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

Cazorla or Rosicky to start?

March 21, 2015

St. James Park. Not been the same since the days of Keegan and Shearer. Why?

From the outside it is Sports Direct and Mike Ashley. A Londoner buying the North-East’s premier club and running it without recognition of it’s past history. I have no idea whether Mr. Ashley has profited financially form his purchase but he must have regretted the effect his decision has had upon his family and reputation. Can there be a more disliked owner in the PL?

How can the Newcastle fans be happy when every season they sell their best players. In 2014 they sold Debuchy, Remy and Cabaye – the core of their French based burgeoning team? Is it any wonder that Pardew struggled to reach the level of success demanded by the owner and the fans?

Newcastle are struggling for personnel with Cisse and Coloccini banned and Taylor, Tiote, De Jong and Aarons missing through injury. These are difficult times for a rookie manager. I feel sorry for John Craver who is surely  a caretaker until summer. Having won only one of their last six PL games confidence must be low.

That said, they remain a good mid-division side. dangerous on the attack and resolute in defence. Furthermore they will be expecting to succeed at home against an Arsenal who will be feeling the physical effect s of the efforts midweek in Monaco.

We are on a fine run of form, our squad is strong and in the main healthy, Mr Wenger has choices he has not had for many seasons – if ever. Even without 3 important midfielders (plus Diaby) he can choose between Le Coq, Ramsey, Cazorla, Flamini, Rosicky, Ozil and Alexis. Rosicky or Cazorla? Santi has been excellent the past couple of months – his best spell in the shirt but perhaps this is a game for Rosicky to stat. He plays a similar game but is probably a little better defensively. Upon reflection, I would start the Spaniard and exchange them on 70 minutes.

Many have said they would rest Alexis today but my thoughts are why? Our next game is not until April 4 as we enter an International break. Alexis is certainly not as potent as he was early in the season but he remains enormously entertaining to watch and an important cog in the team. As this is an way fixture I expect Mr Wenger to play another midfielder – probably Ramsey.

My team:

Ospina

Bellerin    BFG     Koscielny      Monreal

Ramsey   Coquelin   Cazorla

Ozil

Giroud    Welbeck

There is a temptation to play Walcott and Chambers. Walcott’s pace is a potent weapon when playing away as Newcastle will look to attack and be more open to the counter-attack. Chambers was isolated against West Ham primarily because Walcott does not give him enough protection, he deserves another chance. Discuss.

As always, for tactics, stats etc look elsewhere.

In a tight competition for top 4 every point is vital and under normal circumstances I would be satisfied with a point, but second is possible and we need 3 points from this game.

I am 54% confident.

COYRRG

written by Big Raddy


Away at QPR ….. a good 3 points

March 5, 2015
Our game against QPR away, turned out an ok 2.1 to the good guys. Many of us saw this as an easy 3 points but we also realised that quite often what looks easy is far from it. The game started where both teams were feeling one another out, we usually have a half hour like that before one or other gets in their stride. QPR i feel did get the initial boost of confidence and we were under a bit of pressure as the half ended.
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We came out second half with a little more motivation. Whether the manager had said his two pennyworth  or not, all I know is that we started to string a few passes together and looked like we were starting to work together. We had a few chances but shots at goal seemed like pass backs and did little to worry QPR goalkeeper Green. Ozil I felt had an influence he was moving quite well and also a few nice passes as well, Le Coq with his white Phantom of the opera mask on was as enthralling as ever and with the mask, didnt let that interfere with his task at hand. Present stats say he has made more tackles than any other DM and he certainly wasn’t going to let up.
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Both sides had their chances, but the first goal came by a combination of passes and real doggedness from the Arsenal attack, a nice pass inside by Gibbs rebounds to Giroud who quickly found the back of the net …..  1.0 to the Arsenal. It has to be said that the referee looked a homer from the start but as the game wore on he just seemed card happy. QPR were anything but gentle and many times an Arsenal player was bowled over. This arsenal side seem to have come through the bullying stage this season players like Cazorla now seems to stand toe to toe with many of the tough guys, his trickery has them at two and eights and the way we pass so quickly seems to alleviate a lot of the physicalities.
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Sanchex again was like a Duracel battery. Where he gets his stamina is anyones guess, but he was all over the place – defence wing attack and bitting at legs, he is certainly an all rounder. Bellerin was up and down. Many complain that he ventures up to much but he also runs back another who is only getting better with time. The ageless Rosicky also had a good spell he also puts a lot in and certainly helped the cause. Ospina still holds the starting shirt, he did nothing to suggest that will change.
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Another attack and a nifty inside pass from Gibbs again to the ever willing Sanchez and a bit of wizardry saw the ball as quick as a flash whip past the flailing Green 2.1 to the good guys.
01 03
QPR had been shaken, but the complacency of our side started to give Rangers a boost. A was ball passed into our box to Austin who had his back against our goal. It looked for a minute to be safe, only for Gibbs and Koscielney to take steps backwards to give their striker time to turn and hit a venomous shot passed the helpless Ospina.
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I have seen our defence do this many times and many’s the time we have been punished, that definitely needs sorting. But when the final whistle came the best team won. Ramsey came on as a sub looked a little lost but should soon be back to his best. A good 3 points not many points dropped by any of the teams above us so more importantly none dropped by us either.
Written by Steve Palmer
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We are spoilt today … here are RockyLives’ thoughts on the game
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On a rare visit to these shores I managed to blag a ticket to join our wonderful away support at Loftus Road.

It was also the first time I’ve been to that stadium, which is bizarre as I’m a born-and-bred Londoner and have been to all the other London grounds. Even Dulwich Hamlet.

The experience of attending games at the Emirates and at older grounds like QPR is now so stark that it’s almost like going to a different sport altogether. However, there is a charm to the old places that is distinctly lacking from the new super-stadia.

Anyway, on to the game.

It was a match that pleasingly fulfilled a host of footballing clichés: a game of two halves; we were forced to dig deep; Ollie scored a poacher’s goal and so on.

In the first half we started slowly and then put the handbrake on. The Rs were up for a battle and made the game very physical. We were unable to take control of the ball in midfield which meant we were soaking up a lot of pressure and our defenders looked nervous – hacking the ball away rather than playing it out.

During this period our defenders did well. Paulista won most of his challenges and headers before being forced off with a hamstring injury. The BFG was dominant in the air and marshaled the back line well and both Gibbs and Bellerin were dogged in their work.

As for Francis Coquelin – he turned up dressed for a Venetian masked ball and proceeded to patrol the area in front of our defence like a Renaissance duelist (younger readers, think Assassins Creed), never shirking a challenge. His composure on the ball is also something to behold.

It was something of a relief to get to half time 0-0. QPR had few clear cut chances but it felt like the sort of game where we would inevitably concede a goal if we couldn’t get off the back foot.

Fortunately we came out much more positively in the second half – attacking towards the noisy away support behind the goal. Beer had been consumed so the exact events are a bit of a blur, but Ozil and Rosicky really got in the game and began dictating play; Sanchez worked as tirelessly as ever and Giroud showed for everything.

With good wide support from Gibbs and Bellerin we began to properly threaten and the Rangers players started to tire.

The breakthrough game after some good work down our left from Gibbs, who got a low cross into the near post for Ollie to poke home. It wasn’t a spectacular goal, but you have to give credit to our French Stallion for being alert to the situation and getting there first.

Cue much relief among the Arsenal fans (we were already aware that scores elsewhere were not going our way).

And shortly after we felt even safer when Alexis picked up a ball from Gibbs and twisted and turned his way into the box before deceiving Green in the QPR goal with a low reverse shot just inside the near post. A lovely piece of skill and imagination.

Two-nil and we relaxed a little. In the ensuing 10 minutes or so we had two or three good opportunities – the best falling to Alexis who found himself in a one-on-one with Green. Alexis tried to slip it to Ozil on the right but Green read it and cleared up.

And then we came over all Arsenally. With the game looking safe we switched off and in a split second Rangers were back in the game at 1:2 from a well hit Charlie Adam shot after Gibbs and Koscielny backed away from him.

It made for a nervy last 10 minutes but we held on and we were able to bring home a very important three points.

Some thoughts on individual players: Ozil is an absolute joy to watch – he seems to think at a faster pace than the players around him; Santi – while not quite up to Man City away form – was always available to relieve pressure with his close control; Ospina is starting to look like our real Number One; Giroud’s strike rate is starting to nudge him towards “top, top striker” level – do we really need to look elsewhere in the summer?

RockyLives


A Comfortable 3 points?

December 27, 2014

Well, well, well, that was a walk in the park that almost resulted in a mugging.

Good start, even got a penalty awarded after seven minutes when Alexis is brought down by Traore, what a mug he’s learnt nothing since he left Arsenal. I thought there was an unwritten rule that the player fouled doesn’t take the penalty, but Alexis refused to give the nominated player, Cazorla, the ball and took it himself. Note to coaching staff: Alexis needs some pointers on how to take a penalty. Easy save for Rob Green.

The game meandered along much the same as before, Arsenal playing with a ball and QPR watching. Then a nice move between Welbeck and Cazorla saw the ball played out wide to Gibbs who crossed beautifully for Alexis to nod the ball in completely unopposed after thirty-seven minutes.

Half-time and half the job done.

Second half was much the same, although QPR did get hold of the ball a bit more but seemed at a loss as to what to do with it so gave it quickly back to Arsenal.

Fifty two minutes, enter stage left The Village Idiot! For no perceivable reason Giroud decides to take umbrage for a slight push in the back by Onuoha, so he head butted the QPR defender who, naturally, went down like a sack of s**t. Martin Atkinson, who was no more than three yards away from the incident, had no option but to dismiss the Arsenal striker. Nice one Ollie! A three match ban at the busiest time of the season.

Then on sixty-five minutes Alexis mesmerised the QPR defence, weaved his way into the box and laid one on a plate for Rosicky to put away with aplomb.

Only now do QPR finally wake up and start to play football, The pressure builds and QPR win a penalty on seventy-nine minutes, which Austin puts away, 2 – 1. Increasing pressure convinces Wenger to make changes, so off goes Rosicky to be replaced by Chambers, Arsenal are now being pinned in their own half, Welbeck replaced by Coquelin, With no Arsenal player up-field QPR are free to besiege the penalty area with impunity but the headless chicken defence holds out to take all three points.

written by Norfolk Gooner


QPR: T’was the Day after Christmas

December 26, 2014

Firstly. I hope all our readers had a wonderful Xmas and received all that was on the list you wrote to Santa Claus – unfortunately I must have got Santa’s address wrong because I got a bunch of stuff which will be taken to the charity shops next week 😡

Thankfully we have a game to relieve the tension of entertaining family members and it should be an enjoyable one.

Most London fans have a soft spot for QPR. From the old days of Marsh and Stan Bowles they have been my alternative London club (alongside Barnet). Why? Because we usually beat them. Unfortunately some dunderhead decided to appoint the objectionable ‘Arry as manager which has reduced my enjoyment – as many know I find the cheeky chappy/wheeler dealer, East London cabbie act seriously annoying.

But if I had to pick a game for a chilly Boxing Day evening, QPR would be the one. They are unlikely to park the bus, will be very competitive, have dangerous strikers but are beatable, and we need a win ahead of a difficult to trip to WHU. Statistics and history mean little but QPR have yet to win away this season and it is some time since they won at our place.

Joey Barton. Let’s leave it there.

Charlie Austin? Is he as good as the mug pundits insist? If he is the under-fire BFG will have to shape up.

Talking of which, BFG made a mistake at Anfield but it was his only one in the game – admittedly a very costly one. Why is Alexis in the red zone and not BFG? The man clearly needs a break but Mr Wenger’s CB transfer omission has resulted in our creaking German looking out of sorts.

Who starts today? I say the best players available. Until Arteta regains fitness Flamini is an automatic choice – we cannot rely upon Coquelin and other than him the cupboard is bare.

We welcome back the Invisible Wall that is Ospina – invisible because he has been AWOL; good to see TPIG get some competition. Also back are Theo, Yaya and Tomas. I would love to see Rosicky get some pitch time.

OK ….. Mrs Raddy is getting antsy for us to enjoy the winter sunshine.

Santa make my Xmas, bring us 3 points and an OG hat-trick. Pretty Please.

COYRRG

written by Big Raddy

 


Arsenal Finally Find The Winning Combination.

December 15, 2014

Arsenal played what was probably the most complete ninety minutes of football this season in the EPL, beating Newcastle 4-1. But winning combination I hear you say with fingers hovering over the keyboard at the ready to disagree – are you sure? Irrespective of what a good job Debuchy did on the day or just how much more comfortable Bellerin now looks after a run of games — the defense was clearly make shift at best.

This alone will surely make some question the assertion that Arsenal have found the winning formula. And further, how could this statement be true when we had Oxlade-Chamberlain who might be winning support for his eventual role in the midfield but right now his repeated failure to complete simple passes, always leading to the loss of possession, tells me that he is still some way off making that role his own, yet again suggesting that the claim of having found the winning formula may be wide of the mark.

No, my dear Arsenal supporting chums, the winning formula is the attack and not all of the attack at that, not Sanchez, who I will come back to. The winning formula, the one that galvanizes the whole team, the one that fuses a stop gap backline and a makeshift midfield from brittle iron and carbon into hardened steel is quite simply the combination of Giroud and Welbeck on the field at the same time.

giroud and welbeck

This pairing is the answer; they both take the pressure off the other giving each a greater self confidence and the result is that this radiates throughout the team almost to the point where is doesn’t matter what the rest of the team is made up off.

Not convinced, well let’s look at the games since Giroud’s return? Although, before I do, I need to set the scene and remind you that the preceding game was the uncomfortable loss against Swansea 1-2.

Giroud’s first appearance was against Man U when again we lost 2-1; Welbeck was marked out of game. Big Ollie came on as a substitute and scored a cracking goal. The loss was bitter but most people saw Giroud’s return as the silver lining.

Next up, West Brom away: Giroud and Welbeck start, Danny Boy scores with a header to win the game 1-0.  It wasn’t high scoring but there was something different, Arsenal were playing with a far greater sense of confidence. I put that down to the pairing.

Next, Southampton: Welbeck starts with Giroud on the bench, Danny is largely anonymous. Giroud comes on after 65 minutes everything changes and we end up winning 1-0 with a late goal from Sanchez.

Then came Stoke: Giroud starts with Welbeck on the bench (no winning formula) the team fought back bravely but the Chambers red card made it a bridge too far. As for Giroud — he was awful.

Arnie wrote this yesterday: “By the way AAers and other fans that hounded Giro and welcomed Danny that was disgraceful.”  To which Rasp wrote: “Which AAers was that?”.

Arnie is completely right. Micky, Kelsey and I are all guilty of this, although, not quite in the way I think that Arnie is suggesting.

Giroud is not good enough; his first touch is poor, he is slow; in short, he will get us top four but we will never win the league with him as the sole striker. Wenger knows this which is why he brought Sanchez and Welbeck in the summer. Anyone who thinks Wenger is happy with fourth place really needs to think about what happened there a bit deeper.

Sanchez is obviously the most exciting player we have but he is so much the lone gun that he doesn’t make a good pairing with any one single player; there is always something missing when he and Welbeck play together up front but add Giroud and we have magic, and oh how we enjoyed the firework display on Saturday. Sanchez is pretty much allowed to do whatever he wants while Giroud and Welbeck can interchange at will, neither feeling pressured and both pulling defenders out of position allowing the other to find space. (Yes, GIE I did read your comment).

The upshot of all this is that I firmly believe that, amongst that incredibly talented squad, the illusive winning combination that we have been in search of all season has now been found. Ladies and gentleman please raise your glasses to Olivier Giroud, Danny Welbeck and success.

Cheers

Written by LB

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4-1 to The Arsenal. Talking Points.

December 14, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Written by MickyDidIt89


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