Which Game Did You See?

May 18, 2015

Here are a few AAers’ comments………………….

Half-time expertise on AA

Big Raddy says:

Cazorla has been at the heart of the problem – his passing has been terrible.

But then so have most of the team as we have been comprehensively outplayed by an average MU. Coquille’s limitations are being cruelly exposed but he is not helped by Ramsey or Cazorla. The less said the better about Ozil

Back 4 doing OK under difficult circumstances as is OG but we have to do better second half.

Best AFC player is the 12th man – Away boys in fine voice.

fatgingergooner says:

Dreadful half.

75% pass completion (50% when in the final third!).

If we are playing Ramsey wide to help us keep possession better then it isn’t working. I would bring Cazorla off, put Ramsey central and bring a proper winger on. If also be tempted to put Wilshere on ASAP to give us some bite in midfield and help us move forward quicker.

Whatever we are doing so far is not working.

GoonerB says:

There is something wrong when we bring the ball forward through midfield. We too often seem to “miss the moment” as I would put it when we potentially have a dangerous attacking position we could exploit.

Personally I think this has been the case through this season even during our good run. Missing these moments is more obvious against better opposition as you don’t get so many of them as you do with lesser teams where I feel it can be disguised more.

It seems that so many of our midfielders seem to over-run the ball or hold it too long looking for an option and then lose possession. Either that or they stop and turn sideways or backwards losing the initiative in the attack. Personally I feel this is down to the limitations that Ramsey (not a winger) and Ollie bring due to their lack of pace. It worries me that Arsene seems to think this is a winning formation to move forward with. Maybe he doesn’t. I hope that is the case and the summer TW will see additions that show this.

Post match thoughts

Adrian says:

Look at how Ramsey started bossing the midfield in the last 20 minutes after Wenger moved him to central midfield. The sooner Wenger stops this playing midfielders on the wings nonsense the better. I don’t buy the “we have a fluid front four which rotates throughout the game” story, fluid is the last word I would describe our attacking play in the final third during the first hour or so.

Another thing. While Giroud and Coquelin both performed admirably so far this season, I think this game exploits their limitations. As much as I hate saying this, Giroud is not a clinical striker and In tough games against top four opposition like today you very rarely get more than one or two clear cut chances and you need to make the most out of it. Top strikers/poachers like Aguero/Benzema/Suarez etc would punish opposing teams the minute the opportunity presents itself and they can make something happen out of a half chance. Coquelin who has been great so far has also shown his weakness today which is a lack of of physical size and passing. He was tasked to bully/disrupt Fellaini but he ended up being the one on the receiving end.

Cazorla in particular had a poor game for his high standards recently, and once again Ozil goes missing in the big games (something really needs to be done about this.) And can we please see more of Walcott?

All in all, I guess I shouldn’t complain considering we got a frankly quite undeserved point (thank you lady luck) but I feel that Wenger still has quite a lot of work to do for us to challenge for the title next season.

LB says:

Interesting comment Adrian

Not sure why you “hate saying the Giroud isn’t a clinical striker”. He isn’t, simple as, however, we all know he does very well within his limitations but he is limited.

“Coquelin’s job was to bully Fellaini”, well yes, but give me the name of someone who has ever successfully done that? Le Coq did his job as well as anyone, if not better than most of our team in the first half.

Ramsey: In an ideal world, the Welshman would replace Coquelin and Walcott would play on the wing, the problem is that the defensive side of Ramsey’s game is still not good enough, hence the need to start with Coquelin and only later, when we go on the offensive as we did today, does Ramsey replaces him. This is not an ideal situation but had we started without Coquelin we could well have been three down by half time, think of the thrashings we got last season and ask why this isn’t happening this season.

On a side note I thought Wilshere was excellent when he came on.

stevepalmer1 says:

In my opinion we were rubbish in the first half, I would like to say slow build up play, but i can’t as we didn’t attack at all, our passing was horrendous United over powered us and we were truly squashed. I have had times where i thought we were playing badly, but in this instance we were just outplayed.

I felt we were extremely lucky not to be down more than the one goal. United pressed us pressurised us and overpowered us into submission. The players walked off at half time battered and bruised without a clue of how to change the flow of the tide.

Arsene Ii feel, is not the best tactician so I would assume he would have told them to carry on as the first half, as United would have expelled a lot of energy and chances will come.

Sadly United started much the same and so did we, We never had a shot at all for sixty minutes if you can call it that, but where Arsene was probably right, they did start to slow down and we actually started to get one or two passes together.

I believe the ref was a homer as he certainly never thought any of United blatant fouls was worth mentioning, as Arsenals attacks were broken down by unnecessary fouls, it took a while for us to mount ant kind of possession.

Arsenal it has to be said, cannot play against a side that pressurise every player, they give the ball away and shy away from the physicality. we relinquish possession and also makes players hold the ball too long. In today’s game, it was almost impossible to get the ball out of our own half.

Three quarters of the game had gone before we came to life, United having a breather and we strung a few passes together but all the time our focus was on alert for a breakaway so no flowing play, our equaliser came from ricocheted cross, just as well as we had nobody out there with any idea of where their goal was.

Both sides settled for a draw after that, United was tired and Arsenal players minds were blank. Shared points was always better than a loss, but a game like this shows that Arsenal still need a lot of building. Money will definitely need to be spent, because what we have is just cutting the mustard.

Our wings are empty, our forwards are clueless our keeper is not top notch, and the rest of them could be easily replaced by better, Yes indeed our last two games have been pitiful, a weak united with a weaker Arsenal.


So which game did you see?

Was it classical ‘rope-a-dopeing’, allowing United to run themselves into the ground and then pick them off in the last third of the game?

Would we have scored without Van Gaal’s fantastic substitution bringing Blackett on?

Do we all simply respond to the final result? Just imagine the howlings of doom this morning if it had stayed at 1-0.


First Half

Ospina – 4

Bellerin – 5

Koscielny – 6


Monreal – 5

Coquelin – 6

Cazorla – 4

Ozil – 4

Ramsey  – 4

Sanchez – 4

Giroud – 4

Second Half

Ospina – 4

Bellerin – 6

Koscielny – 8


Monreal – 6

Coquelin – 6

Cazorla – 5

Ozil – 5

Ramsey  – 8

Sanchez – 5

Giroud – 6

Wilshere – 8

Walcott – 6

Cobbled together by chas

Another 1- 0 to The Arsenal?

May 17, 2015

Can we continue the winning run at OT?  Though we are unbeaten at the Manchester Main Library in 2015 the portents are mixed.

The nine years without the glory of winning of both silverware and at what is the PL’s most prestigious and largest ground has finally been resigned to history; can Arsenal win both the FAC and at OT twice in a year? Why not?

Firstly, we have to re-discover the scoring form of earlier in the year and Giroud in particular could …..

I had better stop this now. Quite honestly I am not in possession of the facts nor the passion to write about this afternoon’s game in any depth – you will have to get the runners and riders elsewhere, instead let us look back in time (it is almost always the best place).

Weds May 8th 2002.  Jubilee year. We went up to the Toilet in fine form and the previous weekend had won the FA Cup at Cardiff thanks to goals from Ray and Freddie. The team was without the injured Pires, Adams and TH14 but was so good that Dennis was on the bench for this important fixture!

United were Champions and hurting. This was the team of Beckham, Van Nistelroy, Roy Keane, Scholes,the Neville Brothers and Laurent Blanc. They needed the points to ensure CL qualification and above all, Ferguson hated the idea of his nemesis Mr Wenger winning the title at his “fortress”.

These were the years of  the bitter rivalry between the Professor and the Rednosed Glaswegian. a time when on-field battles were a regular occurrence (remember the docked points?), the PV4/Keane feud, the heinous Neville assaults on our fleet-footed marvels, the Keown/Nistleroy contretemps was just a year away. It was the biggest fixture of the season and although I couldn’t attend I was excited with a serious E.

We needed just a point to win the title but from the off we attacked. Kanu passed to Wiltord who hit Blanc with a stinger which went for a corner. Freddie buzzed around causing havoc. Scholes picked up his customary yellow for a dreadful tackle on Edu (he shouldn’t have left AFC so early), Neville and Keane followed him into the book as MU realised they couldn’t compete trying to play football (expect the same today). Then on the hour Ray sent Freddie clear, his shot hit Barthez and rebounded to Sylvian who slotted it home. Cue bedlam in the away end. Our solid defence saw out the game without further trouble.


We had won the title at our most hated rivals (OK, I know we also won the League at WHL – but give me some artistic licence!) and not just won the Premiership but the Double as well.

Happy Days.

There is no reason why we cannot win at OT this afternoon, MU will surely have to attack at home and the game should be a cracker (unlike Swansea).  We need to find a way past the wonderful De Gea which is not easy but can be done. OG has to occupy the CB’s and create space for our little fellows, the defence has to be resolute with Le Coq vital insurance as Ramsey/Wilshire venture forward.

I am 50% confident



Is Olivier Giroud just too handsome for his own good?

May 15, 2015

Whilst listening to Football Weekly from Monday the discussion turned to whether players with distinct features stand out more and whether that makes us reflect better on them because they were more memorable. The general consensus was that if you stand out from average in appearance whether through haircut (Chamakh, David Luiz), or boot choice (Bendtner pink boots) or hair colour (Ginger, Blond etc) then you will be judged in harsher terms. If Luiz had a short back and sides he would just be an average footballer, but as he is begging to be noticed he attracts rather more attention and it ranges from “he is superb” to “he is a liability”. Compare to say Phil Jones, less talented but as a player who fell out of the ugly tree and got entangled with every ugly stick on the way down he doesn’t appear to be judged as harshly.

Naturally as any football fan does we start applying to our own team, Giroud sprang to mind instantly, he sticks out like the proverbial sore thumb. Let’s be honest if us blokes looked like him our wives and girlfriends would be very happy, unfortunately for them if we looked like him they wouldn’t be our wives and girlfriends.

Having watched some of the Champions League this week and a lot of Premier League football I am struck by how much criticism seems to come from the blogs and pundits as I see plenty of other players in this position who are as good or even worse than Ollie but don’t appear to come in for the same stick.

So is it just jealousy, Kane has had lots of plaudits as has Costa, both scoring many goals, but so has Giroud and where have his plaudits been? The boy is to handsome for his own good, I reckon for his own benefit he should get Koscielny or more likely Gabriel to give him a couple of headbutts in training to get his nose into a more Steve Bruce like shape, maybe then he will stop being judged on his looks and football and just his football.

Finally Henry weighed in, perhaps he is worried that he has been replaced in the hearts of Arsenal fans by a man who may not have va va voom but probably provides plenty of ba ba boom.

Gooner in Exile

Costa 1958 minutes 19 goals (103 minutes per goal)
Kane 2407 minutes 20 goals (120minutes per goal)
Giroud 1666 minutes 14 goals (119 minutes per goal)

An Arsenal fans adventures in Northern Ontario.

May 13, 2015

Here are some key facts about Ontario:

  • In summer, temperatures can soar above 30°C (86°F), while in winter they can drop below -40°C (-40°F)
  • Ontario is Canada’s second largest province, covering more than 1 million square kilometres (415,000 square miles) – an area larger than France and Spain combined. Ontario is bounded by Quebec to the east, Manitoba to the west, Hudson Bay and James Bay to the north, and the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes to the south.
  • Ontario is home to 2 time zones: the boundary line between the Central Time Zone and Eastern Time Zone is just west of Thunder Bay, running north from the United States border to Hudson Bay.
  • Ontario’s more than 250,000 lakes contain about one-fifth of the world’s fresh water. The Great Lakes include Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.
  • The combined shoreline of the Great Lakes is equal to about 45% of the earth’s circumference.
  • The 5 Great Lakes are the world’s biggest continuous body of fresh water.
  • The Great Lakes Basin covers an area of 750,000 square kilometres – this basin includes 8 US states, most of southern Ontario and extends into northern Ontario.
  • Ontario’s varied climate and geography support habitat for more than 3,600 species of plants, 154 species of fish, 50 species of amphibians and reptiles, 483 species of birds, and more than 81 species of mammals. In Ontario’s southernmost regions, you will find prickly pear cactus and sassafras trees, while polar bears roam our northern tundra.
  • Common fish in Ontario include yellow perch, bluegill, northern pike, salmon, walleye, brook trout, brown trout, speckled trout, lake trout and rainbow trout. The mammals that call Ontario home include beavers, black bears, muskrats, gray wolves, white-tailed deer and walrus. Familiar birds include blue jays, northern cardinals, great blue herons, red-tailed hawks, great horned owls and pileated woodpeckers. Look carefully and you might see some reptiles and amphibians, including eastern garter snakes, northern leopard frogs, eastern massasauga rattlesnakes, midland painted turtles or one of 11 types of salamanders and newts.

Leaving England behind to move to Canada was not an easy choice but leaving my beloved Arsenal was far worse; but that’s another story. My wife and I docked in Quebec City on the first day of June after 8 glorious and somewhat riotous days abroad the Empress of Canada (yet another story). We had arranged to temporarily stay in Toronto with my sister Gloria and her husband Barry. Ontario’s 250,000 lakes and 100,000 miles of rivers created endless opportunities for Barry who was an avid outdoorsman and he was passionate about fresh water fishing while I’d never cast a line in my life – after all there weren’t too many fishing spots to find in Highbury.

A few weeks after our arrival Barry mentioned that he had saved up some vacation time and wanted to go on a canoe trip in Northern Ontario, he asked if I would like to accompany him on the trip and assured me that he was an experienced canoeist. I was somewhat worried as I was a poor swimmer but he showed me the maps of the planned route and assured me that he had selected calm rivers that had no rapids or stretches of white water – so I reluctantly agreed to go.  Over the next few weeks we put together the equipment and supplies that we would need for my first outdoors adventure.

Our only means of transport was Barry’s MG Coupe, the canoe was strapped onto the roof and our backpacks and minimal supplies were stuffed into the rear of the car which completely blocked the view out of the rear window. On our 1,000 kilometre journey up Route 101 to Groundhog River we got many strange sideways glances from other drivers. Arriving at our destination we simply drove the MG into the bushes and covered it with foliage – we were out in the middle of nowhere so it did not seem that illogical to Barry. We had to make several reconnoitring trips back and forth to find the best route down to the river and spot to launch from but finally we made our decision got all of our gear down to the river; once the canoe was loaded we set off on our journey into parts unknown.

It was now late afternoon and even though we were tired from the last part of our road journey we had made up our minds to camp on a certain loop in the river. An hour or so later we were approaching the spot where we had planned on camping when the sound of rushing water caught our attention, as we turned the next bend we were confronted by a very long stretch of fast moving white water. We made a valiant attempt to negotiate our way around the rocks but to our dismay the canoe tipped; we were in the water and our supplies were bobbing off down the river. Not being a strong swimmer I feared the worst but you can imagine my relief when I discovered that the water was only thigh deep.

Even though Barry had misjudged the “calmness” of the river he had been smart enough to insist on packing all of our supplies and provisions in air tight plastic bags – so we hoped that we would be able to recover them once we got ourselves together, however our birch-bark canoe was wedged between two very large rocks and it had a sizeable hole in the side.  Barry’s outdoors knowledge now came in very handy, he cut a strip of bark from a Balsam fir tree which he whittled into shape then used that plus the tree’s natural sap to patch up the hole; we then propped the canoe up get a good air flow and simply waited for the sap to harden and seal the hole.

I stayed with the canoe and lit a fire for our overnight camp while Barry who was big, strong and swam like a fish, set off down the river looking for our missing gear.  He returned about an hour later with the oar we were missing and one bag of supplies which he found snagged up at the side of the river. Fortunately the bag contained our fishing gear so we were able to catch some Pickerel (Walleye) which we cleaned and then cooked by skewering them on sticks and grilling them over our camp fire – they tasted absolutely delicious! The night was uneventful, other than the sound of wolves howling in the distance. Having no supplies we ate more fish for breakfast, it was to become our main food source.

The “Barry” patch had completely dried, no water was leaking into the canoe and it lasted for the entire trip. We didn’t want to risk the rapids again so we portaged around them and set off again once the river calmed down; it was to turn out to be a beautiful early morning row along a very calm river – we had no idea of the time as we had neglected to bring along a watch. Later in the day we found our other two bags of gear, snagged up at the riverside, so all was going well – until we saw moose grazing in the shallows just down the river, they are huge animals and a bull moose can stand 7 feet tall and weigh 900 lbs, so we made the only sensible choice we could and stopped right where we were until they had eaten their fill. We found a clearing and set up camp for the night, our “tent” was simply our canoe turned upside down and propped up with some sticks, Barry slept with his head at one end and GN5 at the other end, we had each purchased a US army surplus mummy type sleeping bag, which proved to be a very wise buy.

With our recovered bags we now had some provisions for a “slap up” meal – fresh walleye and dried veggies; we had taken along two small tin saucepans, one frying pan, and two knives and forks. Having no oil or grease we filled the frying pan with river water and poached the fish, we boiled the dried vegetables in a saucepan and in the second one we boiled water for our coffee. This was our diet until we ran out of vegetables and from then on we just ate whatever species of fish we caught – so we had to catch fish or go hungry!

Day 3 started off wet and windy which made for some very difficult canoeing; we passed under a railway bridge; the only means of transportation for hundreds of square miles was by rail, river or lake, there were no roads, we had noted on our maps that there was an abandoned gold mine near the bridge – so we decided to see if we could locate the mine.

We could not get up to ground level on the mine side of the river as it was a sheer rock face while the other side was an earth embankment. As we had canoed up we had heard a train so we felt safe in walking across the trestle bridge but to our horror when we were on the bridge we heard another train in the distance and had to get over to the other side in a real hurry, we stood at the side as the train passed and incredibly it slowed down and stopped. Shortly afterwards the engineer walked back, he had seen us and thought we were waiting for a ride, he explained that it was normal for them to pick up random people along the route. He inquired about our well being (most likely worried about our sanity); this was to be typical of the friendly, concerned manner of the Northern Ontario people that we met on the trip.

The train went on its way, we took a compass setting and trekked off in the direction of the Joburg mine, we found an old overgrown trail which could only have been created by the constant flow of people between the railway line and the mine so off we went down the trail. Reality and fear crept in when we saw bear paw prints in the muddy trail and then moose prints so we quickly turned tail and headed back to the bridge as our Bowie knives would have been no defence at all. Our choices left us in a real quandary – bears, moose behind or the bridge ahead, obviously we choose the bridge and lived to tell that tale – dozens, maybe hundreds of times.

This is only up to day 3 of a 30 plus day trip – but I’ll stop right there for now and test your interest for more tales.

Barry Stuart Harvey passed away December17th 2014 but his stories will live on……

RIP my good friend.

Written by GunnerN5






Can we Garry Monk on Swansea?

May 11, 2015

Our record against the Swans hasn’t been that impressive since they came back up into the top tier. They play good football with high possession stats and tend to keep the ball on the deck. After all as Brian Clough once said, “If God had wanted us to play football in the clouds, he’d have put grass up there.”

Swansea also play with nippy wingers and pace up front. Their goal-scoring threat has diminished somewhat with the sale of Bony but they’ve still had a good season and seem certain to finish top half. That Gylfi chap has an annoying habit of trying to put a smile on his spud mates’ faces. (have I got that right, RA :) ?)

swansea head to head

Enough of them.

I wish Rambo was fit for tonight as he seems to relish playing against his old South Wales foes. Then again, Jack’s re-emergence into the sunlight was fairly thrilling so perhaps he’ll get a shot at being played out of position on the right!

Here’s my team for tonight………


Micky loves the tune to the accompanying song. Number One is Perry Groves, Number Two is Perry Groves, Number Three is….

Perhaps we can think of a version for Wembley as it involves the right colour?

I’m 57.5% confident for tonight’s game.

Up The Arse.

Written by


The Academy, what’s it for?

May 10, 2015

Every major, and for that matter most minor, clubs have an Academy.

The implied aim of these Academies  is to foster the next generation of players, to nurture their precocious talents and provide a conveyor belt of top quality players for the club.

Having an academy is the “done thing”, it shows the club’s commitment to the local community, it shows that the club is part of the that community, it allows the club and it’s senior players to “give something back”.

I don’t know how many starry eyed local youngsters have passed through the Arsenal Academy but very few have made it into the first team squad and even fewer have become regular starters.

The most successful young players to make it into the first team squad have come from the academies of other clubs, Fabregas, Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain to name but three.

A succession of academy players have reached the fringes of the first team squad only to be sent out on loan and eventually quietly sold off, often to be replaced with more youngsters from other clubs.

Could Arsenal not have found a striker already at Arsenal who was better than Sanogo for instance?  If not it doesn’t say much for the current crop.

The under 21 side, as someone mentioned recently, seems more of a rehabilitation facility than a competitive team.  Somewhere that the likes of Diaby, Wilshere etc can regain fitness and get a bit of match practice.

A measure of the club’s interest in the under age sides is indicated by where “home” games are played.

These are some of the recent ‘home’ games.

Arsenal U18s v Southampton U18s Saturday May 2nd, Shenley Training Centre (behind closed doors)

Arsenal U21s v Brighton U21s, Monday  May 4th, Meadow Park.

Arsenal U21s v Wolves U21s, Monday May 18th , Meadow Park.

Following the recent fracas at an U 21 game involving Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ mother who, reportedly, assaulted Dick Law and threatened to “drag her son off the pitch” even more games are likely to be played behind closed doors.

Would it make sense to close down the Academy and spend the money thus saved in the transfer market?  Or should we keep it and hope that one or two diamonds will eventually emerge?

Written by Norfolk Gooner

We’re all going on a summer holiday….

May 7, 2015

It was good to see Jack Wilshere return to first team action, albeit for just twenty-five minutes against Hull City. He looked sharp and appeared to be fully fit, he didn’t look afraid to take the ball into situations where he would get tackled.

If, as is rumoured, Santi Cazorla leaves in the summer, Jack will be in direct competition with Aaron Ramsey for a midfield berth and it will be difficult to choose between them. They are both effective but in different ways, Jack is the more dynamic player, happy to run with the ball at his feat, drawing in defenders thus creating space for the strikers. Aaron is better at picking out passes but tends to slow the game down at times. It must be a case of horses for courses. Different opposition and different game situations demanding different tactics.

Of course, everything is dependent on Wilshere’s fitness, he has been out since November, he has a history of breaking down when returning from injury, perhaps returning too soon.

With only a handful of games to go in the season it is difficult to see him getting much game time, particularly given the form of the current starting eleven, and it’s game time that he desperately needs if he’s going to be able to play a part from the start of the new season.

The UEFA European Under 21 Championship is taking place in the Czech Republic this summer, Wilshere is qualified to take part as an over-age player, it would get him the match time he needs and would keep him out of trouble for a few weeks, it would also give a very good indication of his future fitness and would be excellent preparation for the new season.

If Gareth Southgate could be induced to call him up, would it be a good thing for him to go? Or should he be given the summer off to relax in the sunshine with his mates?

………Should Jack go too?

Written by Norfolk Gooner


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