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  • Arsenal, English? Really?
    My top 2 English teams for Arsenal (at least 100 appearances)
    David Seaman                                            John Lukic
    Ashley Cole, Lee Dixon                             Kenny Sansom, Viv Anderson
    Tony Adams, Sol Campbell                       Martin Keown, Steve Bould
    Peter Storey, Michael Thomas                 David Platt, Ray Parlour
    Bukayo Saka, David Rocastle                   George Armstrong, Charlie George
    John Radford, Ian Wright                          Alan Smith, Malcolm Macdonald
    Arsenal are an English team. Arsenal are an English team? Really? So who is our best ever manager? The Englishman Herbert Chapman or the Frenchman Arsene Wenger? Not so easy to say but Wenger has far more trophies and upgraded Arsenal to the top of the pile when Manchester United, full with money, stars, and a huge fanbase, were in their prime. I think you have to put the Frenchman ahead, just.

    More trophies = Better?
    Our best ever player? Also French. The magical Thierry Henry. It is very hard to put a real English contender against him, especially in my time, which, as I find it too hard to judge players from the past, means I can only go on their records. So, Cliff Bastin (396 appearances, 178 goals) is behind Ian Wright (288 appearances, 185 goals). Not a true reflection as they are totally different eras. Ian Wright is a big favourite of mine, as he is to us all here in ASCB, but I have to concede he wasn’t as good as Henry or Bergkamp.

    The tall one is Ian Wright
    Our English defence were so good
    Our best goalkeeper? Well, certainly Seaman has some competition in Jennings, or Lehmann, with all three having their champions. I would go for Jennings. With fullbacks there is an argument for English dominance as indeed in defence generally. David O’Leary, Terry Neill, Frank McLintock, Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny, Bacary Sagna, Kolo Toure, Pat Rice and Sammy Nelson were super players but as you can see from my 2 teams up above, the English defenders could hold their own against the best of the outside brigade.
    In midfield not so much. Brady, Vieira, Fabregas, Cazorla, Pettit, Pires, Ljungberg, Rosicky, Ozil, Ramsey, and others would have to be just that bit stronger than the 4 I have nominated above. On the wing, I chose Saka and Rocastle with just behind them Charlie George and Geordie Armstrong, who often played in a 4-3-3 which was a bit different from today. But are they better than Brady, Pires and Ljungberg who often played on the wing and Marc Overmars, Sylvain Wiltord and others? I would say that again the outsiders were a bit stronger.
    Super, super foreign stars up front
    Up front, it is very hard to make a claim that the best English forwards are a match for the best foreigners. The four Englishmen I have chosen were super players but the contest is phenomenal. Henry, Bergamp, Kanu, Anelka, Sanchez, Aubameyang, Van Persie and others of the Wenger era were true superstars.
    In the end, I probably have to concede that only in defence, including goalkeepers, can Arsenal claim to be an English team and even then with strong competition. Anyway this week I decided to take a look at who would be our first and second best English team. One rule was at least a 100 competitive matches so it knocked out guys like Ramsdale, who is surely itching to make my list. Send me VIP tickets for every match, Aaron, and I will put you top .  I chose Seaman over Lukic, mostly because that is probably the consensus choice but truly John Lukic was a superb keeper and only a shade weaker. Ashley Cole and Lee Dixon over Kenny Sansom and Viv Anderson, Very little difference. Superb players with lots of England caps.
    Adams and Campbell, wayhey!
    In central defence, I chose 2 legends, Adams and Campbell over Keown and Bould and probably most people would agree with that. Again I should say that I am choosing from 1969 onwards, the year of my conversion to the Arsenal cult, so the great defenders of the past are omitted.

    Surely a dream defence?
    In central midfield, I chose Peter Storey, who was true class. He could play across the defence and in midfield, always won the ball and made himself available for a pass. Alongside him the legend that is Michael Thomas, who scored what was for me our greatest ever goal against Liverpool at Anfield to win us the title. It’s only Ray Parlour and David Platt provide good backup but probably the first 2 have the edge here.
    Saka our future GOAT?
    On the wing, Saka is surely destined to be a world great and we all love David Rocastle but the competition is huge with Charlie George, a massive fan favourite in my time, and the sublime Geordie Armstrong, our top appearances up to David O’Leary. Very little difference here.

    Ramsdale next to make my list?
    I chose John Radford and Ian Wright up front against SuperMac and Alan Smith. Radford was my hero, scoring vital goals, always leading the line and scoring 149 times. Always someone ahead of him for England and he only got 2 caps. Geoff Hurst and Bobby Charlton, anyone? Ian Wright also lost out to Lineker and Shearer but battled his way to 33 caps all the same. In my time no Arsenal centre-forward claimed the top English spot for any length of time. Can Nketiah? He has managed to be the underage top scorer. Time will tell but at this juncture it seems unlikely.
    Does Englishness matter?
    And so there you have it. Would My top team English team beat my second best? I guess so as in one or two areas they are stronger. But it is tight and could not be guaranteed. I don’t feel they could beat the best foreign 11 though.

    Spot the Englishmen!
    So, to answer my question, posed at the start – is Arsenal an English team? Sort of is my answer. The best players come from everywhere, including England. The fans also come from everywhere as anyone who has been at the Emirates can testify. The owners are American and lots of the staff are from everywhere. Is it important? I don’t know. I think it could be if Arsenal don’t get back to the top. You do need the locals to support and a strong English presence will always help in that regard. Now we have so many English guys playing and starring in all sectors that we probably have the strongest English team at the moment of the teams in the top five. I await the day the Irish make a comeback and we get a Bulgarian superstar for our English team. And c’mon the Arse!
    These Englishmen looked to be the future. It is hard to make it at Arsenal

    Арсенал представи второто си ново попълнение, след като официално подписа с португалецът Фабио Виейра. За услугите на креативният полузащитник, „Артилеристите“ заплатиха сума от порядъка на 34 милиона паунда на Порто. Платените пари са спекулативни, защото както винаги, от клуба не споменават колко точно се е оказал трансфера официално.
    Ето и кратка визитка на новото ни попълнение: Фабио Даниел Ферейра Виейра е роден на 30 май 2000г. в Санта Мария де Фейра. Той играе като офанзивен полузащитник и е минал през детско-юношеските школи на Порто и националните формации на Португалия. С клубния си отбор той отбелязва 13 гола в 21 участия, като достига до финал на Шампионска лига с Порто за юноши до 19 години. На национално ниво печели Европейското първенство за юноши до 21 години, като е избран за играч на турнира. Дебютът за мъжкия отбор на Порто е през 2019 година, като с „Драконите“ записва 54 участия и отбелязва 8 попадения. За последният сезон има 27 участия, 6 гола и 14 асистенции. Фабио Виейра е част от двата шампионски отбора на синьо-белите през 2019/20 и 2021/22.

    „Много сме щастливи, че финализирахме сделката с Порто. Фабио е играч със специални качества, техничен е, умее да владее топката и е заплаха в половината на противнника. Нямаме търпение да работим с него и да развием талантът му. Продължаваме да работим усилено и се надяваме да завършим трансферният прозорец колкото се може по-добре.“, бяха думите на Еду.
    „Вълнувам се, че подписахме с толкова специален талант. Фабио е много креативен играч и ще донесе страхотно разнообразие в атаката ни. Посрещаме него и неговото семейство с добре дошъл в клуба и нямаме търпение да започнем работа по подготовката за новия сезон.“, пък бяха думите на Микел Артета.
    Фабио Виейра ще играе с номер 21 и ще се присъедини към съотборниците си за началото на предсезонната подготовка. От фенска гледна точка изглежда, че новото ни попълнение пристига директно с любима песен, която възхваляваше един друг Виейра, който всички помним и обичаме. Пожелаваме на Фабио да се доближи максимално като въздействие и фенска обич до треньора на Кристъл Палас.

    Arsenal v Man Utd part 2

    Handbags, surely?
    A most serious war
    Fighting! That’s the key to Arsenal vs Manchester United. So many fights, and so spectacular. The thing is, though, it became the biggest derby in English football purely on football terms, which is unusual. Normally it is your local rivals who are your biggest opponents, not so these two. It was football, it was that mad scramble for superiority, to be better. Yes we had big games, the FA cup final of 1979 which I wrote about here being one. I also wrote about the brawl at Old Trafford in 1991 here.
    I was there in 1991 when Arsenal had a 20 man brawl with Man Utd at Old Trafford. As far as I am concerned, Man Utd were the instigators as any examination of the videos will confirm but Arsenal got the worst punishment. The beginning of the belief that Alex Ferguson always got better treatment from authorities. It was spectacular, with almost everyone involved although not really vicious except maybe for Brian McClair kicking Nigel Winterburn on the ground, for which Winterburn got booked!
    Arsene Wenger Vs Alex Ferguson
    But they were just tasters, little morsels to whet the appetite for the big battles first with George Graham and Alex Ferguson and then the supreme one, when Arsene Wenger arrived on the scene. He seemed straightaway to get under Ferguson’s skin and of course in his first full season he was 12 points behind and going nowhere when he did the impossible, reeled them in and essentially got the title with a Marc Overmars wondergoal at Old Trafford. From then on, they all knew, there was a new kid on the block and they were Arsenal. No wonder Ferguson was sickened and bitter.

    No more Mr Nice Guy
    Of course, Arsenal never quite managed domination under George Graham, but Man Utd, under Matt Busby, not that long past, were a great and dominant side just as Manchester United were becoming under Ferguson. They seemingly could just march to the title every season. Eh hello, Arsenal are here now. It was our first Premier League title. And the true start of what was to become the biggest rivalry in English football. They hated each other, hyped themselves up for every match as if their life depended on it and they were always feisty affairs.
    Both sets of players were desperate to win
    Now, Ferguson and Wenger seem friends. Ferguson, though, then, was far more responsible for the war. He liked to use any method to gain an advantage, mindgames, a sense of us against the world, firing players up, diving. Even the arrival of Arsenal he used to push his team to their first Champions league. They had to get better to beat Arsenal and that was also good enough to beat Bayern Munich. Wenger always wanted it to be about football, sporting competition, and doing things the right way.

    Thanks, Patrick, for the eye examination
    However his players didn’t see it that way. They also wanted to win in any way possible, Adams, Keown, Vieira and others would try to intimidate opponents, to fight as hard as they could for victory. Witness Patrick Vieira intimidating Gary Neville in the famous tunnel incident. This fired Roy Keane up so much that he wanted to fight Patrick Vieira before the match. I had never seen this before in football and kept expecting Keane to be sent off before the match had even started. Maybe that is not in the rules so he wasn’t and United went on to win 4-2.
    Keown was the hardest fighter of all
    Martin Keown’s most famous image is when he screws up his face at Ruud Van Nistleroy when he missed a penalty at Old Trafford after Diego Forlan had gone down soft. It ended 0-0 and all the Arsenal players celebrated wildly, so wildly that several of them got suspensions. Nothing for Man Utd. Ferguson, unbelievably said that Arsenal’s conduct was the worst he had ever seen in football. Ah, good old Fergie, always playing the mindgames.

    Get closer, Martin
    I have to mention Pizzagate as well. The next season, at Old Trafford, Utd ended our great unbeaten run with Van Nistleroy scoring a late penalty and Wayne Rooney scoring even later to give them a 2-0 win. Arsenal had played the better football, controlling the game to that point. It boiled over into the tunnel, and Mr Ferguson got pizza thrown over him by a young Cesc Fabregas, allegedly. This time, both teams kept shtum and no punishments were handed out.

    Surely not innocent Cesc Fabregas?
    So there were plenty of fights, red cards, yellow cards, wild tackles, squaring up, and sly grins when intimidation worked, as Wenger vs Ferguson, Keane vs Vieira, Keown vs everybody and lots of other battles raged all around us. It was a time of heightened emotions as the two great teams of English football battled throughout new players in a ten or so year yoyo war for supremacy. Every time a team got knocked down they got back up and knocked the other down.
    It was a fantastic football war as well
    But what about the football, I hear you ask? It was high class. Dennis Bergkamp had brought football to a new level as did Thierry Henry, Vieira and superb players for the Arsenal. Beckham, Scholes, Giggs, and others were world class for Utd. Ruud Van Nistleroy ramped up the rivalry by trying to keep up with Henry, but eventually conceded Henry was better as he skulked off to Real Madrid. They fought on football skills though, I never remember them getting physical with each other.

    Nistleroy was beaten by Thierry Henry
    During George Graham’s time, Ferguson famously said that Ian Wright was destroying us and he did acknowledge that Arsenal players could play. He also thought that Tony Adams should have been a Manchester United player.  And Ferguson learned from Wenger. All the modern ideas he brought were swiftly introduced at Old Trafford, diets, training methods and grounds, pitch technology, large squads, rotation, he was always one of the best learners in football. One thing both managers believed in was attacking football, always trying to score. They were never good at holding on to a lead, always wanting to increase it by preference. Hence the high scoring matches as both sides, once they fell behind, kept trying to win, leaving gaps for the other to exploit. The infamous 8-2 to Man Utd was not as one-sided as the scoreline suggests, as Arsenal continued to press forward, looking for a miracle. Watch it again if you don’t believe me.
    Are there battles to come?
    There is no doubt in my mind that Utd had reached an easy pinnacle until Arsenal arrived to challenge, winning title after title, and that push helped Ferguson to get his players to perform better. Both sides had managers and players who only cared about winning, battling and fighting to the end for that top prize of not losing.
    For trophies, they have the edge and we would need a long great spell to catch them up. It is not impossible, though. Can we overtake them on money, however? Probably not, they are at the top level of fan support with an income to match. They can pay huge salaries even as they are struggling at the moment. A long period for us in the doldrums makes it harder to get the owners to spend money. Again we would need that long great spell to match them for money. They do go in with an advantage, a bigger fan base, a bigger ground, owners who spend more money, and, of course, a stronger modern tradition. What do plucky little Arsenal have to offer? A potentially exciting young manager, who, if he tackles his weaknesses in dealing with players, could become a true great. We also have an extraordinary range of young talent, which, with improvement and some of that battling ability which I have written about here, could bring us that dream spell of dominance. I believe in this team, do you?

    Нападателят на ''артилеристите'' Еди Нкетия подписа нов, 5-годишен договор, който ще изтече през юни 2027 година. Спекулира се, че той ще получава седмично възнаграждение в порядъка на £100 000. Освен това, през новата кампания Еди Нкетия ще се състезава с номер 14 на гърба. Голяма част от журналистите, които следяха изкъсо ситуацията около новия контракт на играчът съобщават, че голям интерес към него са проявявали Кристъл Палас, Уест Хям и няколко клуба от Бундеслигата. През януари тази година Еди Нкетия бе съвсем близо до преминаване именно в отбора на Кристъл Палас, като по онова време Патрик Виейра не скри желанието си да привлече младокът в редиците си. Тогава ''остриетата'' предложиха оферта от около £20 млн., но Топчиите я отхвърлиха. Рекордьорът по голове за младежкия отбор на Англия до 21 години се превърна в една от основните фигури в състава на Арсенал през тази календарна година, като завърши кампанията във Висшата лига с 5 попадения в 21 изиграни двубоя. Другите 5 гола на сметката на Еди Нкетия през изминалия сезон бяха отбелязани в Карабао Къп. 

    Едуард Кедар Нкетия е роден на 30 май 1999 година в Люишам, Лондон. За него може да се каже, че започва кариерата си в отбора на Хилифилдърс от Югозиточен Лондон. Докато се състезава там е наблюдаван от скаути на Челси и в последствие постъпва в школата на ''сините''. Не след дълго Еди Нкетия е освободен поради лошите си физически данни или поне така съобщават тогава от Челси. Следващата стъпка в кариерата му се казва Арсенал, където се присъединява към школата на клуба - Хейл Енд. През сезон 2016/17 нападателят се разписва общо 15 пъти в 16 изиграни двубоя за отбора до 18-годишна възраст, а в добавка, отбелязва още 12 гола в 26 изиграни мача за отбора до 23 години. През лятото на 2017 година самият Арсен Венгер взима Еди Нкетия с отбора на Арсенал за предсезонното турне на ''артилеристите'' в Австралия и Китай. През месец септември на същата тази 2017 година записва своя дебют за мъжкия отбор, когато се появява като резерва срещу БАТЕ Борисов във турнира Лига Европа. Месец по-късно Нкетия се появява отново като резерва за мъжкия отбор, за да донесе победата с 2:1 над Норич Сити в Карабао Къп. Първото негово попадение във Висшата лига става факт през месец май 2019 година, когато се разписва във вратата на Бърнли. През лятото на същата година се присъединява към отбора на Лийдс Юнайтед, където е изпратен под наем. Престоят му там се оказва кратък, като на практика той записва само един полусезон на сметката си, защото през януари 2020 година отдаването му под наем в Лийдс е прекратено от страна на Арсенал. 


    Приключи лятната кампания на фен клуба на Арсенал Лондон в България за присъединяване към организацията. След неочаквано силното представяне на състава на Микел Артета и въпреки лекото разочарование от пропуснатото в последния момент място в турнира на Шампионската лига, българските привърженици на Лондончани поставиха рекордна за историята цифра на хората, които подновиха членство или се записаха за първи път във фен клуба за предстоящия сезон 2022/23. Съгласно цифрите, 650 души са членове на най-големия официален фен клуб на чуждестранен отбор в България (ASCB). Този резултат е впечатляващ, отразява тенденциите за непрекъснат прогрес и е особено радващ, защото съвпада с достигането на пълнолетие „българските топчии“. През изминалите почивни дни се проведоха тържествата по повод рождения ден и традиционното за началото на юни Общо събрание на организацията.
    Освен възможността да кандидатства за билети за домакинските мачове във Висшата лига и домашните купи, през новата кампания Арсенал се връща на европейската сцена, което е допълнителен бонус за всеки член, имайки предвид любовта към гостуванията в Европа на представителите на ASCB през годините и заряда, който носи всяко едно такова пътуване. По традиция всеки официален член ще получи членска карта и подарък, който през тази година ще бъде куиз-книга посветена на Арсенал и на българския фен клуб, в написването на която съществена роля има авторския колектив на „Арсенал България“.
    УС на ASCB приветства новите попълнения и благодари за доверието на „преподписалите“, като се надяват заедно да преживеят много приятни футболни емоции както по терените на Албиона, така и при гостуванията в Лига Европа, и да участват в поредицата обществени инициативи, които фен клуба организира или подкрепя през годините. Предстои пускането на нови артикули, което се превърна в маркова традиция за фен клуба.
    През октомври е планирано есенното издание на турнира за дами любителки в помощ на децата болни от онкохематологични заболявания, както и редица други мероприятия под егидата на „българските артилеристи“.
    Вече 18 години „Арсенал България“ твори история и като флагман на официалните фен клубове на чуждестранни отбори дава пример как страстта към играта и любимия отбор, и енергията за участие в благотворителни обществени инициативи могат да бъдат водеща мотивация за хората в организацията, която е позната и добре приемана в световното семейство на Арсенал Лондон!

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