Arsenal 2 Burnley 1 — A Supporter’s View.

January 31, 2016

Thank you Burnley Football Club and all your supporters; we at Arsenal have not been having such a good time recently, results have not gone the way they could and should have for a club with aspirations of winning the league for the first time in thirteen years and so a win yesterday was vital to get us back on track. Thank you again for making that happen; you may just have been the stimulus that wins us at least one trophy.

If the team that Wenger chose to go out and play were a car I think it would be fair to say that Arsene put just enough petrol in the tank to get us to the fifth round; that’s to say that there was just enough quality in the selection to win the tie without wasting the precious energy of Özil, and importantly Ramsey who was looking very tired against Chelsea so this little break should see him back, fresh and raring to go on Tuesday. Not only that, Wenger got to play and we got to see our shiny new toy: Elneny, and what a perfectly respectable debut it was. The man is clearly happy on the ball. I would guess that in the first half the Egyptian had the ball more than any other player; well, except Sanchez, of course, he always has the ball more than any other player on the pitch.

It didn’t stop there, more presents were still under the tree and needed to be opened; we got the chance to welcome back Tomas Rosicky and what a fine reception he received when he came on with twenty minutes to go. But I have saved the biggest present until last: Alex Iwobi, if there was any doubt as to what he can do it was cleared up today, this young man went from strength to strength as the game went on. Buoyed by a fine first half he was obviously encouraged by Wenger during his half time team talk because the Nigerian came out and bossed the midfield in the second half until that is his young legs started to tire and was given a standing ovation as he walked off to make way for Arteta.

The game started as expected with Arsenal having the lion’s share of the ball, putting Burnley under constant pressure. The passing was slick and the commitment was tangible, a goal was on the cards although the scorer was not: Calum Chambers on duty for the rested Bellerin curled the ball with the outside of his boot past the Burnley keeper and into the top corner, a fine finish to what had been at least a twenty pass build up, Sanchez was instrumental throughout and it was his assist: rolling the ball deftly between the legs of a Burnley defender that enabled Chambers to get onto the score sheet.

Chambers goal

One nil to the Arsenal and the world was a wonderful place; we should have simply gone on and crushed Burnley but they had other ideas and equalised from a header while our central defenders had momentarily gone awol. This goal upped the tension and in fact turned a gentle stroll into a cup tie — a cup tie that we needed to win.

In every round of the FA cup there is a giant killing and we very nearly went from being way down the viewing list on Match of the Day to the opening game which you may have noticed happens with every giant killing: Burnley came mighty close to going ahead shortly after the start of the second half but this fright didn’t last long and help was on hand, in the form of Sanchez, our very own Whirling Dervish who put us ahead with a well placed shot, wide of the keeper from an excellent cut back by Oxlaide-Chamberlain. The Ox was better than he has been recently but all it showed me was that this is his level – Championship; he just isn’t improving anymore and others are waiting in the wings ready to take his place in the pecking order.

Interestingly Wenger chose not to shore up the defence and see the game out by bringing on Monreal as he does nine times out of ten in these situations but instead he went for an attacking option and the pace of Walcott who had a golden chance to put the game completely out of reach but Theo fluffed his lines and Burnley almost equalised on the counter attack. The final whistle was blown, we are in the hat for the next round draw and all in all it was an entertaining game of football.

Quick player ratings:

Ospina: back to his best, made some excellent saves, if he is looking for a move he would have done his chances no harm at all with that solid performance. 7

Chambers: he is obviously never going to take Bellerin’s place in the starting line up, well certainly not at right back anyway but he exuded more confidence than I usually notice and a goal certainly helped that. 7

Easter: you can see that the legs are better than Mertescaker but the brain is still not quite there, nothing really wrong but still room for improvement. 6

Koscielny: commanding, possibly even more so that he was captain and had full responsibility for the back line. Not sure where he or PE were when Burnley equalised. 7

Gibbs: a very good performance by his standards, did all the simple things well, just when you can’t see him ever being the first choice LB he surprises. We are lucky to have such quality back up in the still young Englishman. 8

Coquelin: great to have him back, all started well but then he got a knock which looked bad enough that he was going to be forced off; he stayed on but his concentration had gone and he got sloppy. 5

Elneny: I really expected him to throw himself around alla Coquelin but no he was on his feet throughout the game. I was hoping to see if he could defend but I am left with less idea than before the match started. Good start though. 7

Iwobi: this is my Man of the Match, like Elneny I still have no idea which position he is best suited to but if he has aspirations of being a number 10 then he is going to have to be world class to make that position his own at THOF because the competition for that spot is fierce. Good luck young man. 8

Oxlaide-Chamberlain: Keep going Ox we all want you to succeed. I have spoken above about this player. 6

Giroud: I wonder if it is possible to start a game with a back heel, I mean from kick off, the Frenchman seems to like that way of passing so much that it crossed my mind that he could be the first player in history to start a game like that. Ollie was clearly not impressed with the opposition and as such seemed to be only working on 80% effort. 6

Sanchez: still holds the ball longer than he should but being one of only three world class players we have at the club I am just grateful that he is back. 8

Written by LB


Arsenal, Sunderland and Tony Soprano.

January 10, 2016

The FA Cup or as it should be referred to from now on: ‘Cosa Nostra’. I was having a bit of an Italio/Latin afternoon yesterday. I have no idea why but anyway did you ever notice how the Romans used to call the Mediterranean ‘Mare Nostrum’? There is a justifiable sense of ownership about it, a confident swagger as they referred to it as ‘Our Sea’. You have probably twigged where I am going with this now: ‘Cosa Nostra’, the FA Cup, Our Cup and if anyone tries to take it away from us they will have to answer to Tony Soprano, cah-peesh?

Well there was no need to bring out the heavies yesterday afternoon; it was just about as perfect as it could get really. We draw home advantage, check. We play a team whose priorities lay elsewhere, check. We are able to rest key players while some youth and fringe get important game time, check. No one gets injured and we win and progress to the next round, check, check, check.

Everyone was handed a script prior to the game and everyone knew what to do, or so we thought. Unfortunately two of our players namely Gibbs and Koscielny fluffed their lines early on and allowed Sunderland to take the lead. The problem is, when this happens there is always a nagging doubt that even though we know we have the better team, an upset could always be on the cards.

As it turned out we didn’t have to worry for too long as parity arrived in the shape of Campbell shortly after with a well crafted goal involving Iwobi and Walcott down the left flank before everyone’s favourite Costa Rican guided the ball home to make it one – one.

campbell

Wenger had chosen his team well; just enough to do the job but no unnecessary wasting of energy, only the smallest amount of extra pressure in the form of Arteta and Ramsey’s introduction was required to finish the day’s work.

Man of the Match was Bellerin who ran Sunderland ragged down the left flank; it was he who was finally able to send the ball across for Ramsey to show Walcott how to finish, the third goal gave us breathing space and that came in the form of yet another beautifully weighted pass from Bellerin which made its way all the way across the goal mouth for Giroud to tap home.

Giroud fa cup 2

Wenger had plan B, C and D on the bench, if we had just been one ahead with ten minutes to go he would have sent on Monreal for some proper defensive cover in an attempt to avoid a draw and a horrible, energy sapping return trip to Sunderland that would follow but as we were two up he was able to give Jeff his long awaited debut.

We get our new signing next week, why am I so sure? Look at the pattern. The club announce medium level signings only after Wenger has given certain players, usually youngsters, a chance to shine. In the close season it is normally after the Emirates Cup, the reason being is so as not to harm the confidence of those who might be hoping to make a particular position their own or older players wanting to re-establish themselves after injury.

In yesterday’s case Chambers was the youngster being protected and Arteta was the experienced player trying to re-established himself. Although they have now had their games, improved their confidence, had their chance to show what they can do or still do in the case of Mikel without the confidence sapping knowledge of already having met someone in the training ground who is more than likely to be taking their place in the very near future.

But, next week gentle sensitivities will be put aside and we will get someone who can do a Champions League level job in the form of El Neny, the much talked about Egyptian. By the way, with world class players the club announce them as and when they happen there is no pattern or not one that I can see.

Villa at home in the next round please?

Cech: Zen and the Art of Goalkeeping. 9

Bellerin: MOTM, most of the team were functioning at 60% output but not our Hector, 100% for him. 9

Gabriel: Perfect game for him, if it wasn’t for that Costa incident he could well have been the break through player of the season, gets better with every game really, only a question of time before he becomes first choice. 7

Koscielny: someone near to me at the game asked the question, who is Captain, I didn’t know but low and behold it was Kozzer; the guy next to me said that he expected him to make the captaincy his own. I looked at him, smiled, said nothing but knew he was wrong as it is going to Özil. 6

Gibbs: this competition thing between him and Monreal is working really well, Gibbs is rightly second choice but you can see that he does give it everything. 7

Oxlaide-Chamberlain: Did you hear the rumour that Chelsea might try and sign him if Hazard leaves? What was your reaction? Was it, oh no, you’re not having another one of ours or was it, hmmm, if he goes who could we buy? He is getting his run of games but he is still not impressing. 5

Chambers: perfectly decent job but he is not going to make Wenger think twice about buying further defensive midfield back up. 6

Iwobi: some good touches, lovely drag back in the first half, perfect game for him to take his training wheels off. 6

Campbell: getting better but with Ozil and Sanchez setting very high standards I still have my doubts. 7

Walcott: I have made so many predictions that he is going to leave to another club and have obviously been wrong every time, I have decided to change tack and predict that he will stay at Arsenal so long that he will become the next manager. 5

Giroud: perfect example of someone doing just what is needed with the least amount of effort. 8

Written by LB


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


A Fan’s perspective of a Wembley win:

April 19, 2015

To start at the end, so to speak, Reading pushed Arsenal all the way to the end of a classic FA Cup Semi-Final, in a game that featured two goal-keeping horrors.

The first half was notable for a slow paced, listless performance by Arsenal against an energetic hepped-up Reading who made up for their lack of technique with hard work and an energetic bending of the now acceptable ‘in their faces’ style.

In the 39th minute of what was becoming a frustrating game for Arsenal, and an exciting ‘anything is possible’ effort by Reading, the supreme artist Özil spotted the wonderfully athletic Sanchez loitering in a packed penalty area, and placed a pin point pass, which required a chest down, a spin to flummox the CBs, and finished with a deft shot by our Chilean into the bottom of the Reading goal.

Despite a lax and sometimes lazy half, both Mesut and Sanchez showed their class within a rather indifferent team performance.

Right from the start of the second half Reading showed they were not going to leave Wembley without giving the game their all, and Pogrebnyak and Mackie gave all Gooners cause for concern, before making us realise there was a genuine reason to worry, when the Ruskie crossed and the ball 2which, not for the first time drifted over the head of the misfiring Gibbs to the loitering McLeary who mishit the ball off Gibbs and into the net via a startled Chezzer who got his paws to the ball but was undone by its pace, and watched in horror as it crossed the line. Bugger.

Reading moved up a gear and Arsenal withdrew into a monotonous game of tennis-football, with the ball moved slowly between the axis of Mert, Kozzer and the Keeper before being kicked back to Reading to have another go. Dreadful stuff!

The love of many for Cup football was exemplified by the end to end play that ensued, albeit with little real effect.

Into Extra-Time and Rambo should have finished the game but managed to hit the post, and the referee ignored the pulling and over-robust defending of the Reading defense which could have resulted in a penalty.

Then our Chilean whizz-kid popped up to score via a deflected shot that squirmed off Federici’s inside thigh and slowly trickled across the line.

Tough on Reading and particularly their keeper — and gasps of relief from the Arsenal faithful.

Wembley here we come — AGAIN. :-)

Written by RedArse


Wilshere and Welbeck to start at Wembley?

April 18, 2015

Well, With Whom Would you Wish Wenger to Walk onto the Werdant Wilds of Wemberlee? Wilshere, Welbeck, Wojciech or Wamsey?

Enough of that nonsense.

Let’s be honest we should win today but in the world of Arsenal there is many a slip twixt cup and lip. In a lifetime of supporting Arsenal I have witnessed many an embarrassing hiccup so I take nothing for granted but we should beat Reading – shouldn’t we?

We have won our last two games at Wembley, our form is excellent, we have had a week of rest and Diaby is fit. Reading are a decent team but in very average from – last 6 league games, D3 L3.

Can anyone explain this to me? The bookies are offering 14/1 for a Reading win and yet 1 to 4 on for an AFC win. Seems strange but I am no mathematician.

Unknown

The Current FA Cup Holders

How many of the players should be rested today without taking away the fluency of the team? I would bring in Debuchy and Gibbs, rest Alexis and perhaps Ozil giving Theo and Welbz a Wembley run, and TPIG for Ospina. But would such wholesale changes be too damaging?

Mr Wenger is a conservative manager, as such he would not make the wholesale changes BR suggests.

Wilshire was head and shoulders the best player on the pitch in his recent U-21 appearance and must be in the manager’s thoughts.  So ….. in essence I have no idea who will start this afternoon but this is my stab at the starting 11 …

My Team:

Szczesny

Debuchy      BFG      Koscielny     Gibbs

Wilshere      Le Coq     Cazorla

Walcott      Giroud       Welbeck

This is the team I expect AW to pick – same back 5, then

Ramsey   Le Coq

  Cazorla    Ozil

OG   Welbz

I could play with this all morning as it is many a year since we had so many possible formations and players to pick from. The squad is as good as I can ever remember.

I haven’t mentioned Reading much, have I? There is a reason  for this …. I know SFA about them. They have a couple of lardy big lumps up front who will try to muscle their way past our CB’s. A Chav loanee in midfield, an Arsenal schoolboy, Kanu on the wings – Reading are no doubt a battling, enthusiastic team. They will try to make it a physical battle because Reading are doomed if they try to play an expansive game. If we score early the game is over. If they score early TPIG will be the only player in the Arsenal half for the remainder of the game.

images-1

Shape UP Man

Any game at Wembley is special. Being a traditionalist leftie hippy I prefer the old AV/MU grounds for the semi’s but who can deny Wigan/Reading/L’pool a Wembley day out. It is the highlight of their decade.

Last year’s FAC SF was one of the most gut-wrenching experiences of my life as a Gooner. We are prone to start slowly at Wembley – goodness knows why – and cannot this afternoon. Attack from the first, be aggressive, solid in defence with Le Coq holding the midfield. No stupid mistakes from the off-the-naughty-step Szczesny, some lethal finishing from our front men and another final awaits.

I am 74% confident.

COYRRG

written by Big Raddy


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

 

 

 

 

 

 


Gabriel’s Initiation: ‘Boro Preview

February 15, 2015

There are some chaps who think today will be an easy victory for The Arsenal, I beg to differ. Anyone who watched ‘Boro thrash Man City at the Etihad knows they are a very good side. Top of the Championship playing with attacking intent and creativity, they will be difficult opponents.

Mr Wenger has stated that his respect for the FA Cup has affected our CL performances and the coming week sees that competition return. It will be interesting how much “respect” he pays Middlesborough today. Will he pick his best team or rely upon our second string?

It is more who stays in the side after two hard games last week than who is promoted. Alexis cannot be risked, Ospina will give way, Theo has played twice as has Coquelin etc etc

Hopefully Paul Easter will get his first outing alongside Chambers at the centre of defence or will Mr Wenger play safe and use one of our regular CB’s alongside our shiny new Brazilian? I agree – AW will not take such a risk.

Here is my guess:-

Szczesny

Chambers   Gabriel    Koscielny     Gibbs

Rosicky  Flamini   Cazorla

Ozil

Welbeck    Giroud

Tasty, don’t you think?

We are the holders, we are at home, we are the favourites, we are The Arsenal. No more injuries, an open attacking game and a win would be good,

That’s yer lot on a difficult day in Denmark


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