Comparing Arsenal and Chelsea : ANR Mailbag

From WestLondonAnt :Observation

Sloppy and selective writing.

What about Usmanov? You don’t even mention him here. If RA’s road to riches is so abhorrent to you, why would you not include the even richer oligarch in your Daily Express style critique.

Let’s face it, there is no comparison between Arsenal and Chelsea anymore. One team is a serial winner and the other has a good relationship with its bank manager. I know which one if rather support.

From John Webster :Brendan


I would just like to say that I thought Brendan’s piece regarding the difference between Arsenal and Chelsea was right on the nose.

Correct in his analysis of the football side, but also his geo-political thoughts on Russia, London and the squeeze on ordinary people(and Arsenal season ticket holders!).

As David Dein said in Autumn 2003, “they’ve parked their tanks on our lawn and are firing fifty pound notes at us”.

Also your laying of the blame at Blair’s door pleased me. I think history will treat him as unkindly as it’s treated any Prime Minister before or since.

Interestingly, I think John Major will be seen as a hero by comparison. Many thanks.

From Tim Barrett :Brendan


Thank god for Brendan!

And well done for posting the thoughts of someone who can be bothered to think and read deeper than most.

It’s so refreshing to get this balance to the argument.

It was much needed, and it’s probably bad karma to let such a polarised opinion sit there unchecked for days on end.

From Akeem Oyalowo :RE: 5 Things Right About Arsenal

I admit there was a time I stopped reading ANR.

Got overwhelmed by too much negativity and absence of posts when Arsenal has won.

However despite my love and support of Wenger, I also believe he is not perfect.

So some of the criticisms are justified.

There are more than 5 things right with Arsenal, but the primary wrong with the team is how long it takes to solve a gaping problem.

And when that problem gets solved, another one is already gaping at us.

Right now, we have a defensive midfielder crisis and an extra central defender issue. A problem, re-signing Alex Song would have solved. But eventually Wenger gets the team ticking to qualify the team for a CL place which in my view, is still the best we can hope for, given how money determines the quality of a team in the Premiership since the appearance of Abramovich and the Sheikhs.

I admitted not reading ANR for a while. Yes I did. But I came back simply because I love the way you write and how clear your submissions always are.

Of course, every once in a while, Arsenal fans need a reality check or two.

Myles sdaysa:

Umanov isn’t on the Arsenal board and never will be.

The timing of my posts here is a bit random and depends on other events and other writing I have to do. If I don’t write after an Arsenal victory it’s not because I’m sulking.

I’ve always got things to say but nothing that can’t wait till another day.

My first London girlfriend Patsy was a posh, bossy Manchester United supporter from Sale.

We used to argue and I remember her yelling, “It’s so unlike you to sulk!”

I took that as a compliment.

30th October 2014

Comparing Arsenal and Manchester United in this second leg

Last week I said that both semis could go either way.

Last season Nick Hornby predicted on French TV that Chelsea v Man United would be the final for the next ten years. I disagree. I think 2008 and 2009 only.

Today I want to summarise what Arsenal and Manchester United have going for them tonight.


First, the ambience, the pitch that suits their style and their home crowd – apart from the boxes, which will no doubt be packed with Cockney Reds.

Second, they have an in-form Almunia, who prevented a rout at Old Trafford, two great players in Fabregas and Sagna, and an exceptional left back prospect in Kieran Gibbs, who did remarkably well against Ronaldo last week.

Third, a good record against United at the Emirates, including a 2-1 win over them on Saturday, November 8, which 90% of my associates put down to United having a bad day at the office.


First, United are already leading 1-0 so they do not have to win tonight.

Second, they know that if they score an early goal, it’s over.

Third, their experience and physicality is far superior to that of Arsenal. But Fabregas can outsmart Anderson, who is faster and stronger in skirmishes. He is a fiery ball-winner, like Tevez. But, as we saw in the first leg, Anderson  is a headless chicken, not a marker.

Four, United’s bench is stronger. Berbatov is a proven goalscorer who will replace Tevez at some point. If it was not Arsenal away, Sir Alex might put Cristiano at centre forward and Park wide right. He won’t do that. He will pick the same team again and try to play like United did last season, and hope that Ronaldo, who never plays well in really big games, doesn’t have one of those nights where he is throwing his arms about. If Arsenal see CR throwing his arms around, they know they have a chance.

Five, Rooney is producing right now. An energetic, belligerent team-leader,  Rooney can dribble, cross, win the ball, score, and grin like a little schoolboy. Bacary Sagna, a very tenacious and gifted right back, will try to minimise his impact. A yellow card puts Rooney out of Rome if they get through.

It’s the biggest game of 2009, so I can’t wait.

But I’m out most of the day, as I need to buy some new clothes for an upcoming City Break. I enjoy being a scruffy old beatnik but I can’t really walk around one of the style capitals of Europe dressed as I am right now.

After shopping, Jan will drop me at the gym, then I’ll come home for a  pre-match meal of pasta, warm up in the back garden, slip my shinpads on, and shake hands with referee Rosetti.

As Graeme Souness once said, “These are the games you live for.”