Can Wenger teach tactics? Swansea preview.

January 16, 2013

What a strange season it has been and who can predict how it will end? Could we win the FA Cup? Why not, we have done it before and what is more, the last time was in Wales following a drawn game which must be a good portent.

We haven’t done very well against Swansea this season, have we? If ever there was proof of Rasp’s opinion that The Arsenal are not as good as the individual components of the team, those two games are it …. how many of the Swansea first team would get into AW’s starting eleven? Probably none, yet they outplay us because they have a better team ethic. Why should this be? Answers on a postcard to Emirates Stadium…..

That said, tonight is an opportunity to dampen the rising negativity with a handsome win. There are injuries (of course) but nothing too serious and we have our secret weapon back, you know the chap, that lanky fellow who looks like PV4, has some of his silky skills and vision but is as fragile as a €30 champagne glass (I didn’t mean to break it darling, it slipped out of my hand) and who tackles like blancmange. Diaby will start and will have a stormer.

The defence know about Michu, they know not to give him space. The midfield know they have to battle and work non-stop to compete with Swansea’s work ethic and the attack know movement and pace are the best way to unpick a quality Swansea defence.

We have all the weapons needed to win tonight but the over-riding and currently missing quality is teamwork. Victory Through Harmony, please.

Runners and Riders:


Perhaps Ramsey will start ahead of the mighty Vassiriki Abou as he gave a very good cameo performance on Sunday, but AW loves the big man and will be desperate to give him pitch time. The only other question is whether AW will rest players ahead of the Chelsea game. Given that Dean is to referee at the Bridge, and that the FA Cup is our only realistic chance of silverware, I hope he plays his first choice 11.

The Laudrup as AW successor narrative will continue; here in Copenhagen the talk is of Laudrup returning to Real Madrid when Mourinho leaves at season’s end. I doubt this because he has yet to actually win anything as a manager. Laudrup has potential but you need more to take on the RM job. However, I can see him at Arsenal who require a  young manager committed to playing attacking football with a proper team ethic – much like Swansea.

A freezing day lends itself to warm weather explorers: William John Wills (1834-1861). Wills alongside Robert O’Hara Burke (1821-1861) became the first people to walk across Australia (South to North). The expedition took almost two years and was fraught with difficulties, they got lost, ran out of supplies  became ill, and on the return journey were saved by aborigines. Unfortunately (!), one of the expedition shot and injured an aborigine who then abandoned them. From that time their fate was sealed and both men died of  exhaustion and thiamin poisoning. Wills was just 27.

Such was the fame of the Burke & Wills expedition that both stamps and coins have been issued commemorating their adventure.


The Full Set sported by Brave Men

We can and should win tonight. I will be looking for some tactical awareness from Mr Wenger’s team. This is an important match. A trip to the South Coast awaits.

Midweek night games in deep mid-winter are the best and I envy those lucky enough to attend. Shout us to Victory.


Big Raddy

Home Kit 2013/4

December 1, 2012

Who would have though Swansea at home would be approached with some trepidation?  Not me and I guess not you either.

Have we cause for concern? Swansea play attacking football and at their own ground can be formidable, as we found out last season (3-2 loss). The bookies make us 4/9 favorites, so they think we will win but Swansea are on a fine run – just one loss in 9 games and they have just beaten WBA, no mean feat.

Cyberspace has been full of irate Gooners wanting “their Arsenal back” over the past week, a protest which will continue today with the BS March. Good luck to them if their protest results in a change of attitude at Board level but I fear the management will turn a deaf ear. Think Leveson Inquiry and David Cameron. There is no profit in change and until there is nothing will happen.


Lord Leveson sporting next season’s home kit

It should be an exciting game this afternoon; two teams committed to attack. A Swansea side with Michu, Routlege, Hernandez and Dyer to test our defence and Theo etc enjoying the open spaces of the Emirates. Swansea are unlikely to parcio ar y bws (I once had a welsh wife). Thankfully Hernandez is injured – he has been in excellent form. Michu has scored 9 already this season. Dyer at 24 has finally grown up and looks dangerous; with the need for a new winger looming AW may be tempted.

Much is made on these shores of Michael Laudrup, he is football royalty. Alongside Schmeichel he is consider the best Danish footballer ever, and it should be recalled that in 2000 Spanish fans voted him the best foreigner ever to play in Spain which is some compliment . He has made a good start at Swansea, but  a brilliant footballer does not always make a brilliant manager (Bobby’s Charlton & Moore, Maradona, Pele, Gazza! etc). Time will tell but Micky has Laudrup as the next AFC manager and from a purely personal viewpoint I would be very happy with that (every AFC game would be shown here).

My Team:

arse v swans

My hope is that we go allout from the kick-off. If we play well for the first 20 and the final 20 we will win. The away tactic of playing Ramsey gives no assistance to Giroud, we need width to exploit his talents. No Ox in this lineup – perhaps AW will start him in place of Wilshere as JW started at Goodison.

I could bore you with stats and tactics and permutations but there are others who do it so much better.

Our unbeaten run has coincided with the stories of derring-do from English Explorer’s. Coincidence? I think not…… Today’s chap is Joseph Dalton Hooker (1817-1911) Dalton was a botanist and explorer. Charles Darwin’s best friend and Director of Kew Gardens. Places he explored are many – Antarctica, the Himalayas, Australia, India, Tibet, Palestine, Morocco, the Western USA, the list is extensive but then he did live a long time. An exceptional man in an era of brave,  remarkable men and a man who enjoyed the full benefits of extensive facial hair!


A Lifelong Commitment to Facial Fuzz

This is a tough game and a severe test of our aspirations, a win will set us up for a Merry Xmas.. Come on Arsenal win it for SlimGingerGooner who today will enjoy his first trip to The Home of Football.


Written by Big Raddy

Holding Out for a Hero. Will Thierry start? Match preview

January 15, 2012

A real 3 pointer today, what with Spurs and Liverpool dropping points at home.

We all know that Swansea are a very difficult side to beat at the Liberty Stadium, in fact only MU have won there this season. The Swans have conceded just 4 goals at home  (compared to AFC’s 6)  and have drawn half their home games (5/10) Spurs gained a very squeaky point a couple of weeks ago and Swansea will go into the game full of confidence.

Beating Swansea at THOF was our first victory of the season, it was back when we were awful , only a first half Arshavin goal securing the points. It is testament to Swansea that we should consider this fixture as “tough” –  who would have thought so when Swansea were promoted? Most AFC pundits would be happy to leave Wales with a point, but if we are to push for an automatic CL place we must have higher ambitions.


Remember how to do this Andrei?

Our lack of full backs has disrupted the team of recent weeks and any manager worth his salt will target our flanks; 26% of Swansea passes go out to the right wing and in Scott Sinclair and Routledge they  have players who can cause us problems, though it could be worse – they could use the left flank :-) Dare we go into the game with Miquel and JD as our full backs or would we be better served by playing Squillaci in the centre and moving Koscielny to the left?

Midfield is where today’s game will be won, Song is a hugely important and should he regain his form we will have the platform to win. Apart from the super pass to TH on Monday (still feeling the elation?) Song has not been playing up his very high standards, his passing haas been shaky and he doesn’t seem to know what his exact role is in midfield – is he a link player, a DM or an attacking midfielder? Fluidity amongst ARS is all well and good but sometimes it doesn’t gel.

Henry, Benayoun or Ashavin to replace Gervinho? I would select Arshavin who really tried hard on Monday and bring on TH after 70 mins. Can you remember the last time Meerkat played a full game?

Interesting stats: We have conceded in all bar 2 of our last 17 away games. We have had 9 shots cleared off the line – the highest in the PL. Only 14% of our goals have been scored from set pieces – the lowest in the PL.

My Team:

We have a very strong bench (apart from GK).  Benayoun, The Ox, Henry, Rosicky, Squillaci or Yennaris.

Inventor from Swansea?  Sir William Grove. Not only a High Court Judge but also the inventor of the fuel cell which is still used today in space rockets. Sir William is one of The 100 Welsh Heroes. Of course, Swansea is better known for giving birth to stars of the Arts including, amongst a wealth of others, Dylan Thomas, Anthony Hopkins, Sir Richard Burton and the great Bonnie Tyler.

“Come on you Swans!”

Can the return of Thierry fire up the team? Today will be a test as Swansea are on a fine run of form and we are not. Toothless sans RvP we have to find more goals from midfield. A tingling in my fingers is telling me Ramsey will score today on his return to his homeland.


Written by Big Raddy



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