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October 2020

The Rugby Team v Arsenal. Will we survive with legs intact?

Over 6 million page views in the past year.

If you are interested in the development of Untold, there’s a bit more on the home page.

And other announcement before we get going: there will be no post match report for the Stoke game as Arsenal Belgium are holding their AGM after the match, and what with Walter being the President of the club he’s giving a state-of-the-club speech.  Walter’s asked me to pass on his apologies.

The match preview, by Bulldog Drummond.


It’s Stoke, so I thought it might be time to have a pic of our Emirates banner in a match preview.  Sort of marks out the difference.

Meanwhile Mesut Özil, has been named the German Player of the Year for the fifth time in seven years.   To which Football 365 (who don’t do accents so I added it for them) replied.  ‘If Özil, is Player of the Year, I’m a Dutchman’ (a statement made by Johnny Giles).   Elsewhere the Independent suggested that Arsenal fans had “rigged” the vote.

Özil has has created 87 chances this season, the most of any player in Europe’s top five leagues.  But hey ho ’twas ever thus.   In 2015 he scored nine goals and added 20 assists for Arsenal in 49 matches.   But I suppose Dutchmen do more than that.

We have of late won against Man City, lost to Southampton, won against AFC Bournemouth, won against Newcastle, and drawn with Liverpool!
For today, for myself I’d be conservative and go with
Campbell Özil, Walcott
Ramsey Flamini
Monreal Koscielny, Mertesacker, Bellerin
Assuming we are attacking up the screen that is.  If not, I’d turn it around.
If we look at the indiscipline we see Stoke have 29 yellows and 4 reds, while we have 20 yellow and 2 reds.  So we have only 69% of their yellows and only 50% of their reds.  Which says something.  But you won’t read it in the press.  The other way around?  Front page news, of course.
There’s no beach in Stoke, but if there were playing therein we would have a selection of Ospina, Chambers, Gibbs, Gabriel, Arteta, Elneny, Iwobi, Reine-Adelaide, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Sánchez.  I suspect with Eleny and Alexis available Jeff and Iowbi will step down.
As always the media is reducing the entire season to one game, just as that rather funny Irishman Giles did saying that Özil did not deserve any awards because he didn’t do much in the Liverpool game.  Oh they are a bunch of laughs these ex Leeds thugs.   And you know things are crazy when Match of the Day’s preview of Stoke says, “Top four? Not such a potty thought.”


Mr W said thus: “We have had difficulties at Stoke. They have a good record against us in recent years, and I must say as well they have overall a good record against Man United, City, the big teams.

“They have done very well. They have moved forward as well because they have improved their creative potential with players like Arnautovic, Afellay, Shaqiri, Bojan – they can create and play.

“It is a good challenge for us as well because they have to maintain their record and we can show we have taken a big step forward and can beat them.”

Sadly Mark Lawrenson of the BBC predicted we would win 0-2, which probably means a defeat.

Anyway, Arsenal are looking for a third consecutive league win over Stoke – but that’s because the last two were at home.  We have failed to win any of the last five league visits to the Britannia Stadium, losing the last two.  The last time we won there was in February 2010 – when Ramsey was slaughtered, and the assassin was picked for England.

Meanwhile Stoke has won their last two in the league and have scored in each of their last five while we’ve only won one of the last five away league games.

On the other handed we have 43 points, (seven better than last year) a new midfielder, Alexis back either here or in the next game, and several of the others chuntering about on the training fields.

So that’s it.   No post match report for the Stoke game because Walter’s giving a talk to Arsenal Belgium, and I can’t do it because I have no idea how he can watch the match and write at the same time.

Oh yes and over 6 million page views in the past year.  Or did I mention that?

Some more anniversaries – these from the early days.  The rest as always on the home page

  • 17 January 1897:  The Weekly Dispatch published an interview with George Lawrance in what was the first ever review of Arsenal’s historic origins.  Born in 1851 Lawrance was the first benefactor of the club, and although now largely forgotten was of huge significance in both keeping the club going and ensuring a record was made of its early activities.
  • 17 January 1922: Bob John signed from Caerphilly.  He was Knighton’s greatest signing, and came to fruition under Chapman playing more times for Arsenal than any other player up to 1939.

The Untold Books

Woolwich Arsenal the club that changed football, is now available on Kindle at £9.99.  For more details and to buy a copy please click here or go to Amazon Kindle and search forWoolwich Arsenal.

Forthcoming titles:

  • The Arsenal Yankee  By Danny Karbassiyoon
  • Arsenal: The Long Sleep 1953-1970.  By John Sowman.  Introduction by Bob Wilson.


78 comments to The Rugby Team v Arsenal. Will we survive with legs intact?

  • Wolfgang

    Will we survive with legs intact is spot on.Ramsey was injured by Shawcross.
    So don’t be surprised Ozil/Giroud or key gunners could be intimidated by robust tackles .Maybe Arsenal will carry some injuries.
    It’s up to the ref to punish the thugs.And there are many of them in the epl. These thugs have been
    lightly dealt with. A 3 match ban aint enough. It shd be at least ten matches and the errant club docked points.
    That would cut down the number of thugs and with it less injured players.

  • Usama Zaka

    I saw the Untold’s banner in the last home Fa cup game against Sunderland. While watching on TV it really stood out to be honest. The big bold capital font really works great.

  • para

    Lets hope AW is right 🙂 and “we can show we have taken a big step forward and can beat them”.


  • Al

    Wish this match had been played yesterday, we don’t do so well in wet conditions. COYG!!

  • Laos gooner

    For me it is still as puzzling as the 50th game at very old trafford. Just as any blind man could see injustice that day, the fact that shawcross gives verbal and starts pointing fingers at our players, is carefully neglected when comments about the lack of intent in that challenge. All part of the media buying into the PGMO mystery rather than investigate why such things should have been un-noticed at the time. I will be happy if we get all our players back to London with all limbs still attached. I would be even happier if some journalists were to investigate why the PGMO are allowed to operate in the manner they do.

  • hrishi

    Let’s hope that Hughes’ attempt to make Stoke a better side leads to a good game of football and, quite ironically, easier for us to play.
    They have a few disgraceful fans though. When was it ever ok for fans to boo a player whose career was nearly ended by one of their own?

  • Tasos

    Qzil out.

    OX in

  • Tasos

    Ozil out

    Ox in

  • Tony Attwood

    Cech, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Ramsey, Flamini, Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Campbell, Giroud.

    New signing Mohamed Elneny starts on the bench.

    Subs: Gibbs, Gabriel, Arteta, Ospina, El-Nenny, Iwobi, Chambers.

  • Tony Attwood

    So no Alexis and no Ozil. Ozil picked up a knock in training and didn’t travel. Ospina returns to back up keeper duty.

  • Tony Attwood

    On the other hand it could just be protection. We all saw how Ozil was treated by Southampton being pushed in the back at every moment with no protection from the ref. Given the ref team it could be a bit of protection of his own. Same with Alexis, if he were in the team the Rugby Boys would undoubtedly target him. Better to use the side that has been seeing us through.

  • Al

    Let’s hope it is nothing serious re Ozil…

  • para

    Glad Ozil is not playing today, was worried that he will be targeted.

  • Tasos

    Liverpool pay the price for their efforts against us by allowing Man Utd to somehow win at Anfield 1-0.

    Lets hope Arsenal can finds the physical reserves to get a something from the today’s game.

    A draw is no bad result at The Britannia.

  • serge

    You wouldn’t normally think of Stoke City as a footballing team, but Hughes has brought in some very talented & skilled players, but I read that Arnautovic & Shaqiri have hamstring injuries so while that may benefit us on one hand it will probably signal the entrance of Mr Nasty ( the strangler) himself.

  • ARSENAL 13

    Come on gunners…

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    Happy Sunday to all the Gooners. Walter’s apologies accepted.

    Arsenal will beat Stoke City in today’s Premier League game at the Britannia. Why? Arsenal are bigger than Stoke in all aspects of the game. Arsenal’s squad is by far the costlier and stronger than that of Stoke.

    Since that be the case, the Gunners should then go ahead to play to their full potential and beat Stoke to all the 3 points at stake.

    To achieve this victory, the Boss should first be mindful of the fact that the Gunners’ defense line has conceded 7 goals in their last 2 Premier League games away to Southampton and Liverpool.

    Why has this heavy conceding happened? Something the matter with the capacity of our Dmf to protect our back-line? And is one of our CBs lacking in pace to hold his ground in high intensity pressure match, moreso at big and difficult away games than playing at the Ems?

    Should the Boss starts De Aberu(Gabriel) alongside Koscielny at the heart of the Gunners’ defense-line today for the Stoke game. And also, should the Boss equally starts his recently acquired new Dmf Elneny and alongside Ramsey who will be storming forward in search of goals?

    These are 2 issues I want the Boss to address for today’s match against Stoke. But he should by now have decided on who he’ll starts against Stoke. Hopefully, I will see the names of De Aberu and Elneny in his starting line-up when I check it after I’ve finished the typing of my comment.

    Yes, the Gunners can beat the Potters very well today if they can convert at least 75-80% of the goals scoring chances they will create in this game. The Gunners are master creators of chances through Ozil and others. But the problem is, they don’t convert the majority of the chances the created. But just a low percentage of them they take. Thus is the reason we don’t see the Gunners win big, like they won 2-5 the other time at Leicester.

    Goals difference counts. It could decide who will be the Champions at the end of the season. Man City are scoring big, due to their converting most of the chances that comes their ways. The Gunners MUST henceforth start to convert most of their chances to goals too.

    I believe Arsenal can still win this season’s title with 90 points on the final day of the BPL games if they will not drop more than 4 points in their remaining 17 games of the season which I believe is a possibility that can happen.

    I have just checked the Boss’ starts and he has done only 1 change(the Ox) to his team that started the Liverpool game? But he has De Aberu and Elneny on the bench. He could bring them on quickly if there is the need to do that. SCFC 0-5 AFC at full-time +.

  • Al

    Stoke crowd disgusting, their number 11 trying to dive at every opportunity.

  • Al

    Have had to mute this time, not because of the commentary but because of the stupid crowd.

  • ARSENAL 13

    Girooooooooo…. Almost.

    Come on gunners

  • ARSENAL 13

    Wow…time wasting in 22 mins!!!!

  • Al

    Come on ref!

  • ARSENAL 13

    No foul on Ox!!!!

  • Al

    Campbell with a few defence splitting passes….

  • ARSENAL 13


  • Al

    This nearside linesman giving all throw-ins to Stoke. Perhaps he’s trying to impress dean.

  • Al

    These pigmob t**TS….

  • Yassin

    No yellow? How?

  • goonersince72

    0-0 at the half, just as they wanted to play it. Officiating appalling as usual. Credit to the side for continuing to put out the effort without any consideration from the ref or his team, let alone protection. Arsenal will come on in the next half and put it away.

  • Menace

    Al – it is disgusting that the FA do nothing about abuse of Wenger by Stoke. A few points deducted would soon stop all this unwated filth. The PDGMO are at their usual – talk to the fouler of the Arsenal player. It was a clear yellow card as were vseveral of their deliberate dives. Amazing that in this day & age officials don’t pick up on foul throws.
    Andy ‘bent nose’ Townsend commentating like the usual incompetent he is.

    Michael ‘uneducated’ Owen giving his views like the golfer he is ‘totally out of bounds’.

  • Gord

    The game started for me, BBC and Daily Mail web pages not getting their CSS downloaded (and stupid HTML in their page telling me I was at fault for turning off CSS). Hooking up to The Guardian, was the usual DNS not resolving again. That finally cleared up at half time.

    Top image at Gaurdian is, which will probably change with time looking at the URL. In any event, ShawIdiot has both hands on Giroud and his leg almost wrapped around him. And there is no foul.

    None of the commentary seems to see much of anything illegal in how the game is being played, although there was a remark that both teams were committing nigly fouls to the same degree.

    Same old, same old.

    Come on Arsenal, let’s put them away in the second half.


  • ARSENAL 13


  • ARSENAL 13

    Come on gunners
    Come on gunners
    Come on gunners…

  • ARSENAL 13

    Come on Cech.


  • Al


  • Pat

    Two penalties denied?

  • ARSENAL 13

    Even that’s not a yellow!!!!!…

  • ARSENAL 13

    Why doesn’t a defender get penalised for holding an opponent in corners!!!

    Do referees have balls enough to give it…

  • Al

    Wasn’t that a pull on Monreal???

  • ARSENAL 13

    Wow no cards yet….

  • Serge

    Stoke are very clever with their fouling. We get plenty of free kicks, but not in areas of the pitch where it can be damaging

  • Al

    Lost count of times Campbell got bundled over by those thugs..

  • ARSENAL 13

    Come on gunners

  • ARSENAL 13

    Shawcross elbowing Giroud there. While Joel has a shot

  • Al

    Nothing clever about that, the pigmob rep is just choosing not to award free kicks against them in dangerous areas. Anyway, I am curious to know what kind of person it is who calls Stoke clever.

  • Al

    Stoke are thugs…

  • Al

    Phew, just glad we didn’t get any nasty injuries. And still top of the league!

  • Al

    P/s Iwobi is good.

  • Yassin

    lost two points from the ref…. again

    just to keep record when we lose this title in the late stages for two points…

  • goonersince72

    A point to stay top. Better than this fixture last season and done with the usual unPGMO shit.

  • Menace

    serial shit officiating – assistants as blind as the ref!!

    Despite it all a point is not bad considering our position. It is going to be a tough ride with PGMO dictating the slant of the slope we play on.

  • hilbert

    Iwobi is a damn better player than Walcot. He’s got a better first touch, can dribble better and is generally better in the final third. He’s hungry too. conclusion: walcott->beach, Iwobi-> starts

  • Menace

    Shawcross holds down Chec – no foul. Shawcross holds down Giroud – no penalty. The twats that are used by TV companies condone all the crap that PGMO mete out & really are so anti Asenal that it grates. How Wenger stays above all of it speaks volumes for his intelligence.

  • For a depleted side, playing in tough conditions, at a ground where all the big boys have lost this season, I think we did alright. Horrible game for the players…..

    Have to ask though, what has happened to the Ox. I won’t lose faith in him anytime soon , but his performance today was totally shocking at times..

    I’ll forgive him his touch as he was playing CM but his passing running and decision making was quite oddly bad. I know he has had bad form recently but I hope he comes through it to be the bull of a player we know he can be…..

    Campbell man of the match for me along side Cech and Natcho. Both the Cb’s did well ultimately as well.

    Theo was poor today in that position. He struggles so much with a defender in his back. He can’t physically hold them off and keep his tekkers tight at the same time… Love theo but I hope games like today stay in the closet

  • serge

    “Anyway, I am curious to know what kind of person it is who calls Stoke clever”.

    Someone who doesn’t cry like a kid who’s dropped his ice cream.

    I said “clever with their fouling”

  • John

    Overall a decent performance given the players we have missing.Special mention goes to joel campbell who i thought was exeptionsal again and has an eye for a pass.And also cech played well with making some well timed saves.He really has been a step up from chez and ospina.I agree with you magic that the ox was woefull and looked a shadow of his formes self .Time and time again he misplaced passes.Flamini wasnt much better but he was prepared to put himself about.
    Menace you constantly blame everything on the ref and use vile language to constantly make your point .It gets boring .Can you not analyse the game tactically and talk about something else ,preferably with better vocabulary.

  • Am I the only one dead bored and freaking irritated by the pundits ravings on “how much Cech is saving Arsenal” after every routine save he makes?

    Jeez…these guys are fucking dumb! They are like a dog with a bone once they latch on to a talking point. Bloody idiots.

  • para

    Cant believe there were no cards?
    We were a little timid at first, but growing into the game with every minute. We seemed content to not over exert ourselves and get the draw, who can blame us? We do not want any more injuries especially at the “injury makers” ground.

    That said, Stoke were not overtly rough, they worked hard played for the foul a lot(but we do that too)and closed us down well.

    I still cant help feeling that Arsenal were in 2nd gear and rarely shifted into 3rd, and a quick shift into 4th would have given us the win.

    I was hoping that ElNeny would come on at 70mins and score a blinder from 30 yds 🙂 Ah well.

  • As mentioned earlier there is no match review from Walter, so I thought I would have a go myself.

    It is now available –

  • said “clever with their fouling”


    You hear this sort of statements from multiple pundits and it’s a valid debate to ask whether that side of the game is in fact an art (of sorts)

    It may not be a particularly pretty or edifying part of the game but it is indeed still a valid one.

    Someone can be “clever” with their fouling in this sense, and part of it’s nature is that people get away with it, and it comes down to the objective view of the ref…. you CAN argue that is being distorted by the deception of the player, but in many cases you can NOT, ( even retrospectively) It’s a grey area for me

  • Strus

    The one lines man was wery busy and got the decisions right. But the main ref was poor. I don’t get how you can call 26 fouls and not draw a single yellow card. The were tactical ones there.
    It really pissed me whe Wollsheid grabbed Theo’s hand and held him… and the referee did not blown his whistle! What a pussy.

    Arsenal offence was really poor today, but in defence it was really solid. Thanks to Cech, who smothers all danger created by Koscielny and co.

    Giroud has no luck in his finishing today. What a pity that Arsenal got 2 draws in these 2 away matches. A defeat and a win is much better!

  • Josif

    Čech – brilliant again.
    Bellerin – still learning his trade but was fighting until the very end.
    Mertesacker – did well.
    Koscielny – not the worst game but he can do it without passing the ball straight to the opponents.
    Monreal – our best defender this season. I’m really calm whenever the opponents decide to take the attack down his flank.
    Flamini – Elneny can’t be ready soon enough. Or Chambers. Or anyone bar Arteta.
    Ramsey – hats off for his mental strength.
    Campbell – again, covered every blade of grass with his sweat. Literally doesn’t admit that a ball is a lost one. Created a chance that Özil would have been proud of.
    Walcott – I don’t know if it’s down to his more defensive role but his first touch is not good enough. The referee didn’t give him anything though.
    Ox – better than it was in the previous matches but still not good enough. His passing is still not good enough for a player that is destined to be a central midfielder.
    Giroud – fought against that hybrid of a butcher and a lumberjack. Should have given us the lead but Butland made two terrific saves.
    Iwobi – showed more than Walcott in terms of first touch and passing.
    Chambers – part of closing the shop.

    As they say, you don’t win Premier League if you lose at Stoke. We didn’t lose without Alexis, Mesut, Coq and Cazorla, City did without Kompany, Agüero and Toure.

    Pawson forgot that there are cards. Truth to be told, Flamini deserved one as well.

  • Zedsaunt

    No Caz, no Alexis, no Ozil, so it has to be the very professional Mr C in goal and not – who would have guessed it? – applause from the studio for a very solid team performance.

    The team defied the cauldron, defied the surpluse second-row forwards, defied the ref, defied the bruising, and most of all, defied the pundits who reckoned they didn’t have a chance without the Caz, Alexis, and Ozil.

    Whatever Arsenal do they are damned. A great performance. A very decent point. Roll on Sunday!!

  • Menace

    John – please get in touch with Stoke if you want to correct foul language. It is good quality descriptive terminology that many football fans understand. I do not need to tone my anger down with sweet terminology or vocabulary.

    Are you condoning the cheating that is obviously going on in the EPL? How can a player who commits a blatant foul only get a talking to instead of a card as per the Laws?

    Chelsea got away from another defeat with an offside goal – was that acceptable? Their players that jumped into the crowd didn’t get booked unlike the Everton player. Is that OK & acceptable?

    If I feel like using colourful language I will & do not need your smell to stifle me! 😉

  • Al

    “Someone who doesn’t cry like a kid who’s dropped his ice cream.” – but someone with multiple personalities?

  • Tasos

    A good point, keeps us top with the promise of our returning injured players.

    Liking the new Ozil chant;

  • We March from Mordor
    With our gallant Red Warriors
    Matching over the Infected whistles
    of the Black wraiths of MOB- PG Rileyland
    The Orcs forcing us into a stolen stalemate
    We shall always Cech-mate the siege on our golden gates.
    Though KIng Ozil we miss and dexterious General Caz was unheard plus our Coqi- Policeman
    But we arrived the Emirates in Peace
    To the chagrin of the obnoxious aaas

    God Bless Wenger and his Red Army

  • Menace hate to correct you but Terry got booked .
    Best performance against Stoke in ages ,draw about fair again .
    Whilst I agree there fans are a disgrace a vile bunch , I have to be honest
    and say ther football has vastly improved .

  • serge

    A Stoke supporter on 606 just said that he’d seen the match stats and Arsenal gave away more free kicks than Stoke. Is he serious or what?

  • serge

    ….and just for good measure he said that Shawcross didn’t intend to hurt Ramsey when he broke his leg and that Ramsey is to blame for all the bad feelings because he didn’t respond to Shawcross’ texted apology.

  • John

    All your posts go on about how bad the referee was and how they blatantly cheat.Why not analyse the game for a change ,the tactics used and how our players played instead of just focusing on the refs.I know why because you have no concept of the game and bet you that you have never kicked a ball in your life never mind played the game.

  • nicky

    At least we appear to have escaped from Stoke without serious injuries. Stoke supporters are an absolute disgrace and well deserve the type of nasty fare dished up by their team week after week.
    Led by their thug of a Club Captain, Shawcross, the GBH expert. Who should have no place in the sport of football. 😉

  • Nicky this season they’ve beaten

    Man City Man Utd Chelsea Everton away and drawn at Spurs not bad fare!

  • nicky

    With the aid, no doubt, of very biased and corrupt referees.

  • omgarsenal

    Watch out for Chelsea getting the ¨PIGMOB’s blessings and aid against us. They appear to be the PIGMOB’s favourites once again! A patently offside equalizer and rather selective officiating gifted them a point. We can tear their shallow defense apart IF we play with the handbrake off and no psychological frailty.

  • Menace

    John – the analysis of the game is Wengers job. As a fan, I choose to observe the whole game & not just my team. Kicking a ball is easy. Kicking it correctly is another issue. Kicking it within the Laws of the Game is even more of an issue. To me if the Game does not win then nobody wins. The PGMO never allow the Game to win (though some do try).

    Have you read the Laws & do you understamd them? Do you understand the notes to the officials? Do you know what a foul throw is? Amazingly some PGMO selectively blind do not. I am sure most of the TV pundits have not read nor understood the Laws.

    I am sure if you asked any child above 16 if they can play football, they will say yes. But very few if any will have read the Laws.

    To me there is nothing worse than those who play the game but do not know the Laws. The handball law does not state that the hand cannot be above the head or ‘making oneself big’ to be considered. It has to be deliberate hand to control the ball to be a foul. Yet there are interpretations that justify cheats by pretensious pontificating. ‘He got a piece of the ball’, the biggest load of cods wallop in interpretation of the Laws.

  • John

    I understand what you are trying to say .The problem is when you apply the laws literally.Take for instance when a direct free kick should be given.
    Fouls and misconduct are penalised as follows:

    kicks or attempts to kick an opponent
    trips or attempts to trip an opponent
    jumps at an opponent
    charges an opponent
    strikes or attempts to strike an opponent
    pushes an opponent
    tackles an opponent
    Now the important bit in the rules is –
    “In a manner considered by the referee to be
    careless, reckless or using excessive force.”
    Menace what you seem to be careless or reckless might be different to what a referee sees as you might never have played the game and been in that position before.Many referees pundits etc have played the game at a decent level and see things differently to majority of supporters and thats where part of the problem lies.
    Another problem you have is that nearly all players will cheat to gain an advantage.Take for instance when Drogba and Lehmann squared up to each other and proceeded to throw themselves on the floor to gain an advantage.This along with many instances you see every game are trying to cheat the referees.I bet you weren’t calling lehmann a cheat then and weren’t urging the referee to send him off .No i didnt think so.Its extremely difficult to referee these days because players aren’t honest. Yes the refs do make mistakes,they are human and without technology will continue to make mistakes but to suggest they cheat to stop arsenal winning is poppycock.
    If you ask a small blinkered section of fans from every club they will tell you that the same happens to theit teams even the more sucessfull ones.

  • Menace

    John – can you please list the referees of PGMO with their football playing past & level.

    I don’t condone anyone diving or cheating.

    You are living in cloud cuckoo land if you think the referees make ‘human errors’ when I see them cheat. Dean dancing after blowing the final whistle was for come dancing I suppose. Go back through the referee reviews & tell me that the reviewer is inhuman.

    The blinkered section you refer to are the PGMO & the less intelligent. Do you recall the 50th match where Riley was so human so many times?

    In our game against Stoke the first booking should have been to the cheat who pulled Theo back. Not a talking to as one does to school kids. These are professional highly paid football players & they CHEAT just like the PGMO cheats!!!

    I will never accept human error as an excuse in professional football without a six-figure fine.