10 reasons why we will beat Galatasaray + my starting 11

1)  Well the back 5 picks itself due to squad strength and injuries. Without anyone playing badly this season a lack of clean sheets is a worry, tonight is the night to keep the ball out.

2) Arteta and Diaby are both injured. Sadly Ramsey is also out.

3) Jack may play, if he does it will put him at risk for Sunday’s game.

4)  We can’t play as badly as we did in the 1st CL game this season.

5) The 18th anniversary of Wenger being our manager can’t go as badly as the last landmark, the 1000th game.

6) Galatasaray’s league form, P4 W2 D1 L1. scored 4  conceded 3. They sit in 5th place.

7) Welbeck’s night to shine, he has the experience, the work rate, just needs some good service.

8) Ozil is showing in spells during games that he’s going to turn it on very very soon.

9) We have been non-stop training on corners this week (this might not be true)

10) Wenger Knows, win the home games in the CL and you get into the knock out rounds, after losing badly in the first game  anything but a win and this group might get away from us.

My Starting 11 – Chesney, Chambers, Kos, BFG, Gibbs, Flamini, Jack, Ozil (free role), Ox, Sanchez, Welbeck




About these ads

DM’s, keepers and Stan’s £3million advice

The DM conundrum

From early on when Arsene Wenger, arrived at Arsenal until 2008 – when we allowed Lassana Diarra and Gilberto to leave and lost Mathieu Flamini to Milan – we consistently had some of the best defensive midfielders in the game. Admittedly Vieira and Petit weren’t necessarily pure defensive midfielders but when both were used in a 4-4-2, one of them usually held if the other was further up the field and as such fulfilled the role effectively. Gilberto, was a pure defensive midfielder and arguably one of the most underrated of the premier league era.

Since we lost Diarra, Gilberto and Flamini (version 1.0 not version 2.0) it has felt very much as though it’s a role that Wenger doesn’t take as seriously as more attacking ones. Our newfound financial might in the transfer market has translated into the signing of some highly sought after talents but for a holding midfielder we have tried to convert a wide midfielder, Arteta, hoping his high technicality will mean fewer turnovers from our own possession but he has ultimately been exposed physically and for pace.

We have a player in Flamini, who was on trial at the club for weeks before Wenger, was convinced enough to re-sign him and has looked increasingly flaky and unreliable in the last six months culminating with him being muscled off the ball by Christian Eriksen on Saturday. Now, following a summer in which nearly every fan of the club could agree that we desperately needed a DM, Wenger, is talking about converting Abou Diaby who for all his ability is sadly the most injury prone player in the league as a consequence of the horror tackle he suffered at Sunderland back in 2006. Putting aside tactics and squad imbalances for a second, our first XI is as strong as it’s been arguably since 2006.

The obvious exception however is a holding player to provide presence and stem the flow of goals we ship to counter attacks. Like the ones that saw us obliterated away to the other top sides last season and have so far seen us win only two league games this season. The truth is that top sides fancy themselves to score against us if they really need to and this will continue until we have a defensive midfielder who matches the quality of those around him.


Until quite recently I was under the illusion that 99.9% of Arsenal fans were happy with Szczesny. However in the wake of our draw with Manchester City, two members of SWAYR were quite critical of him, one called for him to be dropped and Ospina to be given a chance.

Central to the criticism was that his distribution can be patchy and as a team that’s particularly susceptible to counter attacks this presents a constant threat. I take that on board and agree his distribution still needs work but I think when compared to every keeper we’ve had since Seaman he’s the best.

He doesn’t get rattled the way Lehman did, he’s safer under high balls than Almunia was and his decision making when coming off his line is a lot better than Fabianski’s. I challenged the two individuals in question to name five better keepers in the world, based on the last season or so. I said Neuer, Courtois and Lloris (bias aside for one minute). They offered Cech and Begovic, the latter I don’t think has been as good in the last year as he was two years ago. As for Cech, I haven’t seen anything of him in the last year to suggest he’s any better than Szczesny.

Football hipsters, feel free to point out the glaring omissions we’ve made with obscure names from less watched leagues than “The Greatest League in the World™”.

Stan’s ATM

Last week eyebrows were raised at the news that one of Stan Kroenke’s companies has been paid three million pounds for services rendered to the club. One of the quotes attributed to our majority shareholder – from a 2011 interview – that has been doing the rounds since, relates to his disbelief that Manchester United fans get upset about money being taken out of their club by the Glazer family.

To this end he cited LA Lakers owner, Jerry Buss, as an American example of an owner who takes money out of his club and a big deal isn’t made of it. One of the things that Stan, failed to point out is that unlike the Premier League the NBA and NFL have a much stronger collectivism, protection of their brand and protection of their clubs. We’ve had a prime example recently when the NBA voted to force LA Clippers owner, Donald Sterling, to sell his club in the wake of a racism scandal.

Can anyone really envisage a situation where the premier league would take such a strong stance? Comparatively football has far looser regulation than American sports, which means that it’s less likely that we’ll ever see situations similar those of Leeds and Portsmouth in any of the major sports in the USA. Hopefully the issue will be addressed properly at the club’s AGM and shareholders won’t just be stonewalled by Silent Stan.



What is Stan Kroenke’s Long Game?

As you will full well know by now, in the 2013/14 accounting year, Arsenal Football Club PLC paid KSE LLC – Kroenke Sports Enterprises – £3 million relating to “strategic and advisory services which relate to Arsenal’s broadband”.

As highlighted by The Guardian, this was a similar value as to the extra money raised by the club through ticket price rises.

Now what these “strategic and advisory services” were is anyone guess – maybe a shareholder could pose this question at the next AGM?

Yes, in 2013/14, Arsenal launched a new website, a YouTube channel, and raised further funds through “selling a three-hour block of weekly content to the lucrative international market”, but how this justifies the £3 million payment is up for debate.

What would be interesting is to see how much the Arsenal Broadband side of the business has generated for the club, and how much these new ventures have increased revenue.

Ever since Stan Kroenke bought into the club back in April 2007, his long game has been clear, but it seems only now other’s are realising what this is.

When he bought his first shares from ITV on 5th April 2007, acquiring 9.9% of the club, part of the deal also included a 50% share of Arsenal Broadband Ltd, the company set up by the club in partnership with Granada to ensure Arsenal were able to exploit the lucrative media market which is not associated with match day.

With the partnership, the club revamped the website, bringing more daily content, and launched a TV channel, Arsenal TV, to compete with Manchester united’s MUTV, and Liverpool’s, Liverpool TV – interestingly Granada also held shares in both companies and had a similar deal to that of Arsenal.

Upon Kroenke’s take over, it was painfully obvious what he was planning. By buying ITV’s shares and with it the 50% share in Arsenal Broadband Ltd, Kroenke had his eyes on the lucrative TV deal.

Arsenal Broadband run all of Arsenal’s media content, whether it be online through the website, or any potential ‘pay for’ TV programme that we (re)Launch. It also benefits from any advertising revenue that the website generates.

So what does this all have to do with Kroenke’s long game?

Well, his investment in Arsenal is to make money. The same with the Yanks at Liverpool, Manchester United, Villa dn Sunderland. The largest revenue stream is that of TV money.

There will become a point in the future where the joint TV deal breaks up, and each individual club well sell their own TV rights. What will happen is simple.

Arsenal match’s will be packaged up by Arsenal Broadband Ltd, and then sold on to TV companies, within both the UK and abroad. The money from selling the rights to all Arsenal games could be worth well over €300 million a year. This money will then be split, 50/50, between the two parties who own Arsenal Broadband Ltd. KSE and Arsenal.

Add in highlights packages and other content, this will become a huge revenue stream. And the Kroenke long game then comes into plan. He pockets half the cash, with Arsenal getting the other half. It will make the American even richer.

In the short term, Kroenke has had to explore other avenue’s to make money from the club. People would riot too much if the club paid out dividends. A dividend would also line the pockets of Kroenke’s rival, Alisher Usmanov. Something which Kroenke would not want to do.

By charging the club for “strategic and advisory services”, Kroenke was clearly hoping to dupe the fans into thinking he was providing the club a justified service. Unfortunately for him he underestimated the intelligence of the fans who saw straight through it.

He has enabled himself to line his own pockets, without paying out to other share holders.

The worry for Arsenal fans is that this will set a precedent. Do not be surprised for Kroenke to be taking out a sum from the club as part of a service each year. And if and when individual TV deals, then he will be laughing all the way to the bank. Money that could reduce ticket prices or go towards improving the playing squad, will just be lining his pockets.

Is it greed? No. It is business. It is modern football. It is killing the game.