A proud night in Monaco

March 18, 2015

Morning all,

Last night’s gallant efforts away to Monaco ended up a huge disappointment in as much as the result, but the effort put in by The Arsenal players was immense. The team plugged away all night to try and get the goals needed, even to the last seconds, tired legs were still pushing just to find that one goal that would have put us through.

Arsene Wenger surprised many of us at the start by leaving out Aaron Ramsey. I suppose that was because Aaron has not shown, since he returned from injury, the form that he showed last season but whatever the reasons I felt we missed him. Although the eleven he did pick worked their socks off. This was  not an easy game, with a resolute Monaco seemingly happy to defend most of the game, without really troubling the somewhat under worked  Ospina .

My friend had flown out to Monaco to join the thousands of travelling supporters. He posted, on Facebook, photos of himself in a floppy Irish Top Hat drinking a pint of the black stuff in a local bar close to the ground. He knew this was a tough task but went all the same and I imagine he sang his heart out along with other hero supporters and although heart broken he must have been proud of his club at the end.

Arsenal did all they could to turn this game around, a massive ask after the first leg but try they did right up to the last kick of the game. Olly battled and was rewarded just before the break with what can only be described as a battlers goal. The moment that goal went in it lifted all Arsenal support and we had a proper game on our hands.

We went in at half time with belief that we could still fight back and out they came for the second half with only one thing on their minds to dig in and fight. Bellerin excelled himself again as he ran and battled up and down that pitch until those tired legs would not let him run any more. Monreal also, on the other side of the park also ran his legs off and to a man, Arsenal players did their utmost to claw back the goals we needed. We had chances, but on the night Monaco stuck to their tactics and defended well.

Arsene decided he had left it as long as he could and started changing players. Le Coq had thrown himself around all game was to be replaced by Ramsey. Monreal who looked worn out was taken off for Gibbs and Welbeck replaced by Theo. Wenger was not giving up, Ramsey added a little spice he had been missed even with the trio who came off you couldn’t have asked for more from but Aaron you could feel was to add a little extra.

Another Arsenal attack saw a chance for Theo he stroked the ball towards the right hand post only to bounce off the post a Monaco defender in vain tried to clear but rolled it to the ever waiting Ramsey who controlled the ball and fired it across the Monaco keeper and into the net. The crowd went ballistic and I went ballistic and you all went ballistic 2-0 we were not finished yet.

I have to say I felt that our attack was too much through the middle. Monaco were almost impenetrable, Theo was a let down for me, here we have a player as fast as lightning and he sat on Girouds shoulder we were crying out for a wide man someone to stretch the Monaco defence but Theo stayed central while Gibbs was doing his best down the left our right side was a vacant space.

Could we had scored that third goal and make the come back of the century? Yes I believe we could but it wasn’t to be on the night. Disappointment for thousands  of Gooners but they certainly tried, and we can ask for no more. Pride restored and out for another season but not broken. FA cup and League still on  and this team will keep on showing heart. Supporters like us will be bitterly disappointed but proud of the side that gave their all.

Steve Palmer  


Monaco by the Numbers

March 17, 2015

1. In the 164 European Cup games in which a team lost 1-3 at home in the first leg only two have gone on to win the tie.

2. In the Champions League knock out stages no team has ever overcome this deficit playing away. It has only been achieved when the team was at home for the second leg.

3. Arsenal have won their last 4 away and 8 of our last 9 PL games (12 of 14)

4. Monaco had 5 first team players missing in the first leg. Carvalho and Toulalan should return tonight.

5. Monaco have conceded only 7 goals in 14 home games in Ligue 1 this season and just 2 in 7 CL games.

6. Arsenal have scored every game bar one since Oct 2014

7. Arsenal have had 21 different goal scorers this season. We are awash with finishers.

8. If we lose tonight it will be the 5th year running we have not reached the quarter finals

9. Monaco are 1/10 on to go through and AFC 5/1 (Paddy Power). Yet AFC are favourites to win the game (13/10)

10. Arsenal have won only once on our last 6 visits to France (though Monaco is not in France is it?)

Right, that’s enough of that nonsense.

Looking at the above one would think it is a waste of time trying and Mr Wenger should select the entire Ladies team. If we are to go down in Monaco …. I leave the rest to you imagination ……

26 years ago we went to Anfield and won against the odds, We also did it when overcoming a 3-1 defeat in the final of the Inter Cities –  that victory was in Black and White, but still a decade after Spurs last won the title 😀

The Stade Louis is hardly a hotbed of football fanaticism (the last time I was there was for an Eagles concert) and I expect there will be more Gooners than Monaco fans.

We have to score a few and quite frankly are as likely to score 4 or 5 as 3 so I look forward to a very attacking line -up. It is often said that in training Mr Wenger has the players switch positions so they understand the thinking required for a defensive or offensive position, as such Welbeck must be able to play CB if required. Santi is an ideal fullback; they are instructed not to tackle but to jockey and he has the perfect physique for such a job.

My Team:

Ospina

    Cazorla    Welbeck      Coquelin     Rosicky

Walcott     Ramsey     Ozil

Alexis     Giroud     Akpom

If we had more forwards available I would play them instead of Le Coq and Tomas.

I feel 56% confident of winning the game and 14% confident of winning the tie.

n.b. If any of the above stats are wrong, blame the internet and Margaret Thatcher.

COYRRG

written by Big Raddy


Steve’s Monday Assessment

March 16, 2015

Results this weekend, in the main, pretty good week; dropped points for the Chav’s a loss for City, United starting to get it together, and for us, who are the most important, another 3 points.

Keep on winning is all we can do, We have had what can only be described as a bit of an up and down season so far. We have lost games we feel we should have won, and won games that looked like games we struggle with.

I honestly believe that new players take a while to settle, although most of ours seem to have blended in quite well, we have had a bit of turmoil with injuries. Players who were first team choices at the start of the season, who got injured and unsettled the balance. Theo of course was one who started the season injured, Wenger knew he was a long term injury so needed to add, In came Sanchez who hit the ground running.

Vermaelen leaving and leaving a big hole was a blow, Wenger replaced with a young man Chamber’s, Not many of us knew a great deal about him, but he seemed to come across as a bit of a utility player, i read that he was a right back but could be utilised across the back, It has to be said that this youngsters heroics was like a breath of fresh air. I dont believe Wenger ever expected to use him as much as he has,Injuries to BFG and Kos and then Debuchey meant he would be used for all positions.

Of course with a long term injury to new man Debuchy, a young man springs up from our reserves in Bellerin, a bit rough around the edges but with a great engine probably was the reason the Jenkinson was not recalled from a loan spell with Wham, who needed a season of premier league experience, hopefully he will return the better for it.

Bellerin has made mistakes but the effort he puts in bodes very well for the future. I would assume that once Debuchey gets fit Belerin will deputise but good experience for him for the future.

Paulista who was brought in at Christmas looked a good prospect sadly an injury has side lined him but he does look like he may replace the ageing Merts.

All in all the season has been as I said a bit up and down, Our new signings including Welbeck have started to shine, the squad seem to have been thrown together with new faces mixing fairly well.

Our need for a HM only became worse with Arteta and Flamoney both getting Injured, and one of our youngster having to be recalled from a loan spell which i felt was a stepping stone to being let go, but for Coquelin it gave him a final chance to show Wenger that he still has a future here. Coq has been immense since he returned, a couple of Motm awards has only shown this youngster has a future.

All in all this season has shown that the squad we have, once sorted is a mixture of what is needed to win things, I think its clear that players like BFG Arteta and Flamoney along with Rosicky could be nearing the end of their journey with us, but with clever recruitment and a few from our reserves shows that we are not lacking in players. I feel Wenger will still buy the odd player in his search for excellence, but that was to be expected.

Arsenal are sitting Third looking at second, and with a turn of fate could even win the league, But at present we are still in line for top 4 any thing can happen we know, can Wenger manage another top 4 it certainly looks that way, how many times is that? Magnificent is the word, unbelievable.

COYRRG’s

written by Steve Palmer1


Demolition Derby

March 15, 2015

A convincing 3-0 win against London rivals West Ham consolidated Arsenal’s position for securing Champions League football and round off a fantastic week.

The journey began with a drive to Wembley and meeting friends for, yes, you guessed it.

Pre match food

A kebab!

Walking to Ashburton Grove, the fans were still on a high after the team’s heroics at Old Trafford five days earlier. The excitement was evident with another trip to Wembley on the horizon.

View from North Bank

View from North Bank

The match began with Arsenal on the front foot and Alexis tested Adrian with header on 15 minutes. West Ham then created a chance of there own as Nolan volleyed straight at Ospina.

West ham on the attack

West ham on the attack

Arsenal were then in full flow and the fans rallied behind the team as they were carving the Hammers open. In the stands there seemed to be an air of confidence and fans felt this would be a routine victory.

Had it not been for West Ham keeper Adrian Arsenal would have gone into half time in cruise control. The stopper first denied Alexis palming his volley away. Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey were next to be thwarted and Theo Walcott shot straight at the keeper.

This left Arsenal fans pondering what the team had to do to score. Theo left some fans frustrated in Block 7 question his finishing and whether it would ever improve. There was also criticism from one individual regarding the so called singing section in the North Bank stating

“We are in the singing section then why don’t we f**king ever sing!”

The deadlock was finally broken causing big fat Sam Allardyce to tear up his half time team talk notes. Theo and Ramsey combined and there was Olivier Giroud to rifle the ball against the post and into the back of the next.

One nil to the Arsenal and on the stroke of half time.

The second half began with Arsenal having less possession but normal order was restored and Giroud and Ramsey showed their fruitful partnership as the latter slammed home following a pass from the Frenchman.

Rambo scores

Rambo scores

There was a huge applause for Danny Welbeck as he was warming up with fans singing his name given his winner against the dirty Mancs.

Datguy warms up

Datguy warms up

Alexis then made way for the England striker and Santi Cazorla, sporting a new haircut, was also introduced.

Welbeck worked tirelessly down the left flank and opened up the West Ham back four with timely runs. The Arsenal fans were really appreciating his work rate and his attitude and chanting his name.  Laurent Koscielney was also commanding and had Diafro Sakho in his pocket.

Another substitute, Mathieu Flamini then applied the finishing touch to a lovely move consisting of 6 passes to leave the North Bank purring. As fans watched the replays on big screen they were impressed with a lovely move which epitomised the philosophy of Arsene Wenger. The game was over and another win to cap a wonderful week.

As fans were clapping the team off some fans were pointing to the fact that a 3-0 scoreline on Tuesday against Monaco will be enough. Easier said than done, but if Arsenal start well then that optimism can be shared.

Watch out Monaco!

UTA!!

by @SirAHussain14


Ramsey, Welbeck or Walcott

March 14, 2015

West Ham are a strange club; steeped in history – a working man’s club graced with creative artists. A Football Academy with extreme right wing fans (just a few of them). And today a manager who has changed the club from a side who yo-yo’ed between the leagues to one which is secure in the PL, has European aspirations and are difficult to beat. And play decent football.

Who would have thought that Allardyce could change his football ethos to fit the demands of the West Ham fans? Not Big Raddy. That said, West Ham’s tactics still include a lot of hoof-ball and crosses to the big central striker and they are not afraid to practice the Dark Arts.

Fat Bob used to take me to see WHU, the fact that he had a season ticket at Upton Park showed a mental infirmity – perhaps it is his need for understanding and emotional support which has kept us friends for 30 years.

Right enough of them – if you want to know about tactics and players and that sort of in-depth, well- researched essaying you will have to look elsewhere.

Arsenal:: Ox is injured who gets his place? My first thought was for Rosicky – he is such a great player and in a game which will involve a midfield battle his positivity may win the day but Mr Wenger likes to keep him on the bench as insurance, so which player takes Ox’s place will depend upon whether Mr Wenger wants to push Santi forward or keep him playing alongside Le Coq.

If Santi is pushed forward Ramsey may play. If not, there is space for an extra forward. Welbeck playing central worked at OT but I would bet Terry’s hairpiece that OG will start this afternoon. Will Welbz be benched or take up a role on the wings? If he does, whither Walcott?

Unknown

Testing Day for David?

Luxury problems aren’t they? I expect to see Ramsey start. In my opinion he is the fulcrum of Arsenal over the next few years. Every team needs a box-to-box dynamic player and Ramsey, for the moment, is ours. He has been unable to re-create the form of last season but who could? Had he not got injured Ramsey may well have propelled us to the title and let us not forget he scored the winning goal in the FAC final. He needs a goal and then we will see his return to his pomp.

My Team.

Ospina

Bellerin      BFG     Koscielny     Monreal

Ramsey    Coquelin

Cazorla     Alexis

Ozil

Giroud

Big game for Ospina, Szczesny has become adept at coming for the long crosses and at Upton Park was superb. Ospina will have to do the same.

Bench is strong and getting stronger. Our squad is so strong that just riding the pine is an honour.

Our form is good, our PL home form very good. I am 58% confident

COYRRG

Written by Big Raddy


Arsenal v The Russians. Style v Thuggery.

March 12, 2015

Last night I was very busy getting old, so missed watching Chelsea tumble out of the Champions League. This is, in fact, considerably funnier than it might appear at first glance.

Getting old is very sobering, and one side effect can be looking back over one’s life. Never have been a prolific reader, so no surprise I didn’t finish my first book until I was about twelve. The Kon Tiki  Expedition.  Second book, Muhammad Ali: My Own Story, in which he talks about style. Style in whatever you do, and how, had he not been a boxer but rather a garbage man, he would have collected more than anyone else, and faster, and with more style.

There is a cost to your actions.

Another piece of advice in my youth came from a friend of my father’s at about the same time: “no matter what you do in life remember this. In ten or twenty years you will find yourself meeting up with old chums, and you CANNOT tell them you make handbags”. No idea why he chose handbags, but perhaps for the very reason that I never forgot the advice.

This brings me nicely on to Chelsea and that loathsome reptile Jose Mourinho.

As usual this morning, I got up, made coffee, and while I checked through emails, I caught up on late comments from this site. Last night was dominated by talk of the appalling tactics deployed by a “win at any cost” Chelsea.

When it comes to my football, I am a romantic and a fantasist. Somewhere deep within there is a realist who understands that The Arsenal need things like defenders, but I don’t like it, and yes, 2-3-5 remains my preferred line up.

Here’s the thing though. I know people who avoid certain summer as well as winter holiday resorts simply to avoid the Chelsea style of wealthy thugs. I know people who have given up memberships of what were once exclusive London nightclubs to avoid the thugs in the blacked out Range Rovers with their “security”. I even know a lifelong Chelsea supporter who chucked in his season ticket and now goes to watch Brentford.

When I was a young school boy, a teacher told me cheating was only “cheating yourself”. Not really, I thought, I just got an A in Chemistry.

With hindsight, was the teacher right? Well, one moral must be, if you are going to cheat, then for God’s sake win. Doing it and losing is nothing short of hysterically funny for your critics.

Written by MickyDidIt89


Coq Sure? …… or not so Sure?

March 11, 2015

For several years now Arsenal has been described as “two to three players short of a top side”.

The spot that many identified as being an urgent need was that of defensive midfield. Arsenal needed someone who was disciplined, mobile, strong, quick and aggressive. Someone who loved a tackle.

Arteta had adapted his game to fulfil the roll to the best of his ability but he lacks some of the attributes that a true DM should possess. He did the job admirably with the help of the mercurial Flamini – but neither could be described as a top drawer DM.

Francis Coquelin had been on the periphery of the squad for several years. He had been sent out on loan to Lorient, Frieberg and Charlton Athletic without ever really impressing.

He was brought back to Arsenal in December 2014 as cover for the injured Ramsey.

No one expected much of him. Arsene Wenger has been on record as saying he expected Le Coq to leave in the summer.

But something happened. Coquelin not only rose to the task – he excelled.

Since his return, he’s been man of the match several times and has hardly put a foot wrong.

His performance against manu was pivotal. He can cope with lumps like Fellaini despite giving away 6 inches in height and several stone in weight.

What I particularly like about him is that he is in awe of no-one. I love the way he shouts at his teammates to get back into position when celebrating a goal. I like the fact that he has a ‘Lauren type’ scowl on his face.

I was very vocal in calling for a big signing at DM over the summer. It didn’t happen. I can quite honestly say that if Coquelin can remain at his current level, I would be more than happy. If he continues to improve we may have to fight off the likes of Bracelona to keep him in the future.

He is 23, just about to enter the peak years of his career. He has shown leadership qualities that others lack in our team ….. a future captain? …. who knows …… anything is possible.

 

Rasp

 


Wembley! Wembley! We’re the famous Arsenal and we’re going to WEMBLEY!!!

March 10, 2015

Arsenal’s romance with the FA Cup continued last night after an epic quarter final win at Old Trafford to finally put an end to the hoodoo at the stadium which has cursed them in recent times.

image-venue
A journey with three friends and my nephew was very fun indeed and we were all in good spirits despite our concerns about our record at Old Trafford. I was also buoyed by Bangladesh’s win in the cricket World Cup! But football was the focal point now.

Little did I know at this point I would witness one of the best games and atmospheres (only the Arsenal end) I have attended. A quick mix grill and off we were to the “Theatre of back passes” a term used to malign the Manchester teams style of play this season.

image3
The game started with Arsenal giving away cheap possession and Fellaini putting his weight about much to the annoyance of the Arsenal supporters. In the East Stand where the Arsenal supporters were placed, there was a feeling of injustice when Hector Bellerin was booked for a foul on Ashley Young who seems to have been taking more diving lessons from British swimmer Tom Daley. This infuriated supporters with almost every Arsenal fan pondering why referee Michael Oliver booked the young Spaniard so early in the game for his first tackle.

image2
The fans though rallied behind the team and there was a feeling of togetherness between the travelling faithful constantly singing in tune. Then the other Spanish full back, Nacho Monreal, who has become an unsung hero, was played in by Alex Chamberlain after a fantastic run, and there was Nacho to finish emphatically beating De Gea at his near post.

The joy amongst the Arsenal fans was short lived. Only moments later Di Maria found Shrek with a cross whose header found the back of the net. The Arsenal fans were seething and the inquest began between supporters about why Shrek was left with so much room and venting their frustration at Koscielney and Mertesacker.

Chesney then kept out Di Maria’s effort saving with his legs and then half time came and Arsenal were able to re-group.

The Arsenal fans were in fantastic voice mocking the hosts and hurling constant abuse at Manchester United supporters. This stemmed from the rivalry between the clubs and supporters even took a trip down memory lane in the stands by talking about past encounters where Arsenal got stuck into the dirty Mancs, notably the infamous brawl in 1990 and Keown’s swipe at the cheating Ruud Van Nistelrooy in 2003.

Arsenal came out in the second half and stood firm and then in the 61st minute a moment which stunned the Manchester United supporters. A back pass by Valencia was seized upon by the tireless Danny Welbeck. The forward rounded the hapless De Gea and slotted home to send 9,000 Arsenal supporters into absolute raptures.

The fact Danny scored against his former employers made it so much sweeter for the Arsenal fans. A few supporters began the chant with everyone then taking part –

‘He left coz your sh*t! He left coz your sh******t! Danny Welbeck! He left coz your sh*t!’

Security officers and stewards were called into Block E233 by this point as a section of Arsenal fans were standing on seats and on top of walls, causing havoc, such was their delight. The stewards had a difficult job to contain them during this jamboree but who could blame them?

The Arsenal fans were really now enjoying themselves and constantly taunting the Manchester United supporters which would last until the final whistle and outside the ground. There was still over 30 mins left and Arsenal weathered the storm.

Di Maria was then sent off after putting his hands on the referee and then Arsenal absorbed many attacks, mainly long balls. Fellaini was up to his usual tricks of using hands and elbows and was finally booked, cue the sarcastic applause for Michael Oliver who finally brandished a yellow card to him. Arsenal then hit United on the break with Santi Cazorla drawing a fantastic save from compatriot De Gea, who then denied Alexis.

After 5 long minutes of injury time the final whistle came and the night belonged to the North Londoners. Arsenal booked another trip to Wembley but it was not over there..

Have that Fergie !

Have that Fergie !

This was one of the best results in recent years and despite there being a split fan base over the season there were no signs of it on this night. The Arsenal fans went mental, singing, mocking Manchester United fans, dancing in the stands and then outside the ground much to the anger of the police who could not usher the Arsenal fans away.

Nine thousand fans who made a long trip despite the fixture being on a Monday night causing chaos for people who had work, school and other commitments.  Miserable Manchester United fans walked past the dancing Arsenal fans singing “WEMBLEY” and the look on their face was priceless, knowing that Arsenal ended their season.

Maybe now these United fans were off to the supermarket to get those sour grapes before going home. Arsenal players, Manager and fans can be very proud after their performances on this night. Everyone associated with the club played their part.

Victoria, Concordia, Cresit.

Next stop.. WEMBLEY!

UTA!

by @SirAHussain


The FA Cup history of Arsenal vs Manchester United

March 9, 2015

I havespent many hours researching the history of the games played between the two clubs and different sites had different records. Based on my research I believe that the results that I’m using are reliable however the records go back 121 years so it is still possible that there may be some minor discrepancies.   ………………………………………………………………………………………………….

The first game between the two world famous clubs took place away at North Road, Manchester. It was played on Saturday October 13th 1894 and the game ended in a 3-3 draw. Both teams were in League Division 2 and at the time – United were known as Newton Heath and Arsenal as Woolwich Arsenal.

During our years in Division 2 we played United on 20 occasions with a winning record of W10 L7 D3, both teams had dominant home records.

3a

Arsenal finished 2nd in 1903/4 with 49 points and gained promotion to Division 1 beating out United who finished 3rd with 48 points. United gained promotion the following season and our first game in Division 1 took place away on Nov 10th, 1906 we lost 0-1 and won our home game 4-0.

We were relegated back to Division 2 in 1912/13 but due to some back room shenanigans by Sir Henry Norris we “popped” back up 1919/20 and have remained in the top flight of English football to this day – much to the dismay of those who remain in our everlasting shadow.

Our overall Division 1 record was incredibly close with United coming out on top by 2 games out of 126 played with a record of W50 L48 D 28.

2

 

The Premier League was formed in 1992/3 and there have been many classic encounters between the two teams but for a variety of reasons that have been (repeatedly) debated over the years we have invariably come out second best. United have dominated the Premier League winning 13 championships and only finishing outside of the top 3 on 1 occasion in 22 seasons.

Like most clubs we have a poor PL record against United with a record of W11 L21 D13 we have an awful record at Old Trafford with a record of W3 L14 D5 our home record is more positive at W8 L7 D8.

4

 Here is our complete record.

5

 

Although I have not researched other teams records against United our overall record may well be the best with only a 13 game difference in 212 total games played over our 121 year history.

Finally let’s take a look at our FA Cup record, but first here are brief reports on some of the more memorable clashes –

Manchester United 2-0 Arsenal 2011 FA Cup – Quarter-Final

Neither side came into this clash high on confidence with Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United having lost their previous two matches against Chelsea and Liverpool, while Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal had recently lost a League Cup final to Birmingham and been dumped out of the Champions League by Barcelona. Despite Ferguson naming an extraordinarily defensive side on paper, with seven defenders and Darron Gibson accompanying Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez, it was United who ran out 2-0 winners. Fabio da Silva opened the scoring and Rooney sealed it with a second soon after the break. The joy was short-lived however as United were beaten by rivals Manchester City in their Wembley semi-final.

Arsenal 0-0 (5-4 pens) Manchester United 2005 FA Cup – Final

History was made in Cardiff when the FA Cup final was decided on penalties for the first time with Arsenal beating Manchester United 5-4 on spot-kicks after a goalless draw. United had enjoyed by far the better of the game itself with Wayne Rooney and Ruud van Nistelrooy each hitting the woodwork and when Jose Antonio Reyes was sent off in the final moments of extra-time their dominance was confirmed in numbers as well as chances. But the Gunners showed extraordinary resilience and were blemish-free from 12 yards, while Paul Scholes saw his penalty saved by Jens Lehmann. The winning kick was taken by Captain Patrick Vieira in what was to prove his final game for the club.

Manchester United 1-0 Arsenal 2004 FA Cup – Semi-Final

Arsenal had won the FA Cup in each of the previous two seasons and the Invincibles were en route to going unbeaten throughout an entire Premier League season when the sides met at Villa Park in April 2004. However, it was Manchester United who progressed to the final against lower-league Millwall thanks to a 1-0 win. Edu and Patrick Vieira both hit the woodwork for the Gunners but with Thierry Henry omitted from the starting line-up and Ruud van Nistelrooy injured for the Red Devils, it was left to Paul Scholes to provide the incision, firing home from close range just after the half-hour mark. United held on to end Arsenal’s 18-game unbeaten run in the competition and claimed the trophy when they defeated Millwall 3-0 the following month.

Manchester United 2-1 Arsenal 1999 FA Cup – Semi Final

This famous FA Cup meeting between the two clubs had enough drama for five classics. David Beckham opened the scoring by curling into the far corner – the first goal Arsenal had conceded in over seven hours. But Dennis Bergkamp equalised midway through the second half with a great turn and shot and the Gunners could’ve gone ahead when Nicolas Anelka had a goal disallowed for offside. When Roy Keane was sent off shortly afterwards, Arsenal were in the ascendancy and looked set to win it when Phil Neville conceded a last-minute penalty by bringing down Ray Parlour. But Peter Schmeichel saved brilliantly from Bergkamp and when Patrick Vieira surrendered possession to substitute Ryan Giggs, the Welshman scored one of the great solo goals. “The luckiest team won” said Arsene Wenger

Manchester United 2-1 Arsenal 1983 FA Cup – Semi Final

The 1983 FA Cup semi-final was the second domestic cup competition in which the two teams had faced off that season, with Ron Atkinson’s United already 6-3 aggregate winners over two legs of the League Cup. England international Tony Woodcock gave the Gunners the lead at Villa Park but Bryan Robson came up with an equaliser just before half-time. A 17-year-old Norman Whiteside was the hero for United when he thumped in the winner. “It was a great moment,” Robson told the official Manchester United website recently. “To have won the semi-final and be on the way to Wembley was fantastic.” It was to get better for Atkinson’s team when they beat Brighton at the second attempt to lift the trophy with both Robson and Whiteside among the scorers.

Arsenal 3-2 Manchester United 1979 FA Cup – Final

The old cliché about never being more vulnerable than when you’ve scored a goal ought to have been written for this game as Alan Sunderland ensured United’s comeback counted for nothing. The Gunners had gone ahead through Brian Talbot before Frank Stapleton doubled the lead just before half-time with Liam Brady once again the architect. But Gordon McQueen pulled one back from a set-piece with just five minutes remaining and a late equaliser by Sammy McIlroy, wriggling free from his markers, seemed to complete the comeback. However, just as the momentum seemed to be with Dave Sexton’s side, Sunderland popped up at the far post to turn in Graham Rix’s cross and win it for Arsenal. No wonder it was dubbed the ‘Five Minute Final’.

Our FA Cup record against United is very close with the exception of games played at Old Trafford where we have a record of W2 L4 D0. Our complete record is-

1

I acknowledge that stats don’t count for anything on game day but they show that it takes a brave person to be confident of a win at Old Trafford – the writer is one of the brave but I once read that a coward dies a thousand deaths while a brave man only dies once, oh boy – am I prepared to die for the cause……………??

GunnerN5

 

 

 


Get off Mertesacker’s back

March 6, 2015

I am fed up with people looking at Mertesacker as the man responsible for all Arsenal’s defensive woes. I am also bored by the continual moaning about BFG’s lack of leadership on the pitch.

Let’s start with his defensive ability. Someone recently wrote on the blog that BFG may have over 100 caps for Germany and is a World Cup winner but that does not make him a quality centre back. What complete and utter tosh. He has pedigree, a pedigree that few players in the world have.

Perhaps it is his age which has turned some fans against him,  BFG is just 30, Tony Adams was 35 when he captained us to the 2002 double. This season Koscielny has been a shadow of the player we know he can be, he has made many mistakes both is judgement and in ball-play. No-one suggests that he is over the hill yet he is only 12 months younger than BFG.

Some talk about his lack of pace and let’s be honest he is hardly a speedster but neither was TA nor Steve Bould or David O’Leary or for that matter the man who is considered the best CB in the PL, John Terry. What all these men had/have in common was an ability to see and assess danger then act accordingly, BFG has that skill, though it must be said he does make the occasional error as witnessed last Weds.

Unknown-2

To have a secure defence requires a settled and regular back line – we haven’t had that for some time. All our defenders have succumbed to long-term injury since BFG signed so there has not been the chance to establish an automatic understanding. This season BFG has had to settle Bellerin and Debuchy into the team as well as Chambers and Gabriel. Plus he has been forced to “enjoy” a CB partnership with Monreal.  Is it any wonder the man is tired?

Leadership: What is that? Is it screaming at players to keep in position? Is it inspiring by one’s own performance? I think it is a natural quality – either you have it or you don’t. BFG doesn’t – very few do. Why blame him for lacking something no-one in the squad seems to have AND he is only captain because Arteta is out.

Should Gabriel take his place this season? Of course not. Gabriel has had less than 2 games for us against poor opposition and has been fortunate not to concede goals to stupid mistakes. I am sure he will become a fine CB at Arsenal but right now he is a fine back up, nothing more.

I see Mertesacker’s difficulties in recent weeks as exhaustion. Unlike Ozil and the other WC players BFG has had no rest, he has carried the defence without pause. He deserves plaudits not criticism.

Leave our Big Friendly German alone. (Peaches Mother Rule!)

written by Big Raddy