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July 2021

Arsenal / Leeds – at least its a game where we know the team in advance

By Billy the Dog McGraw

I don’t know if it is just me but it seems to be easier these day to understand what Mr Wenger is going to do in terms of his playing staff for each game.

It is almost like the 1987/88 season when the same players would come out for match after match after match – irrespective of whether they were fit, injured, on holiday or transferred.

Lukic, Thomas, Sansom, O’Leary, Adams, Williams, Rocastle, Davis, Marwood, Smith, Nicholas

Every week.

Didn’t do us much good those days of course, but it made life easier, because the most you had to sort out was one player who might have stubbed his toe on a bottle of beer as so couldn’t play.

Under Wenger life has become more complex, but today we know where we are…



Henry Henry Henry Henry

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Henry Henry Henry

Henry Henry Henry


Of course there is some controversy there – the left back position looks a little dodgy, but well Henry is Henry, and so it should be all right.  Not sure about his new facial hair style, but well, these old men do funny things.

Apparently Mr Henry is also being employed on the Emirates building site – Mr Wenger saying the Henry could make his statue bigger.   You can catch him round the back of the workmen’s shed about half twelve, having a fag.

So, that is about it for a preview I suppose.  Except to note the subs.


Djourou*/Mertersacker  Koscielny  Squillaci  Miquel

Coquelin/Rosicky/Oguzhan Ozyakup   Benayoun

Chamerlain/Ryo  Chamakh/Henry   Arshavin/Park

*Now I have to admit at once that I am a little slow on the technicalities of Djourou being sent off in a league match.  I imagine that he can serve his suspension in this game – in which case he obviously won’t be playing in the flesh, as it were.  (If you think I ought to know this you are right, but I do recall a time when the cup matches were separated from the league games.  There was once a moment when Bergkamp got sent off for a lovely elbow in the face of some WHU player, and he was suspended for three, but played 3.5 hours including extra time in some league cup match just to show he could.  Ah, happy days.)

Anyway, back to the plot, we could have a back line of…

Coquelin  Koscielny Squillaci Miquel

and a middle row of…

Rosicky  Ozyakup  Benayoun

and how about this for a fun and games forward line

Chamerlain  Henry  Arshavin

The only trouble is that Oxlade-C is so fast that that old plodder Henry is so slow poor Alex will be charging up the line and then having to wait about for half an hour for Thierry to come up from the half way line.

Anyway, all the drains in my house are blocked up, so I have a plumber coming this afternoon.  Assuming he does the deed in good time then we can all toddle off to the Triangle, pay £888888 a pint and then watch a football match.

I’m quite looking forwards to it.


The Fulham Arsenal story in full

After Fulham – all the things the press reported but Mr Wenger did not say

London people are unfit to referee according to the referees’ association

What did Mr Wenger mean when he said “We know what to expect in London”?

Corruption in the Premier League: Poor-Bert – the next head of PGMO

Incompetent or bent?  Certainly one or the other.   Fulham v Arsenal – the ref review

Ref Watch – Fulham v Arsenal


28 comments to Arsenal / Leeds – at least its a game where we know the team in advance

  • Stu

    Couple of things: Brian Marwood did not join Arsenal until March 1988 so was not playing matach after match in the 87-88 season and if I remember correctly he did not really break into the team until the following pre-season. Also Fabianski is injured so will not feature tonight.

  • walter

    I wonder if we will see a change in sysmtem to 4-4-2? Arshavin in support for TH at some stage?
    I do think TH will start at the bench.
    And is Chamakh still in town? I though he should have joined his national team by now?

  • kk96

    Can Ryo also play on the left, in which case, we’ll have 2 very fast wingers

  • lorddennis

    I believe the reason why Chamakh is available and Gervinho is not is due to the people in charge of the Ivory Coast national team enforcing the maximum call up time available to them. P.S. I think Henry’s beard is super cool.

  • Shard


    I think Wenger said Chamakh leaves on Tuesday. So he should be available tonight.

  • nicky

    Many thanks for the chuckle given me on this grey, miserable Monday morning. At the end of reading your blog, I quite forgot who Arsene was likely to select, OR, in fact, the likely result. Now that’s a compliment indeed!

  • If Fabianski is still injured, who will be in goal? Szchzczchyzch or Mannone or Almunia?

  • walter

    Manonne is loaned to Hull… so it will be Almunia then.

    I know many people don’t rate him but a small remark about what happened after RVP broke the record of TH. Maybe it went unnoticed but I thought it should be mentioned jus to show what a great captain RVP is and what a great human being he is.

    After he scored the record breaking goal against QPR he got away from the other players and ran to the bank. A reserve player stood waiting for him and they hugged each other. The reserve player was not really recognisable at first with all the hats and caps and coats. But it was Almunia to whom RVP went.
    I think this was a nice gesture from the captain for a player that got a lot of stick from a lot of fans.

    Later I saw a picture of RVP celebrating new year with his wife and a few guests. One of them was Almunia.

    I think this shows the captains great heart not just for the starting 11 on the field but also for the squad players.

    Long may he be our captain. (Sorry Thomas, not yet… 😉 )

  • Andy Kelly

    Almunia and Squillaci together. Think I will be betting on goals goals and more goals.

  • @Walter,
    If it’s the picture from RvP’s twitter then it’s him, Almunia and Arteta with their wives.
    I also think that Almunia deserves some rehabilitation, in light of how woeful David De Gea has been for United, Almunia would have to be seen as one of the better Spanish keepers in the EPL rather than the worst!

  • tg

    It was Lee Bowyer Dennis caught with a trailing elbow. Shame. They went down that season.

  • I’m currently drowning in the Endogenous Money model for my economics exam, so many thanks to Billy for taking over preview duties so ably. Normal service will be resumed at the weekend hopefully.

  • The Spartan

    Make em dance Ox! I predict total annihilation of Leeds Utd ! I foresee their keeper fetching the ball at the back of the net at least 5 times! No referee in the world will stop us tonight!

  • Hey Spartan – I am just about to leave for the long journey south to the game. But could I hire you as my motivational therapist?

  • dan

    I’m more eager to see Ryo.

  • dy

    goalkeeper is the one at any team you don’t want him to have confidence crisis because he’s a lone figure between the two sticks without any helping hand. I’ve no bad feeling against Almunia, in a ideal world every fan would cheer him up when he comes on the field rather than throwing jeers and abuses at him. But of course that’d never happen.

  • walter


  • Mandy Dodd

    The headlines are written!
    How that will lift the boys!

  • Stevie E


  • bjtgooner

    What a return for Henry! One nil to the Arsenal, the winner by Henry! I think a wee dram is required!

  • RobL

    Someone hide his passport!!!! He can still finish!!!!

  • Mahdain

    writeen in the stars that..what a moment for gooners and henry personally… welcome back king

  • Shard

    THAT has left me with a smile on my face. What a player. YES!! GET IN!! as the great man himself said.

    Apart from the goal though, and focusing on some less pleasant people, Crapenburg showed serious disregard for Arsenal players’ safety, especially Arshavin and Arteta. Our players were hacked at, blocked off, tugged, kicked and he would do nothing. He played advantage to distract from the fact that he wasn’t giving a yellow card to the Leeds player, and call a foul instantly when we did have an advantage. He also might have denied us a deserved penalty. Sky (for I assume it was they) showed no replay. Which usually means that it was a clear penalty.

    Apart from that, I think we do need to score more goals. A finisher and a creative midfielder would be welcome. Even with Henry here right now. 24 shots and only 3 on target isn’t a very good stat. However, I am not trying to be negative. In fact I am very proud of how this team played today, and over the last few months.

    Oh and how about Yennaris? Which other team could lose FOUR..that’s FOUR right backs and still have someone come on and play as well as that? Of course we still need some cover at both LB and RB. and possibly in midfield too.

    But today ends on a good note. Despite the referee. Despite the injury. Today I am happy.

  • WalterBroeckx

    I have counted the backs also and I come to more who have played there. I just put it in the new article that came online just now.

    And you are not the only one with a big smile on your face. 🙂

  • Richard Fryer

    It seemed like it was open season on Arshavin tonight, and despite that he kept going. Clattenburg was certainly not doing us any favours with regard to fouls, Arteta also got a lot of abuse, then the Ox got a foul against him just for not falling over. Poor display from the ref, but awesome finish from Titi. He’s not lost that goal scoring touch, at least against a weaker team.

  • bob

    Clinical. How many ways to spell TH12!

    I fully agree that we don’t score enough and need another dead-eye striker – unless Ryo/Park have something special that fits the EPL and that fans don’t yet know about; plus more service is surely needed from the midfield, which means another (creative) midfielder would be sweet.

  • Ronnie Brown

    That was amazing.

  • Bing

    Again, we lost player that play in fullback.
    The year of fullback cursed.

    Maybe Mr Wenger must convert Ryo and AOC to fullback, like Gibbs.