GLITCH REMOVED! Arsenal vs State Aid United: WHUs pre-season, biggest fears, and the teams

Apologies if you read this immediately after publication, we had a coding glitch which made much of the article even more unreadable than normal.  Fixed now.

By Bulldog Drummond.

What is new this year is that for anyone who says, “Wenger should sign x y and z,” the difficulty with signing the very very best players is surely now obvious for all to see.  You might get one like Di Maria only to find he wasn’t as good as you thought, or won’t fit in, or you might find the top, top guys are just not available.   Saying “Arsenal need 3 players to be really big,” is all very well, but when Man U who are ready to buy anyone at any price can only get Bastian Schweinsteiger it shows there is more to it than saying it.

What we have got as the top transfers are…

  • Raheem Sterling to Manchester City;
  • Petr Cech to Arsenal;
  • Radamel Falcao to Chelsea;
  • James Milner and Christian Benteke to Liverpool;
  • Toby Alderweireld at Tottenham Hotspur.

It ain’t that much and it shows the genius of our getting Ozil and Sanchez, while bringing through Bellerin and Coquelin.   Four brilliant players emerging and signing in two years.  Pretty good.

One other season-starting snippet comes from the Independent yesterday.   They asked their various writers for predictions in which Glenn Moore their Football Editor, plus Kevin Garside and Tom Rich, their football writers, have Arsenal to win the league.  So good for them I say.

But they do also ask their writers to note their Biggest fear of the season

Here are a few…

  • Young English players on the bench.
  • That Twitter controversies and ensuing FA fines will populate the narrative of the season, taking us further away from the sport than ever. They’re nonsense. Don’t give them oxygen.
  • Government and Premier League continue to neglect the grassroots.
  • That football will be judged on what “Twitter thinks”.
  • Bournemouth fairy tale takes grim twist. Would love Eddie Howe and his team to cope with the Premier League intensity, but can’t see it.
  • The closed-shop top four, in which wage bill is the only determinant of where teams finish. An unlikely run – like the one that nearly took Liverpool to the title in 2013-14 – would be very welcome.
  • We spend more time writing and talking about referees. They make mistakes. And always will. Footballers do the same. As do human beings.

Now that last is from Simon Hughes, and it continues the newspaper’s theme that there is not even a fraction of a possibility that there is anything wrong with having a very tiny number of referees, an organisation that won’t reveal how it gets its figure of 98% accuracy for referees, and statistics that show that the distribution of yellow cards is both odd, and influential.

So the injury and missing list goes like this…

  • Jack Wilshire
  • Tomas Rosicky
  • David Ospina ? (Not mentioned in dispatches)
  • Alexis Sánchez (Some papers suggesting he will be on the bench, one even suggesting he will play – I can’t see that.)
  • Danny Welbeck

This compares with the list for the club formally known as West Ham United

  • Enner Valencia
  • Andy Carroll (of course)
  • Carl Jenkinson (not allowed out)
  • Winston Reid (not sure)
  • Joey O’Brien (not sure)
  • Pedro Obiang (not fully match fit)

State Aid United, as the club is now known, were tipped by some maniac drifter who wandered into a newspaper office, to break into the top four last season after they won two matches in a row.

In fact they ended up 12th, and missed relegation by 12 points.
Anyway onto the team…


Monreal Koscielny Mertesacker Bellerín

Cazorla Coquelin

Ramsey Özil Oxlade-Chamberlain

Walcott or Giroud


Some of Martínez or Ospina, Debuchy, Gibbs, Gabriel, Arteta, Walcott of Giroud, Flamini, Chambers, Campbell, Zelalem, Iwobi

As for those jolly if meaningless statistics

  • Arsenal are undefeated in 35 of their last 37 home matches in the Premier League.
  • West Ham have failed to score in their last four away matches in the Premier League.
  • West Ham have failed to win their last 12 away matches in the Premier League.
  • There have been two goals or less scored in West Ham’s last four away games in the Premier League.
  • The last 10 games between the two clubs have been won by Arsenal.

What’s more Arsenal have lost their opening Premier League game just once in the last 14 seasons (W9, D4) – and that was very much a referee assisted 3-1 home defeat by Aston Villa in 2013, after which we picked quite a bit.   West Ham United however have lost nine times on the opening weekend of a Premier League season – more than any other club.  Quite a record, and one to extend I think.

However, we don’t win that often at the start, just one victory in the past five years, against Crystal Palace last season.

Having secured third we didn’t do much at the end of last season leading to the rather odd statistic that we have failed to score in three of the last four home league games.

Olivier Giroud has scored five goals in five league games against West Ham – which could give us a clue as to who starts.

They are also without a win in 12 Premier League away games since 2 December 2014.In recent years we have had…

  • 14 March 2015: Arsenal 3 West Ham 0
  • 28 December 2014: West Ham 1 Arsenal 2
  • 14 April 2014: Arsenal 3 West Ham 1
  • 26 December 2013: West Ham 1 Arsenal 3
  • 23 Jan 2013: Arsenal 5 West Ham 1
  • 6 October 2012: West Ham 1 Arsenal 3

So what state are the State Aid club in, apart from being miffed that the BBC rumbled that they won’t even be paying the match day staff as part of the deal of being donated the unwanted Olympic Stadium?

As we know, Arsenal have completed a pre-season in which they won every public game for only the second time in their entire history.

State Aid Utd’s pre-season outside of Europe was… two wins, two draws, two defeats, although to be fair the team they put out against Colchester wasn’t really the first team.

  • 11 July: Peterborough 3 State Aid 3
  • 18 July: Southend 2 State Aid 3
  • 21 July: Colchester 1 State Aid 0
  • 25 July: Charlton 0 State Aid 0
  • 28 July: Norwich 0 State Aid 1
  • 2 August: State Aid 1 Werder Bremen 2

But additionally they played some Europa League games, having qualified through the fair play rules and so under the rules changed their name to Fair Play Utd.

  • 2 July: Fair Play United 3 Lusitanos 0
  • 9 July: Lusitanos 0 Fair Play 1  (Diafra Sakho sent off for Fair Play)
  • 16 July: Fair Play 1 Birkirkara 0
  • 23 July: FC Birkirkara 1 Fair Play 0 (3-5 pens): Tomkins sent off
  • 30 July: Fair Play United 2 Astra Giurgiu 2 (Slaven Bilic, Fair Play’s manager, sent to the stands; James Collins sent off.)
  • 6 August: Astra Giurgiu 2 Fair Play Utd 1

So having become Fair Play Utd they were forced to change their name again – hence State Aid Utd, and they have played a lot of games, and done a lot of travelling.

Thus we might expect quite a feisty match as they try to redeem themselves from losing in the Europa qualifiers, and from all the talk about their being in receipt of illicit State Aid, thanks to Mayor Boris, and the reluctance of other clubs to refer them to the European Commission.

That puts the pressure on the referee, who as we have seen in the referee preview, gives decisions which would have been more correct if he had awarded each incident on a toss of a coin.

This therefore could be troublesome.  But if Arsenal can just get a couple of early goals that should settle the referee down a bit.

5-1 to the Arsenal methinks.

Right, off we go to the Ems once more.

Arsenal v WHU the prelims and backchat

Ref Preview: you might as well toss a coin

130 Replies to “GLITCH REMOVED! Arsenal vs State Aid United: WHUs pre-season, biggest fears, and the teams”

  1. WOW. Can I get a pair of the glasses you guy’s are all wearing. They would make my wife look like a supermodel!!

  2. Stu Nova
    This is to be expected on a dedicated Arsenal blog, although some of it is a bit tongue in cheek.

  3. Only thing i have worries about is that the “ref” does an “Aston Villa” on us, else there’s no stopping us. SA Utd, now with a different leadership, may have one or two surprises, but the mighty Arsenal will do it’s job if the ref just does his.

    Swansea are stating: “We’ve come to play football”, and they do it well too. Their energy and “never give up” attitude are going to cause some problems for teams, and makes up for any skills not yet fined tuned.

  4. A 2-0 score for us would not displease me a bit . Goals at the 30th and 60th minutes . Ta very much !
    Go on guys strut your stuff , and here we go again !
    Up the Gunners !

  5. I would have thought they changed their name to Red Card United. Other than that, everything looks jolly. I expect them to honor their name and Aid us to all the three points.

  6. ” Be carefully when blindly following the masses ……, sometimes the ‘ m’ is silent !”

  7. Arsenal should have signed Schneiderlin. He wwasnt tricky to sign or much of a gamble.

    But lets gloss over that and make out anyone suggesting we could do with Ugmenting the squad is deluded or clueless.

  8. This game may not be as easy for they Gunners as we think. But it could turnout to be easy for them if they take some precursunary measures as they stepped on the Emirates Stadium field to play the match. First & foremost, the Gunners defenders and others should avoid conceding any own goal to the Hammers, as was the case at Old the Trafford and at the Bridge yesterday where Spurs gave 3 vital points to the Red Devils and the Swans dashed the Blues a goal to help them avoid a possible defeat. The Hammers could be rugged and physical and intimidating to help them contain the Gunners’ class. Therefore, the Gunners must play to avoid picking up any injury from the physical Hammers. And they should resist and form of intimidation that could make any Gunner to draw the referee’s card. And more importantly, the Gunners should not be goal scoring shy, but should avail themselves with any opportunity of goal scoring that fell to them. The Gunners MUST convert the goal scoring chances they will create in this game and not waste them. Any form of profigacy in front of goal must be eschew by the Gunners. The Gunners must be business like in front of goal and not be socially inclined. Thus making them looked goal scoring unserious at the end of the game. Therefore, the Gunners must pick their spots and execute them accurately to the letter. Hitting the cross-bar, the post, sidenetting the ball, shooting over the bar, heading over the bar and shooting to the goalkeeper’s hands must totally be avoided by every Gunner in today’s match. Enough of my lectures to the Gunners this morning. Once again my unchanged start: Cech. DebuchyRhino’KoscielnyGibbs. CoquelinCazorla. IwobiOzilOxlade. Giroud. My bench: MartinezMonreaBellerinDeAbreuWalcottRamseySanchez. Summary: in line with the rotation policy I am advocating for the Gunners starts this season, a fit & inform to play: Debuchy, Gibbs and Giroud should all start for this game. Bellerin, Monreal & Walcott should’t be monopolising all the starts as their starting collegues are also startable. The only 6 core Gunners starters that I consider cannot be changed if they are startable are: Rhinosacker, Koscielny, Coquelin, Cazorla, Sanchez and Ozil. Wilshere is OUT and matured natural and good Iwobi should be IN instead of forcing Cazorla out wide to the right to accommodate Ramsey at CADM position. This is disrupting the smother cohesion of the team. Please Ramsey, don’t be offended. You are a top senior Gunner. It’s just that you don’t fit in into my today’s match starts and game plan. You could fit in into my starts for the away game to C palace. However, I am not the Boss. I know he could overrule my 3 starters of Debuchy, Gibbs & Iwobi. You can trust the Boss to do that. My best wishes to the Gunners in today’s match. AFC 4-0 WHU @ Full time + added time.

  9. Bootoomee
    Sometimes Samuel’s posts come in triplicate, but you can’t fault his enthusiasm, Dexter on the other hand….

  10. Foreverheady

    Because he wanted to leave and Southampton wanted to sell for a set fee.

    wenger said he felt the midfield needed adding to. Given weve already lost Jack and we havent played a game yet im not sure we will be injury free this srason.

    yes you got me im miserable. If it helps you deal with shit to have such a childish grasp ofdifferent views knock yourself out. The fact you were so petulant and sneering of Samuels posts shows you up as rather sad classless

  11. Tailgunner

    sorry what I meant to say was…

    everything is brilliant Arsenals squad is perfect in every position. We dont need any new signings and even attempt in to discuss the possibility should be treated as if someone has mugged an old lady.

    hope that helps…

    anyway im off to the Grove to inflict my poison on poor unsuspecting gooners.

  12. What Samuel is trying to say (I think) is that the current manager of SA porkies ie state aided ham was quite aggressive in his playing days, didn’t use his brains much though. So that aggressiveness might be passed on to the players. We need to take our chances.

  13. The Team News at is out:

    Full team: Cech, Debuchy, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Ramsey, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ozil, Cazorla, Giroud

    Subs: Ospina, Gibbs, Gabriel, Chambers, Arteta, Walcott, Alexis

    And we see Alexis did in fact make the beach!


    Oh, and the Ladies play ManCity today.


  14. Gouresh: That is exactly what i hope Arsenal is aware of. This man looks to be a “if you can’t beat them, stop them” type coach.

    There’s going to be some fireworks this season for sure. ALL teams will want to stay up, TV monies next year, and PL pot is BIG.

  15. Dexter
    Whether we need positional strengthening or not ( and I think we do ), you won’t get any support continously complaining about Schneiderlin. People will think you have a man crush.

  16. Dexter, I’m one of those who was mighty keen for us to sign Schneiderlin, but for me any proper argument in favour of the move is a long and fairly complicated one, with the decision at the end- yes- a close call. And that was before any of the talk of 150,000 pounds per week. That, for me, changes it to a reluctant no.

    It’s reasonable not to reproduce any list of pro’s and cons and to jump straight to the answer,yes, but what’s bound to annoy those who probably don’t agree with the yes in the first place is to deliver the verdict with so much certainty.

    Not tricky? How could you know that?. If the 150,000 is true, it could not be trickier, or more expensive. Our whole wage structure would come under huge pressure immediately.

    Not a gamble? Only if you put Schneiderlin above any two/three of Ramsey, Coquelin, Wilshere and Cazorla. That’s the reality. Two spots in central midfield. I’m still hoping for another dm but i know it would make an already exceptionally tough balancing act an absurdly difficult one depending on the age/quality/status of the player brought in.

    Unlike the others, your comment didn’t anger me (you stopped short of calling Wenger an idiot, so that’s probably why) but if you want things to run smoother while making a point like that, a bit more detail about your thinking will help the cause.

  17. One of medja types commenting on the game, has mentioned that some of the advertising next to the field is distracting. Enough so that it will be removed at some point?

    Seen the banner yet?


  18. The commentary is pretty good, specially from the co-commenter an Irish guy. Tompkins just got the yellow he should have before

  19. Our BFG seems to be getting up front more than usual. Come on Per, put it in their goal!


  20. Only a few seconds after that error, the BBC had located a twit from the AAA. Wonderful reporting that. Not!


  21. One pass from scoring a goal, still we coukdnt achieve that? One team try, the other win. Screw football

  22. this being the first real competitive game, I can understand that some of our passing have been a little too behind of their intended recipients.once that sorted will score three in the second half

  23. If it gets to panic stations then we might see Sanchez come on for the last twenty minutes or so.

  24. Need to step it up – the finall ball is lacking – please for the love of God win this I do not want the AAA bashing to begin from the 1st game

  25. if we can get one, then the Spammer will kack it and fall apart.COYG!!!

  26. Defensively and offensively none sense
    Like we are playing with 9 players

  27. Glad Sanchez is coming on but not good that we have to resort to this in the first game. 🙁

  28. Buying big and getting a lemon like DiMaria is always a risk but not buying at all is just as much a risk when all the teams around us have reinforced. We have a great squad but can’t help thinking we’re still missing a pice of the jigsaw.

  29. Come on now, even if we lose this, it doesn’t make us a bad team. But fingers crossed even for the last twelve minutes.

  30. Fight to the end Arsenal, there is lots of time for 2 or more goals. Just start with the first one.


  31. Ozil is still a stranger to the full contact football
    Not a good option for this game

  32. My faith in the team and Arsene Wenger continues unabated whether we lose this game or not.

  33. Arsenal has to many players, still confused about their roles
    Ozil, cazorla, Ramsey
    Which one is the CM, which one is the AMF, who has to do the defensive job? Who should move to the sides…

  34. Hats off to Bilic, he did his homework today. Defensively WH have soaked up everything we could muster and made us sweat on the break. We really should be winning these kind of home games. COYG!

  35. it is time Giroud took some of the chances that came his way and we started pressing a bit more

  36. All our shots are straight at the keeper. Hopefully this is just a little rust that needs shaking off.

  37. “we had a coding glitch which made much of this article even more unreadable than normal. Fixed now”

    arsenal have s goalkeeping glitch which make their defence even more unreliable than normal. How do we fix that?

  38. I know it is unfair to write with ten minutes to go but what will the AKB crowd say now?

    This has been a dismal display by the entire squad, exclusive of Cech, who should take the blame for the 2nd goal more than the 1st.

  39. West Ham deserved that. They played really well. Hope we can recover quickly

  40. It’s okay to say that you want more goals from other positions but it doesn’t help when they’re not coming and your strikers aren’t finding the target. This is looking oh so familiar when we start a season lately. Cech was supposed to be the man to organise our defense but today… ouch! Anyway….. COYG!!!!

  41. Let’s hope Benzema wasn’t watching today otherwise that’s one rumour than can be quashed – finally. LOL!

  42. Another day where the ball team in every single second, nothing worked today. Mentally we were not there!

    I think what we needed today was Welbeck. I hate football when it is so cruel.

  43. Well, we tried. But at the end of the day, football is still a game which involves a significant amount of luck. Not to say we did everything well. But we did get 21 shots away, apparently only 5 on target. And we had most of the ball.

    And to look at the table, we are right where the Spuds were at the end of their game yesterday. Bleech!

    Okay Gunners, you had your blip for the season, let’s do better next game.

  44. Va Cong
    Why are you complaint about added time?
    3 minutes for the head injury., 1 minute for the second goal and another for any other substitutions. About right.

  45. Sooner get the blip out the way right at the start, we’ll see after the CP game. COYG!!!!

  46. Did anyone see the banner? Are the ads next to the field too distracting, I seen them mentioned at least twice in the commentary.

  47. Tailgunner, no 3 minutes for the head injur and at least 30 seconds for each sub so that should have been 2,5 minutes. I thought that at least 6 minutes would have been correct but not that it would change a lot.

  48. Well done West Ham you deserved the win, we never looked convincing today. Do not be disheartened chaps, this will turn out to be a minor setback.

  49. Gord
    They didn’t show any banners for some reason. I thought there were none up at all

  50. I suppose the AAA will be screaming from the rooftops, throwing every negative phrase they minds can conceive at Arsene, the team and those of us who don’t share their warped mind set.

    To hear some of them you could be forgiven for believing they only just started watching football.

  51. Thought the officials were okay. Only gripe was Tomkins not getting booked earlier but that’s it.

  52. Im sure this will be picked over like a crusty old bogie all week, and that a few of our old favourite visitors will turn up, having been quiet all summer I heard they were preoccupied with a bit of hanky- panky with their Mums and will now be over venting spleen.Yawn.
    Sometimes it better to accept a defeat like this with a bit of dignity. Next!!

  53. The BBC pretty much had an endless stream of complainers once the first goal was scored.

    I still don’t think Wenger is even looking at Benzema.

    We’ve got lots of speed to get behind defenders. BFG seemed to be getting up front a lot today, which is the height element. Giroud seemed to be striker and hold up. What variety of goal support are we lacking? Quite a while ago, I had suggested someone who could hit the long range shot, and my guess was the Jenkinson might be able to develop that. That would give a different opportunity for speed, if we had someone like Roberto Carlos sending in a long ball and possibly picking up a rebound.

  54. Let’s see who among ‘them’ comes here first to tell us how sh*t we are and blah blah blah.
    Kudos to ‘UK United’ though. They obviously did their home work well and we didn’t play like Arsenal most of the game. I didn’t understand our tactical play/approach in the first half. On that we gifted them 2 avoidable goals.
    Let’s hope this jolts us back to life. COYG

  55. Gooneress No 1
    With respect, I don’t think you need any particular mind set to see that we were poor & WH were very good no matter how long you’ve been watching the game for

  56. Good point Gord I always thought Ramsey was shaping up for that role but doesnt seem to be the case and yes Jenksinon used to be good for the odd screamer. It seems today when the area is packed-out we seem to play into bodies rather than hit hard and try to latch on to rebounds. Beginning to wonder why we let Chuba go as he might have been able to have given as an option. Still not 100% on Walcott as a central striker.

  57. Hugely disappointed with that showing but not surprised. Seen it all too often.
    At some point even the most vigourous Wenger supporters must call into question his abaility to get his players prepared.
    As the injuries pile up again and we open with yet another totally flat performance right through the team, who or what else could be the issue?

    I just hope today was enough for Wenger to realise he has to get a striker into the team. A real one. Not Giroud. Not picking on Giroud solely (none of our players were good today) but he is never going to be good enough for Arsenal to mount a title challenge, just like Henry has said.

  58. Tailgunner I do not believe you actually read my words and understood what I meant but never mind.

  59. I like Giroud but he always reminds me of Heskey,great at holding the ball but needs a partner to deliver the ball to. Have to agree Giroud IMHO is not the man to lead the charge on his own. Stil reckon we should have given Chuba a shot.

  60. Days like today I think were made for Podolski, when he let fly you didn’t want to be in front of the ball!

  61. Gord
    I still don’t think Wenger is even
    looking at Benzema.
    why should he? Benzema is NOT an upgrade over Giroud. He has scored roughly the same amount of goals for real mad as Giroud has for us. Giroud’s misses are more highlighted because Arsenal do not score nearly as many goals as Real Mad. Both players are good enough for 20 odd goals. Giroud needd to aim for at least 30

  62. Samrat Jha

    I am not someone suggesting buying Benzema. I think the medja has it completely wrong, that Wenger has never been looking at Benzema.

  63. I also do not think Wenger is interested in Benzema. He seems to think wehave enough. Hopefully today persuaded him otherwise.
    We have some very tough games coming up and it may be we have to panic buy again on the last day as we did a few years back.

  64. Well, I have processed 8 of the 20 teams that were in the EPL last year, for any game they played competitively, which works out to 341 games.

    Of those 341 games, guess how many Back passes there were, and who was called for it?

  65. Gord
    I know you aren’t. This is just to say that I for one don’t understand the reasons for getting excited about Benzema. But I will say this that Giroud needs to take his chances more as we don’t score that many compared to others

  66. The simplicity is that Arsenal were out played by West Ham together with clever decision making by Atkinson. Obvious reds were dished out as yellows. Fouls were given for soft challenges against Arsenal. The high foot was the fifth one in the series =why wasn’t the first one called? The subtlety of officiating interspersed with Noble conversation begs investigation. I suppose there is very little evidence of the radio conversations.

    Arsenal were a little shy of match fitness, particularly EPL fitness. We need a ruthless streak in our play & passing.

  67. I’ll always defer to someone who was actually at the game, but I saw no red card worthy challenges. Not a single one. But thought Tomkins should have been booked earlier so might have been sent off for a second yellow.
    The officiating was fair.

  68. Everything is brilliant. Its all part of the masterplan tk lull our rivals into a false sense of security. ..

  69. Mebace

    hahaha you crack me up! Is that you David Icke? Yes it was the ref… I wS at the game the ref had no hand in that shite abject performance. .. ohr plYers acted as if the game was won before kick off.

  70. Tgat waa a shocking performance. Witb no guile or goal threat. Never mid the shocking defending. But cleArly it was the refs fault.

  71. Rich

    thanks. At least you attempted to give a reaskned reply. However the DM signing wouldnt be competing with any llayer other than Coquelin.

    Although after today’s debacle any of our team is not guaranteed a starting place. Oops sorry no I mean it was all Atkinsons doing…

  72. Oops, should have been 345 games. But there was just a single pass back in those games, by Ben Foster of West Brom.

  73. I would want to believe that this was one bad day for many. Debuchy looks like he needed Belerin to teach him a bit. Really poor outing.l

Comments are closed.