England v France Friendly? It’s More Than That! Plus French Arsenal Best 11 Ever

Now is Love, Sweet Love…

Please pardon the ancient song and the hippy-dippy sentiment of this Bacharach-David classic just as I plan to pardon the lyricist for ending a sentence with a preposition and the you-tube ‘artist’ for misspelling various words on his/her video… In fact, this is what I’m talking about…

That’s a couple of Englishman celebrating a Frenchman’s goal, even if the two in the foreground might be competing for playing time. It’s a team game, after all…

Likewise, today at Wembley, two teams will play football. The one will be trying to “beat” the other, but, really, it’s a gathering for the fans of the game. One which–if our hearts are in the right place–we can choose to make beautiful.

With the events last Friday in Paris, we need this reminder. Football, at the end of the day, is NOT about one team winning (and all others losing). It’s a game where more is at stake. Yes, competition is a part of it, but it’s also an exchange between people and cultures. If we adhere to simple rules–including respect for our opponents–football has the power to bring people from the far flung corners of the earth together.

As in life, if we do not, uglier things can happen.

I’m all for recognizing differences…France and England ARE different (and Vive La Difference, I say…) just as Arsenal and Spurs are different. That said, all four of those teams contain young men of many colors and nationalities and religious backgrounds and beliefs. Supporters may not see it quite that way and their support might be on the basis of longer standing divisions. Still, if you want the game to go on, respect for the similarities–even more than the differences–is the key.

In the end, it’s just football. Or is it? I would suggest it’s young men–no matter what kit they pull on–coming together to enjoy sport, competition (friendly or fierce) and fun–ideally in an environment of respect if not beauty or even love.

The Christian prophet (Jesus) said “Love Thine Enemy.” Trust me, I’m no Christian, but if there was ever a time to NOT divide the world based on national or racial or religious background, today is that day.

So, tonight in London, let’s do just that.

Then, tomorrow, in London (or rather up at London Colney, which is actually in Hertfordshire) let’s do it again when the Arsenal first team re-unites to train for West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.

The games must go on (as they say)… but maybe they can go on even better…

by 17highburyterrace

Today we have two posts linked to the England v France Friendly….

Today’s friendly between England and France made me think about how much France has become part of Arsenal and indeed English football.

France is one of my favourite countries and we spent many a holiday over there. Once you drive south of Lyon, you know you have entered a totally new area of Europe. From the Ardeche and Cevennes to the lower Alps and Aix-En-Provence, the world is pretty much perfect during the summer months over there. But Paris in Spring, and especially in Autumn, is also great, and so are summer holidays in the Bordeaux, Dordogne, French Pyrenees areas; and a week in Bretagne or Strasbourg is also a real treat. From food to architecture and from the gorgeous femmes (armpit hair and all) and stunning sceneries, France is a great country.

It is hard to envisage Arsenal without any of the French connections over the past 20 years or so. Just imagine there never was an Arsene Wenger, Petit, Vieira, Anelka, Henry, Pires, Sagna, Flamini, Clichy, etc etc at Arsenal. How much wonderful football would we have missed out on; how many trophies would we not have won; how much style and flair would never have graced Highbury and Ashburton Grove, or indeed the rest of England?

The sad and horrific events in Paris last week Friday will cast a shadow on today’s friendly. As a Dutchman, being both a Francophile and Anglophile at the same time, I do not feel the usual rivalry between the English and French. I reckon that in normal circumstances today’s game would not be played as a friendly but a lot feistier. Tonight, though, is about showing respect and support for the French and that we are united through similar values and beliefs across Europe.

However, I am still looking forward to seeing some of our Arsenal boys on the pitch, and I hope the game has a good tempo, with lots of passion to play some good football. As a measure of respect, I have put together the best possible French Arsenal team from players who donned The Shirt over the best part of the last twenty years. Just imagine all these players playing at the peak of their careers for Arsenal… we could have Arsene in goal and still win the league! 🙂

Arsenal France

Victory Through Harmony – Victoria Concordia Crescet!!

By TotalArsenal.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to England v France Friendly? It’s More Than That! Plus French Arsenal Best 11 Ever

  1. TotalArsenal says:

    Beautifully said 17HT, and great pictures! 🙂

  2. Cheers, TA… Yours is lovely too… When talking best 11s (at Arsenal, all time…) you should Cheq out who Pires recently included… Or just look at your previous post… 😀

    Looking forward to the return of real football and our crew of players, including the French, English, German (including those of Turkish and Islamic background), Spanish, Chilean, Brazilian, Czech, Welsh, Costa Rican, Colombian, etc., etc., etc…

  3. TotalArsenal says:

    That is interesting, 17HT. Le Coq and Flamini on the bench for me, as Petit was such a fab player, but Francis has still a while to go to claim that spot eventually. 🙂

  4. Le Coq Monster says:

    What !…..No Giroud ?…..you idiot !. 😆

    Vive La France !
    Vive Mon Coq !

  5. TotalArsenal says:

    Good point LCM, he could start in goal instead of Arsene..

  6. allezkev says:

    Great post Le Total and Le 17

    Vive la Entente Cordiale

  7. 17highburyterrace says:

    I don’t got no French, Cockie & allez… pardon…

    Over here we’ve even got Thomas Hitzlberger and Brad Friedel in the pundit’s studio… So, both those with hair & without are represented… 😀

    And there’s Wayne Rooney (speaking pre-match, not starting…) for those in, er, transition… (I guess Kane’s hair is in transition too…just in the other direction…)

    Congrats to Ireland & Hungary already through to the Euros… Too bad for Admir & Bosnia. Also Too bad for *everybody* that Norway (and their very handsome fans) didn’t make it, in my opinion, not to generalize, of course. At least one of Denmark or Sweden will… (Slovenia and Ukraine, too…)

  8. Oops, I guess Rooney plays… Only Arsenal starters are Gibbs and Le Kos…

    Lots of Spurs & Mancs playing, Only Chavs are Cahill and Stones (oh wait, he’s still at Everton)…

    Anthems & minute of silence done and nobody hurt… Now we just need to get through the match, too…

  9. 17highburyterrace says:

    Anybody gonna watch the game?… Because I’ve got some questions…

    Anelka? Far greater talent but has Giroud done more for us? Anelka (and Gallas) certainly have done some things in their careers that didn’t seem very good for their ‘teams.’

    According to my friends at Wikipedia, Giroud has 39 goals in 85 appearances for Arsenal vs 28 in 90 for Anelka…

  10. Watching all this English ‘talent’ on display (and knowing that ours is a super-sub at RB and center forward)… makes me think of some former England-first bloggers… I actually miss 007 & Island steve even if they were a bit tough on some of us, not to mention some of those Arsenal players… In truth, they had a good eye for French talent too… Personally I’m pleased to have Cech in goal (rather than Lloris…) but I’d take Varane over Stones for that 45 million you were talking about the other day, TA…

    Or Gignac (and Ben Arfa and Cabaye and…) for half the money Rooney would have cost (in salary, at least) back when we ‘could’–famously–have bought him…

    Plus, those guys could watch football and use a keyboard (kind of…) at the same time…

    Maybe Cockie’s around?… Still enjoying Ross Barkley? This English team is making me think too much about Thanksgiving (Spuds, mash)…

    Whoa Deli in the Alley, makes a bad (leg-breaking) tackle but beats his keeper, er, Lloris from distance… Game (rather) needed a goal… Kane stopped at the near post (to make Lloris feel better?)…

  11. 17highburyterrace says:

    OK, half-time here… There must be better uses of the internet than talking to myself… 😦

    As Cockie might say… It’s like watching yourself in the mirror… 😀

  12. 17highburyterrace says:

    Rooney, in the end was pretty classy with his goal…

    Colombia loses at home 1-nil… In the part I saw, Ospina was strong in goal but James was about the only outfield player who could handle the full match at 3000 meters (Bogota) while Argentina had a handful…

    Skiing here at only 2000 (meters) but then maybe some Uraguay-Chile when I get back…

    Does anybody watch any of this football stuff or is it just Youtube?…or maybe MoTD?…

    Back later to chat with you all…or at least my own echo…

  13. 17highburyterrace says:

    Next post… WENGER (is) OUT!!!!! (of the stadium)… Maybe?… Might get some more traffic and maybe even some comments, but we probably need to mess with the font sizes…

  14. njk84sg says:


    The Espnfc review on the Anglo-francais match reckoned that Gignac is a less mobile Giroud.

    But having only good memories of Gignac, i believe he is a good player for Monaco.

    Giroud playing in goal TA and LCM??
    He has the height but i am not sure…


  15. 17highburyterrace says:

    You need to check your beliefs, Just Kidding… Gignac played at Marseille (the past five seasons) and now plays in Mexico…

    This could be a language thing, but I was “just kidding” earlier and trying to make reference to Wayne Rooney’s 13 Million pound per year (approx 260K/week) salary. If he were to have come to Arsenal he would be our highest paid player by more than 50%… Soon enough Ozil will be getting a raise, even though he was ‘nicking a living’ (pundit-talk, look it up…) as it was… I’m not truly interested in any of the fellows I mentioned there… Sorry…

    Were you able to watch any football today? Uruguay-Chile finishes 3-nil, Alexis looking a frustrated figure (but still running hard…) having played the full 90+…

    So, a good day/night for those Southeastern SA countries (Argentina-Uruguay)… Brazil leads Peru 1-nil at halftime–the Ukrainians (or is it Russia?…they both spent years at Shaktar Donetsk…) Willian and Douglas Costa hooking up for the goal…

  16. njk84sg says:

    Ah sorry 17ht,

    I forgot the spelling of Marseille and i thought he played for Monaco many seasons ago, but never mind.

    But since it is Wayne the Manu**, i will shudder to think he will come to Arsenal. Hasnt floated in my mind yet.

    And nope i havent seen the internationals, just the local lads against Syrians. Outrageously poor game if you ask me.

    And for Alexis, he is too overworked.
    So many games with no time to rest.


  17. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey Just Kidding… No worries… A couple of summers back, Ivan Gazidis, Arsenal ‘general manager,’ made a public statement that ‘we had enough money to buy Rooney.’ It’s hard to figure his motivation, but it seemed he was trying to ratchet the pressure on Arsene to spend in the window. At the end (of the window) we made our record buy (approx. 50 million Euros) on Ozil.,.. Opinion differs as to whether it was a good one… (Relative to buying Rooney it has to be…)

    It’s hard to imagine Syria can field much of a team these days… Their best players are likely trying to get out… ;(

    In the bits of the match I saw Alexis looked sharp. Football is VERY different in all parts of the world and, generally speaking, the South Americans playing in Europe look a good deal more professional (i,e,, better) than most of their teammates. I meant to record the Chile match but it seems I screwed up and recorded the end of the Colombia match instead. Truth be told, Ospina looked very good in the parts of that one I saw…Luckily, the Spanish language station will replay the Chile match so maybe I can watch a bit more of it tomorrow…

    Final thought… I think it’s good you’re actually watching some footy…which is extremely different, in my opinion, to watching highlight videos. Football is a very difficult game with lots (too much…) of luck involved. Too many observers just want the happy ending even if the true beauty is in the journey (or struggle)… TA, when I spoke with him in Britain was still impressed with our nil-nil vs Liverpool, for example…Neither of us thought too much of the league cup match we attended up in Sheffield however…

    OK, enough philosophizing (American spelling)…even if that’s how the day began. Night, night for me…

  18. TotalArsenal says:

    I watched the Eng v France game but was not able to comment, and then had an early night. Sorry to miss out on your comments, 17HT. I thought Gibbsy had a solid game and so did Koz. After the second goal game was over as the French were not willing or able to stage a comeback. Given the circumstances, this was to be expected.

  19. TotalArsenal says:

    Also thought Sagna looked his old best.

    And hats off to Hodgson, he has done miracles with the England team and once Theo, Jack and Danny are back, he will have a good team to pick from.

    And, Seventeenho, definitely Stones for me. 🙂

  20. TotalArsenal says:

    And nice to hear Alexis looked sharp.

  21. njk84sg says:

    Alexis has only a couple of days to recover from his flight back and are we confident enough to rest him this weekend against the WBA?

    For me, he has been trying very hard to play for the team, but long term wise he needs alot of rest.

    His form has dipped in the recent games, but if 17ht mentioned that he looked sharp, that is good news.


  22. allezkev says:

    Does Arsene leave Alexis out altogether and tell him to put his feet up for a few days and rest?

    Or does he have him on the bench at the Hawthorns and only bring him on if we’re in trouble?

    Or does AW start him at West Brom and bring him off after an hour, providing the points are safe?

    Glad I don’t have to decide…

  23. njk84sg says:


    The decision lies with Le Prof. Lets sit back and wait for the preview and the match proper 😉


    By the way Seventeenho, my given name is Jun Kai, thus for simplicity sake i put a short form in this blog. And no it is not Just Kidding 😀

  24. allezkev says:

    True 84, it is Arsenes decision indeed…

    And whatever way he decides, he will be criticised, if Arsenal drop points or Alexis get crocked…

    In retrospect of course… 😐

  25. allezkev says:


    Interesting read….
    What the spin on your side of the stream 17…?

  26. njk84sg says:


    Its a quiet day today. Rambo is out for the weekend, but Bells is back.

    Yes, Bells is needed more than anyone else so looking forward to a good game on Saturday.


  27. Quiet indeed… I guess I took a rest day yesterday…

    A-kev… Thanks for the link… Very interesting stuff for me as I don’t follow the American Throwball, er, NFL stuff, at all… OK, sometimes at the holidays, if others are watching, I will too, but I don’t know the business end very well…

    Anyhow, it sounds like Kroenke will be moving the Rams back to Los Angeles. When last I had read about it (maybe 3 years ago…) he was working on a deal to build a downtown stadium for them. It was a massive (unprecedented…) deal that would have cost the state and local governments a LOT. That sounds like it’s fallen through so now it’s gonna be in Inglewood, where the Lakers (basketball) used to play, an area which is right on the edge of the big white and black divide in (working class) neighborhoods in South Central Los Angeles… My hunch is that the area is on the rise these days… If you were a cabbie in that area you would know all about it, I’m sure… 😀

    What it shows is that our owner is ALL ABOUT THE MONEY… 😦 …which should come as a surprise to no one. Taking a club away from one set of fans to a bigger/richer group is NOT a heartwarming story… Luckily, Arsenal already have their stadium built and it’s in a very up and coming area. I’m SURE Kroenke has been buying up properties all around the stadium since he got interested in the team. (Like everybody else, he probably also took a big hit when the market crashed in 2008…) Any further links you’ve got on the topic would be appreciated… Of course, I can do my own internet research too…

    For me, the bottom line is that Kroenke is a ‘good’ owner in that he’s got lots of money and won’t need to saddle the club with debt. It’s interesting that he’s started taking a few million a year in “consulting” services. Relative to the (approx) $1 Billion+ value of the club, it’s a pittance.

    Of course, compared to owners like Abramovich and Prince Mansour he’s a ‘bad’ owner in that the spending is based on earnings which puts us at a distinct disadvantage and makes the ticket buying public rather testy. As such, we have a lower wage scale and have to shop at the margins of the market. Near the top, sure, but any player who is getting sniffs from the silly money clubs is unlikely to come our way–unless money is not the top priority. Hahahahaha…. Of course players who have been snubbed at some of those clubs might think they’ve got a better chance with us…Ozil, Alexis, (and Welbeck and Cech) are names which jump out… So, if you’re one of the transfer obsessed you’d do better, IMO, avoiding all the names which get linked to us in the press and instead watching (or following…) Barca, RM and any other free-spending clubs for players lingering on the bench (or not even making the bench)… Players taking pay cuts–if they’re any good–seems a very thing…

    I like the boys we’ve got (and I’m glad they’re getting pay raises/contract extensions…) and (thank dennis…) we’ve got a match to watch on Saturday… Off to work on the preview…

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