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August 2021

Away to Naples Football & Cricket Club | Koscielny and James Brown

Not a bad weekend all things considered. We increased our lead to five points and drawing to Everton won’t have dented our confidence.

How good was Koscielny? The man had Lukaku in his pocket all night…

I’m convinced that two songs alternate in Koz’s head, depending on how he’s feeling. If he’s in that penalty/red card-conceding mood, then it’s the Benny Hill theme. If he’s bossing the striker completely, then it’s The Boss – James Brown.



Thoughts on Everton

Barkley is a formidable player with an un-English style. You know that sort of tactically aware, guile –that is either beaten out from a young age, or just never taught in the first place.

Put him in a team with Rooney, Wilshere, Chamberlain, Lallana and you have a team of compatible, creative players that might not embarrass themselves in a tropical rainforest.

I’m tired of watching Townsend and co do the exact same mindless thing. It gets me down. When have you seen a lovely piece of interplay involving Andros Townsend? When have you seen him slow the game as a tactical ploy? Actually scrap that… when have you seen him do anything but cut inside and fire another shot away? It’s such a primitive way of playing football (giving the ball to the fast guy on the wing). It might be the sort of football ITV appreciates, but it’s no way to build a successful team.

And no, these aren’t my prejudices talking – I don’t deal in tribal biases. I deal in statistics and averages. Andros Townsend – statistically speaking is a Tottenham player. On average Andros Townsend plays for Tottenham most weeks.

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You see what I’m saying??

Everton had most of the possession and many conclusions were drawn from it, with pundits probing:

“Can you even remember the last team to have more possession than Arsenal at the Emirates?”

Stoke, of all people, back in September. If you’ve watched us this season (or the end of last) you’ll have noticed a movement away from our usual possession-heavy game.

Everton were classy, but not hugely incisive. In the first half we did more in 5 minutes then they did in the previous 40. Their goal came from a piece of brilliance that to borrow an Andy Townsend favourite: “you just can’t legislate for.”

And to think all this time we had been enacting bills, carrying out arduous bureaucratic tasks in that vain hope, we, just, might have legislated for a Gerard Deulofeu screamer… legislation, it doesn’t win you games.


Though S.S.C. Napoli were founded in 1927, they were preceded by the odd and lesser known Naples Football & Cricket Club, founded by an English sailor in 1904. Presumably the cricket side was short lived and by 1906 the club became just the Naples Football Club. Now, that’s still two years of cricket! How did they field a team? Who did they play? Going by hazy geographical memory, I make their nearest away match somewhere around the Isle of White. [Actually no, there was one in Genoa and Arsenal were involved.  See the Arsenal History site. – Tony]

At our highest tempo there are few teams (none of them Italian) that can match us. We showed this in the home game against Napoli, where our first half performance was our best of the season. Napoli will try and bring the game to a level they feel comfortable with – a sporadic blend of counter-attacking, Italian leisureliness and fouling.

Napoli come into tonight’s game with one win in their last five. They are also without their best player (Hamsik). That said their home record is strong.

The situation at Marseille could work to our favour as well. With a freshly instated manager, seeking approval from fans who might not be thrilled at finishing their UCL campaign on 0 points. Couple that with Dortmund’s horrific injury problems… and you just never know.

A little rotation for the City game might be in order. Bendtner might be a rotation too far… but I believe in him!



      Jenko                   Per               Koscielny          Monreal


                                  Flamini          Wilshere


                    Rosicky                  Ozil              Walcott




Cheers all, enjoy the game,



The books…

Arsenal books for Christmas at discount prices




50 comments to Away to Naples Football & Cricket Club | Koscielny and James Brown

  • Sid

    Agree with your comments about Everton and Barkley. I was at the game and the lad was excellent. Hopefully he will not be tempted to follow Moe to OT and stay and be a decent player for the scousers and England. Obviously, if he was about to leave and if we were in need of a midfielder like him, I’d hope/assume Arsene would be in there for him.

    He really ran the game for Everton, his movement and touch were excellent and if he continues like this all season (and isnt yet another flash i the andros pan)then he should be a starter, alongside Wilshere for England next summer.

    I also almost agree 100% with your lineup. I’d make one more change and play Vermealen too. He needs a game, Kos needs a rest and I thought TV did extremely well when he started the manU game.

  • John Batty

    Nice piece. I agree with you; Bendtner is a rotation too far:p. The back 6; spot on for me.
    I can’t see Theo playing anywhere other than wide right, so I think that Santi will get the nod despite the fact he’s been out of sorts lately. He’s the only available player who actually gets wide on the left (well, a bit).
    I’m not sure that Napoli can afford to go “typical Italian” though. They need at least 3 goals.

  • Tom

    Nicely done
    Koscielny and Mertsacker were for me men of the match. Is there a player I’m PL that reads the game better than Mertesacker from a defensive aspect of it?

    On the goal conceded against Everton.
    Usually you don’t want to see any player show publicly any displeasure with his teammate but I liked it. I’m talking about Koscielny’s reaction to Gibbs allowing Delulofeu create enough space for himself to take the shot and score.
    It’s a sign of certain level of excellence reached by Koscielny and his way of saying that nothing less will be tolerated.

    Not to be too hard on Gibbs but there was another goal conceded this season ( I can’t recall against who) where he failed to attempt to block a shot in similar circumstances. He should probably work on that a bit.

  • Giddy

    When we played Cardiff, Gibbs allowed Campbell to have a free header only for Sczny to pull a horoic save. It was the same against Everton and again when we played Westbrom. I would bench him for some games utilizing Monreal so that he can work on his defensive duties.

  • Oliver

    I believe in Nick too!

  • Gord

    From the MatchCentre:

    > Arsenal: Szczęsny, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Jenkinson, Gibbs, Rosický, Arteta, Özil, Santi Cazorla, Flamini, Giroud. SUBS: Fabiański, Vermaelen, Monreal, Wilshere, Ramsey, Walcott, Bendtner.


  • AL

    That team is set out nicely, not too defensive and not too attack minded. You don’t want to be too negative or too adventurous in this kind of game.

  • AL

    BTW, yes barkley is a fantastic player. I was speaking with my colleague before the match and we agreed if martinez played a front 3 of lukaku, barkley and deulofeu then they could cause us problems.

  • AL

    That pitch is way too bobbly….

  • AL

    Will someone please remind, might have lost track at some point, wasn’t Napoli supposed to be playing this match behind closed doors?

  • Gord

    Just dropped to a fine. I think it was 25,000 Euro.

  • AL

    Ok, cheers Gord. As usual, just a slap on the wrist from the footballing authorities for a serious offence. Yet when Bendtner decided to show his pants they deemed it was worthy a fine of 100 000 euro. Ludicrous.

  • AL

    Koscielny, one word; immense.

  • AL

    Good performance first half so far. Seen a few sliding tackles on their right wing which haven’t been penalised sufficiently by the ref, not good. Marseille are drawing one all with Dortmund but they have had a player sent off, you could have bet on this happening.

  • Koscielny is on fire.

    I’m kind of glad we missed out on Higuain. He acts like a bitchy prima dona player. He needs to knock it and stop acting like his team mates are his servants.

  • It’s 1-1 in Marseille but one of their players has been sent off for diving. Which ref ever gives a 2nd yellow for diving in the first half of games like this?

  • Matt Clarke

    Well, not our ref, else Napoli would be down to 9 :s

  • AL

    It’s very harsh to issue a second yellow for something like this, esp so early in the game. The whole thing stinks, and feels a bit like that second yellow in the camp nou to the traitor.

  • Va Cong

    So pissed off with the shit ref at least 3 of the Napoli players should have been sent off if arteta was sent off. What a cunt

  • para

    Whew, I don’t want to go through that again. We did not take control of our own destiny, and it nearly backfired.
    We did not play at all, and let Napoli play. We cannot afford to do that at any time. So although i am glad we are through,
    that was a very disappointing performance from our team.
    I am not being a moaner, this is not what i expected tonight in any way.
    I tell you, the dread has still not lifted, not yet.

  • Sam

    You offer me 2nd place (and on GD, at that) in this group at the start of the season I take that automatically every time. Well done, Arsenal. Bigger game at the weekend, hope the players can rest quickly.

  • Va Cong

    Al didn’t know Marseille had someone sent of given on a plate to Dortmund then…

  • Shakabula Gooner

    Napoli 0 Arsenal 2.
    The ref. was very influential against Arsenal in the game.
    I bet there will be many that will come here and argue that it wasn’t the case.
    We are in all the same.
    I bet there will be many also that will come here to argue that this wasn’t enough.
    For me, we have achieved one of our objectives for December which is to remain in UCL and that is good enough for me!
    Now to the other objectives….Well done Gooners!

  • Sammy The Snake

    The red cards were lined up to ensure Durtmond go thru as top team. Still, qualifying from group of death is nice. This means meeting Barca, Real, Bayern, Atletico, or PSG in the next round.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Marseille sending off looked very harsh looked a pen to them to me

  • Mandy Dodd

    Bet it means barca again Sammy

  • Va Cong

    Oh well Mandy at least we are through. But I’m sure we could have done better this rotational fouling let off is becoming the norm against us. Do you guys think Man city will do the same?

  • Va Cong

    Who do think we will get Sammy?

  • Mandy Dodd

    Va Cong think city will milner

  • Va Cong

    Mandy Milners the new Barry then? Lol

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    City started their fouling in the 12th minute of the Everton game when Barry should have had a card for his “tackle” on Ozil. No chance of them stoppoIng on Saturday!

  • Va Cong

    Andrew! Noooo! Well we could score 3rd minute 🙂

  • sperez

    ‘The red cards were lined up to ensure Durtmond go thru as top team. ‘
    No, stop this conspiracy nonsense. The fact: Wenger once again is happy with the bare minimum. Now, chances are higher Arsenal will be knocked out in the next phase. Three years in a row now that Arsenal couldn’t advance, it seems Wenger wants the team to fail again.
    The likes of Bayern, Barcelona, Real Madrid and PSG are licking their lips in anticipation at the prospect of playing against Arsenal. Even Atlético de Madrid know how Arsenal are complacent under Wenger.

    ‘I’m kind of glad we missed out on Higuain. He acts like a bitchy prima dona player. He needs to knock it and stop acting like his team mates are his servants.’

    He is still head and shoulders above Giroud.

  • soglorious

    Was actually expecting your comments Sperez and I am not disappointed one bit. Get a life bro! Moaning about every disappointment isn’t good for your health.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    death, taxes and Sperez criticizing the Arsenal…the universe is unfolding as it should.


    Sperez, How come you only crawl out of your rat hole when the results don’t go in the Arsenal’s favor. As sure as ugly on a ape you posted your usually negative bullshit ASAP. Your act is fucking stale as a week old baguette. What is it gonna take to make you happy. How about another double, Or winning the Champion’s league. I can see us doing that and you will still moan about the trophies we didn’t win. How about Wenger getting the sack, I’ll bet that might cause you to crack a smile. Don’t hold your breath shit for brains cause that will never happen. Go seek medical help and get on some Anti-depressants. Your tiny brain is just screaming for them, You are one fucking sick puppy.

  • Mahesh

    Pretty sure, we will get Bayern! 🙁 We got them last year, didn’t we? Its like the team that is on the top, gets to play Arsenal.. same happened with Barcelona, when they were the top team in Europe. Unless, Arsenal become the ‘top team’ this year.. 😉

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Don’t really care who we draw in the next round – they all good teams .Only hope we are in a rich vein of good form when we play .
    Oh , yes a unbiased refree would be a bonus !
    What’s that ? Santa and the tooth fairy are both at the door !
    Golly ! Fancy that ! See you guys ! Later !

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Grandparent’s Answering Machine….

    Good morning . . . At present we are not at home, but please leave your message after you hear the beep.

    Beeeeeppp ….
    If you are one of our children, dial 1 and then select the option from 1 to 5 in order of “birth arrival” so we know who it is.

    If you need us to stay with the children, press 2.
    If you want to borrow the car, press 3.
    If you want us to wash your clothes and do ironing, press 4.
    If you want the grandchildren to sleep here tonight, press 5.
    If you want us to pick up the kids at school, press 6.
    If you want us to prepare a meal for Sunday or to have it delivered to your home, press 7.
    If you want to come to eat here, press 8.
    If you need money, press 9.

    If you are going to invite us to dinner, or, taking us to the theatre, start talking ….. we are listening !!!!!!!!!!!”

  • Brickfields Gunners

    (Taken from papers written by a class of 8-year-olds)

    Grandparents are a lady and a man who have no little children of their own. They like other people’s.

    A grandfather is a man, & a grandmother is a lady!

    Grandparents don’t have to do anything except be there when we come to see them…

    They are so old they shouldn’t play hard or run. It is good if they drive us to the shops and give us money.

    When they take us for walks, they slow down past things like pretty leaves and caterpillars.

    They show us and talk to us about the colours of the flowers and also why we shouldn’t step on ‘cracks.’

    They don’t say, ‘Hurry up.’

    Usually grandmothers are fat but not too fat to tie your shoes.

    They wear glasses and funny underwear.

    They can take their teeth and gums out.

    Grandparents don’t have to be smart.

    They have to answer questions like ‘Why isn’t God married?’ and ‘How come dogs chase cats?’

    When they read to us, they don’t skip. They don’t mind if we ask for the same story over again.

    Everybody should try to have a grandmother, especially if you don’t have television because they are the only grownups
    who like to spend time with us.

    They know we should have a snack time before bed time, and they kiss us even when we’ve acted bad.


    It’s funny when they bend over; you hear gas leaks, and they blame their dog.

  • ARSENAL 13

    I dont care who we get….We are one of the teams that can go all the way to the finals.

    I wonder how Arteta got red, when their player had 2 consecutive sliding tackle on Santi and got away.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    CHEER UP ….

    30 Life Wise Thoughts

    1. Stop worrying about debt.

    2. Forgive your ex-lovers.

    3. Stop trying to control your outcome.

    4. Look in the mirror and love yourself unconditionally.

    5. Leave the job you hate.

    6. Find your purpose and live it full heartedly.

    7. Adopt a furry friend.

    8. Don’t feel guilty for holiday weight gain.

    9. Trust that everything is in right order.

    10. Travel to the place you keep thinking about.

    11. Try something that scares you daily.

    12. Be open to change.

    13. Let go of your past.

    14. Stop trying to change people.

    15. Stop looking for answer outside of yourself.

    16. Stop thinking you did something wrong.

    17. Be your weird, crazy, beautiful self.

    18. Follow your heart.

    19. Risk everything for love.

    20. Reject rejection.

    21. See the world as a beautiful, safe, and loving place.

    22. See everyone as equals.

    23. Give up all attachments to stuff.

    24. Recognize the journey is the reward.

    25. Stay hopeful and optimistic in difficult situations.

    26. Welcome all life lessons.

    27. See the opportunities in every challenge rather than give up.

    28. Live your values.

    29. Inspire others by your own bigness.

    30. Play with the world.

  • For all those who moan about ref in yesterdays match,

    “But the most important thing is not to forget the now part. And to enjoy it. I have been called a loser in the past for this attitude. I’d rather call myself an enjoyer. Someone who enjoys the journey. The rollercoaster. The turns and twists”

  • Arvind

    Thank You Brickfields. I don’t quite give near enough credit as you deserve, but I read a lot of your jokes and writings and enjoy them a lot. Keep them coming 🙂

    As for the game, I mean – sure it’s always great if we win, and crappy when we lose. But really, that’s all it is. Whoever we face, we still have a chance. The game’s not over you know.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ Arvind – thanks , I just come here to think out aloud ,and am glad if people enjoy it . Being positive is quite hard ,but being negative and/or gives me headaches !
    Apparently not for some !

    Son: Dad, what is an idiot?
    Dad: An idiot is a person who tries to explain his ideas in such a strange and long way that another person who is listening to him can’t understand him. Do you understand me?
    Son: No.

    A: Why are all those people running?
    B: They are running a race to get a cup.
    A: Who will get the cup?
    B: The person who wins.
    A: Then why are all the others running?

    I was out for a drink with the wife last night and I said, “I love you”.
    She asked me, “Is that you or the beer talking”
    I said, “It’s me……..I’m talking to the beer”!

    Teacher : “Why are you late for school?’
    Johnny: “Because of the Sign.”
    Teacher : “What Sign?’
    Johnny : “The sign that says “School ahead go slow””
    (Apparently many of the AAAA are from this school !)

  • Pat

    Brickfields, those ones about grandparents really hit the nail on the head! Especially the ones about stopping to look at flowers.

    I realise now I’m not cut out to be a football fan. I just want easy victories! Those last minutes yesterday were far too tense.

    Anyway, we emerged victorious from the Group of Death. And for once that description turned out to be true.

    Per was self critical right at the end of the match. Shows the right attitude of wanting to do better. Fingers crossed for the early start on Saturday. As Arsene said, strange scheduling.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Since you’ve step into my confessional booth today , my advice is to chill out and do smell the flowers too ,but a word of caution – don’t stand behind any old geezer who has bent over – you never know what new smells may eminate !
    As penance for your lack of faith (as short lived as it may have been ! ), sing the following song as loudly as you can in a crowded place ( again ,away from the oldies as not to cause on accident in their pants !).

    Everbody now ….

  • Brickfields Gunners

    The Flower Show…

    Two little old ladies, Connie & Evelyn, were sitting on a park bench outside the local town hall where a flower show was in progress.

    The short one, Connie, leaned over and said, ‘Life is so boring. We never have any fun anymore. For $10.00 I’d take my clothes off and streak through that stupid, boring flower show!’

    ‘You’re on!’ said Evelyn, holding up a $10.00 bill.

    So Connie slowly fumbled her way out of her clothes. She grabbed a dried flower from a nearby display and held it between her teeth.. Then, completely naked, streaked (as fast as an old lady can) through the front door of the flower show.

    Waiting outside, her friend soon heard a huge commotion inside the hall, followed by loud applause and shrill whistling. Finally, the smiling Connie came through the exit door surrounded by a cheering, clapping crowd.

    ‘What happened?’ asked Evelyn.

    ‘I won $1,000 as 1st prize for ‘Best Dried Arrangement!”

  • para

    People, it’s a;right to be positive, but also to be negative when it is needed. It’s about a balance within you. Being ever cheerful when something goes wrong is really sad. When someone dies, we are sad, and not cheerful saying, well we all die. Then we have got it out of our system and we move on.
    This is the roller coaster of life, and to not have any type of balance, is pretty awful, and just not real.
    So got that out, now for Manc, who i do think we can win, as they are a strange mixture of expensive players who are still a little away from being a team, but we have to be concentrated and mentally ready for them.
    Why are we playing sat and not Sunday?

  • Va Cong

    @Para coincidence or just para noya? Hmmm who knows where’s there’s money there’s corruption