Tag Archives: Gunners

West Brom Vs Arsenal Match Preview

Our 3-2 midweek win over Crystal Palace was only our third away win of our Premier League campaign. Now we have another away game hot on the heels of this victory, as we go to The Hawthorns to take on West Bromwich Albion.

Our recent record at the Baggies is a poor one. We’ve lost the last two visits there, and we’re sure to find the same tactics this time around, despite the change in manager. Alan Pardew doesn’t normally rely on constricting formations to get results, but he is also aware of how to frustrate Arsenal, so we can expect two rigid banks of four standing in front of our attack for the majority.

In terms of our attack, with Olivier Giroud out until at least January, Alexandre Lacazette will most likely lead the line again. Perhaps though, rotation may come into play with another midweek game on the horizon in the shape of a crunch match against Chelsea. If that is the case, then Danny Welbeck may get the nod to play against the baggies and former teammate, Kieran Gibbs.

Midfield shouldn’t see too many changes, but again with the Chelsea game looming, Francis Coquelin and Mohamed Elneny could relieve either Jack Wilshere or Granit Xhaka so they remain fresh for the blues game.

In defence, we’ll again be missing Nacho Monreal. We have a few choices to fill the gap, and Calum Chambers did his chances no harm with his performance in the win over Crystal Palace. He may have been caught out a couple of times by the trickery of Wilfried Zaha, but on the whole he performed well facing the threat.

Alan Pardew has been experimenting in recent games with his attack and has played two up top on occasion, with Jay Rodriguez and Salomon Rondon starting together. This game will see them play on the counter and rely on set plays to trouble us. After all, why mess with a winning formula? That would most likely mean that Rondon will get the nod. Matt Phillips gives them pace on the break, and they will employ either Claudio Yacob, Grzegorz Krychowiak or a combination of both to sit in front of the backline. Craig Dawson has also recently returned to give them an added threat in the air.

Chelsea and Liverpool both won yesterday, keeping the gap between us and them a healthy one. We need to stay primed for when they do stumble, and the only way to do that is to keep winning. The win over Palace midweek was deserved, despite the close scoreline. If we’re honest though, if we failed to pick up maximum points from Crystal Palace and West Brom, do we really deserve a higher spot in the league?

We need to show we are worthy of a top four spot. Just because it was ours for so long, doesn’t mean we automatically qualify for it or we deserve it. The league level has definitely risen this season, and we need to show we have improved with it.

We do have the return to form of Alexis to help us, although how long this particular service is available to us is unknown. I think we should sell him if an offer comes in, but only if a player of the ilk of Riyad Mahrez or Julian Draxler were to come in to fill the gap left by the departing Chilean. We need to use Alexis while we have him, so he should be playing all the games we have in the league. Let’s put him in the shop window, if he can win us some games in the meantime, then fantastic.

West Brom will be a tough cookie, and the result will most likely come down to one goal. We need to stay patient and keep playing the game we normally do. Spread the play, pass fast and our form players will do the rest.

Let’s pick up the points and then we can move onto the Chelsea game. If we lose this game, then the match against Conte’s Blues won’t matter so much anyway. We need to win them all.

Predicted Lineup – Cech, Mustafi, Koscielny, Chambers, Bellerin, Kolasinac, Coquelin, Wilshere, Iwobi, Ozil, Alexis, Welbeck.

Predicted scoreline – 2-1 to The Arsenal

My Gooner Storybook

Hi guys and gals. 

Some of you reading this have been reading my dribblings for years now, for some, this is your first.

Either way, I’m eternally grateful that you’ve chosen my site. You will probably know that my site occasionally features some eclectic content. It does say so at the top of the site, to be fair!

Well, I’ve been writing these strange short-stories for years. They don’t normally get many readers, but I think they are important. Let’s face it, there are a myriad of choices if you need a match preview or you want to catch up on the latest team news. 

If you want to imagine your favourite players in a murder mystery though? Where do you go for that?

Content and writing needs to be different. It needs to stray from the lines every now and then. 

So, I collected them all and crammed them all in a cheap e-book. It is perfect for those who want a good read on the toilet, you can read one short story per sitting!

In all seriousness though, I hope you’ll take a look at it. It will at the very least, rid you of boredom for a while. It has plenty of tales in the book and will keep you busy for a wee while. 
Let me know what you think and as always, thank you for reading and sharing! 

The Junior Gunners Membership Warning

Posted originally on Goonersphere.

Young Freddie was six, and had one wish for his seventh birthday.

His dad had named him after a famous footballer, but Freddie had so far resisted all attempts to start following football. He was too busy playing with his friends and all that came with being a kid. Football was something some of his friends did, but it hadn’t grabbed him.

Until now.

Watching his dad, his hero, watching Arsenal on TV, had drawn him in, and he sat down to watch what the fuss was about, and that was it. He was hooked.

That was five months ago and since then, it was all about Arsenal. For his birthday, he wanted nothing more than to become a fully-fledged Junior Gunner. He wanted to be a part of the club and carry around his membership card to show his mates. 

On the morning of his birthday, he had excitedly ripped open all of his presents, but the last one, inconspicuous in its size, held his wish inside.

After he had frantically ripped the Arsenal wrapping paper, the membership box came into his view. Emblazoned on the front was an assembly of the current players, sprinkled with a few past greats that he had yet to become aware of. His dad would amend that soon enough. 

First things first though, he wanted to open the box. He wanted to see his name on the membership card. He wanted a Gunnersaurus to be his bedtime companion. Freddie opened the box and sitting on the top of the contents he so desired, was a sheet of A4 paper. It had words on and looked important, so his first reaction was to give it to his dad.

Freddie’s dad took the sheet and let his eyes skim over the words, and before Freddie could get his hands on the contents inside the box, his dad stopped him and said, “I’ve got to read this to you son. Before you get too attached.”

Dear Junior Gunner,

We at Arsenal Football Club are delighted that you have chosen this wonderful team to support. Arsenal have been entertaining their fans since 1886, and you are the next step in what promises to be an exciting and amazing step into the future.

Being a Gooner is not just a choice you make. It is a decision that stands with you for the rest of your life. It will define certain things you do and say, and will shape the relationships you build along the way. No matter where you go, you will carry the cannon with you.

This is why this warning is included in every Junior Gunners Membership pack. We have struggled to match the success of seasons past, and in spells in our history we have done so too. Football is not just trophies and glory. When you choose a club to support, you tie yourself to the good times and the bad.

You will have some days ruined when we lose. Your mood will darken and lighten at the kick of a ball. You will be at the mercy of your team and the results they earn.  There will be moments that you will never forget, and times when you wish you could forget. You must make this decision with all of this in mind.

You offer your support to this team even in the toughest of times, that is the nature of a supporter. This first step of becoming a member of the club means that you are a Gooner for life. This is a massive commitment.

Dear new supporter, you have some fantastic memories waiting for you in the future. We at Arsenal will be with you every step of the way. We value your support.

Freddie sat looking at his dad, with his new Arsenal scarf wrapped around his neck.

He had already made his choice. 

Arsenal Ladies Enter A New Season

The new Women’s Super League season will be kicking off this weekend, and Arsenal Ladies will be hoping to fight for the title they last won in 2012.

For the most successful women’s side in history, being in contention is the base requirement for a season.. Arsenal Ladies manager Pedro Martinez Losa will be under no illusions as to how difficult it will be this season to maintain their lofty expectations.

Not since 2003 has Arsenal Ladies suffered the ignominy of going through a campaign bereft of silverware, but with the rise of Manchester City Women and Chelsea Ladies in recent seasons, the Gunners must elevate themselves higher than before if they are to avoid a potless season.

What hasn’t helped is their exit from the FA Cup at the Quarter-Final stage at the hands of Birmingham City. The Blues triumphed with a 1-0 victory which was earned through an inspired performance from goalkeeper Ann Katrin-Berger. Danielle Van De Donk, Danielle Carter and Kim Little were all thwarted by the Birmingham stopper, and the Gunners were sucker-punched by a 77th minute Marisa Ewers goal – which was enough to dump Losa’s Gunners out of the Cup they had won four times out of the last six seasons.

Without this ever-reliable source of silverware to fall back on, the Gunners will be looking to clinch a first title since 2012, but with Manchester City Women and Chelsea Ladies being heavily backed in the transfer market, Losa and his charges will be fully aware of the need to step up a level after falling short last season.

That saw Arsenal Ladies finish in third place behind the two new powerhouses, and this new campaign looks likely to be just as difficult. 

City have continued to strengthen their side, and with USA star Carli Lloyd on their books, they look to again be the frontrunners for the title. They can also call on the talents of former Gunner Steph Houghton, Lucy Bronze and Toni Duggan. City are well equipped and armed to the teeth.

Chelsea have also added to their already strong squad, with Ramona Bachmann coming in from Wolfsburg and Crystal Dunn arriving from Washington Spirit. With Karen Carney and Eniola Aluko also extending their contracts with the Blues, Chelsea will be in contention at the business end of the season.

What of Arsenal though? 

It promises to be one of two things for the Gunners – a season of transition or one of progression. Losa has been busy in this transfer window, partly due to his hand being forced thanks to two club legends leaving the club.

Firstly, Kelly Smith has retired from football. The England and Arsenal icon has been at the forefront of Womens Football and has helped move the game into the spotlight, but now she has said her goodbye’s, can the Gunners actually fill the void left by such a high-calibre departure?

It didn’t stop there either. Casey Stoney has joined Liverpool Ladies, and the defender will be a big miss at the back for Losa. Experience is vital in defence, and Stoney was unrivalled in that department. With Spaniards Marta Corredera and Vicky Losada also leaving before a ball has been kicked, as well as German Josephine Henning, it was clear Losa must act quickly if any hope of success was to be made tangible.

A huge signing has seen Kim Little return to Arsenal after a spell with Seattle Reign. The Scotland attacker was a talismanic and decisive figure for Arsenal in her first spell at the club, and if she can recreate this form this season, the Arsenal will be in the running. Another new body of note would be the return of Carla Humphrey after spending last season on loan at Doncaster Belles. Humphrey grew in stature and Losa was quick to bring her back into the fold and extend her contract. This looks to be a wise move. Alex Scott looks to have a huge responsibility on her shoulders to marshall this new look defence. 

It may look that Arsenal are a little short in defence, but with an attack that can boast of Jordan Nobbs, Kim Little and Danielle Carter, Losa’s side will be good value for entertainment. Can the Gunners compensate for their lightness at the back with goals? They will need to if they are to overthrow Chelsea and City, as well as see off the emerging threat of Birmingham City and Liverpool Ladies.

This upcoming season of the Womens Super League looks poised to be the greatest one yet. 

Former Gunner Breaks Agent Laws

If you utter the name ‘Paolo Vernazza’ to the majority of Gooners, then the response is usually a swift shrug or a blank stare. The former Gunner made a smattering of appearances in the late ’90’s for the club, before moving on to Watford, Rotherham, Dagenham and Woking.

His big break at Arsenal was in the Double winning season of 1997/98, when he made a league start, but in total, there was only eleven appearances accrued in a Gunners shirt. 

His career status was that of journeyman. He wasn’t aided by regular injuries, but Vernazza was consigned to the lowe leagues for a large percentage of his career. 

So, what does a player do when they have not accrued the megabucks of their more illustrious playing brethren? They cannot fall back on their earnings, so they must forge a career elsewhere, usually using their ties in the game to good effect.

Vernazza did just that. Becoming a registered football intermediary with the FA, he and other ex-pro Danny Webber went on to play integral parts in building up footballing agency business ‘Platinum One.’ 

As former pro’s, they would be perfectly placed to negate any obstacles and hazards that may befall the players under their wing. They had information from behind enemy lines that would stand them in good stead when it came to crucial negotiations. It makes perfect sense for players to turn to this career when they hang up their boots. They could make this somewhat shady business a lot clearer with their combined acumen gathered during their own career as a professional football player.

The company values itself on being managed to the highest ethical standards – so what has happened just recently will not be helpful to the company’s cause.

Vernazza, Webber and two others were suspended or banned by the FA for breaking rules in regard to signing contracts with children. 

Vernazza was banned for seven months, after he was found guilty of trying to sign a contract with a minor. This was despite the former Gunner not being cleared to work with children. What made his sentence heavier was because the contract had also not been signed by parents or a guardian. 

Fellow Platinum One Agent Danny Webber – of Manchester United, Sheffield United and Watford in his playing days – was suspended for 84 days after approaching a player younger than 16 years of age. 

Young players are impressionable. They devote themselves to the game so they can enjoy the lifestyle they see on TV. Then an agent turns up to their game and it’s a former professional who played in the top flight. These kids need an appropriate adult present in any discussions about their future, to guide them away from hasty decisions.

There are already so many pitfalls that can inflict misery and a change of career on these starry-eyed starlets. With the constant shadow of injury, a slew of changing coaches who have different views, and loan moves deciding which direction your life will head, the last thing they need is to worry if their contracts are being handled appropriately. They need to know they are being handled in the correct way. These agents are meant to have the best interests of their client above all else.

This is why Vernazza and Webber deserve everything that was thrown at them. They have the futures of these youths in their hands, and they are charged with ensuring the best options for their client. To do so, they must follow the rules that everyone else must follow. It is a delicate business that must be run with decorum, respect, and above all else, a priority must be given to these kids.

A violation of this code of conduct should warrant a severe punishment. Hopefully this first violation will be a stark warning to Vernazza and Webber, and will direct them toward putting their clients first before their own gain. All within the rules too. 

The Definition of a Supporter.

Originally posted on Goonersphere.

​The Oxford English dictionary defines the word ‘supporter’ as; “a person who is actively interested in and wishes success for a particular sports team.”

That is one definition of a possible two, but the other surrounds politics and that is one subject that should never be mixed with football. 

So, to qualify as a supporter in every sense of the word, you must wish success for your chosen team, and show an active interest in said team.

In turn, that is why Arsenal has such a large volume of support. With every occurrance documented and beamed to all corners of the globe, interested parties can view as much Arsenal-related content as their hearts desire. 

And yet, the sniping and vehement arguments which attempt to pigeonhole people into handy categories goes on – regardless of how the team is performing.

The level of vitriol and general negativity that hangs menacingly in every nook and cranny of social media has not dissipated, despite the object of our affections performing well on the pitch. The fanbase is well and truly fractured, and this is symptomatic of the era we live in.

There is an entitlement, that we should be contending thanks to the bulging bank accounts of the club. The matchday revenue of the club is the largest in Europe, and this is seen as a ticket that automatically gives us a right to win the majority of games. 

Much like the excellent Arseblog article recently mentions, when did supporting the club become about victory at all costs? When did we lose sight of the journey?

We cannot simply enjoy Arsenal winning and keeping pace at the top of the league. Even though this is exactly what we had wished for at the beginning of the season. I’ve seen some truly preposterous tweets and entries that scrape the barrel of incredulity recently, as the sources for such idiocy try in vain to find a negative which they can pick at like an infected wound.

The supposed bad form of players. Arsene Wenger’s selections. The fact we didn’t go on to score more goals after hammering three past Chelsea in the first half – which apparently shows a lack of a killer instinct.

These people are the antithesis of a supporter. They antagonise with the hope of luring you into a futile war of words, but this is their raison d’etre. They don’t want to be shown the path of enlightenment. They just want to rile you and get a reaction.

They are not supporters, in any sense of the word. The word itself though, could do with another definition to add to the two existing variations.

Any fan who has had to alter their daily routine to catch a match. Anyone who has had their entire day ruined by a loss, or alternatively had a fantastic day thanks to a win. That qualifies as supporting the club.

Does a season ticket holder pull rank over any other fan? Does someone from Manilla miss out on being a Gooner because he has to stream a game? Does someone who pumps money into the club coffers quantify as a fan more than anyone else?

No, to put it plainly. Twitter may be a sharp double-edged sword, but it has also enabled me to peer into people’s lives and see how dedicated they are to the team. Some have to set their alarm at an ungodly hour just to view highlights of the game. They then go through their regular day-to-day routine with a couple of hours sleep. They have ruined their day just to watch The Arsenal. That is dedication. 

The ones who don’t have the luxury of visiting The Emirates and seeing a live game, they go to some extreme measures to keep up with events. We take for granted the proximity of the club, and the continuous flurry of news from all sources. Those who are less fortunate are hungrier for even the tiniest drop of Arsenal news, and more often than not, have tooled up on the history of Arsenal. Knowledge is power, and if you know your Sir Chips Keswick from your Sir Henry Norris then that is also proof that you carry the club with you, wherever you are.

There is no hierarchy, there are no levels of support. Of course, the away fans who travel to all points of the UK and Europe – and pay a princely sum to do so – have a deep affinity with the club. Don’t all of us though?

Ask yourself this: When Arsenal lose a game, how long does it take for your mood to lighten? How long do you wait before you brave social media again? Do you grasp for positives or flagellate yourself with negativity?

If you do any of the above, then you are a Gooner, and don’t let anyone tell you differently. We win together and lose together. In an ideal world, anyway.

Enjoy the ride. It could be worse, you could support a team which are never in contention for trophies. 

What Makes A Great Goal?

Amongst the usual levels of vitriol that is the norm for the Gooner fanbase, a spike in consternation has been seen across the social networks.

Arsenal over the summer, have been conducting a survey, asking fans to vote on the clubs greatest goal.

The results are in, and quelle surprise – the list that has been voted in has caused fury with some glaring omissions and what most would see as errors.

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Continue reading What Makes A Great Goal?

Arsenal 2 – 1 Leicester – The Welbeck Story!!!

This match had been hyped to the max for at least a week before today’s kickoff. Leicester’s incredible rise and demolition of all doubts gave their story a Hollywood edge. Their bandwagon – heavily laden with people jumping on it – travelled to The Emirates seeking another win which would put them eight points ahead of the Gunners.

After the ninety minutes had played out and Gooners had sang their hearts out, they had been repaid by their team after a fantastic second half display which saw one of those rare moments when fairytales actually do come true.

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Continue reading Arsenal 2 – 1 Leicester – The Welbeck Story!!!

Double-Winning Captain Frank McLintock – Interviewed Here!

Some players were born to lead their fellow man. Some have that special strand of DNA that is intrinsically linked with earning respect. That talismanic effect is absolutely vital in team sport and is mandatory if glory is to be achieved.

Our greatest ever Skippers are remembered thusly due to what they won. Tony Adams of course won nearly everything on offer and his effigy outside the Emirates is a reminder of what he did for the club. There is another that is hewn from the same granite though. Whilst his tenure at Arsenal was not the same length, the Double he helped win in 1971 helped to sculpt the club into what it is today and ended the clubs longest wait for a domestic trophy.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you, an interview with Frank McLintock.

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Continue reading Double-Winning Captain Frank McLintock – Interviewed Here!

Little Mozart – If you Love Football then you Love Rosicky.

The cavernous arena reverberates the continuous hum that is emanating from the masses. The very same masses that have gathered to watch a genius at work.

The man who would lead his enraptured audience on a merry dance enters the fray and is greeted with raucous cheer. The symphonies that he has created in the past have left many speechless. The crowd that now focused on the diminutive magician were hoping to be privy to another magical display.

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Little Mozart. Tomas Rosicky. The man that Marco Reus idolises. The moniker that the title refers to is apt. Continue reading Little Mozart – If you Love Football then you Love Rosicky.