Arsenal fans ripped off in Napoli

For a long time English football clubs – and mainly Arsenal – were heavily criticised throughout Europe for ticket prices.

In 2015, we saw Bayern Munich fans protest at a Champions League game against having to pay £64 for a ticket.

In recent years we have seen things reverse, European clubs charging extortionate amounts for English clubs to visit, and yet the media in England and throughout Europe have been oddly quiet about it.

For the Europa League game between Arsenal and Napoli, Arsenal are charging just £26, meanwhile Napoli are charging visiting fans £53.

We also see Barcelona charging Manchester United fans €120 a ticket – the highest they would have paid for an away game in history outside of finals.

In response, Manchester United are charging Barcelona fans the same – and passing on the extra money to their travelling fans subsidising their away ticket.

We have seen this happen a couple of times in recent years – with both Sevilla and Atletico Madrid hiking up prices for visiting English clubs. On both occasions the English clubs in question also hiked the prices up, and then subsidised the away fans with the profits.

It means that travelling fans of Barcelona, Sevilla and Atletico Madrid ended up subsiding fans of Arsenal, Manchester and Liverpool.

The English travelling fans paid a “fairer” amount, the travelling Spanish fans paid a premium, and the only ones to really benefit were the Spanish club. And we are talking about an additional €150,000 in revenue. Not exactly much in the grand scheme of things!

In the Premier League, clubs have to charge away fans for the same as home fans for the “equivalent area”. So at Arsenal, away fans in the corner of the lower tier pay the same as home fans in the corner of the lower tier.

This pricing rule does not exist in Europe – meaning that European sides hike the prices up looking to profit from visiting English fans.

You often see “fans” of Barcelona, Bayern Munich and other European sides boast about how much more reasonable tickets are on the continent than in England. They are then silent when English fans are ripped off when abroad.

These pricing games only push up ticket prices for fans.

If an Italian club increases their price for visiting English fans, and the English club matches it, the only people to lose out are the Italian fans.

Fans abroad are quick enough to protest against English clubs, but seemingly slow to protest against their own club causing them to pay more.

I wonder if in response Arsenal will charge visiting Napoli fans northwards of £50 and then offer discounts to travelling Arsenal fans?



Reiss Nelson reminds Arsenal fans of raw talent in England U21 cameo

Last night Reiss Nelson did this:

A fabulous piece of skill to set up an England goal. A reminder to all of just what a talented kid he is.

But that is what we all need to remember, that he is still a kid, still just 19, that England U21s is his level right now.

Over in Germany, on loan at Hoffenheim, he had a sparkling start that saw him pick up the German equivalent of young player of the month. This got a lot of Arsenal fans calling for his immediate recall.

In recent months, he has found himself out of the team.

Without a start since December, disciplinary issues caused Nelson to be dropped from the match day squad completely. It was a stark reminder to both the player and fans of how hard it is to go from talented youth player to regular senior player. It is not just about natural ability, but also how a player applies him, how he trains on, his attitude.

After the assist yesterday, some fans have returned to their over excited state. Calling for Nelson to start regularly next season. Saying he will be a superstar. Let’s take a step back for a second.

He has struggled at senior level in the second half of the season and his sparkling performance yesterday was at U21 level.

Anyone expecting him to return to Arsenal in the summer and walk straight into the first team needs a dose of realisation.

Nelson could become a superstar, he could become a regular starter for The Arsenal, but it will not be from the beginning of next season.

With where he is at the moment, he will be off the bench, just like he is at Hoffenheim.

He will be a good attacking option, one of the first changes when chasing the game. Alex Iwobi will start ahead of him, but expect Nelson coming on for his older team mate on around the 60th minute to be a regular occurrence when chasing the game.

Nelson will get starts in the cup, and as the season go’s on with injuries, rotation and form, will get starts in the league. It is at that point he will have the opportunity to prove himself as a future superstar of Arsenal.

Yesterday was a reminder of his raw talent; but as it stands that talent is very raw.



We as fans need to take a step back, allow him to develop and not burden him with too high an expectation.


4 Leverkusen stars on Arsenal radar

Last season Arsenal went to Bayer Leverkusen to sign Bernd Leno on what has turned out to be a bargain of a transfer.

This summer Arsenal could do a lot worse than returning to the banks of the river Rhine as they strengthen their squad this summer.

The Bundesliga side have had a tough season, currently off the pace in 6th place having only failed to get Champions League football last season on goal difference. They also had a poor Europa League campaign, suffering as shock exit against Krasnodar in the first knock out stage.

However they have a squad containing some very talented, young players; many of whom are in Joachim Lowe’s current German squad.

There are 4 in particular that Arsenal should target

Kai Havertz

Arsenal have been heavily linked with German teenager Kai Havertz for the majority of the year.

Many in Germany believe Havertz to be the next big thing, following upo on the last two big things Leon Gortezka and Julian Draxler – both of whom have spent much of their career being linked with Arsenal.

He has been earmarked as the long term replacement for Mesut Ozil in the German national team.

A gifted attacking midfielder capable of playing in all 3 positions behind the striker, he has all but one game for Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga this year.

A tall, loping figure, he perhaps reminds me more of Michael Ballack than Mesut Ozil – this year he has developed the knack of scoring goals which Ballack did in his early career before moving deeper.

The ambidextrous midfielder can play all across midfield, winning tackles in defence, switching play and launching attacks with his quick eye for movement, coupled with his anticipation and then precision when delivering the final pass. Havertz has been involved in 17 goals in his 27 games in all competitions this season.

Havertz is certainly a star in the making, but it would take big money to attract him to Arsenal. Big money that could only be raised by selling Mesut Ozil.

The feeling if is Ozil stays, it will be impossible to justify spending big on Havertz who will be understudy for 12 months.

Julian Brandt

A few years older than Havertz, a little more experienced and probably cheaper.

With Havertz playing behind the striker, Brandt has found himself playing a deeper role, or on the wing this season.

Brandt reminds me of Santi Cazorla (except about a foot taller).

A versatile player who can play on the wing or down the middle, as well as deeper. He does not have the pace of someone like his team mate Leon Bailey, but he makes up for it with excellent movement and technique.

It was Brandt who kept Leroy Sane out of the German World Cup squad last summer.

Brandt would provide excellent cover for Ozil, as well as give Arsenal a deeper, more attacking option to play alongside Lucas Torreira or Granit Xhaka.

He is perhaps a better replacement for Aaron Ramsey than Mesut Ozil.

Leon Bailey

A year ago Leon Bailey was one of the hottest young prospects in football. Aged 20, he hit 12 goals in 34 games leading many to value him northwards of £40million.

12 months on and his star has dimmed slightly.

Scoring just 4 n 34 this season, it feels like he has gone backwards, however it should be remembered that he is still just 21-years-old.

His rise and fall reminds me a bit of Thomas Lemar, who came into public conscious after scoring 14 in 55 for Monaco, before falling away the next season.

A poor second season did not put Atletico Madrid off, as they spent £52.7 million bringing the Frenchman to La Liga. He has struggled once more this season, making many think he was just a one-season wonder at Monaco.

The story of Lemar is why there are question marks over Bailey.

With electric pace, is he the real deal, a rough diamond that just needs shining like Raheem Sterling, or is he just another in a long line of speedsters who does not have the footballing ability to make it to the top level?

He would be a good signing for Arsenal, and provide us pace and width, but a fee northwards of £30million would be too much.

Would be a huge risk based on one good season a year ago.

Jonathan Tah

So far we have only talked about Bayern Leverkusen’s attacking options, but one player well worth Arsenal looking at is giant central defender Jonathan Tah.

Once billed as the next big defensive talent in Germany, Tah has been overtaken by Niklas Sule and Chelsea’s Antonio Rudiger in recent years, but he remains a skilled and strong, if error-prone centre back.

Tah would provide some pace alongside Sokratis tough defensive mind; and at just 23-years-old could become a rock for the future.

He would automatically be helped by playing between German speakers Sokratis and Saed Kolasinac.

Comfortable with the ball at his feet, and capable of bringing the ball out of defence and launching attacks, he could be the perfect long-term replacement for Laurent Koscielny – who incidentally could also be described as “error-prone”.

Top defenders are a race commodity in the current game, and worse players than Tah will go for much bigger transfer fees this summer.

Tah reminds me a younger Virgil van Dijk. Physically imposing but makes errors.

Van Dijk is now 27-years-old. Give it 4 years and Tah will also be a beast of a defender.