There’s Only One ……

October 1, 2014

First things first……

Congratulations to Mr. Wenger on his 18th Arsenal Anniversary. You do not look like a man who enjoys a cream cake and a bottle of Asti Spumante so instead we will take the cheap route and send best wishes.

What a fantastic ride it has been from the DB10 years, through the TH14 years and now onto the DW23 era. Thank you.

Unknown-1

“I left the Afghan coat in the 2CV”

Right, let’s get onto what will be a difficult game. It would be a tough one had we been on form and given our inability to find cohesion this season  …. yadda yadda yadda.

Galatasary are only in the competition because their city rivals and league champions Fenerbahce were very bad boys and not allowed to play in the CL so the Turkish runners-up took their place.  They like Italian managers and have employed both Mancini and Prandelli over the past season – we can expect a compact, counter attacking team. They have some fine players including the mercurial (read unreliable) Sneijder. In Yilmaz and Pandev they have strikers who will cause problems to our brave lads but as always in CL games at The Emirates it will be the quality of the opposition defence which will determine tonight’s result.

And talking of defensive quality, let’s talk Eboue. Tonight should have seen his return to his real home club but instead poor Emmanuel will be sitting elsewhere. His star has faded in Turkey and as far as I can find out Eboue hasn’t even travelled with the squad. Apparently he has been relegated to the reserves. What a shame. It would have been great to hear “You’ve only come to see Eboue” sung once more at THOF.

Onto The Arsenal. Much is made of our injury record and with good cause. Just a few games into the season and we have already lost 4 first team starters (and Diaby is being rested for tonight :-D ). It must be hugely frustrating for Mr, Wenger to see his squad depleted year after year. However, as always it gives opportunities for others to shine and a few games for the Ozil/Alexis combo to fire.

With so many midfield and attacking options picking a team is guesswork but  …

My Team:1st october

Hard to leave out Cazorla who is such a marvellous player. Perhaps my line-up is too attacking though Alexis is very good at tracking back and helping the midfield. It will be fascinating to see how the team sets up when Walcott returns in just a few weeks.

Against Spurs Ox had a fine game and I expect him to continue his good form tonight. Last season’s injury robbed him of a breakthrough year; at almost 21 he is on the path to super-stardom and a run of games will convince Mr Wenger that The Ox is undroppable (hopefully!). AW predicted that Ox will be a central midfielder …. we shall see.

I am always loathe to predict a victory but if Arsenal are to progress we have to win tonight. 10 points is the target and given the drubbing we got in Dortmund we cannot assume we will beat them at home (of course we will BR – you doomer), so a win and a draw away plus two home victories will be enough.

A win tonight will set us up for a tough game at Chelsea. It will also give a boost to the fans at the Emirates who are starting to lose the feel-good factor left over from the FA Cup win.

On an Anniversary night Let it be So.

written by Big Raddy


Ox to step up?

September 20, 2014

Well, the fans have giving the team a good kicking this week, we can only hope they pass it on to Aston Villa this afternoon.

Unknown

We are always unlucky about meeting a team as they are in good from and today is no exception. Given last season’s miserable performances it was more likely that Lambert would be sacked rather than make his young team into the formidable opponents they will be post kick-off. Fair play to the man.

Or could it be his assistant who has engendered this startling change of form? Keane doesn’t like Arsenal, never has. He does however respect The Arsenal and has been involved in may victories over us. Has he learned from Surralex? I am convinced he has and expect to see Villa play the same way MU did when they could beat us … that is, with violence. Not just violence but cunning violence. Expect the game to start with a flurry of  nasty tackles on our creative players (rotational of course). How the game develops from here will depend upon two things

1. How our delicate flowers respond to a bit of aggressive pruning (just for you Peaches :-) )

2. The strength of the referee. Today we are blessed with Mike Jones.

Before discussing Jones may I remind you of how the referee affected the game in our opening fixture last season. Anthony Taylor was so poor he was demoted – deservedly so. Do you recall how he waved play on after a TPIG foul in the area and then when Agbonglahor missed gave a penalty (which they scored)

Where was I? Ah yes, Mike Jones. Last season in 32 games he gave out 108 yellows and 3 reds. Yes, you read that right! This season after 3 games 10 yellows and one red. This chap is card happy. Will this be a good thing this afternoon? The stats do not show whether he is affected by the home crowd as so many refs are. We must hope not and that he continues to brandish yellow each time one of AV’s thugs ploughs through the back of our heroes.

We welcome the return of Big Phil. A player I have always liked – not Arsenal quality but a top bloke and one of Peaches faves. Alongside Vlaar he makes a fine CB partnership and with two quality FB’s Villa have become very difficult to break down. Especially as they have a busy midfield with Delph showing just why he was so highly rated as a teenager at Leeds.

Upfront, they rely upon pace which is not good news for BFG. Breakaway goals are an AV speciality and we can only hope the lessons of Tuesday night have been learned. We cannot afford to be too gung-ho.

Arsenal:  Please, please play Oxlade-Chamberlain today. I don’t care who gets dropped, we need his energy and drive.

The difficulty as I see it is how does a player recover from a bad bout of form without playing? Ramsey is one of our best players but of late has been completely anonymous (apart from scoring two vital goals 😃 ). Can Mr Wenger drop him? Can he drop Ozil?  Of course he can but will he?

Can Sanchez play twice a week given the amount of energy he expends during a game? Or Welbeck, who has covered more ground in 3 games than Giroud does in 6.

This is a tough team to guess but let’s try

 Villa 2014

I am excited to see Chambers get a run in the position he was bought for. Once again we have a powerful bench though lacking in defensive possibilities

Being in the Midlands the food I associate with Villa is always a curry – so I will choose one of my favourite dishes, a Daal Makhani. I read that one of the best can be purchased at the Sanskrit in Stratford Rd.. Add in a Paneer Marsala and a few breads and you are assured a veritable eating extravaganza.

images

All it needs is a chilled Lager

Birmingham is home to a host of famous drink and food brands. Typhoo tea, Birds Custard, Bournville cocoa, Cadbury’s chocolate and HP sauce all originate in Brum.

Can we win today? Of course. Our team will be desperate to absolve themselves after the Dortmund Debacle. If it goes tit’s up it will not be because of lack of effort. We have attacking talent in spades, our defence will be augmented by the excellent Gibbs, and we have a fine record at Villa Park

COYRRG

written by Big Raddy


Arsenal’s Weak Spots

September 10, 2014

Last night Aaron hobbled off with an ankle injury, and although we won’t know until later the severity, it made me wonder about our vulnerability to injury.

At the beginning of last season, I would have said the areas of most concern would have been injuries to Theo, Ollie or one of our defensive pairing of Mert and Kos.

During the season, we witnessed the meteoric rise of Aaron, and by the end of the season it could be argued he was our most valuable player. By valuable, I mean an injury to this player having the biggest negative impact to our overall play.

I think we have covered the CB pairing with the arrival of the phenomenally talented Mr Chambers.

Ollie is now covered by Welbeck as well as Sanchez, and to an extent both can play both Left and Right providing cover for both Theo and whoever is the best Left Sided option.

It is actually very difficult to isolate the weakest spot, as we simply don’t yet know how the new side will settle down, and who will ultimately play where and in what formation.

Ozil is as yet far from the pivotal player we anticipate he will become, and I’d say it is possible he becomes the most irreplaceable only if he becomes the fulcrum in the middle. If he continues to be deployed more from the flanks, then I don’t see him as being especially irreplaceable.

Again, it is very hard to assess the key players up top. Either Sanchez or indeed Welbeck could emerge as Key Men. Of course, Ollie could return rejuvenated and become a Must Player.

Overall, and it’s difficult at this early stage of the new look side, but Aaron does appear to me to occupy the “most essential player” slot right now, although overall when fit, Theo still shades it for me.

The other day, a chum asked me who I saw as our most valuable player this season. I answered Theo, but went further to add that my biggest single wish for the season was that either Mesut or The Ox would emerge to challenge Theo for that particular honour.

Written by MickyDidIt89

 

 


………. and Leicester

August 31, 2014

For those who are new to the Emirates or do not go to games the “and Leicester” refers to a terrace chant sung to the tune of Land of Hope and Glory

“We all follow the Arsenal,

Over land and sea ….. and Leicester

We all follow the Arsenal

onnnn tooooo vic-to-ry.”

Why Leicester? Well, in the old days Filbert Street was an awful experience on a wet Wednesday evening; muddy pitch, poor facilities at the ground and very physical opposition. The club moved to the Walkers stadium in 2002 which has been re-named the King Power stadium and this is Arsenal’s first visit to the King Power (as far as I can find out!)

Until a few years ago I liked Leicester. Decent club, well run, loyal and vocal fans  – then they signed Robbie Savage.

I have a mental top ten of the first people to be executed when the world finally sees sense and makes me World President. Savage has always been up there – not at the top, but always there or thereabouts.

Perhaps my affection for Leicester stems from my admiration for one of their stalwarts who became an Arsenal legend …. Mr Frank Mclintock who captained  LCFC to two losing FA Cup Finals before coming to Highbury and captaining our ’70/71 Double team.

Leicester had a fantastic season in 2013/14. Winners of the Championship with 102 points! The season could hardly have gone better but now they have to find out if they can survive with the Big Boys. What do you think? They haven’t spent big just adding experience to the squad and relying upon the abilities of the team which brought them promotion.

Unknown-1

I like the Schmeichel son. He may be a smaller version of his brilliant father but he is nonetheless an excellent keeper whose career path is interesting. I wish him well but hope he has a stinker today. We also have a chance to see another old boy in Matthew Upson (injury permitting). There were high hopes for him when he signed for AFC in 1997 (£2m at a time when a million was big money), he struggled and was sent out on loan until finally settling at B’ham and then West Ham. Given Upson is now 35 y.o. we must hope he plays 😃

The Arsenal:  A result today would see us go into the 2 week International break (FFS!) unbeaten. which for a team that has hardly got going is excellent.  It would be churlish to say we are not playing well as qualification for the CL, a home PL victory and a draw away at Everton is a very positive return, but let’s be honest, we have not exactly performed to the heights we know this team can achieve.

I see the problem like many others. How does Mr Wenger want this team to play? I love to see technical players passing intricately all over the pitch but sometimes I would like to see a player put his foot through the ball. Only Flamini seems capable of doing so and for that reason I am hoping to see Podolski’s name on the team sheet. To be fair, the Ox is also a man who can get “physical” with the ball.

Why? Because when going to the Midlands it is important to have “thrust” and we have been lacking in this department so far this season. Giroud sometimes gives us a bit of power and his loss could prove costly, we must hope Mr Wenger has a contingency plan (could be a forlorn hope).  Artistry is all well and good but it must lead to goals.

We have conceded three in 4 games – the defence looks solid., still a little suspect at set pieces but otherwise OK. The return of our CB pairing brings more security as Chambers, good as he is, is not at the level of Koscielny.

My Team:

31st august 14

Now this may be heresy but  when Ramsey is playing I would rather see Ox or Podolski than Cazorla. Santi may well be a wonderful player but especially away from home I would like to see us play a stronger left sided player who is less likely to venture inside. Let Santi come on as sub and provide the type of pass he gave Ramsey last saturday. Podolski adds some strength to a small side and he scores, something we need to do more of.

Big Raddy is going to try and find foods from the region of our away games, so let us start with the humble Pork Pie. Leicester is the birthplace of the pork pie and Melton Mowbray is the zenith of art of pork pie manufacture. Apparently there are 15 Indian food manufacturers in Leicester and  I could easily have chosen Red Leicester or Stilton cheese but there is something about the pork pie and the artisans of Leicester City F.C. It just fits.

Unknown

If I am honest I will be disappointed should we not get at least a point today but yesterday’s results show that nothing can be taken for granted. This much I know – Leicester would be cock-a-hoop should they beat us.

COYRRG

written by Big Raddy


To Sanogo or Not to Sanogo?

August 27, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

images

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

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

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

My Team:

Beskitas home

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

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

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

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

COYRRG

written by Big Raddy


Arsenal’s Top Gunner 2014-15

August 15, 2014

Only three ways to go upon arrival at my Uncle Earnests’ house.

Upstairs. Perfectly clear what his intentions are here. Might hurt, but pretty straight forward stuff. Downstairs into the basement, or what he refers to as his “private dressing room”. Yeah right. Good luck down there. Finally, sideways, down a long corridor and into his Incident Room.

The Incident Room overlooks a large expanse of Scottish sea loch, where Earnest keeps the odd lobster pot. Poachers frequent these wild and isolated open spaces. Earnest does not believe they have any “rights” whatsoever, and are themselves fair game. He had a plan, and it involved me.

My brother and I were lead to the Incident Room. We entered. Holy Crap. The enormous room had its vast French doors flung open. The aperture was filled with a large cannon retrieved from a Spanish Galleon. Ropes securing it some shrubs outside to prevent damaging recoil. Next to the beast was a brass monkey and a pyramid of 2” iron cannonballs.

Into my hands went a box of matches, and into my brothers a hideously dangerous looking mop with its head dripping in paraffin. Earnest stood safely outside with his telescope. “Ready. Light. Fire”.

I’ve been almost deaf in my left ear ever since. Anyhow, the thought of cannons makes me think of The Arsenal and Gunners.

Last season, the surprise package and Top Gunner was Aaron Ramsey. Who could emerge from the shadows during this campaign? Given injury free runs, I think the contenders are Jack, Abou, The Ox, Mesut, Ollie, Yaya, Joel and of course Sanchez.

The reason I’ve selected these boys is that I believe they could all progress to new heights. You will also notice how I have not included any defensive players. This is because they are boring, and are simply there to do a job, not entertain.

Earnest is an entertainer, but has peaked. Who at Arsenal is an entertainer that could fire us to new heights? My money is on The Ox.

Written by MickyDidIt89


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

 


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 498 other followers