Vote for Flamini

September 30, 2014

In the summer of 2013 we were despairing of signing a defensive midfielder. Arteta was over 30 and not really attuned to defensive work, we had been Diaby-ed once too often and we had sold Denilson, Eastmond, Frimpong and a host of other defenders (remember Andre Santos?). The mega-signings of Özil and Sanogo were exciting but didn’t fulfil the long-term demands for a DM.

Unknown

We read that Flamini was training with the team in an attempt to get match fit prior to trying to get a contract somewhere …. anywhere. He had been binned by a dodgy AC Milan side after a season in which he halved his wage demands.

Stoke beckoned.

But No! Our charitable French manager saw a bargain and a cheap solution, a sticking plaster for the gaping DM hole which had been evident to us fans since the days of the Invisible Wall.

At the time I wrote that signing Flamini was a backward step and one which would have a detrimental effect upon the squad. Then Mr Wenger signed Kallstrõm! Both, in my opinion, acts of desperation.

Perhaps Arsene was waiting for Carvalho (or someone else, maybe Matic?). Maybe he thought Diaby would survive a season in the first team, perhaps he saw Ramsey as his DM cover for Arteta. Whatever it was he signed Flamini in the summer window.

It must be said that the first games Flamini played were a revelation; he was better than when he left. Milan had taught him to be more defensively aware and less like the Mathieu we allowed to leave – perhaps he had matured. A few fine performances, a number of yellow cards, some crunching tackles, the black boots, the cut-off sleeves and a number of all-action 90 minutes allowed us to forget the acrimony of his departure.

But, and here is the rub, Flamini is not good enough to help us to silverware. He just isn’t. He hasn’t the pace or the tactical awareness. Sure he can make a tackle and certainly leave “a reminder” but so can Joey Barton and I wouldn’t want him anywhere near the Emirates.

In my opinion we bought Flamini because Mr. Wenger wouldn’t spend the money needed to bring a world class DM into the club.

What do you think, Is Mathieu good enough for The Arsenal?

 

written by Big Raddy


Sanchez and Ozil and Gin and Vodka

September 29, 2014

My Uncle Earnest had a First Cousin, known to all of us as Auntie Bob.

I don’t know where the Auntie bit came from because he was definitely all Man. He was an alcoholic, and drank heavily from an early age, but stuck to the odourless vodka when flying Mosquitos as a Pathfinder in the last war. Later in life, he cared far less about what people thought, and switched to Gin when flying.

This brings me nicely on to Alexis Sanchez, as I’m not aware that he likes either Vodka or Gin, or indeed that he flies aeroplanes.

So…..what’s going on with Alexis then?

I spent an unhealthy amount of time last season drooling over Liverpool. They had by far the most effective forward in the League in the shape of Suarez. Then we bought Sanchez, and I drooled again. Much drool in fact.

Then things got complicated. Ollie got injured, but I wasn’t fussed as it would only speed the move of Alexis to the central berth. Alas, not so easy. Danny arrived.

Wouldn’t have been so bad had Danny not showed blistering pace and great movement, and I think this may have confused Arsene.

I’ve read the “Can Sanchez and Ozil play together?” line, and I got myself all flabbergasted, I did. They are without any doubt the best footballers at the Club. Settling in time? Piffle. Settled roles, yes, and pronto please.

Final consideration is this. Are we lofting in high balls towards Danny? No, thankfully, we are not. So, let’s prove that Sanchez supplied by Mesut through the middle will produce better football than Liverpool.

Written by MickyDidIt


North London’s Finest held to a draw.

September 28, 2014

The fact that we feel as frustrated as we do by yesterday’s draw just goes to show how far we have come and just how big the gulf is between the two clubs. Maybe I am underplaying this: dropping two points to the knuckle draggers from N17 is kick the cat around the living room annoying. Those points are not for sharing; they are ours and I, for one, want them.

As far as action in the first half goes there was little of it. We were the best team by some distance but the best chances fell to spuds, who were wasteful. We had one decent break which saw Wilshere powering though the middle but he played it behind the on coming Ramsey rather than Özil who was better placed to his left. That is it as far as action and my memory goes but as we all know the talking point was the fact that we managed to loose our entire midfield to injury: Arteta, Ramsey and Wilshere. It is testament to the depth of our squad that we were almost seamlessly able to replace them.

Many may argue, in fact, that Flamini, Cazorla and Özil are a better midfield triumvirate. Well, maybe not Flamini who is spending today on the naughty step for giving the ball away so poorly that it led to spud’s goal but the other two are a very good idea.

The good guys started the second half with much more purpose, driving forward which almost brought a goal within five minutes of the restart. The ball seemed to stop on spuds goal line; we had to wait a good ten minutes before the goal-line technology decided that it hadn’t gone in, good to see that working so efficiently. They obviously waited until they were absolutely certain that it wasn’t a goal before they showed it to us, I doubt they would have even bothered had it crossed the line.

Spuds goal was not only against the run of play, it was against nature, it is just plain wrong that they score against us – ever. It did, however, focus the collective mind and Özil responded to the rallying cry magnificently, the man orchestrated the rebalance with the authority of a future captain. I almost wrote a post about three weeks ago entitled ‘Can someone remind me why I thought Özil was so good’ now I want to write a post entitled ‘How could I have possibly doubted Özil?’. The German was brilliant and Man of the Match again by a country mile.

I can’t remember how our goal came about, I know it came from the left but I have no idea how the ball got itself across the goal mouth but I do remember Welbeck’s embarrassing air shot before Oxlaide-Chamberlain powerful struck it into the roof of the net. Cue pandemonium, relief and every other wonderful emotion that can possibly be felt.

Some may say that a draw is better than a loss which it is of course but I still feel slightly deflated.

Oh well, we shall just have to wait to beat them at their place which is, of course, even more satisfying. In the mean time we remain unbeaten, so that’s something, onwards and upwards. Enjoy your Sunday.

Written by LB


Why Worry?

September 27, 2014

Dear Tom,

I have done many shameful things in my life, many things I regret and others which today fill me with embarrassment. You have always been like a son to me which brings me to perhaps the most shameful act of my life, well actually it is more a non-act because sometimes doing nothing is worse than doing something  negative  …. you know what I talking about. I allowed you to become a Spurs supporter.

I sat back and allowed others to lead you into a life of frustration, broken promises, false hope and desperation. It could have been so different had I taken you to The Home of Football all those years ago but I was absent, many miles away and took my eye away from your upbringing whilst you succumbed to evil influence.

I can only apologise

much love

Big Raddy

Excuse me for taking a couple of paragraph’s for a personal note but having done so let’s get back to today’s game 😀

Yesterday we had an excellent post exploring the fans confidence ahead of today’s NLD. Are Arsenal that good that we can dismiss any Spurs team? Not in my opinion, these are always stressful, tense games – even when we beat them by the usual 5-2 there have been times in the games when I despaired – it is almost always thus.

Unknown

The New White Hart Lane 

Spurs have been hapless over the past few weeks – losing to an average L’pool and then a bottom of the table WBA are not good results. Nor were the draws with Sunderland and Belgrade, but this should be tempered by a good win mid-week.

Our form has been a little better and let’s be honest getting hammered by Dortmund in the CL is less painful than struggling in the Europa 😀 We have two more points than the neanderthals, not much but we have struggled to find cohesion; 90+ minute goals have saved blushes and points. We are slight favourites mainly because we are at the Emirates (and because we are the forces of good and Spurs are menial servants of Beelzebub)

There are too many permutations for Mr Wenger’s team today. To Wilshire or not to Wilshire? To Alexis or not? Flamini to counter Eriksen? I expect our Boss to completely ignore how Spurs set up and play his favourites.

How many of the men who played on Tuesday will start today?

Here’s my guess:

Szczesny

Chambers     BFG       Koscielny     Gibbs

Ox     Ramsey     Arteta       Alexis

Ozil       Welbeck

I fancy AW to go all out attack today against a suspect defence. I choose Ox over Wilshere for this reason plus I expect Ox to play deeper as he gets further in his career.

I have yet to write about the odious Spurs fans. Why? Because this morning the sun is shining, Mrs. Raddy is smiling, I enjoyed a fine breakfast and life is good. Why besmirch it writing about excrement? Isn’t it better to let them into the ground, allow them to tear up the seats, defecate in the stadium and after they crawl home to their hovels get out the water cannons and clear up.

I haven’t written anything about Spurs’ team. Sorry but you will have to look elsewhere. No surprise that Spurs arrive with a new manager; Pochettino appeared to have some pride when at S’ton, going to WHL where Mr Levy has sacked 14 managers during the Wenger years shows an excess of self-belief and a jot of madness. Shame.

The people outside of The Emirates talk about “bragging rights.” Win or lose today Arsenal have them because although the game is important we are so far ahead of them in terms of trophies, history, fans, ground and class there can be no question as to who is the biggest and best club in North London.

We are the Arsenal and We are the Best

We are the Arsenal – so F**k all the Rest!

COYRRG

written by Big Raddy


Are we too confident

September 26, 2014

Apologies Raddy if your pre match was going to look at this, but am I the only one a little worried that there is not much tension pre the visit of the miscreants from N17?

Last season the home fixture was preceded with worrying a about the £100m they were spending whilst we sat on our hands.

The FA Cup 3rd round came amidst another spell of fretting, and even the away league game had 4th place riding on it.

Both the league games were tense affairs, yet there has been no “if we get beat by Spurs on Saturday” comments on the blog or any conceivable tension at all.

Are we over the “they might finish above us” stuff, are we too confident, or are we all keeping any concerns well hidden whilst we divert our attention to the Ryder Cup?

I’m not normally a pessimistic fan but on the other hand I am not a full on optimistic nutter who thinks we will win 4-0 every week no matter who we line up against.

We are stretched at the back, we have yet to find out best system going forward and we haven’t got the greatest record against smaller clubs.

So why is everyone (fans and media alike) so confident this is another notch in the win column for the good guys?

Written Hurriedly By Gooner in Exile


THE DEFENSIVE MIDFIELDER – Is there more to it than meets the eye?

September 25, 2014

Yesterday when commenting on Chas’ report on the game against Southampton, I made the comment that I would have liked to have seen how Francis Coquelin would have performed in the holding midfield role.

My reasoning for this comment is that I feel the holding midfield role is a highly important cog in our wheel with regard to our current squad and best formation, or at least what I consider, and reading between the lines, maybe what Arsene considers to be our best formation. It is also an area where I feel we are currently lacking in top level quality and would need an upgrade in if we want to compete for the top prizes with the best in England and Europe.

RA in response to my comment said the following :-

Forgot to mention, GB, that we or that is to say you – should as a group, or you as an individual should define what you mean by a ‘holding midfielder’.
To me a HMF is not the same as a ‘beast’ of a DMF (defensive), much as I like dislike the term ‘beast’, and should be someone who links the central defense and the forwards, and to do that should break up play, and pull the strings when we are attacking.
The trouble is many will see that as a No.10s role, or the guy who ‘sits in the hole’ behind the forwards, and maybe it is all of those things, so how you can say that Diaby, in particular, or Jack, or Rambo could not be such a player in that role, mystifies me.

So indeed I think firstly an examination and definition of what one considers to be a holding midfielder and what one considers is a defensive midfielder, and whether they are different or one and the same, is warranted.

RONALDO VIEIRA

To my mind the great PV4 has undoubtedly been our best player in the heart of midfield in recent times but how would you define him?

I would also like to also ask which players in our current squad do you see best fitting the above definitions and why? In addition do you feel we have adequate strength and quality in these defined roles or do you feel we need to bring in a player of greater quality? If so who would you prefer and how would you view them in terms of the definitions of holding or defensive midfielder.

Over to you A.A’ers.

Written by GoonerB


 Out but not Down – Match Review

September 24, 2014

I had a very hazy view of the game but here goes.

Ospina….. Made a few excellent stops. He looked a bit short in the team photo and Clyne’s worldie sailed over his head, but this was partly down to the swerve on a brilliantly hit ball. The goal reminded me of one Thierry scored against Roy Carrol in front of the North Bank.

Bellerin….. Looked composed on the ball and particularly good when making recovery tackles. Must be that lightning speed.

Chambers….. What a buy!

Hayden….. Stepping up and didn’t look out of place. 4th choice CB, maybe?

Coquelin….. A few positional errors but largely a super performance at an unfamiliar left back. As LB says, perhaps we have more cover at left back than we thought.

Diaby….. Great to see the big man back, purring like a Rolls Royce. Fingers crossed.

Wilshere….. Jack never stopped driving the team forward. Unlucky to be on the losing team.

Rosicky….. From what I could make out Tomas is unsurprisingly a little ring-rusty. Tried a lot of stuff which didn’t quite come off. His challenge to get the Saints back in the game was stupidity itself.

Podolski….. Did very little to stake a claim for a first team place. I would have thought he’d be champing at the bit to impress, not just biding his time riding the pine.

Campbell….. I really liked what I could make out, especially in the second half. Needs game time also, but I’m not sure where he’s going to get it now we’re out of the Mickey Mouse Cup.

Sanchez….. Man, what a player we have. He never stops running and has as many tricks as Paul Daniels. His free kick was amazing. Perhaps the GK thought it was sailing over the bar as he helplessly watched it dip from outer space just under the crossbar. Stunning.

sanchez

Admittedly the Saints had a few good chances on the break but our rookie defence could not be blamed for either of the goals.

The midfield looked good. If Rosicky had been sharper, Jack and Abou’s good work might have brought more reward.

The only thing the performance lacked was more goals.

What did you think? Especially if you were lucky enough to be at the Emirates.

chas