Monaco: Match report and Player Ratings

February 26, 2015

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

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

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

Then we lost the plot.

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

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

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

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

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

Player Ratings:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Welbeck: Lots of effort, little result.      5

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

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

Rosicky:   Had little opportunity to impress     5

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

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

Onwards and Upwards

written by Big Raddy

 


Is the Arsenal Youth Academy value for money?

January 8, 2015

The other day Arnie put up a picture of an Arsenal Youth Cup squad and Exile listed their current whereabouts. Only three of the players shown are still at Arsenal, Wilshere, Gibbs and Coquelin.

This led me to ponder on the value of our Academy, I’ve been unable to find out just how much is spent annually on it but mention was made some weeks ago about a plan to upgrade the facilities at a cost of several million pounds. I understand that it is already reckoned to be among the best in the country

Despite the money spent and the best efforts of the coaching staff the output, as far as future first team players for Arsenal is concerned, is pretty minimal

Indeed we are continuing to hunt the globe for promising youngsters at other clubs academies. It looks likely that Wenger is planning to sign a young full-back from Ipswich Town, while during our recent defender crisis it was not considered feasible to play any of our home-grown talent either at centre-back or left-back.

You have only to look at some of the incoming youngsters to see what can be done at other academies, a certain Spanish mid-fielder, Walcott (a terrific player but injury prone), Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Chambers.

I know that it is the socially correct thing to give local youngsters the opportunity to make a career in football, but is hoovering up the young talent from around the globe the right thing to do. Particularly when so many are discarded after a year or two.

Is the Arsenal Youth Academy a worthwhile project, or should it be scrapped and the money saved put into the kitty to buy established players?

Written by Norfolk Gooner


Arsenal sink Eastenders

December 28, 2014

A pulsating London Derby resulted in Arsenal taking the spoils in the East End.

Entrance to the Boleyn Ground

Entrance to the Boleyn Ground

An hour long journey for me from North West London to East London was very eventful to say the least. Throughout the train journey there were lots of Hammers fancying their chances in this game given Arsenal’s recent defensive frailties and the return of the ‘woman beating'(allegedly) Andy Carroll who can of course throw his weight around.

As the team sheets filtered through there were many raised eyebrows at the inclusion of young French midfielder Francis Coquelin having recently returned from a loan spell at Charlton Athletic. However, Coquelin would have the last laugh as many Arsenal fans were left pleasantly surprised come the final whistle at Upton Park.

View from the away end

View from the away end

As the Arsenal fans roared into the ground the game got underway and from the start, West Ham applied pressure and hearts were in the mouths as Alex Song’s strike was ruled out for offside much to the relief of the travelling Arsenal faithful. It was evident that being a London derby this was going to be a feisty affair and it lived up to that expectation as there were many tackles all across the pitch. West Ham by this time were trying to exert pressure but the Arsenal defence stood firm.

Then the turning point. The magician Santi Cazorla’s quick feet bamboozled the West Ham centre backs resulting in reported Arsenal target Winston Reid clipping him to the floor and conceding the penalty. The Spaniard dusted himself down to tuck away the penalty himself sending his compatriot Adrian the wrong way.

santi

The opening goal seemed to give Arsenal a morale boost and it was soon followed up by a burst from the Ox who supplied a low cross for Danny Welbeck to score a second and put the Gunners in a commanding position at half time.

Arsenal could hardly believe their luck but there were still concerns in the stands given the aerial threat which the West Ham posed. Per Mertesacker saved a certain goal and then that threat came to fruition as nine minutes into the second half Arsenal failed to clear their lines and Kouyate gave the Hammers a glimmer of hope. Arsenal lived dangerously throughout the second half despite having the chance to kill the game off with Adrian making two great saves from Cazorla and then Chamberlain’s diving header.

There were lots of disgruntled fans however as Arsene Wenger did not bring substitutions on until the closing stages, a time when Chamberlain was tiring. As the closing moments approached the Arsenal’s goal was under siege; the game became scrappy and another headed effort deep into injury time fortunately landed on the roof of the net.

The final whistle blew and a vital three points were going back to North London which Arsenal can build on heading into the New Year’s Day fixture.

Arsenal now climb above their London rivals and with the transfer window only round the corner, there is a fresh wave of optimism and this result can provide an injection of life into Arsenal’s season.

UTA!!

By @SirAHussain14


4-1 to The Arsenal. Talking Points.

December 14, 2014

–   CB’s. In a week when Arsene spoke about The Transfer Market, CB’s and Koscielny, up pops Debuchy in the middle to join another RB , Chambers, to stake a claim as a multi-functional defender. Didn’t see this one coming, but memories of very accomplished performances at the heart of the defence by Bac sprung to mind.

–   Bellerin. “Oh Hector, you are a very good player, and aren’t you the one who can go faster than Theo?”. Watching him yesterday and a song popped into my head, and for the more mature reader, you’ll remember the “you’ll never beat Des Walker”. Speed is such a great asset.

–    Ollie and Danny. It’s effective, but I remain firmly in the either/or camp. I believe Danny will go on to become a really exceptional CF, and it will be interesting to see how things pan out once Mesut returns.

–   One Arsene Wenger. Doesn’t matter whether you think we need a new Manager or not, how nice to see the fans getting behind The Boss after the shit he received last week.

–   The Midfield.  Flamini The Anchor behind the aggressively creative drive of Santi and The Ox. This I like very much. Yes I reckon The DM is the one position more than any other where a “Worldy”  would be improve the side the most dramatically, but this formation had really nice balance.

–   The Ox. Always save the best for last. And exactly what did you think I was going to say about him? Me, blinkered? No, just right on the money J

–   The Match. Five goals, and four of them for us. The early goal to lift the crowd, end to end stuff, and some really nice speedy quality football. It was a good day at the office any way you look at it. We’re set up nicely for a Christmas Push.

Written by MickyDidIt89


Job done!

December 10, 2014

Well! That was a match to savour! Not sure I’ve ever seen a team line-up with three right-backs playing across the back four before, but it made for an exciting game for the neutrals.

Podolski v galatasary

 

An excellent first half for the Good Guys, you really can’t ask for more than a three goal lead at half-time. Podolski and Ramsey, twice, providing a selection of goals to satisfy even the most jaded of football fan’s taste buds. Could easily have been five or even the six we needed to overtake Dortmund.

Ramsey's left foot

 

Wenger rang the changes at half time, quite rightly in the circumstances, but that left us more than a tad open to attack and Galatasaray certainly welcomed the invitation.

According to the BBC, they had thirty-two attempts on goal, though only seven were on target and they only got the ball in the net once. If they had a striker, worthy of the name, the final score would probably have looked a lot less flattering. A bit worrying in view of the teams we are likely to meet in the next stage, but let’s just enjoy the moment.

Written by Norfolk Gooner

 

 


That’s more like the Arsenal of old.

November 27, 2014

After so many indifferent results lately, it was a pleasure not only to to see us reach the knockout stage of the CL yet again, but to see the players play out the game as a unit not as individuals. Both Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund had several key men missing, but one can only play what is in front of you.

There were several stand out performances including Gibbs, Chambers, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Cazorla and the phenomena that is Alexis Sanchez. I am sure you can all add to that list.

As I have mentioned before it is nearly impossible to second guess Wenger, and when the team was announced, there were several gasps that Sanogo was leading the line, yet within seventy five seconds, Yaya gave us that all important breakthrough. He reminds me a bit of a raw Giroud. he is strong, holds up the ball reasonably well and like one or two others needs to concentrate on his finishing. Too early to make an accurate judgement on him, but time will tell.

I was pleased for Santi, who has been woefully out of form, and his two assists for both goals were exquisite, and his all round play was excellent..

The Ox continues to impress and was unlucky not to score with a dipping volley, but his time will come.

What can you say about Sanchez. His work rate is fantastic and even if he drops out of the game from time to time he is the best attacker by a country mile,that we have signed for years. There is definitely a touch of Suarez about him, and any top side would want him in their team.

What pleased me the most was that our passing and understanding between the players was so much better than for most of this season, and I assume there were some hard words spoken to all the players after the United defeat.

Fighting for your place,is no bad thing, so perhaps Arsene will be more ruthless, but we will have to wait and see..

Chambers really is a good prospect and though another who is so young has shaken off a couple of bad performances and had an excellent game. What his best position eventually will be, is open to discussion.

The downside is that Arteta has a calf strain and by all  accounts will be out for a prolonged period and that Podolski unfortunately just doesn’t cut it with Wenger on the field, but to be fair to him he gets next to no playing time.

Let’s hope we can now finally build on this result, buy a couple of class defenders in January, but more importantly get a run of several consecutive wins in the league.

kelsey


Luck be a Lady tonight.

November 26, 2014

This is one of Frank Sinatra’s career highlights (just listen to the arrangement by Billy May and the Nelson Riddle Orchestra). The lyrics tell of a gambler and his relationship to luck and romance.

Last night City were being humiliated at home by a 10 man Bayern and yet with within 3 minutes two of the world’s most reliable defenders make elementary mistakes leading to a highly unlikely MC victory. True, the goals were well taken but the victory was as lucky as I have seen in many a year. Furthermore, MU’s win on Saturday was secured by a healthy dose of good fortune

Some people say “you make your own luck” which quite frankly is total bolleaux. Whilst accepting that hard work has an influence upon results there is such a thing as good fortune and in Arsenal’s case, bad fortune. How else can one explain the two long term injuries in the only area of the pitch we were inadequately covered? Or the shots to goals ratio or the increasing number of wrong refereeing decisions or the opposition scoring more goals than shots taken or two GK’s out or Giroud not in the squad as Welbz gets hurt or the Ozil and Theo situations or the  …..  you get the picture.

Mr Wenger says he is confident we will have a good season, for him to be correct tonight is a good starting point because we play a fine opponent. Borussia Dortmund are tonight’s victims and are having their worst start to a season under Klopp. They have a lengthy injury list yet have already qualified as winners of the group.   As I have written 3 times about Dortmund in the past 2 seasons – that’s your lot about them!

images

Proper Fans

They can be beaten. This is How: We attack with more menace, defend with greater cohesion And our Luck turns. With those three elements in place we can beat anyone.

No need to go through the team, if you bother to read an Arsenal blog you probably have as good an idea as I do! Instead let us look once again at the midfield …. to Flamini or Rosicky? Should Santi be dropped for Podolski?

If Welbeck is injured it must be better to play Podolski with Alexis central than to give another start to Sanogo.  Rosicky may be less defensively capable but Flamini brings nothing to the attack and Tomas always brings momentum from midfield. We are at home – we attack. Simple. But Mr Wenger will almost certainly disagree and start with the Arteta/Flamini axis.

What a night for young Martinez.  A first home start for the 22 y.o. Argentinian – please let the gods of good fortune shine upon him and give him an error free evening.

Ox to score tonight. You can do it for England now do it for those who pay your wages!

Very Important. How do we influence a change of luck? I have tried changing lucky socks – didn’t work. I have moved my Ganesh to face the TV screen – nothing changed.  Stopped using my lucky toothpaste – nada. Changed my lucky Valpolicella to a so far unlucky Merlot. Stopped eating the lucky cake and am trying various crispy snacks. Stopped wearing my 49’er shirt and gone back to wearing the home shirt. All to no avail.

Have you got any ideas?

COYRRG

Written by Big Raddy

 

 


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