Arsenal’s Premier League Championship teams.

April 1, 2015

During Arsene Wenger’s time at Arsenal we have won the Premier League Championship on 3 occasions, 1997/8, 2001/2 & 2003/4. Since our last Championship victory we have finished an average of 14 points behind the Champions the closest was 4 points in 2007/8 and last season was 9 points. This season with 8 games remaining we are 7 points behind the leader Chelsea who also have a game in hand.

Today I want to take a look at the winning squads and our records for our 3 Championship winning seasons.

Here are squads for the winning seasons plus our current side showing only those that played in 10 or more games. (This assumes that Wilshere and Walcott will both play again this season)

PL winning teams 3 (1)

Continuity appears to have played a big part in our 3 Championship years, in 2 of our 3 winning seasons our goalkeepers were dominant – in 1997/8 David Seaman played in 31 games and in 2003/4 Jens Lehmann played all 38 games he was the only player to do so on any of the Championship winning teams.

Defensively Martin Keown played in all 3 of the winning teams while Tony Adams, Lee Dixon, Gilles Grimandi, Sol Campbell, Ashley Cole and Lauren each played in 2 of the sides.

Our mid-fields were dominant with Patrick Vieira and Ray Parlour playing in all 3 teams with Frederick Ljungberg, Robert Pires and Edu being present in 2 of the teams.

We were blessed with some remarkable forwards, the unbelievable Denis Bergkamp was a key part of all 3 of Arsene Wengers PL winning sides – he was a truly World Class Player and an absolute magician with the ball. Thierry Henry and Sylvain Wiltord each appeared on 2 teams.

PL Champs Games Played

 

In 1997/8 there were 7 players who appeared in 30 or more games including 5 from the mid-field in 2001/2 those playing in 30 or more shrank to 5 and in 2003/4 it increased to 9 players.

Here are the records of the winning teams plus our record to date in 2014/15

1997/8 – W23, D9, L6, GF68, GA33, Pts78

2001/2 – W26, D9, L3, GF79, GA36, Pts87

2003/4 – W26, D12, L0, GF73, GA26, Pts90

2014/15 – W18, D6, L6, GF58, GA31, Pts60

Our 2003/4 team achieved what was thought to be impossible, they went unbeaten in 49 Premier League games including the entire 2003/4 season. (It still sticks in my craw that we were denied the chance of continuing our unbeaten streak by a Rooney dive at Old Trafford to gain a penalty).

Which group of players do you think were the best in their disciplines?

Championship marrix

GunnerN5


Bale To Arsenal?

March 24, 2015

There was an amusing incident after Real Madrid’s loss to Barcelona in Sunday’s “El Classico.”

As he was driving away from the stadium after the match, Gareth Bale was shocked to find his car set upon by some angry Madrid supporters.

Now, I have been to Whipsnade Safari Park, I have been to Longleat, I have been to Woburn Abbey, but at none of these venues have I ever seen a situation where the monkey is inside the car and the people are on the outside ripping off the windscreen wipers.

This was just the latest in a string of unfortunate moments for Bale, whose Spanish adventure is turning sourer by the day.

The world’s most expensive player had an OK first season in Madrid but in his second he hasn’t really progressed and seems to be going backwards.

ogbIn Gareth’s defence, it can’t be easy playing alongside the walking ego that is Cristiano Ronaldo. Particularly when the preening ladyboy of international soccer is happy to parade his dislike of Bale very publicly (last week he celebrated a Bale goal by looking like Wayne Rooney had just crapped in his best pair of Nikes).

So now, inevitably, there is much talk of a return to the Premier League for the Welsh wizard, presumably with a price tag considerably lower than the one when he left.

Manchester United are said to be in pole position to repatriate him, but other clubs are also no doubt paying attention. Which brings me to this question: would you like Arsenal to sign Bale?

I know, I know. He used to hang out at that cesspit of subnormality that is known as White Hart Lane (where he was awarded the honorary title of Primate of All Tottenham). But surely even the most churlish of Arsenal supporters would have to admit that – by his final season there – he had turned into a devastatingly effective footballer.

And just think of the anguish it would cause in N17 if their former hero returned to wear the red and white of a real club. It would be Sol Campbell all over again (and would probably lead to another riot season in the swamplands).

So, what do you think? Yes or no? And if we signed him, who would make way: Welbeck? Alexis? Walcott?

Over to you.

Rocky Lives


Steve’s Monday morning ketchup!

March 23, 2015

Morning all,

I did a work party for my fishing club Sunday morning, so missed our chats on this weekends football, we cut down tree’s and tidied the banks up and I ache like a schoolgirl who played her first Hockey game, shows you i am getting old. Well what about our game with Newcastle then. I would say we started off cautiously but got into our game and I felt we took the first half to them.

Our first goal came a little unexpected I thought, a cross and a bit of a knee jerk by Oli who directed the ball past the Newcastle goalkeeper.  That goal came when we needed it, I felt the lads had been passing the ball around nicely and deserved the goal. Newcastle of course were gutted but also had a couple of chances, but we just kept plugging away until our next next goal came about. Another cross and Oli boy got his nut on it, and steered it into the far corner, I have to say we were looking good.

The Arsenal team had endured a tough week. Their trip to Monaco had started to take its toll. Although a good win out there 2-0 still wasn’t enough to go through and so it had felt like a loss.  Our game with Newcastle probably came at the right time, not too long to wait and an away fixture as well. Newcastle have not been playing that well and had a few missing, and we had managed to get a two goal lead by half time.

The second half started in lively fashion –  I can only assume that the Newcastle Manager had thrown a tantrum at his players in the dressing room, where our Arsene would only have simply said keep it going lads. The Newcastle players came out like a different side. Our players were being closed down as Newcastle stepped up the pace. As we have seen before, we do have a tendency to give the ball away when pressed.

Newcastle’s new momentum paid off when a nice move was rewarded by a  goal early in the second half.  The Arsenal players looked surprised, but I have to say they also looked a little jaded as well. Newcastle kept the pressure on encouraged by the home supporters as they searched for an equaliser, but our team kept it tight and kept them out.

By the end that we looked a little shell shocked, but we weathered the storm and came away with all three points – who can ask for more. I have to say that the hard week did reflect our play in the second half, and I worry that fast shutting down does seem to unhinge us; strange as when we had the majority possession in the past, we still managed to keep control, we now when pressed look all at sea. But a win and a crucial 3 points were achieved and that carries us past the potentially tricky hurdle of Newcastle, safe with another victory and still in the chase for the top two.

The other results  that affected was City against West Brom. City also had a tough week, getting hammered by Barcelona, and also being put out of Champions league. With W. Brom down to 10 men early on, as their task was considerably easier as they managed a 3 nill win, so nothing gained there.

Hull 2 Chelsea 3: Chelsea took a quick 2 goal lead, it may have looked like it was going to be an easy match for them, but Hull reacted strongly and fired two goals to level the score, now it was Chelsea who looked stunned . Maureen looked like a man who had just found out his Mrs had left him, but although Hull pressed them Chelsea got the decider to take the points no change there.

Liverpool 1 Man Utd 2.  This was the game that could make a difference to those chasing us. Mata popped up with a  splendid goal that rocked Liverpool, at Half time changes was made and it looked as if Brenda had told Gerrard to put it up them a bit. this was to be Liverpool’s undoing. Gerrard took it a step too far as he put in a fierce challenge on Herrera and took exception to the manu player’s follow through and lost his composure only to stamp on the player right in front of the referee. Gerard rightly received his marching orders and it was only a matter of time until United scored their second. Liverpool did fight back but that just resulted in what I thought was a tight penalty decision close to the end. Rooney stepped up but the Liverpool keeper saved. The game finished 1:2 and Liverpool drop back in their bid for top 4 whilst united’s push for top 3 / 4 is aided by the 3 points.

Just a little change there.

Chelsea have the edge at this stage, City next with us just a point behind them, and United a point behind us – but still anything is possible. So now for a little rest which i feel has come at a right time for all, rest and recuperate, and come back a lot sharper and start all over again for the final push.

Steve Palmer

Will Arsenal make it 19 in a Row?

March 19, 2015

The race for the top four Premier League positions is on in full force. Twenty nine games played and just nine games left. Fourteen teams still have a mathematical chance of finishing in the top four but I will only concentrate on the battle involving the top seven.

Chelsea still appears to be Championship favourites although their form has dipped of late and as it’s dipped their tactics have become even cruder. So far this season their only slip ups against non top seven teams were draws with Burnley and Sunderland and a loss to Newcastle. They only have three remaining games against the top seven – United and Liverpool at home and Arsenal away. I fully expect them to play ultra defensive football, hoping for a breakaway goal but happily settling for a point in each of the three games, while winning all of their remaining games against the non top seven teams.

However they have only managed to gain 19 out of 30 points in their last 10 PL games so my prediction may be overly optimistic.

My predictions are -

Hull – away win, Stoke – home win, QPR – away win, Man U – home draw

Arsenal – away draw, Leicester – away win, Crystal P – home win

Liverpool – home draw, WBA – away win, Sunderland – home win

Last 10 games DLWWDWWDWD (Pts % 63.3)

Current points 64

Projected points 88

Manchester City is difficult to predict as their form is inconsistent at best and erratic at worst, which was highlighted by their loss to Burnley. Against the non top seven teams they have drawn with QPR, Burnley, Everton, and Hull and lost to Stoke, West Ham and Burnley. Against the top seven they have already dropped 12 points.

City has only managed to win just 50% of the points in their last 10 games so they will have to turn things around to hold on to second place.

My predictions are –

WBA – home win, Crystal P – away win, Man U – away win, West Ham – home win

Aston Villa – home win, Tottenham – away draw, QPR – home win

Swansea – away draw, Southampton – home win

Last 10 games WDLDDWWLWL (Pts % 50.0)

Current points 58

Projected points 81

Manchester United have really ridden their luck this season by winning games that they should have lost but they are now heading into a run of very difficult games. After their loss to Arsenal in the FA Cup ended their hopes of any trophy’s this season their consequent win against Tottenham will be a boost to their confidence.

My predictions are –

Liverpool – away draw, Aston Villa – home win, Man City – home loss

Chelsea – away draw, Everton – away win, WBA – home win

Crystal P – away win, Arsenal – home draw, Hull – away win

Last 10 games DLWWDWLWWW (Pts % 66.7)

Current points 56

Projected points 74

Liverpool is showing some impressive form and is undefeated in their last 13 PL games.

I only see Pool dropping points against Man U, Arsenal and Chelsea. In their last game against Swansea they rode their luck but in the end they won the game on a very fortunate deflection. I see them as legitimate contenders for a PL place.

My predictions are –

Man U – home draw, Arsenal – away draw, Newcastle – home win

Hull – away win, WBA – away win, QPR – home win

Chelsea – away draw, Crystal P – home win, Stoke – away win

Last 10 games WWWDWWWWW (Pts % 86.7)

Current points 54

Projected points 75

Tottenham have beaten both Arsenal and Chelsea in their last 10 games but have also lost to Man U and Liverpool so they are very unpredictable, in their  0-3 loss at Old Trafford they did not look like a team capable of finishing in the top four.

Our shadow over the North London midgets is getting bigger and darker by the year.

My predictions are –

Leicester – home win, Burnley – away win, Villa – home win

Newcastle – away win, Southampton – away draw

Man C – home draw, Stoke – away draw, Hull – home win

Everton – away draw

Last 10 games WLWWWLDWWL (Pts % 63.3)

Current points 50

Projected points 69

Southampton seems to have run out of steam and have dropped 13 points in their last 10 games. In their last game they gained a point at Stamford Bridge and looked good in the process. I only see them losing to Man C in their final 9 games but I cannot see them making the top four.

My predictions are –

Burnley – home win, Everton away draw, Hull – home win

Stoke – away draw, Tottenham – home draw, Sunderland – away win

Leicester – away win, Villa – home win, Man C – away loss

Last 10 games WWWLWDLLWD (Pts % 56.7)

Current points 50

Projected points 68

Arsenal has won eight of the last 10 PL games and our only losses were to Tottenham and Southampton. During this period only Liverpool gained more points winning 26 while we won 24. I cannot remember the last time our squad looked so strong with only 9 games left in the season.

Our key players are close to their top form with Cazorla, Ozil and Alexis just oozing class. Ramsey and Walcott still have a way to go but it’s great to see them both fit again – they will be needed. Ospina has been very steady in goal and shows a lot of confidence, which spreads to the team.  Coquelin has added some steel and tenacity to our midfield while Giroud proved his worth with his performances against West Ham and Monaco. My main concern is with our full back positions, we always seem to be exposed down the flanks – when they make their forays downfield our center backs are drawn out of position while they are covering for the absentee’s.

My predictions are –

Newcastle – away win, Liverpool – home draw, Burnley – away win

Sunderland – home win, Chelsea – home draw, Hull – away win

Swansea – home win, Man U – away draw, WBA – home win

Last 10 games LWWWLWWWWW (Pts % 80.0)

Current points 57

Projected points 78

The season will hinge on the following 10 games and will most likely be decided based on the outcome of the first seven of them.  To be honest they are the type of games that should decide the championship – the best against the best – I await them with nervous anticipation.

 Arsenal v Liverpool

Arsenal v Chelsea

Man U v Arsenal

Chelsea v Man U

Chelsea v Liverpool

Liverpool v Man U

Man U v Man C

Spurs v Man C

Man C v Saints

Spurs v Saints

I firmly believe that we are up for the task – how about you?

To arrive at my final conclusions I’ve predicted the outcome of 54 games so I’m bound to be wrong but how wrong do you think I am?

19th march

GunnerN5


Ramsey, Welbeck or Walcott

March 14, 2015

West Ham are a strange club; steeped in history – a working man’s club graced with creative artists. A Football Academy with extreme right wing fans (just a few of them). And today a manager who has changed the club from a side who yo-yo’ed between the leagues to one which is secure in the PL, has European aspirations and are difficult to beat. And play decent football.

Who would have thought that Allardyce could change his football ethos to fit the demands of the West Ham fans? Not Big Raddy. That said, West Ham’s tactics still include a lot of hoof-ball and crosses to the big central striker and they are not afraid to practice the Dark Arts.

Fat Bob used to take me to see WHU, the fact that he had a season ticket at Upton Park showed a mental infirmity – perhaps it is his need for understanding and emotional support which has kept us friends for 30 years.

Right enough of them – if you want to know about tactics and players and that sort of in-depth, well- researched essaying you will have to look elsewhere.

Arsenal:: Ox is injured who gets his place? My first thought was for Rosicky – he is such a great player and in a game which will involve a midfield battle his positivity may win the day but Mr Wenger likes to keep him on the bench as insurance, so which player takes Ox’s place will depend upon whether Mr Wenger wants to push Santi forward or keep him playing alongside Le Coq.

If Santi is pushed forward Ramsey may play. If not, there is space for an extra forward. Welbeck playing central worked at OT but I would bet Terry’s hairpiece that OG will start this afternoon. Will Welbz be benched or take up a role on the wings? If he does, whither Walcott?

Unknown

Testing Day for David?

Luxury problems aren’t they? I expect to see Ramsey start. In my opinion he is the fulcrum of Arsenal over the next few years. Every team needs a box-to-box dynamic player and Ramsey, for the moment, is ours. He has been unable to re-create the form of last season but who could? Had he not got injured Ramsey may well have propelled us to the title and let us not forget he scored the winning goal in the FAC final. He needs a goal and then we will see his return to his pomp.

My Team.

Ospina

Bellerin      BFG     Koscielny     Monreal

Ramsey    Coquelin

Cazorla     Alexis

Ozil

Giroud

Big game for Ospina, Szczesny has become adept at coming for the long crosses and at Upton Park was superb. Ospina will have to do the same.

Bench is strong and getting stronger. Our squad is so strong that just riding the pine is an honour.

Our form is good, our PL home form very good. I am 58% confident

COYRRG

Written by Big Raddy


Arsenal v The Russians. Style v Thuggery.

March 12, 2015

Last night I was very busy getting old, so missed watching Chelsea tumble out of the Champions League. This is, in fact, considerably funnier than it might appear at first glance.

Getting old is very sobering, and one side effect can be looking back over one’s life. Never have been a prolific reader, so no surprise I didn’t finish my first book until I was about twelve. The Kon Tiki  Expedition.  Second book, Muhammad Ali: My Own Story, in which he talks about style. Style in whatever you do, and how, had he not been a boxer but rather a garbage man, he would have collected more than anyone else, and faster, and with more style.

There is a cost to your actions.

Another piece of advice in my youth came from a friend of my father’s at about the same time: “no matter what you do in life remember this. In ten or twenty years you will find yourself meeting up with old chums, and you CANNOT tell them you make handbags”. No idea why he chose handbags, but perhaps for the very reason that I never forgot the advice.

This brings me nicely on to Chelsea and that loathsome reptile Jose Mourinho.

As usual this morning, I got up, made coffee, and while I checked through emails, I caught up on late comments from this site. Last night was dominated by talk of the appalling tactics deployed by a “win at any cost” Chelsea.

When it comes to my football, I am a romantic and a fantasist. Somewhere deep within there is a realist who understands that The Arsenal need things like defenders, but I don’t like it, and yes, 2-3-5 remains my preferred line up.

Here’s the thing though. I know people who avoid certain summer as well as winter holiday resorts simply to avoid the Chelsea style of wealthy thugs. I know people who have given up memberships of what were once exclusive London nightclubs to avoid the thugs in the blacked out Range Rovers with their “security”. I even know a lifelong Chelsea supporter who chucked in his season ticket and now goes to watch Brentford.

When I was a young school boy, a teacher told me cheating was only “cheating yourself”. Not really, I thought, I just got an A in Chemistry.

With hindsight, was the teacher right? Well, one moral must be, if you are going to cheat, then for God’s sake win. Doing it and losing is nothing short of hysterically funny for your critics.

Written by MickyDidIt89


Coq Sure? …… or not so Sure?

March 11, 2015

For several years now Arsenal has been described as “two to three players short of a top side”.

The spot that many identified as being an urgent need was that of defensive midfield. Arsenal needed someone who was disciplined, mobile, strong, quick and aggressive. Someone who loved a tackle.

Arteta had adapted his game to fulfil the roll to the best of his ability but he lacks some of the attributes that a true DM should possess. He did the job admirably with the help of the mercurial Flamini – but neither could be described as a top drawer DM.

Francis Coquelin had been on the periphery of the squad for several years. He had been sent out on loan to Lorient, Frieberg and Charlton Athletic without ever really impressing.

He was brought back to Arsenal in December 2014 as cover for the injured Ramsey.

No one expected much of him. Arsene Wenger has been on record as saying he expected Le Coq to leave in the summer.

But something happened. Coquelin not only rose to the task – he excelled.

Since his return, he’s been man of the match several times and has hardly put a foot wrong.

His performance against manu was pivotal. He can cope with lumps like Fellaini despite giving away 6 inches in height and several stone in weight.

What I particularly like about him is that he is in awe of no-one. I love the way he shouts at his teammates to get back into position when celebrating a goal. I like the fact that he has a ‘Lauren type’ scowl on his face.

I was very vocal in calling for a big signing at DM over the summer. It didn’t happen. I can quite honestly say that if Coquelin can remain at his current level, I would be more than happy. If he continues to improve we may have to fight off the likes of Bracelona to keep him in the future.

He is 23, just about to enter the peak years of his career. He has shown leadership qualities that others lack in our team ….. a future captain? …. who knows …… anything is possible.

 

Rasp

 


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