Another disappointing night at the Emirates …………

December 6, 2019

Well it wasn’t to be ………

Before I start with the doom and gloom just want to say it was really a pleasure to meet LBG and Ant. It must be said LBG is now my favorite Englishman, sorry Ant and chas you have just been demoted.

This is not so much a review but my thoughts from sitting in upper tier (yes upper tier) in the clock end. I was so far away I kinda miss judged the players, for instance I thought Aubameyang scored our goal.

When I got to the stadium the game had already started (would not like to say who kept me back lol) so I only saw from the 10th minute Arsenal were playing a lot of long ball …….. why? Only they know.

I still can’t understand why Mesut is being played out wide, even Arsene didn’t get the best out of him in that position so why in  hell do other coaches think they can get him to play good out wide.

After Arsenal went a goal down they did actually play with some vigor but still couldn’t get the break through. Arsenal 0 – 1 Brighton at half time and when the team went off there were some boos.

Taking a page from the Unai playbook, Freddie made a half time substitution bringing on Pepe for Willock and immediately there was a dominance about our performance. The Pepe introduction really raised the atmosphere the in the ground too.

After a few near chances the goal finally came from Lacazette. We kept pilling on the pressure and eventually we were 2-1 up but VAR took away our goal once again. To me after that the team seemed to have lost the vigor they had at the start of second.

Some one needs to tell the ground man to stop wetting the pitch at cause Sokratis keep slipping on the wet pitch. Who knew all this time it was the pitch and not his defending that’s the problem.

Because I’ve never seen Arsenal draw a game David Luiz wasn’t going to let this be the first and did his usual backing off until the attacker could put in a quality cross right on the  the head of Maupay …….. Leno didn’t have a chance. Arsenal 1- 2 Brighton.

For the remainder of the game Arsenal huffed and puffed and finally it was over.

Personally I  will give every player a 5 as no one really stood out to me while sitting in the upper tier (yes upper)

Fred 

And some Player ratings from Rocky ………….

Leno 7

Some terrific saves from our German custodian and no chance for the two goals. He’s turning into one of the best GKs in the Premiership. It’s just a shame that what’s in front of him doesn’t match up to his standards. MoTM.

Bellerin 5

Hector had some good moments and was looking to attack and taking on defenders several times during the game. I have seen other people criticise his performance but I saw signs of him beginning to return to the form that made us love him.

Sokratis 4

We were beaten in the air pretty much every time Brighton pinged a cross into the box. If Sokratis can’t win headers, the other parts of his game don’t merit a place in the team.

Luiz 5

It’s tempting to give really low marks to Luiz and Sokratis, but our defensive issues go beyond individual performances. Luiz had some good moments where he was aggressive and won tackles. He has been blamed by most people for Brighton’s second goal, but closer examination shows it’s more on Torreira. In the build-up Torreira is marking Maupay. You can see Luiz look across and clock that that’s the case. Then, just before the cross comes in, Torreira goes sprinting away from Maupay as if the little Frenchman had just delivered a spectacular vindaloo fart. By the time Luiz tries to react it’s too late.

Kolasinac 5

He looked good attacking at times, was defensively suspect at times. A pretty typical Kola outing.

Xhaka 6

Arguably our best player after Leno. He’s the only player we have who doesn’t give me palpitations when being pressured on the ball in our own half. He also tried to get us on the front foot with his long passes. Even so, he still has two or three horrendous mistakes per game in his repertoire where he just passes to the opposition for no obvious reason.

Willock 3

Picked up where he left off against Southampton. A largely anonymous first half before being substituted at the break. Presumably Freddie rates him from his time running the youth team, but our Joe looks like he needs a loan-out to toughen up and hone his skills.

Torrieria 4

Is he protecting our box? Is he an extra striker? Is he a winger? Answers on a postcard if you know the answer, because he managed to do all three at different times last night. Was most culpable for Brighton’s winner. I don’t see a future for him at Arsenal. He’s too lightweight to be a DM and seldom plays that role anyway.

Ozil 4

One of those games where he just never got into it, partly due to Brighton’s tenacity and work rate. Mesut never likes it when players are all over him and he never wins a 50-50. In fact he seldom wins a 60-40 even when it’s 60-40 in his favour.

Lacazette 6

Scored our goal. Never stops trying, but we didn’t manage to get him into enough dangerous positions.

Aubameyang 5

Relatively anonymous for large parts of the game and found it hard to impose himself. He feels wasted out wide against a hard working defence like Brighton’s.

Substitutes

Pepe 7

Came on at half time and immediately injected energy and attacking verve. His attempts to beat defenders don’t always come off, of course, but when they do they open up the defence in a way none of our other attackers managed to achieve. Very promising outing and needs to start in our next game.

Tierney 5

Replaced Kola on 72 minutes. Not much changed.

Martinelli 6

On for the last 15 minutes or so. Got flattened within seconds of coming on but did not let it intimidate him. The kid tries hard and was unlucky not to score with a glancing header into the bottom corner which the ‘keeper just got to.

RockyLives


Arsenal v Brighton prematch

December 5, 2019

I’ve been waiting for three months for this day, my first game day in 2 years. Where shall I start, so much to say. Well for one I will be seeing Freddie’s first home game, which is a great privilege. One occasion that really stood out to me from Freddie’s playing was seeing him playing with his wrist banded up later to realise his hand was broken. Hopefully he can instill that fighting spirit into the players.

Thus far my record in watching Arsenal play live is 3-1, really hope at the end of the trip it is 5-1

I have to admit that I am really nervous. When you don’t get to see Arsenal play live much, what you really want is a great game from the team. Will I even get that? Sue jokingly told me that I will get tickets for the games but getting to see them win might be pushing it 😉 Well I guess now, what I took for a joke, she was being serious grr

Predicted line up …………..

Leno

Chambers   Mustafi   Luiz   Tierney

Willock   Xhaka   Guendouzi

Aubameyang   Lacazette   Ozil

 

So the only one change from the last team is Tierney in for Kolasinac.

Personally I would go all out attack with the following team ………..

Leno

Chambers   Holding   Luiz   Tierney

Willock   Torriera

Pepe  Ozil   Aubameyang

Lacazette

 

Hoping I bring my name sake some good luck for his first home game.

COYG

Fred


The Curious Case of Calum Chambers

December 4, 2019

Calum Chambers has been at Arsenal for a few years now. He was loaned out to Middlesborough and then last year, he was loaned out to Fulham where he played as a DM and won Fulham’s player of the year award. That said, Fulham was relegated and Chambers was often playing fireman in a team that was not so difficult to break…

Chambers is a polyvalent defensive player – he can play at RB, CB and DM. After so many years, we don’t know what his best position is and I am not 100% if he knows either. What is for sure is that he always gives 100% and that he is not bad at passing nor at defending. We also know that he is not great at passing nor defending.

Neville said a few weeks back that Chambers is not fast enough to play at RB, he is not strong enough to play at CB and not athletic enough to play at DM so he should not be more than a squad player but Neville also said recently that Mustafi, Sokratis and Luiz are uncoachable and too prone to mistake so if we listened to him, we wouldn’t have much choice but to play Chambers and Holding as our CBs…very confusing.

His defensive stats are not great, 35% tackling success rates, 52% duels losing rate, 51% aerial battles lost, 30 clearances, 9 interceptions, 4 blocked shots, 12% accurate crossing, 0 through ball or assist, 2 big chances created and 1 goal.

What’s your take on Calum Chambers? What is his best position and should he be a starter?

A real curious case this Mr. Chambers but we need to know if we persevere with him or if we need to unload him to another team…

 RC78


Points to take from Freddie’s first game …..

December 2, 2019

So we drew to Norwich away, at Norwich but playing away is not an excuse. A team of our calibre should win this game (should not matter that Norwich had a good result vs City).

The positives:

– The team played with more intent going forward

– The team outshot the opposition, albeit by one shot

– Freddie’s reaction at the end of the game on the side line was good, he was annoyed that we didn’t win. His post-match interview was also good

– Leno was clearly MOTM

– Torreira did well when he came on

– Auba scored two

– Xhaka didn’t do poorly

The negatives:

– Conceded two goals on the break. We still can’t defend at the edge of our box.

– Chambers had a good first half and then he had moments but overall he struggled defensively

– Mustafi had the usual lapses of concentration

– Willock was like a ghost on the pitch

– Ozil didn’t really impact the game but seems he was told to play more like a fake winger

– Auba on the right wing worked well initially but he is so much more lethal as a central forward

– Luiz is not acting at a leader at the back

– 2 points lost

Questions for Thursday’s game:

– Will Bellerin, AMN or Chambers play at RB?

– Will Holding or Sok or Mustafi play at CB next to Luiz?

– Will Tierney replace Kola?

– Who will play ahead of Willock or will Freddie trust him again?

– What about Ozil?

– Will Pepe be given a chance?

– Will Auba be back in the centre?

– Will FL and BFG try new players?

Leno – Bellerin, Holding, Luiz, Tierney – Chambers, Torreira, Douzi – Laca – Pepe, Auba

Anyways…COYG!

RC78  

 


Come on Freddie, shake ‘em up! Pre-match …..

December 1, 2019

I’m excited, aren’t you? But I don’t want to be too excited because this is Arsenal after all and we all know where being over excited for a football match leads.

Still, it’s worth feeling a warm glow of ‘I wonder how this is going to turn out’ isn’t it? Singing ‘We love you Freddie’ at almost every opportunity.

Today, Freddie (we’re back on first name terms aren’t we) will sit in the dug out having sent the team out with some instructions on how to play this game. He’s had precisely one day of coaching the first team so we really shouldn’t expect too much to change ……. or should we?

I’m hoping he’s been just as frustrated as some supporters in how we’ve managed to throw games away in the last few weeks. I’m convinced we have a better team in there than the one that’s gone seven games without a win. So today is a new start, an away game so less pressure from the home fans, a chance to begin the process of looking like a football team that care what happens on the pitch.

I’m not going to pick a team (cop out, I know) but you can pick your own. All I can say is that we’d better see Ozil, Pepe, Lacazette and Aubameyang turning the Norwich defenders in knots with their trickery and Joe Willock powering through the midfield.

I’m excited for Freddie …… as if playing for Arsenal and being an Invincible isn’t enough he’s got the top job too.

Good luck Freddie, come on Arsenal, show us what you can really do.

peachesgooner


Pepe Rises

November 30, 2019

Hold on to your seats. Things are about to get very VERY exciting at Arsenal.

Poor old Embers is gone. Decent chap, tried his best, blah blah blah. But when it came down to it, Unai at Arsenal was like diesel in a petrol car. The two didn’t go together and we were left sputtering by the roadside with noxious fumes leaking from our rear end.

Among the many disappointments of this season, one has been overlooked in all the psychodrama of the head coach and his inevitable ousting: the flop that is Pepe.

Do you remember how excited we were with the news Pepe was joining us from Lille?

A mercurial, gifted attacker arriving as our record signing. Reach for the popcorn, sit back and watch the magic happen… except it didn’t happen.

We’ve seen glimpses – the odd close-up card trick – but no real magic, no David Blaine makes an elephant disappear type magic. It sounds harsh, but so far Pepe really has been a flop at Arsenal.

So were we sold a pup? Is Pepe a poopoo?

Not on your nelly.

Pepe is an outstanding player who, in Ligue Un, was scoring goals at a rate of one every two games while also setting up opportunities for team mates and generally terrifying defences with his speed and skill.

So what went wrong at Arsenal? In many ways Pepe has been the main victim of Emery’s inability to get his message across to the players and to impose a settled style of football.

Emery’s inexplicably cautious approach against even the weakest teams (packing the middle of the field, passing sideways and backwards and rarely committing to fast breakaway attacks) has seen our cutting edge blunted like a rusty old saw. It has negatively impacted all our strikers, but Pepe especially.

With Emery gone, a new day is about to dawn for Nicolas Pepe. Even under our caretaker manager, Ever-Ready Freddie, I expect to see him unleashed in a way we haven’t so far seen. It certainly can’t hurt that Ljungberg’s own playing style was as a devastating wide attacker with a killer eye for goal: who better to coach the young Ivorian?

The emergence of Pepe as a real force at Arsenal and in the Premier League is going to be one of the most enjoyable stories of the second half of the season.

Bring it on.

RockyLives

 

 


So what now? …………….

November 29, 2019

Emery has finally been sacked…This reflects very poorly on a board that just backed him up two weeks ago, that said:

– the last 2 performances and the team’s form over the past few months,

– Tottenham’s decisiveness in changing their Head coach,

– the fans discontent,

– the pressure from former players and the media all kind of force their hand to go ahead with the chop.

The board says they are looking for a new Headcoach and that Freddie is in charge until the search for a new coach is over.

So what now? What will Freddie do and what are his options?

Luiz is out, Mustafi is out too and I don’t know how Freddie felt about Xhaka but we know he likes his young players, he likes pace, aggression and we also know that he likes to play in a 451 set up so what will he do?

I could see the following set up:

Leno

Bellerin, Holding, Sokratis, Tierney

Douzi, Chambers

Pepe, Laca, Saka

Auba

against Norwich but who knows…

Over to you fellow Gunners ………………….

I wish Freddie the best but also can’t wait to get our new headcoach appointed asap..

RC78