Mkhitaryan free to play at Liberty Stadium?

January 30, 2018

This season the only consistent aspect of the team is it’s inconsistency. Our away record is awful – we have yet to win away in 2018 and have won just 3 games on the road (out of 12). Had we won the same as Rubbish Spurs, we would be in 3rd place a point behind MU.

With the change in Swansea’s fortunes since Carvalhal’s arrival, Arsenal’s task looks difficult. Liverpool went there on the back of beating City and lost without scoring; we could easily do the same.

But we won’t, will we?

A full squad, apart from OG, Welbz and Santi, means Mr Wenger can experiment with a system to include Mkhitayran (henceforth HM or Miki). Will Miki find form, can he be the replacement, is he as good as Mesut, can they play together, is he another Wilshire, can he play a defensive role and replace Xhaka, is he good in the air , can he recapture his BVB form etc etc? Whatever the answers, he is an exciting prospect.

Whilst lauding recent Swansea form, it must be remembered that they sit bottom of the PL with a minus 20 goal difference – we should get something from the game. An early goal will force Swansea to attack and not PTB which is their usual tactic. We have to be careful at set plays and of the counter.attack but this is a team who have scored just 7 goals at home so far this season (from 12 games) – they are not an attacking threat, so I would load the team with attackers …

My Team:


Bellerin    Mustafi    Koscielny    Monreal

Wilshire   Xhaka    Mkik

Iwobi    Ozil


Yes –  the Famous Xmas Tree Formation (FXTF). With the total absence of wingers in our squad (can you remember us ever being winger-less?) other systems will have to be employed.

Should be an exciting 48 hours.



Home Run to Continue?

October 28, 2017

Saturday. 3.00 p.m. kick-off. Home game. It feels wrong.

I have read and heard that Swansea are our bogey team but , didn’t we beat them last season with just 10 men? Yes, I know we lost a couple at home and got beaten in Swansea in 2016, but we beat them 0-4 in Wales. Why not today?


Swansea’s form is wretched at the moment, ours is variable but on an upswing swing (hopefully). We have no further injuries with both Mustafi and Chambers back in the squad. We haven’t lost a home game since January.

It augurs well.

But there is many a slip between the cup and the lip and we can be sure that Swansea, who have conceded just 3 goals in their away games, will be fired up. Fabianski continues to be their stand-out player and it delights an old romantic that he has done so well after his troubles at AFC.

Swansea like a goal from set pieces, their second highest scorer is the CB Mawson, as such I would keep Mertesacker in the teaming give Mustafi more recovery time.

My Team: Same as at Everton.


Koscielny    BFG    Monreal

Bellerin   Ramsey    Xhaka    Kosanovic


Lacazette     Sanchez

Let us hope their is no complacency or arrogance following our thrashing of Everton. What we have seen are the green shoots of the growth of what could be an excellent team, but that is all it is, Everton were rubbish and we put them to the sword, but we scored 3 goals against 10 men in the final few minutes.

Once again, we have an outstanding bench, almost certainly the best in the PL. It gives options.

Let’s keep the home form strong and make the Emirates impregnable (as if).


Campbell: Our Ugly Duckling to beat the Swans?

October 31, 2015

Swansea have a nasty habit of picking up points against our Mighty Gunners –  it is over two years since we beat them. Given the midweek difficulties it would be good to do so this afternoon.

Let’s start with our right wing. To Campbell or not to Campbell? Of course he must play. A prophetic comment written last week  on AA was from a chap wishing to see more of Joel, perhaps he put a bok on Theo and The Ox, if you did – can you please do the same for Harry Kane, Aguero and Diego Costa? 🙏

On a side issue – have you noticed that Mr Campbell has not been blessed with good looks? Poor fellow – the fairies gave him a good hit with the Ugly Stick. The man reminds me of Lon Chaney without the hunchback. Can our Ugly Duckling turn over The Swans? (OK, I admit this is a pathetic attempt to create an HC Anderson based headline!)

The alternative would be to push Bellerin in midfield and play Debuchy at RB, which is not so stupid; those shitehawks down the Seven Sisters Rd did that with Monkeyboy Bale and earned €100m out of it!


The rest of the team picks itself apart from at CB where Mr Wenger has to decide whether to play BFG twice in a week or rely upon Paul Easter. Either works for me.

Looking forward to seeing Flapianski. I always felt so sorry for him after his debacle in the CL; a decent keeper whose confidence was shattered by a couple of stupid mistakes. The decision to sell him was good for both clubs and it is great that he has the possibility to screw up this afternoon. A long distance shot from Santi sending the ball squirming under the Pole’s body to laugh it’s way into the Swans net would be good.

Swansea are in a poor run of form with just one win in 6 but any team with Ayew, Gomis, Shelvey plus Montero can score goals and Williams at CB is an inspirational leader (and a man who should have been at AFC).  Shelvey is interesting; at LFC I thought the man was a comedian but now he has matured (?) he can be influential. He will enjoy playing against a team which doesn’t kick two colours out of the opposition.

Gary Monk has continued the work of Rodgers and Laudrup developing a fluent possession game building slowly through midfield and then relying upon the pace of Ayew and Montero.

If we are to win we will need another soild performance from Giroud. Swansea’s CB are quality but no better than Everton’s and against the Scousers OG had his best game for some time. A repeat today is vital.

We are in the midst of an exhausting and difficult run of games yet remain joint ToTL. This afternoon should be an interesting battle between two teams committed to entertaining football. Given the quality of our lads and the scintillating form of Sanchez, Cazorla and Ozil we should return to London with at least a point but who knows – Swansea have the Indian sign over us at the moment.

Time to change that…..


Are all Swans owned by Her Majesty?

November 9, 2014

Tough game today. Let’s be honest – the way we are playing they are all tough!

Should Swansea win today they will go above us and possibly into 4th place. Not bad for a team whom many predicted would be relegated come season’s end. But they won’t beat us, will they?

Have you ever been to Swansea? Not the prettiest town. Lovely areas (the Gower) around it but the town especially when viewed from the motorway is pig ugly however in recent years Swansea has become an attractive place to live apart from Saturday nights!! Even Macdonalds has a doorman. Scary.


Welcome to Swansea MacDonalds

Since gaining promotion under Brendan Rodgers, Swansea have punched way above their weight (you need to if you come from the valleys 🙂 ). Both Rodgers and Laudrup promoted entertaining football and the new chap, Garry Monk seems to wish to continue in this vein. It is rare that Arsenal have less than 50% possession but this is the norm at the Liberty.

Much will depend upon how we cope with Swansea’s attack – they have a mixture of strength and pace. Bony will cause BFG and Monreal problems as will the pace of the wingers. Swansea’s main man this season is Guffi Sigurdsson, an Icelandic midfielder signed from Spurs; having escaped the hell of playing for the Miscreants he has blossomed and recently scored twice in Iceland’s victory over Holland.

Like Arsenal, Swansea have problems at the back and concede regularly – I think we will score but how many is the question.

Arsenal: Can we find a way to become more secure in defence? If not, the season will be a struggle. In Arteta’s absence who gets his place? Wilshire is fit and is the obvious candidate.  With Walcott fit and raring to go should he start ahead of Ox?

My Team (this is the team I would select not the one I expect AW to pick)


Chambers    BFG     Monreal    Gibbs

Ox   Ramsey    Wilshere   Flamini

Alexis    Welbeck

If we were at home Walcott should start but Ox gives us more security in defence (or does he??) in an away fixture. We have an excellent attacking bench and Bellerin. You may have noticed an absence of Cazorla – I think he needs a rest.

On any visit to Wales it is best and safest to take along a native; we have a great one in Aaron Ramsey. The lad from Caerphilly has yet to find form but my impression was that he was improving midweek even if he was trying too hard to score. Ramsey is so important to our success that he has to be allowed to regain form. It is hard to believe that despite all his injuries Aaron is approaching 150 games for AFC and is just 23. He is a tough young man coming back from such an injury  – further evidence is that he was offered terms by St Helens Rugby League club as a youth! I expect him to score today.

That’s enough of the football, let’s have a look at the food situation. Leeks, Welsh cakes (very tasty), lamb (no Welsh/Sheep jokes please Cockle), Cawl (which is a stew made from leeks and lamb) and Laverbread is the standard Welsh fare and jolly good it is too. But the stand out delicacy has to be the Welsh Rarebit….. toast, cheddar cheese, worcester sauce or paprika …. simple but delicious.


Swansea’s nickname is the Swans. Did you know that Her Majesty The Queen owns all mute, unmarked swans in British open waters? Until recently she was the only person allowed to eat swans but they are now protected even from Her Majesty. (bet Micky has sneaked one). Another interesting fact about swans is that like pork and shellfish swans are un-kosher as stated in the book of Leviticus.

5th vs 7th today and the bookies have the home side as slight favourites, If either side wins they go 4th. Should be a good game.


Written by Big Raddy

Can Wenger teach tactics? Swansea preview.

January 16, 2013

What a strange season it has been and who can predict how it will end? Could we win the FA Cup? Why not, we have done it before and what is more, the last time was in Wales following a drawn game which must be a good portent.

We haven’t done very well against Swansea this season, have we? If ever there was proof of Rasp’s opinion that The Arsenal are not as good as the individual components of the team, those two games are it …. how many of the Swansea first team would get into AW’s starting eleven? Probably none, yet they outplay us because they have a better team ethic. Why should this be? Answers on a postcard to Emirates Stadium…..

That said, tonight is an opportunity to dampen the rising negativity with a handsome win. There are injuries (of course) but nothing too serious and we have our secret weapon back, you know the chap, that lanky fellow who looks like PV4, has some of his silky skills and vision but is as fragile as a €30 champagne glass (I didn’t mean to break it darling, it slipped out of my hand) and who tackles like blancmange. Diaby will start and will have a stormer.

The defence know about Michu, they know not to give him space. The midfield know they have to battle and work non-stop to compete with Swansea’s work ethic and the attack know movement and pace are the best way to unpick a quality Swansea defence.

We have all the weapons needed to win tonight but the over-riding and currently missing quality is teamwork. Victory Through Harmony, please.

Runners and Riders:


Perhaps Ramsey will start ahead of the mighty Vassiriki Abou as he gave a very good cameo performance on Sunday, but AW loves the big man and will be desperate to give him pitch time. The only other question is whether AW will rest players ahead of the Chelsea game. Given that Dean is to referee at the Bridge, and that the FA Cup is our only realistic chance of silverware, I hope he plays his first choice 11.

The Laudrup as AW successor narrative will continue; here in Copenhagen the talk is of Laudrup returning to Real Madrid when Mourinho leaves at season’s end. I doubt this because he has yet to actually win anything as a manager. Laudrup has potential but you need more to take on the RM job. However, I can see him at Arsenal who require a  young manager committed to playing attacking football with a proper team ethic – much like Swansea.

A freezing day lends itself to warm weather explorers: William John Wills (1834-1861). Wills alongside Robert O’Hara Burke (1821-1861) became the first people to walk across Australia (South to North). The expedition took almost two years and was fraught with difficulties, they got lost, ran out of supplies  became ill, and on the return journey were saved by aborigines. Unfortunately (!), one of the expedition shot and injured an aborigine who then abandoned them. From that time their fate was sealed and both men died of  exhaustion and thiamin poisoning. Wills was just 27.

Such was the fame of the Burke & Wills expedition that both stamps and coins have been issued commemorating their adventure.


The Full Set sported by Brave Men

We can and should win tonight. I will be looking for some tactical awareness from Mr Wenger’s team. This is an important match. A trip to the South Coast awaits.

Midweek night games in deep mid-winter are the best and I envy those lucky enough to attend. Shout us to Victory.


Big Raddy

Home Kit 2013/4

December 1, 2012

Who would have though Swansea at home would be approached with some trepidation?  Not me and I guess not you either.

Have we cause for concern? Swansea play attacking football and at their own ground can be formidable, as we found out last season (3-2 loss). The bookies make us 4/9 favorites, so they think we will win but Swansea are on a fine run – just one loss in 9 games and they have just beaten WBA, no mean feat.

Cyberspace has been full of irate Gooners wanting “their Arsenal back” over the past week, a protest which will continue today with the BS March. Good luck to them if their protest results in a change of attitude at Board level but I fear the management will turn a deaf ear. Think Leveson Inquiry and David Cameron. There is no profit in change and until there is nothing will happen.


Lord Leveson sporting next season’s home kit

It should be an exciting game this afternoon; two teams committed to attack. A Swansea side with Michu, Routlege, Hernandez and Dyer to test our defence and Theo etc enjoying the open spaces of the Emirates. Swansea are unlikely to parcio ar y bws (I once had a welsh wife). Thankfully Hernandez is injured – he has been in excellent form. Michu has scored 9 already this season. Dyer at 24 has finally grown up and looks dangerous; with the need for a new winger looming AW may be tempted.

Much is made on these shores of Michael Laudrup, he is football royalty. Alongside Schmeichel he is consider the best Danish footballer ever, and it should be recalled that in 2000 Spanish fans voted him the best foreigner ever to play in Spain which is some compliment . He has made a good start at Swansea, but  a brilliant footballer does not always make a brilliant manager (Bobby’s Charlton & Moore, Maradona, Pele, Gazza! etc). Time will tell but Micky has Laudrup as the next AFC manager and from a purely personal viewpoint I would be very happy with that (every AFC game would be shown here).

My Team:

arse v swans

My hope is that we go allout from the kick-off. If we play well for the first 20 and the final 20 we will win. The away tactic of playing Ramsey gives no assistance to Giroud, we need width to exploit his talents. No Ox in this lineup – perhaps AW will start him in place of Wilshere as JW started at Goodison.

I could bore you with stats and tactics and permutations but there are others who do it so much better.

Our unbeaten run has coincided with the stories of derring-do from English Explorer’s. Coincidence? I think not…… Today’s chap is Joseph Dalton Hooker (1817-1911) Dalton was a botanist and explorer. Charles Darwin’s best friend and Director of Kew Gardens. Places he explored are many – Antarctica, the Himalayas, Australia, India, Tibet, Palestine, Morocco, the Western USA, the list is extensive but then he did live a long time. An exceptional man in an era of brave,  remarkable men and a man who enjoyed the full benefits of extensive facial hair!


A Lifelong Commitment to Facial Fuzz

This is a tough game and a severe test of our aspirations, a win will set us up for a Merry Xmas.. Come on Arsenal win it for SlimGingerGooner who today will enjoy his first trip to The Home of Football.


Written by Big Raddy

Holding Out for a Hero. Will Thierry start? Match preview

January 15, 2012

A real 3 pointer today, what with Spurs and Liverpool dropping points at home.

We all know that Swansea are a very difficult side to beat at the Liberty Stadium, in fact only MU have won there this season. The Swans have conceded just 4 goals at home  (compared to AFC’s 6)  and have drawn half their home games (5/10) Spurs gained a very squeaky point a couple of weeks ago and Swansea will go into the game full of confidence.

Beating Swansea at THOF was our first victory of the season, it was back when we were awful , only a first half Arshavin goal securing the points. It is testament to Swansea that we should consider this fixture as “tough” –  who would have thought so when Swansea were promoted? Most AFC pundits would be happy to leave Wales with a point, but if we are to push for an automatic CL place we must have higher ambitions.


Remember how to do this Andrei?

Our lack of full backs has disrupted the team of recent weeks and any manager worth his salt will target our flanks; 26% of Swansea passes go out to the right wing and in Scott Sinclair and Routledge they  have players who can cause us problems, though it could be worse – they could use the left flank 🙂 Dare we go into the game with Miquel and JD as our full backs or would we be better served by playing Squillaci in the centre and moving Koscielny to the left?

Midfield is where today’s game will be won, Song is a hugely important and should he regain his form we will have the platform to win. Apart from the super pass to TH on Monday (still feeling the elation?) Song has not been playing up his very high standards, his passing haas been shaky and he doesn’t seem to know what his exact role is in midfield – is he a link player, a DM or an attacking midfielder? Fluidity amongst ARS is all well and good but sometimes it doesn’t gel.

Henry, Benayoun or Ashavin to replace Gervinho? I would select Arshavin who really tried hard on Monday and bring on TH after 70 mins. Can you remember the last time Meerkat played a full game?

Interesting stats: We have conceded in all bar 2 of our last 17 away games. We have had 9 shots cleared off the line – the highest in the PL. Only 14% of our goals have been scored from set pieces – the lowest in the PL.

My Team:

We have a very strong bench (apart from GK).  Benayoun, The Ox, Henry, Rosicky, Squillaci or Yennaris.

Inventor from Swansea?  Sir William Grove. Not only a High Court Judge but also the inventor of the fuel cell which is still used today in space rockets. Sir William is one of The 100 Welsh Heroes. Of course, Swansea is better known for giving birth to stars of the Arts including, amongst a wealth of others, Dylan Thomas, Anthony Hopkins, Sir Richard Burton and the great Bonnie Tyler.

“Come on you Swans!”

Can the return of Thierry fire up the team? Today will be a test as Swansea are on a fine run of form and we are not. Toothless sans RvP we have to find more goals from midfield. A tingling in my fingers is telling me Ramsey will score today on his return to his homeland.


Written by Big Raddy