Transfers? Leave it to Arsene

August 23, 2016

Transfers? I leave it to Arsene to decide

We take Arsene for granted. The mans achievement to maintain a top four level of consistency is unparalleled and in the world of competitive football, simply extraordinary. To lift, maintain a harmony, and instil required motivation to a squad of players is incredible.

After 20 years in charge how well do we know Arsene?

I can guarantee every blogger on this site, you will never beat Arsene in mind games or any form of dispute. The man is razor sharp and his emotional intelligence second to none.

Let me give you an example. Your a player on the fringes and want to play. You become anxious, letting feelings get the better of you. Your options are to either go knocking on Wengers door and have it out or knuckle down in training and see were it gets you?

What is the correct answer? With some managers it can work either way but with Arsene?…..the answer is neither.

What ever you do Arsene will decide on whats best for the team. By the time he is finished with you there will be no resentment on your part. He will make you feel bad for questioning him. You will look back and actually admire and respect the man for his actions. This is why players that have left the club speak so fondly of the man.

In all the 20 years of Arsenes management I don’t recall an over reaction, over charged emotional outburst, melt down, or any profound loss of logic. Name me another manager that you can say that about?

What is the result of this amazing ability to remain calm, controlled, fair, and emotionally healthy? Consistency, that’s what.

The reason the club has prospered and maintained top four level is down to Wenger. Under the pressures of a stadium move, the emergence of sugar daddy owners, and the influx of money across the board he has achieved something which is nigh on impossible. I dont care who it is, no other manager could match that.

Yet some of our support deride him. Why? For the same reasons that has made the man admired by his peers and respected by those who work with him, they let themselves down by emotional over reaction, and in turn come over needy and weak.

I ask the critics this. Remove your selves for a minute from the highly charged emotion of supporting Arsenal, stand back and take a look at the mans 20 year career in its entirety, and reflect on what you see..

written by Terry Mancini’s Hair Transplant


Wenger, Spend Some Money.

August 22, 2016

Well we all had the opportunity to closely scrutinise and compare Walcott with Mahrez on Saturday, having watched it which of the two would you prefer at THOF? Both had the best of the half chances and neither could convert them into goals. I know who I would prefer to be turning out in the glorious red and white of Arsenal next week at Watford which would you?

It seems to be coming clearer that Arsenal didn’t even put a bid in for the Algerian, the strongest rumour circulating is that it was Mahrez’ agent was feeding the press to get a better deal for his client.

To a certain degree it is understandable that Wenger didn’t try and get involved. If your philosophy is that you are only going to buy if that purchase improves the existing squad then it sort of makes sense. Is Mahrez really that much better than Theo?

While we are on the subject of comparisons, who do you think is the better striker out of Welbeck and Vardy? Well, I suppose that while Welbeck is injured the answer has to be Vardy but when both are fit the answer should surely be the other way round. Vardy might not come across as the sharpest tool in the box but he knew enough to see that he was being brought to be an understudy and as soon as Welbeck was back he would be riding the pine. There was no other way that this was going to play out and as such the best Arsenal could offer him was a three year deal and that was generous. This restriction made it easy for Leicester who simply made him an offer of four years which was an offer he couldn’t refuse and we move on or am I missing something?

We have to do Mustafi again but for a change try to imagine for a minute that you are Peter Lim the owner of Valencia who happens to also be one of the most successful investors in Singapore, so we can take it as green that he knows a thing or two about negotiations; he also has a lot of connections with the EPL so he also knows how things work here.

OK, it is pretty clear that Arsenal have made a bid for Mustafi so if you were Peter Lim what would you do? Accept the offer or knowing that you have Arsenal in the bag wait to see if Chelsea or even Liverpool come in for him? Let’s not forget that Liverpool are desperate for additional bodies in defence and the fact that Klopp is a fellow German would also surely be a draw.

Who cares just spend some money and buy him. Not that easy really. Unfortunately it’s not Tesco’s in which the price for every item is fixed, all you need to do is pick one up and take it to the counter and pay for it. But we need him just make it happen Wenger; if we had had him against Liverpool we might well have won. Not so, it is easy to forget that ‘A’ he played in the Euros and therefore would not have been ready to play against Liverpool and ‘B’ that he was injured; he is only now getting close to being able to play again.

Could you imagine the fall out if Wenger had signed a player who was not good to go? In the mean time it has given Wenger the opportunity to get a good look at Holding who even the most mean spirited of Arsenal supporter has to admit is doing well. This means that in the near future we are going to have Gabriel and Koscielny on the pitch and Mertesacker, Holding and Chambers on the bench as cover. Where does Mustafi fit in?

I suspect I will read comments that this is just another example of Wenger’s indecision; so in advance of that, I think that it is worth remembering how decisive the club were when signing our last significant player – Xhaka. As clear an example as you will find of a player who came available and would improve the squad, no fuss, no faff, £30 million paid, job done.

The whole thing I suppose comes down to whether you believe Wenger or you don’t, I am fairly obviously one of those who does, I believe him when he says that he is ready to spend if the right player becomes available. I agree with him when he says that good players become available at the end of the transfer window. Lacazzete is available now and the club have put in a reasonable offer for him, Lyon are playing hard ball and have reportedly upped the asking price to £70 million. A figure that doesn’t reflect the value of a player who couldn’t even get into the French Euros team; so now imagine you are Wenger, do you spend the money you have on Lacazzette today or wait a little longer and try and get Draxler?


Stale Arsenal leave fans fuming at full time whistle!

August 21, 2016

A new season, a new kit (3 in fact) and only a few new players so far. However the same problems seem to remain at Arsenal Football Club, one of English footballs grandest clubs. The team traveled to Leicester and left with 1 point but this maybe a watershed moment given the hostile chanting towards Mr Wenger, at the end of the match, by the away fans.

The journey to Leicester was filled with apprehension more than optimism given Arsenal’s poor record at the start of the season and the feeling of being “under-prepared” yet again. On arrival and walking to the Counting House pub, there was lots of talk about possible incoming transfers with most fans voicing their frustration at the lack of money being spent.

warmup

As fans got their last orders in, the teams were announced and there was huge relief to see the name Laurent Koscielney in the starting line up after he’d had a  busy summer with France at Euro 2016. By contrast there was disappointment that Giroud was on the bench leaving Alexis to lead the line one more time.

the ground

 

champs

Arsenal kicked off and set themselves under pressure from the off as new boy Granit Xhaka gave the ball away cheaply, which was played forward to Jamie Vardy, the man who rejected Arsenal’s attention over the summer. A chorus of boos and jeers from the travelling support greeted the Leicester forward as the danger was cleared.

The Gunners began to get in their stride with Cazorla trying to pull the strings in midfield and making Arsenal play. The flanks were proving to be Arsenal’s best option but there were numerous occasions when the final delivery was disappointing. The fans then slowly started to bemoan the lack of presence up front with Alexis playing as a makeshift forward.

play

Another Leicester man, Riyad Mahrez, who like Vardy, rejected Arsenal’s advances was next to be hounded by the away support every time he touched the ball with one man in the upper tier chanting “you could have played for a big club, played for a big club, you could have played for a big club!” Then on 24 minutes play was brought back as Francis Coquelin picked up a yellow card for a late challenge on the rattled Jamie Vardy who was sent sprawling to the floor.

Arsenal began to work through the gears with Hector Bellerin charging forward at every opportunity. The fans then began to turn on Theo Walcott who seemed to be non-existent and fans were getting angry at his lack of runs. Fans began to question his £120k salary per week, with one young fan screaming “you’ve done nothing in 10 years apart from grow a beard!”

Then Arsenal’s first attempted shot came from the lively Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain which brought some to enthusiasm to the fans. Then the first contentious decision of the game. Cech came racing out of his goal to deny Leicester, Drinkwater want crashing to the ground. Mark Clattenburg waved away the penalty claims as Laurent Koscielny was deemed to have got a touch on the ball with his momentum taking Drinkwater down.

Half time and much of the talk in the concourse was about Arsenal’s lack of cutting edge with the play being too predictable and intricate.

grumps

The second half began and Leicester ramped up the pressure with Mahrez looking to unlock the Arsenal defence. The fans were warming to young Rob Holding who alongside Koscielny was delivering a very resolute performance winning his aerial duels and keeping Vardy in check.

The Arsenal fans began to turn on Mark Clattenburg as Mendy was forced to go off the pitch with the stretcher coming out but the player standing much to the displeasure of Arsenal fans who wanted the game to continue. One fan shouted “how is Clattenburg a World Cup referee!”

Again Arsenal were up to their usual tricks of trying to overcook the ball with Chamberlain being the culprit trying to play the perfect ball through leaving supporters fuming and Walcott again looking lost and low on confidence with supporters chanting for Mesut Ozil to appear. Bellerin then tried his luck from distance but his shot was easily saved. Walcott then had an effort ruled out for offside and Chamberlain faded as the game progressed. Vardy was then off target as his shot was too high with the ball landing in row z.

Arsenal fans were then pleading with Arsene Wenger to show more desire and stand on the touch line with supporters asking  “how the f**k can the players be inspired when all he does is f**king sit down!” In contrast his counterpart Mr Ranieri was in his technical area barking instructions at all times.

Finally some substitutions were made but fans were moaning about how late these changes came. Wilshere and Ozil came on for Xhaka and Cazorla and the difference was glaring. Ozil was a delight to watch as he forced the issue and was trying to make the team go forward in search of that elusive goal. Olivier Giroud shortly followed coming into the pitch after Walcott was through only for his take effort to be deflected wide. Then moments later Walcott was through on goal with Giroud free for what would have been a simple tap in but Walcott went for glory himself and missed and the this was the turning point for the fans who were fuming more towards the manager than the players. The chant “spend some f**king money” was ringing around the King Power Stadium with Leicester fans finding the whole episode rather amusing.

Ozil had a late chance but was denied and then a Leicester free kick late on never troubled Cech. Ahmed Musa was sent to the ground under Hector Bellerin with the young Spaniard very fortunate not to have given away a penalty in the dying moments of the game.

During the last 10 minutes the supporters were expressing their anger and the majority of the away support where chanting ‘Wenger out’. This is why it could be a watershed moment as the support for the manager is waning fast with perhaps it being 70-30 in the Wenger out camp. The chant was deafening and there was no denying that the atmosphere at the end was toxic amongst the away support. The game was over and it was a case of 2 points dropped rather than 1 point gained and the Arsenal fans were left pondering what might have been. Some pressing concerns for the supporters as the aggressive chants continued as fans headed for the exits.

the end2

Outside the ground there was fighting between Arsenal and Leicester fans and reports of missiles being thrown at the Arsenal supporters end which struck a child, a young Arsenal fan. This left Arsenal fans reeling resulting in clashes with Leicester supporters. Online reports claiming the fighting was between Arsenal fans was wide of the mark and nonsense.

Again a poor start to the season.. I ask myself why do we put ourselves through this every season. Maybe us fans should be in the dug out and on the pitch. Maybe then we will have a club who will show the desire to reach the top of English football once again.

We want our Arsenal back! UTA!!!

Written by Sir A


Two ‘L’ and Back

August 20, 2016

Could we lose twice in a week to teams beginning with L? Has it ever happened before?

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Going away to a team who are the current Champions is always going to be difficult – I know they are “only” Leicester and we smashed them twice last season. Let’s be honest – we are under pressure. A potential loss would see us in a Spurs position after just two games.

But we won’t lose, will we?

I was delighted that both Ranieri and LCFC won the title, it lifted the spirits as one of the nice guys and a humble team consistency overcame the odds. It was brilliant and no shame to finish second by a mere 10 points.

This season will  be different or will it. The same media morons who predicted the Foxes would collapse under the pressure of leading from the front are predicting them finishing mid-table. Why? It is the same team bar one MF who has been replaced. They are a bloody good side.

We both lost last w/e and both need to kickstart the season, Leicester will view this game as winnable. Our defensive frailties against Vardy and Mahrez (does anyone think we really tried to sign Mahrez? Really?) could once again cost us dear.

I rarely make a prediction because I invariably put a bok on the team – so I won’t today but I am hopeful. Why? Because Arsenal have fantastic players. The injury to Ramsey gives space for the little Spanish genius and as we are away Xhaka is likely to start. They make an excellent midfield. As you know, I am not a Coquelin fan and hope Elneny gets the DM role alongside Xhaka. That is one powerful midfield, full of attacking possibilities.

We scored three last weekend and the attack appeared potent. Theo’s goal will do his confidence wonders – he took it brilliantly as did the Ox.

And what of the elephant in the room, the centre of defence? Well …. they just have to do better. If players want to have a career at one of the top clubs in the world they HAVE to step up. No excuses. We need young players to develop into future stars, they get few opportunities and therefore must make the most of them. Chambers must improve and the experienced players around him HAVE to help. Monreal was rubbish for 20 minutes last w/e, so was Coquelin; they cost us the game. No point looking at an inexperienced 21 y.o to blame.

And what of Cech.? I like him but others have major concerns. I felt he should have saved at least one of Liverpool’s goals.

Sanchez is SO important. In the absence of the Pass Master Ozil, his quality is paramount to our success. He looked hungry last week but understandably  faded. If he hits 30 minutes of form this afternoon, we can win.


Will the atmosphere at The Emirates become poisonous?

August 18, 2016

When I lived in England I estimate that I watched over 800 games live at Highbury. Back in the early days the crowd consisted mainly of working class men hardened by the events of WW2 – typically they wore heavy leather soled boots and cheese cutter hats. At 3:00pm on Saturdays there was only thing on my family’s mind and that was, of course, going to watch and support the Arsenal.

People squeezed into the ground and pushed and shoved to get into their regular spots, ours was at the clock end and as many as 30 of our family were usually in attendance.

There was only one thing on our minds and that was to cheer on our side and barrack the referee for every perceived injustice. There was no separation of supporters so we intermingled with the away supporters; that only caused an issue when we were playing Tottenham – but even then there was rarely any serious trouble.

Very few supporters had any deep football knowledge of the game and it was rare to hear talk of things like – tactics, formations, transfers or club ownership. Instead the talk surrounded the game we had just watched and the player’s individual contributions. Media coverage was limited to newspapers, radio and early TV.

During the 60’s media coverage got more intense and fans began to read, hear and see more details about their own team and football in general. We began to see interviews with players and managers and heard about potential transfers and started to learn more about transfers and tactic’s – all of which was positive.

Fast forwarding to the current situation and we have intense 24/7 world wide instant media coverage and are inundated with the “expert” opinions of pundits who are usually ex players who dissect every aspect of the game. In order for these media outlets to survive and prosper they have to attract and grow audiences – one method they use is to pull in readers/viewers by creating self fulfilling headlines and show previews. This has both positive and negative consequences; some see through the thin veneer of fact and form their own opinions while others believe it as though it were the gospel.

While I have not set foot inside the Emirates stadium I’ve watched every single game on TV and as the years without winning either the PL or CL has grown so has the chorus of discontent. Our away supporters continue to be behind our team and show an amazing level of support, while our home fans are far less accepting and they make their negative feelings known.

My headline is intended to invite open dialogue on the positive or negative influence that our home support has on our players and therefore our results?

GunnerN5


Well Who Would Have Thought? Arsenal 3 Liverpool 4

August 15, 2016

Many people predicted that a beating was on the cards as many predicted that we would score a few ourselves and so it was. Possibly the biggest surprise to me was that we looked as though we were going to win for the better side for forty six of the forty seven minutes played in the first half. Theo’s penalty miss was quickly put right a few minutes later when he accurately slid the ball past a helpless Mignolet and not only were we one nil up we were looking good. So much so that I started to think that I may have read this one completely wrong.

Comments from FGG such as “Coutinho is over rated” started coming to mind and concerns about the potential long term mental damage to Holding should we suffer a thrashing seemed way off the mark. But then with just one minute before the break everyone decided to pick up the script and give it a good read. Coutinho’s free kick from distance was so good it only warranted the slightest of sighs of annoyance as it flew into the top corner. Czech was well beaten but worse, much worse it gave Liverpool the belief that they could get more than just a draw from the sundrenched afternoon at the Emirates.

And so that proved. Liverpool came out after the break with renewed belief and quickly took the lead through Lalana. This was followed shortly after by Courtinho and then finally by Mane turning Chambers inside out.

Things were looking grim, people around me started walking out, the groans aimed at Wenger were getting louder and some people were even saying things like “we should have brought a central defender and a striker”. Really, who would have thought? I searched for my inner Zen consoling myself that this was predictable and I should not be upset because winning is not the only reason I go to watch Arsenal (OK that bit’s a lie). The mood of the crowd had changed, the groans aimed at Wenger were getting louder but just as those very groans were about to turn into full scale abuse, up popped Oxlaide-Chamberlain to slalom past the Liverpool defence and fire in through the smallest gap at the near post.

Wooo, this was getting exciting. Wenger sent the kitchen sink down the touchline to warm up before throwing it on, and it worked; Chambers flicked on into the net a delightful Cazorla free kick making it 3-4, and for a moment we allowed ourselves to dream that the full come back was on. Alas, it didn’t happen as we know but the next best thing did and that was that we witnessed a really exciting game. Never a dull moment at Arsenal, bring on Leicester and let the signings begin.

Player ratings:

Czech: another commanding performance. I can’t see that he was at fault for any of the goals but I will defer to GIE for a more knowledgeable view. 5

Bellerin: We have a saying around where I sit which goes: when things are going wrong think of Hector. Did you see that tackle he made in the dying minutes when he raced back at turbo speed, amazing and uplifting at the same time. I have not seen replays but Hector had the air of the veteran about him, calm collected, right place, right time. 6

Holding: I have been looking forward to writing this: the man was outstanding, his passing ability, his accuracy, both short and long were excellent. The idea that he was going to be the one to buckle proved unfounded; all the problems came from the Chambers and Monreal side. 7

Chambers: there was a time in the first half when I was thinking this man is going to be MOTM but then his passing started going astray and then he started going astray. If Koscielny is fit next week I would keep Holding and drop Chambers. 3. OK I will give him an extra point for his goal. 4

Monreal: I thought he and Chambers were responsible for the last three Liverpool goals. The left flank was constantly exposed. Nacho’s positioning was all over the place. 3

Elneny and Coquelin: Our midfield dogs of war, love’em. For the amount of work they both put in they deserved more. 7 each.

Ramsey: Europe’s second best number 10 carried on where he left off at the Euros which was very good;  it is easy to forget how effective he is when played in his natural position. 7

Iwobi: Not a good day for Alex; he really was the weak link. His inability to find his man when a simple pass was all that was needed had a huge knock on affect so much so that I would say that it reduced Sanchez’ effectiveness by 50%. 4

Sanchez: with no one to play the quick one twos that make him so effective he was reduced to being isolated for much of the game. It is too early to say whether he can or can’t be a number nine; we will only know that when Ozil, the king of the assists returns. 6

Walcott: Theo thrived when fed but that was not as often as he needed and so he faded. Still good from Theo though, I liked what I saw. 6


The Opener.

August 14, 2016

It starts.

What an interesting couple of games to get us going – especially with our injury situation.  Two teams beginning with L. No idea what our record is agains teams beginning with different letters of the alphabet but I know we do well against T teams.

Strangely last season Liverpool struggled upfront despite having Origi, Benteke, Ings, Sturridge and Balotelli😀. This is a massive investment into centre forwards but Klopp is so unsure about his attack that he has spent another bucket of money on the potentially excellent Mane (who would have fitted well into our squad).

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I noticed that they have signed an ex-Gooner in Alex Manninger. A pleasant and unexpected  addition to Alex’s pension fund.

If you look at Liverpool’s squad they are very strong in all positions, especially midfield. Klopp has strengthened an already promising team and in Coutinho they have a player who is almost Ozil-esque … almost.

But despite having a manager we coveted, a team which cost way more than AFC’s and a huge fanbase, they have consistently failed to get amongst the Big Boys. Why? In all honesty I do not know and more to the point I don’t care; this is an Arsenal blog!

So, what of our boys? Well, the Boyo is likely to start following his heroics in the Euro’s, so is our new boy, Xhaka, who is likely to have a major influence upon our season should he stay fit and strong.

Injury problems in defence will surely result in us playing with two DM’s to assist the youngsters. It will be interesting to see whether Coquelin or Elneny starts alongside our the Swiss chap. Midfield is going to be fascinating as we progress through to Xmas we have Cazorla, Ramsey, Iwobi, Wilshere, Ox and Ozil all vying for the attacking MF position.

My Team:

Cech

Bellerin    Holding   Chambers    Monreal

Xhaka   Coquelin

Ramsey

Ox     Walcott     Sanchez

It hurts to leave out Santi – he is such a wonderful player and perhaps he will take Ox or Ramsey’s place, more likely he will be a super-sub. Iwobi is a Wenger favourite, and rightly so, but I just cannot find a place for him although an alternative could be to play Ramsey on the left in place of Ox with Iwobi on the right of midfield

Walcott has to lead the line; he is a confidence player and should he score a goal we will benefit.My fear is that the Emirates faithful will scapegoat him should he endure a poor half and then we know that Theo will hide. Alongside Ox, Sanchez and Rambo we should have enough.

I don’t think we can judge how the season will unfurl from this afternoon – we lost to Villa a couple of season’s ago and our record over the past 5 seasons is W1 D3 L1, not too dusty.

A win today would be terrific, the bookies have us at 55% likely to win and Liverpool just 33% (the remainder is the draw).

Come On You Rip Roaring Gunners

written by Big Raddy

 

 


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