Wenger In or Wenger Out?

October 1, 2016

I am asking you to vote – do you want Wenger to sign a new contract or do you want him to go and inevitably become the next English manager?

This month we are celebrating the 20th anniversary of Arsene Wenger’s managerial career at the Arsenal. Quite frankly, in this day and age, that is an unbelievable achievement in itself. Many managers have been given their P45 days after they have started their job. Chelsea have had 8 (Mouinho counts as 2) managers in the past 20 years! Man United had 4 since Fergie left. Congratulations Mr Wenger.

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With the departure of Sam Allardyce, the search for the new English manager is on. This time the FA are not making a secret of the fact that Arsene Wenger was before Sam and still is their first choice.  ‘Arsene Wenger would “fit the criteria perfectly” of the next England manager, according to Football Association chief executive Martin Glenn’.  Terrific news for Wenger; true recognition of him at the top of professionals in the footballing world.

Now. We have suffered the usual roller coaster start to the season. We have seen the worst and the best from our team. This is seriously messing up my head – a month ago I wanted Wenger out and made my views known. Today I cannot bear the fact that he could leave – what will we do then? We were nice and safe in his hands. The next manager could bring havoc to our stately home at the Emirates.

How do you feel on the subject? Let me know………….

Written by Eddie


Arsenal’s Most Valuable

September 30, 2016

A couple of seasons ago, I penned a post making the case for Theo being our most valuable player.

It stated that I didn’t think he was our best player in any particular position, rather that he was the most irreplaceable because of the threat he posed an opposition defence, and hence the value.

This summer saw us make some great signings right the way down the spine of the team. Of course we haven’t seen too much of Lucas Perez, but that is more to do with Arsene’s juggling of the pack across the front.

Right now, Arsenal are playing the best football we have witnessed in many years, however, one thing is for certain, both injuries and fatigue will come, and then we’ll see the real strength of the squad.

We have been watching what many would consider our best starting XI, and equally, many will be nervously thinking about where it will go wrong. Therefore, I’d love to hear your thoughts on where you see our Achilles heel.

The little I saw of Holding fills me with enormous confidence, and I also have a sneaky suspicion Gabriel might come good in the same way Laurent did, meanwhile the defensive side of midfield looks to me our strongest area.

My own view on Aaron differs to some regulars on here in that I don’t see him as a specialist in any role of our current system, however, he is a superb multi-functional stand in for a number of roles. I remember how last season we played arguably our best two games with Aaron on the right.

Strangely, and here you’ll think I’m being wildly optimistic, I fear injury to Mesut less than before as I believe Iwobi would do a more than adequate job standing in for an unreplaceable.

If I had to pick one player to represent that bit of Achilles, then it would be Bellerin.

What do you think?

Written by mickydidit89


Player Ratings vs Basel

September 29, 2016

Given the awesomeness of our first half display I have decided rate the two halves separately . Scores out of 10.

First Half:

Ospina.   Didn’t touch the ball, hence a perfect performance.  11

Bellerin. A constant threat in attack and defended from the half way line.  11

Mustafi. Magnificent 11

Koscielny. Equally magnificent. 11

Montreal. See Bellerin. 11

Xhaka.  A metronome of timing and accuracy. 11

Cazorla. Perhaps his best ever AFC performance. 11

Iwobi. The future is bright, the future is Iwobi. 11

Sanchez. Noe-stop energy allied to amazing balance allied to amazing spirit and talent. 11

Walcott. Never better. 11

Ozil. A magician on top form. 11

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Second Half:

Not quite a good, so everyone deserves just the 10.

Except the subs who get a 9 for effort (a bit like getting a mark for correctly spelling your name on an exam paper).

Another wonderful evening to be a Gooner.

written by BR


Blessed are the Cheesemakers

September 28, 2016

This is a game I really want us to win and win in style.

The bubbly, happy feeling generated by our magnificent victory over the Southern Oilers will continue into the weekend with a handsome victory. A scrappy one-nil would do but a little bit of Ozil magic allied to some Sanchez dynamite and a dash of Theo virtuosity would do even better.

We are playing a Swiss team. I have no wish to belittle the mountainous paradise but quite frankly football is not their strong-point. Skiing, Yes. Clock-making, Yes. Cheese production, Yes. Football, No.

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And yet they have a decent national team who did OK in the Euros, until a certain Granit Xhaka missed a penalty, and in FC Basle have a team with a record of wins against big clubs. I am sure you have read all about their giant-killing exploits so I will not google and regurgitate here.

Let’s be honest, you expect us to win, don’t you? Come on …. if we drew you would be disappointed, especially given our recent results. Win both tonight and the away game in Bulgaria (Ludo Radz) and TOTL is centred upon a home game against PSG.

So… who will play?

My Team:

Ospina

Bellerin    Mustafi   Koscielny   Monreal

Xhaka    Cazorla   Iwobi

Walcott    Sanchez    Ozil

Why change a winning team (bar Le Coq)? We have 4 days to recover before the trip to Burnley where I expect AW to rest some players. Perhaps Ox or Perez may start tonight in place of Iwobi but I doubt it.

Should Elneney start against his former club? The partnership with Xhaka is highly promising but who gets dropped? Cazorla? Santi has been magnificent and to drop him in order to save him for Turf Moor is poor reward for his excellence.

Gibbs short appearance on Saturday  was superb, possibly his best performance in many a month, though it would come as surprise to see AW change his back line.

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Basle are no pushover, they have won their first 9 games in the Swiss League scoring almost 3 goals a game and won their league 7 times in a row but we are different gravy. It is one thing winning away at BellRingers Sion or Grasshopper Young Boys of Thun and quite another beating one of the best teams in the world. Having said that, Basle beat the Chavs home and away in 2014!

So, will we continue our fine run of form and take a huge step towards the next round of the CL or will we stutter against a team who will come to defend (parken den bus)?

We have the team, we have the experience, we have the 12th man in the stands (for now).  Cheesemakers blessed? We shall see tonight.

COYRRG

 

 

 


Arsenal 3 Chelsea 0………..A few thoughts.

September 25, 2016

So to start this post off, let’s have a little count to see if we all arrive at the same number. Ready, right then, how many teams are there in London?

Hahahahahahaha

Any match report from an Arsenal supporter after that game would and should be one long list of superlatives, so here you go.

Player ratings:

Cech: Solid as a rock 10

Bellerin: Phenomenal 10

Mustafi: Vorsprung durch technik 10

Koscielny: Magnificent 10

Monreal: Brilliant 10

Coquelin: Hero 10

Cazorla: Outstanding 10

Ozil: God like 10

Iwobi: Sublime 10

Sanchez: Awesome 10

Walcott: Exceptional 10

Well that was fun.

OK, the thing is that anyone reading this obviously saw the game so instead of me trying to point out all the things that were special or might have gone unnoticed what I would like you to do is to point them out in the comments below.

For example: one of the things that I thought might have gone unnoticed is that for the first time the team stopped hoofing high balls up to Sanchez and instead only played to his feet, in other words that was the first time that the team played to Sanchez’ strengths rather than what was Giroud’s and surprise, surprise the result was one of the best performances we have seen from the Good Guys in recent years. Interestingly to me was that when the Frenchman did come on he looked completely out of place. I know, I know, this is not the time to start picking holes and furthermore I am sure that there will be times when his skill set will come in useful but any thoughts that Sanchez can’t play a number nine have now vanished from this Arsenal supporters mind.

Have the best Sunday you have had in ages.

Written by LB on Cloud 9


Cheating Costa to get his Comeuppance?

September 24, 2016

What would we do without the comedy villain? In the past it has been Shearer, then Sheringham, Van Nistelrooy or Keane, Shawcross etc. I guess it has always been such as we construct our narrative about our favourite game. Chelsea are unusual insomuch  as they have two.

And we all know who we want to get a good shoeing and a red card this afternoon.

Diego Costa is a player whom I would love to see in the red and white of Arsenal, he is a horrible but efficient, destructive player. I suspect that off pitch he is a really good bloke but on-pitch he changes. We do not have anyone like him and perhaps we are the lesser team because of our “niceness”. Perhaps Xhaka will change this.

Of course ,the other villain is the ageing and possibly missing JT . Be honest – if he had been in the Arsenal shirt and under the tutelage of Mr. Wenger for the last 15 years we could have been a legend; instead Terry is a boor.

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We need to win today, we need to beat Chelsea and get this monkey off the back. Me-rinho has gone but we still haven’t beaten them in too long, much too long.

Let’s be clear, whatever they do Chelsea will always be in our shadow. Arsenal are the biggest club in London and no amount of illicit money will change that. Yes, they have won more silverware in the past 10 years than we have but so what? We have history, Chelsea have Russian money.

I still admire Fabregas. Bear with me, this is a man who desperately wanted to return to his home club in Barcelona, got binned and saw the error of his ways. He wanted to re-sign for Arsenal but Mr Wenger decided we  had better, it wasn’t Cesc’s fault that we signed Ozil and Cazorla. Why castigate the poor chap who has to pull on that repulsive Blue shirt? Isn’t that enough punishment? Imagine the pain every time he has to walk into the dressing room. I think the chap deserves our sympathy not our dislike.

We go into the game on a strong run of results and must be confident. The Alexis experiment is likely to continue and I expect AW to pick the same team which won at Hull

My Team:

Cech

Bellerin    Mustafa    Koscielny    Monreal

Cazorla   Coquelin    Iwobi

Walcott    Sanchez    Ozil

One of the most interesting aspects of today’s game will be how Mustafi copes with the aggression of Costa, let us hope he can control himself better than Gabriel!

Also, how will Hazard play? If he is on-song the man is a potent weapon and will certainly stretch our defence.

It should be a cracking game, especially if Chelsea  and Conte choose to attack.

I see no reason why we cannot win against a team who, quite frankly, have besmirched our wonderful sport since the days of the execrable criminal Ken Bates. We are the men in the white hats waiting for the outlaws to arrive. let’s give them a thrashing and send them home crying.

Let it be so

COYRRG


Do you remember Cliff Holton?

September 22, 2016

He was born in Oxford and was a natural sportsman, winning medals for swimming and diving as befitted the son of a Headington boat builder, reared by the river. He was an outstanding school track athlete, played cricket for Essex Seconds for four years, turned down a place as a professional with Middlesex and reserved his penchant for fast-medium bowling in local club cricket.

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Later, he became an outstanding golfer, serving on the board at Hadley Wood, still playing off a seven handicap and working for the Herts Handicap Committee. His father’s view was that professional football was a dead-end job which prompted Cliff to become an apprentice tool-maker with Morris.

He began his football life as a defender, serving Isthmian League Oxford City as a full-back before joining Arsenal in 1947. It was not until 1950, after National Service in the Army, that he was switched to centre-forward and he earned a place in the Gunners’ senior side in the spring of 1951. Imposing, strong and far quicker than was suggested by a rather ungainly, loping gait, Holton adopted a rampaging style which unsettled opponents. He wasn’t a bad passer either, but he was most famous for the thunderous power of his shot with either foot, which accounted for many of his goals.

He was in the Arsenal side to reach the FA Cup Final in 1952 and his19 goals in 21 outings helping to secure the League Championship in 1952-53, and the promising 24-year-old was spoken of as an England international of the future. He continued to figure for Arsenal for another three seasons and on 6 October 1956, he scored four goals in a home match against Manchester City, becoming the first player since Jack Lambert to score more than three in a game at Highbury.

He lost his place to an ageing Tommy Lawton but a year later, having been switched to left-half, Holton was restored to the side and became captain for a spell. But despite doughty service in various roles, he was judged surplus to requirements as the new manager George Swindin sought to revamp a lacklustre team. Holton was sold to Watford for £10,000 in October 1958. After taking a little time to settle at Vicarage Road, he became one of the most revered figures in the Hornets’ history, netting a club record for one term of 48 League and FA Cup goals as he skippered them to promotion from the Fourth Division in 1960.

His departure from Vicarage Road in the late summer of 1961 to Northampton Town caused such a furore; his shadow remained over the club for a decade. Fifteen years later, when Jim Bonser resigned as chairman, he was still trying, to no avail, to justify that transfer, which disillusioned a generation of Vicarage Road regulars. He finally admitted when he stepped down, what everybody had known 15 years earlier: “We got rid of the wrong man”.

At Northampton Town in 1961 – he scored a club record 36 goals in 1961-62, achieving the rare feat of holding the all-time goals in a season record at two different clubs. He went on to play for Crystal Palace, signing in December 1962 and was part of the Palace side which achieved promotion to the second tier in 1964, with 43 appearances that season scoring 20 goals. He then returned to Watford on 6 May 1965, before moving on to Charlton Athletic and subsequently Leyton Orient.

Only four men since the Second World War had scored more goals in English League football than Cliff Holton namely Arthur Rowley, Jimmy Greaves, John Atyeo and John Aldridge, all of whom, unlike Holton, concentrated solely on a striking role. However the big, burly Oxonian never scaled the giddy heights predicted for him as a young Arsenal star during the early 1950

He finally retired in 1968, due in part to a knee injury and left the game completely. A forthright and articulate individual, Holton seemed ideal soccer management material but he preferred instead to concentrate on a precision engineering business, which he ran until 1989 before working part-time in sports marketing.

He died suddenly in 1996 at the age of 67 while on holiday in Almeria, Spain.

His scoring record was –

Goals Games  G.P.G.
Arsenal 83 198   2.39
London XI 3 4   1.33
Watford 84 120   1.43
Northampton Town 62 86   1.39
Crystal Palace 40 101   2.53
Charlton Athletic 7 18   2.57
Leyton Orient 17 41   2.41
Total 296 568   1.92

GunnerN5