Banana skin potential for Arsenal vs Ludogorets this evening

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Screen Shot 2014-04-13 at 10.19.10

Well jeez Loiuse, it seems myself and Arsene agree on something. In an interview with Sky, he spoke about the wants of football players in the modern era.

“I think these kind of players can raise a little bit above the financial aspect of the game because they are not poor and they have to look really on the football side,”

YES. Exactly. Arsenal fans widely critique Robin Van Persie for jumping ship to United, citing money as the driver. That was never the driver, he moved for the chance to win a league title at 29 years old. Good for him, he landed that. My criticism of him was that if he’d stayed on with us for that following season, I reckon we’d have won the league. Similar story with Cesc and Thierry Henry.

Not that podge monster Samir Nasri, but you can’t please them all.

So that’s what Arsene has to do this season, convince players like Sanchez and Ozil that the grass is greener at The Grove. He needs to show them he can manage the side to high levels consistently throughout the season, and I’d guess he’ll have to show he can keep them fit and support them with top class talent. We’ll only find out how good the new players we’ve bought are come the end of the season.

Players will be casting an eye at other clubs around Europe and even within the Premier League and they’ll be thinking about whether the systems / set ups other clubs adopt have more chance of delivering them trophies than ours. If players leave Arsenal moving forward, it’s because the manager hasn’t done enough to convince them that staying with us will be prosperous.

A good statement to make will be against Ludogorets this evening. The Bulgarian team are a total unknown in Europe, which means they’re a total banana skin match for us. We’ve had some pretty shocking group stage moments over the past 10 years in the Champions League and this team have embarrassment written all over them.

We know Wenger will tinker with the keeper this evening, so we’ll likely see Ospina in goal. Big question over who he puts at the base of midfield. Does he bring in Coquelin to get game time in his legs after an injury, or does he save the Frenchman for the Premier League where we’ll have to basically play him the next 3 games straight whilst Xhaka sits out his sentence for being a bit of a bastard at the weekend.

I’d quite like to see the manager give Lucas Perez a run out in a serious game. He did well against Nottingham Forest when he came on and this game feels like one you’d want to cut your teeth on if you were him. Plenty to prove, at home, against a team you’d ‘hope’ we’d be able to pull something off against.

Theo Walcott is on absolute fire at the moment, so I struggle to see past him on the right. I can’t see past Iwobi on the left. There’s no Aaron Ramsey or Olivier Giroud in the squad. Cazorla and Ozil are on the starting sheet errytime. So the squad is pretty set.

BE WARNED THOUGH. Ludogorets captain Dyakov says their coach has passed on some information.

‘Teams like Arsenal have very few weak spots, our coach has given us the information and I can’t disclose it. If we have some luck and play well, we can expect something from the game.’

What might that be?

‘Long high shots, their keeper’s a midget!’



Many opportunities. Let’s hope Arsenal stay focused and ignore the bullies.


522 Responses to “Banana skin potential for Arsenal vs Ludogorets this evening”

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  1. Sam

    Lucas showing up also good for Arsenal
    Extra time off for Danny Welbeast, no need for him to start a game soon.
    if He’s fit by kwismas, extend it till March. give him only few minutes sub role

    Well done Lucas perez

    and Welcome to Arsenal

  2. Steveyg87

    “Cech’s been shit for years, so it’s mindboggling we signed him up!”

    I wouldn’t go that far.. Having said that, he isnt fit to tie oooospina’s shoe laces at the moment

  3. Sam

    A real banana skin waiting for us this Saturday
    I won’t bother with the performance I just want them to fight for whole 3 points

    and last day in the office for team Kostafi before they take a week off
    They’ll shut down boro’s efforts to stick one up our backsideS
    Hopefully we’ll score early

  4. underrated Coq

    Its difficult to choose between Cech and Ospina. The latter obviously has better reflexes and is quick off his line to snuff out danger-a very valuable asset considering how high our CBs push up.

    On the other hand, Cech is as good as they come at dealing with crosses and relieving pressure from corner kicks-this too is a valuable asset considering the lack of height and zonal marking we use.

  5. Sam

    Cech Bashing is lame

    real Arsenal fans are happy we have 3 good keepers to help us win major trophies.

    Surely Ospina n Martinez are lucky n happy to be training with a top veteran goalie
    Unlike some expert analysts we have here boring us everyday

  6. Sam

    Martinez will be in goal against Reading

    Wenger’s now like a kid in a candy shop
    he doesn’t know what to pick,

    lollipop, ice lolly, kinder egg


    Los Gunnacticos

  7. Wengaball

    There’s something cooking’ behind the scenes.

    It seems a few big guns are waiting to see if Wenger renews his contract, and will only then commit.

    Shines some new light of Gazidis’ “Arsenal isn’t Arsene, and Arsene isn’t Arsenal.” comment. Seems like old pal is miffed with the stance Özil and co have taken.

    Tricky one to negotiate. Gazidis is of course right, but there are many players in this squad who cameo Arsenal because of Wenger. Or so they say at least.

    So what happens if Wenger does not renew? There is a lot riding on winning something this year.

  8. underrated Coq


    As is to be expected. Imagine Ozil signs an extension only to find out months later Arsenal bring in, say ,an Eddie Howe as manager. Look at how van Persie’s career went down the drain after Fergie left him high and dry after just one season.

  9. Ozy

    If we lose Sanchez & Ozil, it would cost upwards of 60+ million to replace them with players of somewhat similar quality. It makes no financial sense to lose them if we will need to spend 50 million on a Lacazette or Icardi, and what, 30 – 40 million on an Isco? Not to mention the drop in quality, and the settling in period …

  10. Pedro

    Wengaball, that Goal story will either be made up… or it’ll have been placed their by the club.

    Ozil isn’t waiting on Wenger to sign a new deal. He’s waiting on proper cash money because he’s 28.

    Wenger hasn’t won a major trophy in 12 years. At most, he’ll be waiting to see who is coming in next… but a player of his level will want to be winning CL or PL. Wenger can’t offer that.

  11. Wengaball

    Hard choices for the CEO, board and Kroenke.

    If Wenger leaves, and none of the big players renew, then the new coach will have rebuild from scratch.

    One way of keeping Ozil, Sanchez etc. could be to bring in a ‘brand name’ coach, plus of course pay big money to these players.

    Plenty of cash will need to be spent soon.

  12. Wengaball

    Pedro – I am just trying to join the dots.

    Gazidis comment, this goal story, Wenger’s comment about the ‘footballing side’ etc.

    Of course, part of the footballing side is winning trophies, but could he be hinting towards this issue?

    Who knows. Its all conjecture in any case.

  13. Wengaball

    Why I mention the Gazidis’ comment is because it is very out of character.
    Normally, the club speaks in one voice, and they have been rock steady behind Wenger. That seemed like an unprovoked, out of the blue comment.

    Something must have triggered it?

  14. underrated Coq

    Can’t stress enough the importance of appointing a manager who’s a proven winner. Say whatever you want of Wenger’s inabilities, then man will leave Arsenal in exceptional shape. If the path to greatness( trophies ) is compared to getting up a flight of stairs, Wenger will have taken us as high as the penultimate step and leaves us on the brink of success.

    What Arsenal needs is someone who can come in and add that extra 5%–whether its via coaching or tactics or man management–to propel us up the final step. Not some novice or unproven manager, odds are such an appointment would lead us tumbling down a few steps.

    I’d rather Wenger stays on another year if that means we can bring in an Ancellotti or Simeone.

  15. Wengaball

    “So if Arsenal bring in Diego or tuchel , you think Ozil and Sanchez leave because wenger didn’t re sign”

    I ain’t saying anything like that. See my comment regarding ‘brand name’ coach above.

    All I am saying is getting Ozil and Sanchez to sign is about more than just stumping up the cash. As it stands, Wenger re-signing seems to be a part of the equation.

    That can change, of course.

    Underrated, my sentiments exactly.

  16. Joe

    Ozil and Sanchez waiting on signing because of a manager who hasn’t competed for a major trophy for 12 seasons.

    Sounds about right.

    Ask rvp, Henry. Cesc viera. Nasri what they think of that

  17. gonsterous

    Would be nice if the team could play like this for the remainder of the league, but they can’t and thes won’t.. it’s why I think it’s still time for Wenger to leave !!

  18. underrated Coq

    ‘And if wenger re signs it’ll be for 3 years. Not 1’

    Not really, we are talking about scenarios post Wenger.

    Its not unreasonable to imagine Wenger and the board have already had a chat about this matter. If Wenger is veering towards hanging up his zipper-coat, its logical to assume he’ll already have given strong hints to the board so that they get as much time as possible to plan the succession.

    But there’s a chance the first choice candidate they want may not be available for another year or so. In which case they should get Wenger to stay for this period, to hold the ship steady.

    We’ve seen this happen at City. Pellegrini stayed on for another season until Guardiola was ready to take over the reins.

  19. Leedsgunner

    “One way of keeping Ozil, Sanchez etc. could be to bring in a ‘brand name’ coach, plus of course pay big money to these players.Plenty of cash will need to be spent soon.”

    Just a thought….

    Maybe the spectre of spending big big cash rather than having Arsenal FC as a glorified piggy bank will convince Kronke that it’s time to sell… after all he has Usmanov nearby who would love to buy his stake.

    Kronke leaving AFC would be equivalent to winning the Quadruple in my opinion… 🙂

  20. Wengaball

    That should make you glad then Red.

    Methinks you are closet Wenger admirer, who comes here and plays the contrarian deliberately. And plays it very well. Some call it trolling 😉

    Unlike Joe, who genuinely hates the manager.

  21. underrated Coq

    ‘Ozil and Sanchez waiting on signing because of a manager who hasn’t competed for a major trophy for 12 seasons. Sounds about right. Ask rvp, Henry. Cesc viera. Nasri what they think of that’

    Are you merely purporting to be dumb or do you honestly not understand the point that’s being made?

  22. Sam

    You don’t get rid of the manager when the team is playing well n progressing

    you reward him with a nice contract

    Wenger or not, thats what happen in football

  23. Özil's left boot

    Reading through the comments, I have discovered a hilarious trend on here.

    Game begins…. “Alexis is NOT a striker.” He pops one in. We move on to the next target.

    “I swear if Theo had a brain, he would score 20 a season.” He pops one in, oh Great Goal Theo. GREAT Goal. Let us pick on Chamberlain.

    “He really is shit. Arsene-wenger is so stupid for picking him.” 39 seconds into the second half. Goal.

    Don’t forget, Özil “has been shit all game” .” Hate his body language.”
    ” can’t be arsed.”
    Bags a Hattrick, and we are all cooing. Sign him up Arsene-wenger-birthday-present.

  24. Vote leave

    Wenger clearly can offer what Ozil and Sanchez want.
    Top money
    Playing top football
    Both players look to me to be playing the best stuff of their careers
    Win the league- he can offer that

  25. Wengaball

    To your point Leeds, its gonna be a triple whammy for Kroenke…

    1) Pay big money to get a big name manager
    2) Pay Ozil, Sanchez, Koscielny, Walcott etc. super money to stay.
    3) Unlike Wenger, any other big name manager will demand even bigger money every transfer window.

    No wonder they are thinking about Eddie Howe. Will cost less in salary – but more importantly – even less in transfer demands.

  26. Sam

    Failing to win a trophy has never been a reason to sack a manager in English football.
    Its only happening recently n only Suga daddy owned clubs are doing it
    when the team is playing well, the fans are happy n they know trophy will finally come

    Ermm Arsenal won fa cup twice recently.

  27. Leedsgunner

    Dear Alexis and Mesut

    The grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

    Someone needs to tell Alexis and Mesut that they can be this decade’s Bergkamp and Henry. That they can finish their careers as Arsenal legends… surely when you have that much money already — a chance to be forever remembered means something?

    Despite what Cesc and RvP publicly say, I bet if you really ask them, in their heart of hearts I bet they regret leaving the Arsenal.

  28. Wengaball

    “Failing to win a trophy has never been a reason to sack a manager in English football.”

    And it should be even less of a reason for fans to moan.

    What I like about the Wenger era is that there is plenty to enjoy even when we are NOT winning. There have been tears of course, but, there’s been plenty of joy as well.

    Imagine being a Mourinho team and not winning. What do you have left to celebrate? That’s one reason his reign turns toxic so quick. Don’t win for a year, and there is nothing left.

  29. Sam

    Guardiola too needs time to build his team

    Sacking Pellegrini was more like I am a billionaire n I can change manager anytime I want.

    Guardiola left Bayern Munich for Man city n Pellegrini sacked by arrogant owner. I personally hope Man city wins nothing

  30. Alexanderhenry

    Lots of talk about ozil and sanchez’ futures at arsenal.

    Some say it’s money and some say it’s trophies that will decide whether they stay.

    Well, I actually think it depends on the possibility of winning rather than earning more. That’s what made rvp’s mind up for him. The extra money at man utd helped but he knew that while arsenal fc were persevering with an austerity policy that saw quality players leave rather than join, they would always be second best.

    That’s why, as upsetting as it was, I understood and respected his decision at the time.
    He joined man utd for the same reason that sol campbell joined us basically.

    Ozil and sanchez will expect more money if they stay, but they will also expect arsenal to commit to significant and sustained investment in players.

    Without that commitment arsenal will fall short. With or without wenger.

  31. Alexanderhenry


    ‘Maybe the spectre of spending big big cash rather than having Arsenal FC as a glorified piggy bank will convince Kronke that it’s time to sell… after all he has Usmanov nearby who would love to buy his stake. Kronke leaving AFC would be equivalent to winning the Quadruple in my opinion… :)’

    Excellent point.

  32. jwl

    For me, it takes time to recognize new Arsenal players and not so new, apparently.

    Mustafi, Lucas, Gibbs and Elneny still make me think some random punter has decided to put on proper kit and joined the game when they come together after scoring goal.

  33. Leedsgunner

    RvP reckons if Fergie had remained in charge his career wouldn’t have tanked.

    Yeah, that’s right RvP — think that if you want to.

    Any new manager with his head screwed on wouldn’t sideline Sanchez and Özil — especially how well they are playing now.

    Wenger’s resigning his contract is secondary. Players will do what is best for them whoever the manager is in my opinion.

  34. Wengaball

    There are plenty of managers who bring joy by winning trophies.

    The magic of Wenger has been to bring joy even without being able to win trophies. In the latter half that is.

    1) Positive football – sometimes brilliant, sometimes patchy – but never negative
    2) Champions league for 20 years
    3) Overall, a classy, postive vibe around the club in terms of principles, values and conduct. He has his moments, but largely manages to rise a cut above
    4) The stadium, infrastructure, training facilities etc. etc. – taking the club forward
    5) Academy, young players coming through
    6) Respect for the club from the best in the business – from Cruyff to Guardialo – heck, even from Spurs fans.

    etc. etc.

    So, while I would be over the moon when we win PL, CL etc., I can still feel good about a lot of things even without them. And hence my respect for the man.

  35. Ashley

    Bottom line is , we won’t know what’s going on until the end of the season , My feeling is , Wenger will sign on , I don’t want him to , we need to move on no matter how well this season goes … We cannot be entertaining Eddie Howe , it’s simeone or Tuchel in that order , has to be ….

  36. Wengaball

    I forgot – we also ‘win’ quite often – matches I mean.

    That too brings joy to me. Like today, I am singing like a canary :).

  37. Sam

    Would Pochettino get sacked this season if he fails to win? nope

    oil billionaire owners should understand that you work hard to win trophies not buy them like commodities

  38. Leedsgunner


    Fair enough points but where do you know after the stadium has been built, the academy has been set up… etc.

    We are a professional sports club.

    The raison d’etre of such enterprises is to compete for trophies and titles. Otherwise all you have left is a glorified business/community project pretending to play football.

    The point of Arsenal Football Club ultimately is to win trophies. We can do it our way but without trophies you have no meaning as a football club… especially at the highest level.

  39. Wengaball

    @Alexanderhenry – I am crucified here even for my moniker :).

    I am okay frankly with people having different views, as long as it does get too aggressive or personal.

  40. Sam

    If Chamberlain was playing for Mourinho he wouldn’t even see the bench next game.
    Wenger actually dismissed his comments then play him
    Thats class, Wenger doesn’t have a time to pick a fight with his players

  41. underrated Coq

    This is what the aforementioned Goal article actually states

    ”Mesut Ozil is waiting on Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger to make a decision on his future at the club before he signs a contract extension with the Gunners.

    Arsenal officials have made clear to Ozil that they want him to sign regardless of Wenger’s whereabouts next season, but the player remains adamant that the Frenchman was a key reason behind his move to the Premier League and wants to see the manager’s situation resolved first.”

    What is exactly so illogical about this sentiment of Ozil? He knows exactly what Wenger offers, maybe not the cream level but the one just below. Ozil wants to know if he’s atleast guaranteed of that or maybe something even better in the form of a better manager-before he commits to the club.

  42. Ashley


    I’m so guilty of ranting about wanting him out when things seem to be going bad and we do an Arsenal , but when the dust settles and we get our shit together we can be class … I’m still one of those that thinks he should be replaced at the end of this season but , I do think we have been lucky to have him , there I said it !!! Shhitttttttt don’t let Joe see hahahahaha

  43. Wengaball

    @Leedsgunner – to me there is as much joy in the pursuit of trophies – in a proper way – as there is in winning them.

    I don’t know about others, but winning on the back of a rich man’s billions is hollow victory to me.

    If we had gone on to win ONCE in the austerity years – 2008 or 2011 – it would have meant so much more than Chelsea or City winning with old money.

    I know I am old fashioned 🙂

  44. tom

    Great points from wengaball.

    Wenger’s situation is definitely a factor in Alexis and Ozil’s decisions.

    The money matters too, along with matching ambition.

    How it breaks down in their minds is anybody’s guess but it’s quite possible that each of the players has different priorities.

    Arsenal can accommodate most of their needs but not all.

    If money is the most important thing; there are others who can pay more.

    If trophies are the most important thing; there are others who offer better prospects.

    If football and Club life is the most important thing; there is no where better than Arsenal.

  45. Louis Almeida

    Both Ozil and Alexis want to win, there’s no doubt about that. The question is whether they are convinced by the club’s ambition. Wenger said it the other day that it’s the footballing ambition that matters to them. Obviously the money is a big factor but Arsenal can match that easily. They are incredibly rich and need to stop playing the poor relation card.

  46. Joe

    If we had gone on to win ONCE in the austerity years – 2008 or 2011

    We should Have won 3.

    We didn’t because of wenger.

    We would have been a lot more lucky if he had left In 06

    Shhhh don’t tell akbs I said that.

  47. Wengaball

    Joe – let’s agree to disagree there.

    The reason we fell short was because we didn’t have a squad to tide us over.

    You can say it was Wenger’s fault that we didn’t have such a squad. I would say we were financially incapable of having such a squad.

    That we even reached near is a miracle. Those who agree to that then have to hold their hands up and admit – that miracle was down to one man.

  48. Vote leave

    Alexander Henry

    The thing is, if RvP stayed at arsenal we could have won the league that year
    Without him we had no chance
    Another 30 from him would have pushed us over the edge

  49. Joe


    Were Leicester financially capable of having a squad to win the title?

    Were Dortmund?


    And if you use the excuse it was a one off

    How has such a great top manager as job say wenger is failed to even do a one off or fluke one??

  50. Louis Almeida

    51 – Mesut Özil has had a hand in 51 goals in 90 league games for Arsenal, the same total he managed for Real Madrid after 90 games. Balance

    Yep. Unreal considering what he’s had to work with here since 2013 compared to Ronaldo/Benzema/Higuain/Di maria. Lad is doing numbers. This new role will see him score more than he assists this season.

  51. karim

    Ozil and Sanchez also know they won’t easily find a comparable situation elsewhere, we have everything they need.

    Less expectations than at the top top clubs, reasonable ambition and great facilities, whether it be the stadium or Colney.

    Plus this is the best start to a season since they arrived and the the team has already gelled.

    Give’em what they’re asking but let’s not pretend they’re unhappy.

  52. Wallace

    I think both Ozil & Alexis will have been reassured by the summer spending. wouldn’t be at all surprised to find Ozil had a say in our targeting Mustafi. if we offer them a generous deal I think they’ll both stay.

  53. gonsterous

    Whether Wenger goes or stays.. he was one heck of a manager for arsenal. I have mates that support other clubs and they all admire Wenger.

  54. Wallace


    I think we can afford to make a few changes against Boro at the weekend. I’d say left back, central midfield and left wing as the areas where we can switch it up without losing too much.