All I want for Xmas.

December 21, 2014

Where were you in February? We were on a “holiday of a lifetime” sailing around the Caribbean. I was avoiding football in an attempt to appease Mrs. Raddy, however as we sailed to a supermarket to buy a boatload of food and booze for six people; much to my delight they were showing the Liverpool/ AFC game. By the time the heaving trolley had got to the breakfast cereal aisle we were three down.

So what makes everyone so positive about a win today?

Liverpool: Even without Suárez, Sturridge and the Loony, L’pool are capable of beating anyone at Anfield yet they are struggling as this season quickly becomes a disappointment to the Scousers

How could this happen to a team who were so exciting last season? Could it be the loss of just two players? Rodgers made what appeared to be some good signings in summer. He strengthened a dodgy defence, bought quality MF’s and Lambert and Balotelli. It should have improved the squad, instead they look a shadow of last season’s team. Bedding in time, the slow demise of Stevie Me, the loss of Agger, discovering Suarez is irreplaceable all have contributed to Rodger’s problems.

One thing for certain is that Sturridge is becoming a better player each week he is missing with injury. In my opinion he is a poor-man’s Welbeck and when fit the pressure upon him will tell.

Balotell: A bullet avoided or a player we should have signed? No doubt in my mind – the bloke has been awful for Rodgers. Given Liverpool’s use of the T-shirt messages to support a racist, what will they wear to validate another player banned for racist comments?

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And then there is Suarez/Alexis. L’pool wouldn’t sell us Suarez and went to the media to joke about how we only offered £40m +a quid, and then we sign the bloke they desperately want to replace him for 5mill less. It’s Karma, man.

Arsenal: Positives – we are getting players back from injury. Negatives – we are losing players to injury again.

The team almost picks itself with Chambers working alongside BFG. It didn’t work at Stoke but a week’s practice and the return of Debuchy could make the difference.

It will be interesting to see whether Mr Wenger continues with the OG/Welbz combo. I hope so as they look potent.

Food. What do they eat in Liverpool? Well, according to the terrace chant it is dead rat (in your Liverpool slums), but what else? Quite a lot – Lancashire hotpot, Clog and Billycot’s fish pie, Malkin pie, Lancashire cheese, black pudding, Liverpool toffee but as we have been talking about Piebury Corner, let’s have a look at the famous Lancashire Foot.

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Lancashire Foot is a pie made from puff pastry, cheese and onions. Easy and cheap to make and a tasty dish if you are going down a mine or working in the docks.

What to expect this afternoon? Who knows? Look at the difference between our play against Stoke and Newcastle. Play like last weekend and we will blow them away but the Scousers will not let our midfield run the game and in the (hard to say this) excellent Sterling they have a player who will undoubtedly cause problems.

A strong referee will be needed today as Ox and Alexis will torment their defence and Henderson and Gerrard will look to hurt them – just checked, it is Michael Oliver 😦  😦

Given the thrashing we got on our last trip to Anfield (also reffed by Oliver) I will be happy with a point but much happier with three 😀

COYRRG

 


The Shawcross Redemption? ………. transfer window speculation

December 20, 2014

With the January transfer window looming any true football fan starts speculating  – if we buy, who is coming our way, where do we need reinforcements? It is my educated guess that this year the majority of the Arsenal fans would agree on the answer – we need another defender.

Sanchez, Ollie, Danny and Podolski are all capable strikers and therefore we don’t need another one.

We have a formidable midfield, temporarily unavailable, but expected back very soon and hence it would be pointless to bring another midfielder to the squad.

Defence however is a different ballgame altogether –  we need another strong CB. The team were recently considerably weakened by the absence of Koscielny. It was painfully obvious that Per struggled on his own. Perish the thought that both of our CBs were unavailable, as we simply have no one to take their place.

I won’t beat around the bush anymore – I have a perfect candidate for our squad ticking all the boxes. Please stand up Ryan Shawcross. A big, consistent, hard working, experienced and EPL proven professional, who at 27 is at the top of his career and at £8 million a real bargain. Perfect addition to our team.

Now tell me if you would like Shawcross joining our ranks? Is football really all about money and buying trophies?

 Written by Eddie (Evonne)


If Totnum Oil Up, I say we should as well.

December 19, 2014

There is nothing left of real value about present day Arsenal, other than our history. Owned by overseas cash. Sponsored by absolutely anyone. All sense of good taste, class and style has gone. The ordinary fans don’t matter. The stadium is a temple to corporate. What’s to lose?

The best argument about what’s to lose is Financial, and the self-sustaining model. Utter piffle.

Thing is, I believe financial bubbles and even currencies are going to be collapsing around our ears soon. If not imminently, then certainly inevitably. Will this adversely affect football? Nope. It will be a safer haven than ever, and a growing cash cow.

Reason is, football has not begun to plateau off. Quite the opposite. It will double in size in terms of global revenues, booming across Asia and The US, and the real beneficiaries will be the global elite. Real, Barca, Utd, you know the rest.

City and Chelsea are muscling in on that group ahead of Arsenal. Throw Totnum into the mix and life becomes unbearable.

Or does it? You vote.

Written by MickyDidIt89  


Champions League – here come the Gooners!

December 17, 2014
Let us be honest, the ride in the Champions League has not been smooth for the good guys. Not in previous years, neither this year. If the away game against Anderlecht was embarassing, letting a 3-0 lead against Anderlecht to vanish into oblivion though a combination of refereeing ineptitude and shabolic defending, was simply painful. And with that went the possibility of topping the group for the first time in a zillion years.Nevertheless, every cloud has its silver lining. So, we are back, boosted by two fantastic wins, against Dortmund at home and Galatasaray away in the furthest east one can imagine. Well, I am a firm believer that LUCK eventually evens out, at least in the long run when, a la one John Maynard Keynes, we are all dead.
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We Gooners awaited our fate in the CL draw lottery with trepidition, and hey ho! Arsenal draw Monaco, bring about a tryst with Arsene’s past, and a very winnable tie. Together with two of our four strong teams assured of dropping out – Chelsea or PSG, Man City or Barcelona – the quarterfinal draw looks tasty as well. Plus, there are two other qualifiers that look very tasty indeed: Basel or Porto, and Juventus or Borussia Dortmund.

To be fair, having a focus on a unique brand of nifty tiki-taka, the Champions League really has to be our final horizon. The EPL is focussed on an ugly combination of rugby and football, aided by officials turning a blind eye on blatant anti-football. Our good guys will never be sufficiently protected against the goons that proliferate the English League.

We have the skills and the resilience to be successful in Europe, as our record shows. How many times have we qualified consecutively for the knock out stage? How many QFs, SFs and Final? On those counts, we are surely up there with the best of the best. But we have not won yet.

This is our final frontier. Yes, we can. But, AAers, is this our time?

 

Arnie.


Open Forum to all Arsenal fans

December 16, 2014

There are many bloggers who confuse opinions with facts, but nevertheless we all have our own expectations for this season after a not so perfect start.

A week is a long time in football and we saw a very small percentage of so called supporters hurl abuse at our manager only to hear his name lauded round the stadium after the emphatic win over Newcastle.

Will our injury jinx ever improve and do some of you think that certain players are just permanently sick notes, yet the manager remains loyal to them.

Can we realistically make the top three this season?

Is it a benefit that we are out of the Capital Cup? Personally I think it maybe a blessing in disguise.

Who would be in your strongest and well balanced side presuming everyone was fit?

Is Szczesny an automatic first choice in goal? I believe that though young, he needs competition for his place – but what has happened to Ospina?

Can we progress further in The Champions League than we have done for the last number of years? Over two legs there is no reason why not, if only our defence and midfield could defend as one.

Will Wenger dip into the transfer window in just under two weeks? He is very cagey when talking to the press,but my gut feeling is that he will especially as there is no indication as to when Koscielny will be fully fit.

As for Thierry Henry, regardless of him initially being touted as becoming a Sky pundit, do you see him in some capacity at Arsenal?

Over to you

kelsey


Arsenal Finally Find The Winning Combination.

December 15, 2014

Arsenal played what was probably the most complete ninety minutes of football this season in the EPL, beating Newcastle 4-1. But winning combination I hear you say with fingers hovering over the keyboard at the ready to disagree – are you sure? Irrespective of what a good job Debuchy did on the day or just how much more comfortable Bellerin now looks after a run of games — the defense was clearly make shift at best.

This alone will surely make some question the assertion that Arsenal have found the winning formula. And further, how could this statement be true when we had Oxlade-Chamberlain who might be winning support for his eventual role in the midfield but right now his repeated failure to complete simple passes, always leading to the loss of possession, tells me that he is still some way off making that role his own, yet again suggesting that the claim of having found the winning formula may be wide of the mark.

No, my dear Arsenal supporting chums, the winning formula is the attack and not all of the attack at that, not Sanchez, who I will come back to. The winning formula, the one that galvanizes the whole team, the one that fuses a stop gap backline and a makeshift midfield from brittle iron and carbon into hardened steel is quite simply the combination of Giroud and Welbeck on the field at the same time.

giroud and welbeck

This pairing is the answer; they both take the pressure off the other giving each a greater self confidence and the result is that this radiates throughout the team almost to the point where is doesn’t matter what the rest of the team is made up off.

Not convinced, well let’s look at the games since Giroud’s return? Although, before I do, I need to set the scene and remind you that the preceding game was the uncomfortable loss against Swansea 1-2.

Giroud’s first appearance was against Man U when again we lost 2-1; Welbeck was marked out of game. Big Ollie came on as a substitute and scored a cracking goal. The loss was bitter but most people saw Giroud’s return as the silver lining.

Next up, West Brom away: Giroud and Welbeck start, Danny Boy scores with a header to win the game 1-0.  It wasn’t high scoring but there was something different, Arsenal were playing with a far greater sense of confidence. I put that down to the pairing.

Next, Southampton: Welbeck starts with Giroud on the bench, Danny is largely anonymous. Giroud comes on after 65 minutes everything changes and we end up winning 1-0 with a late goal from Sanchez.

Then came Stoke: Giroud starts with Welbeck on the bench (no winning formula) the team fought back bravely but the Chambers red card made it a bridge too far. As for Giroud — he was awful.

Arnie wrote this yesterday: “By the way AAers and other fans that hounded Giro and welcomed Danny that was disgraceful.”  To which Rasp wrote: “Which AAers was that?”.

Arnie is completely right. Micky, Kelsey and I are all guilty of this, although, not quite in the way I think that Arnie is suggesting.

Giroud is not good enough; his first touch is poor, he is slow; in short, he will get us top four but we will never win the league with him as the sole striker. Wenger knows this which is why he brought Sanchez and Welbeck in the summer. Anyone who thinks Wenger is happy with fourth place really needs to think about what happened there a bit deeper.

Sanchez is obviously the most exciting player we have but he is so much the lone gun that he doesn’t make a good pairing with any one single player; there is always something missing when he and Welbeck play together up front but add Giroud and we have magic, and oh how we enjoyed the firework display on Saturday. Sanchez is pretty much allowed to do whatever he wants while Giroud and Welbeck can interchange at will, neither feeling pressured and both pulling defenders out of position allowing the other to find space. (Yes, GIE I did read your comment).

The upshot of all this is that I firmly believe that, amongst that incredibly talented squad, the illusive winning combination that we have been in search of all season has now been found. Ladies and gentleman please raise your glasses to Olivier Giroud, Danny Welbeck and success.

Cheers

Written by LB

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4-1 to The Arsenal. Talking Points.

December 14, 2014

–   CB’s. In a week when Arsene spoke about The Transfer Market, CB’s and Koscielny, up pops Debuchy in the middle to join another RB , Chambers, to stake a claim as a multi-functional defender. Didn’t see this one coming, but memories of very accomplished performances at the heart of the defence by Bac sprung to mind.

–   Bellerin. “Oh Hector, you are a very good player, and aren’t you the one who can go faster than Theo?”. Watching him yesterday and a song popped into my head, and for the more mature reader, you’ll remember the “you’ll never beat Des Walker”. Speed is such a great asset.

–    Ollie and Danny. It’s effective, but I remain firmly in the either/or camp. I believe Danny will go on to become a really exceptional CF, and it will be interesting to see how things pan out once Mesut returns.

–   One Arsene Wenger. Doesn’t matter whether you think we need a new Manager or not, how nice to see the fans getting behind The Boss after the shit he received last week.

–   The Midfield.  Flamini The Anchor behind the aggressively creative drive of Santi and The Ox. This I like very much. Yes I reckon The DM is the one position more than any other where a “Worldy”  would be improve the side the most dramatically, but this formation had really nice balance.

–   The Ox. Always save the best for last. And exactly what did you think I was going to say about him? Me, blinkered? No, just right on the money J

–   The Match. Five goals, and four of them for us. The early goal to lift the crowd, end to end stuff, and some really nice speedy quality football. It was a good day at the office any way you look at it. We’re set up nicely for a Christmas Push.

Written by MickyDidIt89


Bring Me Sunshine

December 13, 2014

Ospina

Chambers   Koscielny  Hayden  Monreal

Ramsey  Wilshire   Arteta

Gnabry   Walcott Ozil

That is some team and one capable of winning this afternoon, unfortunately it is plucked from our lengthy injury list. 4 weeks out for Ramsey!

Why did I start with this? Two reasons – firstly that injuries will stop Arsenal having any chance of winning the PL this season, and I do believe we were in with a good chance; secondly, Mr Wenger said yesterday regarding the January transfer window ““If everybody is fit then we don’t need to go into the transfer market.” 

This worries me. Arsenal have consistently been top of the injuries league for many years, doesn’t Mr Wenger know this? Doesn’t he know that we never, repeat never, have an injury free squad. We have to buy or loan at least two players in the window if we are to challenge for Top 4. (update: Chas has pointed out that this was just part of AW’s speech and he has not written off the possibility of signings – Mr Wenger, not Chas 🙂 )

Newcastle: On a run of wins and arriving having “battered” the Chavs. They too have injuries but nothing like ours. They have pacy forwards who are in form, a solid defence  – Taylor is out but Coloccini could be fit. Alnwick starts who is  3rd choice GK but when we were forced to do so Martinez performed very well, I expect the same of Alnwick. Sissoko is suspended and that is good news.

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Greenwich-born Steven Taylor. Ideal signing for AFC

Arsenal: So what do we have to win? It seems obvious to me that Newcastle will score so we must outscore them. Having so few defenders means we have a space for an extra attacker – so my tactic would be to play an extremely attacking side. A 3-4-3 would do it but Mr Wenger is likely to start young Bellerin on the right with Debuchy next to him. This sends Per to the left of defence which don’t work very well against Stoke, did it? Any team which kicks-off with Ox, Santi, Alexis, Welbz and OG has a chance of scoring heavily.

A little extra: Have you ever heard of Elisabeth Fry? You should have – she is on the back of the £5 note! She was a prison reformer during the early 19th century. Born in Norwich  to a wealthy banking family Elisabeth became a Quaker and heavily involved in humanitarian work. Horrified by the conditions of women at Newgate prison in London she resolved to make the prisoners brutal conditions easier and set up a charity to give food and medical care.

This was a time when a woman’s role in society was ornamental yet Fry became the first woman to present evidence to the House of Commons. In 1840 she opened a nurses school  – one of her pupils was Florence Nightingale who took a team of Fry’s nurses out to  the Crimean War. She then opened a large hostel for ladies who had fallen on hard times in Manor House and later a much larger one in Highbury, just around the corner from The Emirates .  She died in Ramsgate in 1845.

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Have you seen this woman?

Back to football. Should be a cracking game today and one full of attacking play. Given the paucity of defenders and the excellent form of the visitors we cannot be too optimistic but with Alexis in the team anything is possible. A win would make my weekend.

written by Big Raddy


Toxic Emirates … when does home advantage become a disadvantage?

December 12, 2014

There have been many stories recently of in-fighting between fans principally regarding the polarization of views on the manager’s ability to take Arsenal forward.

The infamous banner and the disgraceful scenes at Stoke station fed the media with all the fuel it needed to inflame the already widening divide between supporters.

Anyone who has attended The Emirates will have witnessed the negative outpourings of ‘supporters’. We have long had to accept that the corporate levels are not populated with Arsenal supporters but simply a cash cow encouraged by the  club. The recent singing of ‘we’re the Northbank’ etc has been an attempt by the old school supporters to rekindle the spirit of Highbury, but they are equalled in number by the 30,000 new fans and football tourists. It’s not easy to sing your heart out if you are sitting in an area of silent analysts.

The combined effect is that at times the atmosphere can be tense and this transmits to the pitch.

Arsenal played with freedom, energy and without fear far away from home tensions at Galatasaray. Ramsey had the guts to take chances on the pitch and it paid dividends – a goal that will be talked about by Arsenal supporters for many years … a legacy in our Arsenal memories.

The club must take some responsibility for the way things have developed at the Emirates, but in the same way as the players must take responsibility on the pitch, the supporters must take responsibility in the stands.

There are two things that a football supporter can’t change – you can never change your team and you never want your team to lose ……. so how can negativity at games ever be a good thing?

Bad things happen when good people do nothing. Maybe its time for the the true supporters of Arsenal to take it upon themselves to stand up and be counted at The Emirates, to drown out the dissenters and create an atmosphere that lifts the team.

Written by Rasp


The Wenger Stadium? Vote

December 11, 2014

At his news conference this afternoon Alan Pardew stated the Arsenal should name their stadium after our manager. He thinks that AW’s work and transfer policy has paid for our move.

What do you think? If you had the choice what would the stadium be named (apart from your own name!!)

My first choice would be The Arsenal Stadium. Simple, accurate and rolls of the tongue.

So, let’s take a quick vote on it