We couldn’t utter it, lest we be called fickle and our fan-hood diminished to naught but we all, to varied intensity, could hear the whispers of defeat from afar even as we trudged down to the Etihad. Such is Manchester City’s home-form this season; putting four, six, and seven past Man U, Spurs and Norwich respectively were enough pointers to suggest they are a different kind of animal when hunting in their den. Yet, we held out for some hope. After all, the above-mentioned victims of their bullying were, at best, mid-table teams and it is now up to us league-leaders to try put out their petrol-fuelled raging fire.

In hindsight, we didn’t do much wrong with our tinted optimism, under different circumstances we might well have done the unexpected as we’ve shown a penchant for in the recent past. A myriad of reasons have since been attributed to the loss: fatigue, poor-officiating and bad tactics – chief among them but, perhaps, it would be better if we hold our hands up and admit that Manchester City, on the day, had more in their armory than Arsenal did.  Not to the discount the afore-mentioned reasons and more: Wilshere, Monreal, Ozil and Giroud had a rather forgettable day as to their performances but the collective display had little to cheer about as well. Walcott was perhaps the shining light in an otherwise bleak afternoon. Ramsey did run around a bit, Sagna was his quietly reliable self and Mertesacker’s most notable contribution came at the final whistle, the referee and his aides were a bit rubbish…

Predictably, the ‘the more signing’ brigade have gotten into character act: to question the team’s quality altogether after two dodgy performances would be grossly misplaced and too convenient albeit, some fans would point at Manchester City’s much-acclaimed depth as their proof for what money can buy. Leaving out the small bit of if Arsenal had such deep pockets, such viewpoint is rather jaundiced as it would be viewing yesterday’s result in isolation as our relatively lean squad, under same conditions, have accrued more points than City’s this season.

That said, you get the sense that we are heading into the most crucial part our season and how we come out of this bit of mess would determine where we finish in May. Our resolve is being tested harder now than ever. It will take something special in a world-class signing or, what I would call, world-class players mentality to affirm our status as not mere title contenders but the team to beat to the title. This race is a marathon to dwell on yesterday’s result would be treating it as a sprint – the next bend to turn look like some cunts in Blue.


‘til next time, be a fan…and a supporter

Match Preview: Crunch Time at Lunch Time


A combination of factors all of which might seem of relative marginal importance than Micheal Owen’s punditry have left me shut out of here for longer than I would wish. Trifles as they may be, logistical hurdles – when one is not well-equipped – may well jump up the scale and take up an impression of a mountain; time-constraints and an erratic/unavailable internet access have, amongst other things, contrived to make my web-home ridden with cobwebs and what-not. It isn’t quite as sad as it is disappointing or somewhere between both – your empathy is welcome, still.

To things football: Arsenal today face, what purports to be their highest ‘mountain’ (on paper) in Man City and may come out of this riding on a highest high or descending into a soul-wrenching abyss. The latter more likely according to the pundits’ narrative, more so after we had horribly finished second in a group which they so-aptly named Group of Death at his conception. But having thrown away a lead and lost with a man-down away at Napoli in the past week; their earlier predictions of a mid-season Arsenal capitulation is on course to bear some tasty sour fruits. Yet, come what may today Arsenal will, in the worst-case, 2-points clear; with almost a half of the season gone, our current standings when juxtaposed with the earlier predictions shows how much of attention one should pay to every Alan, Le Roy or Micheal on TV. The irony of it all!

That said, I’ll admit to be feeling a bit nerve-rankles ahead of our trip to the Etihad; what with their imperious home form and off the back of a morale-boosting win at Bayern Munich (we know what that is like) and all? A scan through the options in their team will highlight quite why they wouldn’t make for one’s favorite opponents to play against albeit, I’m a firm believer in the theory of the whole greater than the sum of the parts. Manchester City’s defence in particular, often in the absence of Kompany have looked to be sitting on a gunpowder and are a Joe Hart’s ‘moment’ away from conceding. Their attack isn’t quite as charitable though; Aguero, Negredo and Yaya Toure are all very potent goal-scoring threats and despite our solidity at the back of late, I wouldn’t bet on a clean sheet.

It’s hard to predict how this would turn out; I’m quietly optimistic as in the worst of times ahead of every match and this. We are capable of turning (it) up on City but they’d surely take some beating. I’d propose that Theo Walcott starts either on the flanks or preferably, centrally ahead of Giroud; his pace and new-found composure in front of goal (even on home-front) offers something of a change to the somewhat mechanical style of Giroud who appeared to be lumbering about against Napoli – fatigued maybe. The bigger call, unlikely as it is, would be in dropping Ozil for Wilshere: not for the first time against Napoli has Ozil appeared to be overwhelmed by the occasion and Thierry Henry’s comment of him playing as though ‘he were in his garden’ sums his mildly-described ‘’languid’ playing style up, which is less than you can say for the verve and burst of Jack Wilshere.

Our recent fixtures against City have shown us to be evenly matched. We, surprisingly, often win the midfield battle – I remember the bore of a draw at the Ems a few years back under Mancini – but they also have a way of getting the win against the odds us. Today might be different as under Pellegrini they might look to play us off the park as their fans cheer but with our new resilience at the back, sitting deep and hurting them on the break might be on the cards. A lot of fans want to see us hoard the ball the entire match duration but I’d gladly lose the battle to win the war. A win today won’t only stretch our lead against our rivals, strengthen belief around the club, it will as well, change the perception of ‘Arsenal can’t beat the teams around them’ and shove some big pie down the hollows of the tawdry pundits.

What do I care about them, you say?

‘til next time, be a fan…and a supporter


ARSENAL vs LIVERPOOL: Get It Tight, Get It Right


Arsenal’s Colney Training Ground is widely reputed to be among the very best of its kind in England. Its dew-drenched lush green pitches and state-of-the-art sport facilities would sure be a sight worthy of view to anyone who has, not hold, a stake in Arsenal Football Club. Whilst the aesthetic side of the site might leave one enthralled, one sight that would provide a measure of relief is watching the players train and seeing Steve Bould yell the tendency to be error-prone, that has be-devilled the team of late, out of the lads. Perhaps, it would be better if their err could be mechanically-exorcised to leave us without a shadow of doubt, that today there would be none of the self-implosion, often from individuals, that is threatening to dig the heels of a rather fine season. 

We might get a let-off from conceding a needless penalty at Sunderland, or leaving just one player to defend a possible counter-attack off a corner (which saw our midfield lynch-pin sent off, albeit controversially, at Crystal Palace) and several examples of recklessness at defending in the recent past. But against a strike partnership of Suarez and Sturridge, it is unlikely that we’d get-away with such give-away.

Liverpool are witnessing a somewhat unprecedented high-flying start to the season mainly due to the lethal form of the aforementioned duo now known as ‘SAS’. Not to take anything away from the contribution of their teammates. In a busy summer in which he mainly acquired duds, goalkeeper Mignolet has the make-up of what Brendan Rodgers saves his hideous face with. On many occasion, since and from his first Premier start for Liverpool against Stoke City, the Dane has proved a reliable custodian at the back, keeping Liverpool in games which they’d otherwise have lost in days of the erratic Reina. The resuscitation of Skrtel and the seamless transition of Stevie Gerrard to the midfield anchor role have provided a steady base for their attack to operate. Above all, Brendan Rodgers’ unconventional 3-5-2 formation have allowed the main elements of the team to flourish, hence, their decent start and dreams of a top four finish which one can hardly begrudge them. Mr. Rodgers for all his c***ishness is, I have to say, tactically ingenious.

Arsenal, on the other hand, top of the league we might be but in recent games have lacked the cutting-edge typical of (potential) champions. Against Crystal Palace and, more frustratingly against Chelsea, our inability to carve clear-cut goal-scoring chances beggars belief, more so, as we pride ourselves on having the best midfield partnership(s) in the league; the lack of actual width and pace in wide areas have been touted as the key which have made unlocking opponents’ defence nigh on tasking. Not surprisingly Ozil’s finer passes did come against Sunderland when we had Theo Walcott running behind enemy lines. Yet, with all of our pseudo-wingers out with injuries, the (onerous) creative onus lies on the likes of Cazorla, Ozil and Rosicky to find that ‘Killer’ pass that make attempted blockades with tweaked groins and hamstrings.

Too teams looking to return to their increasingly distant glory days are surely going to provide a spectacle even as past fixtures between them suggest.  Liverpool with their 5-man midfield will be looking to stifle Arsenal off any meaningful possession but if Arsenal can move the ball quickly enough and with purpose to get in behind them, which we are quite capable of, then I’m sure we can hurt them. Although it’s quite difficult to predict how this would pan out but make no mistakes we are bound to witness lots goals, not with the array of attacking talents on either side but more often than not, big games like this are often decided by small margins; a spectacular overhead kick or as noted in the first paragraph, utmost defensive concentration.

Enjoy the game wherever you watch it.

‘til next time, be a fan…and a supporter


COC REVIEW: Arsenal’s Chelsea Blues

After much speculations on what the team line-up would be as – with many Arsenal fans supposing Arsene Wenger is facing a conundrum in the manner of; To, or to not, field babies? The Arsenal manager named a rather experienced side, with Ryo Miyaichi about the only player green with inexperience in the starting XI but even he had already made his international debut for Japan. Even at that, you’d reckon Ryo’s inclusion is chiefly down to the injuries that have docked the more established players in the squad like Podolski and Walcott – to name just two, which also belies claims against Arsenal’s lack of squad depth. You’d imagine Arsene Wenger’s hands were forced into the (surprise) inclusion of Aaron Ramsey who, many Gooners through their crystal balls, had suggested would sit this out having featured heavily already this season. If anything was crystal clear though, it was that Arsene Wenger was not taking the Capital One Cup lightly as widely, and perhaps, wrongly believed. Not this Chelsea match at least, not when the media had made their sides known by constantly churning out tired statistics of Mourinho’s ”unblemished” record against Arsene Wenger. 

And so the match began with early exchanges being all fair and square, Santi Carzola was showing glimpses of his last season self with amazing trickery and delightful passes – it’s been a slower than thought/wished return to full fitness for him but after playing so many matches last season, one can understand how knackered he could be. Still, Santi was combining well with the rest of the team, most notably Rosicky, and Monreal whose decision-making in the final-third looked significantly better than Gibbs – it’s a good thing we have such good options at left back. Not that one can say that of Jenkinson who, under very little pressure, crumbled as he attempted to head a ball floating in the air back to Fabianski but he hit the ball so tamely, that Harry Redknapp’s dog would be kicking itself in the groin for not being from an Arsenal-supporting family and attended games at the Emirates Stadium. Azpilicueta having pounced on the loose ball put Chelsea ahead and from then on, it was always going to be a huge task to overhaul an admittedly, defensively-organized Chelsea side, not when your striker is Bendtner who had a very, mildly put, indifferent game.

As we’ve seen too often against Chelsea – and other big sides in recent years, when we do much of the playing and keeping possession we end up falling short of ‘killing’ them off and causing any real damage but rather, conceding against the run of play. It was only a matter of time before Chelsea, through Mata, scored a second – a beauty, if ever Chavs are capable of such kingly art. It was heartbreaking for me, more so as it was moment after Ozil was brought on for a subdued Ryo and it looked like finally the piece of ingenuity to unlock the Chelsea side had arrived.It was such quite an anti-climax from a usually orgasmic Arsenal.

Jenkinson, Bendtner and Ryo have come off this game without covering themselves in thick layers of glory; each for different reasons. Jenkinson appear to be short on confidence which often affects his decision-making, his athleticism and work ethic could perhaps help him over come that soon. Ryo, on the other hand, looked like he needs to pack his bed to a gym and bulk up quickly as he was being thrown out of every challenge by the air from Bertrand’s nostrils, his future at the club is under intense scrutiny with so much options when everyone is fit – if ever, but I’m really keen to see him play as ‘Ryonaldo’.

While both Jenkinson and Ryo can partly be excused for reasons like inexperience, lack of confidence and being young or, to their credits, working hard for the team. Nicklas Bendtner doesn’t fall in any of such categories and has an attitude to working hard for the team which is of semblance to Berbatov, then again, he – beyond a corny hair – is nothing like Berbatov in skill-set. In his defense, the team could be said to not have played to his main strength – aerial prowess – as no one in the team put a decent cross in the box the entire 90 minutes. And such was the energy of the Chelsea side that they practically stifled him of making any meaningful knock-downs or interchange passes in and around the box. Yet, fans on social media have so harshly picked him up for bashing and wanting him hanged despite not doing so much wrong. He didn’t do much at all.

In the end, it was to be another loss to Chelsea. Another loss which, if we hadn’t shot ourselves in the foot early-on, could have seen this review written quite differently, another loss which has seen the vultures crawl out to flog their ‘X years trophyless’ dead horse, another loss which isn’t disastrous in isolation but still we would have preferred to progress to the next round but now we’ll have worry about what impact this might have on the team. I doubt we’d see the wheels fall off just yet, never mind the anti-Arsenal Arsenal ‘fans’.   

 That said, our result against Liverpool in the weekend means 3 points more than this and in this world of ours, ‘3 points’ is another word for ‘invaluable’. 

’til next time, be a fan…and a supporter.

MATCH REVIEW: One Shot For The ‘Pagne

Armed with hindsight at kickoff, many a Gooner would have settled for a share of the spoils with Borussia Dortmund but the Germans, well renowned for their efficiency, proved to be real spoilers on Arsene Wenger’s 64th birthday; a night which would be remembered for the little pops and fine margins. Or forgotten altogether by Arsenal fans.

Arsenal came into the 3rd round of their champions league group fixtures riding on a crest of imperious form with an enveloping air of invincibility around the team – having not lost an actual* football match since Bayern Munich came around to the Emirates. (We should all agree the A.Villa match was a fluke by now). But like the Bavarians before them, BvB  left London with 3 points although the win was just about the only similarity in this match with that. 

Most notably, while the gulf in class between Arsenal and Bayern Munich in February was so wide that it appeared all the petrol-dollars in the world stacked together couldn’t bring us on par with a top European side, last night Arsenal gave as good, if not better, than Dortmund did. Arsenal’s new lease of life, since whenever it was found was obvious from the start, we were knocking the ball around like actual Premier League leaders and looked unfazed by the size of the giant before us…until our confidence cup ran over: Aaron Ramsey who hadn’t put a foot wrong all season attempted to dribble his way out from the edge of the box before getting dispossessed by Lewandowski who side-footed it to Mkhitariyan before the Armenian slotted it past Scezceny. Dortmund were a goal up, having not really deserved it but ahead nonetheless and one could easily fault Ramsey’s complacency for not choosing the easier option of passing the ball to a ‘free’ teammate or just blame it on fatigue as he looked like he needed some rest. 

The goal seemed to add an extra spring to Arsenal’s foot as they grabbed the match by the scruff and put Dortmund on the back-foot, though BvB remained a threat on the counter but Mikel Arteta was doing a good job of mopping the midfield area off any spilt ball while effectively working as a glue himself. Not long after a brilliant left foot shot from Rosicky was stopped millimeters away from the goal line, Aaron Ramsey released Sagna on the right and his resulting cross caused a mix-up between Weidenfeller and Hummels with the ball falling kindly to Giroud few yards away from goal – he made sure he registered a top contender for ‘the volley that came closest to ripping the net into shreds’, if ever there’d be any award like than on Sky.

Like a friend noted on Twitter, losing possession to concede the goal and feeding Sagna down the right for the cross exemplifies the Old and the New Ramsey; dare I say, good riddance to old Ramsey?

Second half and the impetus was again on our side, we were launching waves upon waves of attack (even as/like the rain poured) and it looked like a matter of little time before we break Dortmund’s back-line open again. More so, with Santi Cazola’s effort coming just inches off the cross bar just moments after coming off for Jack Wilshere – who I feared might have picked a knock.

As you well know by now, sadly so, Dortmund got the equaliser off a counter-attack; with both of our full-backs having sauntered forward, Grosskreutz cross was fired in from close range by Lewandowski to restore Dortmund’s lead in the match with full-time approaching. It looked like the kind of goal that we’ve scored so often this season when we invite and soak up pressure just to hit our opponents in their blind side. Arsene Wenger threw Bendtner and Gnabry on but neither got a touch as our opponents close the match.

Post-match reactions have seen the obligatory vile knee-jerk comments but even in the midst of the unwarranted negativity, I can’t help but wonder if we were a bit immature in the way we played; the gung-ho style of going all out against arguably the best counter-attacking side in Europe and passing the ball around carelessly in our half of the pitch against a high-pressing side which resulted in both goals is highly regrettable. Our lack of width to stretch their back-line also made our attack fizzle out too often, too soon especially as neither of Gibbs and Sagna, despite being good defenders, could deliver dangerous crosses to trouble the Dortmund goal. 

But as with matches at this level and against such opposition, there are no rooms for much error. Our knack for conceding cheap goals ultimately proved costly today and with three teams (Napoli, BvB and Dortmund) all standing on 6 points in our group, we can hope this would serve as wake-up call to keep the boys on their toes. 

Not to take anything away from our performance and from Arsene Wenger who looked just about 63 years old, then again, we’d surely have preferred 3 points with the wine bottles. I say we should take the party to Selhurst Park.

’til next time, be a fan…and a supporter.



Like the Arsenal, I make my long overdue return from blogging sidelines after another inter-lull spell; the kind now famed for its very unkindness. (Pun intended)

 Speaking of unkindness and to an unsavory start to the blog today, fate seemed to have  dealt our friend Abou Diaby another blow in his crotch with reports emerging that he has suffered a set-back and could be out till March, by which time he would have been out for one year.  No footballer deserves to face such grim prospects, not least Abou Diaby, whose sheer talents and hard-work speak volumes loud enough for his critics to notice and most of all, Arsene Wenger to persist with him all this while.

And it’s fine if you don’t rate him as a player, but making a mockery of his injury woes as he being a sort of con-artist trying to milk the club dry with his wages isn’t only insensitive to the feelings of a man who is down on crumbled knees but quite stupid as well, because I reckon he would rather be making giant strides like, say, Yaya Toure than sit there to collect, what in modern football terms is, just more than a pittance. Or in the very least, he would rather have his legs to wander the streets gallantly without excruciating pains in them. Best wishes to Abou Diaby as he makes a long journey back to recovery – his decision on his future is entirely his, I suppose.

To on-field issues, our upcoming fixture against Norwich has been flogged endlessly on social network sites even in the middle of several non-news headlines from Wilshere’s comments to Hodgson’s and other bits of nothingness apparently inevitable in the doldrums of International break. But whilst Norwich is no push-over, it’s fair to say the point getting several Gooners tails wagging {racist alert!} is the imminent reunion of Santi Cazorla with the rest of the squad to adding his spice to make a mouth-watering midfield combination become a tear-inducing one. Of course, I have my reservations, not just because I haven’t seen anything quite like what we might if, Ozil-Cazorla and the rest of our midfield gel like Arteta’s hair, but due to examples of some of our rivals {*cough Gazidiz *cough} where several individually brilliant players have failed to make a good team. Whilst we can put those failures down to big egos which you can’t say for our current team, it would be good if we can exercise some caution even as we dream.

Bollocks! Give me some Cozilla!

{More bollocks}

To the match proper, Norwich are a side which I have quite a lot of time for as I’ve always liked their manager mainly for being the only black manager in the top flight (and I’m not even racist) but more importantly, I like the way he has set Norwich up as a very good counter-attacking side with great pace on the flanks as Snodgrass and Nathan Redmond on either flanks can be a handful on their days – the former for his crossing and hammer foot; the latter for his trickery, youth exuberance and two-footedness. Though they haven’t scored as much as they would like; in ‘Wolf’ and more likely, Gary Hooper they have guys who can score the odd goal. If history is anything to go by, this won’t be any fun-ride for Arsenal as the recent past encounters have been trademarked with late drama and with the a champions league match against a strong German side coming up next, I hope today’s results won’t mirror last season’s lethargic showing when we lost one-nil at Carrow Road then to be thumped by Shalke04 a few days later.

More money, more problems: Arsene Wenger’s luxury of options which could get better in the upcoming weeks are sure to pose him a few selection questions. Does he start both Arteta and Flamini in a double-pivot? Does he drop Jack and play Rosicky instead? Do we see the return of Captain Vermaelen? I’d rather the manager worry about that and come up with the best winning formula. If anything, this season, we all now know that Arsene knows; that Arsene knows better.


‘til next time, be a fan…and a supporter.



Good morning, have you seen the league table today? Arsenal are no longer top! Isn’t it time to grab our panic button and roll the #WengerOut drums yet again? I mean Liverpool have had Suarez out for long yet they are above us – The Arsenal! Wenger has lost his grip on the team, Jack Wilshere now smokes, even Ozil eats pizza! That would never happen under a top, top class manager. Really? Can’t you see what I’m seeing, we are on a downward spiral. WE ARE!

If you read that and didn’t find it amusing, you probably should try reading again in Micheal Owen’s voice or something. But truth is, you’d probably not find the joke in it, even if Ozil assists you. Which is quite unlikely even, as Ozil and the rest of the squad, is getting set for the evening kick-off at The Hawthorns to reclaim our rightful spot as table-topper. So, no takers.

Having expertly despatched Napoli in the mid-week, Arsenal will seek to continue in their form fashion of beating teams right in front of their crowd. In Nigeria we say; ”it is but cowardice to say, ‘I’d beat you had this fight been at my father’s house frontage’. And we, being The Arsenal, taking pride in our class and taking points in other club’s yard is what we do. It’s just us.

But like every match – Home or Away, we’d need to put up a spirited performance as is now custom for this team anyway. West Brom would be laying ambush, likely basking still in the euphoria of beating a somewhat rubbish Man Yoo side but Man Yoo nonetheless and must have given them a huge confidence boost perhaps looking to pull a scalp of another of the Bigger Boys. The best/scary part of their win at Old Trafford was with the swagger at which they attacked United even after the scores were levelled from a Wayne Rooney free-kick. West Brom are a good shout for a Top 10 place and it’s not hard to see why; in Sessegnon, Berahinho and Amalfitano they are not short on flair and pace, Yacob and Mulumbu provides good steel, energy and protection across the middle and I like to think of Olsson as another Mertesacker; intelligent and quietly efficient. It is in their striker position that they seem to falter with Anichebe, Anelka, and Sinclair and Long not getting among the goals as yet, perhaps they are missing Lukaku from last season.

Of course, the sum is greater than the parts and if by singling individuals out as good/better as/than the opposition is how football matches are played then we’d have quite a rubbish game on our hand; or worse still, we wouldn’t have a game at all. Unless you mean Football Manager.

Arsenal aren’t short of quality at all, numbers perhaps as Sagna having been ruled out for a minimum of 3 weeks seemed to have taken up the space vacated by Rosicky to fill our treatment room quota. Carl Jenkinson is his natural replacement and he will looking to exorcise the ghosts of his last meeting with Sessegnon at the Stadium of Light where our young Corporal got sent off after being bamboozled severally by the Benin striker. That said, 8 months is a lot of time and Jenko would have learnt a thing or two from that near-death experience, and if his last performance co-incidentally against West Brom in the COC is anything to go by, we might be set for an interesting revenge-mission.

In the spirit of de-emphasizing the parts, it would be interesting to see who the manager choose to start in what appears a toss-up between Rosicky and Wilshere for a place in the attack. For team balance, efficiency and a tinge of bias, I’d rather Rosicky as he seems more fluid across the middle than Jack, which seems the manager’s point of view too, unless events from mid-week till now prove not much than a smoke-screen.

By that I mean, Rosicky’s start against Napoli and Wenger’s comments about Jack not exactly being a ‘No. 10′ rather more suited to the deep-lying role. To which I disagree, from what I’ve seen of Ozil so far; he is of course a better player overall than Jack at the moment but Jack has more verve to his game and influences play better than Ozil (as I’d expect of a No. 10), which, I must add could be tactical as Ozil seemed to run around more and get on the ball more often at Real Madrid. I’d just sit back and watch how Arsene plays his card as far as team selection goes, it gets better when Carzola and Walcott returns.

Looking not too far ahead, our intent today is clear; 3 points. With Liverpool, City and possibly Chelsea and Spurs breathing down our neck by the end of the day, we’ll have to double up and show spine worthy of champions. It is early days yet, and unusual pressure for this crop of players to sustain a lead on top of the league – which they have deservedly earned, but there are no handouts in this league.

Our quest is as of a young African village dancer, setting up brightly at dawn, charming and endearing with her beauty and silky moves, she has caught the eye of princes from far and near but now the music plays louder and the rhythm is faster, the swiftness and grace of a ballerina aren’t enough, she needs doggedness of a gladiator in fair amount, with which she would drink palm wine the King’s goblet yard by evening.
’til next time, be fan..and a supporter.


After taking turns in supporting John Terry and two midland clubs (Aston Villa and West Brom) to varied levels of success but overall satisfaction, it suddenly dawned on me as the hour of the evening fixture approached that Swansea Away could be one of Arsenal’s most important matches this season. That, could be put down to the paranoia induced by giant-killing which appeared the trend of the day. Or my desire to see Arsenal capitalize on the capitulation of the teams (expected) to be around them at the end of the season, because as often in the past we’ve failed to bank on the loss of others.

For long spells in the match, it looked like my fears are about to hit me Bang in the face; Swansea appeared more hungry and fit it, they kept possession better and recovered quickly whenever they lost it, they also kept a great defensive shape and it looked like just a matter of time before they made something happen. Their fans were absolute bonkers – those drums! But in a manner that is becoming more like a pattern, tactical MAYBE, they didn’t quite threaten our goal and give any real reason for us to panic save for the customary Scezeny momentary ”moment”.

The fist half bore wore on and the half time break couldn’t come any sooner but in added minutes of the half; Olivier Giroud who had caused a heavy thud of the heart for many when he appeared to have picked a knock was picked up by Serg-ing Gnabry after a mazy run through the heart of the Swansea midfield and defence but Giroud could only drag his shot wide. Not that I would have cared but if that had gone in, it had have brought memories of teams ”parking the bus” at the Ems to end up hurting us. And we’d be Stoking up even more. I digress.

As we saw several times last season and this, our second half performances have often been stellar (relatively) and it was no difference at the Liberty as we broke free from backward and side-ways passing, showing more urgency and purpose and it didn’t take long before our possession materialized into actual dominance. In what is a contender for the goal-of-the-month; brilliant passing and movement (21 passes in all) saw Aaron Ramsey gave the final pass to Gnabry who coolly slotted home in a similar angle to which Giroud missed. It was huge relief to all but Aaron Ramsey wasn’t done.

First, he made his trademark lung-bursting run to set Ozil up for what should be the second debut goal of the night but Vorm parried it wide. Not long after, Ozil picked the ball from rolling out of touch, he sent it Ramsey’s way, Ramsey back-flicked it lightly with a deft touch to Wilshere’s path, Wilshere – with sheer will – slid in to win a 50-50 challenge and get the ball to Giroud, Giroud cut-back to Ramsey….It was fairytale! Aaron went one up to shush the Home fans who’d been giving him sticks, understandably, for being a Cardiff boy. Swansea did got a goal back but it was too little to stop us sky-rocketing to the top of the log.

There isn’t much left to say. On a day widely-regarded as Arsene Wenger’s 17th year at the helm; a win to send us top of the league, beautiful goals from a rookie and a massively underrated player – who has turned a bend largely due to the confidence of the manager, are some of the hallmarks of Arsene Wenger’s reign at Arsenal.

Again, we are fucking top of the league!

Long may it continue.

Allez le Professur, allez la Arsenel!

’til next time, be a fan…and a supporter.

PS. I entertain jokes about Man Yoo in the comment section.


With Arsenal sitting on top of the PL table, majority shareholder of the club Stan Kroenke also took time out to ‘sit’ with the press and…finally speak. Silent Stan as he’s oft-referred (not to be confused with revered) by some Arsenal fans for, perhaps, his *strangely* calm demeanor and his refusal to pop up at the training ground to ”help Arsene out” (pun intended) – has in his time cut a figure of a guy in loins who eats honey and milk on an expensive ranch and gets his aids fidgety with a nod of his head. Or how would you describe him? Better put, how has the media made you describe him? Seeing as many of us only arrive at our ”facts” from plain surmising and conjectures, it’s always a relief when we hear from the horse’s mouth rather than having people who ‘claim’ to be friends with cowboys tell us – mere plebs – its mind.     

In his interview, he said all the right things *as expected*; his complete faith in Arsene Wenger, his desire to win a trophy as ‘he is not getting any younger’, his commitment to the club by stating he’s hooked and here for the long haul, he went on to debunk claims that he is only here to take money out of the club by pointing at his track record in his other sport firms as he’s ‘never sold a share’. He also made a good case for our current self-sustainability policy by saying even the ‘wealthiest guys tire out in the end’, probably sounding a fair warning out to the fans against a ”sugar daddy”; an Alisher Usmanov.

Now you may take all he said with a grain of salt and possibly interpret them as it suits your case for or against him because as with everything we often tend to have alliances even when unnecessary. As you may have guessed, I do not have a problem with Stan Kroenke’s invisibility/inaudibility, I’m not sure b how much an over-bearing owner helps the club. If anything, popping up at games and training grounds always, beyond putting a pressure on the manager, players and staff also reeks of playing on the intelligence of the fan-base. Owners are better perhaps better off, neither seen nor heard. More so, when there are more important things like working hand-in-hand with the likes of Ivan Gazidis to ensure our commercial revenues and annual turnovers will soon match Manchester United’s £300m to further enhance the signings of more players of the Ozil calibre.

That last bit with Ozil will likely have many fans chuffed as it appears we are in for some spoiling, but I strongly doubt we’d see more £40m+ players – moneywise – joining us soon. Contrary to media-driven opinions, Mr. Stan also said Ozil’s signing wasn’t a ‘statement’ but based purely on footballing reasons (rings a bell?) with Arsene Wenger deeming the player the right fit for the club. I also think Ozil, is one of, if not the final pixel(s) to the Arsenal picture frame. Arsene Wenger clearly have faith in the players at the squad and will likely look inwards for supporting casts to the main acts from the youth team and the academy.

Looking away from signings for a bit, I’d like to see our new economic boom invested significantly in the fans in ways like ticket-pricing and stuff. A fair reduction in ticket prices at home games and better conditions for the outstanding Away support is to me, of more value than signing Messi.

Billionaires tend to view things differently though.

’til next time, be a fan…and a supporter


Over the past few years as I grow into an adult (I’ll be 20 in a couple of days), I’ve come to learn that some things needn’t be spectacular to be special. I think of a child’s cackle, a woman’s smile, times spent in the company of family and friends…or more recently, an Away win at West Brom to lead Arsenal into the next phase of the Capital One Cup – done with a bunch of kids and a sprinkle of fringe players.

Yet, at the last kick of the match – Nacho Monreal sending the goalie the wrong way from the penalty spot – I couldn’t have been the only Gooner who pumped a ”fucking yeaaaaah!!” fist in the air. Our Away support were fantastic and drowned their Home support, as usual, while people like @AnuNande to name but one, due to their varying time-zones had to stay up till dawn to watch perhaps the most abject performance I’ve yet seen from an Arsenal side. But it didn’t matter much in the end

All of our players seemed either out of shape or form. Many of the youngsters on evidence of last night, save for Bellerini who came in late on, didn’t do much to further their chances of getting in the mix more frequently with the Bigger Boys. But how much of their future will be determined by jumping from regular U21 matches to playing a near-full strength PL side remains to be seen. But from what I’ve seen of Arsene Wenger, he’s hardly the type to discard off players he thinks ‘have it’ based on one performance. That said, many of them just don’t look the part, more so, as Arsenal appear to be entering a stage where we can spend more on ”world class” talents.

The older charges did a lot better and their experience showed in crucial stages of the match. The defense did really well individually and as a whole, but special mentions has to go to Carl Jenkinson. He (Jenks) still seems to me like a limited player, but what he lacks in [Spanish] flair, he more than make up for in character and effort. At one point, he was literally running through a brick wall of West Brom players to make something happen. Top lad that.

Bendtner too, depending on where you stand on his divide, did rather well given the circumstances. There was THAT chance he could have put away in the latter stages to send us all in cloud nine and stage a fairytale come-back for himself but Nik, true to his appearance, showed he’s more like a Kiyotaki Samurai man, than one from Disneyland. He’s clearly not in his best shape yet, he appears sluggish in chasing defenders down and his run into the post early on, signalled a player who haven’t been in an actual football match in a long time but take nothing form his touches, he linked up really well with his team-mates (who weren’t offering any real service) most notably in the, dare I say,  exquisite pass for Eisfeld which led to the goal. He also coolly slot his penalty home.  And while there were no real spectacles in the match, he offered one on his Instagram page. I like this picture, too.

PenoThrough to the next round and continuing a record run of Away wins, it is now 8 wins in a row since that opening day loss and not many outside of the Arsenal camp is making such a noise now, we’ve heard all about the crisis, I guess we’ve seen all about it, too :).

’til next time, be a fan…and a supporter.