Arsenal have five days to hate Leicester

February 9, 2016

I am so pleased the current Arsenal side has so many overseas players, and here’s why. The English like an underdog, and that is a real weakness. Fair Play, good manners, the rule of law, honour, glorious defeat and so on. Not great characteristics to ingrain deep within a sporting institution, other than, in England, that’s precisely what Sport means.

However, look around the globe, and you’ll see the word Sport has an entirely different meaning.

Americans like Winners, Latin Nations like, approve, and have developed an honourable art out of Cheating, East and Bribery, Over There performance enhancing drugs and so on. Yet here we English are stuck back in the Victorian era where it’s still it’s all “No, after you”. That was all fine back in the day when losing was ok, because we knew deep down we could have them shot later.

So, back to this weekend and Leicester. Are we ready?

Arsenal, more than any other Club, epitomize this national characteristic trait, and we have to snap out of it, and prontissimo, or we’re in for a very nasty shock. In short, we need to get nasty and develop some serious attitude issues, and we have five days to do it.

Over this short five day period, each and every Arsenal player needs to develop a deep and meaningful grudge, and it’s really hard to know where to start. They will simply not “get” how annoying Gary Lineker is, because that’s down to context. You see, had this been almost any other Minnow sitting top, the job of hating would have been made a whole lot easier, but I’m really struggling with Leicester City.

Our Boys aren’t the best at being motivated on any day, and the five we stuck past them earlier won’t help either as the old chestnut complacency could have crept past front door security.

If I was Ranieri, I’d be posting scented candles to our boys, birthday cards, Facebook Requests, free tanning sessions and so on. Really soften us up.

If I was Wenger, I don’t know what I’d do.

Written by MickyDidIt89


Ninety Seconds of Ecstasy

February 8, 2016

Bournemouth at Dean Court and tickets for away fans were as rare as rocking horse effluent. Saturday’s results for Leicester and the spuds added weight to the feeling that this fixture was a mighty crucial one if the Gunners were going to get our season back on track and have any serious hopes of a tilt at the title.

Second-guessing the manager is always difficult and the announcement of the line-up for the day always elicits murmurs of dissatisfaction or approval from the tactical experts amongst our fans. Gabriel kept his place alongside Kos, The Ox was preferred to Joel and Mr Levulinic Acid kept his place as pointer-in-chief. Some were quick to diss the club about Elneny not featuring again but the subsequent news of the birth of his child does provide some perspective perhaps. emoticons_small

Predictions of an apocalyptic storm were also a little premature as the worst of the bad weather was due to hit later in the day. This was good for The Arsenal as poor weather often levels the playing field and it becomes difficult for real quality to shine.

The game began tentatively for us when Gabriel got wrong side and Petr Cech was forced to sweep up the danger. In the 8th minute Flamini nearly ruined our chances by jumping into a tackle. Lee Mason would have had no hesitation in sending him off. Luckily for us, we had a friend in Kevin and he, quite rightly in my opinion, deemed the challenge a yellow as Mathieu clearly got his feet to the ball long before the Bournemouth player got anywhere near. I wouldn’t go as far as Arsene when he said it should have been a free kick to us, though. emoticons_small

Our first big chance fell to the left foot of Alexis from a curling ball from Rambo. Unfortunately he just couldn’t keep the ball under the bar.

Our first league goal since Anfield was a joy to behold. A teasing, floated highball into the box from Aaron was met with a superb header back across the box from Ollie, followed by a gorgeous thump from Mesut with his right foot. What a marvellous feeling it is celebrating a goal of such beauty!

mesut

The away boys were still singing the new Mesut song when the ball broke to Rambo on the edge of the D. He fed The Ox whose laser-guided strike cannoned in off the foot of the far post. There were 88 seconds between the goals. It only takes a second to score a goal and only 88 to give Gooners worldwide that floaty feeling that maybe this could be our day for a welcome change.

Consolidation was required and I can’t remember too much more from us on the attacking front for the rest of the first half. Gabriel got the wrong side of Pugh again after 30 minutes and Hector’s speed came into its own with another brilliant last second tackle. Nacho was caught unaware of the position of the player outside him just before halftime but Petr continued to confirm what a magnificent buy he was by snuffing out the danger in an instant.

the ox

The second half began slowly but was enlivened by a Sanchez fizzer which the keeper did well to get a hand to. Giroud managed to get a firm header from a Mesut corner but his effort was too straight to be too dangerous. Then came a superb run from Alexis around the outside of the Bournemouth left full back and only required a tap in. As RA commented, Giroud did look a little as though he was ‘scratching his a*se’ instead of busting a gut to get into a more dangerous position. I noticed in the Leicester v City game that Okazaki always tries to get in front of the defender at the near post whenever an early cross is about to be fired in. Arsenal, beware.

Much of the second half was taken up with speculative long range pot shots from the Cherries which would have looked more at home in the Six Nations matches. Gabriel grew into the game (as Rocky pointed out) and, along with Kos, looked more and more assured in the second half. I also think GIE is right that Gabriel’s pace will be really useful against Leicester’s counter attacks next weekend. (Guaranteed now that the BFG will play!)

Our final chance fell to Ramsey on the break in the last minute of the 90 and it was annoying he couldn’t seem to control the ball long enough to either beat the keeper or set up Giroud with a tap in. Petr Cech yet again showed his class with a double save in the final minute of the 3 extra. The first Bournemouth shot was fired in from 12 yards and saved with his left leg, his view partially obstructed by an outrushing Kos, and the second was made at full stretch from a longer range drive low down to his near post. What a purchase the man was!

Conclusion and Questions

A vital 3 points and, having overcome the inertia of our poor run, the start of some upward momentum, hopefully.

Will Gabriel continue to play in place of the teutonic telegraph pole?

Will Le Coq achieve the required sharpness to displace the Flamster?

Can the Chuckle brothers find some real form for the run-in?

Mohamed Elneny – congratulations emoticons_small

Ratings

Cech – Another clean sheet – I wonder what his final record will be set at? – 9

Bellerin – his magnificent recovery tackle soon after we went two up was important – 8

Koscielny – I always feel reassured when he’s playing – 8

Gabriel – slow start but game time improved his play immeasurably – 7

Monreal – Not one of his marauding performances but competent – 7

Ramsey – MOTM according to the TV, better first half than second and instrumental in the goals – 8

Flamini – Please stop leaving the ground with both feet, Mathieu. Thank heaven we still have him in the squad, though – 7

Ozil – “We’ve got Ozil, Mesut Ozil, I just don’t think you understand” – 9

The Ox – Super goal, tried hard, yet to find his best form  – 7

Giroud – Great assist for the first, some fine layoffs – 8

Alexis – it’s so nice having the livewire back in the team – 8

Subs

I thought Le Coq looked a little rusty and can see why the Flamster is still getting a game. There’s no substitute for match sharpness. Likewise for Gibbo (though with much less time on the pitch yesterday, admittedly) – I’m not sure either knew exactly what their role was when they came on.

Written by chas


Koscielny Scores as often as Theo.

February 7, 2016

Anyone saying out loud that they think today will be a regulation 3 points against a newly promoted team is a bare-faced, heinous fibber. How did this come to pass?

How is it that we have one player who cost the sum of the Bournemouth team and yet we are fearful of failure? Is it due to Bournemouth’s excellent team ethic or our team inefficiencies?

If we had played them 5 weeks ago I would be hugely confident of victory – today I am not which points to our malaise rather than B’mouth’s excellence

And this in a ground with a capacity of less than 12,000! (thank you Kelsey)

What is going wrong? Is it just the strikers inability to get the ball in the onion bag? The stats indicate a definite Yes. What is the solution? IMO it is obvious – we buy a better strikeforce but that is for the future, what of now?

Mr W stated at the start of season the importance of the midfield scoring on a regular basis: Ramsey has 4, Ozil 3, the rest … zip. Not good enough. So the burden of goalscoring is firmly at the feet and heads of the strikers – OG is doing well but the others? Sanchez has 6 from 14 starts – OK. Walcott 3 from 14, Campbell 2 from 12.

Given the number of chances created by Ozil alone this a simply not good enough. Koscielny has scored as many as Theo!

Unknown

Ooops, this post is starting to read like a Friday Rant :-D

Positives? We are still challenging despite a poor run of results. A win today puts us equal 2nd. We played very well in the 2nd half against S’ton and if we can reproduce that form (not the shooting accuracy!) we can still win the league.

Onto today. Will BFG return from the naughty step? Given B’mouth rely more on pace than brute force I would hesitate but I love the Big Man almost as much as AW does.I expect him to start.

Campbell or Ox? Ramsey on the right with Elneny alongside Coquelin? OG or Walcott upfront? You guess …

Eyes will be focused upon the performance of Afobe. Should we have kept him? I always come back to “how many ex-players improve after leaving AFC?” Perhaps Nasri, maybe Fabianski, certainly Vela but others? Perhaps Afobe would have improved staying at Arsenal – Arsene clearly thought not. I really wish him well but not this afternoon.

I like Eddie Howe, the man has a big future. Could he manage at a Top 4 club with the huge pressures and resources attached? His career path is likely to be a step up to say Stoke/Spurs and then, if successful, onto Chelsea with their revolving door policy. Then spat out with a golden handshake and a few million in the bank.

Our away form is about the same as our home (6 wins away, 7 home).

All things considered we should win this game but there are huge doubts raised by our recent form.

I am very cautiously optimistic.

COYRRG

 

 


Don’t Underestimate Arsenal’s Emerging Talent

February 6, 2016

I think I speak for most people when I say I was glad to see the back of Project Youth. As much as it helped us through the stadium move, it was also massively frustrating to watch young talent that never quite reached its potential. The likes of Vela, Szczesny, Bartley, Djourou, Miyaichi, Merida, JET, Afobe, Frimpong, Eastmond, Bendtner and countless others have come and gone without quite being the answer. Thankfully though, the financial restrictions on the club are now lifted and we can afford to buy ready made superstars like Özil, Sanchez and Cech. But where does this leave our youngsters?

It’s been a while since we had a wave of talent coming through, with Bellerin and Coquelin the only real success stories in the last 5 seasons, but it does look as though we may have another group ready to burst onto the scene. There was a lot of talk during the transfer window about us needing to improve our forward players and today I wanted to have a look at some future stars and see if anyone thinks they could be good enough to break into the first team squad in the summer and give our current crop a run for their money.

Chuba Akpom (age 20) on loan at Hull

Striker

Apps 19(9)

Goals 7

Whoscored rating 6.61

Born in Newham, Chuba came through Arsenal’s Hale End academy before making his debut along with Mesut Ozil in September 2013. He signed a new long-term contract with the club in 2015. An England youth international with a true goalscoring instinct, he scored a hat-trick against the Singapore Select XI during the pre-season Barclays Asia Trophy.

Jon Toral (age 21) on loan at Birmingham

Attacking Midfielder

Apps 19(7)

Goals 6

Whoscored 6.78

An expert dribbler who can play on either flank or in the No 10 role, Jon (full named Jon Miquel Toral Harper) was involved with the first-team squad for last year’s pre-season tour to New York, and also played in the friendly against Borehamwood.

Wellington Silva (age 23) on loan at Bolton

Winger

Apps 15(3)

Goals 2

Whoscored 6.91

Despite producing match-winning performances Wellington (full name Wellington Alves Da Silva) could not rescue Almeria from relegation, but his impressive individual performances were rewarded with a first call-up to Brazil’s under-21 side in November.

The tricky forward became very popular with the Spanish side’s fans for his inventiveness and ambition going forward.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles (age 18) on loan at Ipswich

Centre Midfield

Apps 21(5)

Goals 2

Whoscored 6.82

Immensely talented midfielder Ainsley was a key figure in Arsenal’s academy sides last season, and will spend this season on loan at Ipswich in the Championship.

Known for his tricky feet, sharpness and lung-busting runs, versatile Ainsley is nominally a midfielder, but can also play on either wing

Jeff Reine-Adelaide (age 18)

Winger/Attacking Midfielder

Possessing great pace and close ball control, the youngster has excelled in wide attacking midfield positions, but Arsene Wenger believes the teenager has all the attributes to become an all-round central midfielder.

Serge Gnabry (age 20)

Winger/Attacking Midfielder

The skilful winger did not feature for the Arsenal first team last term due to a knee injury, but made eight appearances for the under-21s, scoring three times.

Alex Iwobi (age 19)

Winger/Attacking Midfielder

With nine goals in the under-21s’ final nine games of the campaign, powerful forward Alex was the academy’s form player in the second half of last season.

Naturally a winger, the Lagos-born attacker – who is the nephew of former Bolton star Jay-Jay Okocha – was converted into a central striker and caught the eye with a hat-trick against Stoke City at Emirates Stadium.

As you can see we really do have an excellent crop of youngsters waiting in the wings. Personally, I believe these players have a better chance of making it than some of those that were used in Project Youth because they are being given the opportunity to learn their trade out on loan rather than having to play in front of 60,000 frustrated Arsenal fans every week.

It’s great to see new signings walk through the Arsenal door but I think there is nothing quite like seeing one of our own pulling on the red and white shirt. I reckon a few of these lads could be doing that on a regular basis next season, but what do you think?

Written by FatGingerGooner


There is no £200 million in the bank to spend on new players

February 5, 2016

This site is blessed with a healthy ‘return’ of accountants amongst its contributors … ‘return’ is the collective noun for accountants. As a genre, they don’t suffer fools lightly. Here are some pointed responses to the mythical £200m in the bank story that is being widely touted on the net.

The following comments are all from qualified accountants:

GoonerInExile

For the love of God can people stop talking about £200m sitting in the bank….it’s one number from a set of accounts….surely we all have more than one brain cell and understand that it’s not ours to spend today.

First I’ll put it in basic terms:

It’s pay day you receive your monthly wage, let’s say for arguments sake £2k.

This month you have to pay for your mortgage/rent, food, rates, clothes, fuel etc.

Do you have £2k to blow on a night out in London?

Hopefully the answer is no.

Now let’s get to the Arsenal figures:

Fixed Assets (Land, Buildings, Investments) £596m

Current Assets (Stock, Debtors and cash of £228m) £323m

Current Liabilities (Creditors, loans etc) £273m

Long Term Liabilities (Mortgages etc) £314m

Add first two deduct second two Net Assets are £330m

Now let’s understand something, Net current assets are £60m, so the most “cash” we had to spend was £60m, we have to generate profit to keep paying mortgage without reducing our cash more, in 2014/15 we would have lost £8m if it wasn’t for profit on player sales of £28m, if anyone failed to notice we didn’t sell anyone this season so that’s going to be more than likely. Loss in 2015/16 and out cash would have gone down by whatever that loss is.

So please stop regurgitating nonsense heard on media outlets with the sole objective of winding Arsenal fans up.

If the fans that want to believe we are so bad are correct can someone explain me this….how the f*** are we even 4th? Because everyone else is rubbing this year? Well that doesn’t really hold water does it?

We should have spent £x million on players as we haven’t got a squad capable of doing anything great, but the manager is also poor for not getting the most out of these average players?

Sorry you can’t have both, either manager bad and players get him out of jail, or players bad and managers system and tactics gets most out of them.

TerryManciniHairTransplant

Frustrating isn’t it GIE?

Funny that the ones who bang on about £200 million have little to no understanding of interpreting a balance sheet.

I know quite a few other chartered accountants who generally interpret the figures as you and I, they have no choice, it’s there in black and white

There is one colleague, an Arsenal season ticket holder who though agrees with the general premise feels we fail to take enough risks. Fair enough, I don’t agree but it’s his point of view but whilst having a beer with him the othe day I mentioned I know some people who think we have £200 to spend today, we both spilled our beer from laughing.

RA

A special well done to GIE, for trying I suspect without any hope, would help people to understand what is obvious to us, that a company’s working capital is just a snapshot in time and is continually changing.

As it happens, I got paid for some work I did for a friend and got his check yesterday and banked it, without giving away personal info, let’s say it was for £750.

So with £750 in the bank, or ‘cash’ as some like to see it, I am off down to buy a laptop today, so that I do not have to keep borrowing my buddy’s crap one.

Only….I’m not. Why? Because if I did that I would not be able to pay my share of the rent in two weeks time, and I also have to pay my share of the fuel costs here.

So this magical, mystery £60m, or whatever is the current flavour of the blogs, that Arsenal had at the end of May last year, did that include payment in advance for some season tickets in the current season, or does some of it have to go towards paying salaries, or our debts, or, or, or.

I fear we are not getting the message across Exile and I wish you luck with that. :D

Ed: Do you wish to cross fiscal swords with these assessments or has the message finally come across?


Pressing Matters ……. Arsenal’s failure to cope

February 4, 2016

Many among us will have recognised that the teams we struggle against are those who operate a ‘high press’. By this we mean that they don’t wait for us to get into their half of the pitch before engaging us but look to regain possession as soon as the ball is lost by pressing as a team high up the pitch. They will often double or treble up on the player in possession of the ball.

We have just one player in the current available squad who instinctively plays in this way, Alexis Sanchez. How many times have we seen him chase ball across the pitch only for the opposition to frustrate him because the rest of our midfield is sitting back and enabling them to bring the ball forward virtually unchallenged. Welbeck is another player who works hard for the ball and Elneny also seems to be out of that mould – I can’t wait to see those two in the side.

I think it is fair to say that Arsene doesn’t generally favour the high press. Lately it seems that he has chosen to absorb the pressure for 70 minutes when playing against the HP sides, waiting for them to tire, and then to make his subs and become more adventurous. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. If our finishing is not up to scratch, the strategy fails.

Pep Guardiola is a master at coaching teams in the HP system. Barca were brilliant at it under his management and now he has recreated it at Bayern. It’s not so difficult when you have players of that quality – but in the EPL we now see it being employed by teams whose players are not of our standard – Southampton, Liverpool and the miscreants down the road (and no doubt man city next season). All of these teams will cause us problems.

There are two questions I would ask:

  1. Why don’t Arsenal play a high pressing game? Is it because we don’t have the players who can operate in that system – or simply that the manager doesn’t favour it?
  2. Why does our passing game fall apart when we are being pressed all over the pitch? Surely our coaching routines should enable us to deal with this.

Any ‘experts’ out there who can explain this to me?

Rasp


What went wrong? …….. Was it just one of those nights?

February 3, 2016

These are the thoughts of some AA regulars ……

Kelsey ……

If I continue in the way I am known to express myself I am apparently a doomer but others who can be far more critical than me don’t even get a response.

I actually thought apart from the now familiar juttering start that we were very unlucky to not win and there is no doubt that their keeper was on top form.

I don’t have the technical knowledge of others such as GIE and there is no doubting our stamina but I feel every game we play we are getting more and more predictable that I can see the next move before it happens and therefore if I can see it so every team we play will have a plan to stop us which in recent weeks has led to no wins in four vital matches whilst the other contenders march on despite dropping the odd point here and there.

We really either don’t have a different way of playing or AW will not alter things dramatically.You decide.

We will know in the next month if we are still in with a shout of the title or (dread to think) in a battle for forth yet again.

The margins in so many games are getting finer as the seasons roll on.

I don’t usually get involved in a discussion about refs but in the first half he showed a definite bias against us.

I am not going to critisize any one player only to say the Kos/Gabriel partnership is not as good as I thought it would be.

It now becomes very much a mental thing for all of the top 5 either to sustain winning or getting back to winning, and we all know which category we fall into.

GoonerB ……..

I have a feeling that many will not want to discuss anything Arsenal or AW related his morning. I think a lot will run for cover which I wish didn’t happen because to get the Yin and Yang going we need all the regular contributors from those more negative to those more positive.

I am somewhere in betwixt most views. On one hand I recognise that we had a more difficult run of fixtures recently (say compared to Spuds). As such the league title is still on and there is till reason to feel hopeful. Have a look at GIE’s input and predictions from late yesterday.

On the other hand I would say that we don’t take care of our own business well enough. I get that the ref was awful and agreed. This would have influenced the balance of the game to some degree. Not enough though for me that we shouldn’t have been able to overcome Southampton at home with the team put out and the players available to us. The referee thing has now also been used too much to explain away poor results.

I get their keeper had a blinder and that it was just one of those games. The problem is that every season we, more so it seems than any other team, seem to drop points against teams whose keeper has his best game of the season. Now I would look at why this happens so often and wonder if there is something about the way we attack that is slightly different that gives a keeper a better chance to put in these performances.

Unfortunately we just don’t seem to take care of our own business and look at our own failings and weaknesses. That needs to be done first before we start portraying ourselves as some unlucky put upon club.

Chas ……

I don’t understand how those who like to constructively criticise can recognise:

that the ref was bent
that Forster had a brilliant game
we created more than enough chances to win by 2 or 3

But still want to have a pop at management for:

lack of tactics
lack of signings
thinking Giroud is a striker ( :) – amazingly it didn’t seem to be him that was culpable last night).

Aren’t you simply

a) reacting to the result and the fact we didn’t score or
b) simply carrying on seeing things with your own confirmation bias?

Cage rattling? :)

Can you add anything to the debate? ……..


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