Author Archives: keenosafc

The non-story of Arsenal players ” dangerous nitrous oxide binge”

So Arsenal made the front pages today with news that Mesut Ozil, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, Matteo Guendouzi and others were filmed inhaling nitrous oxide in a club back in August.

I really do not care.

Anyone that has ever taken nitrous oxide (which the press sensationally label “hippy crack” and the rest of us “balloons”) will know that it is pretty much harmless.

Some state that it “could lead to death” due to lack of oxygen, but there has never been a single reported case of someone dying after inhaling a balloon. Crossing the could lead to death. Getting on the Central Line at 6pm could lead to death.

Out of all of the “highs” that are out there – from drink to drugs – balloons are the least damaging on your body. In fact, beyond the couple of minute head rush you get due to lack of oxygen, there is no evidence that they do any damage to you.

Balloons have become some players “drug” of choice due to how little impact it has on the body.

I would much rather my players do a couple of balloons on a night rather than drink alcohol until they pass out, take drugs, or smoke. Even Red Bull is more dangerous then balloons.

Recently players (most notable of Leicester) have been caught chewing snus (a tobacco product illegal to buy in the UK). This gives a small high and an energy boost, and can cause serious gum and mouth damage  and potential mouth cancer. Snus is a bigger issue amongst footballers than balloons.

The incident happened in August. The bar owner has sat on footage since then, before selling it to the papers. I wonder how selling this sort of thing to the papers infringes GDRP these days? Especially as the consumption of nitrous oxide is not a criminal act.

What the bar owner has done is shot himself in the foot.

No footballer or other celebrity will ever hire or visit his establishment again knowing that what they do inside is not private. That the owner or member of staff is willing to sell CCTV images to the papers for a few thousand.

If it is the owner who sold the CCTV, the hope is Tape London loses enough business from this privacy infringement that it soon has to shut down. It it was a member of staff, they should be prosecuted by Tape London to the full extent of the law.

I think what is for certain is that stories like these will not get the national condemnation and criticism that the papers expected. Most fans will side with my opinion. That the players did little wrong and the bar should be ashamed of themselves.

Even Absolute radio are laughing this morning about the “danger binge on nitrous oxide”.

A final thought on this.

In Paul Merson’s fabulous book How Not to Be a Professional Footballer, he talks a lot about the boozy days of the late 80s & early 90s, and how he is glad smart phones were not about then. He talks about doing cocaine in a black cab, and being carried out of bars, pubs and clubs battered. People were decent back then and would not sell a story to a paper. These days, scumbags like the owners of Tape London are willing to sell anyone out for a bit of money.

In other news, I have seen some say that Lucas Torreira needs a rest.

He has only started 10 league games. Played 1200 minutes in all competitions. He has not been over played. Also he is on 4 yellow cards; so he will get a natural break sooner rather than later.

I am sure the clubs fitness staff will have the data and be able to spot when his performances dip physically. When his muscles are on the verge of breaking down.

With the busy Christmas period coming up, every player will be rotated in and out. Torreira’s will come naturally when he picks up the 5th yellow card of the season.

There is no point resting him for a game, for him to then get booked on his returne causing him to miss another game.

Enjoy the wet Friday. We return tomorrow against Huddersfield.




4 points gained or 2 points lost?

With O2 being down, it will be a while until I can upload the match report from last night. In the mean time, here are some ramblings and thoughts.

Everyone felt a little deflated at the final whistle yesterday. A mixture of how far we have come under Unai Emery and how far Manchester United have dropped this season raised the bar of expectation.

We have not won at Old Trafford in the league since 2006; so those expecting us to run out easy winners were misguided. You will always take a draw in Manchester, but can not help feeling it was 2 points dropped rather than a point gained.

We had chances to win the game (Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan) and both of their goals were due to defensive lapses.

It is hard to be too upset with the poor finishing, however, as we have certainly benefited in games this season with opponents being unable to hit a barn door with a banjo (Everton springs to mind).

Overall, 4 points from the double header of Tottenham and Manchester United is a decent return.

It perhaps shows the difference between ourselves and Manchester City. We are happy with 4 points from those 2 games, Manchester City would aim for 6. That’s what £2.7bn gets you.

4 points is what you would expect if you are challenging for top 4, and realistically that is what we are doing this season.

Prior to the start of the season, I expected Manchester City to run away it this season. Liverpool would finish second and it would be a 4 way battle between Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham for the last 2 Champions League places.

Liverpool have kept up with Manchester City more than I expected they would; and Manchester United have fallen away.

That leaves a 3 way battle for 3rd. 2 points between Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal. Chelsea’s defeat to Wolves yesterday shows why they are battling it out with Arsenal (who dropped points to Wovles at home) and Spurs (who lost to Watford) rather than with Liverpool for second.

Liverpool’s advantage over Chelsea and Arsenal at the moment is continuity. This is the 4th year of Jurgen Klopp (still yet to win a trophy). He has been able to build the team he wants, playing the style he wants. Arsenal and Chelsea, Emery and Maurizio Sarri, are both 6 months into their new future.

I really feel for Rob Holding.

Yesterday was his 9th Premier League start in a row, and he was making a case for being Arsenal’s premier defender. People were starting to talk about buying a partner for him next summer, not a replacement.

Emery has described it as a “big injury”. Caused by Manchester United turning into Stoke City, attempting to kick us off the park.

Holding was caught late by Marcus Rashford, and seemed to catch his studs in the turf and twist his knee. The Old Trafford pitch was atrocious.

It is not yet clear how long Holding will be out for.

Aaron Ramsey is a little harder to feel sorry for.

He has a history of picking up these sort of minor injuries a couple of times a season, that see him miss 3 or 4 games. It is one reason why the club should not have offered him a deal making him the second highest paid player.

He also seemed to get his studs caught in the stodgy Old Trafford pitch.

With Laurent Koscielny hobbling off against Portsmouth in the EFL Trophy earlier in the week and Kostadinos Mavropanos a long term absentee, it leaves Arsenal with just 2 fit centre backs.

Nacho Monreal is returning to fitness, but is doubtful for the visit of Huddersfield. Arsenal will probably return to a back 4 in that game. Once Monreal has returned it will give us the option of playing a back 4 (with a more solid left back) or moving Monreal to the left hand side of a back 3.

Ramsey is less of a concern. Arsenal have an array of attacking talent; with Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, Mkhitaryan and Alex Iwobi available depending on whether we want to go one up top with 3 behind, or two up top with 1 behind.

The only problem is the bench.

With Danny Welbeck and Mesut Ozil out, we will be reliant on youngsters on the bench – Emile Smith Rowe and Eddie Nketiah.

We have a nice run of fixtures coming up in the Premier League until the game against Liverpool on the 29th – by which time you would expect Ramsey, Ozil, Koscielny and  Monreal to be back.

After 0 points from the first 2 games, Arsenal are now on a 20 game unbeaten run, and just 2 points off 3rd place.

15 games in, hopefully the talk of Arsenal not playing anyone can stop. We have played everyone in the top 9, and have only not played Brighton (10th), Huddersfield (17th), Southampton (18th) and Burnley (19th). They are our next 4 games.

4 points from the last 2 games in hindsight is a good return. It will be an even better return if we can get 12 from 12 prior to travelling to Anfield.

Up The Arsenal


Danny Welbeck leaving is great news for the future of Arsenal

Danny Welbeck has been a useful option for Arsenal over the years.

Since the signings of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette, he has been 3rd choice striker. The best 3rd choice striker in the league.

But as Arsenal move forward into the new era, the likes of Danny Welbeck, as with Jack Wilshere before him, need to move aside. Make way for the next generation who have the potential to be better.

Last summer we let Wilshere go on a free transfer and signed Matteo Guendouzi. Losing a teenager superstar of yesteryear and gaining one of the best teenage central midfielders in Europe.

The decision to not renew Danny Welbeck’s contract is the same mentality.

Even if Welbeck had not picked up his recent injury, he still would have been released in the summer. The truth is, he has served his purpose, and his salary and squad place can now be better spent elsewhere.

He rarely plays as a striker – in the last 2 seasons he has started just 2 games upfront.

With Arsenal only playing 1 up top, it would take injuries to both Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette for him to get a start.

The only time he has played consistently as a striker in the last two seasons is in the Europa League and League Cup.

Next season, if arsenal make the Champions League, it will be the first XI in Europe. That would further reduce the “striker minutes” available to Welbeck. It leaves just the League Cup.

For a while now a lot of fans have been clamouring for Eddie Nketiah to get minutes. In 2019/20, Nketiah should be our striker in the League Cup. This would mean that Welbeck would be relegated to 4th choice striker, not even starting up top in the Europa League.

The majority of his Arsenal career he has played on the wing, rarely first choice.

Arsenal need to sign a new first choice winger over the next 2 transfer windows.

Alongside the returning Reiss Nelson, who has been in fine form in Germany, this would relegate Welbeck in the pecking order to start out wide.

Already behind Aubameyang, Iwobi and Mkhitaryan, Nelson and a new signing would leave Welbeck as 6th choice winger. And that isn’t taking into account playing Mesut Ozil out wide.

Welbeck would not get a look in for Premier League games. Just 148 minutes played in the league this season. This would be further reduced next season with a new wide signing and Nelson returning.

Just where would Welbeck get game time?

He would need Arsenal to have a serious injury crisis, or be left playing League Cup games (at the sacrifice or Emile Smith Rowe or Joe Willock).

The reality is, at 28 years old and on £90,000 , Welbeck has become surplus to requirements.

He is not good enough to be a regular starter, and we have youngsters coming through with more potential that need to start getting more minutes.

In the summer, if we can secure someone like Anthony Martial, it would be ideal.

Martial would come straight into the first team on the left, but could also be back up to Aubameyang and Lacazette in case of injury.

For years Arsenal fans complained about paying average players big money.

Sven Mislintat bought in Lucas Torreira on £50,000 a week. Imagine what he could do with the £90,000 Welbeck is set to free up?

With Aaron Ramsey also set to be on the way out, that frees up £200,000 a week in salary.

That would allow Arsenal to go big in the summer. Buy a truly world class winger. Someone that would walk into the side on the left wing. And then could also cover the 2 men up top, or cover Ozil as a number 10.

Losing the likes of Wilshere and Welbeck should not be criticised.

Arsenal are looking forward, not backwards. Buying better than what we have, and improving the team.

Welbeck has been a decent player during his time at Arsenal, but that time is no up.