Arsenal window Time Bomb

August 21, 2017

No idea how many days in August, so let’s pretend the window remains open for ten’ish days. That is not long at all, although I suspect a great deal more business will be done across Europe. I imagine Barca will be very active, and this will have the inevitable knock-on effect as to who goes where.

As we entered the summer, my only comment regarding The Arsenal summer activity concerned the importance of resigning Sanchez. One, he is our best player, and two, it would send out the right signals to both current players as well as transfer targets.

Here is/was my hit list:

  1. Sign up players entering final year of contracts. Essentials being Sanchez, Mesut and Ox.
  2. Sign Ian Wright….or similar
  3. Sign Patrick Vieira….or similar
  4. Sign Tony Adams….or similar

Additional to those players’ footballing abilities was that two of them were Leaders.

Ok, now the bad news. We’ve done just one of the above, in Lacazette. Yes, I’m very pleased with The Bosnian Beast, but that signing was cake icing.

So, here we are, ten’ish days remaining. I do not believe all the above will be done, so damage limitation could be the order of the day. I was staggered to learn about the sale of Gabriel, not because I believe he was an especially good defender, but because we’re thin, to put it mildly, in experienced CB’s.

Based on that sale, my money would be on a defender arriving as the most likely.

Sanchez leaving would be a complete disaster, and even having him stay on with a thicker weekly envelope fills me with awful memories of how Henry performed with 200k a week in his tight trousers.

What would you like from the last ten’ish days, because damn sure, not all your dreams will come true? I predict a disaster.

Written by mickydidit89

 


Stoke, no longer The Orcs?

August 19, 2017

I admit it – they don’t play hoofball any more, they have players who can pass a ball and others who are highly skilled, but they are still Stoke and the stands at The Britannia are still packed with Neanderthals and Orcs.

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Even the obnoxious Sparky Hughes has mellowed, though not to the extent where one would want him to meet the family. There is a cockney saying …. “you can’t polish a Richard (the Third)”.

Stoke, on paper, look a decent team; the addition of Zouma, on loan from Chelsea, will tighten an already good defence. They have got rid of the appallingly violent Bardsley,  Whelan and Walters and replaced them with ball-players from abroad. Though they have signed Darren Fletcher who loves a tackle from behind.

Given the size of the Stoke team allied to our vulnerability to the high ball it will be no shock to see Stoke rely on set plays to score. This will be recurrent theme this season. For this reason I would start Giroud ahead of Welbeck (though the return of BFG and Mustafi is a major positive). Or we take the  preferred Micky route and just score more than Stoke.

Our Team:

Cech

   Mustafi     BFG     Monreal

Bellerin    Ramsey    Xhaka     Kolasinac

Ozil

Giroud    Lacazette

I expect AW to play Welbz but IMO it would be a mistake.

Where do we find a place for Ox? Does he replace Bellerin in home games? Or Monreal? No wonder the young chap is restless and concerned about his future at AFC.

Last weekend saw us win a very exciting and error-strewn game. More of the same could be fun but I would prefer a copy of last season’s game – a 4-1 victory to the Arsenal.

Let it be So …

COYRRG


Now we play Stoke City in the Potteries

August 17, 2017

This is my least favourite away game of the season; we play the ever repugnant Stoke City. My thoughts are always dominated by the FA Cup semi final games in 1971 and 1972, both semis went to replays and we won them both. The circumstances involved in those losses caused Stoke fans to have an everlasting dislike/hatred for the Arsenal.

The most infamous away game was seven seasons back on May 10th 2010 when Ryan Shawcross got a red card for breaking Aaron Ramsey’s leg. One of the headlines that sticks in my head was –

“Spare us the sanctimony about Ryan Shawcross being a nice lad”

Poor Arsene Wenger always suffers terribly at the torrents of abuse cascading down from their “fans” but he handles it all like a true gentleman.

Anyway  – our away record against them is as abysmal as they are – we have only won two away games in the Premier League era and to make matters even worse their manager is the equally obnoxious – Leslie Mark Hughes.

Historically we have only managed to get 33.3% of the points in our away games against them so based on the past we should not be too optimistic – but the past is the past and we are the ARSENAL.

 Here is our complete league record against Stoke City.

Written by GunnerN5


Is the FA Biased?

August 15, 2017

Now I’m not one who endorses conspiracy theories but when I look at the opening seven games in the Premier League it gives me leave to at least wonder.

In my belief it is important to have a high degree of balance and fairness in the schedule in order to give every team an equal opportunity of success. However the opening seven games favour one team far more than others.

Take a look at this ——–

Is it just a quirk of scheduling or do I perceive bias? Of course in the end result each team plays a home and away game against every other team but the schedule gives Man U a totally unfair advantage as they do not face any of the other top six teams. They have a distinct possibility of winning all seven games which will be a huge boost to their confidence level while the other five teams are in a dog fight playing against each other.

Am I being paranoid or do others have a similar opinion?

Written by GunnerN5

 


Tally Ho. Leicester Preview.

August 11, 2017

Kicking off the PL on a Friday night, Thursday night football and a season full of Sunday p.m. games – could this be the recipe for a successful campaign?

Let’s hope so.

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I wrote yesterday that I believe we have the squad, the experience and the talent to win the title (I wasn’t joking) and believe if we can get through the very difficult opening fixtures with confidence intact, we will be top at Xmas.

And it starts tonight. Leicester were a pale shadow of the Champions last season, Mahrez was rubbish, Vardy the same, Kante walked, etc etc. They have managed to retain almost all of their highly talented squad but can they improve ? Well, they have spent 0ver 50 million of Her Majesty’s finest in the summer, bolstering the midfield and adding some Man City reject upfront.

Is it enough?

It depends upon expectations. LCFC will never win the title again, it is unlikely they will ever reach Top 4. Better than last season when Leicester so cruelly sacked The Tinkerman? Yes.

Enough of them …

We must be hyped about tonight. We have made two  (so far) excellent (so far) signings, maintained (so far) the squad, and have already won silverware. I am unhappy that we carry injuries into the start of the season with Wilshire, Ozil,  Ramsey, Mustafi, Sanchez, Coquelin, Cazorla, Gabriel and Mertesacker unlikely to start. Koscielny is suspended.This is very frustrating in a summer with no major International tournament.

My Team:

Cech

Holding   Monreal   Kolasinac

Bellerin    Elneny    Xhaka    Ox

Welbeck    Lacazette    Iwobi

Ozil may be fit enough to play as is Walcott. This is not a team Mr Wenger would choose if everyone was fit, perhaps only 4/5 would be first picks.

Are they good enough to beat Leicester? If they play as well as they did for most of the game at Wembley, then Yes.

Lacazette will be the media focus. I predict great things for the man.  He has all the attributes to succeed in a passing, fast-attacking team, but we have yet to see if he can become a target man.

Big game for Kolasinac. First impressions are very good but he will have to play alongside a very inexperienced CB partnership. Monreal will have to be at his best and most vocal.

Time for Welbz to score – he has been goal shy for some time and if he wishes to become an automatic starter Welbeck has to become an efficient finisher.

We need a good start to the season.

Let it be So

COYRRG


Champions 2017/18?

August 10, 2017

How do you think we will fare this season? Will the strengthening of the squad be enough to propel us to the Title? Will it be enough to regain our Top 4 status?

Here’s what BR thinks (subject to change depending upon results 🙂 )

Let’s look at the opposition, starting with:

Chelsea: We have recently  beaten them twice in two important games and lost a meaningless friendly. We are better than them – full stop. Yes, they may be Champions but I fear for them and doubt they can repeat their mid-season run of form which propelled them to the title. They are lacking in midfield (why sell Matic??), are half the side without Hazard and are about to sell their best attacker. Morata? €60m is a huge gamble on a man who has yet to play a full season in a first team (RM made €30m profit  on him after just 26 games!!).

We will finish above them.

Man City:  Spent a fortune – over €100m on just full backs! Almost €40m on a GK who has yet to gain a full International cap. If their first 11 stay fit and Stones starts to show why he is so highly rated they will do well.

Champions? A team with De Bruyne, Sterling, Aguero, Gundogan and Sane will not be far off but somehow, they just don’t do it for me.

Man Utd. Mourinho has to deliver. Winning the Europa was good but not considering the massive investment made in the summer of ’16, Finishing just 6th could have been a sackable offence. Over €150m spent (added to the €165m last summer) makes this a hugely expensive squad. They have managed to recoup less than €10m in sales! MU should have the best squad and if they had a manager who had the slightest intention to entertain we should be happy to see such wonderful talent in the PL BUT they don’t, and MU remain a dull team to watch. The purchase of Lukaku points to a Route One season They were awful in the Supercup where Real Madrid made them look amateur.

MU should be favourites in a financially doped league.

Spurs: If any other team had achieved what Spurs have I would be delighted and rooting for them to go one step further – but it isn’t, it is Spurs and I have an innate dislike of anything Blue & White – to the point where I will not even allow a blue & white toothbrush into my bathroom. FairPlay to them, they have managed to retain the bulk of their squad (so far), sold players for massive profits and look potential Champions. But, there are two huge problems , firstly, they are playing at Wembley, and secondly, and much more importantly, they are Spurs.

Relegation awaits.

Liverpool: Dark horses. On paper they look excellent. Solid in every position. If they can keep Coutinho it will be a signal of their intent. Salah is a good signing and if Sturridge can form a partnership with Mane, they are strong in attack. Klopp remains a terrific addition to the PL . Good enough to move on and win the title? Good enough to maintain a top 4 place?

I doubt it.

Everton: Given their ambitions and expenditure they have to be considered. Koeman is doing very well and has created an excellent defence, strengthened by Pickford and Keane. Given the loss of Lukaku how will they cope in attack? Will Rooney have the legs? Where does he fit into the team? Not in midfield where Everton have Schneiderlin, Barkley, Davies and Barry. Goalscoring could be problematic.

6th

Arsenal: If Sanchez, Ozil and Ox stay plus we sign another body, then the title is ours. The development of Iwobi and Xhaka, plus the purchase of Lacazette means that both Ozil and Sanchez can leave in 2018. However,they need another season to bed in. Rumour abounds about Gabriel being sold but I doubt it, nor Chambers who has a future at AFC. Mustafi has had a bedding in season and the 3-4-3 means that we have choices, especially given the exciting arrival of Kolasinac.

Champions

written by Big Raddy


Friday Night Football at the Emirates

August 9, 2017

For the first time in the Premier League history the season will kick off on Friday August 11th when Arsenal will host Leicester City at the Emirates with the game starting at 19:45.

We played our first game against Leicester 125 years ago on January 7th 1895 – back then the teams were known as Leicester Fosse and Woolwich Arsenal, we lost the game 3-1. Overall we have played 124 league games against each other with Arsenal having an overall record of – W58, D38, L28, GF247, GA169.

Woolwich Arsenal 1895 – courtesy Arsenal.com

We have not lost a league game against them for 23 years when Leicester beat us 2-1 at their ground on November 23rd 1994.

Our starting line up then was:

Goalkeeper David Seaman

Defender/Right back Lee Dixon

Defender Steve Bould

Centre back Martin Keown

Centre back Andy Linighan

Left back Nigel Winterburn

Midfielder Jimmy Carter

Midfielder Stefan Schwarz

Midfielder Ian Selley

Forward Paul Dickov

Forward Ian Wright

Ian Wright scored from a penalty in the 19th minute while Leicester’s goals came from Andy Linighan 16′ (og) and David Lowe 28′.

Here is our league record against Leicester for the past 40 seasons.

After our performance against Chelsea in the Community Shield I’m feeling very confident that we will win our opening game to set us on the right track for the season ahead.

Written by GunnerN5

(Ed – other notable Friday night Arsenal fixtures….)

Friday May 26th 1989

Friday April 16th 2004