Tag Archives: record

Auba Signing Is Sign of things to come

The wait for star striker to sign a contract extension at our club was, well, excruciating.

We waited weeks and weeks for the official announcement. It felt far longer and indeed it was if you veer toward worrying incessantly. The fact that Auba’s contract term was winding down toward its final year and that milestone when negotiations with other clubs appeared closer than ever? That weighed heavy on a lot of our minds.

As Gooners, we are no strangers to players leaving us in the lurch. When we needed them most, they shunned the opportunity to forge their legacy at the club and instead went where the money and instant success was prevalent. So waiting each day for our Number14 to sign with us was pretty painful.

The official announcement saw club legend Wrighty, speak with Auba on The Emirates pitch and as ever, the former club record goalscorer was eloquent and raised some salient points. None more so than when he mentioned the fact that players have come and gone but when we needed him the most, Aubameyang has chosen to stay and continue his career at Arsenal, rather than take the bait and go elsewhere.

Put yourself in Aubameyang’s shoes. You are negotiating what will be the biggest contract of your life before your career inevitably winds down. You are aware that big clubs are circling around you and they could well offer you much more than you will get at Arsenal.

But you could forever etch your name into the annals of the club’s history.

It’s a tantalising prospect- at least for a fan it is anyway.

The Gabon frontman already has 55 goals from 87 appearances in the Premier League. Injury permitting, Auba should get another 20 goals this season, taking his PL tally to 75 goals, with two seasons left in his contract. That means he could make the 100 club in his time at the club, which would make him one of the fastest – if not THE fastest – to get there.

There are a lot of ‘ifs’ in the above sentence, but that concerns just his goalscoring exploits.

What about the chance to actually make history with the club?

Auba himself says he wants to go down with the Bergkamps, Wrighty’s and Henry’s of the club. It’s a pretty bold statement and to do so – he knows he needs to help the club win the title.

Without the Championship, Auba will never quite make the top step, unlike the above names – but cup wins could help enormously.

His double’s in our FA Cup semi-final and final will live long in the memory – we will be savouring his second goal against Chelsea for decades to come – and it is these moments that help daub names forever into the marble halls of our history.

Auba’s goalscoring was chief among the reasons we didn’t fall into midtable in the last two seasons. He is also the pinnacle of what Mikel Arteta is trying to build at the club. An outift that contends for the biggest trophies – the Spaniard is trying to get us back where we were.

Standing in the way are clubs with limitless spending power and teams that have had years of preparation to concoct the winning formula. Jurgen Klopp was given time at Liverpool to get where he is now – and it will be his team that stand in the way of any challengers to the crown.

With Aubameyang up front though, we will always stand a chance – and that is why him signing his contract is such a pivotal moment.

It is a surefire sign we are progressing and creating something that could very well be special.

Our Number14 is fired to make us great again and create history.

Conduct In The Stands – An Arsenal RuleBook

Published on Goonersphere

Dear Gooners across the globe, thank you for taking the time to read this instruction manual.It has been circulated to every fan that is registered with us, and in light of recent events over the last few seasons we think it is time we acted.

Football fandom has changed inexorably with the explosion of social media. Before, if any of you wanted to share your opinion with the world, then the post-match phone-in was king.

Now, everyone has the power to broadcast their own views upon anyone who is willing to listen. Thanks to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Snapchat, any impulse to air your voice can be acted upon.

It is both a blessing and a curse.

Surfing the web is now packed with interesting articles and compelling videos, as well as some material that is well worth swerving.

This is where we would like to step in.

We have kept our fingers on the pulse and noticed the rise in mobile broadcasting from within The Emirates during matchdays. 

Our home becomes a hive of sharing, and we would like Arsenal to become the face of such activity.

We already have the most popular internet show, and we feel that every one of our fans can only add to our power on the web.

We not only want to become the biggest club on the pitch – we want to become the biggest club on the world wide web.

So it is with this in the forefront of our minds that we issue you all with some helpful tips and instructions to aid you all in becoming a modern fan and embracing the power you all have at your fingertips.

Become an Arsenal Web Icon

1 – Before Kickoff, locate your nearest Arsenal Fan TV outlet, which will be conveniently located at handy places throughout the stadium. This will help when your opinions before the game starts need to be aired.

2 – All cameras must be turned inward to face yourself. Video’s and pictures during the game of you singing and shouting are welcomed. Remember – if you don’t record it, it didn’t happen.

3 – Success is found in retweets and number of shares. The more vocal your response, the better you will be received. Show your passion not with singing like in days of yore, but with videos!

4 – No matter what the result, you must focus on something that is completely irrelevant. If possible, you also must conveniently forget your basic vocabulary and make up words. This sends the internet into a frothing frenzy and aid our climb toward the top of the internet rankings!

5 – Finally, you may face adversity from some. Pay them no heed, your rise will be parallel to the club. Your passion for The Arsenal shines too brightly for some.

Thank you all and together, we can make Arsenal the biggest thing on the web since ‘Covfefe.’


The Arsenal 

Welcome to Arsenal – Alexandre Lacazette! 

It is finally official – Alexandre Lacazette is an Arsenal player.

The French striker has arrived from Lyon for a fee believed to be around £44m, with add-ons expected to take the amount closer to £52m. This of course tops the previous record – the £42m spent on Mesut Ozil in 2014 – but is it money well spent?

In short – yes. Very much so.

Consider this. 

Spanish international Alvaro Morata is in the market this summer and any move looks to be in the region of £70m. Morata has time on his side of course but he scored less than half the goals that Lacazette scored last season.

There are more reasons to reinforce belief in our new star striker.

Lacazette was rated in the Top10 for shot conversion rate in the Top5 Leagues last season, he has scored 20goals or more in the last 3 seasons and Lacazette was also wanted by Atletico Madrid – and they have one of the most amazing track records for strikers. 

The bearded Gaul is the real deal, and his all-round play is ready-made for the precision passing that Mesut Ozil provides. This hinges on the proviso that the German playmaker decides to stay at The Emirates, but it is certainly a tantalising prospect. 

There are naysayers though. They point to his failure to establish himself upon Didier Deschamps Les Bleus plans and the apparent weakness of Ligue Un competition. This can be disbanded pretty quickly though. 

Didier Deschamps once preferred Mahmadou Sakho over Laurent Koscielny so his judgment isn’t exactly indubitable. Also, recent seasons have shown French club sides have performed better than Premier League teams in the Champions League, so the gap in quality that used to be between the French and English domestic competition has shrunk considerably.

Lacazette scores in Europe, he makes intelligent runs and is ice-cold in the six yard box. He is adaptable and he is the finisher we have needed to give us a reliable source of goals. Every title winning team has one, and we can proudly say we have one of the best.

It is also a statement of intent. It shows we are ready to mix it with the big boys in order to strengthen. It will send a message to our rivals, and more importantly, to some of our stars who may be looking to other shores. They will be perhaps swayed by this purchase and who knows? It could be the push Alexis and Mesut needs to sign on the dotted line.

This is by no means finished business as far as our need to strengthen, but it is a huge move and it is early. Alexandre Lacazette is elite and has a pedigree hewn from four seasons at the top – and he has done the business in each of them. He is still only 26 and has yet to reach his peak. Under the tutelage of Wenger, Lacazette could even sway Deschamps, although there are an embarrassment of riches for France in attack.

Lacazette has signed a contract for five years, and if injury is avoided, we can look forward to our goal tally being bolstered by a large degree. 

We as Gooners should enjoy this moment. Our club are aiming high. 

Arsenal Win The 2017 FA Cup!!! 

The FA Cup is back in the rightful possession of Arsenal for a record 13th time, as against all odds, the Gunners pulled a virtuoso performance out of the bag and bested favourites and champions Chelsea.

Few would have given Arsenal a chance before kickoff, and the bookies agreed. They couldn’t be blamed though, and Gooners who were looking upon this Final with a bleak realism were merely taking all things into consideration.

First choice goalkeeper Petr Cech ruled out through injury, and backup keeper David Ospina rusty. Our defence was down to its bare bones, with Laurent Koscielny, Shkodran Mustafi, Gabriel and Kieran Gibbs ruled out before the game. Uncertainty hanging over not only star players Alexis and Mesut Ozil, but also our manager.

Not to mention the most disappointing league campaign in the last two decades.

We were going into this game with our backs to the wall. Chelsea had won the Premiership on the back of an incredible run of results. They had seen off all comers and were going into the game looking to complete the Double in Antonio Conte’s first season at the club.

It went from bad to worse when Per Mertesacker was named in Arsenal’s starting XI. The German defender had not started a game in 13 months, and despite his knowledge, defensive nous and leadership qualities – his lack of match sharpness against Costa, Hazard and co would surely cost the Gunners dearly?

Not this time.

Mertesacker and Arsenal emphatically answered doubters and dragged Chelsea from their pedestal with aplomb. From minute one to minute ninety four, Arsenal were superior in every department across the lush Wembley turf. Our ramshackle defence kept Costa stifled. Hazard, Pedro and the other Blues widemen were too busy taking part in defensive duties to go rampaging forward. 

When they did wriggle free, Monreal, Bellerin, Oxlade-Chamberlain stuck to them and never allowed these dangerous players that inch of space to turn and create havoc.

Then there was our midfield of Xhaka and Ramsey. It seems it has taken this performance for all to recognise what the Swiss star offers. He was robust in the tackle, astute in his positioning and always available for the ball. Ramsey provided the bridge between defence and attack, and he was absolutely tireless. He was also the goal hero as he was in 2014. 

Mesut Ozil never stopped probing and he was as busy as anyone has been this season. The German deserves plaudits for his inspiring performance, and Alexis did what Alexis always does.

It really underlined how important it is to keep them for next season.

The first half of the game was the pattern of the whole game. Chelsea struggled to keep a grip on the movement of Arsenal, and the best opportunities went to the Gunners.

The first real chance resulted in the deadlock being broken, and it was inside five minutes. The ball looped over the Chelsea defence and Ramsey was well offside. He left it for the onrushing Sanchez who put it past Courtois, but it took referee Anthony Taylor having a confab with the linesman before it was awarded.

Then, Sanchez put through Ozil, who saw his effort cleared off the line by Cahill, as Arsenal started to roar up the gears.

Then, Welbeck met an Ozil corner well with a header, but it hit the post, before Ramsey hit the post with the loose ball. Chelsea were on the ropes and Arsenal were throwing flurries to finish the fight.

Then, a neat move saw Welbeck through on goal, but a combo of Courtois and Cahill again saved Chelsea and it meant that for all of Arsenal’s superiority, we were still only a goal up. We had read this script before.

There had been a few sniffs at goal for Costa, but Mertesacker’s positioning was perfection each time the Brazilian-turned-Spaniard threatened.

A crucial moment came early in the second half, when Victor Moses couldn’t cope with Welbeck on the flank and wrestled him to the ground, earning a booking. This would turn out to be more than a mere booking. Minutes later, Bellerin found space and his low effort was well saved by Courtois. The same pattern was emerging, Arsenal were on the throttle, with Chelsea scrabbling for purchase.

Then, Chelsea were on the attack. Moses twisted and teased Oxlade-Chamberlain out on the right before attempting to cut in. 

The Ox went with his man but was sensible in his harrying. Moses went down in the box like Piers Morgan’s career, and lo and behold – previously anti-Arsenal referee Anthony Taylor again utilised common sense and booked Moses for diving – thus Chelsea were now a man down.

Arsenal were clearly on top of things, and they now had a man advantage. Things were looking rosy – but all Gooners know that nothing can be taken for granted.

And so it proved.

A ball in the air was chested down by Costa in the box, and it gave him an inch of space to fire in a volley. Ospina had been on top of everything so far in the game, but his weak effort to save it was not enough and it gave Chelsea parity when it seemed the game was walking away from them.

Welbeck came off to a deserved ovation and was replaced by Olivier Giroud – and the Frenchman wasted no time in getting busy.

He found himself in the box and he squeezed in a cross. Ramsey had ghosted in between two defenders and headed it into the net – and Arsenal had regained the lead just two minutes after giving it up.

This Arsenal side had let themselves down so many times in the league, but this performance needed to be finished with a cup win – such was the level of excellence from each and every Arsenal player.

Bellerin nearly capped off the game but put the ball wide, and then Chelsea got a chance to again equalise undeservedly. Diego Costa barged in and volleyed from close range, but Ospina saved well. Ozil then was in acres of space, chopped inside his man and opted for the near post, but the post denied him.

It was enough though.

Arsene Wenger’s men had left it all on the pitch, and it meant this was Arsene Wenger’s seventh FA Cup win – which makes him the most successful manager in Cup history. Arsenal are now also the most successful Cup team in history.

This was perhaps the sweetest win from the last three though. We defeated a powerful opponent, defied all odds and we didn’t just scrape the win – we ensured Chelsea couldn’t handle us.

Let us enjoy this. Let this be a reminder that despite us missing the Champions League next season, despite our shaky league form – we are capable of being the team that we have seen in the past. We are capable of being the great team that our players want us to be.

So, the FA Cup is back home. Arsene Wenger has masterminded another Cup for us and another placard for The Emirates.

Forget the speculation that will engulf us in the summer, just for a moment. Let’s wallow in this.

This win is exactly what we will remember in years to come, and tell our kids and grandkids about. 

The Stick or The Carrot? Always the Stick.

Originally posted on Goonersphere

It appears as if every occurrence involving Premier League teams can now be tied to Arsenal. 

Our club, apparently, are intrinsically linked with the other 19 clubs that make up the Premiership, and their results are essentially barometers for us.

Even though there are a whole mess of variables which segregate every team in our league, we now see comparisons being bandied around every form of media whenever any of these teams play.

The latest set of ludicrous comparisons centre around Leicester City defeating Sevilla and getting to the Quarter-Final stage of the Champions League. This quite obviously spells out that Leicester are a far better side than us as they have effortlessly leaped over the Last16 stage – the same stage that Arsenal have stumbled on in the last seven years.

It was the Foxes first attempt in Europe’s finest competition, and they sailed through against a highly-rated opponent. They also did it with a manager who has never had a managerial position before. 

This only emboldens Arsenal’s failure in the Champions League, and Arsene Wenger’s errors on judgement. 

It cannot be simply celebrated. No, it must be brandished as a weapon of sorts to beat Arsenal with. It isn’t opposition fans peppering us all with ‘banter’ and memes. This comes with the territory of being a supporter. No, it is when supposed professionals in the media world actually use Leicester’s success – or any other team – to bash our club.

When we fail to beat a team and then a fellow Premiership club then does what we couldn’t do – it is held up as evidence of our failings rather than a positive result from that team.

It means that efforts and victories from teams loses all perspective, and instead it is twisted into some mawkish piece in which the Gunners failings can be scrutinised even more. 

That mess of variables I mentioned earlier? Well,  the precious details that are overlooked regarding comparisons between Arsenal’s Euro failings and Leicester’s success are found in the class of opponent. Aside from when Arsenal drew Monaco, six of the seven years we have been pitted against teams which are stronger than ours. We have been underdogs. Of course, Leicester have made their name from doing the same and against Sevilla they were odds on to be dumped out, but Sevilla are not Bayern Munich, they are not Barca.

And yet the berating and baiting of Arsenal continues. It is our fault really. Our online presence and vociferous protests in response to the bashing means that these blinkered ‘experts’ get exactly what they wanted. They cast the tempting worm into the waters of social media and wait for us to bite.

And we do. Every time. 

Turn on your radio and listen. Every day there is an item in which Arsenal is mentioned, even if we haven’t played for a week or two. The same with the plethora of websites there are out there. We are popular and we grab clicks, listeners and viewers. 

It will continue, but it is important we ourselves do not skew reality. We have failed in the Champions League, of this there can be no doubt. We should inspect the wreckage of our campaign with keen eyes.

We cannot compare Leicester’s success to ours. The same as we cannot compare United’s record to ours, and Liverpool’s. What we do is completely different as in every game, there are so many different parameters to measure. 

We have had a difficult season, we do not need to make it worse by subjecting ourselves to pointless comparisons. 

Mourinho and Wenger – The Class War

On the eve of a titanic tussle between two teams, the usual fare from the respective managers is to talk about team selection, and to talk up their opponents. This shows that they take the threat seriously, that their own team is more than ready to match whatever is thrown at them.

The press conferences pre-match are a chance to peer behind the veil of secrecy that shrouds these clubs that are now businesses. The managers offer delectable nuggets of information surrounding preperation, and each syllable offers the opportunity to surmise and interpret life at the training ground. It is fascinating, but at times it offers up a stalemate between the prying press and the defensive chief in front of the cameras.

Jose Mourinho though, doesn’t do convention. Tradition is bucked wildly whenever a topic of passion is tossed toward him. One of these subjects he cannot ignore and gnaws on chronically is Arsene Wenger. This weekend was no different.

Instead of talking about the merits of his team and how they are aiming far higher than where they currently reside, the Portuguese boss opted to aim a bony fingered prod into the chest of his French rival – and in turn, he answered his own query.

Courtesy of The Independent newspaper, when Mourinho was asked about Arsene, in an attempt to stoke the old flames of adversity which have burned now for over ten years, Mourinho said of him and the titles they both had won:

I have three, I think. Mr Wenger has three or four – I don’t know. Does that mean we should be respected even in periods where our results are not the best? I think Mr Wenger has that respect from all of you. I don’t think I have especially because my last Premier League title was 18 months ago. It was not 18 years ago. 

Again, this comment offered a fascinating glimpse at the inner workings – but of Mourinho’s thinking, rather than the inner sanctum of a club. 

It is common knowledge that the two old foes cannot abide each other. They both are the antithesis of each other. Much like a classic comic story thread, the two are opposites. Mourinho complained of a lack of respect, and that he should be offered the same as his counterpart, but would Wenger ever lower his guard enough to aim an attack like this?

Wenger has had his fair share of run-ins, with Ferguson, Jol, Pardew, Allardyce and a few more, but whilst his actions on the sidelines have often raised eyebrows and exhibited a well-concealed temper, the Frenchman hasn’t often peeled away the veneer which reflects the majority of journalists barbed arrows. 

When Wenger has a press conference, the onus is on the representatives from each media organisation to wriggle past the defensive mines that Wenger has placed, and attempt to manouevre him into a cul-de-sac where he cannot rely on his usual armour of dry wit and deflection. 

It is like a duel. With each question and succinct answer, it is an unheard swish of a fencers foil. A delicate flick of the wrist, and the journalist’s laden question – instead of burying itself deep in the targets psyche and craw – finds itself somehow lying futile on the floor.

After over twenty years, Wenger has perfected the art of combining a soundbite that sates the writers, and also never truly revealing his modus operandi. Why give information away when it could prove vital?

Mourinho on the other hand, grasps each question from the baying masses with abandon. He is a journalist’s dream as he cares little for what they write – or does he?

He weaves and concocts, and when it works, it adds to the high turrets and walls of the seige mentality that is the foundation for most of his successes. He takes the heat from his players, and acts as a shield. It is martyrdom at its finest, but it isn’t pretty. 

The main difference is when they are both under duress. Wenger’s composure is a still lake, and when ripples occur, he manages to keep them under the surface. Mourinho creates a foaming, thrashing lake that garners headlines and exposure. 

In his post-match press conference, after Arsenal secured a barely-deserved point thanks to a late header from Olivier Giroud, the contrast between both managers was palpable. 

Whilst Wenger admitted his team were lacking – even inferring they may just suffer from a mental block playing at Old Trafford – Mourinho’s offerings were laughable.

His words were not veiled, he aimed straight for Wenger. He did not bolster his sides confidence, he just went all out, swinging wildly for his opposing manager, his nemesis. 

Mourinho claimed that Wenger had FINALLY beaten him, after twelve attempts in the Premiership

It was a dig to show that Mourinho still had the upper hand, and still had his precious record of never losing to his enemy. 

It speaks volumes though, that despite Wenger never defeating Mourinho in the Premier League (seven draws and five losses after this weekend), the playing field in terms of public opinion is even – or even tipping in the balance of Wenger.

In truth, shouldn’t success earn respect? Yes, but it isn’t just silverware that constitutes this most precious commodity. Wenger’s longevity may be in part due to the aims of the board, but his adaptability and where he has brought the club has given him a begrudging respect from the press. Mourinho though, is blinkered to the constant undermining that Wenger has had to deal with.

Arsenal are not beloved by the press. The team that constructs such beauty, but is intertwined with frustration, is constantly held up as a failure due to their lack of first silverware, and now a title. They are the posterboy for underachievement, even though standing next to them in the same Premier League outfit is Liverpool and tottenham – teams who have won less despite spending the same, and occasionally more. 

Wenger’s defensive stance is down to years of exposure to the armament of the press. Mourinho’s constant attacking stance is now down to his struggling.

Jose has never truly had to deal with scrutiny, as he has always had a constant stream of tangible success to back himself. Now that he has skulked away from Chelsea, and now helms a struggling United side, he is exposed. What happens when we no longer have shelter, and we have to face a threat? We revert back to our basic hardwiring, what is intrinsically built into us. Fight or flight. 

Mourinho is in uncharted territory, and he is showing us is hand. He is not talking of the strengths of his team, he is whinging. His comments smack of a selfish streak. He is thinking of himself, not of his team. What does it matter if you are not afforded a certain level of respect, when your team is underperforming? 

It simply isn’t true that he is not respected either. What is happening and that he is failing to recognise is that he is under the spotlight after his struggles at Chelsea, and now at United. The glowing halo has slipped, and now he must sweat under the glaring light like every other manager has done – including Wenger.

The difference is, Wenger has applied sunscreen. He’s done this before. Wenger bears the tan from the rays, but he is now accustomed to the heat. Mourinho is the equivalent of the pasty ginger kid who really should be anywhere but on a sunbed. 

He must get used to the scrutiny, or he will continue to give papers headlines. Not only that, but he will continue to crack. He could learn something from the man he continues to pin pictures of on his office dartboard. 

The Squandering Of Mesut Ozil

Some question the power of statistics.

In cult 80’s movie ‘Gregory’s Girl,’ the main protagonist in the movie states that, “numbers make the world go round.” The guy has a point. Whilst stats can be skewed to fit around an agenda if the need arises, there are certain facts that cannot be denied.

One of them is this:  Mesut Ozil has created more chances this season than any other player in Premier League history. Yet he still remains three short of the assist record.

Continue reading The Squandering Of Mesut Ozil

Man Utd Cup Tie – It all hinges on this….

A lot has been made of the F.A Cup tie Vs Utd. A lot of mitigating factors have all assembled to assume the form of a gargantuan shadow that looms larger with each passing day. With last years Cup triumph seeing a revival in Arsenal fans expectations – this match is awarded another notch on the hype scale. Gooners want the Cup home badly. It could be argued however – that what is yearned for is an end to the tyrannical reign of terror that Manchester Utd have had over Arsenal in recent years.

Arsenal haven’t recorded a win against the Red Devils for eight games. 2011 to be exact. In that time, Utd have scored exactly double the amount of goals we have bagged in these tussles. When speaking to a Gooner about why their team has such an appalling record against Manchester Utd, the majority will offer up a serving of superstition. Hoodoo. Bogey team. Purple sign etc. No definitive answers when talking of the more recent results where the clubs took to the field on a more even footing, squad wise. Fans are ready to see this curse lifted. Continue reading Man Utd Cup Tie – It all hinges on this….