Artwork by @The_zama for 1ND2OU
I guess the occasion of Arsenal anti-hero Ashley Cole’s 100th cap got me thinking this week. Arsenal, in my time have been blessed in the left back position. I just missed double winner Bob McNab, but grew up watching Sammy Nelson and John Devine, before Kenny Samson arrived at the club in 1980. From 1980 until 2006 over a 26 year period, barring a season or so with Silvinho it has been my pleasure to watch arguably 3 of the greatest exponents of fullback play England has known. Clichy was not shabby but not in the same division as Kenny Sansom, Nigel Winterburn or Ashley Cole. These are 3 giants of the modern era sharing 188 England caps between them. So who was our greatest left back and how could one begin to measure it? I hope I have found a fairly conclusive and foolproof method but first a few words on each from my own perspective. Before you read on who is your money on? Sansom, Winterburn or Cole? (All best Arsenal betting odds as ever at BWIN Sportsbook)
Kenny Sansom was already England’s first choice whilst at Crystal Palace when he arrived at Arsenal in the late summer of 1980. He was to remain so for many years amassing 86 caps and starring at 2 major tournaments with his country. He became a fan favourite instantly, strong in the tackle, an amazing header of the ball for a short guy and soon became our skipper. Sadly for Kenny he captained Arsenal through a lean spell, (yes and 8 year one!!) but I was delighted along with thousand of us to see him left the Littlewoods Cup at Wembley, my own first live final. Kenny is Mr Arsenal and still works for the club today but in 1988 he was one of the senior pro casualties along with Anderson and Nicholas under George Graham. He is still one of my own all time favourite players and the moment he turned to the fans on the 5th April 1987 my moment. We had beaten Liverpool when Rush had scored first, something that have never happened and he had lead his young team to that final. 1 Nil down 2 one up! Continue reading
Santi Cazorla played like Bergkamp last night to claim match ball
Is this another excuse to advocate a variation on 442? Yes unashamedly.
Does it have a basis in common sense? Yes undoubtedly
Am I suggesting this for all matches? No consistently
Was this new piece inspired by Cazorla v Reading? Yes absolutely
I don’t do match reviews and I have not read many today but this is more a series of tactical observations leading to a relatively obvious conclusion. Well obvious if you concur with the observations and believe in selecting systems, formations and personnel from game to game as I passionately do, and Wenger hither too stubbornly does not! Continue reading
The face of a man who loves scoring for Arsenal FC?
There has been much written about Theo Walcott and I am sure much more will be until such time as the England International puts pens to paper on a new contract with Arsenal. The sense I am getting on twitter, other social media and the media in general is one of pessimism and the majority feel resigned him following van Persie, Song and other big name stars out of the Emirates. I sincerely hope this is not the case because I genuinely feel he has taken a step to a new level this season. There has been in increased maturity about him, a clinical coolness in his finishing and most significantly a greater awareness and accuracy about his final pass or cross. For all these reasons and to make a statement I am strongly of the opinion that the club need to all in their power to convince Theo to extend his stay in North London.
As you might expect though I have a slightly alternative perspective on the situation and ongoing contract talks. Different in that it does not involve the only two issues everyone else in concentrating on. So this blog is about Theo Walcott and the possibility of him signing a new deal but I will not be assessing his supposed salary demands or his rumoured positional demands. Partly because we, or certainly not I, don’t actually know if he has demanded £100k a week or insisted on playing through the middle. This is press talk and speculation and I would rather deal with facts and come at this from a different angle. So Ivan/Arsene if you are reading blogs you may wish to listen to this boring statto for some assistance in your negotiations with young Theo and his agent. Continue reading
The Good Old Days
In a week of quality guest posts on the site I am delighted to round that of with one further contribution. Fortunate to welcome back James Wareing known to most on twitter as @James Arsenal1 to ’1nildown2oneup.’ I am surprised no one else has written a similar piece and slightly peeved I did not think of it myself. So well done James who has written and entertaining blog looking back at the great rivalry between Arsenal and United, and Wenger and Ferguson since ‘Le Professeur’ arrived at Highbury. The blog of course begs the question is the bitterest of rivalries still there?
Arsenal vs Manchester United has notoriously been a fiery encounter that brings out emotion in all involved. You only need to look back over the last decade to find examples of this. The passion of the players and their desire to win through the hatred of the opposition
is what makes this fixture so appealing. Continue reading
It is time to pair Tuesday’s heroes
Today’s article might appear a tad aggressive for a Goonerdave66 blog and it is meant to be. Why? Because it is looking to address a few attitudes and opinions which I am exposed to all too frequently. Personal opinions are just that, but there is a way to express an opinion without inferring superior knowledge and without appearing condescending. I am always very clear that my blogs are about my opinion and I am always happy to be challenged and I love the debate, but I do on ‘1nildown2oneup’ where possible, seek to back up my arguments with research and evidence or precedent.
As most of my regular readers know I am a supporter of variations of a 442 system to allow a 2 striker system. I have written numerous times espousing a reversion to the formula that won Wenger and Arsenal so many trophies. What I have not said though is that we should play the same system each week and for all opposition. No, more that Wenger should use his squad to the full and play different formations and systems dependent on the opposition, as other top sides and managers seem happy to do. Continue reading