An Arsenal home win. Was it good for you?

March 2, 2015

You saw the game. I saw the game. So I won’t cramp my post with details, rather thoughts and feelings.

Laboured win, but an extremely valuable three points is one of the things I observed. Another were empty seats and a very muted crowd for a perfectly timed 2pm Kick Off.

Everton arrived ever so slightly staler than us having Spurs Nighted on the Thursday. The turning point was a scuffed shot from Ollie, but low on confidence strikers whoever they are, need just such fortune.

01

You are probably sensing an impending note of doom in the air, and you’d be right. Earlier in the season we put a poor performance, but three points bagged, down to occasionally “winning ugly”, and I agree that’s a great quality. My problem is that we are only winning ugly, with just sporadic flurries into style.

Damn I was looking forward to the days when we would have a fit attack comprising Mesut, Ox, Theo, Alexis and Santi. They are going to terrorise defences with mesmerising football. It’s just not happening.

Even on this site, the majority are happy to bag the three points, and style and performance matter less. Are the Match Goers sending out a different message? We may get Top Four (something very important), and who knows maybe an extra £20M by coming second, and I would be delighted by that result.

My problem is that these players are capable of so much more. We have seen odd glimpses throughout the season, but they are rare sightings. I happen to believe we can win 3-0 in Monaco, but I have absolutely no idea which are the key players to have fit on the day to engineer a clicking performance.

Are my levels of expectation unreasonably high?

MickyDidIt89


Turn Turn Turn

March 1, 2015

“To everything –  Turn, Turn Turn,

There is a season – Turn Turn, Turn

And a time for every purpose under heaven.

A time to build up, A time to break down,

A time to dance, a time to mourn,

A time to cast away stones

A time to gather stones together.”

Book of Ecclesiastes (with a re-write by Pete Seeger)

know what you are thinking – “what the hell has that got to do with Everton at home?”  Not much but I have had it in mind since Black Wednesday and of course, today is the first day of Spring – a time of growth and the rising of sap.

Will our sap rise today? Who knows? This season has been like few others insomuch as the team is so unpredictable, and not just game to game but within a game. Last Sunday we were two up and coasting then had 10 minutes of complete panic, and it has happened repeatedly over the season. Why?

“Leadership” I hear you say. Do we miss Arteta so much, is BFG lacking,? More to the point – how do we get one?

Can we beat Everton this afternoon and get back to winning ways?

Everton have stuttered badly this season and the golden boy Roberto Martinez has started to lose his lustre.

Here’s a brilliant stat – last season Everton won more games between March 1st and April 12th than they have won this entire season!   The massive expenditure on Lukaku has yet to bring full returns though 5 goals in his last 3 games is worrying. I wanted us to sign Eto’o who is one of my favourite players but Mr Wenger proved once again that he “knows best”.

As usual midfield will hold the key. Aaron Lemon is likely to be dropped for the return of the potent Mirallas. In Gibson, McCarthy and Barry Everton have battlers, they also have one of my most hated players, Stephen Naismith.

I could write a whole post on the little blond aggressor. Like Leeds’ Alan Smith and the awful Robbie Savage, Naismith kicks the player before the ball as a matter of course, hiding a lack of talent behind naked aggression. How he stayed on the pitch in our 1-1 draw at Goodison is known only to the referee Michael Oliver who was awful that day.

I like the John Stones and can only think Mr Wenger wouldn’t spend the transfer fee preferring to buy Gabriel for half the price. Baines is fit, as is Coleman.

Arsenal: I would start the same team as Wednesday to allow them to prove their worth but Mr Wenger will ring the changes. Expect to see Monreal start and possibly Gabriel for BFG  or Koscielny. And it is time to take TPIG off the naughty step – in my opinion he is our best GK.

My Team:

Szczesny

Bellerin      Gabriel    Koscielny       Monreal

Coquelin     Cazorla

Alexis     Ozil

Walcott    Giroud

Unlike some, I like Santi playing deeper alongside Le Coq and until Ramsey, Arteta or Wilshere return it is a position he may well keep. (unless Rosicky takes that place!)

We have a strong bench with good coverage for any eventuality.

My main concern today lies within The Emirates crowd – the poisonous atmosphere which is created by a bias-led media is so close to the surface. If Arsenal are not at their fluent best and dominating from kick-off the disquiet will strengthen and the very chaps who booed our lads off the pitch will start complaining early. I hate it. Moan on the blogs, beat the dog, kick the cat, berate taxi drivers, do whatever you have to do but during the game SUPPORT your team.

What happens when the crowd groans at a misplaced pass which is made in the blink of the eye- a possibly defence splitting pass which carries risk? The player will take the secure option which is usually a short sideways or backwards pass. If we want to see a fast, intricate and beautiful display of passing football our players have to feel confident and supported – take that away and we become Stoke.

Live Long and Prosper

COYRRG

written by Big Raddy

 


The Champions League. An Alternative Viewpoint

February 28, 2015
  1. To be honest, I’m over Wednesday’s result.

    For us, the Champions League is just like life, one big f*ucking disapointment

    With Wengers early teams, we had the players, but somehow we were shit. Bit like dreams as a kid. Becoming a millionaire, shagging everything in sight, and finding out your the illegitimate son of Frank Mclintock

    But no. Those Bergkamp/Adams/Viera sides flopped. More a case of bailiffs, not been able to find your appendage, and discovering your old man is Paul Daniels.

    Yet, in 2006 we reached the final with arguablyy one of Arsene’s weakest sides. We hardly let in a goal and all this whilst playing Senderos at the back?. Its akin to being in your twenties and finding out that whilst chasing a bus your actually the fastest man that ever lived. A year later your doing a Puma commercial chasing the 102 down Bounds Green high road.

    Tragicaly we lost the final. We were robbed. I will always insist that the wanker dived to get poor Jens sent off.

    In the last few years we’ve had the hardest draws, Barca and Munich for f*uks sake? Deep down we all knew we had it. Reminds me of when I mouthed off for a year what I would do to the ex in the divorce court, whilst all the time secretly planning what colour I wanted the bedroom painted back at my mum and dad’s house.

    And now Monaco at home? No disrespect, but their small time. That big Jessie they have as Regent, Prince Albert or something? I know more about him than there bloody team, and that’s only because I once heard a rumour he sent Julian Clary some tight trousers.

    And what is Berbatov doing playing for them? He looked like rigor mortis set in years ago, probably to many “interesting” conversations with Glen Hoddle, yet he’s still playing?

    We seem cursed in this bloody champions league. Liverpool, Utd, and worse of all, Chelsea have all won it by fluke. Yet we are more tormented than an uninvited bachelor living next door to a swingers club

    Yet, we live in hope. Second leg to come and there is always next year

    We have to win it soon, its driving me mad. If not, don’t be surprised to hear in the news about… man holds swinger club members hostage. Tells police his demands include all members have sex with him, though admits he’s confused, And would like large pepperoni pizza with ham topping-has special offer voucher

    written by Terry Mancini’s Hair Transplant


Do Arsenal players Care?

February 27, 2015

Picture this. It’s the first day of the Autumn (or Rugger) Term at DidIt’s “Little School”. Life begins with the Headmasters Speech in which he announces who is to be the Head Boy. Then comes Captain of 1st XV Rugger. Yip, no surprise here. Old Big Head Allen. Then for some reason there is something called Vice Captain and Scrum Leader…..”and for this year, DidIt. M”

“What the ‘ucking hell do you mean?” I thought to myself. “I friggin’ hate rugger”.

Thing was, I had given the wrong impression ie that I was quite good. Fact of the matter was that I hated getting hurt and had quickly learnt, in a cowardly kind of way, to hit people the moment the game began, and from then on, they pretty much left you alone. Problem was, occasionally someone gave me the wretched ball, and I could pretty much run about willy nilly, giving the terrible illusion I was quite good. I got to the top by being a coward.

Here’s another true story. I know a bloke with about seventy full England Rugger Caps, and a few Lions Tours thrown in. You know what, he doesn’t even particularly like the game. He’s bloody enormous, and naturally very good at sport. He grew up in the West Country where everyone plays rugger, and he was just always the best. One thing lead to another, and before he knew it, he was a professional, and now a few years after quitting, still makes a very good living through a sport he doesn’t especially love.

To get to play for The Arsenal you have done many things right. You are in the top 1% of all people playing professional football around the world, but I would suggest that you can get there through a combination of “right time, right place”, much skill of course, you keep fit, are a natural athlete and so on.

Here’s a problem. We are fans, and we really do care. Week in, week out. Year in, year out.

Do players really need to care is the question. This can only ever be answered by how a man reacts when the chips are down. It can be a fairly smooth passage to the top for many, and remember also, these days the rewards are colossal, and the cocooned pampering all around.

BuHdPA5IcAASpgY

This is the attitude we want

Ultimately, we are looking for players who care about winning, as much as we care about OUR club.

Is this ridiculous?

written by MickyDidit

 


Monaco: Match report and Player Ratings

February 26, 2015

When the draw was made someone  (no names mentioned but it was MickyDidit), told me that he would not go to Monaco because the away leg would be a dead rubber – he was right :-(

Essentially we were rubbish all over the pitch. It is all well and good Mr Wenger being furious at the lack of professionalism evidenced by having 10 players in the opposition half in the 93rd minute just after scoring what could have been a tie-saving goal, but who trains these blokes?  If blame is to be apportioned then an equal measure sits on his shoulders.

We started well enough, pinging the ball around with our normal Emirates pace and efficiency; the game was open and enjoyable with both teams attacking. OG missed a couple of sitters, Santi was magical, the full backs were competing with the pace of the excellent Monaco wingers, then suddenly out of nowhere a man in blue takes a shot from 30 yards which deflects off BFG and deceives Ospina. Just what Mr Wenger warned about in his pre-match conference.

Then we lost the plot.

All out attack; BFG setting a very high line which totally played into the speedy Monaco forwards. Our forwards all decide to play through the middle encouraging our full backs to take the space on the wings and thus leaving acres of space at the back. The midfielders had no space to weave their magic. It all went to hell in a handcart.

Halftime I expected to see changes. We became even more gung-ho. Berbatov scored on a breakaway! A man who is already in his dotage and spends his days in a dressing gown, smoking a pipe and watching Emmerdale outpaced our defence!

There followed a baffling section of play. OG taken off having missed three more chances , Welbeck smashed an easy opportunity against a fallen Theo. Alexis got mad and was unlucky with a couple of efforts. The Ox scored and immediately allowed Monaco to turn the knife in the wound.

It was painful viewing. Thankfully, it was just one game in a season and to be honest losing to a poor MU at the Emirates was worse.

Perhaps the worst thing about last night was I fully expected us to thrash them, so did almost all the Arsenal fans, and unfortunately so did the Arsenal team. Monaco taught us a lesson and fair play to them  – Monaco were excellent.

Player Ratings:

Ospina: Could have done better with the 3rd. IMO doesn’t inspire confidence    6

Bellerin: Seemed to play too far forward. Was he told to? As the junior player he needed guidance  and support but didn’t get it    5

BFG: Very poor night. Directly responsible for two goals (the first not his fault).  As Captain he should have controlled the defensive line and pace of the team – he didn’t     2

Koscielny:  Not his best nor worst performance . One excellent header in the 1st half . Passes too slow to the MF’s      5

Gibbs: Too attacking, again probably told to be. Worked hard      4

Coquelin. Lost his defensive discipline. Booked as usual. Showed why we need a world class DM.    4

Cazorla: Glimpses of his magic but Monaco didn’t give him any space. Ineffective closer to goal.     5

Ozil:  A passenger for over 90 minutes. His worst performance on an important night. Given his talent tit was simply not good enough     2

Alexis:  As always worked very hard. Well marshalled by Monaco defence who always had 3 around him. Skewed a good chance wide.    6

Welbeck: Lots of effort, little result.      5

Giroud:    Not his night but at least he was in a position to miss his chances.       4

Subs:    Walcott :  We looked more dangerous when he came on though Monaco were tiring      6

Rosicky:   Had little opportunity to impress     5

Ox:     Added verve when he came on. Scored a superb goal. Let himself down immediately after.    7

A hugely disappointing night to be a Gooner.  That said, Monaco played a marvellous game, probably their best in recent years and deserve all the credit for their performance.

Onwards and Upwards

written by Big Raddy

 


Walcott off the Naughty Step?

February 25, 2015

Tonight Monaco will enter with trepidation into the steaming cauldron that is the Emirates on Champions League nights (a little sarcasm to start with is always good!).  Should they be worried? Of course they should – We are The Arsenal.

However, we are playing Monaco side in fine form; they have only lost once since November and are rapidly climbing Ligue 1 as well as topping their CL group. These blokes are no mugs. A team based around a solid defence – they have only conceded two goals twice this whole season, Monaco have become a dour, dull team to watch evidenced by very poor attendances.

Unknown-1

Expect to see this parked on the pitch

Monaco as we all know is a tax-haven and are unsurprisingly backed by Russian money. The buying policy which in 2013 brought in James, Falcao, Carvalho and others (£140m+) has changed. The big money players have left, one to Real Madrid, another to the bench at Old Trafford as the club tries to bring through youth players alongside experienced but inexpensive talent. Could this be the result of FFP? A ground with an 18k capacity which averages 7k hardly generates enough money to afford Falcao let alone the rest of the squad. The new pragmatic approach both on and off the pitch seems to be working.

It will be lovely to welcome Berbatov back to London. Berbs should never have sullied himself by playing for Spurs. I wonder who has more pace, Mertesacker or Berbatov? It would be a close run thing!

So, a strong defence and workman-like midfield but little threat upfront. They have scored  just 26 goals in 25 Ligue 1 games and only 4 goals in 6 CL games. This tells me that if we score twice tonight we will be Kushti.

And it is for this reason that Walcott should start tonight. Welbz is a fine player, he brings energy and awareness but he is not as dangerous as Theo and we need goals. Quite why Walcott was benched after scoring against Villa and Leicester is baffling; has he done something similar to Szczesny and has joined him on the naughty step? Perhaps it is something to do with his contract negotiations (AW showing Walcott is no longer essential to the squad). Whatever it is we need Theo tonight – he scores goals.

Unknown-2

In my opinion, if Theo doesn’t start tonight he will be sold in summer; we have the brilliant Ox to find a place in the team and Walcott is the obvious man to leave.

Wilshere is out but I doubt he would have started because we need to be on the front foot from the start, I would play as many attacking players as possible. Bellerin ahead of Chambers and Gibbs on the left.

My Team:

Ospina

Bellerin     BFG     Koscielny    Gibbs

Coquelin     Cazorla

Ozil

Walcott   Giroud    Alexis

Bench: Rosicky, TPIG, Welbz, Flamini, Monreal, Paul Easter +

I don’t do tactics but I know this-  scoring early is hugely beneficial, it forces Monaco to be less circumspect in their play which will hopefully create the spaces for Ozil to weave his magic. Alexis has gone 5 games without scoring and is hungry, Giroud is in fine scoring form. We have options.

Arsenal were delighted when the draw was made, Monaco seemed the best team we could have drawn. Tonight we will see whether our optimism was justified

COYRRG

written by Big Raddy


Is Cazorla better than Fabregas?

February 24, 2015

It is pointless to write long paragraphs about the two best Spanish midfielders Arsenal fans were lucky to claim as their own. This comparison has been made many times before and at times Arsenal fans were accused of trying to justify not resigning Cesc. 

Admittedly there is a grain of truth in that, Cesc has never been replaced and only too often the gaping hole in the middle of the field was only too obvious.

Cazorla has hit top form this season and we won all the games he orchestrated. 

Santi is a match winner and a great free kick taker – someone badly needed in our squad for a long time.

His presence has been immense, but the same can be said about Fabregas’s at Chelsea.

Fabregas relies on the team being build around him, whereas Cazorla blends in with the team.

The list of differences is long, but do the similarities end on the physical attributes of these 2 short Spanish midfielders?

Stats below are from whoscored.com. 

 

Santi Cazorla:

Tournament

Apps

Mins

Goals

Assists

Yel

Red

SpG

PS%

AerialsWon

MotM

Rating

Premier League

21(3)

1930

6

6

4

-

2.6

88

0.1

4

7.65

UEFA Champions League

4(1)

388

-

2

-

-

1.8

83.5

0.2

-

7.36

FA Cup

2

N/A

-

N/A

-

-

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

-

League Cup

0(1)

N/A

-

N/A

-

-

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

-

Total / Average

29

2318

6

8

4

0

2.4

87.2

0.1

4

7.60

 

Cesc Fabregas:

Tournament

Apps

Mins

Goals

Assists

Yel

Red

SpG

PS%

AerialsWon

MotM

Rating

Premier League

21(1)

1871

2

15

8

-

1.4

86.9

0.7

2

7.83

UEFA Champions League

7

574

2

3

2

-

0.7

86.6

0.6

-

7.80

FA Cup

0(1)

N/A

-

N/A

-

-

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

-

Total / Average

29

2445

4

18

10

0

1.2

86.8

0.7

2

7.82

SpG: Shots per game

PS%: Pass success percentage

MotM: Man of the match

 

Discuss!

 

PS  Although my gravatar is a photo of Santi, whom I adore I have to admit to still having Cesc’s photo on the wall, I find it hard to part with it

written by Eddie


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