Wigan preview: Theo, Santi, Ox and Pod to fire from all cylinders again?


Tomorrow, we will find out whether Arsenal’s vastly improved performance against Reading can be sustained, as Wigan will provide us with a nearly identical challenge as we had against The Royals on Monday.

Where surrounding clubs, Blackpool, Bolton and Blackburn, have recently failed to stay in the Premier League, Wigan continue to defy gravity. The Latics are in their eighth consecutive PL campaign and that is pretty remarkable, given the recent change in economic circumstances and the relatively small fan base.

What is not to like about Roberto Martinez? He is a gentleman similar to the late Bobby Robson, and is able to stage PL survivals on the basis of playing attractive football. However, with the limited resources available to him, Martinez once again is struggling to stay away from the relegation zone, as Wigan are currently in 18th position.

They are only three points away from 14th though, so there is everything to play for; and I am sure to be preaching to the converted, when I say Arsenal should not underestimate this game for one moment tomorrow.

Just like Reading, Wigan concede a lot of goals; and this season they almost let in two goals on average at home. They also like to play football, which means they will attack us as much Reading tried to do, and allow us the so hallowed space to attack them in. The likes of Theo, Santi, Ox and Pod should have plenty of opportunities to find the net tomorrow.

So the big question is will Arsene field an unchanged team against Wigan Athletic? For me, the answer is an emphatic ‘yes’. As I have posted on many occasions over the last few weeks, the main stumbling block for our team is finding our shape and identity again this season. Against Reading, despite the weaknesses of our opponents and a few costly lapses of concentration, we witnessed a team with a clear shape, structure and plan; and we need to build on that now.

The team has had a good break since Monday and I cannot see Wenger, who often prefers to keep the same team after a win anyway, to make more than one, if any changes at all.

Predicted Line-up (and preferred Line-up as well this time):


Sagna – BFG – TV – Gibbs





Can we make it three PL wins in a row? If we do, Arsenal will at least temporarily be in third place, would you believe it?!

So, time for the Gunners to strengthen the muscles of their under-bellies and put in a determined, never-say-die and professional performance, and to come home with all three points.

This will be our last away fixture in the North-West this season, so let’s finish off in style what has been a decent run of results up there!

I will be meeting up with the fantastic Wigan Gooner to watch the game at the DW Stadium and cannot wait for it. If you have a minute, make sure you take a look at Wigan Gooner’s fantastic website:


I am hoping that a 500 miles round trip will be rewarded by an emphatic win tomorrow.

Come on You Rip Roaring Gunners!


Total Arsenal.

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91 Responses to Wigan preview: Theo, Santi, Ox and Pod to fire from all cylinders again?

  1. Flatterer! 🙂 Another great preview Mr Total 🙂

    Tomorrow is going to be a blast!


  2. Red Arse says:

    Well done,TA, a really good Post and a wonderful accreditation for another excellent site – Wigan Gooner!! 😀

    I think that team would suit me just fine!!!

  3. Fakazani says:

    Impressive article that has a high level of accuracy. Consistency is what is important at the moment and three consecutive victories would surely be a starting point. I want to see though how we perform against 3 centre backs and a congested midfield with exceptional late arriving goal scoring midfielders as Wigan. I think this game will be more of an accurate gauge of where we are and going because both teams have all to play for. Hopefully all players (gunners ) fire on all cylinders because they need the confidence .

  4. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers Redders 🙂

    It would be really good to see the same team again: so we know whether a fluid-three up-front has future for us!

  5. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Graeme, flatterer? You’ll find Redders has the ability to flatter, or is that flatten? 😀

  6. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks Fakazani 🙂

    You are right re it being a sterner test for us tomorrow and I would also be surprised if we would get that sort of space again. If not, we might see the much maligned Gervinho getting a chance on the wing.

  7. TotalArsenal says:

    VCC 🙂

    How is it hanging buddy?

    Here are my predictions:

    The good guys, Pool, Shitty and Barcodes to win, Chavs draw.

  8. Red Arse says:

    It is an early kick off tomorrow, so we must win or it will spoil my Christmas spirit!! 🙂

  9. Herb'sArmy says:

    Hi Redders, I responded to your recent criticism at 02:48 this morning on the last Post.
    Thanks for the pre-match, Total.

  10. VCC says:

    Total….Hi…..Sorry not been around much….shit news yesterday…….speak later Amigo.

  11. oz gunner says:

    Hey guys I’ve come from the future (8 hours ahead) and I come with the news of the Apocalypse! The world is a crazy place, it’s anarchy!!! Spurs are the new favourites to win the league!

    (Not even the Apocalypse could make that possible).

    He’s a word or warning for you all (warning viewer discretion is advised!)

  12. oz gunner says:

    Cheers for the pre-match TA, quality as always. Wigan…bring em’ on! Bayern…eh we can take em’
    We took on Barca and nearly knocked them out of the competition (and would have if it wasn’t for a crooked decision and a heavy touch from Bendy). Chelsea won it last year!!! Yep the same Chelsea that Herb is going to continually rub in our face until we win the league again (even them I’m sure you won’t be happy herb my friend 🙂 ). Anything can happen, heck even FC BATE beat them 3-1 in the group stages. We’ve got Jack back!!!

  13. oz gunner says:

    Oz the ladder climber predicts as follows:

    Arsenal 6-0
    West ham vs Everton draw
    Man U

  14. oz gunner says:

    @ VCC

    I’m going to go out on a limb and say my Jack Russell would beat up your boxer in a fighter!

  15. oz gunner says:

    * fight

  16. oz gunner says:

    I hope all is well VCC, take care!

  17. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi VCC, sorry you had some bad news. Hope it is nothing health related my friend. 😕 😦

  18. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Ozzer 🙂

    Loved the second video – classy stuff! 🙂

    How are you doing fine friend? Uni over now? And I am right in thinking you are enjoying the longest day of the year, whilst we are doing the opposite?

  19. Herb'sArmy says:

    Hi Oz, if you genuinely believe that, you have missed the whole point of my opinions and we support different football clubs.

  20. oz gunner says:

    Tongue in cheek Herb, you know I’d never intentionally try to upset you.

    Howdy TA, things are good thank you. Unfortunately uni rolls on throughout the break. The Uni shuts down for two weeks but I still have access so I’ll be there most likely alone. So time to turn the volume up and do my best risky business or alternatively after an Arsenal victory…

    You would be correct, today was the Summer Solstice, it was a scorcher too. Apparently going to be 40 degrees on Xmas also.

    Hows things with you?
    I must be heading off but will respond in the morning.

    Nite all

  21. Herb'sArmy says:

    My selections this weekend.

    Man City – win
    Southampton – win
    Newcastle v QPR – draw
    West Ham v Everton – draw
    Chelsea – win

    You still haven’t updated the table, Total!
    Hope all is well, VCC.

  22. richie59er says:

    @Herb from much earlier; You bought up that old chestnut yet again, about Wenger getting paid more than SAF, I have previously referred you to the Swiss Ramble who’s work in this field is widely respected. He’s stated that the rumour you continue to perpetrate is untrue, so I ask you again, put some meat on the bones. If your source is the note in a prawn cracker say so, if not tell us why the SR is wrong and why your right? I have to say Herb the Swiss Ramble’s statements are all backed up with the figures.

    Next up you are definitely in a minority of one concerning the success or otherwise of Arsene Wengers transfer dealing. Your favourite SAF loses money hand over fist and has done since he arrived; his transfer record is a massive deficit. Arsene’s is still in credit, and yes we have missed talent, but on the whole you’ll find that Mr Wenger didn’t see them himself personally, he got scouting reports and tapes and yes because we haven’t got the big, big bucks when he takes one of his punts (Shava) it might not work out, but bloody hell AA has the talent, it’s the application that’s missing. Inevitably some of those scouted will slip through but I can’t agree with you assessment of AW’s transfers I along with 90% of the rest with think that, that is one area where it’s difficult to find fault.

  23. Red Arse says:


    I am sorry but I had missed your 2:48, earlier.

    Reading your response, I was initially very taken with the well reasoned and articulate way you argued your case, at first, and I have a certain sympathy with the views you expressed, although you are the one who misunderstood the point I was trying to make regarding Oligarchs.

    Their success, and Arsenal’s comparative lack of success, is down to the money those Oligarchs have profligately spent on buying all the top quality and expensive players available, for their clubs.
    It has bugger all to do with the so called incompetence of Arsene Wenger or the supposed lack of desire to win trophies.

    And not once did you mention the financial strain placed upon the club over the last 10 years or so, and therefore directly on the manager by limiting his ability to buy in the transfer market, because of the need to build the best and costliest stadium in the country, next to Wembley.

    That is where the discussion should begin and end.

    Unfortunately, you insisted on reverting to the very same point I objected to in your comment yesterday by praising Ferguson and demeaning our brilliant manager.

    Against my better judgement I will try to explain what is so maddening about your constant lament, but this really is the last time I will write about it.

    OK, you laud Ferguson, again, for his transfer astuteness as compared with our manager.

    This is despite the evidence to the contrary. That man bought Ferdinand for £30m from Leeds, and Rooney for £30m from Everton, and Berbatov for £30m from Spurs at a time when £30m was seriously big money, and no one else in the Premier League could match that largesse, which was funded by more Glazer debt being piled on ManUtd’s balance sheet – just ask their fans!

    Ironically you have also shot yourself in the foot by belittling AW for not buying Berbatov, while complimenting the Spuds for buying him cheap at £10m, and then selling him for £30m.

    But hang on, wasn’t it the same Ferguson, who you praise so highly, that bought an expensive pig in a poke by paying £30m for Berbatov and then made a huge loss when he sold him 3 years later for £6m?

    Talk about wanting your illogical cake and eating it.

    I could go on, but there is no merit in discussing this further — there is none so blind as he who does not want to see the door smacking him in the face.

    Talk to me about anything else, Herb, but I will not discuss this fixation you have any longer. Sorry.

  24. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Oz.

    40 degrees wow!! I can imagine why you are feeling ‘foot loose’ 😛

    All well here. Really looking fwd to Wigan game and Christmas with my family 🙂

  25. RockyLives says:

    Good pre-match TA

    I certainly hope we keep the same team as started against Reading.

    Wigan have few resources but Martinez is a good manager and his team has outplayed us on more than one occasion recently.

    It will certainly be no pushover – but if we can get the win it will be a great boost going into the Christmas break.

  26. RockyLives says:

    Hope everything’s OK mate.
    You know you have the good wishes of all your blogging friends.

  27. The Gooner says:

    Great preview TA, really enjoyed the nod to Martinez as his work and tactics generally go unnoticed. Consistency is the key here and we’ve had none so far, so a win would do us a world of good before the January window (since the game vs. West Ham was cancelled). Let’s see if Theo, Gibbs, Podolski and Cazorla can maintain their form since they’re the primary sources of our offence.

    UMF League Predictions:


    All to win. Cheers VCC for taking down our predictions and providing us with updates every week!

  28. Red Arse says:


    I am sorry I missed your message earlier — you know I join in with the best wishes of the other guys and I hope the news is turns out to be not too bad. Let us know! 😦

  29. The Gooner says:

    Hope all is well VCC, wishing you the best.

    Enjoy the trip to Wigan TA, I surely would have taken you up on your offer for the extra ticket if I weren’t about 3,000 miles away!

  30. TotalArsenal says:

    Richie, Herb, RA 🙂

    We all have our hobby horses, although RA is probably the most logical/ common sense kind of guy of us all.

    Herb has a strong belief that Arsene Wenger is nothing special and that he has in fact underperformed. Richie and I are on the other side of the scale. Many are somewhere in between and I reckon RA is usually quite close to the pure truth.

    However, football blogging is all about emotion and opinions, and we all gather evidence for our views as we see fit. There is very little I agree with re Herb’s ‘evidence’ that Wenger is not good enough, but then I respect it his opinion.

    But it is remarks like other clubs are winners/ want to win and Arsenal do not, that things will get a little bit hairy, and I can well understand why RA tooks such offence.

    Herb, we are all Gooners and if any of us would feel that Wenger is no longer bothered about winning but just wants to finish in the top four, all of us would be furious. Calling Arsenal in effect softies who do not care about winning is simply insulting. I do not accept that of anybody let alone a fellow (!) Gooner.

    Re transfer dealings. When there is a limited or no budget to buy players – and only if players are sold first – for a sustained period it is logical that a manager will have to take more gambles in order to get a squad together. Wenger has found a number of gems who he polished to top class, but he also failed a few times. For me it is all part of the situation Arsene had to deal with. If Arsene had been allowed/capable of holding on to a number of recent top players, it would all look very different now.

    Wenger has to rebuild every time, where Fergie can add players in the region of £50m a season without having to sell any key players. Do you realise Herb, what a massive difference this is?

    Yet, Arsene finished third and Fergie second and Arsene made it to the CL knock-out stages and Fergie was humiliated last season (twice in the CL and UEFA). Now as a BoD, who would you pay the most?

  31. The Gooner says:

    Also, a small update on some of our transfer targets:

    Huntelaar looking like he’ll re-sign with Schalke very soon.

    We’re starting to be heavily linked to 5 players:

    Luke Shaw of Southampton – dubbed the next Gareth Bale with better defensive abilities but clearly not as polished offensively and hopefully doesn’t dive as much if at all

    Lucas Biglia of Anderlecht – could rotate well with and eventually replace Arteta; skillful on the ball, good passer, similar to Song/Arteta in that he’s a good ball winner but not the physical presence many of us are looking for

    Fernando Llorente of Athletic Bilbao – President Josu Urrutia has claimed on many occasions that Llorente will not be sold in January, however he is free to sign a pre-contract agreement with any team. Also, he apparently comes highly recommended to Wenger by Cazorla. His size (6’5) lends to remarkable aerial ability and a knack for holding up play to allow others to join the attack. He should have no problems adjusting to the physical nature of the EPL, but his style of play is very similar to Giroud and like him, he lacks pace. However, Llorente is a more clinical finisher, more polished with the ball at his feet and can dribble past defenders if necessary and his passing/link up play is better than Giroud’s.

    Wilfried Zaha of Crystal Palace and Demba Ba of Newcastle (analyzed many times already)

  32. TotalArsenal says:

    hi TG 🙂

    Yep, Martinez has great potential and if I was him, I would ask Wenger if I could work with him for a season at no cost. He would earn it back afterwards in no time! 🙂

    Yes, really looking fwd to the Wigan game and it would have been great if could have come along. Do you have any plans to come to the UK anytime soon?

  33. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks for transfer targets update, TG. I like the sound of the Anderlecht midfielder, but yes, I would prefer a strong physical presence too.

  34. The Gooner says:

    Hi TA,

    If Martinez can gain more experience and continue to keep Wigan afloat, he certainly could merit some consideration into being the next Arsenal manager if AW decides to not re-sign past 2014. Unfortunately, RM does not have a history of success with a top club yet and I’m sure Arsenal will be looking for a polished manager to eventually take the reins. He certainly would make for a fantastic assistant coach though!

    No plans to go to the UK in the foreseeable future, though I am dying to go see an Arsenal game at the Emirates. I will definitely let you know if the plans change though :). Also, never commented on how cute Henry is! Haha hope he doesn’t soil that magnificent Arsenal top, I’ve got the same one.

  35. The Gooner says:

    TA, Biglia would certainly be better than no additions to our midfield but he just doesn’t fall in line with AW’s recent comments on how he’ll approach the Jan window. He’s only looking for top, exceptional talents to add to the squad. I agree with AW that we don’t need more “squad” players and we can’t commit more salary to these depth type players before we clear out some of the useless ones (Santos, Chamakh, Squillaci etc.). I would much prefer Strootman and based on AW’s latest comments it looks like he’ll have the funds available to acquire such a player.

    I should also let you know that I was just in the UK last summer and took a tour of the Emirates facility, which was my first time in the stadium :). Already being there last summer, I likely won’t be back in the UK for 2-3 years with my funds being required for other, more important obligations ;).

  36. TotalArsenal says:

    TG,if he does anything to that top he is in big trouble! Agreed on all re Martinez.

    Hope your plans will change soon as seeing the real thing is the best of all, as I am sure you know! 🙂

  37. TotalArsenal says:

    Aah TG, can I hear wedding bells? 🙂

  38. Herb'sArmy says:

    Thanks for the responses, Richie and Redders. As fellow Arsenal supporters, and well-meaning gentlemen, I respect your opinions, but it is an area we fundamentally disagree on.
    Mr Wenger said we could compete and challenge for the title by using our resources intelligently. As we’re not challenging for the title, that leaves only the obvious conclusion, Mr Wenger’s choice of players are somewhat short of the required standard.
    As for Berbatov, he’s a CL winner, so he did what he was paid to do. How many CL winners have we got?
    Mr Wenger has always rightly championed Africa as an emerging footballing nation, but we can’t even shop from the top shelf there. He spent most of the summer of 2011 praising Karim Benzema without making any attempt to buy him, he refused to meet the asking price for Gary Cahill, and is still scouring a replacement for a player who left 12 years ago, Emmanuel Petit.
    I assume the fixation you refer to is in regard to SAF. His record as manager of Aberdeen should have been evidence enough for the Arsenal Board that he was the right man to take Arsenal forward. He has proved beyond any reasonable doubt that he is a better football manager than either George Graham or Arsene Wenger. MU are a huge global brand, a money-making machine that will only get stronger and wealthier, regardless of FFP, because as a football club they dare to dream. At 70 years old, Ferguson still has the hunger, desire and the cojones to meet the challenge of the world’s best. The big money buys are more than compensated for by the prize money they earn. They dare to speculate which makes them a far more exciting marketing brand than Arsenal, who have the hand-brake firmly on,
    have every conceivable safety valve in place, and are led by…? A Board that are either too old or too pragmatic to align themselves with supporters dreams. A Board divorced from the raw emotion and passion that comes with top level professional sport. A Board far more interested in their capital gains than making The Arsenal a major footballing force across the globe. That’s why Ferguson was raging with anger at losing the title on GD, and responded by buying our only world-class player. We celebrated third-place like we’d actually won the CL, and it didn’t even register with our hierarchy that across London, one of our rivals were conquering Europe, hence no response, just the thought that by selling RvP and Alex Song we can balance the books. Does anyone recall why we left Highbury? For jam ‘tomorrow’?
    I agree 100% that there is no entitlement to silver-ware, it has to be earned with blood sweat and tears, but what would be a great starting point and engaging with the terraces, is if when they’ve lost we can applaud their application, professionalism and never-say-die attitude on the field. The whole set up at Arsenal is lax and hasn’t been good enough for a long time.
    I don’t seek favour, it is only my opinion. If that means you dislike me, Redders, so be it, but I will not apologise for the way I feel about my boyhood team.

  39. Red Arse says:


    I have said on many occasions that to like or dislike someone has nothing to do with blogging, and I certainly do not dislike you.

    It is true that you are set in your opinions, and you are unlikely to change them.
    That’s OK – why not – and there is no need to apologise for anything.

    I just will not discuss your opinions on Arsene Wenger or Ferguson any further, as there is no point, and I find it upsetting and inflammatory.

    In parting, can I point out that while I do not doubt your love of Arsenal, there are many others here who also love them, and find your apparent adulation of Red Nose Ferguson very galling, and out of respect for them/us, it might be considerate to let it go, at least for a while.

    I am sure that there are many more matters where you have opinions that would be of interest to us all, and I would certainly debate with you! 🙂

  40. The Gooner says:

    Soon enough TA, soon enough :). Honeymoon will surely follow that as an major expense so traveling may take a backseat! Of course there’s nothing better than watching a game live. I’m concerned about attending a game there since many of my friends who have been to the Emirates told me some games are like being at a morgue.

  41. The Gooner says:


    I’m going to have to go ahead and disagree with you on trying to curb Herb’s opinion on AW. I understand that you both disagree, yet respect each other’s opinions but you shouldn’t personally take it upon yourself to defend AW each time Herb attacks him. I, for one, enjoy the refreshing view on AW and Herb’s opinion really paints a picture that AW is nowhere near as perfect as some as you believe him to be. It’s easy to form an opinion that is pro AW and it’s quite bland, boring and unoriginal to be honest. Herb’s comments are of the quality that fuel discussion on this site and I can’t say that I entirely disagree with what he says. I’m not a fan of a lot of AW’s recent transfer dealings, and restricted budget or not, he’s made some incredibly terrible purchases in comparison to other managers with the same or even less funds.

  42. glic says:

    Good Evening Headaholic`s 🙂
    I love all the Doggy avatars, this site really is the Dog Bollocks !.
    Come to think of it, what a great name for a site !. “The Arsenal, The Dogs Bollocks”. hahaha

    Thanks ArisTotal.
    I want a win, I expect a win and if we play like we did on Monday, we will win, simples !. I hope you have a great time and If the game was on a Thursday night, I would have continued past Valley of the Orcs and joined you !.

    So TG is more interested in some masochistic bondage ceremony of ball and chain than popping over for a game at THOF with his BK buddies !. Stretch, will the Ford Cortina LX get us to Canada and back ?, I`ve got enough chloroform !. hahaha

    TG, lets not go after them average quality you mentioned before, listen mate, poor old Malaga have been given a one season european competition ban between the years of 2012-13 to 2016-17 and will gain an extra season ban if they fail to pay their debts by 31st March 2013 !. Why dont we pay off a bit of their debt by acquiring at least one of their best players, I`m sure you can give us a video of one of their best players, maybe a table raising one !.

    Richie`s right from earlier, commenting on my ” PSG scoop ” !. How long before Abramobitch sneeks in a dodgy £100m a year sponsorship whilst sticking his knob in UEFA`s mouth with……..Chernobyl Ukraine Nuclear Tourism Society……CUNTS for short !.

  43. glic says:

    I hope all is well buddy !.

  44. TotalArsenal says:

    “It’s easy to form an opinion that is pro AW and it’s quite bland, boring and unoriginal to be honest.”

    TG 🙂

    Bloggers are allowed to have opinions as long as they are true to it. It is not about being original or going against the grain at all. It is about what people believe that matters.

    I think you mis-read RA’s comment but I will leave it to him to get back to you.

  45. TotalArsenal says:

    Evening Glic, that is another fine comment my friend. Arsenal the Dog’s Bollocks would indeed be a great name. 🙂

  46. The Gooner says:


    You’ve misunderstood my point. It wasn’t to say that RA’s or your own opinions are unoriginal, just that it’s boring and bland to constantly read about how people think AW is doing such a great job, when in reality he isn’t. I enjoy reading Herb’s comments and it makes me re-evaluate his tenure as manager and take off the blinders periodically (which is what every fan needs to do from time to time). Keep in mind, I’ve always claimed that I don’t think there’s another manager who could do a better job and bleed red and white like AW does.

    Everyone’s entitled to their own opinions, but to try and curb Herb’s opinion is uncalled for. I understand Redder’s intention wasn’t to do that and was to encourage more fruitful discussion in other topics regarding Arsenal, but I think the topic merits more discussion and maybe both sides are currently taking it too personally.

  47. The Gooner says:

    Hahaha glic, unlike yourself I enjoy the company of a mrs. and haven’t started the descent to the “other” side as you have with Isco. Hopefully it isn’t the new trend in order to “excite” older men as ED in old age has been well documented 😉 – who knows maybe there’s a million dollar idea in there for you hahaha.

    Just for you glic since I know it might be the only thing keeping you “up” these days:

  48. glic says:

    Thanks TG

    I found another player on you tube to bash the bishop about, then realised he`s ours already , cant wait for part two !. hahaha

  49. Red Arse says:

    The Gooner,

    Your 19:03

    You are right to be upfront with your opinion, as is Herb, and I have said so.

    @18:27, I said to Herb;

    — “It is true that you are set in your opinions, and you are unlikely to change them.
    That’s OK – why not – and there is no need to apologise for anything.”

    — “I just will not discuss your opinions on Arsene Wenger or Ferguson any further, as there is no point, and I find it upsetting and inflammatory.”

    Funnily enough, as far as I am aware, I am entitled to my opinion too.

    What you may not know, is that Herb and I go way back, and this discussion, about Wenger and Ferguson, is a continuation of one we have had on many, many occasions previously, and the worse I can be accused of is letting him know I will not discuss THAT particular subject with him any further.

    However, I also let Herb know;

    — “I am sure that there are many more matters where you have opinions that would be of interest to us all, and I would certainly debate with you!

    I will repeat what I said to you in the first sentence of this comment;
    — “You are right to be upfront with your opinion, as is Herb”,
    and if you want to talk to Herb about anything you go right ahead.

    What you do NOT have the right to do, is to lecture me about my relationship with another blogger, or try to dictate what I will or will not talk to him about.

    If you have a problem with that — you just let me know!

  50. Red Arse says:

    Hi Glic, 🙂

    I was being especially evil about you and your cracked mirror yesterday and you were nowhere to be seen, to enjoy my extraordinary wit!! 🙂

    Even poor old Terry Telescope was on here looking for sympathy over all the tax assessment forms he has to complete PDQ — and where were you? Driving up to Orc Land to that strange striped woman you deliver buns to – or somesuch!!

    Poor old Terry!! 😀

  51. The Gooner says:

    I have no issue with your opinion as you are very well entitled to it. I had no idea that this debate went back so far and from the little sample I’ve seen over the past two weeks it just appeared as though you were trying to curb an unpopular opinion – my apologies since you say that isn’t the case. I just want Herb to continue to express his opinion, as I find it quite interesting and refreshing to read opposed to the constant AW love fest that tends to go around on plenty of Arsenal sites.

    “I am sure that there are many more matters where you have opinions that would be of interest to us all, and I would certainly debate with you!” This line frustrated me because I feel as though he can continue this specific discussion so long as he does not directly include/mention you in it. Keep in mind as a relatively new reader to this site, I’m seeing Herb’s opinions on AW pretty much for the first time.

  52. The Gooner says:


    I think I suffer from some condition where I become less fascinated with the players on our own team (aside from Wilshere who always seems to impress me). I don’t think AW’s a fan of flair and players seem to restrain themselves from expressing themselves for the better of the team. I have no issue with this whatsoever, since I love Arsenal’s style of play and their insistence to stick with their philosophy. However, if you look at this highlight package of Santi’s from his Malaga/Villareal days, you’ll better understand what I’m referring to. There’s more flair and individual skill shown in this game, but it could also be a testament to him losing pace and his game being less mature at the time too. Pay careful attention at 1:10 🙂

  53. The Gooner says:

    On a side note, if anyone’s interested in a unique fact: Cazorla scored more goals outside of the 18 yard box than any other La Liga player last season. Pretty impressive considering Ronaldo loves to shoot and from distance too!

  54. Red Arse says:


    You have made a good impression on BK, with your Posts and comments, and that goes for me too.

    The guys on here will tell you I am one of the thickest bloggers on BK, with only a limited grasp of English, so if you are unsure what I meant in a comment, it might be best to ask me to confirm what I meant first. OK?

  55. The Gooner says:


    Completely understood mate, never meant to get in between your on-going debate with Herb. I just wanted to make sure that the BK community would never try to curb an unpopular opinion! I really enjoy being critical of this team and reserve my optimism so I just wanted to know that I’d be able to express myself in the future without being “looked down upon”. I misinterpreted your comments, and I’ll be sure to ask for full clarity before jumping in, in the future ;).

  56. Red Arse says:


    Are you going to the match with the fabled Wigan Gooner, or is it just that you both happen to be going to the game?

    What’s he like at chess? You and your marble Chess table and hand carved pieces might be better matched with him.

    It is rumoured that I might be getting a chess set of my own to replace the old crappy hand held one I have, with the missing pieces, so that’s OK.

    Trouble is I was talking to a fellow accountant and trying to pick his brain about how best to play you, and he reminded me of how much I had forgotten about skewers and discovered checks and whatnot. Does not look good!! 😛

  57. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks guys for the mature way of dealing with each other regarding this issue. 🙂

    Just for clarity (and for all bloggers on BK): all opinions are welcome as long as there are no personal insults or discriminatory remarks being made (which has not been the case at all today). When a blogger is getting wound up about an issue it is best to let it go and just say that you have to agree to disagree on the subject. Cheers guys! 🙂

  58. Herb'sArmy says:

    Gooner, it has been a theme with Redders and myself. He hates me comparing Mr Wenger with SAF – the Arsenal ‘manager’ that the Board let slip.
    Sometimes people give Mr Wenger a messiah-like status, and consider him the best thing to have ever happened to Arsenal Football Club, I strongly disagree, and often bite the ‘dangled’ bait. For me, without inheriting Graham’s defence and the legendary Bergkamp, his record at Arsenal would look ordinary. Would Mr Wenger ever buy a player of Bergkamp’s quality?
    Chapman had much more structual work to under-take. He took over a side that had narrowly avoided relegation (luckily back when only two clubs went down), added to the fact we had not won a single trophy in our 39-year history as it was then. He truly transformed the club from the roots up, his tactics and his winning formula made us the most feared side in world football. His side is still the only Arsenal side not only to retain their title, but win it three years in succession. Tragically he died of pneumonia at 55 during the second of those three titles, but his legacy continued and was only stopped by the outbreak of WWII. His sides winning sequence spans longer than that of Mr Wenger’s, and Chapman had to start from scratch. That is the true test of a football manager’s ability IMO, and that is why Chapman will always get my vote over Mr Wenger.

  59. TotalArsenal says:

    RA 🙂

    My favourite move is double Dutch 😛

    Unless your Dutch and drunk with Jenever you just cannot deal with this move mijn fraaie vriend! 😀

    I am going to the game with WG and will meet up with him before game. I will leave as early as 5.30 for a 250 miles single journey and am realllllllly looking fwd to it! 🙂

  60. Red Arse says:

    No problem, TG.

    herb and I are OK.

    He is very knowledgeable and interesting with a long experience of Arsenal, and as well as that he is a decent guy who can argue his case very well.

    To tell the truth, I have recently been pilloried myself for being anti-Wenger, on another site, when what I was actually doing was being even handed, by saying that there is no doubting my admiration for what he has done for the club, but that he has also been contrary on occasion.

    I must be doing something right if both camps are having a dig!! 🙂

  61. Red Arse says:

    There you go, TG, you have a friend for life in my man Herb!! 🙂 Enjoy!! 🙂

    Herb, I was just saying you fight your corner very well, and you have not let me down! 😀

  62. Herb'sArmy says:

    And don’t let Redders fool you, Gooner. He is the most erudite, articulate Arsenal bloggers I have had the good fortune to talk to here and elsewhere, as well as being a qualified accountant.

  63. Red Arse says:


    That means you won’t be around much tomorrow, so I will be able to abuse everyone at my leisure!! 😛

    A 500 mile round trip to Wigan is a long journey, whether done in America or the UK, so I do not envy you, especially as it is also going to be raining heavily tomorrow. 😦

  64. Red Arse says:

    Herb, thank you for the compliment – it makes me blush!! 😀

    Got to go, guys, I have a number of friends who want to visit me tomorrow for a pre-Christmas chin wag – they must be mad!! 🙂

    I hope to be around for a while later tomorrow afternoon, but in the meantime —— Glic and Terry are in charge, with Herb monitoring them!! 😛

    Just kidding, TA!!!!!!!!! 😀

    Nite all.

  65. TotalArsenal says:

    All good stuff Redders. It might be raining outside but my gooner-heart will keep me warm! 😀

  66. The Gooner says:

    Hi Herb,

    And this is where we part ways in our assessment of Arsenal and AW. While I agree that AW has not been the messiah or has not been as much of a mastermind of sustained success as Herb Chapman was back in the day, it’s unfair to assess AW as anything but a success for this club. I’m not of the opinion that AW is the best thing to ever happen for Arsenal, but he’s certainly been great for us.

    Yes, Bergkamp and Arsenal’s defence were inherited, but AW’s astute purchases in the transfer market were what largely helped form the Invincibles and brought us three BPL titles, 4 FA cups and 4 Community Shields during his reign here. Also, he kind of redefined how EPL managers brought new talent to their sides by taking advantage of scouting the foreign markets. I think he has similarly brought with him to Arsenal and the rest of the Premiership an identity and football style that you seem to admire Herb for bringing – the beautiful, fluid passing game that we have become renowned for.

    There are many reasons as to why he has not been able to replicate the success he found early on: poor signings/purchases, limited budget, incompetent owner/board selling star players etc., but to narrow it down to a few pieces he inherited from a previous manager is a large overstatement. It’s not a matter of AW being considered a better manager than Herb, since Herb is widely considered the greatest Arsenal manager ever. For me, it’s a matter of AW being the right man for us based on what he’s done for this club and the loyalty he’s shown to stand by us in the worst of times. Ultimately saying that SAF would have been a better manager than AW for Arsenal is a moot point – he turned down the chance to become Arsenal manager because of his commitment to the Scottish national team and we will never know if he would have had the same impact at Arsenal as he did with United.

  67. The Gooner says:

    I haven’t even mentioned his unwavering faith in his own players and the youth academy. AW’s a BOSS, there aren’t many other managers of top clubs that would give 16, 17 and 18 year olds first team opportunities and eventually starting roles.

  68. oz gunner says:

    Well handled everyone. The respect in here is on another level.

    I respect your opinion as always Herb but after reading your comments for the last year and a half I think you’ve given me multiple ulcers. You my friend would be a great debater because you are one of the most one-sided arguers I’ve ever come across! Your stubbornness is to be commended but how can you constantly dismiss things that are pointed out to you.

    For instance Richie will point out to you the earnings of both SAF and Arsene, yet you don’t respond to that part. That is one of oh so many points I’ve seen given to you from several bloggers (Rocky, RA, TA, and even myself) but still you just come back with the same tired rhetoric.
    fair enough if you argued different points or challenged facts, figures, ect but you don’t. I know I’m frustrated when I write massive comments in response to you only to have you ignore the majority and continue with your points. As Redders pointed out, the berbatov thing, or the missing players thing, it’s all just ridiculous.

    I’m afraid I too am not going to respond to your comments until you show either less lopsidedness or stop repeating the same points over and over again

  69. TotalArsenal says:

    Right guys, I am offski to bedski. TG has kindly agreed to do a match report/ players rating for tomorrow, and I hope to publish it around 10pm tomorrow night.

    VCC if you are reading, hope all is well with you and family, amigo; and catch up with you soon hopefully. Hope the boys do us proud just for you, Victorious! Victory Through Harmony!

  70. oz gunner says:

    @ TA

    Glad to hear it. I’m definitely looking forward to Wigan, still spewing about West Ham though. Getting a new 60″ TV on Boxing Day and I wanted to watch Arsenal on it to break it in!
    Family…Christmas…bah Christmas is about one thing…the food!

    Christmas eve = massive bbq and beers
    xmas = massive roast and more alcohol
    rest of the year = training so I lose the weight put on over those two days

    god my mouth is watering already

  71. TotalArsenal says:

    haha Oz, BBQ on Christmas Eve – it just does not sound right! 😀

    When will be able to do PMR again, you reckon?

  72. oz gunner says:

    Not too sure as yet TA, still waiting on times and dates of my departure. I will let you know straight away when I can, i miss doing them!

    BBQ TA, it’s the only way to do it! I’m just glad I don’t live in Texas because no one does it better than them!

    Nite TA

  73. Herb'sArmy says:

    Hi Gooner, I echo what Redders has said, you have become a great asset to this site, your opinions are refreshing, always worth consideration, and always respectful.
    Ferguson agreed terms with Arsenal, the Board refused to wait the two weeks it took for Scotland’s WC elimination.
    There is no debate that during his first nine and a half years, Mr Wenger was majestic, and the ‘Invincibles’ were a work of art sculpted by a visionary at the top of his game. A hybrid of the Dutch/Barcelona philosophy inspired by Cruyff, it was beautifully executed by genuinely intelligent footballers who shared the same desire, and who knew how to get it done.
    It’s been said before, but I think the loss of David Dein was a huge personal blow for Mr Wenger, as a friend and ally, and as someone who allowed Mr Wenger to concentrate solely on the football. Since Dein’s departure, Mr Wenger has had to wear too many hats, take on far too much responsibility, and the level of quality in terms of players and the football we produce has suffered immensely.
    You’re right to point out how many youngster’s Mr Wenger has given an opportunity to, but many of those have been borne out of necessity to replace a player we’ve sold. He played the legs off young Wilshere, and we as supporters got sucked into the whole over-reliance issue. Rumours circulating about him being a ‘coke-head’ don’t help.
    He hamstrung himself into having to promote Szczesny before he was ready, and who will ever forget Keiron Gibbs’ nightmare in the CL semi-final 2nd leg at The Emirates? Our youngsters have often been left exposed as out of their depth, and there is no real legacy, no influential authority to instill into them what representing the club means. I wonder if they’re given a history lesson and are taught about the side of the 1930’s, players like David Jack, Alex James, Cliff Bastin, Wilf Copping, Ted Drake (who managed Chelsea to their first title in 1955), and later players like Jack Kelsey, Joe Mercer, Dennis and Leslie Compton, who also played first-class County cricket, Dennis representing the England Test side, Reg Lewis, Joe Mercer (responsible for MC’s success 1968-70). the ‘Double’ winners of 1970-71, what it meant to play at Highbury for 93 years.
    Yes we’re at a great new stadium, but because of a lack of continuity, it looks like a soul-less commercial Bowl, and it has failed to replicate the spirit and atmosphere of Highbury. The Emirates is in urgent need of a successful winning football club so that they can connect with their extraordinarily patient fan-base, and yet we seem further away from that than at any time during my support of the club.

  74. Herb'sArmy says:

    No worries Oz. I didn’t ignore Richie’s comment, I just didn’t respond to it. Mr Wenger is paid more than SAF, whether you or anyone else dispute it.
    I don’t ask you to read my ‘tired rhetoric’, if I feel concerned about the direction of my club I will express that in a polite, civilised manner when and where I like. I don’t need your permission or approval, and whether you agree with my opinion doesn’t really matter. So you wear Mr Wenger rose-tinted glasses, good on yer. Does that somehow validate your opinion and make you more right? You embrace the corporate mediocrity and let those who want to challenge the hierarchy, protest without you feeling the need to occupy some mythical higher moral ground.

  75. oz gunner says:

    I don’t wear rose-tined glasses Herb, he is definitely not faultless. I choose rather to constructively criticise not ask for the walls to be brought down. I’ll respect anyone’s opinion if it valid and brings across good points. I was just telling you so you know why i’ll be ignoring the comments that I’ve heard all before (and challenged numerous times). I’d rather show you my cards rather then you get all in a huff and threaten to leave again.

    Don’t make it sound like I’m a sheep following the masses, I’ve questioned his tactics constantly and wish he did some things differently. You however blame him for WW2 and the global recession! In your eyes he can do no right. So what if you’re a non-conformist you parade it around like you are a superior supporter because you don’t stand for this and that! No one ever questions your allegiance to Arsenal yet for some reason you always have to bring it up. It becomes a sad state of affairs when one starts to wonder if you will actually be happy if we win again under Arsene.

    I ask for evolution of Arsenal, you ask for revolution at all cost.

  76. The Gooner says:


    Thank you very for the kinds words and I thoroughly enjoy discussing Arsenal with all the bloggers here, including yourself. You all have very thorough knowledge of the football club and expand your opinions and knowledge beyond what the tabloids churn out or what the common opinion may be.

    I loved your comment above as you, yourself, have identified AW as a great manager who isn’t without flaws. I think the other posters have developed the idea that you dislike AW and think his work could have easily been replicated by just about anyone else. I’m glad this isn’t the case and I just wanted to make sure we were on the same page, because anyone who thinks AW’s time here was a complete failure is either ignorant or they aren’t truly a fan of this club.

    I must concur that the loss of Dein on the board was a massive blow for both AW and this club. AW has said on numerous occasions that it’s imperative to have a close relationship to those above you in the hierarchy of the club and a disconnect can be detrimental to the on-field product. However, beyond what the papers report, I cannot intellectually discuss the situation of the board and whether or not there has been a disconnect since Dein left. The only thing I can accurately deliberate is that funds have been restricted whether it be because of the financing of the new stadium, the board’s greed or AW’s frugality and our team has struggled to find success as a result. As I pointed out though, without actually working in the environment myself, it’s inappropriate to place the blame on any one party/individual.

    Of course there’s always a gamble when giving youth first-team opportunities, but without his philosophy a lot of these talents may not have been discovered if he insisted on constantly buying established players to fill the voids left by departing stars. No matter what the reason is to promote youth, the fact remains that AW has the balls that many other managers do not in continuing to give them first-team opportunities on a consistent basis. Over playing players in general (not just youth) is an issue I have with AW’s tactics and I believe this boils down to a poor physio staff, rather than a lack of squad depth (either that or AW’s transfer dealings have been obstructed by his faith in his players to stay healthy). There’s no reason why a top club that invests so much money on rehab facilities, trainers and physio should be seeing such frequent injuries to the same players. I understand that injuries are part of the game, but there’s a disturbing trend of players like Diaby, Rosicky, Gibbs etc. having recurring injury issues year after year.

    Going forward, addressing these issues by having better squad depth is the only thing AW can do. However, he’s currently stuck in a predicament where he must first offload past indiscretions in Chamakh, Santos, Squillaci etc. It’s also a catch 22 if he chooses to find a Diaby replacement or back-up for Arteta because if Diaby somehow manages to stay healthy and/or Coquelin or Frimpong finally start to realize their potential, then AW has too many quality players and not enough starting/squad positions.


    VCC, hope eveything is well mate. If i can help in any way ask TA for my email.


    yesterday, iwas stopped in the street by some no mark campaining for the liberal party. He asked what my political affiliations were. I told him straight, “ime an Anarchpissed”. He said what “Anachist”, i said “No, Anarchpissed, you Dick Face. I dont believe in rules, am pissed off, have downed a bottle of whiskey and thats why ime calling you names and enjoying it”.

    He tried to walk away but i followed him. “Dont walk away Zit Face. The Anarchpissed party believes in equal rights and opportunities, as long as your drunk as a skunk and do what you want. Join me”

    He was now jogging, dropping all his silly pamphlets, i jogged after him. “No point running, i like you and know that you like me The Anarchpissed party gives me every right to beat on you. I also have a right to have my way with your women, what does she look like?, shit like you?. You will be forced to watch, you might enjoy it?, ime sure i will. As Anarchpisseds we do what we want”

    He tried to enter an office building but the doors were locked, allowing me to corner him, put him in a headlock, and then simulate thrusts on his arse. ” Listen Twat face, once i have finnished with you and your Mrs, you will be so pissed off that you will get mad drunk and become a memeber of the Anarchpissed Party yourself. This is all for your benefit, and i might get some pleasure too”

    He then started crying and told me he was teetotal. After that i let him go. He wasnt worthy of the pleasures of the Anarchpissed party. I took his wallet as compensation. hahahaha

    Yes, i think we will win today. We are much better than the media portray. A top three finish is on the cards, and if we get past Munchen then who knows, we could go all the way.

  79. henrychan says:

    Hi guys.. Morning all..

    TA.. I love your team.. The same team in a different way..
    Santi for Second striker is another thing that could be amazing..

    Yes.. we have a lot of alternative now..
    But the same team again Wigan will be nice..
    But I still prefer.. Walcott – Giroud – Podolski as our striker..
    and Santi still play his role tobe our creative – attacking Midfielders..

    Another 3 points will make us on top three even for just one night.. hehehehe..
    Go Gunners..

  80. VCC says:

    Hi All…..Many thanks for your wishes, i’m really touched. Sorry to have worried you all. It shows what a lovely bunch of guys we have on here.

    My Family and My health is fine, and thats the most important thing.

    Total, I will send you an email soonest. Have a fantastic day watching the mighty Arsenal.

    Sorry I’m late with the odds for UMF league.

    VCC……… 20-1
    Rocky…… 113-1
    RedArse… 7-1
    TMHT……. 44-1
    Henry…….. 30-1
    Herb……… 33-1
    OZ………. 14-1
    The Gooner.. 8-1
    Total…… 29-1


  81. oz gunner says:

    afternoon gents. I hope al-habsi doesn’t pull out a great game again and maloney is one to watch, he’s a nippy little bugger. enjoy the game everyone. I’m glad everything is fine on the health front VCC, i hope the rest sorts its self out soon

  82. oz gunner says:

    how to soften up the game, give a yellow for a brilliant tackle. soft as mud

  83. oz gunner says:

    szcz i love you! Good commentators annoy the hell out of me! Every penalty we apparently dive. Why do they not saying anything when suarez, bale or young actually dive?!

  84. henrychan says:

    Ox played awsome.. just can’t believe he was replace by Ramsey..??
    I think Podolski and Cozorla didn’t find their magic.. and should had replace sooner..
    I think Arshavin and Rosicky must given a chance..

    But.. we win.. that the most important thing..

  85. The Gooner says:

    I completely agree Henry as you’ll see in my post-match report :). We played like crap but we got the three points which is all that matters!

  86. VCC says:

    Henry.. so agree with you… The Ox was superb today. He showed tenacity,guile and quality. I, amongst many others in my local, was astounded when he was taken off. Mr. Wenger almost shot himself in the foot by replacing attackers with midfielders. We almost paid the price at the end.

  87. glic says:

    Evening Vagimples 😆

    Haven`t seen the game, dont care at the moment if we were shite as long as we won, I`ve seen enough of us being good and lose !.
    I cant believe we`re 3rd, it was only a few weeks ago we were 10th !.

    Thanks to me, for my 500 mile round trip to Orcland on Thursday, to negotiate with Tony Pubis for at least a draw at The Theatre of Screams !, well done Orcs !. Only the minor detail of the negotiation to be settled. Sorry Stretch, but you got the short straw, so expect a visit from Tony Pubis, a naked Towel flicking session in your loft is all it cost to get us 3rd !. hahaha

  88. richie59er says:

    @TA Were you one of the lucky 4600 that coped for a £10’s worth of the wondefully named Emirates food vouchers? We were anything but fluid; however that was a very welcome 3 points. If that had been Herbs man SAF, him and all the pundits, not to mention the jurno’s would have hailed that as the sort of ground out result, worthy of champions not at their best. As it was us and as our expectations are so high, we honestly say we were terrible. A few results went our way today and suddenly things don’t look so bad. Thing is the table doesn’t lie, we might be in a crisis but we are 3rd in the table. We might only be 3rd on GD until the Chav’s beat Villa, but even so if 3rd or 4th is a crisis?
    Try to remember Gooners, the reasons your expectations are so high?

  89. henrychan says:

    Morning (here) all..
    A very beautiful Sunday..
    Spurs draw.. we stay third.. haha..
    Must we hope Chelsea draw or lose.. hehe..

    @TG.. Waiting for your post-review..

  90. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post – New Post! 🙂

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