Wonderloaf v Arsenal. The preview, the teams, the stats, the score and the bland bread.

by Bulldog Drummond

The first bread slicing and wrapping machine in Britain was installed in the Wonderloaf Bakery in  White Hart Lane, right on the boundary of Tottenham and Wood Green, in 1937 and was used to create the Wonderloaf.  It was a white sliced loaf with all the natural goodness removed to produce something incredibly bland and quite extraordinarily unappealing.

I suppose I thought of it in relation to the Sunderland game not just because both Sunderland and Wonderloaf have the syllable “der” in the middle with a word either side.  For although technically “Sund” isn’t a word we use much in English it was an Old Norse word meaning swimming – also meaning the sea.   Besides Sunderlands style of  play seems to be football with all the goodness taken out of it and replaced by something rather stodgy, especially when wet.

Thus it is fair to say that Wonderloaf have scored six goals this season and created 58 chances (as opposed to Arsenal’s 19 goals and 94 chances).   The top assists player is Duncan Watmore with one assist.

The Telegraph has helpfully produced a calendar year chart for the teams which shows that Sunderland have played 28, won 6, drawn 11, and lost 11, while Arsenal during the same period have won 14, drawn 10 and lost 4.  So we are ahead on the year 52 points to 29.

Thus we might ask, where could it go wrong for Arsenal?   Well, anywhere, because of the referee obviously, and also because we might well not have Santi Cazorla who is our player with the highest pass accuracy (91%, with 495 completed passes – the highest number of anyone in the team.)

Oh, and just in case you are wondering Alexis Sánchez has the highest goal scoring chances created number – 19.   In relation to which Mr Wenger came up with a nice turn of phrase: “When Sánchez comes, Walcott goes.”  A rather neat and concise description I thought.

Speaking further on the topic, Mr W said, “We would want him to have a better balance, but we do not want to forbid him to come to the ball, but to get in a few more off the ball runs. But that’s why when we have Theo Walcott it balances well.   This is a good mixture, a good working unit.”

Which I guess can only be disturbed by the disruption to the squad.  Granit Xhaka serves the last of his three-match suspension here.   Santi Cazorla had his Achilles done and may not make it.  Theo is a doubt also – with a hamstring problem – and  Lucas Perez is out for six weeks with ankle ligament damage sustained after an appalling deliberate kick in the game against the Spectacles.  There is also doubt about Nacho Monreal.

Carl Jenkinson however is back and playing and Aaron Ramsey is in the squad.

Since there is no way of knowing just how bad some of the injuries is, picking the team is a guess, but then, it often is and that doesn’t normally stop us so it is the normal 4-2-3-1…


Iwobi Ozil Oxlade-Chamberlain

Elneny Coquelin

Gibbs Koscielny Mustafi Coquelin


Now the beach at Sunderland is not necessarily the best place to be but seven jolly chaps do have to be there for the duration.  However given the possible (or not) injuries it is a bit tough to decide who.  Maybe some or any of these… (in a worst case scenario of all of the doubtful playersbeing out completely)…

Ospina, Jenkinson, Gabriel, Holding, Ramsey, Reine-Adélaïde, Giroud

As for the Wonderloaf, they have made the worst start to a season in the Premier League since Sheffield Thursday who in 1999 managed one point by this stage of the proceedings.  But before we feel too sorry for Wonderloaf, we have to remember that they chose to make The Rather Large Sam Allardyce their manager.  Any club that does that deserves all they get.

Louise Taylor in the Guardian however is not convinced by the demise of the White Bread Boys saying, “a crowd well in excess of 45,000 is expected to turn up to see him try. Its collective mood could prove influential.”   (More on the Guardian in a mo – their view of the referee is something to behold…)

So to the stats and things…

Sunderland have lost five of their last six games in the Premier League, and Arsenal have won all three of their last away games – in fact as we saw in the tactics preview Arsenal are top of the away games league having won the last three.

What the table doesn’t fully show is that Arsenal are undefeated in the last nine games with Sunderland in all competitions excluding the white bread bake off which Sunderland won.  But they have lost seven of their nine games this season.

However the last game between Wonderloaf and Arsenal ended 0-0, although Arsenal haven’t failed to score in two successive games since last February.   In fact it was a three match run against Stoke, Chelsea and Southampton.

On the other hand Arsenal twice scored three goals at home against Sunderland last season (once in the league and once in the FA Cup). The goalscorers were identical (Joel Campbell, Olivier Giroud and Aaron Ramsey).

The Wonderloaf however have player issues too, and will make late decisions on Adnan Januzaj and Jason Denayer.    Sebastian Larsson, Vito Mannone (both ex Arsenal), Fabio Borini and Jan Kirchhoff are out, while Lee Cattermole is uncertain like their attack.

So what does the Wonderloaf manager, a Mr David (“the jury is still out on Ozil”) Moyes say?   He speaketh thus:  “Our confidence is good and the players know they are doing better.   The results haven’t shown that but the last two results could have been different.   We want the fans in full voice but what we do on the pitch will determine that so we need to get them off their seats.”

Moving on to the stats…

Sunderland have won just one of their last 25 Premier League games against Arsenal and…

  • Arsenal are unbeaten in 13 league matches against Sunderland (W8, D5) and have won on four of their last five league trips to the Stadium of Light.
  • David Moyes has lost 14 Premier League games against Arsene Wenger.
  • Jack Rodwell hasn’t won any of the last 34 Premier League games he’s started, the longest run ever by a Premier League player. That includes all 32 of his league starts for Sunderland.
  • Jermain Defoe has faced Arsenal 21 times in the Premier League but has only scored twice – once for West Ham in January 2003 and again for Tottenham in November 2004.
  • Arsenal have only lost one Premier League away game in 2016 (3-2 at Very Old Trafford in February).

The WhoScored votes for the score all show an away win, with 1-3 being the most popular score followed by 1-2, 0-1, 0-2, and 0-3.

And finally here is the promised Guardian coverage of the referee for today

  • Referee A Name
  • This season Games 0, Yellow cards 00, Red cards 0
  • 0.0 cards per game

“That,” as they say before each match at the Ems, “sums it all up”.

PS: It’s Robert Pirès birthday one of eleven Arsenal anniversaries celebrated today on the home page of the site.  This comes from our daily anniversaries file…

Robert had a Portuguese father and Spanish mother and found learning both French and English difficult.  After he had left Arsenal to play for Villareal he did an interview in fluent Spanish and the UK journalists, having not done their homework and not realising Spanish was one of his native tongues berated him for not having bothered to learn English properly.  He scored a hat trick in the first game of the “49”.

Recent tales from Untold 

Wenger ponders whether Yaya Sanogo will ever really be good enough for Arsenal. 

Arsenal to change the line up for Sunderland game: the tactical preview.

Sunderland v Arsenal Saturday October 29th – The Match Officials. Expect serious fouls to go unpunished.

Why CIES data ranking clubs by the average age of their signings is not all it seems

Reasons to be cheerful parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19

Reading in the library: watching the EFL cup from the posh seats

Empty seats at the Ems? You should try the Tax Payers’ Stadium!

Alisher Usmanov makes his move – and it is not the one predicted.

127 Replies to “Wonderloaf v Arsenal. The preview, the teams, the stats, the score and the bland bread.”

  1. An article I wrote on the Arsenal History Society website a few years back about White Hart Lane brought in many reminiscences about the Wonderloaf factory and White Hart Lane in the old days.

    If anyone remembers it and wants to read about others who lived near WHL in olden times the piece is at http://www.blog.woolwicharsenal.co.uk/archives/570

    Indeed a number of friends from years gone by who attended the primary school just off White Hart Lane and who lived in the area (as I did) have now got back together after fifty years or more, as a result of the article.

  2. A gleeful post Bulldog, which has quite made my Saturday…..although too much laughter over bacon and eggs is not really recommended.
    As you rightly say, Sunderland and Allardyce deserve each other.
    Another test for Arsenal FC against what will almost certainly be a 11-man defence. 😉

  3. Maitland-Niles trained with the squad yesterday and didn’t feature in the U23s 4-0 win last evening against Sunderland. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him on the beach.

    Scorers were Mavididi (pen), Nelson, Hinds and Willock. Most of the youngsters who played against Reading started and this meant that we were able to field a much stronger squad than the one who lost to Manure on Monday night. Interestingly we have a similar fixture congestion before the EFL quarter final which is scheduled for Nov 29 with an U18 game at Villa on Sat 26 and an U23 game on Monday 28 away at Leicester.

    The senior players from the U18 squad will step up to the U23s, and those from the U23s to the EFL squad. All very good for their development but both leagues are so competitive that points will probably be lost.

  4. @ Bulldog

    I know you love Coq so much but replacing Hector ‘Speedy Gonzales’ Bellarin at RB with him is a little too much. Overall, I’m expecting a good win which will catapult us to the top of the league and never to desend again. COYG

  5. Nonny, I think the tradition is now so well established of having one player listed twice in the line ups we can’t really stop it now.

  6. Substitutes: Ospina, Gabriel, Ramsey, Giroud, Holding, Jenkinson, Maitland-Niles – M-L as predicted above. Is his mum at the match?

  7. The teams, without duplicates

    Bellerin, Mustafi, Kos, Gibbs
    Coquelin, Elneny
    Ox, Ozil, Iwobi

  8. Alexis raised his arms to block a goal kick from Sunderland & just learned that a funny bone is not so funny!!

  9. Predictable pgMOB rules alternative and bipartisan code being applied by Riley’s man. At thevleast Iceland had it all worked out

    Come on the Gunners!

  10. How to go Alexis! Who got the assist(s)?

    The commentaries I am following seem to be trying to say that Arsenal is being rough. The Guardian figures Fat Sam is a genius. And they (commentators) admitted they aren’t journalists.


  11. Atkinson calling a foul on the ‘ard man Ozil.

    So transparent. It’s unreal.

    No yellow for the ankle clip on Sanchez as he was away. An AFC player would’ve been sent off! The pgMOB has zero credibility.!

  12. Wow tbf to Khazri it wasn’t the worst foul, he did go for the ball and not the man, didn’t deserve a yellow.

    Does the official know the rules of association football? Seems like a fair and reasonable question!

  13. Card happy now. I guess the Gunners know this game.

    We’ve seen it before. Just a few weeks ago.

    Players will have to keep their guard up and not give the bendy official the palpable excuse to sway that he’s looking for here.

  14. The referee not helping much as usual.
    It would be nice to see yellow cards on first serious offenses.Sunderland should definitely be down to at least 10 men by now.
    It’s nice to see the new rule taht saw Xhaka sent off in his own half has not been brought to any games since.
    One rule for arsenal no rule for other teams.
    Shocking !

  15. What is there to be said about the PGMO officials that hasn’t been said already. If Arsenal were to commit the fouls Sunderland have we would have been down to 8 men. There have been high foot offences ignored, tackles from behind ignored, pulls & pushes but Atko the Riley appointee has used his one eye to see what he wants.

    Alexis has had to go with kicks left, right & everywhere else but blind mice don’t see.

  16. just saw the half time stats
    Arsenal 8 fouls
    Sunderland 5 fouls
    What a load of bollox

  17. not quite a fire work performance by Arsenal and we lack a bit of creativity. Alexis take his goal like a deadly striker and Elneny is much more comfortable in this match’ not to mention he floating ball beautifully all over the pitch. but we contain the pressure well and in the 1st 25 minutes’ the lads get no protection from the referee, what a joke MA is

  18. Listening to the match on Arsenal Player. Both commentators pointing out how bad Atkinson has been. One of them agreed with a fan’s email that Atkinson sucked.

  19. Knee in the back.
    Yellow for the sun’lun sub.

    The gunners will do well to keep eleven on the pitch with this cunning and subtle (ha!) official.

  20. It sounds like Alexis was booed by the home crowd, for receiving a knee in the back.

    According to the text on Arsenal.com, there has only been a single yellow issued in the game so far (Alexis on the receiving end of the knee, not the card). 🙂


  21. Sunderland players clearly being allowed to make the kind of leaning in fouls that Alexis has been flagged for multiple times.

    One set of rules for the Arsenal.
    A different code for the opposition?

    pgMOB Rules (OK?) Football??
    It’s football Jim but not as we know it.

  22. Theo is missed big time. Ox just doesn’t have the accuracy required. More time on the training ground Ox!!

  23. Ahh, I see. You need to hover cursor over some symbol, to see that other events also include a yellow. Dumb interface if you ask me.


  24. Try again:
    Unbelievable yet entirely predictable from the official.

    Sanchez’s reaction tells you all you need to know.

  25. after missing such a blatant penalty for Sanchez what as urprise Atkinson couldn’t wait to give them one

  26. Entirely transparent performance from this official.
    Don’t waste your time trying to defend the crook we all saw it.

    Sanchez is livid and there’s a simple reason why.

  27. We all knew what the official was up to at half time.

    The problem people who will try to defend this will find is that: how can we all predict the decision making process of the official and the type of calls he is going to make?

  28. worse off sanchez gets a card finsbury absolute wanker and the commentators are pissing me off

  29. Pienaar getting substituted now , he shoul;d have been sent off in the first half

  30. If there is anyone watching this game & thinks the official is honest they need their heads examining. This is one of the most corrupt bit of officiating today. Riley & Dean have the worst records Atkinson the cheating son of a bitch is a close third.

  31. They don’t like it up ’em.

    Stick the big man up there.
    Get in the mixer!

    ‘Ave it!

  32. Alexis for 4 & the ground is emptying … all the northern cheats dripping tears. Rambo on as sub.

  33. Are you looking for 3 hat tricks in one game Va Cong? 🙂

    So much for the medja pronounciation that Arsenal can’t be creative without Cazorla.


  34. A three goal improvement should be enough to keep us top.
    Sad to see Rodwell in such a crap team. I always hoped he would make it big, but injuries have ruined his career.

  35. I enjoyed the manner in which the big lump came off the bench, took that load off of his shoulders, and dropped a house upon the wicked witch in the middle.

  36. Yes Robido, thanks.

    Is Walter sick? Working too hard I suppose. He probably straightened out the Walloon situation for us. 🙂

  37. LOL Gord, yes I’m really sick but managed to watch the match and writing a match report. Now off to recover.

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