Mathieu Debuchy: so do we like him?

August 30, 2014

 

Debuchy

 

Full name: Mathieu Debuchy
Date of Birth: 29 July 1985 (age 29)
Place of birth Fretin France
Height: 1.77m (5ft 10in)
Playing position: Right back

With Sagna moving north to Citeh where they have been working him to the bone, we find ourselves with a new right back. “The Boosh” has played four competitive games now which I would say is enough to form an opinion; do we think he has been a good buy? Would Jenkinson have been better? Is he likely to keep his place with Chambers breathing down his neck?

So, do we like him? Over to you.

By LB


Arsenal’s disappointing Champions League draw.

August 29, 2014

Group D: Arsenal Dortmund Galatasaray Anderlecht.

 

Chips and Mayo

Hardly Michelin Starred food but the beer is pretty good. Don’t know about the ground or the travel arrangements, maybe someone could expand?

german sausages

German food, really? What’s good to drink with it?

turkish-kebab-nationalturk

Probably the best food and the best city, shame about the fans.

 

We will just have to top the group to get one of the culinary big boys.

 

The blame for this goes to LB

 


Phew, that was too close for comfort

August 28, 2014

Well as I suggested earlier in the day this was going to be a squeaky bum time 90 minutes, and so it turned out to be.

There will be countless opinions about the referee but on the whole even with his bizarre booking of Chambers and to an extent Szczesny we got lucky on at least one penalty call when Wilshere was a cigarette paper away from conceding, which he admitted could have been given.

There was no doubting our commitment and energy levels and IMO there were stand out performances especially from Cazorla, Wilshere, Debuchy and of course Sanchez for his work rate and sealing the win.

alexis scoring

We so often don’t make it easy for ourselves, but to be fair after only four competitive games we have had to make several changes to the line up through injury and suspension. There were signs of the return of our fluidity especially on the counter attack but there is still improvement needed and hopefully at least one if not two quality signings before the deadline approaches.

One minute in the game stands out for me.

Oxlade – Chamberlain really should have made it 2-0 and within thirty seconds Debuchy received a second yellow, so from basically having the game in the bag we had to endure twelve odd minutes of extreme angst, however overall the team dug in and there was relief all round as the final whistle was blown.

I hope Wenger was bluffing when he said there was no need to buy an additional striker. Sanogo and Campbell are raw recruits who hopefully will come good. Walcott is still at least twelve matches away from being considered and Podolski who was on his way to the airport forty eight hours earlier is now apparently another option upfront.

I don’t generally like to pick out players for a poor performance but if we persist playing Ozil out on the wing we will never get the true benefit of his class. His whole demeanour and body language is quite different to anyone else in the team yet I get the feeling he is uncomfortable in the chosen role that Wenger has allotted him. Any thoughts?

Finally, seventeen years of consecutive Champions League football is to be congratulated and hopefully as players get more playing time their fitness will improve. I wish with additional funds available this Summer we would have been bold and added a couple of quality players earlier and not have a last minute rush as in previous seasons, if we actually further strengthen at all.

kelsey


To Sanogo or Not to Sanogo?

August 27, 2014

Much is made of today’s game being a Cup Final. It is. A one off game which will determine who goes into the CL group stages.

Unusually the away side are slight favourites given the away goals rule but first they have to score. Can they? Well, we have conceded 3 in our last 2 games and were hardly secure in Turkey where Ba missed a couple of easy chances (or TPIG made a couple of excellent saves). And this Arsenal team have yet to show us that they have developed the fluency we have come to expect.

Then there are the injuries. We have played 3 games and lost a player a game; Arteta, Gibbs and Giroud and given that Koscielny, BFG, Ozil, Podolski and Wilshere look less than 100% we are struggling. I have no doubts we will come good later in the year but right now there is cause for concern.

Much is made of CL qualification as the carrot to ensnare new signing, I don’t completely agree. MU, Spurs, Everton and L’pool have shown this is not true. What attracts players is money (or in Balotelli’s case a team which will accept his “difficulties”). Did Di Maria move for CL games and the resultant profile? That said, qualification allows us to earn the bug bucks which attract the best players and as I have repeatedly written – I want Cavani, Carvalho (or at least an agreement that he will sign next summer when Arteta and Flamini leave) and a CB, all of whom will be expensive.

The loss of Giroud must be seen as an opportunity for the players who will take his place yet Sanogo looks way off the required quality  to win anything (though he has an FAC medal :-) ), and Campbell has yet to start a PL game. Sanchez is likely to get the chance tonight, he scored 39 in 88 games for Barca so knows his way to goal.

Just as interesting to me is how Wilshere will play without the need to look for Ramsey. We have discussed at length whether the two can play together and tonight we will see if JW can influence the game in the way we hope. He will need to – Ramsey has scored in 5 of his last 6 games and will be sorely missed tonight.

Mr. Wenger is “bigging up” Oxlade-Chamberlain, I wonder why. Does he think O-C needs a confidence boost? He appears to be a man brimful of self-belief. Or perhaps he wanted someone who is comfortable talking to the media so he could take a rest. Either way it gave us another insight into what a lovely man Ox is – Southampton must be the best place to develop well-balanced, intelligent young players.

images

We know how good Besiktas are. We were fortunate to escape with a draw, thanks to fine work from TPIG and strikers who couldn’t find the target even when one on one with our keeper. They work hard in midfield, defend well and are pacy on the counter. I can only recall Ox’s shot which was well saved by their keeper as good chances created by the Arsenal. We could blame the dreadful pitch but it was the same for both teams.

As we are without the experience of Arteta and Ramsey I would like to see Chambers on the bench and a return to the security of BFG/Kos, though given the total lack of pace from Mertesacker in the Everton game perhaps Chambers and Koscielny will be our centre back partnership this season!

Flamini’s role will be vital in a clogged midfield. He is playing in his normal style so far – two games, two yellows. Hopefully Arteta will return before he picks up his first ban.

My Team:

Beskitas home

So … no Sanogo. I just do not think we can go into such an important game with Sanogo leading the line. Mr Wenger is likely to disagree but I would put my faith in experienced battle-hardened players who have performed at the highest level. All the above team have done so and experience counts.

In the highly unlikely event that we are in trouble he can come off the bench and perhaps have a similar effect to Giroud at Everton, though I hope he only comes on for the final 15 when we are coasting.

History shows that we do well in these games, A good defensive display and some luck in front of goal should see us through but please Arsenal score early, otherwise the tension will be unbearable.

Quiz Question: How many consecutive seasons have we qualified for the Champions League proper?

COYRRG

written by Big Raddy


Transfer window, are we finished?

August 26, 2014

Morning Gooner’s.

Less than a week until the transfer window shuts, and still speculation into who else will join the four new players we have signed. So far we have Sanchez who in the couple of games we have seen him, looks to be a fine live wire. Up next we have Debuchy a right back replacement for our beloved Bacary Sagna. Debuchy has had a quiet start, no fireworks but looks to be a sound buy. Debuchey doesn’t appear to have the attacking flair that Bacary had, but I see that as a plus, as I like a full back to be a defender that defends.

Next up we have our replacement goalkeeper Ospina, replacement for Fabianski who has moved on for regular first team football. I have to say that this was a disappointment to me as although over the year’s Fabianski was nicknamed Flappy for quite a few errors I feel that he has had rather a tough time of it, as Szczesny’s understudy. But he’s gone, and Ospina has taken up residence, still yet to be seen on the firing line due to injury, but rumoured to be good enough to give Szczesny a run for his money.

Next up we have young 19 year old Calum Chambers from Southampton. Not a lot known about young Calum, only that he is down as a right back, Wenger paid 16 million for this lad so he must feel that he had the talent. Surprisingly Arsene has included young Calum in every game since he signed, granted Per Merts had been given an extended holiday after winning the World cup, but what has surprised me more is that Arsene has played young Calum as centre back, and what has surprised me even more, is the fact that he has played exceedingly well. I like what I have seen of this youngster, his decisive intelligent play, seems to be more than I was expecting, his versatility will be very useful in the future.

Of course we cannot forget Joel Campbell, now although Joel has still not played in our first 2 games, Wenger has stated that he will be staying. Joel has been out on loan since Wenger found him, as problems with visa’s scuppered his early chances, but now that has all been sorted, and of course his inclusion in the World cup has brought this young man to the fore, still slightly a raw talent, but under the watchful eye of our leader, I can only see a promising future.

So far our Manager has secured 4 signings but in all honesty they are not additions, they are replacements, so our squad has not really been made larger, but depending on where you read your news from, Arsene has stated that our recruitment has not necessarily ended. If of course this is true, the mind boggles. Many still believe that we are a holding Midfielder short of a strong team, and many others still see Giroud, Sanogo and an unseen Campbell as still being light up front. I feel that so far from what I have seen of our starting first 2 games, that both positions could definitely be strengthened.

Of course, over the past few seasons, 4 signings would have been every Gooners dream come true, but we are now The New Arsenal Football Club, we are not a penny pinching football club anymore. so who knows what may be in store, 1 week in football seems an eternity at times, but also an opportunity for maybe a couple more bodies.

Arsene has said in the past, that too many signings in any window, can be hard to get balanced,  and can even give a destabilising  effect. Wenger has passed the amount already, so maybe talk from skinflint days gone by, when sponsors money was not available, but from the opening 3 games we do look a little unstable.

Supporters are insufferable, they ask for a signing, and get 4, they then feel we still need more, I believe if we brought eleven they would still feel we need just one more just in case. Personally I am ecstatic with Arsene’s business this window, sad of course with Sagna’s departure, but he was getting on, and at the end of the day Arsene let him go for free so he should have a very good pension.

I for one, am a very satisfied supporter, of course should Wenger feel he needs one or two more, i certainly wouldn’t shake a finger, forwards and upwards and COYG’s

Written by Steve Palmer

 


Is Giroud Plan A or Plan B?

August 25, 2014

I am sure it can’t be easy trying to motivate and improve an average CF year on year and yet that seems to be exactly what Wenger is doing with Olivier Giroud.

If the plan was to challenge Giroud ‘to up his game’ by playing Sanogo ahead of him against Palace then there is a strong case to say that it worked. There is little doubt that his inclusion changed the momentum in our favour that enabled us to finally secure the three points.

If the same plan was to motivate Giroud by playing Alexis Sanchez ahead of him as the number 9 against Everton then in view of the fact that we were two down at half time and we came back to nick a draw then it has to be said that it worked.

Giroud

It seemed as soon as Giroud took to the field everyone knew what to do again. Ramsey could run forward confident in the knowledge that Giroud would be able to hold the ball long enough before laying it off to the on coming Welshman, Wilshere could try and re-enact his goal against Norwich last season and both Debuchy and Monreal could send in those all so familiar high crosses for the tall Frenchman to get on the end of.

The argument for Giroud to start as our plan A centre forward is strong and with him up front I see no reason we can’t replicate last season and finish fourth.

Fourth, fourth is that what you want?

Wenger didn’t buy Sanchez because he was happy with the way things were, he obviously bought the Chilean because he thought that he would improve things and I still believe he will.

Sanchez new kit

I have been surprised by some of the contributors on the site who seem to have written him off after only 45 minutes as someone capable of leading the line and call for the signing of a new striker. Do these same people expect that someone like Cavanni would have slotted into a new team and a new system so seamlessly that he would have scored a hat trick against Everton? Maybe they do?

I stand by my player ratings and especially the 9 I awarded Sanchez. By way of explanation, I ask you to do a mental player rating of everyone in the first half excluding the back 5

Flamini: OK but nothing special 5
Ramsey: constantly gave the ball away 4
Wilshere: looked a bit stronger (I’m trying here) but did nothing of merit 4
Ozil: no where near match fit, continually lost the ball and never made a telling pass. 4
Oxlaide-Chamberlain: poor control, poor passing, missed open goal. 4

So with the players around Sanchez playing like a bunch of blokes on Hackney Marshes what real chance did the Chilean have? And yet, his control was excellent his tracking back was superb, he made some important tackles and all in all I thought he looked good. OK there is still a lot for him to get used to but I remind myself that Robin Van Persie was not converted into a CF overnight.

If we want to improve then we have got to change things. Wenger tried a new system and I for one am very glad of it, maybe he could have waited until Leicester but there are no guarantees that it would have been more effective against them than Everton.

Giroud isn’t plan A or plan B neither is Sanchez; they both have different skills that can be deployed against teams that best suit them.

Who should start up front against Besiktas on Wednesday?

Written by LB


The underdogs fight back.

August 24, 2014

This was never going to be an easy game and many Arsenal fans would have been happy to take a draw before the game started. But not me. I wanted a win. Yet, I ended the day happy.

Everton have become a very good side, and their manager seems to have impressed a lot of people with not just his tactics, but also his ‘niceness’. They had an injury to Barkley, but we were without Arteta and Gibbs, while still bedding in our new signings. Crucially, we were also just coming off a midweek game away in Turkey on an energy sapping pitch. Like I said, this wouldn’t be an easy game.

We welcomed back 2 of our World Cup winning Germans, with BFG replacing Koscielny (presumably carrying an injury) and Ozil playing on the left. Alexis Sanchez got his first start in the striker position, with Ox coming in to add some speed and directness. This made Micky very happy. But it also seemed to make Tim Howard happy because just as Arsenal could not find their feet, the Ox could not find the goal with any of his shots. Arsenal went behind to a headed goal from a brilliant pass by Gareth Barry, huffed and puffed some more, but couldn’t cause Everton any problems.

Arsenal then conceded once again on the stroke of half time after Lukaku bundled over Mertesacker, and got a clear path towards goal when Chambers dived in instead of covering. He then passed the ball to an offside Naismith who scored between Szczesny’s legs. Yes, it was a dirty moment in the game and one that both the referee and the linesman should be ashamed for allowing to happen. To be fair, some blame might also rest on our defence because Everton actually had a brilliant chance to score prior to this when Mirallas got in behind our defence.

Still, to be 2-0 down just before half time to an undeserved goal was a bit of a kick in the teeth. Wenger then did the unthinkable and made a half time substitution (please let this not have been due to an injury to Alexis).

With Giroud providing more of a familiar figure and a target man to bounce things off, Arsenal slowly started to get into the game, although it still took them a further 20 minutes to register a shot on goal. In the meanwhile, Everton retreated, secure in their ill gotten gains and unleashed the krack-head Naismith to kick, dive, moan, and try and get Debuchy sent off. That the referee didn’t is probably a huge surprise because he was certainly aiding and abetting this behaviour. Maybe he was just feeling the love from the Toffee crowd but Arsenal ended up getting heavily punished with yellow cards and fouls, while Everton were allowed to constantly get away with worse. It made our tough task even tougher.

While a lesser team would have collapsed, we kept trying. Wenger brought on Campbell and Santi for Wilshere and Ox with around 15 minutes to go. And it was Santi who was to finally provide a sumptuous ball across goal that Ramsey turned in, as he is wont to do nowadays.

There were now 7 minutes left on the clock and only a goal in it. Game on!

In the 90th minute Ramsey overhit a cross from the right, which was kept in by Ignacio Monreal. He in turn crossed to Giroud, who got between Jagielka and Distin to score with his coiffed head. He might have missed a chance early in the second half, (which I felt wasn’t an easy one to take though no doubt people will say a ‘world class’ forward would have scored that) but he made no mistake at the end of the second half. Arsenal tried to continue attacking, but time was running out. Sadly, Giroud’s final act of the half was to get injured trying to block a clearance and the manager says it’s not looking good, and so we get to maintain our record of an injury a match.

However, even that does not dampen the positivity around the spirit we showed in very challenging circumstances. A point gained rather than two dropped, and now Arsenal  switch their attention towards reaching the Champions League, where no toffee has gone before.

Match analysis written by Shard

Player ratings from LB

Szczesny: another solid game as far as I could tell, don’t really see how he could have done much to stop either of the goals. 7

Debuchy: made a huge stride forward, I thought, better defensively, better in attack, better all round, if he can improve that much in the space of three games he is going to be all and more that we hoped for. 7

Chambers: this was the stand out player for me over the whole 90 minutes, there was one slip again which naturally gets highlighted but Mertesacker does that every game and certainly did today on more than one occasion the difference being that if the opposition don’t score no one bats an eye lid. 8

Mertersacker: good to have our vice captain back, yes, he looked a bit rusty but what did we expect, it was his first competitive game, got more and more into his stride as the game went on. 6

Monreal: we shouldn’t forget that the Spaniard is a stand in for Gibbs; yes, he got skinned on more than one occasion but as he was the one who sent in the cross for Giroud to head home and save a point all is forgiven with me. 6

Ramsey: had a poor first half, his passes were going all over the place, but just when you are about to get frustrated with him he pops up to score the goal that gave us a life line. 6

Flamini: his role is not a glamorous one, protecting the backline is a thankless task on the best of days, he’s not bad but he’s not good. If we qualify for the CL I hope the potential revenue generated is spent on an upgrade in this position. 6

Wilshere: if he is not an attacking midfielder which he clearly isn’t, then what is he?
We have so many better options. 5

Oxlaide-Chamberlain: well we got our wish, he played but was not that effective I have to say, lots of running, all the chances falling to him in the first half, not quite what we hoped for: 5

Sanchez: first time playing up front, I thought he was brilliant; he was my MOTM for the first half. The problem of course was that the new system was so different nobody quite knew what to do. It wasn’t that he was doing things wrong it was the players around him. 9

Ozil: we heard all the jokes about him still being on the beach; still, changing flip flops to boots at half time helped, obviously not match fit but got better as the game went on. 6

Subs

Giroud: there is not a plan A and a plan B, different players are better suited to play against different opposition. If Wenger attempted to motivate Giroud by playing Sanogo ahead of him then it worked to an extent but nowhere near as much as it fired him up when he saw Sanchez get the nod ahead of him. This man had a point to prove when he took to the field for the second half. Competition for places, you gotta love it. 8

Cazorla: he aint a left winger. If he is played in Arshavin’s grave yard then we should expect below par performances. We shouldn’t forget that the reason we fell in love with him was because he used to play in the hole just behind the CF. We got a glimpse of it when he came on; he is still a quality player. 7

Joel Campbell: a few good touches, not enough time to influence the game.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 476 other followers