A View From The Stands

September 30, 2015

Firstly let me say that I have not seen any highlights or read too much this morning so I am not in a position to comment on refereeing decisions or any controversial incidences. As you know they do not show anything controversial as a re-run so I will need others to fill me in on this. Certainly from the stands I was suspicious of off-side for their 3rd and with UEFA not using goal line technology I would welcome some feedback on their 2nd.

This was a strangely disjointed performance that left me slightly puzzled, and I know what you are thinking, a puzzled GoonerB with few tactical solutions is verging on a national crisis 🙂

Reading through some comments there does seem to be many feeling that this performance (or others like it) is down down to non recruitment of certain personnel or too much rotation and inexplicably not playing our strongest team.

The first may have some merit that we do lack certain qualities in the squad. It is probably, though, also about missing certain qualities through injuries. Notably I felt the way Olympiacos defended was made for Giroud’s presence in the box, but he wasn’t available. Theo wasn’t bad, but I do have a couple of gripes regarding him that I will comment on later, but I would have preferred Giroud to have been brought on up top (once we had seen how the game and their defensive line was developing) with Theo moved wide right (due to the Ox having an off game IMO).

I think the game also craved Jack’s intricate ability to operate in the tightest of spaces with those subtle 1-2’s, so he was also badly missed as an option. Add potential missing options in Welbeck and Rosicky and our options to change the game tactically were limited.

On the rotation side of things, I am sorry but it is necessary. When and how is a different matter, but I question why many feel we went in with a weakened team last night. With what we have, and had available, many would say that Walcott, Alexis and Ox is our strongest front 3….I do…. Many would say that Ozil is the best 1st choice starting option in that number 10 role….I do…. Many would say that Le Coq and Santi is the best CM pairing….I do…. Bellerin and Kos are generally considered 1st choice. Gabriel will now be considered by many as being ahead of Merts. Monreal was a massively improved player last year but for me there is not much difference between him and Gibbs, certainly not game altering differences.

That leaves the keeper. I get it that Cech is better and is truly world class but big teams win big prizes even with injuries to 1st choice keepers by having excellent ready made back-ups, even if slightly inferior to the first choice. Are we really saying that we have lost this game because our2nd choice keeper, the number 1 Columbian international keeper, is not good enough to help us beat Olympiacos at home??? I really struggle with that one, and if it is the case then he has no place being in the Arsenal squad at all. On paper it looked a strong, fine, and balanced line up to me so I am looking for answers to last night elsewhere.

So we once again we gifted some poor goals, I think everyone will agree there, and I just don’t think you can do that as often as we do in Europe, even against some lesser teams. Is this a personnel or training issue? We again left ourselves a mountain to climb and to be fair to Olympiacos they were very organised, compact, and solid in defence. We couldn’t easily find a way through tight central spaces and the fact we did twice should have been enough, if we did our job properly elsewhere.

The route through them seemed to be from the wide areas. We are good at this by and large, and mostly use the overlapping full-backs to good effect so all we then need are dangerous balls into the box (some aerial some low and powerful). I do however have an issue with theOx and our right flank last night, but will say more later. If we get into dangerous wide areas and get the balls in, we then just need players in the box to finish these good chances off…..errmm….seems to fall down at that point!

I have a big problem with this, especially with the aerial balls. The default seems to be that we miss a big CF in these instances so we can immediately jump on the Giroud bandwagon. Personally though I think many of the most prolific goal-scorers in the air are just technically good at it, and are good at finding and attacking space gaining a half yard on the defender. The height obviously does help at times but even as a biggie Giroud for me is an average threat in the air. Sanchez (all 5′ 6 1/2” of him according to Wiki) is good in the air and a good technical header of the ball. He has learnt this away from Arsenal. I then look at many of our attacking players that have been with us for some time, so their skill set is more shaped by Arsenal’s training of them, and I ask who else do we have that has good technique in with heading, regardless of size? It leaves me questioning our coaching and training unfortunately.

Was last night “just a bad day at the office”, or are we getting too many bad day’s at the office to keep saying this. What do you guys think?

Written by GoonerB

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Walcott to continue his scoring Streak

September 29, 2015

Back on the bike after a nasty fall in Zagreb; we need to win to have a chance of reaching the knockout stages. Even Mr Wenger says so.

Olympiakos shouldn’t be in the competition and it is only due to UEFA’s incompetence (read corruption) that we play them tonight. They were under investigation and the very day after UEFA accepted them into this years CL their MD was arrested for 5 counts of match fixing. Such is the manner in which the football governing bodies work. It is a disgrace. Imagine that happening in in the PL – Platini would have permanently banned an English team from the CL.

But, they are here and we play them in a very important game in our season; lose and the Fat Lady is doing her vocal exercises.

Our record against the Bubbles is strange – we always beat them at home and always lose away. Perhaps it is the food – Moussaka-Gate??

Our team should be strong and I think AW will not make the 6 changes that ruined our chances in Zagreb – though both he and I maintain it was a poor performance as opposed to poor selection

My Guess:

Cech

Bellerin    Gabriel    Kos     Gibbs

Ramsey     Santi  Coq (if fit)    Sanchez

Ozil

Walcott

If Le Coq is unavailable I would like to see Ramsey play further back and OC on the right. It may be a bit too attacking but I expect Olympiakos to παρκάρετε το λεωφορείο.

We have 4 days to recover before our big weekend game so no concerns about exhaustion

I have written about Olympiakos visits to the Emirates three times over the years always predicting a win and so far have always been right. Tonight should be no exception.

I am 79% confident

COYRRG


Should Arsene Tinker?

September 28, 2015

Many, if not all supporters are buzzing at this weekend’s result. Theo and Olly grabbing a goal each and Alexis Sanchez finally getting his first hat trick. The way goals have been for us lately, feels like when you are waiting ages for a bus, and then 3 come along together, only this time 5 come along in our away win against Leicester. 5-2 final score and Leicester’s record of no losses finally comes to an end.

Leicester played a very open game, much the same as we do, which I felt made for the best game to be played this season. Ranieri was very kind about Arsenal and particularly Alexis, in his after match interview. For a Manager who has his first season defeat at home as well, he said we were the better side.

Tuesday we play Olympiacos in our second game of The Champions League, this one at The Emirates, Arsene Wenger has hinted that Coquelin may be fit for this game, Giroud will not feature, as he sits a one match ban, for his sending off against Dynamo Zegreb in our first game, which will almost certainly place Theo as our front man.

Gabriel is available for this game, so if Arsene wants to rest a player, as he seems to do, he can. Of course we have a league game with Manchester United this weekend. United at present sit top of the table, so considering what he did against Zegreb when we had Chelsea as the follow game, and he may feel the same rule applies.

I for one, hope he picks his strongest side, as anything other than a win almost sees us out of this prestigious competition, and in all honesty we should be looking at full points for both games. Probably depends on where Arsene feels we stand most chance, and with us now finding a bit of form, only he knows the answer.

I have in the past been labeled an old school supporter. When I said that I am against fielding a weakened side for one game, to save players for another, I feel the same for Tuesdays game as well. I don’t believe it works, as it didn’t last time as we came off losers in both games. We need to ride our luck and rotate players for lesser games, if we must at all.

Winning our game against Tottenham at the Lane in our first round of the Capital one competition with ten changes, showed me that Arsene must have his priorities, I feel that this type of managing is risky, we got away with it on the night but it is a gamble. Yes, of course a squad of players are there for these type matches, but I do believe we lose the fluency we have with more than two changes.

Arsene of course has vast experience in all competitions and I sometimes wonder if he feels referees may favour certain clubs, as just recently, some very strange decisions have been made, some overturned, but still bans and points lost, I wonder if Arsene ever lets that cross his mind at all, as it certainly crosses mine.

Revelations from FIFA and stories also of EUFA have been brought up just recently. Nobody has been found guilty yet, but should revelations come out later, it would certainly start to explain some decisions on the field of play, I leave you to discuss.

Arsenal are now up to fourth in the league, 3 points behind the leaders, we can now field our best eleven that we have available. We have played six games in the league and we have seen the lead change hands, with City losing and Chavs drawing, we are clawing back points gradually. Many clubs are suffering injuries ourselves included, but many clubs will not be relishing meeting us in our present form, do we go for it or do we tinker. I believe we should pressurise all and sundry – what’s your view?

Steve Palmer


Alexis Sanchez baby! Alexis Sanchez ooooooooooooohhhhh!!!

September 27, 2015

Alexis Sanchez was in inspired form as he scored his first Premier League hatrick as Arsenal broke Leicester’s unbeaten record with a convincingly win.

The coach trip to Leicester was a very enjoyable experience with much debate about the midweek exploits at Tottnumb with discussion around the signs being ripped off at White Hart Lane. It was a glorious day and there was a real feel good factor amongst the travelling supporters who were in buoyant mood.

However the game started in the worst possible manner with Jamie Vardy being given time and space to slot past Petr Cech. Despite the team being 1-0 down the crowd did not press the self destruct button. There were a few moans about the goal and Flamini going off injured and being replaced by Mikel Arteta. This only served to fire up the team and the Arsenal fans. Before long Theo Walcott latched onto a pass and his pace and accurate finish put Arsenal level. The team were in their groove and once again the travelling support was amazing. A few supporters in the first row, including myself, vented anger at a steward who questioned some of us about whether we were in the correct row. This resulted in us missing Theo’s goal much to our fury.

Then the Alexis Sanchez show.. A low Hector Bellerin cross was not cleared by the Leicester defenders and there was the Chilean to tap home almost a carbon copy of the goal he scored at the same stadium last season. So 2-1 at the break and the half time entertainment was a brilliant new chant being echoed in the away section.. More of that a little later.

Alexis was causing Leicester havoc with his clever runs and then on 57 mins a lovely dinked ball was met by the man of the moment who headed in to make it 3-1. Then Alexis hit a rasping shot into the bottom left hand corner a welcome hatrick. The crowd were also left purring at Mesut Ozil’s performance who was in mesmerising form pulling all the strings and always two steps ahead.

The fans then were left frustrated as Giroud could not meet a fizzing low cross with the issue about his confidence being raised once again amongst supporters. Vardy scored a consolation before Giroud redeemed himself by placing a low shot into the corner from a Nacho Monreal cross.

So 3 points for the Arsenal and a happy journey home for the supporters back to London. And as for that chant.. It is to the tune of Chaka Khan and was being sung everytime one of our heroes, Laurent Koscielny touched the ball or made a vital interception.

“Ain’t nobody! Like Koscielny! Makes me happy! Makes me feel this way! Ain’t nobody! Like Koscielny! Makes me happy! Makes me feel this way! ”

Absolutley brilliant performance from both the players and the fans.. Bring on Man Utd next weekend.. UTA!

Written by Sir A Hussein


Can we outfox the Foxes?

September 26, 2015

Those who are regular readers of the site will know that our pre-match posts are usually written by blogger BigRaddy but this weekend we have two build up posts in Raddy’s absence. The first is from Norfolk Gooner and the second from RA.

It’s off to The King Power Stadium in Leicester to face the “Foxes” today for a 3pm start.

Leicester City, they were originally called Leicester Fosse, were founded in 1884 but despite being around for so long they haven’t exactly set the footballing world alight.

Their best ever finish, in the top flight, was second but that was back in the 1928/29 season.

They have been runners up in the FA Cup four times and hold the dubious record of the most appearances in the final without actually winning the trophy.

The Foxes have won the League Cup three times and the Charity Shield once and that under strange circumstances. It was in Arsenal’s double year, 1970/71, when we didn’t contest the shield due to our European commitments. Leicester, as winners of the second division, were invited to play Liverpool, the beaten FA Cup finalists and won 1 – 0.

Two of the finest players produced by the Foxes joined Arsenal, Frank McLintock and Alan Smith. Frank later went on to succeed another Arsenal luminary, Jimmy Bloomfield as manager there.

This little history lesson is proof only that I don’t know much about the Leicester City team of today, save that they have made a very good start to the season, currently lie fourth in the table having won three and drawn three.

The midweek win over Spurs has, hopefully, dispelled any hangover from the Chelsea game and so we go into today’s match in reasonably good shape although we will be without the newly suspended Gabriel, Santi is serving his one match ban and Le Coq is probably out with a knee injury picked up in that infamous game at Stamford Bridge.

I expect our defense to return to it’s more normal shape with the return of Cech, Bellerin and Monreal.

With both Santi and Le Coq absent a mid-field pairing of Arteta and two goal hero Flamini looks likely. With Alexis, Mesut and either The Ox or Aaron to play just behind Theo.

I can’t quite decide between Ramsey and Oxlade-Chamberlain, both have been a bit off lately, so a good point for discusssion.

A win today will move us up to fourth which will provide the necessary impetus to head for ever more dizzying heights.

C’mon The Glorious Gunners!!

The above is written by Norfolk Gooner. 

The following is written by RA 

Who are our opponents? None other than Leicester Fosse — oops I mean Leicester City.

Like us they have had a name change from when they were originally founded in the summer of 1884 as Leicester Fosse, so called as they played in a grotty old field filled with cows near Fosse Road.

The were renamed Leicester City after WW1 in 1919 to avoid any association with cows. [OK that last bit I made up.]

It’s most famous person was Robert de Beaumont, who became the first Earl of Leicester, c 1150, after the Normans beat up the Anglo-Saxons, but talking of name changes he preferred to be called by his Frenchie title as Count de Meulan.

He might have had pretensions to playing football by lopping off heads and kicking them around when he got bored.

In 1564, Queen Elizabeth 1st made her boyfriend Robert Dudley the Earl of Leicester again, after his forebears had become careless and lost their heads – literally.

Back to today, the Foxes as they are known, have not beaten us in the last 5 meetings between us, but this season under the Tinker Man they remain unbeaten – yikes – and lie fourth in the table above us with 12 [points having beaten a few duff teams on the way.

I am looking forward to the guy linked with us, Mahrez, who is known to be rapid. Chaser will take care of him.

For us Cazzor is back from a one match ban – and Gabriel takes his place in the naughty boy cupboard. So it will be a slightly changed team today – but who cares – we will win.

Bollox to percentages – I feel it in my water that we will cruise home 1 : 3.

COYG

Written by RA


Flamini strikes twice!

September 24, 2015

An unlikely source was the hero for Arsenal as Mathieu Flamini helped himself to a brace against bitter rivals Tottnumb and secured the Gunners’ passage in to the next round of the credit card cup.

An enthralling cup tie captured the imagination and the very best of the Arsenal away support with fans starting drinking at North London pubs as early as Midday. The Twelve Pins was the spot for pre-match drinks and come the late afternoon there was a huge police presence. The old bill focused very intensely on the Arsenal fans watching them chanting and even climbing traffic lights waiting to see when they would leave the bars for the the ‘Frog March’ down the Seven Sisters Road.

As the Red Army came out of the tube and marched up the Tottenham High Road there was a sense of pride and unity and the Metropolitan Police on their horses found it difficult to contain the hardcore Arsenal faithful. The fans finally entered Shite Hart Lane and there was the sense this meant more than the credit card cup. Arsenal had the early exchanges and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain looked bright. The decisive moment came when the Ox shot straight at Vorm which bounced in front of him and could only parry and there was Flamini to blast in the rebound. The goal sent Arsenals fans into raptures.

Despite the goal the Arsenal fans were voicing their concern at the lack of defensive discipline being shown by Mathieu Debuchy as Tottnumb were mainly attacking down the Arsenal right flank. Three friends sat together were fuming with the Frenchman saying he did not warrant his place in the team. However, half time came and so far so good as the away support were taunting the fans of their London rivals and highlighting our 13 league titles to Tottnumbs measly 2 league championships.

The second half began and again Debuchy was the brunt of the Arsenal fans anger as he was not covering and Chadli was allowed to cross low only for the unfortunate Calum Chambers to turn the ball past Ospina. The fans were left frustrated but rallied around the team and Chambers who despite scoring the own goal was having a fantastic game. The misfiring Harry Kane then had his acrobatic effort headed off the line by Kieran Gibbs who put in a steady performance on the night.

Arsenal pressed and Ramsey and Ox were trying to carry the fight but the the team needed another spark.. Welcome Alexis Sanchez. But that was not before a commotion in the stands between some Arsenal fans and the bitter stewards. The area seemed very congested with fans and stewards began to move fans anywhere to keep them in line. One 16 year old boy argued with a steward stating “Do you want another Hillsborough?”

On the pitch Alexis looked promising and cut inside only to shoot straight at Vorm. Arsenal looked the more dangerous team and were then rewarded. Tottnumb failed to clear their lines and a looping ball in the air dropped to the right boot of that man Flamini who struck a sweet volley into the bottom right hand corner. The Arsenal section erupted with people falling over, legs up on the air and seats being broken! It was a joy to behold for the Arsenal fans as the Gunners were closing in on a derby day win.

Tottnumb threw everything forward but to no avail and then came the final whistle. It was all over and the long wait to get out of he stadium did not bother the fans. Tottnumb Signs were ripped out in the stadium much to the laughter of the fans. The police then escorted the fans to the seven sistes tube station and the walk began just like it started on the way to the game. As fans poured out of Shite Hart Lane, a certain Frenchman was on everyone’s lips and was even given the accolade of “Cult Hero” status.

UTA!!!

Written by Sir A Hussein


Sweet FA yesterday, Totnum today.

September 23, 2015

Please note: Should any Spurs fans read the following post, it is tongue in cheek and perhaps you should question what you expect from an Arsenal fan site (but my guess is that reading is an unattained skill and you are only looking at the pictures) 🙂

It may be the Micky Mouse Cup and it may be another distraction in a very busy schedule but this is a derby and not just any derby – this is about pride.

And we have been the Pride of North London for decades. Long may it continue.

Now I dislike Chelsea, and find Man Utd a sickening bunch of Northern effluent but I really, really abhor the N17 meat-puppets. Some of my best friends support these marsh-dwellers which raises serious questions about their sanity (though almost to a man/woman they are bed-wetters and onanists).

images-2

A Lillywhite

In the past few seasons I have been a little circumspect in expressing my dislike of the WHL neanderthals because the last time I did so we lost, but tonight I really do not care, in fact it may be a blessing if we lose because this cup is meaningless; if you do not believe me, tell me who won it just 5 months ago (without the help of google!)

Let me tell you and save you some time – Chelsea beat Spurs 2-0. Did it mean anything? Are Chelsea talked about as double winners? No, they are not. Were Spurs damaged by losing? Who cares 🙂

Any NLD is important from a fans point of view but my guess is that Mr Wenger will prioritise the Leicester game at the weekend. So …. who is going to play against the mongrels? Mr.Wenger has said he will be using senior members of the squad who have not had game time which means:-

Ospina

Debuchy    Chambers    Mertesacker      Gibbs

Ox    Ramsey     Arteta    Ozil

Campbell     Giroud

A shame we cannot use the injured Jeff – he looks a fine prospect. Same with Gnabry/Sanogo/Akpom/Maitland-Niles/Zelalem etc but hopefully they will get more playing time out on loan.

Normally, I write about the opposition and their manager but we are playing the WHL putrescence twice later in the season and to write about this bunch of cowboys three times is beyond my powers. Suffice it to say, the Spurs team is full of toilers, cloggers, miscreants and soon-to-be defendants at the Bailey, added to a couple of sexual deviants and a defrocked priest.

Instead of studying the form let’s look at past League/Milk/Littlewoods/Carling/Capital Cup games at Shite Hart Lane:-

Rocky in ’87 (what a night!!)

Samir Nasri’s penalty double in 2010

The Beast Baptiste’s double in 2007

Champagne Charlie scoring and Tony Woodcock finishing the tie in 1983

And Spurs highlight   errmmmm ……  they got a draw in 2007 🙂

images-1

Tottenham High Street

If this game was at The Emirates we would easily win but unfortunately watching the muppets and marsh dwellers celebrating a Spurs victory before limping their way home to their hovels, caves and tunnels is  something we have had to witness too often in the past few seasons. I expect a repeat tonight but our boys will be up for the fight and an Arsenal victory is certainly not beyond the realms of possibility. As we saw yesterday, sometimes the forces of good overcome those of evil and it is with this in mind that I am …..

50% confident

COYRRG