Arsenal’s Nightmare Schedule.

September 3, 2015

Well here we go our first schedule pile up of the season, over a 23 day period we have 7 very important games which is a game every 3.29 days.

Here is the schedule –

Nightmare Schedule

Now I recognize that we have a big squad but is it realistic to expect our team to play a game every 3 days?

Let’s take a closer look at the individual games. The game against Stoke at home in the Premier league comes after a 14 day international break, which in itself sounds good but the majority of our players will be away on international duty which means they will have no rest and there is always the risk of them returning injured.

Now we face the unenviable task of playing 4 consecutive away games. 4 days after the game against Stoke we play our first Champions League group game away against Dinamo Zagreb in Crotia, these games are never easy and the travel time there and back is very tiring.

I’m unaware of our travel arrangements back from Croatia but with only 2 days in between the games we then have to play Chelsea away in the Premier League. Chelsea meantime play Maccabi Tel Aviv at home on the 16th – so they have the benefit of not having to travel – that may appear to be a petty statement but these type of games are won and lost on small details.

Next up with only 3 days between the games we have Tottenham away in the Tea Cup, now personally I hate losing to them at anytime but this will not be a good time to put too many of our 1st team squad on display and I could easily forget their euphoria if we lose and protect our squad for bigger and better things. I would really enjoy it if we beat them with our kids as that will give us endless bragging rights.

The nightmare continues as with only 2 days between games we have to travel to Leicester in another PL game and they are proving to be a very difficult side to play against.

At least the next two games are at home – after only another 2 days between we play Olympiacos in the CL, our home record against them is good as on the two occasions we have played them we have won 2-1 and 3-1 – strangely enough they have won both away game by the same scores.

Lastly after playing 6 games in 18 days we play Manchester United at home, I wonder just what shape both physically and mentally our squad will be in after all of this?

Arsene puffing cheeks

Your guess is as good as mine but frankly after our first 4 games it’s hard to be positive about our nightmare of a schedule.

GunnerN5

 


History tells us the Transfer Window wasn’t the end of the world for Gooners

September 2, 2015

Firstly let’s start at the beginning

We are The Arsenal, we have always done things a bit differently. In Arsene Wenger we have a manager also cut from a different cloth.

Season after season we have been told we haven’t done enough to progress in terms of transfers and that others around us have strengthened and will overtake us, yet year on year we have proved the doubters wrong.

Last season after a horrific start to the campaign we went on a run where we were the best team in the league in the second half of the season, and despite that not being enough to make up for the poor start and challenge for the League we still managed to hoist ourselves into 3rd place when at one point we were looking likely to drop way out of the top 4.

Injuries were unkind to us last season. In the summer it has now been much published that we only added Cech and apparently no outfield players, that’s a great headline but ignores Adelaide and his mate who joined. I know they are not going to be starters but if the tabloids are going to run these headlines at least let it be fact.

So after the Window closed various questions have been asked…was this the worst summer ever for Arsenal fans, well for me the summer we brought in Silvestre and Bischoff may have been worse.

The perceived wisdom is we had to buy players to kick on again this season. I wanted to see whether history told us anything different. To be honest I was surprised at what I found.

Arsene’s league successes came in 97/98, 01/02 and 03/04. Our signings in those seasons were as follows:

97/98

Wreh, Grondin

01/02

Toure, Tavliaridis, Wright (R), Campbell, Van Bronkhirst

03/04

Van Persie, Reyes, Djourou, Lehman, Senderos, Fabregas

Safe to say only Campbell and Lehman really affected the side in the seasons they arrived, the other major players in those successes had arrived earlier and won nothing for a couple of seasons, Bergkamp and Platt in 95/96, Petit, Overmars, Vieira and Anelka in 96/97, Ljungberg in 98/99, Henry and Lauren in 99/00 and Pires and Wiltord in 00/01.

See how those players that were key arrived in earlier seasons? Well think Alexis, Ozil, Welbeck etc, and then look at Cech as the missing piece.

There’s your positive, now go on and support them and try to hold on to a smidge of belief at least until Christmas.

Written by Gooner in Exile


Newcastle away …. any answers … or more questions?

August 30, 2015

We got 3 points away from home at a ground that I am not sure will be that easy for many of our rivals this season. On the general positive front our passing and movement was excellent and only lacked that last little itty weeny bit….the placement of the ball between the white thingy’s with the mesh behind it. Ok we did place it there once but at the end you did feel we should have been far more comfortable. Also, yes, we should have had a penalty, so the officials once again conspire to undermine our season. We should be 2 points and 2 goals better off right now.

I mention the officials because the toon fans obviously felt very hard done by yesterday. However in the cold light of day and viewing these incidents again I would challenge any of them to disagree with the decisions. If anything the non penalty penalty kept them in it. With that as well as the other goal I think we would have gone on to score 2 more.

So with general all round excellent play why didn’t we put them to the sword a bit more? Does this have implications for the season? Are we lacking a world class cutting edge up front or could it be more simply that we are not quite in full gear yet? Could it also be that McClaren has them far more organised now and that Newcastle didn’t come out to play enough football and got so many men behind the ball that breaking them down was always going to be tough. If anything it possibly got tougher once they were a back’s to the walls 10 man outfit.

My stance has softened on yesterday once I stepped back and reviewed it. I actually think we looked so fluid and sharp that we forced them into a bus parking exercise.

Someone may come before the transfer window closes, to provide that extra cutting edge up front, but let’s say they don’t, and there is a very real chance of that. I still feel we have quite a bit at our disposal. Many are now looking to Welbeck to save us, because to many Giroud and Walcott can’t cut it, and I am looking forward to him getting his opportunity. However, even having been a critic of Giroud I still feel that both he and Walcott have something to offer as number 9’s, if we play them in the right way. I would also say that where Walcott is concerned he could be a number 9 option and still play as a wide player when needed.

Many will use yesterday as hard “EVIDENCE” that Walcott can’t do it. Well as already said Newcastle firstly made it difficult. Secondly from my point of view none of Walcott’s chances were gimmes yesterday. If you watch them again in most of the cases Walcott is actually latching on to balls at high speed. That automatically makes it more difficult to control any shot on target than at a slower pace. It is of course easier if the ball is on the ground as you run onto it.

He had a one on one with Krul in this situation and there is an argument that Theo could have done a bit better by chipping the keeper. Fair enough but not an easy skill at that pace and in reality it was Krul that did very well here in reading the game and coming out.

His second big chance is the one that many are referring to as almost an open goal. The one on the rebound from Sanchez shot. Look at it again peoples. Again Theo is arriving at high speed…more difficult. Secondly the ball is bouncing….adds extra difficulty. Thirdly he is not directly in front of an open goal, but is at an angle with the keeper getting up from the ground to narrow his options….again adds to the difficulty. This was no gimme. Alright it didn’t happen for him or Ollie when he came on but the great Ronaldo and the great Aguero missed easier chances yesterday!!! 

This is not a “defence of Theo” post. More I am trying to rationalise why we didn’t quite make it easier and why our striking department individually and as a whole didn’t quite pull it off as well as they could have. Theo and Ollie might not be quite good enough to push us to the title. Then again they might be and my point is that yesterday is not enough for me personally to say they can’t.

If anything I really wanted Wenger to play Theo to Giroud’s right when Ollie came on. With Ollie and no Theo teams play a higher line. With Theo and no Ollie teams play a deeper line. With Theo and Ollie they are in trouble either way. It looked a potent combination a couple of seasons back and would have meant that we had our next 3 most clinical goal-scorers (Sanchez, Rambo and Theo) all playing off Giroud. As said I don’t see any reason why they can’t rotate as striker or also play together.

Arsene got his subs right because we won the game. Fair point. I do however feel the subs were a bit negative and he could have put them to the sword with something more similar to what I mentioned above. AOC could have gone in to the heart of midfield where all those pesky Newcastle players on yellows would have been shedding a load when he started to run through the centre at pace. We have in recent times been too gung-ho, but weirdly I also feel Arsene goes with too much caution and still needs to find that balance at times.

Anway, discuss A.A’ers.

 

 

Written by GoonerB

 

 

 


Ozil to win it for Arsenal?

August 29, 2015

Newcastle. What do you think of when hearing that name?

I have a mental image of SuperMac, Keegan arriving by helicopter, Dirty Shearer with one arm raised, Dire Straits, Bryan Ferry, that TV series with Jimmy Nail and the bloke who became Inspector Morse’s assistant, unintelligible accents, dreadful beer, Gazza, Sir Bobby Robson, Ugly Beardsley, Fat Football fans and much more (add a few if you have the inclination!)

enhanced-buzz-30706-1365673904-13

And in recent years a total road wreck of a football club. Managers sacked, dreadful players bought and sold, fan unrest, an owner who is hated by the fans and a top quality, traditional institution  which could attract the very best becoming a selling club.

Newcastle have spent 5 times as much money as AFC in this window (so far)!  IMO this is a dreadful state of affairs and questions must be asked. I do not accept that players are not available – if they chose other clubs one must question the negotiating skills of our buying team. It is claimed that Thauvin chose Newcastle having been approached by AFC, if this is true our boys really do a crap job.

McClaren is a good manager and will bring discipline into a difficult club who were lucky to escape relegation, he has bought young, pacy players who he hopes can change the atmosphere in both the changing room and the stands. Their start is worse than ours which brings some degree of hope.

images-1

Her Maj in Her Home Kit

But we need points and we need them NOW.

How do we get them?

The usual …… hard work, team play, concentration, fast attacks, clinical finishing. A little bit of intricate passing and a sprinkling of magic.

Could Chambers play worse than his first half on Monday? It would be difficult. There is a fair chance he will start alongside Paul Easter and if he does then AW has to instruct his midfield to give better protection.

Theo to start? Would be good but who gets dropped? Giroud is the obvious choice though he is our only goal scorer this season (how rubbish is that?)

Dare AW drop Cazorla and play the Ox thereby adding some pace and width down the right? Or Ramsey? Or both and play Theo and Ox.

I don’t know and I am not paid millions to make such a decision. What I do know is that at present things are not as they should be. There is imbalance in the team both vertically and laterally. We need more cohesion in front of goal, better understanding between the defence and the midfield, and less reliance upon left-sided attack. It has to be said (and it was by LB!) that if you have Ozil and Sanchez on the left then we are likely to use them. I really fancy Ozil to score today and will bet a fish that he will.

The season start has shown that we have no idea how the team will perform today – who knows today could be the launch pad for a run of wins or it could signify the start of a difficult season.

I will be watching from behind the sofa.

I am 54% confident

COYRRG


Are Arsenal’s fullbacks good enough?

August 28, 2015

The general perceived feeling on the forum is that we are doing fine on the full-back position as we have four reliable full-backs at our disposal:-Debuchy, Bellerin, Monreal and Gibbs.

I tend to agree that are “good full backs” but I am not convinced that they can take our club to the next level as they still suffer from defensive lapses, do not create enough assists or goals and worse, do not bring enough width to our game at times when we are stuck with fruitless possession in the opponent’s half…You look at Ivanovic, Alves, Rafinha, Lahm, Alaba, Alba and even Baines, Coleman or Clyne (he still needs to confirm though) and you realize that our FBs are not doing enough for our team…

What is your take on it?

Written by RC78


Mixed Feelings ….. Arsenal v Liverpool

August 25, 2015

So Petr Cech has showed us we have have a world class keeper now. Happy with that. Again the footballing gods have betrayed us……a proper goal incorrectly ruled offside and Mignolet pulling out a couple of blinders (the only problem is so did Cech so that probably cancels itself out).

Well by my reckoning we should be at least 7 points from 9 after 3 games, and I say at least. So we sit on 4. It is easy to say that this is not so much a problem so early in the season with so many games left, but the EPL is so competitive these days that a top team like us, (capable of winning the EPL), could probably lose it in the first 5 games if they leave themselves too much to do.  I believe playing catch up is now far harder to do and you will not see the likes of our overhaul of Utd in the 1997-1998 season again.

I believe playing catch up is now far harder to do and you will not see the likes of our In the last 2 seasons we have either finished as the winners in the first half or second half of the season but have not put 2 great halves of the season together and won the title. Consistency I guess is the order of the day. We could probably argue that injuries have played a large part historically, and I couldn’t disagree with that. Not quite having those extra 1-2 quality players in the right positions could also be an argument. I couldn’t disagree with that also.

However, despite all this, and my personal feeling we still require 1-2 key top players to be an absolute certainty as a top team, we still have a squad with the potential to beat any team out there and win the top prizes. So it is my assertion that we are not making the most of what we have available to us.

Boring I know to mention it again, but I still feel Arsene has a blind spot when it comes to favouring playing the types of players that he likes most as opposed to playing the best balanced side.

Don’t get me wrong, Liverpool are not a bad outfit, but are a side in transition with a lot of new players and are not ready for a serious title charge. We did play parts of the game in the ascendency with some good spells but the sheer quality of the players on the pitch tends to guarantee that at times. One of the serious title challenging teams will expose Liverpool this season and the fact that we didn’t do this, and also win the game, potentially doesn’t bode well.

In a more general sense I would say that I can’t think of a modern successful team that doesn’t have an abundance of pace and penetration from 2-3 sources in attack. In this game we really only had Sanchez as a true pacey attacking player from the start of the game. When we did introduce the extra pace players was it too late to have the time to influence the game

I said before the game that my biggest worry this season was not in who we did or didn’t recruit but in how we used the squad we had available to us to get the most balanced and fluid of teams. Others may see our problem areas as different of course and I always enjoy a different perspective, this is just the main problem as I see it

Walcott and AOC left on the bench for more slow but technical ball players? Were they introduced too late in the game? Were we just unlucky? Is it too early to make a judgement on us this season? Are bad habits resurfacing that will see us fall just short when we didn’t need to

A draw with Liverpool need not be a source of concern under normal circumstances, but for me there were possible worrying signs that we haven’t learnt from the past and that would be a shame for a team that I feel could win the EPL with what it currently has. Aside from the injuries this reminds me of the start of last season when we had a great team on paper but looked out of sorts. Arsene needs to sort it out quickly or we may end up the EPL champions for the 2nd half of the season again, and unless I am wrong they don’t give you a trophy for that.

Written by GoonerB


Loopy Lovren to do a Kolo?

August 24, 2015

Liverpool at home is always an exciting prospect and the first home night game makes it even more so. Wish I was going :-(

Plus this is a big test against a team who have spent almost €200m in two seasons! Selling your best players doesn’t help but Rodgers has to prove his success of two seasons ago was not purely a result of having a brilliant striker in the form of his life.

AW has been there; selling your best players inevitably has an effect, fortunately the past two seasons has seen us keep our players and add to the quality of the squad – who knows who will be arriving at AFC over the next 7 days!

So …. Liverpool. Never liked them. Hate the awful dirge of YNWA. I think I would even go so far as to say it is worse than Yellow Submarine! Just think of the dorks who have worn their shirt…. Keegan, Owen, P.Thompson, Dalgleish, One Minute, Emlyn Hughes, Suarez – the list is endless … but they are a very good team when in full flow, always have been.

The question is, has Rodgers put together a winning team? The lack of a quality finisher (in the absence of Sturridge) hurt L’pool last season and the signing of the excellent Benteke gives them considerable attacking strength. Add in the wily Firmino and the excellent Coutinho and we can see why L’pool are confident of an improvement on last season’s disappointments.

We smacked them last season when Kolo repaid AW for bringing him to Highbury – I doubt dirty Skrtel or Loopy Lovren will do the same.

Arsenal-v-Liverpool-Premier-League

As to us, we have to improve. WHU – terrible, CP good for 45 mins, tonight – who knows? And that is what concerns me; we have the potential to be brilliant and very successful because this is the best squad for a very long time but as yet we continue to be unpredictable. Consistency is what wins titles and can you honestly say you are sure we will play well tonight?

Thankfully we have an almost fully-fit squad (apart from Abou Wilshire and Abou Rosicky). Mr Wenger “just” has to pick his best team. Not easy – my guess is that if we all put in our best 11 that there would be many different 11’s. Theo or Ox? Theo or OG? Ramsey on the flanks? Cazorla alongside Le Coq? Monreal or Gibbs? Czech or Ospina etc etc.

It is being suggested that pace will win this game for Arsenal thanks to L’pool’s static central defence – I agreee and would certainly start with Theo alongside OG in the middle. The problem with this is that it results in the Ox having to ride the pine. The Ox is one my favourite players and he needs to know he has the confidence of AW to be a central cog in this team – he is too good to be a bit-time player.

It should be a good game between two attack-minded teams with Arsenal edging it.

p.s. Hope Rodger’s master-signing Balotelli plays :-)

I am 52% confident

COYRRG


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