, don’t worry because the majority of us gunners have your back.

With no disrespect to Sunderland this really is a game we should expect to win at home. Whoever Arsene chooses to line up with, (even if it is against my most insightful and free of charge advice as listed above), then I feel we should have the necessary qualities to win the day.


Written by GoonerB

Gunners to Ruin Graham’s Home Debut?

February 9, 2013

Time to move away from the Young Jack eulogising and onto some proper English PL football, and there are few grounds more suited to a return to earth than the Stadium of Light.

Sunderland is a fine town with a fine history. It has one of the lowest incomes per head in the UK and yet almost 40,000 people go to watch their home games (5k more than Spurs!) They love their team and their football.

Martin O’Neill has had problems getting the Black Cats to gel. Rarely have I seen a more frustrated figure on the sidelines because whatever one thinks of MoN, he is a passionate man and gives his all to his clubs. Many moons ago Gooners were calling for him to replace Mr Wenger – insanity runs deep amongst our fans.

Sadly, Sunderland fans are not getting to see much artistry on the pitch (apart from the opposition). They are struggling for goals and rely more on sweat than inspiration. The huge fee paid for Fletcher  and the signing of Danny Graham is an indication of their need for some fire power and gumption ,though I have long admired both Sessegnon and Larsson. It is always good to see an ex-Gunner who has been Wengered succeed and Larsson has had a fine career Рshame he likes to score against us!

After a short injury-free period we have players queuing for the treatment table. Late fitness tests on much of the defence means Raddy’s line-up could be drastically affected. There is also a fear that Theo was limping after the Brazil game.

Runners & Riders:

sunderland v arse

Given the amount of time our Internationals were on the pitch midweek, we may well see some changes.

Diaby could start as his stature is important defensively, but who gets dropped? Dare we play without Pod and have a 4 man midfield with Santi taking the left side attacking berth?

It will be interesting to see how Monreal copes with Adam Johnson who is finally showing some form.

Todays explorer: Sir James Clark Ross (1800 – 1862). You may think it is cold outside, particularly if you are going to the game but today is almost tropical compared to the norm for Sir Ross; an Arctic and Antarctic explorer in the days of wooden ships. As a young man Ross went North with his Uncle, Sir William Parry to search for the fabled North-West Passage and here he fell in love with polar exploration. Upon promotion to Captain he took his ship, the Erebus, to the Antarctic which he surveyed extensively becoming, at that time, the furthest South man had travelled.


I name this picture The Ross Icon

Sir James discovered Ross Bay,  James Ross Island, the Ross Sea, the Ross Ice Shelf, Victoria Island, Mount Erebus & Mt. Terror. He returned to England a hero, dying in Blackheath at the age of 61.

On paper we should win this game. Should the defence stay focussed and disciplined we will be fine, but they will not get the easy game they had vs Stoke. With Danny Graham playing his first game at the SoL, Sunderland will be looking for 3 points. But so will we….

Do it Again: Match preview

February 18, 2012

A week is a long time in football. Just 7 days ago we were wrapped up in enthusiasm following our last minute victory, and yet those happy days seem a long gone. Will the confidence of the team plummet because we got spanked by a rampant AC Milan? We shall see today.

I cannot remember a time under Mr Wenger when there has been so much uncertainty amongst the fans. It appears that the team go on a winning run and imbue confidence then implode leading to calls (from some) for the manager’s head. If we are confused imagine how the management at THOF feel. When your most reliable defender over the past 3 seasons make elementary mistakes like Vermaelen did, ¬†then what can you do?

However, the Malaise in Milan was a team effort and it would be wrong to put blame on any one shirt. If blame is to be dealt, then the manager must be included because this is his team and his tactics. Mr Wenger will do all he can to improve things and hopefully the lads will do better today.

I really disliked O’Neill’s tactics last week. Sunderland parked the bus and played with 10 men behind the ball – if I were a paying Sunderland fan I would be seriously worried about the prospects of seeing entertainment over the coming seasons. I guess O’Neill could point to their extra time Cup game midweek and that the game was lost in the final 15 minutes but prior to that Sunderland offered nothing and their goal came as a result of pure good fortune (very bad fortune for Arsenal).

How will Mr Wenger respond today? I expect a much changed side – not a weaker team but one with different faces. There are players whose confidence will have taken a mighty bashing; Ramsey was completely over-run in a way he has probably never experienced, same for Theo, who must have been shakes to be removed at half-time. Should they “get back in the saddle”?

My Team:

Controversial I know but I believe Song needs a rest. He is unlikely to get one and Ramsey is more likely to be rested. ¬†Rosicky has been playing well and getting far more minutes than I expected, but Ramsey needs to get his mojo back and that is best done away from home. – which is an awful indictment of our home “support” (more of this subject another time).

Another Sunderland Inventor;  This may upset some of our American readers but Edison did not invent the electric Lightbulb, it was invented by Sir Joseph Swan, an extremely hirsute resident of Sunderland. Swan (1828 Р1914) patented his lightbulb in England a few years before Edison took out his worldwide (bar UK) patent for an identical product (cheap Yank copy was the term used). The first building to be lit entirely by electricity  (1880) was The Savoy Theatre in London using 1200 lamps supplied by Swan. Swan also invented Bromide paper which is still in use when developing black and white photographs.

Bloody Septic stole my bloody invention!

O’Neill will see this as the ideal opportunity to take revenge upon a tired and shell-shocked Arsenal. The vast majority of the Arsenal baiting media will be looking to stick the knife in should we lose as they are predicting. It is up to our team to prove them wrong.


Written by Big Raddy

Fight for the Right: Game preview.

February 11, 2012

What a game in store for us this afternoon. As was said earlier this week – a barometer game. A resurgent Sunderland looking to continue their very surprising run against an Arsenal team confident as a result of last week’s big win.

And yet, in my opinion both appear to be skating on thin ice. Sunderland are, let’s be honest, a poor team managed by an average manager. Arsenal are on the verge of greatness but are not there yet, as the results at Swansea and Fulham portray. Yes, we smacked Blackburn but have you ever seen a worse performance from a PL side fighting relegation? Nor have I.

What has Mr- O’Neill brought to Sunderland to transform them? The same as Fat Sam has has brought to West Ham and SAF continues to bring to MU – ¬†an atmosphere of fear and aggression. Hard work, get in their faces, ride your luck, long ball tactics, close down in midfield, compress the play thereby nullifying any creativity in the opposition and best of all, score and then defend like crazy. It works. After a dreadful start Sunderland have beaten Man City, Norwich, Stoke and Swansea.

Sessegnon is their main attacking force, however, it should be pointed out that this season he has scored 9 whereas our top scorer has 28. We know all about Seb Larsson who is one of the players often referred to when discussing the (too) early transfer of young players.

Another conundrum is who is going to start for Arsenal?. With the huge game in Milan on Weds. will Mr.Wenger risk playing his full first X1 or will he rotate? What would you do? Which game would you prioritise?  Do you think he should start with the same team in both games? I think we cannot afford to do anything but play our best starting X1 in every game РBig Raddy played 60+ games almost every season. (back when men were men!)

My Team:

I am torn between Ramsey and Rosicky. Perhaps Tomas should start today given his excellent recent form and that Ramsey will be better suited to the slower game played by AC Milan midweek – I expect him to star out in Italy, just as Fabregas did a few years ago. Everyone wants to see The Ox and I hope Mr. Wenger doesn’t drop him – ¬†which he is almost sure to do when Gervinho returns next week holding his ACN Winners Medal.

An inventor from Sunderland? I bring you Sir William Mills, inventor of the Mills bomb. Those with a historical bent and an interest in World War 1 will know all about the Mills bomb which a type of grenade . 75 million of them were made and used during WW1. Yes – 75million!!. A prolific inventor he also developed a gearing system for ships which was used worldwide, and a telescopic walking stick/seat which remains widely available today (think Toffs/Range Rovers/ National Hunt).

Sir William Mills,  no relation to Mrs.

It will be Siberian conditions Up North which will affect both the pitch and the players. If Arsenal have pretensions to a Top 4 finish they have to get something from this game. I do not believe Sunderland are as good a team as we are but given the January failures there must be caution. Going one up, which a few years ago would be a guaranteed 3 points is a trait we must reproduce. This will be a game won in midfield and our boys will have to fight fire with fire.

Given the animosity between our respective managers, I expect an intense game with yellow cards aplenty.


Written by Big Raddy

Pick up the Pieces

October 16, 2011

At last the chance to write about something other than rumour, tittle tattle and economics. And what a game we have today, none of that nerve wrenching, gut mangling, behind the sofa stuff of our last match against the lowlife bottom feeders – today we welcome those fine upstanding men from the frozen wasteland of Sunderland, who will be looking to gift us 3 points in their push for relegation. A day for Arsenal to get back on track and pick up the pieces.

Sunderland are owned by an American, Ellis Short, who has recently become chairman succeeding the excellent Niall Quinn. Will this isolate Steve Bruce and lead to his replacement, or will it have no effect upon the on-pitch affairs? More to the point, do we really give a damn?

There are lots of interesting stats about today’s game, my favourite being that Sunderland have not won at Arsenal since 1983. There have been 3 90th minute goals in our last 6 meetings, and whoever scores first wins – usually us.

No Bendtner today which is a shame. I watched him in Denmark’s excellent victory over the slimy Portugese (any team with Ronaldo , Mereilles and Nani is slimy and deserving of a good beating!). Nik played centrally and was, I can find no other word, poor. He finished off a fine move for his goal but even Clichy could have scored it. Nik’s absence could give Connor Wickham his first PL start, an interesting player as he showed against us last season at Ipswich.

We are just one point and one place ahead of Sunderland … ¬†bizarre. You all know the problems, we have discussed them endlessly, unfortunately no-one has come up with reasonable solutions other than buying better players. Mr. Wenger believes he has the squad to challenge and one can certainly find reasons (not excuses) for our poor start. Injuries to key players and a rash of red cards have hindered our progress.

It will be interesting to see how Mr. Wenger solves the right back problem. Can he rely upon a very inexperienced 19 year old Carl Jenkinson to be an adequate understudy to Sagna? Or does he play Koscielny or Djourou at RB?  Another possibility is Coquelin. If there are to be brickbats (whatever they are) to be thrown at AW, it is selling Eboue without buying an experienced stand-in RB.

Upfront, RvP is in the form of his life, can he continue and get a brace today? Why not?

With Rosicky regaining fitness , will AW continue with Ramsey? Despite his critics I believe Ramsey is a fine player and should get the shirt with TR substituting late in the game

Is there any possibility of Arshavin getting the central attacking midfield role? Not in my opinion, in fact I doubt whether AA will even start.

My team:



I am hoping we will really attack Sunderland who are likely to play long ball and  look for set piece opportunities, hence the choice of Santos over Gibbs.

The Americans will not appreciate my choice of inventor born in Sunderland. Contrary to popular belief the electric light bulb was invented by Sir Joseph Swan and not by Thomas Edison. ¬†The electric lightbulb was first patented by Swan in 1878 and his house was the first in the world to be lit by light bulbs. ¬†He received a knighthood and the French Legion d’Honneur in honour of his invention. Top bloke, top beard.


Loan Players.

November 19, 2010

At the weekend Danny Welbeck scored for Sunderland in the wonderful win at Stamford Bridge, not only did he score but he put in a fine performance that had Chelsea’s 2nd string CB’s running all over the pitch allowing others to attack. Fairplay one may say, good on him and good on Sunderland, but Welbeck is signed to Man Utd.

Sunderland first goal was one of the goals of the season scored by  full back Onouha. Onouha is on loan from Man City.

So Chelsea were undone (in part) by players from direct rivals, how can this be?

At Blackburn in our valiant 2-1 victory earlier in the season, Blackburn’s goalscorer was M. Diouf who gave our defence a torrid time. Diouf is on loan from Man Utd.

Last week we played a Wolves team who had Mancienne in their defence, an excellent young player on loan from Chelsea, and we face the prospect of playing Spurs at the weekend who may play Pletikosa in goal – another loanee.

Last season we loaned out young Jack to Bolton and this season we have gained the benefit of his experiences there. Had he scored in a win over MU we would have been delighted !

With the increasing gap between the wealth and quality of squads of the CL clubs and the lower PL clubs, it is inevitable that those players who have a value to the CL clubs but are not within their 25 player squad will be loaned out ( I realise this is simplistic due to the homegrown rules). Furthermore, we have some fantastic young players who will be too old for the youth/reserve teams and not good enough to replace an established player but need experience to develop. That player will go on loan, and he will go on loan to a club in the lower half of the table.

I assume there is an unwritten agreement that loan players do not play against their registered clubs, but why should that be? It weakens the team playing the loanee and therefore gives an added advantage to the loaning team.

I believe there should be an adjunct to the loan rules that stops clubs loaning to teams within the same division, thereby allowing the loanee to get experience ¬†in a first team and does not advantage the loaning club. It did Chesney no harm ūüôā

By the way, anyone know who was the last loan player who played in Arsenal’s first team?

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