Is Cazorla better than Fabregas?

February 24, 2015

It is pointless to write long paragraphs about the two best Spanish midfielders Arsenal fans were lucky to claim as their own. This comparison has been made many times before and at times Arsenal fans were accused of trying to justify not resigning Cesc. 

Admittedly there is a grain of truth in that, Cesc has never been replaced and only too often the gaping hole in the middle of the field was only too obvious.

Cazorla has hit top form this season and we won all the games he orchestrated. 

Santi is a match winner and a great free kick taker – someone badly needed in our squad for a long time.

His presence has been immense, but the same can be said about Fabregas’s at Chelsea.

Fabregas relies on the team being build around him, whereas Cazorla blends in with the team.

The list of differences is long, but do the similarities end on the physical attributes of these 2 short Spanish midfielders?

Stats below are from whoscored.com. 

 

Santi Cazorla:

Tournament

Apps

Mins

Goals

Assists

Yel

Red

SpG

PS%

AerialsWon

MotM

Rating

Premier League

21(3)

1930

6

6

4

-

2.6

88

0.1

4

7.65

UEFA Champions League

4(1)

388

-

2

-

-

1.8

83.5

0.2

-

7.36

FA Cup

2

N/A

-

N/A

-

-

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

-

League Cup

0(1)

N/A

-

N/A

-

-

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

-

Total / Average

29

2318

6

8

4

0

2.4

87.2

0.1

4

7.60

 

Cesc Fabregas:

Tournament

Apps

Mins

Goals

Assists

Yel

Red

SpG

PS%

AerialsWon

MotM

Rating

Premier League

21(1)

1871

2

15

8

-

1.4

86.9

0.7

2

7.83

UEFA Champions League

7

574

2

3

2

-

0.7

86.6

0.6

-

7.80

FA Cup

0(1)

N/A

-

N/A

-

-

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

-

Total / Average

29

2445

4

18

10

0

1.2

86.8

0.7

2

7.82

SpG: Shots per game

PS%: Pass success percentage

MotM: Man of the match

 

Discuss!

 

PS  Although my gravatar is a photo of Santi, whom I adore I have to admit to still having Cesc’s photo on the wall, I find it hard to part with it

written by Eddie


The ‘should be’ Arsenal player that got away…..

February 23, 2015

Whenever I watch a football match I always look at the opposition players to see if there is one that could do a job for Arsenal. Obviously, players such as Suarez, Silva and even Harry Kane could well supply a steady stream of goals but what I really look for is someone who could have boosted our trophy count over a period of years.

Over time our (Arsenal’s) need has been most obvious in three positions, goalkeeper, centre-back and holding mid-fielder and it is in those positions that I have looked for my ideal players.

Since David Seaman left at the end of the 2002/3 season we have struggled with a succession of ‘keepers, some good, some not so good.

Mad Jens, a man who could pick a fight with his own shadow, always had us on the edge of euphoria, or despair, depending on the state of the tide, Almunia, Fabianski, Mannone, Szczesny and now Ospina have all been given a go with varying success, but the one ‘keeper, had we been able to sign him at the time of Seaman’s departure, who could have carried us forward in the long term is Petr Cech.

There is no doubt in my mind that the Chelsea stopper has been the best ‘keeper in the Premiership for years and what a difference he would have made.

At centre-back, again, we’ve struggled. Since Adams, Bould and Keown went it is only now that we have some pretty good cbs. Mertesacker and Koscielny have done well, while the recent signing of Gabriel looks promising but how about if we could have got our hands on John Terry when in 2002 he was sent out on loan to Nottingham Forest. Now Terry is not a person that I can admire but as a footballer he has been the rock that Chelsea’s success has been built on. Would our defence have been more solid for his presence? I think so.

Finally I come to the most important position for me. Holding mid-fielder, looking back we had Vieira and Petit who could play the role pretty well, and then along came Gilberto, The Invisible Wall. Since then we have been crying out for somebody to take up the baton, Arteta does a job there, but it’s not his ideal position. Flamini has done alright but only as a fill-in and Coquelin is showing promise but is lacking the physique.

The one player who could have filled the role, with his height, physique, skill, controlled aggression and sheer presence is Ya Ya Toure. There have been a number of opportunities to sign him, when he left Beveren in 2003, when he left Donetsk in 2005, when he left Olympiacos in 2006, when he left Monaco in 2007 and finally when Barca let him go in 2010. Missed chances all of them.

Petr Cech and John Terry have been together for a long time and have developed the kind of understanding so vital in a defensive unit, but their individual success may be a partial result of that interdependence, so for that reason I will pick Ya Ya Toure as the “One That Got Away”

OK AAers, over to you. Which of the three would you choose, or who else would you pick?

Written by Norfolk Gooner


A stage managed draw

February 20, 2015

Morning all,

Now her in doors and myself watch lots of television, were getting to that age now, and where I have mellowed over the years, she does get her own way a lot on what we watch. Although we are both Gooner’s and I do believe she has an interest in Arsenal, but not like I do. Of course we watch Arsenal when we play, whether on TV or I have a stream box when its not on normal TV. She realises that everything else makes way for Arsenal games, and with recorders now available, she doesn’t miss anything she would rather watch.

We do watch a lot of reality TV programmes, she likes them all, I am not so keen and either blog or read while these programs are on.  Having said that I do end up watching quite a bit. What I have noticed is how fixed these programs seem to be. A show that’s on for a series or a few weeks, takes a few days or so, and then expects people to phone in and vote at a nominal fee.

Now the point of this post is to ask other people, if they feel the same as me, that the outcome of the phone calls, are they the actual peoples votes, or are these programs stage managed? Many supporters will ask why a post like this is on a football blog and the reason for this is, that I wonder if football matches are stage managed as well.

It seems to me that football attracts lots of money businesses, Sky, BT and many others. The staggering amounts of billions to screen live football has hit new highs, and when can you watch a game without a betting firm trying to get you to place a wager? Now I consider myself a fairly knowledgeable supporter, I don’t only watch Arsenal, so I feel I have a general understanding of most of the teams in the Premiership. I know what kind of talent most teams have and having played the game myself, feel I have a decent understanding of the modern rules.

Now I watch my own team the most, so feel I know quite a bit about the quality of the team, Arsene Wenger as we all keep saying has worked wonders over the years, with a bit of a tight budget, and we have done fairly well when you consider there are 20 teams in the league. I look at some of our games, and knowing the talent wonder why we are not thrashing some sides. But we never ever seem to do that. Many will say that all premier sides are all very close talent wise, but that is not the case as budgets are different across the board

What I am wondering is whether this league is being stage managed, where all club owners who are all earning good profits, managers and players are earning thousands more than everyday working people, would it not be prudent to ask could this all be a ploy to get the supporters money.

Rules are in place to make the game fair, or that is what it was before new rules came in. The offside rule can be interpreted two ways which is not clear cut to the supporter. It is quite possible to remove a player from the field any time a referee wanted to so could easily change the direction a game has been going in.

Now of course when looking at the league, you often find that the club who have spent the most are normally up the top half of the league, and normally finish in the European qualifying places. What I seem to notice specially in cup games is how the bigger club seem to get the rub of decisions, free kicks and the like. Now of course I realise that bigger clubs have spent more and usually have the better players so will be head and shoulders better, but I still think that decisions still go in favour of the big clubs.

I have to ask myself why this seems to be the case and I would only answer who I would rather watch if I had the choice. The FA cup is an old old old English competition history that goes back forever, look at the list of winners and you will see a few names on there that you would never had thought, but there all the same. The FA cup is known for its giant killing and fans who support lower division teams have watched their team win games that on paper they shouldn’t. Of course usually the better teams come out winners and the smaller clubs have had their five minutes of fame, but you do still see results that surprise.

Before the draw for the next round of the FA Cup, we all wondered who we would get, did any of you expect to meet either Liverpool or Manchester United, of course you did, and why did you, because you know that the television people want it that way. What grabs the most attention, a game against real competition with an undercurrent of history or a game against a team in the lower division. before United’s game and the draw , as soon as I saw a possible draw of United and Arsenal I knew who would be our opponents and I bet you did too.

The money generated by a game of this magnitude I knew it wouldn’t be screened on BT Sport, maybe Sky, but no it’s the BBC that gets the rights. Stage managed, of course it was. Will we receive the kind of decisions United got against Preston NE, I doubt it, this will be a stage managed fight of the titans, and of course whoever goes through will no doubt find another stage managed draw.

Written by Steve Palmer

 

 

 

 

 

 


Out of tune Gunners

February 18, 2015

One of the best things about English football is the fantastic atmosphere during games created by the attending fans. Every team and every stadium has tunes that are readily recognisable as theirs. But what about the Arsenal?

There are times that I am not proud of being one of the Arsenal supporters. This is because we cannot sing to save our lives. We are one of the worst song writers and our chants are one of the poorest out there.

Ok, no chant is worse than Tottenham’s ‘Oh When the Spurs’ in slow motion. How the hell is this to motivate the team? Funeral marches have better tempo. And then on the other side of the spectrum there is Liverpool’s ‘You Never Walk Alone’ which I find hard to listen to without goose pimples. The Scousers can sing it, you have to give it to them. I will never understand how ‘I am forever blowing bubbles’ became a football song?  But it has and everybody that hears it will think of West Ham United. Or one of the best love songs ever – ‘Blue Moon’ becomes Man City’s iconic tune.

The AFC tried to force ‘The Wonder of You’ on us,  but we resisted singing alone to it and thank Dennis this is gone now. It has been replaced by Clash’s ‘London Calling’, but even this great song failed to make the fans sing. Can you hear any joining in?

I was surprised though that Roger Daltrey’s ‘Highbury Highs’ wasn’t adopted by the fans. It was a great song and relatively easy to sing alone to.

Perhaps it didn’t sound the same at the Emirates as it did in intimate, magical Highbury. On the bright side guys we should be grateful that Chas and Dave are not Arsenal supporters, that could have been painful.

What can be done about it? The singing section has failed miserably and we still are without an anthem, except for this

Written by Eddie


Gunners overcome the Foxes in the night!

February 11, 2015

A tense Premier League encounter between Arsenal and the basement team ended with Arsenal taking a valuable 3 points and propel them into the dizzy heights of 4th place.

Much of the pre-match talk revolved around how the Gunners would respond following a damaging defeat to bitter North London Rivals Spurs.

Staying at the in laws in Wembley for a few days meant I could make a comfortable journey to N5 and absorb some of that pre-match atmosphere with the Arsenal faithful still smarting following the derby day debacle 3 days earlier. After demolishing a delightful kebab in one of the many fabulous Turkish restaurants on Holloway Road, the walk to Ashburton Grove gave an opportunity to hear what the fans had to say as the crowds gathered. Fans were buoyed by the news that talisman Alexis Sanchez was in the starting line up along with Theo Walcott who was only a substitute on Saturday.

Sat 4 rows from the front the fans took to their seats as the teams came out looking to secure a vital result for different reasons. The game got underway and early on, an adventurous Hector Bellerin was making marauding runs down the right flank which was promising but later would leave gaps behind for Leicester to try and exploit. Then the first chance of note in the 13th minute.

As Bellerin was thrusting forward, the Foxes found space and Riyad Mahrez shot just wide much to the relief of the Arsenal supporters. Although the warning signs were evident some fans were more involved in a conversation about the new Sky deal to continue showing live coverage of Premier League matches than keeping their eyes on the action in front of them.

The Gunners then responded with a chance of their own on 16 minutes which should have rippled the Leicester net. A rejuvenated Mesut Ozil found Theo Walcott but he only found the palm of Mark Schwarzer’s hand when one on one with the time wasting Australian. Such was the goalkeepers time wasting the Arsenal supporters were howling at referee Mike Jones to brandish a yellow card some using very colourful language amusing some of the younger fans in the crowd.

Arsenal’s record signing then combined with another fan favourite, Thomas Rosicky, playing a delightful one-two and then the German forced yet another save from the Foxes keeper. It felt it was only a matter of time before the Arsenal would make an opportunity count and supporters in the stands could sense their team were beginning to turn the screw. Ozil had another attempt and then from the corner came the breakthrough.

Ozil swung the corner into the Leicester box and there was Laurent Koscielny to add the finishing touch and put the Gunners into the lead which their play merited. As the Gunners scored the opening goal, many Arsenal fans really believed the floodgates would now open and that there would be a goal glut.

They were mistaken and such predictions were wide of the mark much like Leicester’s shooting on the night. Left back Paul Koncheskey found acres of space in behind Bellerin and played a low and dangerous cross but Captain Per Mertesacker was on hand to stretch one of those long legs so the ball did not reach the Leicester player looking to capitalise. It was at this point where there was growing concern amongst fans about young Hector Bellerin’s performance as Leicester were finding a lot of joy on his side.

Some fans even used this opportunity to reflect on the Spaniard’s flaws in the North London derby earlier which was very harsh to say the least given the youngster’s fine displays this season. Leicester man Mahrez had another decent effort which missed Ospina’s goal by a fraction but then a rasping shot by Ozil was too hot to handle for veteran keeper Schwarzer and Theo Walcott was on hand to rifle the rebound. That was his third goal in 4 games.

During the opening minutes of the second half, the fans were fuming that Mike Jones did not award the home team a penalty after a pass from Alexis struck a Leicester defender on the hand and the countless fouls being committed. By now the fans were venting their fury at the officials which chants of “you don’t know what your doing”.

Leicester were then given a lifeline on 61 minutes as Arsenal failed to clear their lines from a corner and Kramaric drilled the ball into the net to send the Leicester fans into raptures. The homes fans were now sitting on the edge of their seats and voicing their frustrations at the team. Santi Cazorla tried to restore the 2 goal cushion with an angled shot which the keeper parried away. In the other end that man Mahrez curling effort went agonisingly wide much to the relief of the home support.

The fans then turned their anger and frustration on Olivier Giroud, some repeatedly swearing at him, demanding more movement from him after Mesut Ozil played a delightful low cross which was begging for a predator to be on the end of it. Again this seemed very harsh on the player by the fans but may have been as a result of Arsenal’s below par second half performance. The Frenchman’s night was compounded with an undeserved booking as he turned his back and Schwarzer kicked the ball against him which the incompetent Mike Jones deemed as obstruction. This tipped the Arsenal fans over the edge as some hurled constant abuse at the referee whose performance must be assessed given the glaring mistakes he made.

The game then became scrappy as yellow cards were issued and substitute Aaron Ramsey limping off, a cause for more concern, but Arsenal held on to secure a crucial win in the battle to finish in the top 4. The fans were also cheering a late Liverpool winner which condemned Spurs to defeat. So despite the derby day debacle, normal order has been restored with Spurs being in their rightful place. Below Arsenal and forever in our shadow.

UTA! Written by @SirAHussain14image (2) image-1 (2) image-3 image-5 image-4


A disappointing 3 points …. an orchestra with 3 conductors

February 11, 2015

Before ….

I had a drink with 6 of the finest, most wholehearted Arsenal supporters you could hope to meet before arriving at The Emirates. Several had travelled great distance to attend the game. The good natured banter and camaraderie of kindred spirits is one of the great joys of being an Arsenal Supporter.

The game …..

After a disappointing performance in the NLD, we had high hopes that the team would bounce back and show its class. I will admit to being surprised at the team selection with Giroud and Welbeck consigned to the bench and a midfield 3 of Cazorla, Ozil and Rosicky.

The first half was a cautious affair with little quality on show from either side except for the finishes for the 2 goals which comprised an excellent striker’s finish from Koscielny from a corner and a trademark, reflex, low into the corner goal from Theo (how often do you see him blaze it over the bar?)

So at 2 goals up and the game seemingly secure, most were wondering how many we could add in the second half. Immediately it became obvious that the team had lapsed into that weird alternative Arsenal characterised by low energy, lack of penetration, pass it sideways rather than forward jaundiced football.

Leicester played with fight, pace on the counter and width. They looked determined and dangerous and were rewarded with a deserved goal after some typically poor defending by Arsenal. We could all see it coming. Would the team respond and up the tempo? ….. No. We held on for the rest of the game. Ospina once again made a couple of key saves that saved us points but all in all this was a tepid performance. The overwhelming feeling at the final whistle was relief, not joy at gaining 3 points.

Why …..

Before the game, GoonerB had been banging on about how we could not play 3 of our 5 or 6 attacking midfielders together at any one time. He argued that we needed pace and width and runners. The longer the game went on, the more I could see he had hit the nail on the head. I lost count of how many times one of our midfield 3 came out of defence with the ball only to stop once in the opponents half and pass backwards or sideways. Result … moment lost, opportunity wasted, the oppositions defence assembled to keep us out of the danger area.

The best team seldom comprises the best 11 players. If we call the attacking midfielders playmakers (last night that was Rosicky, Ozil and Cazorla) it becomes more obvious why we lose attacking edge. No orchestra plays to 3 conductors – that just causes confusion and yet we field 3 players all trying to do the same job and operate in the same area. This compresses our play in the centre of the pitch and means we are short of bodies and options when it comes to an attacking pass. We must hold the record for the number of times the ball is passed 5 yards and then straight back again.

GoonerB said before the game that he’d rather see players like The Ox, Welbeck or even Akpom who are direct and have pace, but more importantly make runs for a playmaker to exploit.

It’s been said before, we have too many identikit players trying to play in the same area. I thought Coquelin was our best player. He reminded me of Sol when he came back, trying to rouse those around him seemingly unable to understand why there was so little fight in them. You could see his frustration growing in the second half to the point where it was he (our DM) who was actually driving play forward.

What’s to do? ….

Arsene Wenger obviously doesn’t see it this way. He repeatedly puts out teams that lack balance and his options are restricted due to the type of player he signs and the inevitable injuries. Ozil was poor last night. Despite declaring that he had come back stronger, he was knocked off the ball too easily because he was looking for a pass, but the lack of runners meant he ended up in blind alleys. I love his talent and ability but in our current set up he is just not cutting the mustard.

Nothing will change whilst Arsene is manager …. so there’s nothing we can do.

Hats off to Leicester. They’d never complain after getting 3 points. I can and do complain, the guys I met before the game deserve better than this.  We have consistently underperformed. Our team is less than the sum of its parts and that is the opposite of what we should expect.

Rasp


Arsenal to play “…and Leicester”

February 10, 2015

Apologies to regular readers of this site, but our usual PM’er is a Hippy and today is incapable of doing his duty because he’s semi conscious on a remote Island off Sweden.

It will be brief for a number of reasons, one being that for the first time in my life, I don’t know what I’m talking about. We are playing Leicester tonight, and I’ve never heard of them other from the words of The North Bank Special number “We all follow The Arsenal” that ends “…..and Leicester”

Also, as I’ve never heard of any of their players, it will be a walk over, so should be an enjoyable evening for Gunners everywhere.

Happily the three points will come in very handy, because it’s getting a bit tense at the top of the table, although if other results go our way, we could end up third this evening assuming we score enough.

That brings me nicely on to exactly that, scoring goals. I don’t care who starts in goal, or who plays in defence. I’ve no idea how our injured superstars Sanchez and The Ox are feeling today, but either would bring welcome skill, thrust and entertainment to the side.

I’m sorry I can’t be more helpful, but I’ve been dragged off the subs bench at the last minute to get something written, and I expect a torrent of abuse towards The Hippy when he bothers to return.

What I do know about Leicester is that somewhere around there is the home of Pork Pies. Those I like.

mickydidit89


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