John McCormick writes: Like M Salut, I’m a fan of Arsene Wenger. Like M Salut, I’m a fan of Pete Sixsmith, now a published author. So it’s no surprise to me that Pete was requested to contribute to the Arsenal website Gunners Town, who supplied co-editor Dave Seager for this weeks “who are you”, prior to our game at the Emirates,
Pete was interviewed by Vivek Arulnathan, who appears to welcome the end of November, “A month filled with pulled hamstrings, strained calves and damaged ligaments” and thinks our match has arrived at just the right time to fuel a regeneration after the barren time (hah!) Arsenal have experienced recently. That said, he expects a tough time, a la Sammy: “10 men behind the ball, no room in and around the box and the odd counter attack”.
What does Pete expect? He admits to a sneaky admiration for Arsenal but counters ‘He [i.e.Sam] may “park the bus” to start with but he is aware that there are some decent attacking players at the club and he uses them. He is a good old fashioned pragmatist is Sam.’ and cautions that these decent attacking players include Fabio Borini (one of our readers’ favourites to start in this week’s poll) and Yann M’Vila “who is the one to watch. He is not spectacular but he is one of the best players I have seen in a red and white striped shirt.”
All in all, it’s a rattling good read, as well befits a site that meets our own standard: A quality site for supporters.. .. and lovers of good writing. I’ve put some tasters at the bottom. For the full interview follow this link .
Pete predicts a 1-1 draw, which would suit me fine. If you want to give your own prediction visit our competition at Arsenal v Sunderland Guess the score: dare to believe. There’s a mug on offer for the winner, Arsenal fans are welcome to enter and M Salut’s word is final.
But not today. Here are a few more snippets from Pete:
- Before getting into the game, do you think, in hindsight, that it was a mistake to talk Advocaat out of retirement during the summer?
Hindsight is the greatest gift of all. Had I had it in 1962 when I first went to Roker Park, I would now be an ace stamp collector or rock music cataloguer. It was a mistake for Dick to come back. At his age, the stresses and strains of coping with a club like Sunderland are too much…
- How crucial has Sam Allardyce been since taking over? What is the general opinion on him in the fan base?
… He has made an encouraging start and looks to have organised the players and has square pegs in square holes. His style of play is to ensure that you defend and (Everton apart) it has worked with only two goals conceded – one a foul on the keeper, the other a foolish penalty given away.
Does beating two strong mid-table teams in Palace and Stoke show that Sunderland should now probably aim higher than just avoiding relegation this season?
It would be lovely to think so, but there is a long way to go and even Villa could pull around. It is crucial for the club, the owner and the supporters to stay up and perhaps build a couple of seasons of respectable mid table mediocrity. Then we can begin our onslaught on the Nou Camp, the Allianz Arena and the San Siro!
- Looks like top scorer Jermain Defoe will miss this weekend’s game? How crucial is his loss and who can step in instead?
He is a good player and a good man. At his age he wants/needs to play every week and should do if fit. But he is not the only show in town…
- How have the summer signings fared?
- Your take on Arsenal as a club.
As a club as far removed from Sunderland as it is possible to be both on and off the field. They are one of the two teams that have played nothing but top level football in all my years as a follower of the game (Everton are the other) and I have a sneaky admiration for them. But the support is so diverse and widespread that they never strike me as a club rooted in its community. A couple of seasons ago there was a tannoy request for Monty and Rupert to meet someone after the match. Sunderland supporters found that hilarious! We don’t have many Montys’ and Ruperts’ on Wearside…
- What’s your take on the injury crisis at Arsenal that everyone is talking about?
Isn’t there always an injury crisis at Arsenal? Other clubs have injuries. Jack Rodwell has been injured ever since we paid £10m for him.
- Despite taking only two of the last nine points available, Arsenal are only a couple of points off the top. What do you think that says about the Premier League?
Hopefully the league is opening up a bit. The way Leicester have seized their opportunity is a breath of fresh air (if only they would get rid of those bloody clappy things their fans use). Spurs have a strong side this year and Manchester United are dull. The likes of Pochettino and Klopp are interesting coaches who may have the same influence on English football that Wenger had. But they still have a bit to prove.
- Arsenal player who has impressed you the most.
Easy; the excellent Alexis Sanchez. Fancy swapping him for Danny Graham? Thought not.
- Predictions for the season? (Top 4, relegation, Sunderland, Arsenal positions)
Top four: Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur.