Ninety Seconds of Ecstasy

February 8, 2016

Bournemouth at Dean Court and tickets for away fans were as rare as rocking horse effluent. Saturday’s results for Leicester and the spuds added weight to the feeling that this fixture was a mighty crucial one if the Gunners were going to get our season back on track and have any serious hopes of a tilt at the title.

Second-guessing the manager is always difficult and the announcement of the line-up for the day always elicits murmurs of dissatisfaction or approval from the tactical experts amongst our fans. Gabriel kept his place alongside Kos, The Ox was preferred to Joel and Mr Levulinic Acid kept his place as pointer-in-chief. Some were quick to diss the club about Elneny not featuring again but the subsequent news of the birth of his child does provide some perspective perhaps. emoticons_small

Predictions of an apocalyptic storm were also a little premature as the worst of the bad weather was due to hit later in the day. This was good for The Arsenal as poor weather often levels the playing field and it becomes difficult for real quality to shine.

The game began tentatively for us when Gabriel got wrong side and Petr Cech was forced to sweep up the danger. In the 8th minute Flamini nearly ruined our chances by jumping into a tackle. Lee Mason would have had no hesitation in sending him off. Luckily for us, we had a friend in Kevin and he, quite rightly in my opinion, deemed the challenge a yellow as Mathieu clearly got his feet to the ball long before the Bournemouth player got anywhere near. I wouldn’t go as far as Arsene when he said it should have been a free kick to us, though. emoticons_small

Our first big chance fell to the left foot of Alexis from a curling ball from Rambo. Unfortunately he just couldn’t keep the ball under the bar.

Our first league goal since Anfield was a joy to behold. A teasing, floated highball into the box from Aaron was met with a superb header back across the box from Ollie, followed by a gorgeous thump from Mesut with his right foot. What a marvellous feeling it is celebrating a goal of such beauty!

mesut

The away boys were still singing the new Mesut song when the ball broke to Rambo on the edge of the D. He fed The Ox whose laser-guided strike cannoned in off the foot of the far post. There were 88 seconds between the goals. It only takes a second to score a goal and only 88 to give Gooners worldwide that floaty feeling that maybe this could be our day for a welcome change.

Consolidation was required and I can’t remember too much more from us on the attacking front for the rest of the first half. Gabriel got the wrong side of Pugh again after 30 minutes and Hector’s speed came into its own with another brilliant last second tackle. Nacho was caught unaware of the position of the player outside him just before halftime but Petr continued to confirm what a magnificent buy he was by snuffing out the danger in an instant.

the ox

The second half began slowly but was enlivened by a Sanchez fizzer which the keeper did well to get a hand to. Giroud managed to get a firm header from a Mesut corner but his effort was too straight to be too dangerous. Then came a superb run from Alexis around the outside of the Bournemouth left full back and only required a tap in. As RA commented, Giroud did look a little as though he was ‘scratching his a*se’ instead of busting a gut to get into a more dangerous position. I noticed in the Leicester v City game that Okazaki always tries to get in front of the defender at the near post whenever an early cross is about to be fired in. Arsenal, beware.

Much of the second half was taken up with speculative long range pot shots from the Cherries which would have looked more at home in the Six Nations matches. Gabriel grew into the game (as Rocky pointed out) and, along with Kos, looked more and more assured in the second half. I also think GIE is right that Gabriel’s pace will be really useful against Leicester’s counter attacks next weekend. (Guaranteed now that the BFG will play!)

Our final chance fell to Ramsey on the break in the last minute of the 90 and it was annoying he couldn’t seem to control the ball long enough to either beat the keeper or set up Giroud with a tap in. Petr Cech yet again showed his class with a double save in the final minute of the 3 extra. The first Bournemouth shot was fired in from 12 yards and saved with his left leg, his view partially obstructed by an outrushing Kos, and the second was made at full stretch from a longer range drive low down to his near post. What a purchase the man was!

Conclusion and Questions

A vital 3 points and, having overcome the inertia of our poor run, the start of some upward momentum, hopefully.

Will Gabriel continue to play in place of the teutonic telegraph pole?

Will Le Coq achieve the required sharpness to displace the Flamster?

Can the Chuckle brothers find some real form for the run-in?

Mohamed Elneny – congratulations emoticons_small

Ratings

Cech – Another clean sheet – I wonder what his final record will be set at? – 9

Bellerin – his magnificent recovery tackle soon after we went two up was important – 8

Koscielny – I always feel reassured when he’s playing – 8

Gabriel – slow start but game time improved his play immeasurably – 7

Monreal – Not one of his marauding performances but competent – 7

Ramsey – MOTM according to the TV, better first half than second and instrumental in the goals – 8

Flamini – Please stop leaving the ground with both feet, Mathieu. Thank heaven we still have him in the squad, though – 7

Ozil – “We’ve got Ozil, Mesut Ozil, I just don’t think you understand” – 9

The Ox – Super goal, tried hard, yet to find his best form  – 7

Giroud – Great assist for the first, some fine layoffs – 8

Alexis – it’s so nice having the livewire back in the team – 8

Subs

I thought Le Coq looked a little rusty and can see why the Flamster is still getting a game. There’s no substitute for match sharpness. Likewise for Gibbo (though with much less time on the pitch yesterday, admittedly) – I’m not sure either knew exactly what their role was when they came on.

Written by chas


Black Cats in the Cup – Not For Long?

January 9, 2016

This is a mobile pre-match from your roving disgraceful supporters Ant and Duck. Apologies for any lack of quality. BR has technical difficulties.

Rumours are that Fat Sam will field a weakened Sunderland line-up. No-one rates the FA Cup anymore except Micky.

Who would you like to see play today for the good guys?

Ant and Duck predicted line-up

Ospina

Gibbo Gabriel BFG Debuchy

Chambers Arteta

Ramsey

Ox Giroud Walcott

Sunderland is one of our favourite away trips, but we really could do without a replay. Will our second string have enough to beat their ‘weakened’ team?

I’d imagine we’ll have a strong bench in case of emergencies.

Fat Sam allegedly said that a full press causes leg injuries – his teams need strong necks!

written in a huge hurry by Ant and Duck


An unlikely Arsenal Hero

January 6, 2016

Not even a flicker of an eyebrow was detected amongst the Arsenal faithful in January of last year, and of course I refer to the return from loan of one Francis Coquelin.

Returning from an uninspiring mere five start loan period at Charlton Athletic, this multi-functional  utility player went on to transform the Gunner’s midfield, and develop into one of the first names on our team sheet as our defensive midfield lynchpin.

An unlikely hero if ever there was one.

Could such a phenomena occur again this season, and if so, who are the unlikely candidates.

Serge Gnabry

Joel Campbell

Callum Chambers

The Egyptian

The Ox

Errrr

Ps Errr is where your thoughts and suggestions appear :)

Written by MickyDidIt89


Gabriel and Ox to start?

December 28, 2015

How can our team beat the Northern Oilers and then get absolutely demolished by S’ton? It is so typical of the last 10 years. Unfathomable.

If I had to pick a first 11 out of the 22 that took the field on Boxing Day 10 would be Gunners. Is this my AFC bias? I don’t think so – which is why such a defeat came as major shock. An unlucky one goal loss like WBA away one can understand but a 4 goal drubbing??

images-1

Mr Wenger will be looking to get us back on track today against a surprisingly in-form Bournemouth. Let there be no doubt, B’mouth can leave the Emirates with a good result. A 6 game unbeaten run including wins over Chelsea, WHU and MU are evidence of a team brimming with confidence but today I expect us to recover some pride.

Wouldn’t it be great if the Ox could find some form? The man has unquestionable quality and is one of England’s great hopes but what has happened? Is it confidence, over-training, trying too hard – whatever it is he needs to get back to form or face a career as a squad player.

I would like to see Gabriel start, he is going to be a top CB and needs pitch time to establish a partnership with Kos, though today I would like to see the Frenchman rested after a poor game against the cheating Long.

Chambers in midfield? Surely not. Gibbs instead of Monreal? Unlikely. Ox to play instead of whom? If it is to be Giroud then Theo plays centrally.

We are at home, Leicester have a tough game, we can be top going into 2017.

Let it be so

COYRRG


Who is more likely to succeed: Oxlaide-Chamberlain or Joel Campbell?

November 2, 2015

A political hierarchy exists at Arsenal as it does at most clubs. Players with a greater potential long term value will get priority over those who may be as good but are not seen as being as big an asset in the future.

This has driven me to distraction on occasions. Many times I have thought that Walcott got picked over someone better suited, most infuriatingly during 2007/2008 season, the one in which Eduardo broke his leg. Theo was being selected for no other reason, as far as I am concerned, than the price we paid for him and his perceived future value to the club. Remember when everyone used to call out Theeeeoooo, Theeeeoooo, honestly, more often than not he was so ineffectual it was like playing with ten men. I remain convinced that Walcott’s continuous selection was the core reason we failed to win the league that season.

Being selected when better options are available also applies to Wilshere. At the beginning of last season Wilshere was being picked ahead of the outstanding Cazorla which made no sense to me. Looking ahead though, now that Santi has moved further back it is easier to see where Jack’s future lies, subject to injury, there will eventually be a straight swap. Wilshere will play deep midfield — not attacking midfield.

I digress, back to the point.

To a similar degree the same is true of Oxlaide-Chamberlain’s selection over Joel Campbell. The Ox is not obviously better but he has a far higher sell on value than Campbell does and so, in the past, has been chosen ahead of him; to be clear, I am not suggesting that the club have plans to sell OC but they wouldn’t want him to get too unhappy or he might start thinking about moving himself, this applies to an even greater extent with Ramsey who himself has been shoe horned into the right wing. Now, with Oxlaide-Chamberlain injured Wenger no longer has to inadvertently take future importance into consideration.

If you think about it, the last time we saw Campbell surrounded by decent players for a length of time was in the World Cup and he was impressive. Campbell’s goal against Swansea will do him the world of good; he should now be able to relax and give us a bit more of what we saw of him on that global platform.

As for who is most likely to succeed out of the two, I think the Ox may edge it, but Campbell could keep him out for most of this season if he continues scoring.

LB


The Month of The Ox

October 24, 2015

I was born in the Year of the Monkey or was it the Squirrel or the Lemon? Anyway, I was born. Ramsey’s injury gives The Ox a month to cement his place in the side. It is the Month of the Ox.

Much of Mr Wenger’s Friday press call was devoted to questions about Ramsey and whether AW was guilty of over-playing him, Easy in hindsight. In my opinion a better focus would be upon Oxlade-Chamberlain. Here is a young man who is an established England International and yet has no place in his club’s first team.

I am a huge fan of young Alex. He has it all – strength, speed, fine ball-control, a powerful shot, an eye for a pass and he can tackle. The negatives of his game are the desire to keep the ball in defence rather than find Row Z, a lack of appreciation of where his position should be when Bellerin is attacking and a tendency to hold onto the ball too long. All of which can be rectified by a run of games, and now he has his opportunity to develop and shine.

The big question is  – Will he? Ramsey provides energy that few can compete with, which is one of the reasons we are so strong late in the game. We need the same from Ox.

Enough of that ….

Unknown-1

Everton: I have always liked them – proper club with history and tradition. In most games I want them to win but I hope they get a hiding this afternoon. They lost against a rampant MU who were smarting from having their arses tanned at The Emirates, logically we should beat Everton, unfortunately there is little logical in football.

Any team with the quality of Lukaku, Barkley, Kone, Mirallas, Coleman, Jagielka and the excellent John Stones will cause problems. My hope is that Everton continue to play the expansive game which Martinez favours rather than the Pulis kick and run stuff. I was at The Em’s when Everton dominated the game in a 1-1 draw in 2013 with both sides committed to attack. Barkley was excellent that day and if Everton can repeat that performance we will struggle.

What is there not to like about Everton? Well, let’s start with that little shitehawk Naismith. This bloke is plain nasty – he reminds me of a second rate Billy Bremner, happily he is unlikely to play today. I don’t like their kit – blue home kits are the sign of the devil.

As to us.: Will AW rotate given this is our 3rd game in 6 days? I would and expect Debuchy to get a run, though Bellerin is becoming a vital cog in the team and his partnership with Chamberlain needs to develop.

Everton are too good to take to many chances with, as such there will not be too much tinkering. Possibly Gabriel for Koscielny. Other than that I can’t see much change being possible.

The huge input necessary to beat possibly the world’s best team on Tuesday could have it’s repercussions today, let’s hope not.

We are playing terrific football, beating very good sides using a multiplicity of tactics – it is a time to enjoy being an Arsenal fan, a time to wear the scarf with pride  (though of course, not the full-kit) .

A win tonight takes us to A Number One, Top of the List, King of the  Hill. Let its be so.

COYRRG


The Kids Are Alright….. mostly

September 21, 2015

Sky Sports had Hector Bellerin as their guest pundit for the Barca/Levante game (ex-Barca). He was very good. Highly intelligent with perfect English, smartly dressed, good looking, GSOH, plus a fine understanding of tactics and how to defend; remarkable for a young man of just 20 who came to England just 4 years ago (have I done a good selling job?)

Plus he has said that his future is at AFC, which is great news.

We have a fine core of young players who seem to be committed to the club with Bellerin being the latest to become a first team regular. Coquelin, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gabriel, Ramsey, Chambers, Szczesny, Coquelin, Wilshere, Campbell, Welbeck are all under 24 y.o and Walcott, Gibbs, Sanchez and Ozil are all just 26.

Why is this important? Because if (and it is a Big If) Mr Wenger can keep all these players happy and at Arsenal then the future is very rosy. They will grow together as a team, develop understandings both on and off the pitch and hopefully become a major force over the coming few years.

But what of the others?  Koscielny, Debuchy, Monreal, Cazorla and BFG are all 29 or 30, and Giroud is 28 (still time for improvement!). They all have a couple of years left as squad players but I expect at least a couple of them to be sold next summer.

Mr Wenger is meticulous about having a squad with a blend of ages allowing youthful exuberance to be allied to hard-earned experience.

It was unusual when AW signed a relatively aged 29 y.o. Debuchy – perhaps he knew how good Bellerin would be and bought Debuchy to ease Hector into the first team without too much pressure, though Sagna had just left and we needed a replacement.

Keeping Rosicky (34) was an odd decision unless Mr Wenger expects him to join the coaching staff and wants Tomasz to learn the ropes. Flamini (31)? Must be a contract thing. Arteta (33) still has a short-term role to play as speed has never been a part of his game and Cech at just 33 has at least 5 years as a top GK (think Seaman/Schmeichel/Buffon/Lehmann etc).

Next summer will see a few youngsters added to the first team squad, Akpom, Jeff and a couple of 25 y.o.(+-) purchases, to replace the older chaps thus keeping our squad young and fresh.

The young core of the squad is exciting and bodes well; allied to a couple of megastar purchases we will be cushtie

written by Big Raddy


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