Welcome to another season of Who are You?, the feature that gets opposing supporters talking about their clubs and ours. Pat McLaughlin*, who owns the site justarsenal.com. We first encountered Pat when he was living in West Yorkshire. Now he is a role model for all football site editors, clocking up millions of visitors (has the edge on our tens of readers!) and soaking up the sun in Spain. Tongue in cheek or not, he sees a title-winning season ahead for the Gunners …
The big kickoff approaches. Are you excited or has the combination of Euros and Olympics made you a bit blasé about the new Premier League season?
I just LOVE watching the Charity Shield every year, knowing that we are just one week away from the serious stuff. Some crucial early games in prospect, including Sunderland. You gave us a hard time after Martin O’Neill took over….
Have Arsenal a realistic prospect of challenging for the title or must you settle for a period of also-ran status, especially if you go on losing the real shining stars of your squad?
We haven’t lost ANYONE yet! And we have three top class additions. Why shouldn’t we be confident? (Pat was, of course, talking before the news of Van Persie’s move – ed)
I am an admirer of Wenger’s. But I know some Arsenal supporters feel the time for change. Where do you stand?
If it wasn’t for Wenger we would have been also rans a long time ago!
Giroud was a notable capture but who else will be important in the Arsenal team this season and where do you still need strengthening?
Cazorla will be massive if he lives up to the hype, I hope to see more of the Ox in action, Walcott could carry on his massive improvement last season. As for more additions, we need a better defender than Djourou (Bartley perhaps) and a back-up keeper.
Any thoughts on Martin O’Neill’s start at Sunderland?
Brilliant. He can make any team play well. He has the power!
Where will each of our teams end this season, what will be the top four in order and who is going down (I realise there may be overlap)?
I think Chelsea will be much stronger from the start this year, so I make them Arsenals biggest danger.
So: Arsenal, Chelsea, Man City, Man Utd. The Manchester clubs will implode. Its London’s turn to dominate….
Sunderland this season? With O’Neill anything can happen. He can make Stadium of Light a fortress and defend away from home. You could make top 8 I reckon. You have the manager, the stadium, the supporters, now you just need a couple more top-class players…
Relegation contenders are getting harder to predict every year as its so close down there, but I guess I’ll go for the usual suspects: West Ham, West Brom and Wigan!
Can you honestly see this season being freer of the diving, play-acting and other cheating that pollute professional football?
I think last year was a turning point for referees and allowing attacking football, I just hope players understand they are losing the advantage by diving. Just go for goal for God’s sake!
How will you follow our game, and what will be the score?
I’m signing up for Arsenal Player this year so I can watch it live on my 51” telly via my PC! Yay!
I admit I am worried about facing the Black Cats in the first game of the season, which is always a dodgy time, but I have rarely seen Wenger and the players so confident so I’m predicting a shock (!) 2-1 win to the Gunners.
Pat McLaughlin on Pat McLaughlin, pictured with his daughters on Torrevieja beach:
I used to go to Highbury every fortnight when it cost 50p to get into the kids’ section, but now I live in the south of Spain so the last Arsenal game I went to was the Emirates Cup last summer. If Arsenal get drawn in Spain in the Champions League you can be sure I’ll be there……
JustArsenal.com has gone from strength to strength and Alexa rates them in the top 40,000 websites in the world! We are continually bringing in new writers and expending our readership. We had a massive 2.7 million visitors last month which is quite an achievement for a threeè year-old site. I recently had to move to a dedicated server and am looking to give the site a full upgrade with even more sections to be added (like a video page with highlights and podcasts – and I want a full range of apps for mobiles as well). JustArsenal is in another world compared to when we first started talking…..
Interview: Colin Randall