Official Podcast – Premier League Matchday 6 Review!

On this edition of the Podcast we discuss Sam Allardyce’s slip of the tongue, Arsenal’s victory over Chelsea, the demise of West Ham, Man City’s impressive form and Danny Simpsons comments around shirt-pulling and holding in the penalty area.

As well as our usual La Liga and Serie A round ups!

Also available for download on iTunes, please don’t forget to rate and share our podcast!

The Theory Behind Wenger’s Questionable Team Selections

As I settled on the sofa to watch my beloved Arsenal take on the mighty PSG I scrolled through my twitter feed to check Wenger’s starting lineup and see what the mood was like amongst Gunners fans.   To say I was surprised with the selection was an understatement.  I had spent the past couple of days defending Wenger’s team selection on Saturday purely on the basis that he was resting players for the Champions League clash in Paris.

So you can imagine my shock when summer acquisition Granit Xhaka and Arsenal’s only recognized centre forward Olivier Giroud were left out for the second time in less than a week.  Wenger opted to go with David Ospina between the sticks despite the backlash that same decision brought in last season’s Champions League campaign.  The Colombian stopper justified his managers show of faith with a solid performance and he made a number of very smart saves – its clearer than ever that Arsenal do really have two top class goalkeepers in the ranks.


The Match

Even the most pessimistic of Gooner’s couldn’t have foreseen a worse start, Laurent Koscielny was caught too high up the pitch with Francis Coquelin chasing shadows and once Serge Aurier broke free down their right hand side there was no catching him.  A pinpoint delivery and an instinctive finish from Edinson Cavani gave PSG the lead and that all too familiar thought of ‘here we go again’ sprung to mind.

Despite having a fair share of the possession in the first half (49% to be precise) we failed to create any chances and PSG were cutting through us like a knife through butter.  Edinson Cavani squandered two fantastic chances, most notably the one where he took the ball around Ospina and shot wide.  Just imagine what we’d all be saying if that was Giroud!

The second half started somewhat more positively and Arsenal were keeping the ball for long periods but there was still no cutting edge.  It was only a matter of time before PSG began pulling us apart and by-passing our non-existent midfield, but for a host of smart saves from David Ospina it would have been Goodnight for the Gunners in Paris.

Thankfully, in what was probably our first meaningful attack of the game Mesut Ozil picked out Alex Iwobi in the penalty area, the Nigerian’s shot was blocked and Alexis was right on cue to rifle it into the bottom left corner. 1-1! It was a strange feeling, a mixture of joy at the equalizer but also frustration as to why it had taken 78 minutes for Arsenal to carry any sort of meaningful threat.

Arsene Wenger will be pretty pleased with himself, the introduction of Giroud was vital in creating the space for Iwobi and like I mentioned in my last post – just having a forward to occupy the centre halves can make all the difference.  The Frenchman coming on and Alexis Sanchez being able to move back into his familiar role of wide left ultimately made the difference.

The decision not to play a striker was a strange one but I don’t think this is the last time we will see Wenger adopt this approach in the so called bigger games.  Here’s why…

 In all my years of watching the Arsenal that wasn’t the first time I’ve been scratching my head over the boss’ selection and it certainly won’t be the last.  At first, I just thought it was another poor selection and I couldn’t see the vision or indeed the idea behind his selection.  Before I continue, I am not suggesting that this approach worked and it’s important to note we were very fortunate to leave the Parc Des Princes with a point.  However, despite all of that it was clear that Arsene had at least tried to adapt his approach to this particular game – something that we’ve often criticized him for failing to do.

There were a number of differences to our set up. Most of them, I struggled to make sense of, in particular early on in the game.



 Usually the anchor in our midfield, patrolling left to right in front of the back four and putting out fires.  Francis Coquelin was found pressing further up the pitch than normal and on occasions was further forward than even Mesut Ozil!  I can’t for a moment believe that a player who is usually so disciplined would be pressing in the last third unless instructed by the manager to do so.  This had a negative impact on our defensive shape because every time PSG won possession and broke on us the midfield was nowhere to be seen.


Under Arsene Wenger we have been known to play a high line where possible, pushing up to the half way line and squeezing our opponents in – you could say a good way of sustaining pressure.  While we try to do this as often as possible the fact that Mustafi is playing rather than Per Mertesacker seems to have encouraged us to push that little bit further up the pitch, there is no longer a clear lack of pace in the central defensive department to cause major concern.

However, this issue should be approached with caution.  As happy as I am with the signing of Mustafi its clear for all to see that his understanding with Koscielny will need time to develop and I just feel that playing such a high line leaves no margin for error.  You only need to look at the amount of times PSG broke through the middle of our defence last night to see exactly what I mean.

I am firm believer that in order to have a strong central defensive partnership you require two different styles of centre halve that compliment each other’s games.  Koscielny tends to play on the front foot, often stepping out of the back four to close space and going toe to toe with his opponent.  Over recent seasons he has usually been the one to man-mark the opponents striker.  One of the reason’s he developed such a strong partnership with Per Mertesacker was because their styles did exactly that, compliment each other.  Per will take a calmer approach, dropping off as the spare man and often reading the danger early from his ‘withdrawn’ position allowing him to get his starting position right and move across to deal with it.

It’s not that I don’t like Mustafi but during his first two games for the Arsenal something about the way he plays just reminds me of Thomas Vermaelen – that all action style.  I don’t believe you can get away with having two centre halves wanting to play on the front foot, both constantly committing themselves and stepping out of the back four to make challenges, it leaves you far too exposed and the better teams will pick you off.  Some of you may disagree and I am hopeful they will develop a strong central defensive partnership together but one of them will certainly have to adapt their game for the benefit of the team.


No recognized striker on the pitch is something we are beginning to see more and more of in football.  To use a Premier League example, Jurgen Klopp has had plenty of success in the ‘bigger games’ by refusing to play a recognized centre forward.  I feel this can be successful for a number of reasons…

  1. It allows you to dominate possession, when necessary the midfield becomes a six and you end up simply over running your opponents in the midfield area.
  2. It allows freedom of movement – as long as a couple of your midfielders are disciplined enough and sit in front of the back four it pretty much allows your more advanced players to be able to interchange positions and makes it almost impossible for your opponents to man mark and keep tabs on them.
  3. There are no passengers in this system (when played correctly!) – When you haven’t got possession of the ball you can fill up the midfield with bodies and the numbers allow you to close more of the spaces and press your opponents effectively.

As I mentioned in my last blog entry we never seem to carry enough of a threat when Sanchez or Walcott for example play as the striker.  Teams tend to load the middle and without a physical presence or focal point in attack we just don’t seem to create very much.

I feel Giroud’s presence and physical strength occupies the central defenders, giving them something to worry about and therefore creating spaces for others to exploit – last night’s goal was a perfect example.  It’s as clear as day for all to see that were not getting any joy playing that way.


Is Arsene Wenger silly enough to persist with something that clearly isn’t working or are we seeing a transition as a result of him trying to implement something new? A plan B perhaps?

I think and I hope it’s the latter – it’s clearly something that requires a lot more work but a small part of me was glad to see us trying to adapt ourselves to better cope with our opponent’s strengths.

Time will tell whether it’s something Arsenal decide to persist with and despite the questionable performance I woke up with a smile on my face.  A big European result and let’s hope we can make it past the last 16 this time!



Sofa Sports News

A Clear Penatly & A Vital 3 Points! – Arsenal FC

Arsenal hardly set the world alight on Saturday but it’s the three points that matter.  Santi Cazorla held his nerve in stoppage time to convert from the spot and ensure Arsenal registered their first home win of the season.

I spent most of my weekend debating whether the foul on Giroud warranted a spot kick with my colleague Alavi.  Having reviewed it over and over again and even digging out the FIFA rule regarding holding players in the box there is no sensible argument against the award.  I took the liberty of extracting the following from the FIFA rules:

FIFA rule 14 clearly states:

“Referee’s are reminded to make an early intervention and to deal firmly with holding offences especially inside the penalty area at corner kicks and free kicks.  To deal with these situations the referee shall:

  • Warn any player holding an opponent before the ball is in play.
  • Caution the player if the holding continues.
  • Award a direct free kick or penalty and caution the player once it happens if the ball is in play.


Based on the extract from the rules and the image above, I challenge anyone to give me a genuine reason as to why Fonte’s wrestling moves didn’t warrant a penalty.

It’s no secret that the performance wasn’t great; Arsene surprised a few including myself with his team selection.  His decision to leave out Giroud, Sanchez and Xhaka from the start meant he was already under pressure from the WOB’s before the game even began.

Wenger handed debuts to Shkodran Mustafi and Lucas Perez, with both showing glimpses of why the manager brought them in.  Mustafi had a few hairy moments early on where he seemed to give the ball away far too cheaply but he certainly grew in stature as the game went on.  Lucas Perez showed some classy touches and very good link up play at times but in truth he was starved of service in that centre forward position and had no choice but to pull out wide or into deeper areas just to get on the ball.

I’ve read a number of peoples comments regarding the Perez signing after Saturday’s game and claims we have signed another average striker; most notably Ian Wright, who made some comments to that affect.  Let me explain something to those of you who love to jump on a band wagon!  Alexis Sanchez has failed to make an impact in the centre forward position when asked to play there, is he a bad player?

The reason being our current system, playing style and the way our opponents set up against us means you need a certain type of player to fill that position.  A physical presence, somebody to occupy BOTH centre halves, able to play with his back to goal and somebody willing to use his body as a battering ram and cope with the physical challenges some of the leagues fiercest centre halves bring to the table.

Perez is not the ‘wrong’ signing as some have claimed but a change in focus when attacking will need to be considered by the boss in order to get the best out of him, will we finally discover a plan B?


The above is exactly why I am forever calling on Arsenal fans to give Olivier Giroud a break, there is so much more to his game than just goals and his presence is a constant threat to our opponents.

He is a vital component to our ONLY way of playing, he consistently bags around 20 goals a season and some say it should be more but you certainly can’t underestimate his influence in this side.  It’s no coincidence that he came on, did exactly what I described and eventually winning us the penalty but more importantly the three points.

It was a lack luster performance all around and having performed so well at Watford I put it down to just being a bad day at the office.  I’m not pressing the panic button just yet.

Wenger opted to protect some of our key players and took into account their international exploits – it was certainly a gamble but he got away with it and Arsenal now go into the champion’s league clash in Paris in pretty good shape.


Sofa Sports News

Twitter: @sofasportsnews_

Facebook: Sofa Sports News


The Gunners travel to Watford this weekend – Preview

The Gunners travel to Vicarage Road this weekend to take on Walter Mazzari’s Watford side in search of their first win of the season.  The Hornets have only managed to beat the Gunners once since the turn of the century but they’ll be confident of getting a result in front of their home crowd.  Watford will take great encouragement from their performance against Chelsea last weekend and they will feel extremely unlucky to have lost that one, especially seeing as the winning goal scorer shouldn’t have even been on the pitch!  Anyway, that’s a story for another day…

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has been extremely busy in the transfer market this week and it looks as though (fingers crossed) Deportivo La Coruna striker Lucas Perez and German International defender Shkodran Mustafi will be joining the club imminently.  Maybe he is going to spend some money after all!

Lucas Perez may not be the marquee signing most Gunners fans were looking for but none the less seems a decent acquisition in what the boss described as a ‘difficult market’.  The striker may be something of an unknown quantity but there is no doubt about the quality of Shkodran Mustafi, a proven centre back at international level is just what the doctor ordered to nurse our injury ravaged defence.


Watford have also been active in the transfer market this summer and earlier in the week completed the signing of right back Daryl Janmaat from Newcastle United.  I expect Walter Mazzari to set his side out with three centre halves and his sides rely heavily on having strong, energetic and technically gifted wing backs.  These are all qualities the Dutchman possesses and I believe he will be a big hit with the Watford faithful.  Perhaps the most crucial part of business the Hornets have done this summer was turning down a huge bid from a Chinese Super League club for striker Odion Ighalo.

His partnership with Troy Deeney was one of the main factors in ensuring Watford’s survival last season; they will be extremely pleased to have kept them both at the club.  Troy Deeney was also the subject of a substantial bid this summer – champions Leicester city decided to test Watford’s resolve with a bid in the region of £20m.  The Hornets fans will be buoyant and there is no doubt that being able to hold onto your stars is just as big as signing new ones.

I expect this to be an incredibly tight fixture between two teams with two very different systems, an intriguing tactical battle and I cannot wait to see which one will come out on top.  Arsenal should be looking to pin back the wingbacks, expose the gaps they may leave behind them and try to stretch the three centre halves.  Walter Mazzari is no boy scout and I expect him to be fully aware of any flaws in his system, during periods of the game I expect to see the home side shift their defence into a back five with Etienne Capoue screening the centre halves.

The former Spurs man has been Watford’s star player in the opening two fixtures with goals in consecutive games.  Arsene Wenger has described Troy Deeney as a fighter and rightly so, I’m sure Walter Mazzari will be telling his star man to get in the face of the young Holding and they would have identified him as a potential ‘weak link’.

Rob Holding silenced the doubters and performed extremely well at Leicester last week, with his confidence forever growing and another ninety minutes of premier league experience under his belt I predict the Arsenal to keep a clean sheet.

Monsieur Wenger spoke to the press on Friday morning and when asked about the conditions of Mesut Ozil and Olivier Giroud he explained that he would make a late decision on the German but the Frenchman is still ‘a bit short physically’.

The Gunners will be desperate to get three points on the board; failure to win could see us fall even further behind the early pace setters.  It’s still early days but I expect the two Manchester clubs and Chelsea to pick up victories this weekend.  A defeat at Watford could see us eight points off the top which even at this early stage is far from ideal.

I expect Mesut Ozil to be given the nod from the start and if Alexis Sanchez does remain in the central striker position I’d be interested to see if his performance improves with our chief creator providing the service.

There is no doubt in my mind that the Gunners will dominate the possession and Watford will be set up to absorb pressure but as we learnt last season it doesn’t mean you will cruise to victory.  Having said that, I am optimistic and in my predictions this week I have gone for an Arsenal 3-0 victory!

A somewhat BETTER week as an Arsenal fan and the only way is up! Come on you Gunners!



Sofa Sports News.


Wenger & The Excuse Culture: Arsenal FC

Two games into the new season and Gooner’s up and down the country are already tearing their hair out.  A squad decimated by a combination of injuries and lack of match fitness has seen Arsene Wenger’s men stutter in the first two weeks of the season.  A disappointing home defeat on the opening day left a sour taste in the fans mouths and the draw at Leicester hasn’t done very much in terms of easing the pressure on Monsieur Wenger.  Large sections of the Arsenal faithful have begun calling for the clubs most successful manager of all time to walk away from the Emirates stadium.  The chant of ‘We Want Wenger Out’ could be heard coming from some of the away section during Arsenal’s trip to reigning champions Leicester City this past weekend.

I said in my last blog that I had finally jumped off of the fence and firmly onto the ‘Wenger Out’ side.  I would be lying if I said I was overly concerned at the fact we didn’t beat Leicester City last Saturday, after all they are the Premier League champions and we were away from home.  Not to mention the fact that young Rob Holding was thrown in at the deep end and the likes of Olivier Giroud & Mesut Ozil were not deemed fit enough to participate from the start. Upon reflection I would say it was a credible result and keeping a clean sheet is always encouraging after conceding four goals at home the week before!


Another weeks gone by and the transfer deadline is just around the corner, we are still yet to do any significant business other than the acquisition of Granit Xhaka which seems like an age ago.  Once again the post game press conference saw the media lay into the managers transfer policy and provoke a reaction to make the back pages.  I must admit, I enjoyed his comments regarding Rob Holding and that must have been a welcomed confidence boost for the young centre back.  It can’t be easy joining one of the country’s biggest clubs under these particular circumstances; it’s almost as if some of our supporters are angry at him because Arsene didn’t bring in a more proven player as well.

Much has been made of one particular comment Mr Wenger came out with post match in regards to the clubs responsibilities to their 600 employee’s, yeah you know the one I mean!  In such situations, you must be careful not to take the comment out of context and remember emotions are always running high just after a game.  The combination of that along with the constant pressing from the media can cause even the coolest of customers to come out with absolute nonsense from time to time.  Arsene is no exception to that and in my view made an utter twat of himself and the club with that comment.  Don’t any of the other Premier League clubs have employees?

It highlights the ‘excuse culture’ that has taken over in recent years at our football club.  It begins right at the top of the food chain, a money hungry board of directors who have turned this once great football club into a money making machine.  Arsenal Football Club generates more match day revenue than any other football club in the world according to Deloitte.  That’s great news if you happen to be a share holder but for us regular fans it means inflated ticket prices and encourages the PSB (prawn sandwich brigade) to flock to the Emirates stadium for a day out and to the majority of them the result is of no relevance.  It’s no wonder we struggle to generate a decent atmosphere at certain games.  The traditional Arsenal fans have been prized out of attending week in week out and if modern football continues in this direction it won’t be too long before we are saying this about clubs up and down the country.


Despite all the figures saying otherwise the manager and the board continue to give us excuses as to why we can’t compete with the likes of Man Utd, Chelsea and Man City in the transfer market.  I will tell you why, because our board and our manager are stuck in the Stone Age, their refusal to move in the same direction as the rest of the game will see us fall further and further behind.  Somebody once said to me “The Arsenal don’t need to win the title, keeping Wenger there and finishing 4th brings in guaranteed revenue without having to fork out hundreds of millions.  For Arsenal to win the title it would mean spending millions and that doesn’t guarantee profit come the end of the year. Qualifying for the Champions League will be our only objective under this ownership.  It’s no wonder the manager isn’t ever under any pressure.” I used to laugh it off, dismiss it even, call me crazy but it’s beginning to make a lot of sense.

The problem at the Arsenal is a complex one; the excuse culture created by both Wenger and the board is becoming evident in some sections of our support as they continue to defend this manager’s failing policies.  His refusal to value players in line with the rest of the football world has left him behind the rest of the pack; a manager who was once innovative and daring has become the dinosaur of the division. His tactical approach is farcical at times and we continue to be embarrassed by our biggest rivals.  His loyalty to a mix of average and crocked individuals (not mentioning any names!) has cost us at vital times during the past twelve seasons.  I guess it’s just been down to the injuries hey Arsene?  There is no doubt his legacy will go down in Arsenal folk law and for that we will always love the man but every dog has its day and Wenger’s was over a decade ago.

Twelve years and counting since the last Premier League title and there is nothing about his current approach to convince me he will ever reach those heights again.  If things continue in the same fashion it is only a matter of time before the likes of Sanchez and Ozil begin looking for another, more ambitious club.

Arsene has invested far too much time on the likes of Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Aaron Ramsey for example.  He lacks the ruthlessness to just accept that these players aren’t going to win us league titles and as a result we have a squad crawling with dead wood.  Our first team squad is flooded with injury prone, mentally weak and simply below par players.  When Mr Wenger does eventually leave I don’t expect the board to suddenly release excessive amounts of transfer funds to the new manager.  However, what I look forward to is a fresh pair of eyes coming into the club without any loyalty/attachment to any of the current squad and being able to identify the very players I am referring too. A clear out if you like.  There will no doubt be a transitional period after Le Professuer eventually leaves his post but we may need to take a step back to move forward again.

Let’s hope this season is his last and we can unite in giving him the send off a club legend deserves.  Thanks for the memories Wenger, but it’s time to say goodbye.


Sofa Sports News


Leicester City vs Arsenal – Preview

Sofa Sports News’ Kyri previews Arsenal’s trip to the champions Leicester this Saturday.

So the new Premier League season kicked off last weekend and as usual we saw a number of shock results.

Leicester City started the defense of their tittle against a Hull side who’ve had a shocking pre-season to say the least.  Firstly, manager Steve Bruce handed in his resignation having led the club back to the Premier League promise land.  An injury list as long as my arm meaning they will be missing key players for months and to top it off they have failed to bring in any senior players.  Hull City were most people’s pre-season relegation tip.  Despite all of the above mentioned they began the campaign with the best possible start, turning over the champions.

The other major shock came the following day in North London when Liverpool came out of the Emirates stadium as 4-3 winners.

In all honesty, I didn’t really expect Arsenal to win the game with the team that was available and what surrounds the club at the moment but I certainly didn’t expect to witness us well beaten at home.

What can you say about Arsenal?

What has changed?

The answer to that question is simple, nothing much.

Another summer of endless rumors but with nothing actually materializing.  It seems as though Arsene Wenger is trying to sign the best players on the cheap.

I will never turn around and call Arsene Wenger a c**t or ‘le freud’ or any of the other names that fans have been calling him.  I love the manager for everything he’s done for the Arsenal, he’s been the best manager this club has ever had and their have been some pretty good managers down the years.  When Arsene eventually does depart, there is no doubt he will be leaving behind a great legacy.

The frustration comes because it’s the same old story with Arsenal, he constantly fails to learn from his mistakes.  I believe when Mr Wenger does call it a day, it will be a breath of fresh air and a huge relief for us.

When Arsenal completed the move from Highbury to the Emirates stadium we were assured as fans the move would allow us to compete financially with the monster clubs in Europe.

With this vision in sight the club endured a long transitional period in order to clear the stadium debt. That was paid off almost 4 years ago!

Arsenal now generate £4/5 million per home game, have a majority share holder who is richer than Roman Abramovich, Arsenal (like every other club in the Premier League) have just been given £250 million for TV money, not to mention the millions each season from Puma, Fly Emirates and all the other sponsorship deals.  Despite all of this, the club still insist we cannot compete financially with our rivals and that we are not willing to over spend on transfers.

As fans, we massively overspend to support our team whether it be at home or away.  Making it even more frustrating when the club flat out refuse to.

During the summer, Arsene Wenger has  made some laughable bids for players.  In his pursuit of Alexandre Lacazette he offered £5 million less than the bid West Ham had rejected a week earlier.  Arsenal have been in negotiation with Valencia for Shkodran Mustafi and could miss out on the player for the sake of £2/3 million.

You cannot expect to get the players you want for the prices that you want to pay, modern day football doesn’t allow you to approach the transfer market in this way.  This has been the case at the Arsenal for many years.

People can say there is still two weeks of the transfer window left and he can still buy.  If he really rated mustafi and Lacazette and thought he could strengthen the squad with these players, they should have been signed 2/3 weeks ago. Even more so when you go into the first game of the season with two of your centre halves injured and the other one is given time off after the euros. He has taken the Arsenal into the new season unprepared. AGAIN.

Now to focus on Arsenal’s trip to the King power this Saturday evening and both teams will be desperate to register their first three points.

Leicester City will not want to begin their title defense with back to back defeats. The damage that could do mentally could be huge.  However, a win against the Arsenal and the belief and the momentum will be back with Claudio Ranieri’s side.

Arsenal on the other hand are plagued with injuries (again), Alex Iwobi and Aaron Ramsey are out of action for 2/3 weeks and we are all wondering when Arsene Wenger will call back Ozil, Koscienly and Giroud.  In my opinion, he hasn’t got a choice. They should have all been back and ready to face Liverpool.

It will be interesting to see how both teams line up on Saturday, I expect Ranieri to call back Mark Albrighton to the left who was left out of the team last week at Hull.  His experience and work rate will be needed against Arsenal and it will be interesting to see if King plays along side Drinkwater in central midfield like he did last week. I firmly expect Jamie Vardy to get onto the score sheet after rejecting Arsenal this summer.  It’s just written in the script!

I predict the Leicester starting line up to look like


As for Arsenal I predict Koscienly to come back into the side and play along side Chambers at the heart of the defence for me I think a defensive minded midfielder has to play in front of the back four and protect them because if somebody with Musa’s pace and trickery gets in behind that midfield and in at the defence he’s got Vardy (who I expect will target chambers) and Marhez making runs inside for company and Arsenal could really struggle with that.

I can see Wenger starting with Theo Walcott (because he loves him) and Alexis Sanchez on either flank and I expect Mesut Ozil and Oliver Giroud to return to the side.


I’d expect Arsenal to have a lot of possession on Saturday and I predict Leicester to go back to basics and play on the break.

I think it will be a great game for the neutral, an exciting match and I can see it ending in a score draw.

Kyri Predicts: 2-2


Sofa Sports News



Some Things Just Never Change – AFC & Arsene Wenger

Walking up to the Emirates stadium on Sunday all the summer frustrations were swept under the rug.  The excitement that comes with the new season is the perfect antidote for all of last season’s wounds.  This summer at Arsenal has been much like the ones before it, endless speculation about who may be coming into the club with none of it materializing into anything of substance.  Heading into the match vs. Liverpool it was clear that once again Arsene Wenger had failed to fully prepare his side for the opening weekend.

Key players missing through ‘extended holidays’ after the European championships, long term injuries in the heart of our defence and upon reflection a squad that were nowhere near the fitness levels required in the Premier League.  It was after all, the opening day of the season and so it’s vital not to over react and look at the situation with some perspective. However, Arsene Wenger’s side has won just once on the opening day in the last seven seasons.  There is a bit of a recurring theme here!

As a consequence of NEVER doing our transfer business early we are always faced with an even more challenging start to the season.  The inevitable injuries mount up and we find ourselves desperately searching the continent for ‘B grade’ players to come in and plug the holes.


I pointed out in my preview that I was confident the club would do some business before the end of the window and Sunday’s game has all but confirmed that.  No club with any aspirations should start a season with just their fourth and fifth choice centre backs available; it’s as simple as that.  Thankfully Laurent Koscielny’s return is imminent and one hopes that Sunday’s display will convince the gaffer that the French international is in desperate need of a capable partner.

Onto the game itself, we began fairly comfortably and looked the sharper and the more confident side.  Theo Walcott was granted his wish of returning to the right hand side and we reaped the benefits thirty minutes in when he was brought down in the box by Alberto Moreno, stone wall penalty not even Alavi would argue with!  The most alarming thing for me was that nobody in the ground was confident he was going to convert the spot kick and low and behold he failed.  I’m one of Theo Walcott’s biggest critics and so credit where its due he responded brilliantly and with a smart finish to find the bottom corner putting us into the lead.

Philippe Coutinho found the top corner with a stunning free kick right on the stroke of half time and that was where our problems began.  Going into half time at 1-1 was by no means a disaster, especially having been the better side for long periods of the first half.  The momentum was clearly with Klopp’s side having found an equalizer just before the break, so this is where you need your leaders to step in and take charge of the situation.  Game management is a huge factor in top level football and you require your leaders to ensure this is applied effectively.  Just one problem, we don’t have any leaders and our manager preferred to slouch further and further into his seat as Liverpool dismantled us in the space of twenty minutes.  Where is your desire Arsene?

Arsene will probably point to the fact we were beaten by just the one goal but I would urge all Gooner’s not be fooled by the score line.  The only reason we were even remotely in with a chance of pulling it back to 4-4 was because Liverpool are just as defensively disorganized as us.  Our vulnerabilities were highlighted once again and there are no signs we have learnt anything from the previous seasons mistakes.  We continue to show ourselves as team that lacks leadership, mental resilience and any desire and that all stems from one man.  A ‘stubborn old goat’ that refuses to accept the fact that his best days are behind him.

SWANSEA, WALES - MARCH 16: Arsene Wenger, Manager of Arsenal looks on prior to kick off during the Barclays Premier League match between Swansea City and Arsenal at Liberty Stadium on March 16, 2013 in Swansea, Wales. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)
Arsene’s under pressure just one game into the new season.

In his early years, I found myself trusting in Arsene.  Now it seems as though we are rusting under Arsene.  I find myself questioning almost every decision he makes…

Why didn’t he sign a centre back before Mertesacker or Gabriel got injured?

Why have we not got another striking option in?

Why was the spine of our team given an extra holiday period to leave us short?

Nobody more than me would like to see Arsene Wenger succeed but as each season passes the chances of him rediscovering the magic touch fade that little bit more.  Arsenal Football Clubs most successful manager of all time is slowly driving his legacy into a brick wall and all because of his refusal to move with the times.  The next couple of weeks are crucial in terms of transfer business; with the window slowly closing we are in desperate need of some top class players to help put this club back where it belongs.  There is no doubt the whole of Europe will be watching with interest and prospective player’s asking prices are no doubted growing.  We are in a desperate situation and unless Wenger and company are willing to pay over the odds we may end up with the Korean striker Fu-Kin-No-Wun.

A club that is divided between those who defend the man’s every action and those who simply want rid of him.  This weekend saw the launch of Sofa Sports News TV and one of the fans (a season ticket holder for over 30 years) I caught up with after the game described it as being like the Brexit situation, half in and half out.  Those who defend AW claim that the stability he brings provides a great foundation for progression.  I would counter that argument by simply saying the division and poisonous atmosphere surrounding every defeat provides the complete opposite.


We are just the one game in and it’s important to remember that.  I’ve always been on the fence on all things Wenger and so it pains me to say this, with his contract coming to an end in the summer – it may be time to say goodbye Arsene.

Cover Image:




Youtube: SUBSCRIBE to Sofa Sports News TV

Facebook: Sofa Sports News


The Gunners Take on Liverpool in Season Opener – Preview

The Gunners kick off their premier league campaign with a tricky home fixture against Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool.

Once again, all the talk has been around Arsenal’s lack of transfer activity meaning there is additional pressure on the Gunners to get off to the perfect start.  In recent times Arsene Wenger’s side have struggled on the opening day, winning just 1 of our last 6 opening day fixtures and so it’s not inconceivable that Liverpool may just turn up and spoil the party.

Throughout the summer the Gunners fans have been crying out for a ‘Top Class’ striker and with just short of three weeks remaining in this current transfer window my hopes of us attracting that lethal marksmen are slowly fading away.  However, the real area of concern for me is in the heart of our defence.  With long term injuries to Per Mertesacker (four months), Gabriel (six to eight weeks) and Laurent Koscielny still short of match fitness alarm bells are ringing.  Once again I am left scratching my head as to why we have left ourselves so short in such a key area of the pitch.  But that’s Arsenal for you! The injury to Per Mertesacker has been common knowledge for quite some time now, so why haven’t we got a replacement ready for the big Premier League kick off? In my view neither Gabriel, Holding nor Chambers are ready to play regularly, with or without Koscielny.  So where do we go from here?

It looks as though we will be welcoming Valencia defender Shkodran Mustafi to the Emirates in the coming days and whilst that’s fantastic news it doesn’t solve our problem for this Sunday.  The German international has a fantastic reputation and if we can get this deal over the line I’m sure it will be a great piece of long-term business.  It is about time Gazidis and co and acquired a high class, proven, central defensive partner for Laurent Koscielny. Per Mertesacker unfortunately isn’t always up to the task and I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes onto miss half of the season with this current injury problem.

The ‘Gunners injury curse’ strikes again and if there is one thing I’ve learnt about our club in recent seasons it is that our club doctors cannot be trusted to give accurate timescales and so you can’t always rely on that.

The Gunners enjoyed two fantastic pre-season tours winning four out of the five fixtures played.  The pre-season results and the great form of some of our fringe players during the tours of the USA and Scandinavia have been the positives to take from what has been a largely frustrating summer.  I was fortunate enough to see all of our pre-season fixtures and a number of players stood out to me. In particular, Chuba Akpom, Alex Iwobi, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Joel Campbell and Mohamed El Neny were especially impressive.

Our opponents this Sunday are another club under pressure to perform and finishing in the top four has to be the primary target for Jurgen Klopp’s side.

Another busy summer of transfers at Anfield has seen them acquire a number of decent players, most notably ex-Southampton forward Sadio Mane.  In previous seasons I’ve been extremely critical of the Liverpool transfer policy, they seem to just want to give Southampton bags of money each summer for players who just aren’t really all that good!  Since Klopp took the reins at Anfield there has certainly been some progress and big wins at Stamford Bridge and Man City last season demonstrated that.

Having lost two cup finals last season it will be very interesting to see how the German’s first full season in charge goes.  If he can somehow find some consistency there is no doubt they can be knocking at the door of Monsieur Wenger who normally makes fourth spot his own!

Although they’ve been active in the transfer market I personally still don’t think they’ve signed anywhere near the class of player required to make a strong push for one of those much sought after champion’s league spot.  Having said that, stranger things have happened!

I am confident that Monsieur Wenger will do the necessary business before the end of the transfer window and so I think it’s just a case of getting through the Liverpool fixture with a positive result.  The thought of returning to the Emirates this Sunday has got me absolutely buzzing but there is no doubt that the minute I arrive at my seat in Block 6 those all too familiar feelings of nervousness and pressure will be back within moments.

My Prediction is the Gunners 3-1 Liverpool.  It should be an enthralling encounter between two sides that will certainly be chasing the game; I mean in all honesty neither side are renowned for their defensive solidarity.  The atmosphere will be awesome and this is without doubt the standout fixture this week.  Either way, north London will be red on Sunday but then again the Spurs fans should be used to that by now!



The Gunners miss out on yet another Transfer Target!


Gonzalo Higuain transfer – Is he worth £75m?

On Tuesday afternoon Argentinian striker Gonzalo Higuain completed his transfer from Napoli to Juventus.

The deal worth in excess of £75m means Gonzalo Higuain transfer makes him the third most expensive player of all time only behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale.

Arsenal were strongly linked with the striker and it seems as though they’ve missed out on yet another transfer target.

Were the Gunners wrong to pass up the opportunity to sign him?

Assuming the Gunners were even in for him, I believe they have missed out on one of the top three strikers in Europe.

His goal record speaks for itself, he joined Napoli from Real Madrid back in July 2013 and since joining the ‘Gli Azzuri’ has scored 71 goals in 104 appearances. 36 goals in Serie A last season means Gonzalo was the second highest league goalscorer in Europe only behind Luis Suarez of Barcelona.

There is no doubt about it, £75m is a hefty fee and with that kind of price tag he will be expected to re-produce the form that earned him the move immediately.

Arsene Wenger will tell us that there is a shortage of world class strikers around and thats why we are yet to bring one in. Whilst I agree there aren’t too many around the former Real Madrid striker is definitely one of them.

When it comes to the transfer market, timing is everything. Had the Arsenal made the approach before Juventus decided to cash in on Paul Pogba would we have been able to outbid the Italian champions?

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, whilst I’m unsure on the excessive price tag, one thing I am sure of is there aren’t too many strikers in world football hotter than Gonzalo Higuain.

Another transfer target gone, key players to miss the start of the season and Arsenal look a long way off being ready for the opening weekend.



Arsene Wenger: He’s done it again…

Runners up in our ‘disaster’ season, let that sink in for a bit… I made my way to the Emirates stadium yesterday not really expecting anything if I’m honest.  A routine home win against an already relegated side whilst Spurs were going to do the necessary and wrap up second place, meaning they would actually finish above us for the first time in my memory.

Even when the ‘Spuds’ were 2-0 down I wasn’t exactly confident that the Toon army were capable of keeping them at bay for the rest of the game.  Thankfully, that lot down the road are even bigger bottle jobs than us!  Finishing second or third is neither here nor there in my opinion and had we been chasing any other team I wouldn’t have been so bothered.  The thing is, we were chasing Spurs and the thought of them finishing above us was a scary one.  I’d spent the last couple of weeks mentally preparing myself for it, telling myself “this is a freak season and it’s just this once.”

I stand by that remark, I truly believe this was a freak season.  Nobody could have predicted the way this campaign unfolded with the exception of one thing, Spurs would bottle it and finish behind the Arsenal AGAIN.  There are very few certainties in life but that is definitely one of them!

Another, later than usual St Totteringham’s day for all us Gooners to enjoy.  Something to smile about on the final day of what has been a very frustrating season.  It was brilliant to see Wenger smiling at the final whistle and more importantly our fans reunited by our hatred for Spurs and their moronic, clueless fans.

When will they learn? Leave the talking until the end of the season lads!

Whatever your position is on the manager, be it in or out pipping the Spuds to second place and maintaining our hold over North London must have put a smile on your face.

Arsene Wenger’s done it again.

It’s been a disappointing season, we should have achieved so much more. AW will argue finishing runners up for the first time in over a decade is progress, hmm…  I certainly don’t buy it and finishing runners up is definitely not enough for me.

Once again it’s been the classic case of ‘too little too late’.  Alan Shearer said on last night’s MOTD “Arsenal are specialist’s in winning when the pressure is off” – I finally agree with him on something, it’s only taken until the last show of the season.

Arsene Wenger will be at the club next season, there is no doubt in my mind.  Whether you love him or you hate him he always gets the better of that lot down the road.  Whilst he is the manager of our great football club its important to support him, the players and be united as fans like we were yesterday.

Maybe we will still fall short, maybe we will have the same problems but one thing is for certain… Come the end of the season, we will all be laughing at Tottenham!





Why do the Arsenal always fall short? – Harry

Another disappointing season draws to a close and that familiar feeling of ‘If Only’ looms more than ever at the Emirates Stadium.  A season that promised so much, a season most Arsenal fans believed was our best chance in over a decade to bring the Premier league trophy back to North London.  At one stage in the season it looked as though the trophy may have been on it’s way to North London, just to the wrong part.  A combination of frustration in our own performances and the fear of that lot down the road winning it has only made things even more unbearable this season.

Before I continue, I’m not making any excuses.  There are always those that skim through an article and rush to start a full blown war of words about something I didn’t even say, so read carefully Gooners!

There are a few reasons why I feel Arsenal fell short again and I blame a number of factors/individuals.  I’m going to try and explain the main reasons I feel it was Leicester City and not us lifting the crown this week…

The Players…

A section of our support in recent weeks have been protesting against ‘the club’.  I put that in inverted comma’s because in actual fact it’s the only way they can justify protesting against the clubs greatest ever manager.  Too much is made of what happens in the dugout lately and not enough blame is being placed at the feet of those who actually go out onto the field of play week in week out.  The same players that have been letting us down year after year have done it again.  There is not one player in that squad that hasn’t let us down, failed us in a big moment or switched off at some point in the season leading to us dropping valuable points.  Individual errors have proved our downfall yet again.  My personal belief is simple, you can blame the management all you want but if the players fail to carry out instructions or simply fail to perform the blame lays with them too.  A manager can prepare his side for a game all week but an individual error from one of your players can completely change the landscape of the game and ultimately throw a weeks worth of preparations out of the window.  Sadly, if the players don’t buy in to your philosophy as the manager/coach they can be quite confident in knowing the manager will be sacked before they are. I think it’s ludicrous that they can wash their hands of almost all responsibility when they under perform, Mourinho’s latest Chelsea exit is a prime example.

I won’t go into naming individuals, I’m all about the team but I’m sure each and every one of you can name a few 😉

The Management…

Arsene Wenger.  What can I say? I’ve spent a decade defending the great man but I’ve lost my patience in recent seasons.  Arsenal have been accused of being a soft touch, being weak both physically and mentally, not fighting for each other and a lack of desire. Make no mistake about it these are not fresh accusations, these are the same criticism’s that have been thrown at Arsene Wenger’s team’s for over a decade now.  Failure to identify and rectify these issue’s over such a long period of time is my main gripe with the manager.  We are tactically naive and fail to address issue’s that are forever haunting us and for that I blame the manager.

Aside from all the in-game tactics and the inability to fire up his players before a game the biggest area of concern has to be his recruitment policy.  Arsene has made as many bad signings as he has good ones.  In his early day’s Wenger was often praised for his ability to go and pluck players from around Europe who were relatively unknown and turn them into superstars.  Sadly for us, that is no longer the case.  Football has changed a lot since then, prices have inflated, scouting networks have grown and we are not the only club searching Europe and the rest of the world in a bid to find the next Patrick Vieira or Thierry Henry.

So how is that Monsieur Wenger’s fault?  I often use the term ‘out of date’ when talking about our manager and this particular topic shows you exactly what I mean.  He still believes that the likes of Gabriel Paulista (just to name a recent example) for a fee of around £11m is good enough to play in a title challenging defence.  He is clearly not up to the task and Wenger’s policy means he won’t pay the asking prices of some of the worlds elite centre halves for example Matts Hummels or Thiago Silva.  It’s a bit like buying a suit from Primark and trying to pass it off as Armani.

If he continues to buy second rate, we will only ever be a second rate team.  Many will probably comment and say ‘well look at Leicester City, they are proof you don’t have to spend big.’  If any of you think they have any chance of retaining the premier league title and competing in Europe with that squad of players you are off your rockers.  A freak season.  To compete with the best you must compete financially.  Sadly, that is the state of the modern game.


It took us until two weeks from the end of the season to have a fully fit squad and now we’ve lost the Ox, Welbeck and Ozil to injury.  The treatment room continues to be the place to be at London Colney.  Changes to the medical staff in desperation to solve this ongoing problem have failed to ease the pain.  Is there a problem with the training methods?  Do we have a squad of injury prone players?  Is it just simply down to bad luck?

I don’t claim to know the reasons why we are struck with so many injuries to key players at crucial parts of the season, none of us as fans know enough about the day to day training to judge whether Wenger’s methods contribute to it.  On that basis it’s unfair to point the finger just based on speculation.

The fact is this, we find ourselves every season without key players going into big games.  It’s not an excuse for the lack of success but during a season there are plenty of times when you think “if we had that player today the game could have been different.”  I like to use recent examples and so I will point to the long term injury of Santi Cazorla this season.  There have been times this season where our centre of midfield has lacked the class, skill and vision to unlock the defence’s of some of the smaller teams at the Emirates.  I genuinely believe the absence of Santi Cazorla had a huge impact on this years title challenge and with his ability to unlock a defence, his sharp and accurate passing ability and tendancy to start play from deeper area’s is the kind of craft we were missing towards the end of the season.

Again, it’s not an excuse but it certainly play’s a part and that amount of injuries would take its toll on ANY premier league team.

Going forward…

These are just three of the key thing’s that have cost us in my eyes, there are certainly many other thing’s that need tweaking.  Many are calling for Wenger to step aside and I’d be suprised if next year wasn’t his final one in charge.

Having said that, just this once can we all support Arsenal together without all the divides and get behind him and the players for what could be an Arsenal legends final year.


Harry Symeou

The Pathetic Protest & Our ‘Embarrassing’ Support.

Arsenal’s victory over Norwich City this weekend was over shadowed by yet another embarrassing protest and a whole load of empty seats at the Emirates stadium. Not only was I disgusted by what I saw inside the stadium, I heard a load of absolutely clueless Arsenal ‘fans’ ringing up to slate AW on a talk-sport phone in on my way home.

I’m all for phone in’s and fans being given a platform to express their views but if it’s hosted by Mr Anti-Arsenal himself Stan Collymore, it is only ever going to be a one sided, staged load of b*llocks!

During the build up the so called protest was said to be not solely directed at AW and the message of ‘time for a change’ was a stand against the clubs heirachy.


Well you could have fooled me, all of the abuse and dissatisfaction was aimed at Mr Wenger with the chant of “its all our fault” coming from the protestors. This chant was clearly aimed at the comments Monsieur Wenger made in his press conference regarding the “difficult climate” his team has had to deal with at the emirates stadium this season.

The most ironic thing about it was that those who stood there holding those ridiculous pieces of paper whilst singing that pathetic song were just proving the man right.


As I walked up to the Emirates stadium I’d been given one of those cards, it gave me something to think about as I walked around to take my place in block 6. I didn’t quite know what to expect, surely not everyone would join in with it? To tell you the truth when I’d arrived at my seat most people seemed disinterested in the whole thing and those I had spoken to had no intention of taking part.

The 12th minute arrived and it was time. The cards went up in the air but it wasn’t what i expected at all, only a handful of the Arsenal fans were holding them up and began firstly chanting “we love you arsenal” followed by “it’s all our fault”. The phrase “just a loud minority” sprung to mind.

As they continued to chant and wave their flimsy bits of paper around it was only a matter of time before the rest of the crowd had heard enough. The chant of “theres only one Arsene Wenger” caught on like wildfire around the ground and the protestors were booed by the majority. Finally, the majority had seen sense…

The atmosphere remained poisonous and every misplaced pass was greeted with the usual over dramatic moans and groans. In all honesty the half hearted protest of a small minority proved to be a complete waste of time. That sort of unwelcome distraction cannot under any circumstances be good for the 11 Arsenal players out on the field of play.

Surely it was all over? We could now focus on the rest of the game and take another step towards ensuring we have champions league football next season by picking up 3 points. It got worse…

The crowd continued to huff and puff every time there was a misplaced pass and pick on the same individual players as they always do. Need I mention any names?

One of the most common criticisms I hear of Arsene Wenger is that he doesn’t know how to change a game from the bench and never makes any changes before the 70th minute. Yesterday however, Wenger prepared his first substitution on the 56th minute and when the board went up with Alex Iwobi’s number the majority of the stadium booed the change.

I’ve always said that half the people in that stadium do not understand the game in front of them and I cant think of many better examples of that than yesterday. From what I gathered the uproar was because the supporters felt that Giroud should have been the one to make way rather than the young Nigerian. I’m a huge fan of Iwobi and I am pretty confident he will develop in to a great player but he was not influencing this game.

On came Danny Welbeck to inject some pace and urgency into our game and he ultimately grabbed the winner through linking up with the man of the moment Olivier Giroud himself. What on earth were they all moaning about? If your chasing a winning goal surely you would bring on an additional attacker rather than sacrificing one who’s already out there when given the choice.

I immediately grinned and looked around to see the reaction of some of those who were in uproar just a few moments previous to the goal regarding the frenchman staying on. The combination worked a treat, credit to the manager.


Those who booed that very substitution displayed their lack of knowledge when it comes to football. Thank god none of you lot are not in the dugout!

It was by no means a great performance but it was a very important win against a very stubborn Norwich City side who are fighting for their lives. Manchester United failed to beat Leicester at Old Trafford on Sunday and that means we are just a couple of points away from sealing Champions League football.

I am well and truly torn on whether the great man should be replaced but in all honesty the players have let us all down just as much as he has. Those of you who read my blog regularly will know I have been extremely frustrated of late and in one of my previous pieces on I pointed out exactly where I feel Wenger has gone wrong.

There are many who will say “thats not good enough” and “Wenger out.” I’m not sure as to whether Arsene can take us any further but if you want to replace him with another manager than surely being in Europe’s elite competition could prove vital in attracting the best coaches?

In conclusion, it was a vital 3 points overshadowed by a half-hearted, pathetic protest carried out by a small minority. Support your team! Arsenal still have a very good chance of finishing runners up, not bad for a ‘disaster’ season.

Here’s one for the readers to think about… Can you think of any other clubs who’s supporters organise protests about being third in the premier league?


Harry Symeou

The 5 biggest Premier League NLD’s – De Luca

Whilst the premier league trophy won’t be handed out or lost on Saturday, the North London Derby is a massive game in the title race and the winner will be favourites to be crowned champions in May as Leicester Kick Off later in the evening.

The majority of North London Derbies in the premier league years have been a contest for nothing more than bragging rights, so rarely has there been a match that impacts both sides, largely due to Tottenham spending large periods languishing in mid-table.

Saturdays North London is no doubt the biggest of the premier league era as both sides quest to win the league title.

So rare has it been that both sides have simultaneously had something more to play for in the Derby than just local pride, so let’s reminisce on those 5 massive North London Derbies.
1) April 2006 – Arsenal 1-1 Tottenham
This was the year that Spurs finally joined the premier league party, and having unexpectedly occupied 4th place since December went into the final weeks of the season with a lead over their rivals. Robbie Keane opened the scoring midway through the 2nd half in hugely contested circumstances, before an unfit Thierry Henry came off the bench to score a great late equaliser and ensure Arsenal would be spared defeat in their last NLD at Highbury and Tottenham did not extend their lead. This also ultimately secure fourth place for the gunners leapfrogging Spurs on the last day of the season. Lasagne may never have been eaten at White Hart Lane since.

2) April 2010 – Tottenham 2-1 Arsenal
In 2010 Arsenal were well in the title race having lead the table in January before a small wobble, Spurs were pushing for Champions League qualification. Danny Rose scored a spectacular opener on his first start for the club and Bale added a second just after half time. Arsenal pulled a late goal back to increase the nerves but it was too little too late. Spurs had beaten their rivals for the first time in 11 years and pulled to within 1 point of 4th with 5 games to go.
Arsenal were left 6 points off the lead with just 4 games remaining and their league title hopes all but ended.
Spurs went on the qualify for the Champions League for the first time. Arsenal finished the season empty handed

3) April 2011 – Tottenham 3-3 Arsenal
The following season was more of the same. Arsenal chasing the league title; Spurs, the Champions League.
An action packed 1st half saw 5 goals including 3 in the first 12 minutes. Van Der Vaart then grabbed his second from the spot as Spurs came back from a 2 goal deficit to draw. An exciting memorable Derby, but a draw was not good enough for either side. Arsenal finished the day 6 points off the top and would not bridge the gap. Spurs finished the day 2 points from 4th, a gap that could not be overhauled either.

4) Feb 2012 – Arsenal 5-2 Tottenham
February 2012 was the year Tottenham were supposed to finish above Arsenal for the first time since 1995. They would have gone to the Emirates full of confidence having won there for the first time the season earlier and had been playing some great football. They were almost certain to finish in the Champions League places having briefly threatened to mount a title challenge. Arsenal were 10 points behind their rivals and really struggling for form having exited the FA cup and effectively champions league in previous games, and faced a must win scenario to keep a realistic chance of qualifying for the Champions League themselves.
Spurs raced into a 2 goal first half lead but in truth following the opening 10 minutes Arsenal had dominated the game. A Sagna bullet header and a fantastic strike by Robin Van Persie meant Arsenal drew level before Half Time by virtue of two late goals.
In the second half Arsenal kicked in further and Rosicky and a quick fire double from Theo Walcott meant the gap was cut to 7 points.
Spurs never recovered and further off pitch distractions helped them drop more points in the run in and Arsenal overhauled them finishing 3rd. All the more significant when 6th place Chelsea remarkably won the Champions League meaning 4th place was not good enough for Tottenham to qualify for the Champions League.

5) Mar 2013 – Tottenham 2-1 Arsenal
The most recent crucial meeting of the two sides was a similar situation to the year before with both sides battling it out for the 4th Champions League spot. Spurs had a 4 point lead going in and exposed frailties in the Arsenal defence to score in 2 in 2 minutes through Bale and Lennon. Arsenal had controlled a lot of the game though and came back into it with a goal early in the second half. Unable to find the equaliser though they finished the day 7 points behind with 10 games to go.
Arsenal went on a phenomenal run though winning 8 and drawing 2 of their last 10 to finish a point above Spurs on the final day meaning the Lillywhites had missed out again. No bottling this time though just Arsenal defiance and brilliance.

March 2016 – Tottenham ? – ? Arsenal The 5 before have had it all, arsenal wins, Tottenham wins, draws, upsets and capitulations. I don’t fancy calling this one, but there will be at least one set of miserable fans on Saturday evening, and whilst all will not be lost for those who drop points try telling either set of fans that as the final whistle sounds.