Newcastle’s Joey Barton, Arsenal’s Gervinho: a marriage made in heaven

It began as a question in our Who Are You? series of pre-match interviews with the fans of opposing clubs, about diving and other forms of cheating.

Then it became the Eduardo Question, in honour of the Brazilian-born Croatian player’s monumental contribution to the art, and finally the Walcott Question as a sincere tribute to Theo for his candid admission – coupled with an apology – that he had dived in an unsuccessful attempt to con a referee.

Read moreNewcastle’s Joey Barton, Arsenal’s Gervinho: a marriage made in heaven

Who are You?: ‘Up the Arsenal, down with Gooners’

A few days ahead of Arsenal v SAFC, 5-0 against Orient has an ominous ring to it. Has life picked up again for the Gunners at just the wrong time for us? Our Arsenal previewer, the infuriatingly prolific writer, actor and broadcaster Tom Watt* certainly sounds like an optimist.
When it comes to soaps, I’m more
Coronation Street – absurd storylines and all – than EastEnders. So I’d forgotten that Tom played Lofty Holloway for three years. I did recall, however, that he was a likeable phone-in host in earlier days of TalkSport – and a committed G*****. Read on – and his replies do make for an excellent, provocative read – to see why he’ll be pleased with that spot of censorship. And don’t call him a fan either …

Salut! Sunderland:
Oh dear. If you need a fillip after the bitter disappointment of Wembley, you have to look no further than the fixture list showing Sunderland as next up in the Premier. Home banker?

I don’t know about that. It is far more important than a fillip to be honest. The disappointment of Wembley means the next fixture becomes probably the single most important game of the season. If we beat Sunderland we are still in with a fantastic chance of winning the league whereas anything less than a win could make that unachievable.

Read moreWho are You?: ‘Up the Arsenal, down with Gooners’

Theo Walcott: why the FA rejected absurd call for retrospective punishment

Monsieur Salut did not expect to have to spring to the defence of Theo Walcott again following the recent piece headlined The star’s apology to Arsenal and Leeds that changed cheating debate. He felt the need all the same …

While we had the ear of the FA – on the question of Darren Bent, Fabio Capello and criteria for England selection (which do not, we were assured, include geography, ie where people play) – it seemed a good idea to ask about Theo Walcott’s confession that he dived in the hope of winning a penalty just when Arsenal most needed one.

The News of the World, not your favourite paper if its staff have been listening to your private phone calls, had two pieces that caught my eye on Sunday.

Read moreTheo Walcott: why the FA rejected absurd call for retrospective punishment

The star’s apology to Arsenal and Leeds that changed cheating debate

Theo WalcottImage: Wonker

It was while I was away on holiday and we were being dumped out of the FA Cup by mighty Notts County that Theo Walcott made a statement I have since been unable to shake from my mind.

Arsenal nearly had their own cup day stinker, leaving it desperately late to snatch a draw at home to Leeds. This proved crucial as the Gunners went on to win the Elland Road replay comfortably.

But what made a real impact on me was the subsequent statement from Walcott, posted to the official Arsenal site.

Read moreThe star’s apology to Arsenal and Leeds that changed cheating debate