Who should start against Leicester – Olivier Giroud or Theo Walcott?

February 11, 2016

It appears that bloggers like nothing better than to express their opinion by voting on an Arsenal related poll. To that end we are introducing a ‘Your Vote Counts’ feature which will give you the opportunity to see if your opinion is in line with the majority. Traditionally polling days are on spursdays, but we may present the option on any quiet football news day.

Today you have the opportunity to cast your vote on:

Who should Arsène choose to lead the line on Sunday?

Oliver Giroud is our top goalscorer this season. He has scored some beautiful goals from difficult chances – remember that super swivel and goal against Liverpool – and missed some absolute sitters. He is good at holding up the ball and bringing others into play which means that we can compete using ‘long ball’ tactics.

Theo Walcott has again had time out with injuries this season and hasn’t quite found his shooting boots. He would like to play as a centre forward but the jury is still out on whether he can. He seems to have lost a bit of acceleration since returning from injury but I still think he would terrify defenders if he gets to run onto the right ball. I don’t think he has the strength or the guile to beat most centre-backs when positioned close to them. But has he had enough chances?

These two were most effective when it seemed they were fighting for their place. When Theo started games and Giroud came off the bench he would add a different dimension to our play. Theo is good running at a tired defense but doesn’t seem to get enough minutes to have an effect.

Who would you choose?

Written by peachesgooner

Get The Cheque Book Out. Now.

January 19, 2016

We desperately need another striker and we need him by January’s end. He doesn’t have to be a Higuain or a Cavani (though either would be dreamy), we just need someone to allow Giroud some time in the sun.

The injury to Welbeck is very bad news as he was signed with this very position in mind. Will he ever recover to become a reliable squad player? Who knows but what I do know is that whilst he is at AFC he distracts Mr Wenger’s focus from buying a CF. Understandably, given the 16 mill and 100k a week..


Theo as CF? Really???  A few fleeting glimpses of his aptitude to playing through the middle is not enough to suggest he is capable of taking us to the title. I would rather see a goal-hanging finisher than the fleet-footed flyer. And the man is at a low point in his playing career at Arsenal, his last few games have been dreadful – my dead Grandma could have done as well.

Sanchez is a possible but his best work for both country and AFC is done cutting in from the wings. He is not a back to goal striker (IMO).

Campbell? There is no evidence he can be a CF. As far as I know he has always played on the flanks.

Iwobi/Sanogo? No.

What happens if Giroud gets injured? I will tell you. We are royally ****ed.

So stop being a spendthrift Mr Wenger. Go out and find us a boy who has the priceless ability to score a goal. There must be someone somewhere who wants to earn a few million a year, living in one of the most exciting cities in the world, playing in a creative team in a magnificent stadium. It can’t be that hard, can it?

written by Big Raddy


Mesut/Theo ….. Mesut/Ollie ….. Mes-merising Arsenal

December 22, 2015

It was clear right from the off that the crowd were fully tinselled up, had taken aboard one or two extra pre-matchers, all swallowed down by a festive Crème de Menthe chaser.

Perfect scene for the final game before Christmas, featuring the Bookies’ two favourites for the title.

A bit of cat and mouse from both sides during the opening gambits, and perhaps the casual observer may have sensed a long evening ahead. Theo changed all that with an absolute cracker.


Two chances, two goals, and Arsenal into the break at 2-0 following a clinical strike from Ollie. Both terrific finishes. Both created by the sublime Mesut Ozil.

ollie 2

Two behind at the 45, and City had no option but to attack throughout the second half, ensuring a pulsating game. City began with three strikers. This didn’t work, so they tried three other strikers, but it was Toure with a magical strike that proved the old adage.
Errr, what is the old adage. Goals win games?

Anyhow, a few fatigued Arsenal players were replaced by fresher ones, and being 2nd XI’ers, we looked shaky, but still managed to see out a memorable victory.

A week or so ago on here, our own LB asked who, with all our injuries, may step up to be the surprising find of the season, in much the same way as we witnessed with young Francis Coquelin last term. The answer is Joel Campbell, who at no point looked out of place last night. What a terrific attitude he has. Well played, Sir.


• Is Theo better playing from the left?
• Are the Team more effective with Aaron or Santi alongside Coquelin/Flamini?
• When, if ever, is Paulista a better option than Per?
• The Fans were superb, and few left before the final bell. Were the trains running later than usual?
• The Title is in our own hands. Does this victory convince you we are now favourites?
• Why can’t it be Christmas every week?


Ramsey’s Day?

December 21, 2015

The build up to this game has been lengthy  – it is 9 days since our last victory. Sky Sports have been building tonight up in their usual manner telling us that it is almost a title decider which is quite frankly nonsense.


What is true in a season when no team has been able to put together a run of wins (apart from Leicester) is that the title is open and beating City will be important. Must Win Game? No. Important game? Definitely. More important than beating Southampton away on Boxing Day? You decide!

The team picks itself apart from a question mark over Sanchez. Should he be played if 90% fit? Will he or Campbell start and be subbed on the hour? I would risk him, he is too valuable and we have been doing well with Campbell in the team.

LB wrote  an interesting post pointing out our different playing style with Sanchez in the team, which can only be a positive as the more variety we can offer the more difficult it is to combat.

The Northern Oilers are proof that an open wallet does not guarantee trophies. They spent €70m on defenders in summer and yet look fragile when the ageing and increasingly injury-prone Kompany is absent. Neither Mangala nor Otamendi have impressed so far.

Unfortunately most of their injured players are returning tonight – Silva, Aguero, Toure are likely to start and when one looks at MC’s team it is quite frankly, frightening, especially as an attacking force; De Bruyne, Aguero, Sterling, Navas, Toure, and Silva are all wonderful players .

But we have wonderful players as well. We have a team which on its day can beat Bayern Munich (and will beat Barcelona). Pellegrini will be worried, especially as MC have lost their last 4 away games.

Given the MC full backs are the ageing Sagna and Kolarov, Theo and Campbell could be in for a fruitful afternoon and it is certainly an area which Mr Wenger will focus upon.

In midfield Ramsey’s energy will be a constant problem for City. Toure is a great player but he can no longer compete with the non-stop running of Ramsey and will be looking to Fernandinho for cover. It is our pace and energy which will concern Pellegrini.

Who would you prefer, Ozil or Silva? Both great players. Ask any City fan who is their favourite player and the answer is invariably David Silva, yet to supporters of other clubs he seems just a very good player and not at the same level as Ozil. Mesut is The Man this season and against a team like City who will use skill as opposed to muscle to combat him, Ozil may well flourish.

Cech is likely to have a busy evening and so (I hope) will Joe Hart because these are two teams committed to attack. It should be a terrific match.


Brothers in Arms

December 13, 2015

After the fantastic victory midweek and the joy which emanated around the Arsenal world a win today would make Xmas shopping just that bit more fun. Unfortunately this Arsenal team is quirky – last time we won 3-0 away (Swansea) we lost the next 1-5! This time I expect the 3-0 to precipitate a long run of success

Fortunately Villa are not yet at the level of Bayern Munich but they are improving under Remi Garde who has taken on a huge challenge; a job which if he takes them down will be money for nothing and let’s face it, Villa are in dire straits.

I like Villa and wish them well but no wins in 14 and 8 games without a home victory bodes ill. However, Gestede, Bacuna and Grealish are due to return from injury and the naughty step so they will be optimistic of a change of fortune.

Villa have some real “take the man as well as the ball” players – the mad Scot Hutton, the mad Dane Okore and the mad Englishman Lescott who will be looking to let Ozil and friends “know they are there”. A windy day, a heavy pitch and a determined team with more sweat than ability could lead to more injuries for our boys.

And what of The Arsenal? I expect the FP to be rested this afternoon and get the last 20 minutes, that said I am sure he will want to continue his scoring run and perhaps Mr Wenger will opt for his strength upfront. IMO we would be better off with the pace of Theo and Campbell against AV’s lumbering defence.

I would like to see The Ox start, so my team would be:


Bellerin     BFG     Koscielny    Monreal

Ramsey     Flamini     Ox


Campbell     Walcott

This season has seen some bizarre results with unexpected losses by the top teams – let’s all congratulate Bournemouth – so Arsenal have to beware of over-confidence.

Our last match against AV was one of the best performances I have ever seen by an Arsenal team. Enjoy.

If we win we go ToTL and we will – if we play as a team and work in harmony, like brothers in arms

Let it be so …..


The Dynamic Duo: Giroud & Walcott to Start.

December 9, 2015

In the words of one of Highgate’s finest” Tonights, the Night, It’s gonna be Alright” or will it be “I don’t wanna talk about it, How you broke my Heart”?

Either way  “You’re in my Heart you’re in my Soul, You’ll be my breath should I get Old”


In the Home Kit

We are sure to be in for an exciting couple of hours tonight and there will be little room behind LB’s sofa, get there early 🙂

The doubts and fears about tonight are known to all – the history of our visits to Olympiakos,, the injuries, the stupidity of the home leg, the amazing home form of the Greeks, our inability to keep a clean sheet  etc etc but instead of writing about all those negative vibes I prefer concentrate upon why we will win. Why so? Because negativity attracts negativity and it follows that a positive post will augur a positive result.

Firstly, I think Arsene will start with both the FP and Theo with Campbell sitting on the bench. We need to score and they are our best bet. Giroud may be a marmite player but he can and does score goals; Theo owes us and is a Big Game player.

Olympiakos will play the counter-attack so we need to have pace and common-sense from a defensive point of view – so we start with the regular back 5 and tell Flamini only to venture forward when he is certain an FB is covering him. Kos and BFG only go forward for set plays.

We come into the game having shown we can score goals aplenty.

We have the best attacking midfielder in world football.

Ramsey has broken his duck and historically he scores in runs of games.

We have The Ox. None other than Mr Roy Hodgson spoke recently about how he thought Young Alex was a major find and has a golden future. I believe him. Ox needs a run of games to get back to the levels we know he is capable of. Expect a towering performance tonight.

Arsenal have been in this situation before – many times we have failed heroically but this being an Auspicious day Arsenal can and will overcome. This is why it is auspicious:

25 years ago today Lech Walesa was elected President of Poland

Dec 9 1949. Arsenal played their first ever Cup Game against Spurs. We won 3-0

There is other stuff but you would get bored!!

However there is one reason which stands out above all others …….

We will win because We are The Arsenal



Who is more likely to succeed: Oxlaide-Chamberlain or Joel Campbell?

November 2, 2015

A political hierarchy exists at Arsenal as it does at most clubs. Players with a greater potential long term value will get priority over those who may be as good but are not seen as being as big an asset in the future.

This has driven me to distraction on occasions. Many times I have thought that Walcott got picked over someone better suited, most infuriatingly during 2007/2008 season, the one in which Eduardo broke his leg. Theo was being selected for no other reason, as far as I am concerned, than the price we paid for him and his perceived future value to the club. Remember when everyone used to call out Theeeeoooo, Theeeeoooo, honestly, more often than not he was so ineffectual it was like playing with ten men. I remain convinced that Walcott’s continuous selection was the core reason we failed to win the league that season.

Being selected when better options are available also applies to Wilshere. At the beginning of last season Wilshere was being picked ahead of the outstanding Cazorla which made no sense to me. Looking ahead though, now that Santi has moved further back it is easier to see where Jack’s future lies, subject to injury, there will eventually be a straight swap. Wilshere will play deep midfield — not attacking midfield.

I digress, back to the point.

To a similar degree the same is true of Oxlaide-Chamberlain’s selection over Joel Campbell. The Ox is not obviously better but he has a far higher sell on value than Campbell does and so, in the past, has been chosen ahead of him; to be clear, I am not suggesting that the club have plans to sell OC but they wouldn’t want him to get too unhappy or he might start thinking about moving himself, this applies to an even greater extent with Ramsey who himself has been shoe horned into the right wing. Now, with Oxlaide-Chamberlain injured Wenger no longer has to inadvertently take future importance into consideration.

If you think about it, the last time we saw Campbell surrounded by decent players for a length of time was in the World Cup and he was impressive. Campbell’s goal against Swansea will do him the world of good; he should now be able to relax and give us a bit more of what we saw of him on that global platform.

As for who is most likely to succeed out of the two, I think the Ox may edge it, but Campbell could keep him out for most of this season if he continues scoring.


Take a bow, Arsène.

October 19, 2015

This is how we remember you and the style of football you like your teams to play. Fast, incisive counter-attack football with technical wizardry. We had it, then lost it for a few years, now, joy of joys we’ve found it again and we’re flying!

Leicester (a), Manchester Utd (h), Watford (a), our last three PL fixtures. On paper, all tricky fixtures, and yet Arsenal smashed them all by a three-goal margin.

Watford have been awkward customers in years gone by, and have been known to cause the odd upset, I’m sure many of us remember the scourge of Mo Johnston.

They’ve started their latest journey into the shark-infested waters of the PL steadily without looking spectacular, but have been defensively very solid, conceding the same amount as Arsenal, before kick-off. They certainly look to have enough about them to avoid relegation.

The first half was quite nervy, Watford showed no intimidation and took the game to Arsenal. Indeed Ighalo could and probably should have scored with the home side’s best chance of the game, but once the early storm had been blown out, by the end of the first half, Arsenal were looking far more settled.

Arsenal stepped up a gear about 15 minutes into the second half with the first goal coming just after the hour, another exquisite effort from our very own red-hot Chile, Alexis Sanchez. Just six minutes later, Olivier Giroud, fresh from replacing Theo, added a second, which was nice after all his recent woes. A comprehensive win was rounded off by the hard-working Aaron Ramsey, one of our unsung heroes.

There’s definitely something about Arsène and Arsenal this year. A quiet momentum is growing. Okay, it was only newly-promoted Watford, but they’ve been a bogey side for Arsenal, and the way they dispatched them was professional and ruthless.

There is a buzz of excitement around the club again, almost like Arsène was transported back in time to reclaim something he’d forgotten to bring with him. And now he’s found it again he’s reminding all his doubters, the whole football world, and those loyal fans who never lost faith, exactly what he’s capable of when he has the right ingredients. It feels wonderful to be an Arsenal fan right now, then fires have been stoked again. But is still very much OGAAT – excluding CL, naturally.

What would make a PL title even sweeter is (if he’s still around), it will finally silence the despicable egotistical Mourinho and leave him nowhere to run. For all Arsène’s flaws, I’d pick him over Mourinho every time. No-one deserves a PL title more than Arsene, his has been the longest often darkest journey, for which he has shown remarkable fortitude.

At this moment in time, I believe.

Here are my player ratings: –

Petr Cech is the consummate professional, and is as influential to Arsenal as Peter Schmeichel and Edwin van der Sar were for Utd. The importance of his signing cannot be under-stated, he is a level up from both David Seaman and Jens Lehmann, and it surely is no coincidence that since his arrival, the whole Arsenal collective have upped their game. He exudes calm and class and might not wear the captain’s armband on the field, but what he has achieved in the game, his desire to repeat that success and the fact that he wanted to come to Arsenal has resonated round the club like a virtual clarion call. 9

Hector Bellerin is immense. Already faster than Theo, he terrorises opposition defenders, and defensively he’s improving all the time. Clearly a boy with the football world at his feet, but better yet, he is loving being at Arsenal. 7

Nacho Monreal just gets it done. No fuss or nonsense, he has nailed down the left back spot and puts in a consistent quality performance most weeks. 8

Per Mertesacker is one who has benefited from Cech’s arrival and knows he has competition for his place from the impressive Gabriel. 7

Laurent Koscielny has had and will have better games, but he helped keep a clean sheet and is coming back from injury so can be forgiven for being a little off pace. 7

Francis Coquelin must be one of the best discoveries of the last five years. Has confidently stepped in to make him undroppable. Doing a fantastic job. 8

Santi Cazorla is loving his deeper role and relishing the added responsibility playing alongside Coquelin. 8

Aaron Ramsey is tireless, has a terrific appetite and work ethic. Finally got rewarded for his industry yesterday with his goal. 8

Mesut Ozil is like a new signing! Having been originally thrown in to the PL at the deep end from the relatively sunny and comfortable La Liga, he struggled with the work-load. The introduction of Sanchez and dropping Cazorla deeper has allowed Ozil to flourish, and he’s enjoying his best spell since signing. 8

Alexis Sanchez is incredible. He only arrived back from International duty on Friday, twenty four hours later he’s leading the charge against Watford! He inspires everyone around him to be better, he has quality in abundance. 9

Theo Walcott was left a bit frustrated largely because of some resolute defending and the Goalkeeper Gomes. But he still made a contribution and his season won’t be defined by games like this. 7

Written by Herb’s Army

We won 3 nil, but it was not as good as we think ……

October 18, 2015

It’s a funny old game, football, ain’t it? as someone famous once said. And that is not the half of it.

During the first part of the game against the Hornets, Arsenal played like a light bulb that is undecided if its day is done, or not, and flickers indecisively between light and shade.

One minute the Gunners were brilliant, and the next they were as gormless as any Sunday League team down the Marshes before the traditional booze up, and, frankly, with a better forward Watford could have been one or two goals up in the first half, and as it was, the feller sitting in Row Z had stinging hands parrying the ball as he became the target for the ball rather than the net.

The second half saw a better attitude and after our indomitable Chilean had made the most of his opportunity and opened the scoring we suddenly found ourselves 0 : 3 up and coasting as Giro, on for an ineffective Theo, nonchalantly tried to put the ball over the bar and fluffed it by hitting it inside the roof of the net instead, and the industrious Rambo managing to dink the ball slowly into the net through a ruck of players.

What is it with this team? Capable of the most sublime football and the most awful dross all within the same minute.

That said, they collectively played pretty well and special mention is due to Bellerin, Cazorla and Ozil but the real star of the show was Sanchez. When we are hitting our noses on an invisible screen in front of the goal, he is always alert, energetic and capable of pulling the plum from the pudding.

Fo me the player who personifies the Arsenal at the moment is Rambo. He frustrates the hell out of me with his poor decision making, misplaced passes and wonky finishing. And yet his sheer guts, never say die spirit and his ability to cover every blade of grass on the pitch and yet somehow he still manages to be in position in the area to score a killer goal while Theo is busy posing or Giro is handsomely scratching his ass.

Football is a results driven business and all fans love a win, but some of us also love the beautiful game, like the one against Manyoo, and this bunch of players is capable of delivering both, but they are also capable of self inflicted, fart-assed, puke inducing, brainless stupidity which seems to occur for no discernible reason.

Fortunately the good outweighed the bad yesterday, and all teams have off periods during a season, while Arsenal are capable of off moments every week, but I think we are going to eliminate these moments with wins like this – and I am now prepared to call it — we will win the Premier League this season.

Red Arse

We’ve had some debate as to who should be awarded Man of the Match for the game with several candidates being put forward. Place your vote below and let’s see what the majority think …….




Theo to Sting the Hornets

October 17, 2015

Just a Quickie as BR is on holiday …….

Long internal enlivened by some fine performances by our chaps. Highlight has to be Ramsey who was superb for Wales – though Alexis’ 3 goals is quite tasty!

Watford: It is many years since I trudged from Watford main train station to the Vicarage Road – so long that all I can remember is that it was a sunny afternoon and we won. Let’s be honest, Watford, for all their Premiership credentials, are a small club. They have done brilliantly to get to 12th in the PL and I predict they will stay up but even getting a point today will be above the Watford fans expectations.


I was listening to a Watford fan (are they Hornets?) and his main positive about this afternoon was that Alexis will be on the bench following his transatlantic flights. Are we capable of winning sans-Alexis? We shall find out.

Assuming Mr Wenger gives Alexis a rest have we enough to win the game and who will play out on the left? Will the Ox get a start on the right with Ramsey coming infield and Ozil going left? Will Arteta start allowing Santi to play the Alexis role?  Perhaps Giroud will start and Theo go centre left. Loads of permutations which bodes well for the season.

Luckily the French team have not woken up to the fact that Coquelin is the best DM in Europe – long may that continue.

Theo is in the best scoring run of his career and I see no reason why it should stop today.

My hope is that the feelgood factor following the MU thrashing has imbued the squad with enough positivity to see us win the PL title , the Champions League, the FA Cup (has there ever been a triple winner?), the Ryder Cup and the Islington bi-election. However, two weeks in football is a long time and beating Watford will do for a starter.

Scoring has been  problem for Watford – they are the lowest scorers in the PL but they have the best defence! So on paper this will be a low scoring game.

If we keep a clean sheet we will win.


Written by Big Raddy