7-0 Win is a welcome distraction from transfer paranoia

It’s a relief to have something other than the transfer goings on to talk about with Arsenal. I have resisted as much as possible from being drawn into the speculative rumours of which players are close to joining the Gunners and at times it has been justified.

Now we have had some football to take our minds off the subject and the Arsenal didn’t hold back on the goal front. I won’t bore you with a match report as such, there are highlights available for you to draw your conclusions however I will comment on my observations from watching the match.

An Indonesian all-stars XI were the opponents in Jakarta as we romped to a 7-0 victory. Most notable thing for the start of pre-season games is no new signings were present to draw extra interest in the game there were however a number of youngsters spluttered in the team to showcase their abilities.

afc team pre match

Interestingly the game was played on astro/artificial turf meaning different footwear was required, I always find it weird seeing professional players playing on non-grass surfaces, memories of the pitches at Luton town and QPR come to mind. The bounce of the ball is different and it’s out of the comfort zone for many of the players. The score line itself is enough to show how well we coped, of course the opposition is hardly of the highest standard but you still need to concentrate for the 90 minutes regardless.

It was a great performance all round for the players as they didn’t waste time is shrugging off the rustiness of the time away from football. Most notably Aaron Ramsey put in an accomplished performance; he was a class apart in the first half and definitely showed he has plenty in his locker. Too early to judge how a player will perform once the season starts but if the young Welshman can reproduce performances of the like from yesterday then he will go on to have a very influential season.

Although we came away with a clean sheet and played well in general there were a few ropey moments for starting centre half Ignasi Miquel. It may seem a bit harsh to judge him on his first game of the pre-season calendar however with the movement of defensive personnel Squillachi and Djourou the young Spaniard currently is automatic fourth choice. Given our injury record you cannot rule out the required services of fourth choice centre half next season. This means Miquel has to be critiqued the same as would be of Koscielny, Mertesacker and captain Vermaelen. This could be a big season for the young centre half and he needs top performances pre-season to prove to Wenger there is no need to sign another defender. He was shifted to left back in the second half however that is a position I feel he should be used in as a last resort. We are well stocked in the left back department but with Nacho Monreal on extended break after his Confederations Cup duty Miquel is the alternative option there.

An interesting decision by Arsene Wenger was the deployment of Chuks Aneke in a centre back position when brought on at half time. I’ve not known of the youngster playing in that position though he certainly has the physique and athleticism to be a decent defender. It could be a masterstroke by Arsene to reinvent Aneke as a defender; he has done it before with Kolo Toure so you never know. It’s an optimistic assumption I know but I would like to think Aneke has a future at the club and if that is in a new position then so be it. His close friend Jay Emmanuel-Thomas was a versatile player who many in the Arsenal backroom staff believed had more potential as a defender however JET was adamant he had more to offer offensively. Unfortunately there wasn’t enough offensively in his game for Arsene which has resulted in his career being elsewhere. If Chuks is willing to do all it takes to succeed at Arsenal and heed the advice given then he will at least have known he gave it a go.

Chuba Akpom started the game and was rewarded with a goal, nothing more the youngster can do to impress his manager. In football you have to take your chances and the youngster is not messing around as he is moving rapidly up the ladder of approval by all those concerned at Arsenal. He really is proving to be a top talent and one for the future, let’s hope he avoids all the outside influences that have the potential to derail the best.

All the youngsters performed admirably yesterday, they were comfortable on the ball and certainly showed the Arsene ethic of football. Gnabry, Olssen, Eisfeld and Zelalem, didn’t looked phased by the occasion and I hope they get the chance next season whether it’s in the League Cup or any other competition for that matter to prove themselves in games with higher stakes.

And finally all the players played well, 7-0 is a great score even against part time players but new players are still needed. We cannot use yesterday’s result as any justification that our squad needs no new personnel.Business i’m sure will be done,i suppose despite recent seasons proof we have to believe that the players Arsene wants at the club are negotiating deals in the background. Some people have touted this as the worst summer of business at Arsenal yet we are still over a month away from season start, the time to judge is when that window closes. we have the sticking point of a Champion’s League qualifier which could be throwing a spanner in the works of some deals, time will tell.

Enjoy your day people.

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How will fixture list play out for Gunners?

The fixtures for the 2013-14 season were released yesterday to give football fans something to take their mind off the supposed impending transfers. The buzz about players coming in has dominated the social media world of Arsenal fans as with each day a new name gets linked to the club. It is certainly refreshing that the fixture list managed to bring the fans back together.


So what does the fixture list mean for the Arsenal? Did you find it reasonable or is there a hidden agenda by the F.A in collaboration with Sky TV to ensure the most lucrative games at certain times of the season?

I suppose at the end of the day you have to play every team twice so there is only so much that can harm your teams chances. Win more games than everyone else and you win the league no matter when you play. Wishful thinking from an Arsenal fan but personally the shift of management over at Manchester United has certainly given a boost to everyone in the premier league.

So what does the fixture list look like for Arsenal? We have the luxury of an opening home tie, certainly winnable against Aston Villa. One would think Villa would solve many of their problems of last season and so the game cannot be taken lightly. Last season Sunderland looked like lambs to the slaughter yet left the emirates with a point which should be something the Arsenal players should remember.

Quite significant next season is how soon the 1st north London derby occurs; Tottenham will be visitors to the Emirates in the Gunners 3rd game of the season. The timing of the game isn’t ideal in terms of it following the second leg of the Champion’s League qualifier. If Arsenal hasn’t strolled the 1st leg and find themselves in a position where qualification hangs on the 2nd leg result it could lead to fatigued players, hopefully that doesn’t affect the performance against Spurs.

Another thing to note is that the Spurs game is the last before the transfer window closes. Will Arsene do all his business early meaning there’s no last minute rush for players or will there be no knee-jerk reaction to the result of the spurs game? Time will tell.

November which is usually reserved for the North London derby in turn welcomes Robin Van Persie’s Man United to the Emirates. Set for Saturday 9th which I am sure will be moved to a slot more suitable to Sky Sports.

In the holidays Arsenal has an away trip to West Ham on Boxing Day and then they host Cardiff on New Year’s Day.  Winnable I suppose despite games against Chelsea and Newcastle sandwiched in between.

The toughest month for the Gunners I would say is March; tough away games to Stoke and Swansea, followed by matches against Spurs, Chelsea, Man City and then away to Everton in April. That run of games will certainly define Arsenal’s season, damage limitation is of the highest order taking into account potential last 16 ties in the Champion’s League to further the pressure.

The run in is not too bad providing March goes well, there is still an away game to Norwich to finish the season however I do not envisage a 3rd last day standoff with Tottenham. I feel we will kick on in the coming season, I expect serious business will be done for next season and the new players will improve the quality, performances and results for the Arsenal.

Enjoy your day people.

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Arsenal claim 4th place ‘trophy’

So that’s it, fourth place secured with a win at Newcastle. No playoff though I doubt Arsenal fans were too bothered about that, Spurs won but that effort was in vain as Arsenal took hold of their own destiny and achieved the win required.

Any Arsenal fan that tells you they were not nervous before or during the match are cold faced liars, the tension was unbearable at times and the final whistle could not come quick enough towards the end.


Laurent Koscielny provided the deciding goal to maintain champion’s league football for the Gunners and was a rock at the back to boot. Man of the match in my eyes and it is hoped his form from the second half of the season is here to stay permanently.

The whole team deserves praise for holding their nerve to carve out the result when the pressure was surely on, Tottenham had the far easier game to play and it was important that Arsenal scored the first goal to alleviate any extra nerves which could disrupt their performance.

The importance of securing fourth place cannot be stressed hard enough, competing in the champions league is the difference between attracting players of the calibre of Jovetic or settling for players of lesser ability. European football is a bargaining chip in negotiations and will ensure top players will consider signing up at the Emirates, it also ensures the current squad won’t get itchy feet for football elsewhere.

giroud celebrates v newc

Many have commented on Arsenal’s celebrations at the final whistle, saying that they celebrated as if they had won a trophy; I can assure you if fortunes were reversed and Tottenham achieved the fourth place they would have celebrated the same way if not harder. Fourth place was at stake but also was the chance to better your bitter rivals, nothing can be sweeter than achieving at the expense of your rivals. A trophy was not won but the tears of the spurs players at the final whistle is worthy of celebrating 20 times over.

worth it

worth it

Arsenal can now build on this, it will take shrewd business from Arsene Wenger to improve the team and create a squad capable of challenging for honours in an Alex Ferguson-less Premier league. The core of the team is there, there shouldn’t be a Robin Van Persie-esque departure from the squad this summer. The additions from last summer should improve on their solid debut seasons and a clear out of the less involved players should come to fruition.

Andre Arshavin took to twitter to bid farewell to Arsenal, he thanked the fans, his colleagues and all the staff at the club as well as wishing the club well in next year’s champion’s league. It’s a nice touch from the diminutive Russian who never said a bad word about the club during his exiled period this season. He left the club with many quality memories most notably the 4 goals at Anfield and that winner against Barcelona. He will be fondly remembered by Arsenal fans and I for one wish him well in the next chapter of his career.

arshavin tweets

Guys, please take advantage of the bragging rights to all the Tottenham fans you know. Do not feel sorry for them because they would not hold back if roles were reversed. Make them feel like rubbish today and for the rest of the week if you can.

Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy…

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One player in, loads out at Arsenal. Gambeanosnitch.com is a year old.

It’s the day before the final round of games for the season, I’m sure there are many nervous Gooners counting down until kick off against Newcastle. Everything hinges on this one final game in which one part of North London will be distraught while the other will be ecstatic.

It was nice of Arsenal to provide the fans with some news on other topics to take their minds temporarily off of D-day. One of the first pieces of news to filter out was the confirmation from Arsene Wenger that the club are in advanced talks with the representatives of Auxerre striker Yaya Sonogo to sign him.


Yaya Sonogo certainly fits the bill of an Arsene type purchase, he’s young, he’s French, he will come cheap due to expiring contract and he has a history in his young years of injuries. He certainly has a lot of potential, he has been quite prolific in Ligue 2 for Auxerre this season and is a France u-21 international. But for injuries I am sure he would certainly be on the radar of more football fans and clubs looking to purchase him.

Right now it looks like Arsene has purchased a player that would make a welcome addition to the squad for next season. He is young and so any introduction to the first team will be slow and steady but it has been quite clear this season that the abundance of options on the attacking front have been severely lacking. Players have slotted into the central striking role when Olivier Giroud has been unavailable but specialist centre forwards have been short in numbers.

Talking of young potential coming into the club, yesterday was a day that revealed a number of players from the youth set up that will be leaving the club. Although not officially announced by the club yet a number of players have revealed they are moving on to pastures new via various social media platforms. Players of note that came as a slight surprise to be leaving are Reice Charles-Cook and Jernade Meade. Charles-Cook seemed to be receiving good reviews for his performances for the u-18’s and seemed to be one that would be around for a while however he revealed on Twitter he will be moving on. Jernade Meade was another player who came as a surprise especially since he made his debut for the first team this season and impressed in those appearances. Clearly he had a massive stumbling block to the left back spot at Arsenal with two established internationals ahead of him. The left back spot at Arsenal seems a sound position for years to come and Meade cannot be blamed for believing his best chances of carving out a good career may remain elsewhere.


There have been announcements from players over the past few months that they are leaving so it was a case of them playing out their contracts before moving on. Players such as Martin Angha and Kyle already have moves arranged with other clubs whilst Conor Henderson confirmed his departure a while back.

There are a few players that seem to have been on borrowed time and come as no shock they are being released, players like Sanchez Watt, Craig Eastmond and Daniel Boateng who have all tasted first team football at Arsenal but just never managed to kick onto the next level and build on their Arsenal careers.

Despite the players moving on I wish them all the best in their careers, they have received a good education at the club and there are plenty examples of players that have left Arsenal and carved out decent top flight careers. It’s up to them now to fight and try to prove Arsene may have made a mistake, good luck to all, the fans always keep former young Gunners close to the heart (Unless your name is David Bentley).

The 3rd place play off has evolved from a pipe dream to a more realistic outcome with the announcement from the F.A of a proposed date and venue in the event the league table results in a tie for 3rd place between Arsenal and Chelsea. Villa Park has been selected as the venue on the 26th May. To be honest a play-off would not bother me as it would mean that Arsenal won their game against Newcastle, which is the dilemma I would rather be debating than anything involving the club across North London. The season would be done, the chance for one more fix of football is alright by me, bring it on!

One small matter to mention is Gambeanosnitch.com turned 1-year-old this week. It’s certainly been a fun journey over the past 12 months and I certainly appreciate all that have visited the site, shared their views and have generally made my efforts seem worthwhile. The posts may be a little less frequent from when I started out but we can’t all be as awesome as sites like ArseblogGoonerholic and others. Prime example is attending the Wigan game on Tuesday night, braving the pouring rain in the front row, staying for the lap of appreciation, the long drive home via a pit stop at Dixy Kentucky Fried KFC, arriving home and crashing out knackered before having to be up for work at 6 the next morning. I have the match report and my thoughts and reflections in my head waiting to come out but sometimes just don’t have the time to get it written up. Some writers to join the blog would be the best solution, feel free to contact me via twitter, Facebook or email if you are interested in joining and contributing to the site.

To commemorate the one year milestone of the site feel free to take advantage of the current offer from our partners at Zinio.com who are currently offering 40% off subscriptions to all their soccer related online magazines. Click on the image below to be taken to the site. Remember the offer is for the soccer magazines only so deselect that subscription to Fisherman weekly.

zinio offer

Enjoy your day people

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Gunners back to winning ways despite flaws

Three points on the board and an advancement on the premier league table to keep us within touching distance of our London rivals. It wasn’t pretty, far from an enjoyable experience but in the grand scheme of things the win was recorded. It’s all the team can do right now, the past seven days have been a complete disaster for the club and so it was a bit of a relief to see us remember how to win at home. Confidence amongst the team is shot right now and it will take a while for the team to find a swagger in their play again. All be it that same swagger is what has infected the players with complacency in the games where they are expected to win. Maybe the realisation has sunk in now and the players now recognize what is required when you pull on the red and white of Arsenal.

The team have talked a good game this season, the players have come out (via the platform of Arsenal.com) with the calls to arms speeches for the big games, they highlighted the dangerss of taking teams for granted and they roundly spoke out in defence of the manager. The problem is all the talk seemed to count for nothing when they didn’t back up their words when on the pitch.

We have lost almost all our big games this season, we have fallen foul to inferior teams in the cup competitions and the players have let the manager down when he has staked his reputation on backing the players and their potential to achieve greatness.

jack v villa

Right now everyone in the club is hurting and despite scraping the win yesterday; you could sense a slight indication of unity between the players. They can certainly sense the negativity emitting from every direction and they are channelling it into their play to turn it around.There was definitely more effort put in from the players.

Understandably the past week contributed to the nerves in the teams play yesterday and the turnaround to regain confidence will take some time. There are some major flaws with the team but we missed the opportunity with the recent transfer window to address them so now we have to soldier on, accept what we have and keep the faith.

In terms of the game yesterday a couple things I noticed:

Santi Cazorla sure knows how to hit em.

Of all our players in the squad the one player I feel has that knack to blast a ball in from range is our Santi. His goals yesterday may not have been blockbusters or contenders for goal of the month but his range of shooting is vital to our recovery. Some days they skew off his boots at a 90 degree angle away from the goal but when he gets it right there are not many keepers that can stop ‘em. That threat around the box keeps defenders on their toes and can often create space for others. He took his goals yesterday very well and I for one am grateful for his persistence.

santi celebrates teamates

Monreal has a great delivery.

It has been clear in the games that Nacho Monreal has played this season that he has the best delivery of all our fullbacks at the club. One of the frustrations of the past is when our full backs work themselves into good positions then deliver a poor ball or start turning back inside and losing the momentum. With our lack of options up front it is important that we play to the strengths of what we do have. For what Giroud lacks in pace he makes up for in aerial threat so quality delivery is vital. Monreal had already walked away from the game with an assist for the winner but additionally he put in some terrific crosses during the game; the kind of deliveries that has people raving about Leighton Baines (calm down). Let’s hope he can continue that for rest of the season.

The team lacks ruthlessness.

Yes, we are coming off the back off our worst spell of the season and the team is working its way back to confidence however there were a high number of chances created to win the game comfortably. The profligacy at times had the fans pulling their hair out; at one goal up there was plenty chances to put the game to bed. Instead the team was punished for their lack of efficiency and ended up conceding a soft goal started from our own corner. All season we have lacked the ruthless edge to kill off games and nearly paid for it yesterday. Too many times the wrong decision was made up front and at other times we were just unlucky. We have paid for this many times this season and it is certainly something we need to fix if we are to charge into the top 4. I know players don’t miss on purpose and sometimes reacting on instinct can draw out fantastic goals but the glamorous efforts should be reserved for when we are 2-3 goals up.

Arsene really needs to stop using that ‘handbrake’ term

I know we understand what he’s trying to say when he says it but with every time he uses the phrase it comes across as some sort of parody. It’s like when you have a contestant evicted on big brother and they watch back their best bits at the end and discover that one phrase they use all the time; if Arsene was in the big brother house he would probably use it to describe a million situations much like the Smurfs use the word Smurf. He probably doesn’t realise how much he uses it and would blame it on TV editing.

Yesterday he used it in his press conference to say:

“It was interesting as well to see that we were focused, united, a bit nervous and you could see we played a little bit with the handbrake in some situations because the second goal didn’t come.”

I get ya Arsene

Anyway, let’s hope the recovery continues in our next game, away to Spurs. We can only take things a game at a time. Things won’t be fixed overnight so I think it’s important not to criticize yesterdays performance too much, just appreciate we achieved  a win and get behind the boys for the North London Derby.

I’m sure there’s nothing better to motivate the Arsenal players to raise their game than facing Spurs. The handbrake will be well and truly underused next Sunday.

Enjoy your day people.

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