Did Arsenal play for the draw?

April 27, 2015

I think we all know games against Chelsea are rarely thrillers, and yesterday was no exception.

My hopes were low. For an entertaining game. I was not disappointed.

Thing is, while the final whistle revealed how happy Chelsea were with one more point on their way to the title, The Arsenal Lads hardly looked crest fallen did they, and nor was I. It was one more point on our merry run, and we look good for an improvement on last seasons’ 4th Spot.

Both sides were clearly going to do their utmost to seize goalscoring opportunities as and when they appeared, but not losing was the priority, for both sides.

No way does Go-For-The-Win-Arsene start with Aaron on the right. More likely Santi and Aaron switch roles, or at least a Danny or Theo start. Rather like a Mourinho side, Arsenal were less gung-ho in their approach. Aaron on the right proves this. Did Arsenal approach the game in a more Chelsea’ish fashion, in other words adopting a less cavalier approach in place of something more “total defence” first? Chelsea know they have the Hazard/Costa (not yesterday I know) type of quality that in a second can punish any team, and are happy to play that type of game.

I have a nasty feeling Arsenal might be moving in this direction, and while I understand it during certain phases of certain games, I do hope it does not become a habit.

Aaron on the right really worries me.

Written by mickydidit89

 


Bellerin or Debuchy?

April 26, 2015

I used to like them. I used to like the fancy-dans of Kings Road. I liked John Hollins, Charlie Cooke and Ossie and even Terry Vegetables. I enjoyed watching Ruud Gullit and Vialli and Pat Nevin, They had swagger, class and style. They were Chelsea but post the Russian have become The Chavs. New money, new ethos – efficiency over character.

If I were a Chelsea fan would I be happy? Of course I would but I know I would hanker after the Glory Days because football is not just about winning – it is also about entertainment.

A team with Hazard, Costa, Fabregas, Oscar, Willian etc should be able to get bums off seats, instead they are tailor-made for a mid-afternoon Sunday nap on the settee. You know what to expect – they do enough to win and no more. What happened to that wonderful team which hammered all-comers at the beginning of the season? Same players but totally different entertainment level.

Unknown

Chelsea fan mid-way through the first half

Why? The rot starts at the top, filters down to the horrible oik of a manager then to the dreadful team captain and onwards to the team.

I will not ruin your day by spending any time writing about the manager; suffice it to say that he is successful and charismatic – so was Stalin.

What of today’s encounter? First vs Second (well it was on Friday!). A win today takes us back to second with a game in hand on MC & MU (and 11 points ahead of the N17 neanderthals). Can we finally beat Mourinho?

To start with, Ramsey has to play. Whomever is to play right back will have to cope with Cesc, Oscar and Hazard. He will need the additional security of a tackling “winger” rather than Theo.

Bellerin or Debuchy? We discussed this briefly mid-week with the majority pointing out Bellerin’s fine run of form and his extreme pace; my inclination is to start Debuchy. Bellerin makes the odd mistake which is inevitable with such a young man, Debuchy may not be as pacy or as much of an attacking threat but he has the experience. That said, Debuchy did not excel at Wembley.

Then there is the battle of the Franks – Francesc vs Francis. Le Coq has excelled in recent weeks but Cesc is a level above all the MF’s he has faced. Whatever your feelings about Fabregas the man, he remains a wonderful footballer – the best in his position in the PL (IMO). Would he improve the current Arsenal team – possibly not, but who would you rather see in the Red & White, Cesc or Aaron or Santi?  All of them is my answer!

The teams seem evenly balanced and I expect the result to depend upon which side makes the least mistakes. If our defence can concentrate for 90+ minutes with the midfield backing up both FB’s we should win because we have better forwards. I know Hazard will be Player of the Season but in my opinion Alexis has been better. Ozil and Giroud are better players than Oscar and whichever lump plays upfront for Chelsea today.

BFG or The Archangel? If fit, Mertesacker has to start, though Gabriel seems to have pace and excellent abitliy in the air which could be vital against a team with such big CB’s. Cahill, Terry and Ivanovic have scored 15 goals between them!

My Team:

Ospina

Debuchy    BFG (if fit)   Koscielny   Monreal

Cazorla    Coquelin

Ozil

Ramsey     Sanchez

Giroud

Other changes could be Welbeck in for Ramsey as Mr Wenger may choose to be more attacking in a home fixture – somehow I doubt it. The bench is possibly the strongest in the PL. We have so many fine players in the squad. When The Ox returns will he find a place in the current first 11 or even the bench?

Matic worries me. The man is a beast and exactly the kind of player Mr Wenger should be buying in summer. Sadly this type of player is rare and as such hugely expensive. The physical battle between Matic and Le Coq will be interesting.

Courtois. This chap is fantastic, everything I wish TPIG could have been. Let’s hope he has a disastrous evening.

As to the Mourinho/Wenger hoodoo. It is just history – as irrelevant as our FAC Final win over the Chavs in the Ray Parlour final. That said it would be wonderful if we could win today to stop another tedious media narrative.

We have won 9 games in a row, are at home, have a fully fit team and bench. We can win.

I am 51% confident

written by Big Raddy

 

 


Should Arsenal be flying Fabregas’ flag when we play Chelsea?

April 24, 2015

There is a poster on display on the bridge at The Emirates depicting former Arsenal player Cesc Fabregas.

Cf

It is part of the “Arsenal Greats” gallery which includes such luminaries as Tony Adams, Dennis Bergkamp and Charlie George, all players who showed a lasting loyalty to our club, why is there then a picture of a former Arsenal captain who deserted the club supposedly to complete his boyhood dream of playing for his beloved Barcelona?

It seems that when his dream move turned sour he couldn’t resist the lure of the wheelbarrow loads of Abramovich roubles on offer down the Fulham Road.

Does Fabregas really deserve to lauded alongside those true Arsenal Greats listed above?

With the imminent visit of the Chavs, and Fabregas, why is the poster still on display?

Should it be removed prior to Sunday’s game? I say Yes!!

Have your say and vote ……

Written by Norfolk Gooner


Theo or Yarmo ….. Arsenal need width

April 23, 2015

The silly season is fast approaching with the rumour mill beginning to engage its cogs and whirly things in an effort to ratchet up the intensity of the potential player offerings and to make the driest mouth salivate as if sucking a lemon.

TY

Your correspondent in recent times has had a particular interest in a tall, tricky and speedy winger named Yarmolenko, who might well be a replacement for Theo, should his imminent contract talks fail to ignite his desire for more dosh to count when next he is injured.

Some of you may think I have a personal agenda or that it is wishful thinking on my part as I have mentioned, once or twice or perhaps many times, that I think it may suit both Arsenal and Theo best if he moves on – but my agenda, if it exists, interests no one but myself.

No! I do not have a ‘thing’ about Theo, he is a nice guy. The sort who you would not mind your daughter bringing home to meet you, if you had a daughter, and Theo was not already married.

The fact is that Theo has been with the Gunners for about 9 years now, and, it seems, is always prevented from reaching the level his early career potential promised, mainly because of injuries or, lately, an inability to find a place in the team.

A new club, a new team, a new manager elsewhere in the Premier League, or Europe, may be the solution and could well re-charge his batteries and give him the impetus he needs to show the world what he can do.

Of course it would be naive to ignore the fact that there are, and will continue to be, many other fans who will disagree with that opinion – but so be it.

I recently read that another tasty, fleet footed winger, who I really rate, has also appeared on the rumour grapevine, well they all do, eventually, and he is someone who has allegedly turned down other offers at the moment, including one from the Spuds, as he hopes to achieve his own ‘dream’ or ambition of playing for Arsenal, and his name is Konoplyanka from Dnipro.

A rough count of the rumoured interest in players by Arsenal, or interest in Arsenal by players has reached about 30, so far, and the only disappointment I have is that Matuidi has not declared his annual love for Wenger and Arsenal yet.

But enough of my idol musings, what rumours excite you? Do they make any sense?

It is also counter-rumoured that Wenger will not buy anyone this summer. The logic being that he has said that he does not want anyone to go in the transfer window. Le Coq has impressed him enough for him not to want to pursue Kondogbia or Gonalons.

But what about back-up you squeal in unison? Well the youngster Bielik is being groomed to become the new midfield enforcer, and if Arteta and the pay as you play Diaby are also available there is a certain logic to that.

We may need a new top notch Keeper, maybe Cech, but Wenger has made it clear that Ospina has replaced Chezzer as the new No.1 , and if he buzzes off, Martinez will move up to be the No.2.

The midfield is already swamped with an over-supply of assorted players, and with Welbeck, Sanchez, Podolski, Sanogo and Giroud it would appear we are swamped with Forwards too.

However, this theory could be pooh, if Sanogo, Podolski, Walcott, Rosicky, Flamini, Diaby and even Cazorla all up sticks and depart for pastures new.

Which way do you lean? :-)

Written by RA


Are the later stages of the Champions League vaguely interesting?

April 22, 2015

 

This was inspired by a few comments on twitter during Tuesday evening.

The first speculated that the Champions League was becoming so predictable that it had become a case of fighting for the 4th Semi-Final spot left vacant, after Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich had taken theirs.

The second was in response to the two hammerings which were taking place that evening. The Quarter Finals of the top competition in the world and the ties were not even close as contests. As a result, the person commenting asked if the Champions League would eventually “eat itself”?

So as a matter of interest, I decided to have a look at the semi-finalists for the last few seasons and see if this trend was true. Here goes………

2009/10

Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Inter Milan and Lyon

2010/11

Real Madrid, Barcelona, Schalke and the Mancs

2011/12

Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Chavski

2012/13

Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund

2013/14

Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid and Chavski.

(Barcelona went out in the quarters to Atletico)

2014/15

Barcelona and Bayern Munich in the Semis at a canter.

Atletico could stop Real Madrid getting there with a couple of away goals and as for Juve v Monaco, we all know what’s wrong with that tie, don’t we, Micky?

What do you think? Is this exactly how you would like it because you get to see the top players at the climax of the competition each year? Or does it make you seethe that a team like Nottingham Forest or Villa could ever win the trophy (albeit, in a completely different competition and totally different footballing era)?

W CL

Worst of all, are The Arsenal fighting for that 4th Semi-Final spot each year from now on?

Written by

chas

 


Will winning the title next season be determined by Arsenal’s injury list?

April 21, 2015

I recently saw a clip of Guardiola sarcastically clapping his medical team during a league game against Leverkusen.

It was reported that the relationship between the club’s doctor and manager has been visibly strained this season. When Benatia went off injured against Bayer Leverkusen in the German Cup recently, a furious Guardiola walked straight over to the chief doctor Hans-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfahrt on the bench and clapped sarcastically in his face.

Bayern fielded a weakened team against Porto in the CL and were beaten 3:1 without the injured Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery, Mehdi Benatia, Bastian Schweinsteiger, David Alaba and Javi Martinez. Even the best teams fail when the injury list is too long.

Müller-Wohlfahrt released this statement “After the Champions League match of Bayern Munich against Porto the medical department was for some inexplicable reason made primarily responsible. The bond of trust has been damaged.”

The following day, the whole medical team resigned claiming that it had been scapegoated for the poor performance.

This got me wondering how many of the repeat injuries that players suffer are down to the poor quality of the medical staff and physios and how much to do with managers wanting players ‘patched up’ to be sent out onto the pitch when not fully recovered? It looks like Guardiola was unhappy that a player had become injured during a game, not that he was throwing a paddy because his best payers were in the treatment room.

What is apparent is that the medical staff and physios play a huge part in team management these days and can make the difference between winning titles and falling short.

We all know that Arsenal has suffered a disproportional number of injuries in recent years and we also know that Arsene has identified this as a problem and brought in new medical personnel and the medical centre at London Colney has been upgraded. At the start of Sundays FA Cup semi final, there was only one squad player missing through injury – The Ox, and he is due back in 2 weeks. I can’t remember the last time we had so many players available.

Could it be that we have at last come to grips with the underlying cause of our injury problems? Well I certainly hope so because with the quality we have in the squad, rotation for the sake of resting players rather than covering for injury will be key to our success next season.

Rasp


The Wobblers at Arsenal

April 20, 2015

Six games left in the league, and then the Big One at Wembley.

It would be very nice to beat Chelsea, but simply securing 2nd or 3rd would be good as far as I’m concerned. Therefore, some players will be looking at selection for the game on May 30. If Arsene were to announce his side today for that game, not many would be surprised were he to announce this lot:

Ospina, Monreal, Kos, Mert, Bell, Coq, Santi, Mesut, Sanchez, Rambo and Ollie.

Thing is, he needs to keep things fresh and buzzing for the important league games, and no better way than giving one or two the wobbles with selective rotation.

I’d say The Wobblers would be Monreal, Bell, Mert and Aaron. The obvious candidates of Gibbs, Easter, Debs and Danny could give them the jitters, but how about a late surge in form from Theo or Jack.

How would you play the run-in if you were Le Boss?

MickyDidIt89


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