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


Transfer window, are we finished?

August 26, 2014

Morning Gooner’s.

Less than a week until the transfer window shuts, and still speculation into who else will join the four new players we have signed. So far we have Sanchez who in the couple of games we have seen him, looks to be a fine live wire. Up next we have Debuchy a right back replacement for our beloved Bacary Sagna. Debuchy has had a quiet start, no fireworks but looks to be a sound buy. Debuchey doesn’t appear to have the attacking flair that Bacary had, but I see that as a plus, as I like a full back to be a defender that defends.

Next up we have our replacement goalkeeper Ospina, replacement for Fabianski who has moved on for regular first team football. I have to say that this was a disappointment to me as although over the year’s Fabianski was nicknamed Flappy for quite a few errors I feel that he has had rather a tough time of it, as Szczesny’s understudy. But he’s gone, and Ospina has taken up residence, still yet to be seen on the firing line due to injury, but rumoured to be good enough to give Szczesny a run for his money.

Next up we have young 19 year old Calum Chambers from Southampton. Not a lot known about young Calum, only that he is down as a right back, Wenger paid 16 million for this lad so he must feel that he had the talent. Surprisingly Arsene has included young Calum in every game since he signed, granted Per Merts had been given an extended holiday after winning the World cup, but what has surprised me more is that Arsene has played young Calum as centre back, and what has surprised me even more, is the fact that he has played exceedingly well. I like what I have seen of this youngster, his decisive intelligent play, seems to be more than I was expecting, his versatility will be very useful in the future.

Of course we cannot forget Joel Campbell, now although Joel has still not played in our first 2 games, Wenger has stated that he will be staying. Joel has been out on loan since Wenger found him, as problems with visa’s scuppered his early chances, but now that has all been sorted, and of course his inclusion in the World cup has brought this young man to the fore, still slightly a raw talent, but under the watchful eye of our leader, I can only see a promising future.

So far our Manager has secured 4 signings but in all honesty they are not additions, they are replacements, so our squad has not really been made larger, but depending on where you read your news from, Arsene has stated that our recruitment has not necessarily ended. If of course this is true, the mind boggles. Many still believe that we are a holding Midfielder short of a strong team, and many others still see Giroud, Sanogo and an unseen Campbell as still being light up front. I feel that so far from what I have seen of our starting first 2 games, that both positions could definitely be strengthened.

Of course, over the past few seasons, 4 signings would have been every Gooners dream come true, but we are now The New Arsenal Football Club, we are not a penny pinching football club anymore. so who knows what may be in store, 1 week in football seems an eternity at times, but also an opportunity for maybe a couple more bodies.

Arsene has said in the past, that too many signings in any window, can be hard to get balanced,  and can even give a destabilising  effect. Wenger has passed the amount already, so maybe talk from skinflint days gone by, when sponsors money was not available, but from the opening 3 games we do look a little unstable.

Supporters are insufferable, they ask for a signing, and get 4, they then feel we still need more, I believe if we brought eleven they would still feel we need just one more just in case. Personally I am ecstatic with Arsene’s business this window, sad of course with Sagna’s departure, but he was getting on, and at the end of the day Arsene let him go for free so he should have a very good pension.

I for one, am a very satisfied supporter, of course should Wenger feel he needs one or two more, i certainly wouldn’t shake a finger, forwards and upwards and COYG’s

Written by Steve Palmer

 


Is Giroud Plan A or Plan B?

August 25, 2014

I am sure it can’t be easy trying to motivate and improve an average CF year on year and yet that seems to be exactly what Wenger is doing with Olivier Giroud.

If the plan was to challenge Giroud ‘to up his game’ by playing Sanogo ahead of him against Palace then there is a strong case to say that it worked. There is little doubt that his inclusion changed the momentum in our favour that enabled us to finally secure the three points.

If the same plan was to motivate Giroud by playing Alexis Sanchez ahead of him as the number 9 against Everton then in view of the fact that we were two down at half time and we came back to nick a draw then it has to be said that it worked.

Giroud

It seemed as soon as Giroud took to the field everyone knew what to do again. Ramsey could run forward confident in the knowledge that Giroud would be able to hold the ball long enough before laying it off to the on coming Welshman, Wilshere could try and re-enact his goal against Norwich last season and both Debuchy and Monreal could send in those all so familiar high crosses for the tall Frenchman to get on the end of.

The argument for Giroud to start as our plan A centre forward is strong and with him up front I see no reason we can’t replicate last season and finish fourth.

Fourth, fourth is that what you want?

Wenger didn’t buy Sanchez because he was happy with the way things were, he obviously bought the Chilean because he thought that he would improve things and I still believe he will.

Sanchez new kit

I have been surprised by some of the contributors on the site who seem to have written him off after only 45 minutes as someone capable of leading the line and call for the signing of a new striker. Do these same people expect that someone like Cavanni would have slotted into a new team and a new system so seamlessly that he would have scored a hat trick against Everton? Maybe they do?

I stand by my player ratings and especially the 9 I awarded Sanchez. By way of explanation, I ask you to do a mental player rating of everyone in the first half excluding the back 5

Flamini: OK but nothing special 5
Ramsey: constantly gave the ball away 4
Wilshere: looked a bit stronger (I’m trying here) but did nothing of merit 4
Ozil: no where near match fit, continually lost the ball and never made a telling pass. 4
Oxlaide-Chamberlain: poor control, poor passing, missed open goal. 4

So with the players around Sanchez playing like a bunch of blokes on Hackney Marshes what real chance did the Chilean have? And yet, his control was excellent his tracking back was superb, he made some important tackles and all in all I thought he looked good. OK there is still a lot for him to get used to but I remind myself that Robin Van Persie was not converted into a CF overnight.

If we want to improve then we have got to change things. Wenger tried a new system and I for one am very glad of it, maybe he could have waited until Leicester but there are no guarantees that it would have been more effective against them than Everton.

Giroud isn’t plan A or plan B neither is Sanchez; they both have different skills that can be deployed against teams that best suit them.

Who should start up front against Besiktas on Wednesday?

Written by LB


So, Why Was Sanogo Even Playing?

August 18, 2014

I over heard this question no less than three times as I weaved my way through the throng of people drinking beer and chatting during the half time interval in an attempt to stretch my legs.

It was fairly easy to tell that had it not been for Koscielny’s equalising goal only some five minutes earlier these same people would have been asking the same question but with far greater ferocity.

Sanogo

They may have had a point: Arsenal played in the same frustrating way as they did last season against opposition who, as predictably as Sunday follows Saturday, were always going to park the bus and waste time whenever they possibly could. This is exactly what they did and I should add that part of Crystal Palace’s predictable plan would have been to try and nick a goal from a set piece and that again is also what they did.

The answer as to why Sanogo was playing was fairly obvious to me: our new system is simply not ready yet; the system I refer to is dependant on our new 40 million pound player named Alexis Sanchez.

Last season Wenger would have fielded pretty much the same team only with Sagna and Giroud. Sagna would have whipped in high crosses which Palace would have dealt with as easily as they did on Saturday when Debuchy sent in high crosses for Sanogo. The result being that Palace regained possession and we had to work harder than we needed in getting the ball back.

The other frustrating similarity to last season is that although we still have the players whose intricate passing is capable of producing the wonder goal that Jack Wilshere finished off against Norwich. This doesn’t happen enough and by that I mean that Barcelona do this on a weekly basis and so should we. We certainly didn’t look capable of producing such a goal against Palace and that, like last season, was down to Sanogo’s lack of close control which is equally as lacking as Giroud’s.

This brings me back to the new system I expect to see adopted in the coming weeks. In an attempt to explain I ask this: do you think that Ozil is going to be left out of that team? No, you do not. Now imagine Sanchez playing up front instead of Sanogo against Palace with Ozil on the right.

It this scenario it would have been totally pointless of Debuchy to send in high crosses; he would be forced to do something different. I will give him the benefit of the doubt that he can adapt quickly even through the brain washing he received at Newcastle to send in high crosses time after time must be deeply ingrained.

On a side note, did you ever ask yourself after noticing that Barcelona had just beaten some low league team 46 –nil or something equally ridiculous, why the opponents don’t park the bus and waste time in the same way as Palace did on Saturday? The answer is that their opponents do try — but they fail. The reason that Barcelona are able to find a way through is that everyone of their attack has exceptional close control. Well now for the first time since Henry, Bergkamp, and Pires played together — so do we.

The combination of Ramsey, Cazorla, Ozil and Sanchez is as good as any other in Europe when it comes to close control and super quick passing. They would have found a way past that tall lumbering Palace defence in no time. In fact this is the new system that I refer to and expect to be deployed with great effect against every team whose predictable game plan is to simply park the bus.

The unavailability of Ozil goes some way to explaining why Sanogo was playing but to me there is more: just look at the fixture list in March; we could have Capital One Cup games, FA Cup games, Champions League Games and EPL games. We will need Sanogo to feel part of the squad, up to speed, ready to go and the only way that that can happen is if he plays now, while he can, before the new system comes into force.

Many would have preferred Giroud on Saturday but just look how he tired towards the end of last season only having Bendtner as back up and therefore having to play so many games.

Wenger made a judgement call on Saturday that Sanogo would offer enough offensively to get a result while enabling him to take one step closer to justifiably being picked as a first team starter and he was right.

I hope this makes sense, if not I refer you to a comment made on this site after the game which sums this all up far more succinctly than I could:

“I don’t give a monkey’s “rectum” how we played, we got the three points.”

Written by LB


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