The answers

Good morning to you all…

So yesterday we held the inaugral Up The Arsenal Blog Arsenal Quiz – The response was quite litterally amazing. In the sense that no one bothered to take part (You do know that I can tell how many of you visited the site yesterday don’t you?) Undeterred by the apparent lack of interest I’m still going to provide you with the answeres to the questions because A – I’ve got a long train journey to go on today so not much time to write a proper post and B – I wrote this yesterday…

So here we go with the answers –

Q1 – Who scored a hat-trick in Arsenal’s 5-1 opening day victory over Wimbledon on the opening day of the 1988-89 season?

A1 – Alan Smith – Smudger scored 23 league goals to clinch the golden boot as the Gunners wrapped up the league title so famously at Anfield. Smith was the divisions top scorer again during the 1990/91 title winning season and scored the only goal out in Copenhagen as an Arsenal side seen as rank outsiders defeated Italian giants Parma 1-0 to clinch the UEFA Cup Winners Cup in 1994
Q2 – Which player wore the number 22 during the 2000-01 season?
A2 – Oleg Luzhny – The Ukranian made a total of 110 appearances for the Gunners between 1999 & 2003 never scoring a single goal. The last of those appearances came in the 2003 FA Cup Final at Cardiff’s Millenium Stadium which saw the big defender collect a winners medal before moving to Wolves on a free transfer that summer.
Q3 – Who made their only Arsenal appearance in the League Cup against Everton on the 8th November 2006?
A3 – Mart Poom – Despite not even appearing on the bench in Paris the Estonian shot stopper collected a Champions League runners up medal after being named in Arsene Wenger’s 25 man squad for the final.
Q4 – Which former Arsenal player became manager of Bishops Stortford FC in 1999?
A4 – Martin Hayes – After leaving Highbury in 1990 Hayes turned out for twelve different clubs. The last of those was Bishops Stortford where he became player-manager in 1999 and remained at the helm until 2008.
Q5 – Which former Arsenal defender also played for Cambridge United, Dagenham & Redbridge and Hong Kong Rangers?
A5 – Gus Caesar – Despite making only 51 appearances for the Gunners between 1984 and 1991 Gus Caesar is a player who has become part of Arsenal folk lore mainly for the error which sparked Luton Town’s comeback in the 1998 Littlewoods Cup Final.
Q6 – David Seaman became the oldest player to feature for England in a European Championship qualifying match in 2002 during the three lions 0-0 draw with which side?
A6 – Macedonia – Despite being one of the greatest Goalkeepers this country has ever produced and winning 75 caps for his country the big Yorkshire man is still tainted by the memory Artim Sakiri’s goal directly from a corner kick in a 2-2 Euro 2004 qualifier, ironically also against Macedonia.

Q7 – Which former Arsenal legend was the first to make tournament appearances for England in three separate decades?
A7 – Tony Adams – The legendary skipper represented his country at Euro ’88, Euro ’96 and the 1998 World Cup in France (as well as Euro 2000). He was also the last England International to score at the old Wembley Stadium…
Q8 – Who was the Arsenal’s sole member of England’s 1966 World Cup Squad?
A8 – George Eastham – The former Newcastle inside forward, who went on an eight month strike in 1960 when the Magpies blocked his move to London despite the players contract having expired, was named in the England World Cup squad by Sir Alf Ramsey. Despite scoring in a pre tournament friendly against Denmark Eastham didn’t make it onto the pitch at any point during the three lions historic triumph meaning he didn’t collect a winners medal (He did retrospectively collect a medal in 2007 along with all the other non playing members of the squad) 1966 was also the year Eastham left Highbury, moving on to end his career with Stoke City.
Q9 – Which former Gunner is the only player to receive a medal before an FA Cup Final?
A9 – Steve Morrow – After scoring the winning goal in the League Cup Final victory over Sheffield Wednesday in 1993 Steve was unable to collect his winners medal after being dropped on the hallowed turf by skipper Tony Adams during the teams celebrations at the final whistle and subsequently being rushed to hospital. Steve was presented with his winners medal before the FA Cup Final, also against the Owls, a month later.
Q10 – Which Maidstone United & Arsenal player was the youngest player on the pitch in the 1994 UEFA Cup Winners Cup Final?
A10 – Ian Selley – The midfielder made a total of 51 starts during his Arsenal career and may have added even more had he not suffered the agony of a shattered left leg in a game against Leicester City in 1995. Selley spent more than a year recovering from the dreadful injury but after a loan spell with Southend United midway through the 1996/97 season he was sold to Fulham where he suffered another broken leg shortly after arriving at Craven Cottage. After his spell with the cottagers Selley moved Wimbledon before taking on a tour of the lower leagues of English football which included stints at Woking, Lewes, Maidestone & Dorchester Town. Ian is still playing and is currently on the books of Isthman LEAGUE Premier Division side Kingstonian. I wonder how many players with European winners medals the K’s have had?
Q11 – Who was in goal for Arsenal when John Jensen scored his only goal for the club against QPR on New Years Day 1994?
A11 – Vince Bartram – Bartram moved to Highbury in August 1994 from AFC Bournemouth in a £400,000 deal. Understudy to David Seaman during his four years with the club the most famous of the keepers eleven starts between the sticks for the Arsenal must surely be that game on New Years Day, I wonder if he has one of those ‘I was there when Jensen scored’ t-shirts?
Q12 – Which former player of Malaysian side Sabah and Arsenal legend was capped 14 times for England?
A12 – David Rocastle – The man they called Rocky was an Arsenal legend in every sense of the word. An Arsenal fan, the Lewisham lad rose through the clubs academy ranks to become one of the finest footballers to ever wear the famous red & white. During his time at the club Rocastle made 277 appearances, 260 of them starts, and was an integral part of every Arsenal team he played in helping those sides to the 86/87 League Cup as well as the 88/89 & 90/91 league championships. In the summer of 1992 the midfielder was devastated when George Graham told him he had accepted an offer from Leeds United for his services. Begrudgingly Rocky moved on but his time at Eland Road and subsequently Man City, Chelsea, Norwich and Hull he was unable to capture the form he had shown at Arsenal and the player ended his career out in Malaysia with Sabah. Rocky was always held in high esteem by all Gooners and it was with great sadness that the news came in March 2001 that aged just 33 David lost his battle against non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The memory of the man will never be forgotten he was as true a Gooner as anyone has ever been.

So there we have it, all the answers and maybe a few other facts as well. Maybe I should have made the questions slightly easier and along the lines of ‘Who is Arsenal’s all time leading goal scorer’…

Well either way I quite enjoyed thinking back on some of the players mentioned above, the part they played in our great clubs history and their football lives outside the Arsenal. I hope that you also found that enjoyable at least?

Tomorrow morning the will be a full match preview of the West Brom game rather than me sodding about and I hope you’ll join me for that…

Thanks for reading.

Paul.

Borussia Dortmund 1 – 1 Arsenal

Champions League Group F – Borussia Dortmund 1 – 1 Arsenal.

Borussia Dortmund: Weidenfeller – Subotic – Hummels – Piszczek – Scmelzer – Kehl (Blaszczykowski – 67) – Gotze – Grosskreutz (Perisic – 68) – Bender – Lewandowski – Kagawa (Zidan – 83)

Goal – Perisic – 88

Arsenal: Szczesny – Sagna – Gibbs – Mertesacker – Koscielny – Song – Arteta – Walcott (Frimpong – 76) – Gervinho (Santos – 84) – Benayoun – Van Persie (Chamakh – 84)

Goal – Van Persie – 42

With Arsene Wenger confined to the stands Pat Rice led Arsenal to what should be considered a valid and well deserved point against the Bundesliga champions.

I stated in the Arsenal’s Talking Heads section yesterday that we would have a tough time against Dortmund’s centre back pairing of Mats Hummels and Neven Subotic and that certainly proved to be the case. The two international centre halves are absolutely outstanding defenders and it was obvious to see why they’re both highly admired and sought after. But it was the defensive discipline of Arsenal that was the most impressive and in particular the performances of Bacary Sagna, Laurent Koscielny, Alex Song and Wojciech Szczesny.

I mentioned yesterday that Alex Song would need to be disciplined, shield the back four and curb his enthusiasm for getting forward at inopportune moments and as the went on he grew in stature and did just that. If the Cameroonian can perform like he did last night, and at home against Chelsea last season, week in week out we could be talking about a world-class defensive midfielder – maybe after his in discipline at St James’ on the opening day and subsequent domestic ban and Frimpong now chomping at his heels he’ll buck his ideas up and we’ll see performances of this stature on a regular basis.

The opening minutes of the game were certainly scrappy and either side could have taken an early lead – Gervinho was unfortunate not to get a shoot off after make a smart run into the box, Hummels was on hand to get back and do enough to disrupt the Ivorian. At the other end Shinji Kagawa, for the first but certainly not the last time, raced clear of the Arsenal defence and struck his volley over the bar. It was an early warning from the Japanese midfielder who is in only his second season with the Borussians. I mentioned him in yesterday’s blog as one of the German sides danger men and at just 22 years old the former Cerezo Osaka playmaker signed in 2010 for just £250,000 has a big future ahead of him and it’s no surprise that Arsene Wenger has already been credited with an interest in the youngster.

Another of the German teams young stars, who was reportedly a target of the Gunners this summer, Mario Gotze also started the game brightly and as the minutes ticked by it was Jurgen Klopp’s side who looked increasingly likely to take a lead with Arsenal seemingly getting more jittery with every wave of Dortmund attacks.

When possession of he ball was gained it was striking how inafective our players seemed to be with it and at points seemingly unwilling to receive the ball at all – there seemed to be a growing tendency as the half wore on for players to be left isolated with the ball at their feet and no team-mate moving towards the ball, in fact around about the half hour mark it got so bad that after receiving the ball from Szczesny, Kieran Gibbs was so devoid of options that he passed it back to the goalkeeper.

Theo Walcott and Gervinho were both guilty of running straight into opposition players with a degree of regularity – have to say that I do feel that once Gervinho gets a real run of games under his belt he will be dynamite, at the moment it’s his decision-making which lets him down. He could so often lay the ball off or play a pass for a team-mate but chooses to take his man on every time. *In fairness, he was often devoid of that option last night as I said.

Mickey Arteta and Yossi Benayoun seemed unable to really get into the game for much of the first half and while each showed flashes of their undoubted ability they were unable to provide that creative spark we’re expecting from the pair, until…

Benny found RVP on the edge of the Dortmund penalty box with a delightful through ball, the skipper maybe had slightly more time then he realised and didn’t quite hit the shoot with enough power to trouble Weinedfeller. Ten minutes later the Dutchman made up for it…

Robin himself intercepted a poor pass from Sebastian Kehl and the ball fell to Theo Walcott. The captain continued his run towards goal and Theo played the perfect ball back to him. This time Van Persie did everything right and his finish summed up why he is so important to the side and must be kept fit and signed to a new deal. It was a great goal to give us the lead as the clock ticked towards the end of the half.

As the second half began Arsenal’s attacking threat improved but the home sides own prowess in that department didn’t diminish. Kagawa continued to shine and game started to open up a little more.

Gervinho had another decent chance, and while he battled well to keep pushing forward in the face of German interceptions ultimately he couldn’t get his foot through the ball after recovering well from loosing his footing and momentarily falling to the ground.

What followed from then on was wave after wave of German attacks and it felt like only a matter of time until the equalizer came. Szczesny was once again commanding of both his area and the Arsenal defenders in front of him and Koscielny and Mertesacker were the busiest men on the pitch making interceptions and clearances, along with the ever impressive best right back in world football – Bacary Sagna. I have to say that our German centre back could quite easily come in for some criticism going forward but I don’t really think it would be fair – due to his height he can give the impression that he is gangly and unimposing, much in the same way Peter Crouch often is (actually I think the Soke front man is)

Koscielny just keeps impressing me and I still maintain that when Vermaelen is back it is the Frenchman who should partner the Belgian at the back.

Dortmund had a clutch of spurned opportunities as they continued to threaten us and Pat Rice replaced Theo with Emmanuel Frimpong. The Ghanaian lined up alongside Alex Song to offer more protection and Benayoun switched to the left flank in front of Kieran Gibbs.

Neven Subotic and Mario Gotze had great chances to level the score but the Serbs header was directed straight at Szczesny and the teenage German playmaker hit a shoot just wide of the goal.

It started to look as if we were going to see the game out and take the three points home. Andre Santos made his debut coming on in place of Gervinho and it was another push at shoring things up as the minutes ticked by. Chamakh came on at the same time and replaced our captain and goal scorer, so clearly we had decided not to attempt to extend our lead and put the game beyond the home side.

Despite being only minutes away from a hard-fought victory the equalizer came in the form of the all too familiar wonder goal.

With only two minutes of the regulation ninety remaining Dortmund won a free-kick which was cleared away but subsequently fell to the Dortmund sub Perisic who hit a wonderful volley on the edge of the area and into the top right hand corner of our goal.

It was a real body blow and I felt so disappointed for our players, whilst you can argue that the home team deserved a point (and I’m sure they will) I think we were equally deserving of the victory. But in the end perhaps a draw was a fair result especially as BVB had the chance to nick all the points in added time only for Szczesny to make a fantastic save and secure our point.

We all expected this to be a tough test, and most likely our toughest of the group stage, and were all prepared to accept a draw at the outset so all in all there is no room for complaint or disappointment here.

While we were never really able to play an exciting and attacking game credit must go to all the players for putting a shift in and making sure we didn’t start the campaign with defeat. I’ve already mentioned Szczesny, Sagna, Song and Koscielny but props must also go to Benny and Mickey who showed that they can tough it out and mix it with the best of ’em when it’s needed. Praise also has to go to Robin for yet another vital goal, even if it again highlights our reliance on the fragile Dutchman with the dwindling contract.

And also massive credit to Pat Rice, so often derided and criticised. It was telling that in his post match interview Woj said: “Pat motivates us and shouts at us a lot”

I don’t think the Pole was just talking about last night.

Considering we’re so often criticised for not being able to scrap it out this was a performance to take heart from. It’s another step away from what happened at Old Trafford and the players will take the confidence into Saturdays game at Ewood Park.

My post match thoughts have been added to ‘Talking Heads’ on Arsenal.com where you’ll also see  post match reaction added to yesterdays musings by Dan Roebuck & Martin Hayes.

Thanks for reading.

Paul.

AST – BVB & Talking Heads.

Well this morning I’m a little bleary eyed and would like to be at home drowning in coffee and Pro Plus but instead I’m at work drowning in a sea of unrelenting voices – I’ll never understand why people feel the need to be so noisy so early in the day?

My tiredness is due to attending last nights Arsenal Supporters Trust meeting (Well actually it’s due to going to the pub after the meeting and getting home six hours before I was due to get up)

It was the first time that Dave & I had attended an AST gathering and I have to say that if you are a member it is well worth getting along, and if you’re not a member then join now. It really does give us supporters a voice and a line to the club and not only that but it also allows for a better understanding of certain club issues and dismiss some of the stories bandied about by the press, a few of those that I found significantly interesting last night were –

  • Mickey Arteta did not take a pay cut to Join Arsenal – The Spaniard had three years left on his contract at Everton and Arsenal have given him a four year deal worth £70k pw.
  • As Arteta has no resale value he will cost the club £25m in total
  • The club made a £15m profit during the transfer window which puts the Transfer Proceeds Account (TPA) at around £50m.
  • Abou Diaby earns £60k per week which is significantly higher than the £48k Luka Modric earns down the road.
  • Arsene Wenger is in total control of all footballing matters including player purchases, sales and salaries. This includes the spate of late signings made by the club as the transfer window closed. There was no pressure put on Wenger by any board member, executive or owner before or after the 8-1 mauling at Old Trafford, in fact up to that point Arsene was content with the signings he had made earlier in the summer but in the wake of that result and the injuries sustained by Jack & Tommy the manager decided to change tack.
  • The fan share scheme has gained more than 2000 members in less than a year but as there is a shortfall of available shares the scheme may have to be paused. Indeed the best source of available shares are those of the dearly departed.
  • After initially backing the fan share scheme Stan Kroenke has cooled his interest since taking control of the club, Alisher Usmanov has followed suit. The Russian has mooted that he would match any funds/shares committed to the scheme by Kroenke and indeed is doing just that at the moment, the joint level of investment by the clubs major shareholders currently stands at 0.
  • Usmanov is a regular attendee of games and now has a ‘Super Box’ at the Emirates having knocked through and joined two boxes. The money for this came from his own pocket.
  • The AST are in constant dialogue with the club and in particular Ivan Gazidas, further meetings are planned and the trust are pushing for Stanley to address the supporters and set out his ambition and direction with regards to the club

Fellow bloggers Le GroveAshburton Grove have also posted their thoughts on the meeting which I recommend reading, if you haven’t already. And also cast an eye over  this piece by Gooneroobs.

And so on to tonight’s Champions League game against Borussia Dortmund –

On paper this is arguably our toughest game of the group stage, Dortmund are the reining Bundesliga Champions and whilst they saw the departure of a key player this summer with Nurit Sahin moving to Real Madrid, the German side certainly have a squad capable of reducing the impact of that loss. In Mario Gotze they have a readymade replacement, who is himself much sought after and was subject to interest from Arsenal. But while Die Schwarzgelben are certainly strong in midfield where they have Sebastian Kehl, Shinji Kagawa & Sven Bender as well as Gotze, It’s at the back that I believe they are at their strongest and in particular the centre back pairing of Neven Subotic and Mats Hummels.

We’ll need to be at our attacking best against the two solid centre halves and Mickey Arteta, making his Champions League debut for the club, could hold the key to unlocking the German defence and creating openings for the likes of Van Persie.

That said the Borussians last line of defence is equally as talented as any of their outfield players. Whilst Roman Wieldenfella may not be a household name the young goalkeeper has certainly caught the eye of former Arsenal stopper Jens Lehmann who has called for his compatriot to be installed as the number one of the German national side.

In defence Per Mertesacker should be able to provide us with the inside track on our opponents having just switched leagues and the big defender should be right at home facing players he is familiar with.

Whilst we see Alex Song and Gervinho return to the 18 man squad we’ve lost Aaron Ramsey and Tommy Rosicky to injury. With the attacking threat the German side pose I think it likely that we may see the reappearance of Frimpsong tonight, the pair would allow an extra level of protection to the back four whilst similarly allowing our attacking players to get forward. However in order for that to work both Song & Frimmers will need to be disciplined enough to work in tandem and the Cameroonian in particular will have to curb his own attacking instincts.

My line up would be – Szczesny – Sagna – Koscielny – Mertesacker – Gibbs – Song – Frimpong – Arteta – Walcott – Van Persie – Gervinho.

I’ve been lucky enough to contribute on the official club websites ‘Talking Heads’ preview of the game along with Dan Roebuck & Martin Hayes and you can see that by clicking here.

As I’ve said in the preview I think we’re capable of nabbing three point but I would certainly be happy with one. It promises to be a great game, both sides like to play attacking football so we can expect it to be end to end stuff.

Thanks for reading & enjoy the game wherever you’re watching it.

Paul.

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