Did Arsenal bid for Barton?

January 22, 2017

Seems ages since we last played. Imagine how it is for teams that don’t have European football like Chelsea and Liverpool.

But … does this really give them an advantage.? Well, it is said, justifiably, that the table does not lie.


We have two home games ahead of the Chavs away, Burnley and Watford. You would think an automatic 6 points but it never is, is it? We know what to expect – 10 men behind the ball, an aggressive (read violent) midfield, and our boys reduced to ticky-tacky.

I quite understand why Burnley will play this way, their away form is terrible with just 3 goals scored in 9 games and but one point. Why would they take the risk of attacking us and getting hammered?

Yet Burnley sit 10th in the PL. One hell of an achievement considering the size  of Burnley which has a population roughly equivalent to todays attendance at The Emirates.

Thinking of Burnley’s midfield …  Joey Barton.  Here is a fine example of the genetic aberrations which result from Northern family inbreeding. Can you recall Gervinho’s first game for us in which he received a red card after being attacked by Barton? I loved AW’s rebuttal of Barton’s claims that we tried to sign him – hilarious. What a preposterous idea that just because Barton wanted to join AFC that Mr. Wenger would let him!!

My Team:


Bellerin    Mustafi    Koscielny    Monreal

Ramsey    Xhaka     Iwobi

Ozil     Giroud   Sanchez.

We will need some height and strength upfront because Burnley are sure to sit deep.


A few long-distance shots today, please. And an early goal would be delightful. As would a first half with all 11 players awake (unlike our last few games).

We have to win this one, I think we will

Let it be So.



Bring back Highbury ……

December 11, 2015

It’s been a good week for Gooners………. great result in Greece, through to the knock out stage, literally!

But I’ve been thinking recently about the old Highbury stadium, all the times I was there, through the good and the bad, and for me Highbury will always signify the Arsenal, the greatest team in London and even greater in North London.


It got me wondering as to why the new stadium wasn’t given the same name…. why not New Highbury Emirates Stadium…. or the Emirates Highbury Stadium… or just New Highbury Stadium? Ok I know it was all to do with money and sponsorship, but a little bit of nostalgia wouldn’t have been too hard, would it?

I still say Highbury when talking of home games…. it’s been extremely difficult to say the Emirates…. I wonder if in the future they could re-think the name…. would that be possible, other stadiums have done it, haven’t they?

So my rant is bring back the great name of Highbury Stadium…. I miss it and I’m sure many others do too…..



How much of a fortress is The Home of Football?

February 11, 2014


Well past the middle of a fantastic season, injuries, referees, lack of new toys, journos and incessant spray of vitriol notwithstanding, we are where we are. One point off the Top of the League, fighting on in the FA Cup and the Champions League, it is fair to say that we will not swap our place with any other club in the world. We are well into Rocky’s Death Cluster 1, where everyone other than diehard Arsenal fans expect our demise, more in envy and hope than in expectation. On the road recently, we met a strong Southampton side and the scintillating Scousers. Truth be said, it was not pretty, but we have survived.

But substantial challenges remain. Now we have a series of tough games at home The Home of Football. First, Manchester United visit on Wednesday 12 February for a crucial Premier League clash. It seems Boris ‘taking chum up the Arsenal’ Johnson and Millwall-supporter Bob Crow have cleverly constructed a situation where the Emirates will be populated mainly by the Gooners, with only a handful of goons from the shady North West managing to travel to London to support the (Old) Toilet cleaners. Thank you both. Next, Liverpool step into the lion’s den on Sunday 16 February, fresh from their Arsenal bashing big grins, for a sombre FA Cup tie. Bayern Munich, the Champions of Europe arrive for a key Champions League encounter on Wednesday 19 February. The visit by Sunderland on Saturday 22 February completes a gruelling 4-games-in-11-days killer series at home in the Emirates.

Tough times indeed. But, when the going gets tough, the tough gets going. So, perhaps a natural question to ask is: what chances do we stand at home? Or, how much of a fortress is The Home of Football? A priori, it does not look bad at all. First, there is the familiarity with the ground. At least, there is the seemingly zero likelihood of reaching the game late. Please don’t laugh, such things do happen, as we all know very well. Second, there is the opportunity to match the opposition in terms of players on the pitch. Surely, the vocal home support singing “1-0 to the Arsenal” and North Bank will match up against whatever stupidity the numpty officials can furnish by way of entertainment.


Third, and most importantly, the home record of late has been superb. It is perhaps fair to say that, probably for the first time this season the new team seems to be comfortable in their newish home. In fact, the record at home this season looks formidable. Here is a list of home games this season, excluding the Mickey Mouse Cup game against Chelsea.

Arsenal 2-0 Crystal Palace Sun 2 Feb

Arsenal 4-0 Coventry Fri 24 Jan

Arsenal 2-0 Fulham Sat 18 Jan

Arsenal 2-0 Tottenham Sat 4 Jan

Arsenal 2-0 Cardiff Wed 1 Jan

Arsenal 0-0 Chelsea Mon 23 Dec

Arsenal 1-1 Everton Sun 8 Dec

Arsenal 2-0 Hull Wed 4 Dec

Arsenal 2-0 Marseille Tue 26 Nov

Arsenal 2-0 Southampton Sat 23 Nov

Arsenal 2-0 Liverpool Sat 2 Nov

Arsenal 1-2 Borussia Dortmund Tue 22 Oct

Arsenal 4-1 Norwich Sat 19 Oct

Arsenal 2-0 Napoli Tue 1 Oct

Arsenal 3-1 Stoke Sun 22 Sep

Arsenal 1-0 Tottenham Sun 1 Sep

Arsenal 2-0 Fenerbahce Tue 27 Aug

Arsenal 1-3 Aston Villa Sat 17 Aug

14 wins out of 18. There were 2 draws, against Chelsea and Everton. And there were 2 losses as well, against Dortmund in the Champions League and an opening day blooper against Villa. Only 8 goals conceded at home, and this includes the 3 shocking goals conceded on the opening day. No goals were conceded in the 6 games since the Deulofeu goal at the death against Everton on December 6. 4 points were dropped against Chelsea and Everton, both strong teams, and these were in a run of poor results in December. That, and the opening day Villa game apart, quite formidable.

Let us briefly revisit what happened against Chelsea and Everton. Against Everton, Ozil gave us a late lead, which was cancelled by a Deulofeu wonder strike 6 minutes from the end. A fantastic effort from Giroud in injury-time could have sealed the points, but the bar came in the way. Post-match, Arsene said: “We didn’t take our chances very well and the other regret is that we gave the lead away with seven minutes to go. But credit to them, they always looked dangerous. In the end, we are disappointed to get caught but it’s still a point.”

Whereas Everton played a good open game, Chelsea just parked the bus. Aided by poor decisions from Mike Dean, a dreadful stalemate ensued, with the fans singing “Boring boring Chelsea”. Clear penalties and red cards were not shown. Later, Maureen complained against ‘foreign cry babies’. Wenger said Arsenal deserved to score but “couldn’t”, and that a foul on Theo should have seen a penalty given. Any way, that is life.

So, what do we learn about our likely performance at home in the next few games. First, we will defend well. Second, the quality of officiating may be poor. Mark Clattenburg is the referee against Manchester United. However, whatever happens, we can rely on the home fans to provide vocal support to the good guys. Third, we need to take our chances. But overall, surely the signs are good for the upcoming home fixtures.

Indeed, our home record is fantastic, and it looks even better when compared against our main title rivals Chelsea and Manchester City. Chelsea drew at home to West Ham on 29 January and to West Brom on 9 November. It would therefore seem likely that Chelsea may drop further points at home to the smaller clubs. Manchester City have been formidable at home. But they lost to Chelsea on 3 February and to Bayern Munich on 2 October.

Bottomline: So far so good. But long way to go, plenty to fight for. Big effort is required, and the good guys will provide this with big heart. Onwards and Upwards! 😀 😀 😀

“The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.”

Written by arnie

The Emirates is to blame for moaning ‘Fans’

May 2, 2013

I think the root of the problem with ‘Underminers’ as described in a recent post by Rocky, lies with the stadium. This is a purely personal view but here goes.

When I started going to football I stood, whether on the North Bank or the Kids enclosure or the CE. I became educated into the Arsenal way by fans who had a lifetime of seeing us as a mid-table side. Then came success and with it bigger average attendance but in the later 70′s and the ’80′s it was possible to put out both arms and not touch anyone. Arsenal and football had become unpopular.

But following the Gazza tears at WC ’90 football became once again the peoples game but now the demographic was different; more middle class, more sanitised. Out went the passion and the fervour and in it’s place came the intellectualisation of football. If you don’t believe me just imagine how AW would have fared in the time of managers such as Shankly or Alf Ramsey or Clough – these men were real working class heroes. 5 languages? They could hardly speak one.

So, we started to become successful and fill the ground and with that came better players. Better players cost more but they attract more fans, and in the process Highbury became too small. Prices started to rise and with it expectation.

At first we were able to cope by having tens of thousands on the season ticket waiting list but which economist would not see the opportunities?

Suddenly we had an additional fanbase that was richer than the working class lads who stood on the North Bank, they were quieter but much better behaved and the Highbury Roar became The Highbury Library.

We became all-seater and built the new wonderful but not so homely North Bank. Now the fans could get into the ground far more easily, they didn’t have to queue whilst the anticipation increased the tension. They didn’t arrive 2 hours before the game and get “in the mood”. It was different.

And that different fanbase and atmosphere changed The Arsenal; we became a business. It was a business decision to move to the Emirates. The Directors may well have told us that the future of the club as being competitive internationally was at stake, but the real truth was their concerns were profit. We moved and in my opinion it ripped the heart out of the club. It will take years to make The Emirates our home, it has started and will continue but at what cost?

A shiny new ground needs to be filled and as long as football remains the drug of the masses Arsenal will play to a packed houses but the football experience has changed.

The new fans arrive in their seats 2 minutes before kick-off, they leave 10 minutes before the final whistle – why? It didn’t happen at Highbury, so I cannot see the logic in saying “we have to get a train/ bus/ tube etc etc”. Going to Arsenal should be the highlight of the week, not getting home faster!

It seems to me that those who grew up in the Wenger years expect so much and if those expectations are not realised then they will gripe. I don’t blame them, they haven’t been properly educated because when Arsenal became a Business we ceased to be fans and became customers. And if a customer has paid for something then he has the right to complain if he doesn’t get what he expects.

The Emirates (just the name says all you need to know) has in my opinion irrevocably changed The Arsenal. Sure, different times require different solutions and the new wealthier fan would not put up with the state of Highbury, why should they?

A state of the art stadium attracts state of the art new fans, and those fans will not accept anything but a 5 star performance. Hence they gripe.

As has been said some fans are not supporters.

Written by Big Raddy

Was Arsenal leaving Highbury a mistake?

July 29, 2012

In the 1940’s many of us Avenell Road boys used to play football using the Avenell Road gate into Highbury as a goal.

We played with rag footballs (made by my Mum) and each of us took on the name of one of our heroes (I was Jimmy Logie), it was a great time in my life, we were so very poor monetarily but so very rich in friends, family and of course – football.

Due to a job change my family had to move from Avenell Road to Oldershaw Road, N7 (long since been demolished) and I was so distraught that I threatened to leave home and stay with my Granddad in Stavordale Road, N5, but I had second thoughts when my Dad agreed.

Being an Avenell Road boy my heart will always belong on the street where I was born, I estimate that I attended close to 1,000 games at Highbury (including reserve games) so it’s no wonder that I was upset, but understanding of our reasons, when the club decided to move to Ashburton Grove.

I always believed that our familiarity with the snugness of Highbury worked in our favour and by the same token it created big tactical issues for our opposition – this caused me to think that the sheer size of the Ashburton Grove pitch would not be suitable to the style of football that we were accustomed to playing. However looking back over our record in the first twenty seasons of the EPL some very surprising facts emerge – the Emirates has proven to be a more solid fortress than our fabled home at Highbury.

These are the statistics for home games at The Emirates vs Highbury:

We score more goals per game 2.03 vs 1.97

We have fewer goals per game scored against .79 vs .83

We have won a higher % of games 65.79% vs 62.50%

We have lost a lower % of games 11.40% vs 13.24%

We have tied fewer games 22.81% vs 24.26%

We have more points per game 2.20 vs 2.12

We have a higher % of points won 73.40% vs 70.6%

Here are the statistics for our away games, while we have been at The Emirates:

We score more goals per game 1.78 vs 1.38

We have more goals per game scored against 1.28 vs .94

We have won a higher % of games 44.74% vs 43.75%

We have lost a lower % of games 28.07% vs 29.41%

We have tied more games 27.19% vs 26.84%

We have more points per game 1.62 vs 1.61

We have a higher % of points won 54.10% vs 53.6%

The move to the Emirates has proven to be the right decision in almost every aspect with the notable exception of goals scored against in away games and the recent lack of silverware. Looking at the data I can only conclude that while we showed improvement we did not improve at a rate high enough to be consistently ahead of our opposition.

Was leaving Highbury a mistake?

Not in GunnerN5’s opinion.

Arsenal – testing your loyalty

April 7, 2012

I’m hoping the long gap between games isn’t causing the players to lose focus as badly as it has me – although it is a concern after our last performance!

This is just a bit of interactive fun to fill the time before we take on city tomorrow.

One object of the exercise is to test whether your loyalty to Arsenal might just possibly cloud your judgement in matters concerning by far the greatest team the world has ever seen……..

Try to answer the following questions honestly. It may be that your choices would be the same either way – but I doubt it.

So are you a dyed in the wool Arsenal supporter (in which case you lied in some answers) or are you one of the new breed of fan who prefers to stay seated, doesn’t sing and thinks the ref is a jolly good chap 😕

Feel free to debate the questions and your choices in Comments, or maybe you can suggest similar questions that could have had you battling with your Arsenal conscience.

Written by Rasp

Arsenal …. you’ve forgotten haven’t you…

December 17, 2010

Written by Rasp

It’s easy to forget that Arsenal is more than just a football club, particularly when we have recently suffered disappointment on the pitch. Arsenal is part of the community and affects people’s lives worldwide. Peaches and I were  reminded of this last night when attending the book launch of Arsenal ‘Til I Die at the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal Arsenal had submitted a selection of some of the many great posts on the site over the last year for inclusion in the book and we are proud that articles by Big Raddy and Irishgunner made it to the final print – luckily for us, neither author could make the occassion so we reluctantly had to deputise for them…. The book is a complilation of personal stories relating to Arsenal written by diehard supporters. It has been produced in collaboration with Arsenal in the Community and the National Literary Trust and proceeds from the book sales will go to charities supported by Arsenal.

Back to the football…….

Ok, so Lady Luck was not on our side against the mancs, but considering we’ve lost 5 games before Christmas and we’ve still got as much of a chance of winning the title as anyone else, I’d say she’s been pretty to kind to us so far.

There are three reasons why I can be cheerful (maybe even optimistic) when I look ahead to the second half of the season. For the first time in several years, we may have the makings of a strong spine to the team – and hopefully a team who play with some backbone. The emergence of Djourou as a top class defender and Chamakh’s role as a target man who brings out attackng midfielders into play are huge plusses, but  I believe that our success could rest on these key factors.

  1. Szczesny. The goalkeeper is the foundation of the defence. The young pole put in an excellent performance on Monday despite being tested early on by his own defenders who put him under pressure with under-hit back passes. He is 6ft 5in, brash with confidence, good in the air and a great shop stopper. He is Arsenal’s number one with the potential to be better than Seaman.
  2. Vermaelen. Hopefully he will be back in the New Year. We’ve really missed this guy. Apart from his obvious ability, he marshals the defence. He’s a leader at the back, someone who instils and inspires confidence in those around him. We need a commanding presence to make the defence solid. TV is National captain and was captain of Ajax – he is our man.
  3. Fàbregas. We saw how shockingly poor (by his own standards)  our captain’s passing was when he came on at OT. He’s not fit and should be rested until he is 100% because a fully fit Fàbregas makes Arsenal the best it can be. So I hope that Arsène sees sense and Cesc is not even on the bench against Stoke. I’d be quite happy to send him back to Spain for a week or two to recharge his batteries. If we can get our captain back to the full fitness for the New Year, we can launch a serious bid for the title.

Other reasons to be cheerful …….

The boost of winning the CC. The final will be played on Sunday 27th February. Barring a spectacular lapse into over-confidence we should be able to get past Ipswich over two legs and secure our place in the final. If/when we reach the final, the desire to silence the critics and bring our much publicised trophyless run to an end will surely see us climb the Wembley steps to collect the silverware.
The fixture list. We’ve already played most of the difficult away fixtures except totnum and that is a score we will need no motivation to settle. The second half of the season just looks as though it’s opening up for us to go on an unbeaten run. We have consecutive home games against pool and the mancs on the 16th and 30th of April and if we can be top after that, we have only Stoke, Villa and Fulham to complete the season.
Nasri’s on fire – but we’ve made it to 2nd in the table with the majority of our players not on top form (although Sagna is back to his best) and we can only expect them to improve – we will not fall at the final hurdle this time.

Ken Friar spoke from the heart last night as he explained that the Board were as fervent supporters as any of us in that room. They care passionately about the club and take nothing out. The tour of the Emirates is awe insiring. The lay-out, styling, facilities, attention to detail …. everything about our stadium is incredible. Sometimes we need reminding that we have achieved a miraculous transformation under Arsène Wenger of which we should all be proud.

Delight in the Emirates Cup

July 31, 2010

I visited the Emirates this week. Something in my DNA drew me to the stadium. I just had to get off the train at Drayton Park and walk the familiar streets to the ground just to be there. The massive concourse around the stadium was eerily empty and silent, but today it will be alive again, heaving with the throng of 60,000 excited football supporters.

The Emirates Cup is an opportunity for many Gooners, young and old who don’t have season tickets, to get inside the ground and experience the atmosphere. Countless numbers of photographs will be taken with the pitch as a backdrop, or framed against the huge Arsenal crests that adorn the outside of the stadium.

I am fortunate, I get to go to every game, but I really enjoy the fact that there will be so many enthralled children in the crowd over these two days – it is a brilliant means of recruiting the next generation of gooners.  I know the cynics will say its just a money making exercise, but for those children and adults dressed in their kit with their name or the name of their hero on their back, it is a really special occassion.

For us ‘regulars’, there is the comforting feeling of knowing you’re home again when you take to your seat for the first time after so many weeks away. Though we won’t be surrounded by the familiar faces to which you’ve become accustomed in Premiership games, all these people have come to cheer on the team that wear the Red and White of Arsenal. Additionally,  although the tournament means nothing, it will be reassuring to witness our boys wearing the great new home kit which echoes the style of our glorious past.

Unfortunately, because of the World Cup, we’ll still be missing several players so I’m not even going to guess how the team will line up. Will any questions be answered about who is going  to have the no1 shirt or who will partner Thomas Vermaelen at the back? – I doubt it.

These issues have been foremost in our minds all summer and it looks like we’ve still got some way to go before we discover the answers. I’m seething at the thought that we may have let Sol Campbell go for the sake of a few thousand pounds a week and that Silvestre could yet end up wearing an Arsenal shirt for another season if we fail to find the 4th centre back Arsène has said we need.

Last year Rasp and I laughed at how Eboué grabbed the trophy and paraded it around the pitch as if he’d won the World Cup. The rest of the team looked on slightly sheepishly,  realising that this trophy would mean zilch if it wasn’t followed by a couple of others in the  season to come.

So here we all stand again looking forward to the season ahead. The Emirates Cup in our trophy cabinet is not enough Arsène but you don’t need me to tell you that. If you’re going to the Arsenal this weekend, enjoy it, it’ll be the last stress free game until this time next year.

Come on you Reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeds