First leg verdict : Two slightly differing opinions.

August 20, 2014

Shard’s appraisal

The game yesterday. Frustrating, but not too bad I thought. It was an entertaining enough game. They had at least two glorious chances to win it, but I thought we could have won it as well, despite playing like numpties on ice.

Giroud will undoubtedly get a lot of stick today (when does he not?) and he was pants. Utterly terrible. BUT.. That is not his real level. He’s better than that. I would have liked to see Campbell but I think Wenger wanted Giroud to play through his bad form rather than take him off and have him dwell on it. Height may have been another concern, and once Ramsey went, I don’t think he was going to come off. I also think Wenger isn’t entirely sold on Campbell. The way he talks about him. He says all the right words, but I think he’s a little undecided.

Ramsey’s sending off, I saw it exactly like GIE did. Wilshere looked like he was getting better. Not great yet. Not at his best even. But getting better. Wilshere’s hard tackle when Ramsey was kicked in the abdomen was exactly what was needed. Not reckless, but a response to Besiktas’ increased physicality in the second half.

Besiktas were pressing well, but for the most part we played through their press with calmness (as long as Arteta was there) and I couldn’t help but thinking that a fitter, more settled Arsenal side would have torn them apart. But as we know, we are not at our free flowing best. 0-0 is a bit of a dangerous result, but I still expect us to beat them at home. Even without Ramsey.

Hopefully the returning Germans and some increased rotation will help us against Everton, because that will not be an easy game.

Kelsey’s appraisal.

On the whole I am disappointed with the overall performance yet we live to fight another day.

One can’t make excuses about the pitch as it was the same for both sides,and one can only give an opinion on the players who actually played.

0-0 is okish but at the back of my mind next week there is always the possibility of conceding just the one goal.

The Turks showed their intent from the first few seconds with the cheeky shot that nearly caught Sczsceny by surprise
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They were really up for it, were as physical as any team such as Stoke and we never really let us get into a rhythm.

To me we looked lethargic and a lot of our play was similar to the Palace game.

Ramsey should have known better but these things happen and as Raddy just said Arteta’s injury could keep him out for a few weeks.

If we had lost 3-1 we couldn’t have really complained so luck was on our side and it was a magnificent save from Chamberlain’s shot.
Giroud showed yet again that he is a work horse but not a game changer.
Chambers again thrown into the deep end only made one real mistake and looked very composed.

Debuchy as well looked the part but generally our small lightweight team never feel comfortable in these sort of games
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If the three Germans are back next week that may well make a difference but our defence still looks very vulnerable and now we have the daunting task of Everton Away before we even think of the return leg.

Two games in and and the injuries are already mounting up.

kelsey/Shard


Ramsey rescues Ring Rusty Gunners

August 17, 2014

Some may query my headline but that is exactly what Aaron did.

I have already read countless opinions dissecting every detail of the game from time wasting by Palace, and parking not one but two buses in two banks of four, poor refereeing, first win by us in five years, only home win of the day, but most importantly we gained the three points.

Overall it was obvious how Palace were going to play as this was Pulis’s team and to give credit to them they are a vastly improved outfit and finished a creditable eleventh last season.

It was obvious from the start that some of our players were fitter than others and generally the the three debutantes had a reasonable game.

Chambers could turn out to be one of the best young buys of the season. Debuchy played his part and his whipped cross into the box will produce goals. Sanchez though by no means perfect oozes class and is also not scared to get stuck in, so all in all no complaints there.

What worried me was the predictable pattern in the game that we have seen so often.

We dominate possession for the best part of half an hour without really threatening only for the opposition to score after an initial rash moment by Szczesny,which lead to a corner and Hangeland basically had a free header to score. Yet the same could be said for the Palace defence when an excellent free kick by Sanchez left Koscielny completely unmarked, but to give him credit he guided the ball well past Speroni.

Even with substitutions at half time because of yet another in jury to Gibbs our game didn’t improve much, though as one who has questioned Monreal quite often, he contributed quite well.

With twenty minutes left we finally seemed to find our rhythm better and the introduction of Giroud proved to be a far better option than Sanogo who IMO is at least two seasons away of possibly becoming a real striker.The OX for Wilshere was the right decision.

I don’t feel it is appropriate to criticize every seasoned player on the pitch on the opening game, but one would have thought after the resounding victory over City last week, regardless of who played, that confidence would have been at a premium.

We need a top class striker but we won’t get one and more to the point are there any available, but more importantly we need a player who can cover for Gibbs or Monreal on the left side of the defence.

The three Germans returning don’t resolve these problems so hopefully a quality versatile defender who can play left side will be purchased before the end of this month.

If Koscienly suffered an injury our defence would really suffer so although Wenger has a real headache as to chose the numerous options of attacking midfielders our defence still needs bolstering

kelsey.


0017 – Licenced to Roam

August 16, 2014

Excited? You should be because this season is going to be epic and it starts today

Let’s be honest a managerless Crystal Palace should be lambs to the slaughter but we found out in last season’s opener that opening games throw up strange results. Mr Pulis did well with an average side and as usual forced his team to play kick and run (with an emphasis on the kick). How will CP play today? Who knows. Who cares, as long as they don’t injure any of our heroes.

Palace have big men all over the pitch; Chamakh, Hangeland, Jedinak, Dann, Puncheon etc, all decent players and all hard workers which they will need to be. It has to be said that Palace have a decent front-line. Chamakh may not have achieved much at the Emirates but he is showing he can perform swell at a mid-table club. I wish him well in the coming days but hope he has a stinker today.

Jedinak has been much touted after a fine season – good enough for a top 4 club? Not according to their managers!

Enough of the opposition, let’s get onto the men in the white hats ……

To be honest I have no idea who will start this afternoon. I doubt anyone outside of Mr Wenger and his coaching staff do – such is the wealth of talent available. The only players I can be sure won’t play are Theo, Abou and Ryo.

Let’s start with the defence.: I am sure Merts will play. I cannot see heim as the type of chap who would holiday  in a 5 star Las Vegas hotel surrounded by bottles of Champagne after along night in the casino, then spending his daytime flaked out by the pool having his pale body massaged with Factor 50 by a bevy of hookers. Can you?

No, I see him resting and preparing himself for today’s kick-off. He is a German after all.

If I am wrong and Merts has spent the summer on the sauce, it will be exciting to see how Chambers copes; his Wembley appearance was superb which brings heavy expectations onto such young shoulders. Midweek I went to Malmo to see their top of the table clash with another Swedish team (an exciting 3-2 victory to Malmo). The reason being that I am friends with their fitness trainer – Young Ben. Ben was assistant fitness trainer at Southampton and he tells me that Arsenal have signed a monster player who is is not only a better footballer than Luke Shaw but also in far better physical condition. He says that €16m was cheap for someone who will be a future England Captain – oh and he told me that Shaw has a history of niggling muscle knack.

Koscielny: Now I cannot understand at all how Sakho started for France ahead of Kos. What an insult to our beak nosed Gaul. No surprise that France did not concede a goal whilst Kos played and then lost to Germany when the idiot Deschamps picked Sakho ahead of our boy. Mr Wenger would not make such an error and as such (if fit) our usual CB pairing will start.

Unknown

Actually the defence picks itself doesn’t it? TPIG, the shiny new right back and Gibbs make up the numbers in what is a tight and effective first choice defence. Problems will only arise when injuries and exhaustion hit.

Midfield. This is where it starts to get difficult. Arteta and Ramsey are automatic starters. Ramsey!! What a fantastic player this lad is. The finish at Wembley last week was the work of a top class striker and this from a box to box midfielder. Ramsey has it all and, sad as I feel about it, not signing Fabregas was the right decision – Ramsey is the better player (as is Ozil :-) ).

Wilshere ? Of course.

And the Ox? This lad needs games – give him them and he will develop into one of the best players in the PL. He has everything except aerial ability. Great shot, explosive pace, an eye for a pass, tactical awareness. BUT where does he fit into the side? Thankfully this is Mr Wenger’s problem, but in my opinion he is too good to spend this season on the bench.

Will Ozil start? Probably not but he is ready and I would like to see our little genius and World Cup Winners medal owner line up on the right or behind the striker. If not, Santi, who had a fine game last week, is hardly a poor replacement – he would walk into almost any other side in the world but I fear this could be a frustrating season for him as there is so much competition in the attacking third.

Sanchez is a definite starter and I predict he will score on his full home debut. This man is the dogs and was the plum PL signing of the summer. I was surprised he didn’t go to Liverpool as a Suarez replacement (hahahahaha – let’s see how well you do this season Mr Rodgers) but clearly the prospect of living in Toxteth and rooming with Jordan Henderson was not particularly attractive. Hampstead and OG made AFC an obvious choice. I expect him to start from the left today – the TH14 position. He will be our secret agent 0017 – with licence to roam.

images

0017 – One for the Ladies

OG gets the CF shirt. Until Sanogo improves, Theo gets fit or OG hits a bad patch of form he must start.

My Team:

Szczesny

Debuchy     BFG     Kos     Gibbs

Ramsey    Wilshere      Arteta

Ozil      Giroud      Sanchez

At last we have a super strong bench. Chambers, Monreal, Cazorla, Sanogo, Ox, Pod etc

I hate to put a bok on today but I cannot see anything but an Arsenal win. CP did surprisingly well to get 11th place last season but let’s be honest, they spawned it as other teams went into free fall. The chances of another opening day Aston Villa are unlikely as the lads will be determined not to get suckered again.

The World Cup players apart, our boys have had a full pre-season and on the evidence of the Community Shield are in fine fettle. You lucky, lucky folk who are going to the game will have a fine time.

I will be in Peaches pocket. Actually today I am going to the Southern Cross in Løngangstrædet Copenhagen to watch the game with California Gooner. See you there.

COYRRG

N:B. I have yet to think of a season theme. Any ideas will be welcomed and then discarded :-)

written by Big Raddy


Wembley memories – FA Cup 2014

August 9, 2014

A Vines’ Day out at Wembley

Saturday 17th May 2014

We set off at 8am from Nottingham to make sure of getting to Moons in plenty of time to become completely incoherent by 5pm.  Arriving at our Beaconsfield ‘budget’ hotel at just after 10am gave us plenty of time to  get a car park sticker (too early to check in),  walk to the bus stop for a short trip to Beaconsfield railway station and catch the 10.26 bus. The sun was already beating down and sun cream had been applied to all exposed parts.  Getting to the bus stop, we found out the boggers had changed the bus times a week earlier without letting us know! (Ant was gutted that the chance for a swift one at the ‘Spoons alongside the hotel had been forsaken)

A

 

A month earlier we had got the same bus and the bus driver had been a chav who said that the price for Gooners was 5 pounds, so when the bus finally came, Ant thought it was the same driver and asked what the fare was for Arsenal supporters. The foreign bus driver wondered why two fools dressed in red were talking to him as if they knew him. He tried to charge us more than last time but we negotiated the same price as before. Ant posted the following photo to Facepalm with the caption “Bus wankers” after a sketch from The Inbetweeners.

A2

We received an update from the Croydon branch of the Vines Gooners and discovered we were all wearing different Arsenal tops. Unforgiveable in Micky’s eyes for grown men to wear replica shirts but, come on, we had to wear red to Wembley even those of us that weren’t attending the stadium!

A3

 

By the time we got to Moons the Bus wankers photo had 12 likes. Jon and Matt arrived at the pub soon after us and Jon revealed his creation for the match. She Wore was sung with gusto and a few lucky Gooners had the opportunity to have their photo taken with the banner.

The atmosphere at Moons was lacking some vibrancy so we decamped for The Green Man.  The banner was tied up alongside the same burger van as we’d been in front of with the puffing giant from Norfolk at the semi and provided lots more photo opportunities for munching Gooners. Dennis knows what this chap had found in his burger!

A4

 

Ant managed to catch about 15 seconds of the AwayBoyz (sorry lads).  More photos galore and the odd pint followed.  Ant asked this chap what the hair piece was all about and he replied that it was a Niklas Bendtner tribute.

A5

The fence alongside us was being used as an extra toilet and Ant proceeded to take a few snaps of a few fans in the act.

A6

We had a bet on the nationality of the girl in the shorts below, some swearing blind that she wouldn’t be from North London, others wondering why not.  Turns out she was Croatian!

A7

 

Matt had produced an American themed packed lunch. Jon was distinctly unimpressed with the peanut butter and jelly roll! I remember eating Mesut’s Buffalo Chicken Wingers and Karbassiyoon’s Chicago Style Pizza, but can’t for the life of me remember Stan’s Thanksgiving buffet.

a8

 

One last photo in front of the banner and it was off to the ground.

A9

 

I do remember receiving a phone call from Micky just as we were leaving the pub but the man was talking such absolute gibberish, I had to cut him off. J The journey up from Devon with the plastic sheet must have taken it out of him.

When we arrived, the ground looked very red apart from a small gold and black section. This just had to be our day and it turned out that it was, as Rambo’s goal saved us from having to endure a win on spawny penalties.

A9a

 

We went back to The Green Man for a few liveners. Much needed at this juncture and then went back to the curry house we’d been to a month previously at the semi-final.

A9b

 

The train journey back was not particularly pleasant with one lad (not a football supporter) slumped over a waste paper bin being sick (luckily there was a plastic bin liner present).  His mate was dancing by himself to some shite music on his phone. When he started grabbing at Ant’s bag, “you’re not messing with my flags” quickly put him in his place.

We phoned for a luxury Merc taxi back to hotel to get back for the highlights. The poor chap on the check-in desk got some abuse when he couldn’t get the card machine to accept payment straightaway. Well we may have been missing the start of the programme!  We loved watching all the goals go in for the first time on a small screen and Ant swears I was snoring before the analysis section.

Football always has that capacity for the most extreme memorable highs. Thankfully this was one of them.

FA Cup Winners 2014 and what a belting day, bliss.

A lovely contribution by chas and his family

 

 


Champions League draw today

August 8, 2014

I do like it best when we avoid having to play our way into the Champions League. To me, it’s unimaginable that Arsenal would not have a place in Europe’s premier competition and so I’m always worried that there’s a banana skin waiting at this stage.

Last season we breezed past Fenerbahce in the play-offs with Aaron Ramsey scoring two goals in the home leg to finish 5-0 on aggregate.

These are the teams we could face in today’s draw.

Spanish side Athletic Bilbao are in the draw. They finished fourth in La Liga. They were also seeded until Russian side Zenit St Peterburg – who have a higher co-efficient – beat Cypriot side Limassol in the third qualifying round. On paper they are probably the team to avoid.

Arsenal are seeded and so the other unseeded teams that we can be drawn against are FC Copenhagen (Denmark), Lille (France), Besiktas (Turkey) and Standard Liege (Belgium).

The two-legged ties will be played on 19-20 and 26-27 August.

The draw takes place today at 11.00 BST.

MickyDitIt, I believe, is hoping for a trip to Copenhagen although Bilbao would be his second choice.

Whoever it is we meet, I can’t wait to hear the Champions League anthem ringing out around the Emirates Stadium.

peachesgooner

 

 

 


Oi, Wenger, spend some money.

August 4, 2014

One day chicken, next day feathers; I trot this line out at times like this as it always seems to strike the right note.

On Saturday we were already dreaming of where in Islington we would be standing as the bus drove by with our players holding the EPL up high and just one day later we were wondering, more seriously than we had done for a while, just how likely the chances really are of signing Khedira.

Well, I was anyway, shallow moi? You just can’t have enough new toys; that’s what I say.

I actually think that that signing is far more likely than we are allowing ourselves to dream but anyway back to the game.

This is where I should say that is was only a friendly and we shouldn’t read too much into it but grrrrrr, I hate losing. I am sure Wenger learnt a lot from the two games and should be able to pick a formidable side to face City next week.

If Wenger wants to win that game rather than simply give players pitch time then Rosicky is surely a must start; he linked the defence with the attack and moved the play forward with a greater intensity than any other player was capable of yesterday. Rosicky also freed Ramsey up to burst forward with a far more effect against Benfica than he was able against Monaco.

I know it is wrong to start pointing fingers this early on; it was only a friendly as I made clear above – but we are Arsenal supporters and that is what we do. lol

Giroud – really?

I know things didn’t go exactly as planned against Monaco but we all know that amongst our squad we have a very good first team and the one thing we lacked last season: a fast, creative, goal scorer with great control has now been procured. Sanchez is going to give us everything we lacked up front last year and the EPL should be scared, very scared.

Ollie obviously still has a place, there will be teams that suit him more and he can be deployed when needed.

Wilshere?

I can’t, I shouldn’t; it really is too early for that one. All I would say is that I did notice a little boy in the middle of the park pointing at Jack while mouthing something about an emperor and not having any clothes on. OK I lied about it being too early.

Chambers seems more assured that Miguel which was a bit of a surprise to me, maybe, as GIE suggests, he should have gone out on loan earlier.

I was also surprised to read people disagreed with my comment that I expected Chambers to spend the same amount of time on the bench as Jenkinson did last season.

What? Is he going to play ahead of the BFG? No. Is he going to play ahead of Koscielny? No. Debuchy? No, so how is he going to play more than Jenkinson? Come on people, keep up.

Debuchy was almost anonymous yesterday which I liked; he did everything he was supposed to do and did it well, without fuss. And here’s the kicker, his crosses are so much better than Sagna’s, I know I am probably telling some the incredibly obviously equivalent of grass is green but it needs to be said.

So much for Wenger learning not to over use Ramsey, that man is going to work so hard that Welsh pit ponies will feel sorry for him.

And lastly, if you ever wondered why I don’t do match reports after we lose? Well now you know, I am a miserable git.

But this will all change next week after we beat City.

COYRRG

Written by LB

 


Arsenal’s Olympic footballers – heroes and the future

August 1, 2014

As we have seen, the relationship of the FA in the home nations with the Olympics has been a twitchy affair. This was touched upon briefly during the discussion on GN5’s fantastic post on the first Football World Cup in 1930, and subsequently in my posts.

Football was played at the Olympics for the first time in the 1900 Summer Olympics. Two demonstration matches were held between the three club sides. Upton F.C. represented team GB and won. Likewise, the competition in the 1904 Games was also between club sides.

National teams competed for the first time in 1908, though France had two teams. Great Britain won in 1908 and in the following Olympic Games in 1912 as well. We have revisited this part of the Olympics football history earlier.

When the Olympics returned after the war in 1920, Norway defeated Great Britain in the first round. There was great disquiet with the FA and the IOC falling out with each other over the participation of professionals. Ironically, even if Norway were not a professional side, there were good grounds for complaint.

In 1921, the Belgium Football Association first allowed for payments to players for time lost from work, followed by Switzerland and Italy amongst others. In 1923, the Football Association requested FIFA to consider their statement of 1884 as a criterion for selection: “Any player registered with this Association … receiving remuneration … of any sort above … necessary expenses actually paid, shall be considered to be a professional.” FIFA refused, and consequently, Great Britain and Denmark withdrew their participation in football at the 1924 Olympic Games.

Subsequently a rift between FIFA and the IOC developed, and in turn led to the establishment of the Football World Cup. After clarification of amateur status, team GB participated in Olympics football again in 1936, and after the war, in 1948, 1952, 1956 and 1960. Great Britain did not participate in the football competition for 1964, 1968 and 1972 Olympic Games. In fact, after the FA abolished the distinction between amateur and professional players in 1974, it stopped entering a team.

Prior to 1984, men’s Olympic football was only played by amateur players. By the 1992 Games teams could use professionals, but were restricted to players under 23 years old, with only three over-age players allowed per squad. This is the setting for this final part of the story of Arsenal Olympians.

Sadly, however, a new crisis emerged. Since 1992, the UEFA U21 Championship has acted as the qualifying tournament for the UEFA nations, which each of the Home Nations enter. On three occasions, teams from Great Britain have finished in the qualifying positions: Scotland (1992 and 1996) and England (2008). However, the Scottish FA refused to field a team in 1992 and 1996 because such a team would have to participate as Great Britain, which they considered as detrimental to the independent status of Scottish national teams. Likewise, the English FA refused to field a team in 2008.

A century from the start of this story, Great Britain qualified for the 2012 Games and fielded an Olympics football team at home. This team had a substantial Welsh presence, prominently featuring our very own Welshman Aaron Ramsey. Ramsey scored a penalty during normal play and another during the penalty shootout in the quarter-finals, but the British team went out in penalties to South Korea, which also featured another Gooner.

Olympics 2012 Day 1 Men Football - Aaron Ramsey Together with the 5 (and a half) Gooners featured in the previous edition, Ramsey completes the story and celebration of Arsenal players’ contributions towards the Great Britain Olympics team. But what about our foreign players?

There are two stars of this show, the first being one Nwankwo Kanu, (born 1 August 1976), or simply Kanu, who became Arsenal’s third Olympic gold medallist in the 1996 Games. He was a member of and later captained the Nigerian national team for 16 years from 1994 until 2010. He is one of few players to have won the Premier League, FA Cup, Champions League, UEFA Cup and an Olympic Gold Medal.

FOOTBALL/FRIENDLY GAME/FRANCE v NIGERIA

Kanu joined Arsenal from Inter in 1999. His debut for Arsenal, against Sheffield United in the FA Cup, was a highly unusual match. With the score 1–1 and ten minutes to go, the United goalkeeper, Alan Kelly, kicked the ball out of touch so that treatment could be given to an injured player. When the ball was thrown back into play by Ray Parlour, although it was intended for Kelly, Kanu was unaware of the circumstances. Thinking it to be an attacking move, he chased the throw-in down the right wing unchallenged, and centred the ball for Marc Overmars, who promptly scored to make the match 2–1. Immediately after the match Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger offered to right the error and replay the match; in the end, Arsenal won that match 2–1 as well.

Kanu quickly became known for his goalscoring prowess from the bench, and became very popular among the fans for his two-fingered salute – something that he later explained was based on the team’s nickname, The Gunners – which started in 1999 against Middlesbrough. Kanu was named African Footballer of the Year for the second time in 1999, and in 1999–2000 he scored 17 times in 50 matches for the Gunners, including a hatrick in fifteen minutes against Chelsea to turn a 2–0 deficit to a 3–2 victory. Kanu won the Double with Arsenal in 2002, an FA Cup in 2003 and the Premier League title in 2004. In all he played 197 games for Arsenal (nearly half of them as a substitute), scoring 44 goals. In the summer of 2004, he moved to West Bromwich Albion on a free transfer.

In 2008, Kanu was voted 13th in the “Gunners’ Greatest 50 Players” poll. As well as winning the Olympic gold in the football event at 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Kanu participated in the 1998 and 2002 FIFA World Cups.

The 5th and final Gooner to win an Olympics gold medal was Lauren (Etame Mayer). Commonly known as Lauren, he was one of the ‘Invincibles’. He also won an Olympic Gold Medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics with Cameroon. Earlier the same year, he also played for the Cameroon team that won the Africa Cup of Nations.

Etame Mayer, Yao Aziawonou

Lauren joined Arsenal in the summer of 2000, just after his gold medal honour for Cameroon. Lauren’s first season with Arsenal was blighted by injuries. He eventually ended up becoming the club’s first-choice right back, replacing Lee Dixon. By the time Arsenal had won the Double in 2001–02, Lauren was an integral part of the Arsenal defence.

In 2002–03, Lauren suffered a calf injury and again missed part of the season, but nevertheless recovered in time and won an FA Cup winners medal. He was a consistent member of the Arsenal first team during 2003–04 and a became known as one of the ‘Invincibles’ after the club went the whole season unbeaten. Lauren made his 150th appearance for Arsenal during the record breaking run and Arsenal won the Premier League title, giving Lauren his second League winners’ medal.

Lauren won a third FA Cup winners’ medal in 2005, as Arsenal beat Manchester United on penalties after a 0–0 draw in the final; Lauren scored the first of Arsenal’s spot-kicks. However, during 2005–06, Lauren suffered a knee injury and spent nearly a year out of the game. He never played for Arsenal again. In January 2007, Lauren joined Portsmouth.

Better times were ahead though, playing in the Cameroon team that won the 2000 Africa Cup of Nations. He also played in the gold winning team at the 2000 Olympics, ironically against Spain, who could have selected him were it not for his choice of Cameroon.

And finally, here are Arsenal’s other Olympians. In the 1996 Olympic Games, the same year as Kanu won Olympic gold, two other future Arsenal players played for the French team: Robert Pirès and Sylvain Wiltord. Subsequently, 5 Gooners played for their respective countries in the 2008 Olympic Games: Alex Song for Cameroon, Thomas Vermaelen for Belgium, Gervinho for Côte d’Ivoire, Emiliano Viviano for Italy and

Park Chu-Young for South Korea. Park also represented South Korea in the 2012 Olympic Games, this time as one of the three over-age players in the team.

So, finally, here is the score sheet. 15 Olympians (6 from Great Britain) and 4 Olympic gold medallists (2 of them British). Could be better? Perhaps, if the FA wee to consider Olympic football as a means to develop young players.

This seems unlikely. As of Great Britain’s elimination from the 2012 Olympics, there are currently no public plans to reform the team for future Olympic Games. In fact, Alex Horne, in his role as chief-executive of the FA, has stated that the FA would not support a future men’s football team at the Olympics.

However, since other footballing nations, particularly non-European nations appear to consider the Olympics as important for youth development, perhaps this is a good space to watch for and spot future stars. Perhaps this is where some Gooners were watched as well. Where are the scouts?

Written by Arnie.

 

 


My wish list for the coming season.

July 28, 2014

All in all, last season, we improved our points tally and got the monkey off our back by winning the FA Cup and hopefully we can really build on this and carry on the momentum.

Here are a number of things that will help us progress.

First and foremost we need there to be fewer injuries especially long term injuries. There is no doubt that the loss of Ramsey and Walcott restricted our attacking and counter attacking options. Ramsey will be key for us in attack and hopefully he can develop a good understanding with Sanchez, who I am sure will be a revelation and combine this with an ever improving second season from Ozil. Throw Giroud into the mix, who will hopefully gain more confidence from the 22 goals he scored last season, then add an increased number of goals from Podolski and Cazorla and maybe even Ozil himself and the options of increasing our goal tally are spread more evenly.

Wilshere has, IMO, a make or break season and if what he says is true we want to read about his on field improvement, not his private life.

Our defence has to be drilled better, especially against set pieces, and lessons have to be learnt from the four ‘Away thumpings’ we got last season. That puts more emphasis on the coaching staff to make sure that things improve.

Following on from that we need a better ratio of points returned against the other top teams, not only for the three points but for confidence.

I don’t want to see us, time and time again, stumble out of the blocks straight from the kick off and when we do take the lead in many games we must go for the jugular and put games to bed.

Diaby – is he really reincarnated? Let’s hope so as surely a fit Diaby is a bonus for the team even if he manages half the games this coming season.

Wenger has done his buying early as he said he would but I feel we still need perhaps one more player.

I am glad that Szczesny has actually now got competition for his place (Wenger’s words) but as the season rolls on we will see if that actually comes to fruition or not.

Some of the understudies will play a part and others perhaps will go out on loan but we still have nearly five weeks until the window closes and I have a feeling that not all of our business is done.

We have every chance to win the Title with a bit of luck and 100% commitment from whoever plays. More rotation may just be the key.

kelsey


Arsenal’s next Captain

July 15, 2014

The other day LB wrote an interesting post entitled “Is Thomas Vermaelen still needed? This led me to think about the player as a captain and conversely the captain as a player.

Before looking at individuals in those roles I got to thinking just what should we look for in a Club Captain, note the capital letters, in my opinion the Club Captain is equally as important as The Manager, The Chief Executive or The Owner.

So the candidate should be of sufficient stature, not just in a physical sense, but in the status he holds in the game as a whole. To attain the necessary status he must have been around a while, he must be a good enough player to command a starting place in the club’s first team and preferably in his National side as well. He should also have earned the respect of not only his own team but also opposing players and particularly the on pitch officials. Needless to say he must also be media savvy, articulate and able to offer rational answers to irrational questions at times of both elation and disappointment in post match interviews for example.

tony adams

Looking back, I can recall Frank McLintock, sleeves rolled up barking out orders to players, organising his defence at corners and free kicks and generally running things on the pitch. Similarly with Tony Adams and of course Patrick Vieira. Arguably the best Captain I ever saw was the incomparable Bobby Moore, calm authoritative and respected throughout football.

Latterly the armband has been a bit of a poisoned chalice, not only at Arsenal but also at international level with England. Fabregas and van Persie were appointed only to depart shortly after, Vermaelen suffered both a shocking loss of form and a series of injuries and could soon follow the other two out of the club and there are rumours that Arteta could also go if someone of the stature of Khedira or Bender are signed. In the England team the captaincy has, disgracefully, been swapped around more times than at a kid’s game of pass the parcel.

At the moment it appears to me that should Vermaelen leave, the only rational candidate would be Per Mertesacker, but for how much longer can he command that starting place in the team? Longer term we can all hope and expect the appointment of Jack Wilshire, but will it happen?

What are your views on both the Captain’s role as, should it be largely ceremonial, tossing the coin, handing over a little pennant and posing for a snap with the officials or, as the Manager’s voice on the pitch and the players representative off it. Surely there must come a time when a stop is put to the absurd situation of referees being mobbed by a group of angry players, then only the Captain should be allowed to approach the officials, and that will require a calm sensible approach, one more attribute needed for the job.

Who should our next Captain be?

Written by Norfolk Gooner

 


Arsenal to appoint a new captain

June 18, 2014

Arsène Wenger is reported to be ready to appoint a new club captain. With the departure of the present incumbent, Thomas Vermaelen, looking ever more certain the position needs to be filled. Thomas has apparently agreed terms with Man U, although so far no negotiations over a fee have taken place.

What should we be looking for in a captain? Well first off he must be an established and regular starter. He needs to command the respect of the players as well as the fans and he must have sufficient standing within the game to be able to communicate calmly with the on-pitch officials.

The two most influential captains that Arsenal have had in their long history have been Tony Adams and Patrick Vierra and so in my personal opinion any candidate would ideally be a centre-back or defensive mid-fielder and thus be in a position to see the whole game.

Our current vice captain, Mikel Arteta is an obvious candidate but as the appointment must be a long term one he perhaps is ruled out.

So I guess what I am saying is that it comes down to just two possibilities, Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker. Koscielny is a fine player and would make an equally fine captain but overall I’d go for Mertesacker for his general calmness and the stability that he has brought to the team.

I know that a good number of people will be calling for Jack Wilshire to be given the job but as yet he can’t command a regular starting position, although in time I expect him to become our captain and to hold the post for many seasons to come.

Written by Norfolk Gooner

 


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