Jack (Wilshere) and The Beans Talk

January 21, 2016

Jack’s full of beans …. probably too many beans!

He is feisty and mercurial on the pitch. He hates to lose the ball and will do anything to get to get it back. He wants to win every 50/50 ball … actually he wants to win every 20/80 ball. It’s in his nature. It’s the man he is and the player he is.

tackle_2885663

But is this aspect of his character the reason he has suffered so many injuries in his short career?

We love Jack and we know he loves Arsenal …. and he’s not too keen on that other lot 🙂

We all know Jack has the potential to be a world class midfielder. He hasn’t played enough consecutive games in for Arsenal for us to be sure exactly where his best position is,  but we have seen glimpses of genius. Remember that performance at home against Barcelona? He was the best player on the pitch (and that was alongside Cesc).

I see this latest return as pivotal. If he can stay injury free and play to the end of the season, he has a chance to realise his potential. But one more long term injury and the doom-mongers will say they were right and he is injury prone … the new Diaby.

Arsene is managing him very carefully this time. Apparently he is fully fit and ready to go but we are being cautious – quite rightly so in  my opinion. So maybe Jack’s biggest enemy is himself. Can he temper his natural aggression and factor a bit of self preservation into his decision making? There is no need to risk yourself on the half way line by lunging in, you have team mates who are better placed to put in a tackle.

The question I put out to you all today is …… what is the best way to manage Jack Wilshere?

Should we drum into him the need to avoid injury and in so doing risk losing that part of his game that makes him a great player, or, do we let Jack be Jack and just see how it goes?

Rasp

 

 


Arsenal – Sign, Marry, Avoid? You Decide

January 20, 2016

This season has proved that it really is a squad game, though the majority of our midfield 3 positions have been filled by only 5 players, Coquelin, Cazorla, Ramsey, Ozil and Flamini.

As an excuse for a poll, I thought it might be an idea to see if we can predict our midfield 3 for the start of next season. Hopefully we’ll be going into it as champions, but I realise that there’s a long long way to go until May and all sorts of hurdles will have to be negotiated along the way if we are to be successful. At the moment it’s a possibility but no more than that. The summer will probably see some leave and maybe some top class players arrive. Anyway, here are the runners and riders as they stand. Who would you expect to be pulling on the shirt come August?

Oxlade-Chamberlain

It appears Arsene sees Alex with a long term future as a central midfielder, perhaps. It’s difficult to see this happening at the moment as playing there means your choices have to be pretty spot-on and Alex’s are anything but. It would be wonderful to see him fulfill his massive potential though, wouldn’t it?

Jack Wilshere

Poor Jack, just as he was looking ripped and ready to go after recovering from his cup final hangover, he got an impact break to his lower leg in training caused by his own team mate. Could Jack come back soon, confound all of LB’s expectations and cement a permanent place in our midfield three? I’m not saying where, though, LB.

Mikel Arteta

Mikel has started to creak a little this season after a few seasons of magnificent service to the club both as a player and as an ambassador . I’d be amazed if he was still getting pitch time next season as his contract expires this summer. Perhaps his coaching badges beckon?

Jeff Reine-Adelaide

Jeff has just turned 18 and looks to have the skills and physique to be a future star for The Gunners. Maybe his position will end up as one of the front three rather than in midfield. Let’s hope he matures steadily under Wenger’s tutelage and becomes the type of player who draws fans to the stadium.

Tomas Rosicky

It would appear this season is Tomas’s swansong with his contract also up in the summer. Wouldn’t it be marvellous if he could produce a few crucial moments in the closing stages of this season now that he’s training again?

Mohamed Elneny

El Nino has only just joined us so it’s almost impossible to give an informed opinion on the player. He appears to tick all the right boxes, skilful, great engine and with a strong and determined attitude. Time will tell. Personally I’d like him to be proving he’s of a similar quality to Kos and Nacho by the start of next season but may take a little longer.

Aaron Ramsey

Aaron’s reported flirtation with Barcelona might just be click bait. Then again, maybe monkey-boy has been telling him how good the paella can be. Who knows? Do you think he’s a future captain in the making? For me he’s still lacking discipline and consistency but his quality and versatility is there for all to see.

Mathieu Flamini

Here’s to you, Mathieu Flamini, Arsenal loves you more than you will know. His two goals against the N17 miscreants and vital ‘stepping into the breach’ when Coquelin became injured has cemented his place in the Arsenal hall of fame but with his contract up in June and his rumoured billionaire status, why would he want to carry on? Then again, maybe we need him to keep Mesut happy!

Francis Coquelin

Le Coq was definitely last season’s big surprise and there’s no reason to suggest he can’t come straight back into the team this season and shore things up again at the back, is there? His discipline, reading of the game, tackling and interceptions make him a virtual shoe-in for next season, don’t they?

Alex Iwobi

Alex is the nephew of Jay Jay Okocha and that is good pedigree. In his limited pitch time so far, he seems to be able to make good decisions about the right moment to pass. Like Jeff, his final position may be further forward.

Santi Cazorla

Santi’s contract runs until 2017. I’d imagine he has agreed with Arsene that he can go back to Spain after next season. Hopefully his current injury allows him back on to the pitch before the end of this season. He has been a revelation playing a little deeper with his ability to squeeze out of tight corners with that majestic two-footedness.

Mesut Ozil

The second coming. Mesut seems to love London and the Club. I’d love to see him finish his career with us, as Dennis did, winning a sack load of honours along the way.

A.N. Other

I’d imagine there are many players out there that Arsenal supporters would love to see in our midfield next season. (RC78 can probably name about 25!)

Marco Reus from Dortmund, Paul Pogba at Juventus, Charlie Adam at Stoke, all options which I’m sure leap out as potential signings for the summer.

With a possible three of our current players listed above off to the glue factory in the summer, there will be spaces for replacements. Who would you like us to buy? Feel free to post a comment and let us know who you favour.

Please choose three options in the poll below.

chas


Get The Cheque Book Out. Now.

January 19, 2016

We desperately need another striker and we need him by January’s end. He doesn’t have to be a Higuain or a Cavani (though either would be dreamy), we just need someone to allow Giroud some time in the sun.

The injury to Welbeck is very bad news as he was signed with this very position in mind. Will he ever recover to become a reliable squad player? Who knows but what I do know is that whilst he is at AFC he distracts Mr Wenger’s focus from buying a CF. Understandably, given the 16 mill and 100k a week..

raddy

Theo as CF? Really???  A few fleeting glimpses of his aptitude to playing through the middle is not enough to suggest he is capable of taking us to the title. I would rather see a goal-hanging finisher than the fleet-footed flyer. And the man is at a low point in his playing career at Arsenal, his last few games have been dreadful – my dead Grandma could have done as well.

Sanchez is a possible but his best work for both country and AFC is done cutting in from the wings. He is not a back to goal striker (IMO).

Campbell? There is no evidence he can be a CF. As far as I know he has always played on the flanks.

Iwobi/Sanogo? No.

What happens if Giroud gets injured? I will tell you. We are royally ****ed.

So stop being a spendthrift Mr Wenger. Go out and find us a boy who has the priceless ability to score a goal. There must be someone somewhere who wants to earn a few million a year, living in one of the most exciting cities in the world, playing in a creative team in a magnificent stadium. It can’t be that hard, can it?

written by Big Raddy

 


Thank goodness that fixture is out of the way ….

January 18, 2016

I felt bitterly disappointed after the game yesterday. This had nothing to do with our performance, or even the dropped points. This had to do with the fact that it really didn’t feel like I’d watched a game of football. Yes, Stoke have some better players now, and they could well have scored goals, were Cech not such a beast. But they only really came to stop any football being played. Right from their pitch, to their ‘tactics’, it was all about constantly pushing/pulling/tripping Arsenal players, generally preventing the game from flowing.

I never really put stock in the Stoke play Rugby claim (and while Wenger is quoted as saying that he was talking about one specific incident where Stoke pushed an opposing keeper into the goal) Stoke were physical, dirty, but they played a fascinating in its ugliness type of football. But yesterday, as far as I’m concerned, was more rugby than football. I’m glad to come away from there with a point, and with no injuries.

rugby

On our players, Cech, Per, Monreal. Campbell, and Giroud come away with huge credit. Flamini was ok. Kos was good, but what’s up with those misplaced passes? Bellerin was good defensively, but couldn’t contribute much on offense, which is fine the way we were playing. I’ve been very annoyed with the Ox recently, but he was generally better, apart from one boneheaded moment when he came back into our half to get in front of a Stoke player, and instead of passing to a teammate, he tried to flick it forward. I get the sense he’s going to find form soon.

Ramsey and Walcott were both immensely frustrating. Both seemed too casual in their touches and passes at times. Maybe Ramsey is tired and that is affecting the simple things. But Theo man. His technique is terrible. On a small ground, with no Ozil or Sanchez to create space for him, he just couldn’t do anything. He was kinda helping out in defense, but that’s about it. Iwobi made a big difference when he came on. That Theo made such a fuss about it after putting in a performance like that isn’t very nice.

Not very nice too, were the Stoke fans. What can you say about such folk? There’s supporting your team and then there’s using it as a front to create a ‘safe space’ for all your vilest, nastiest tendencies. A Roman senator would recognize the importance of the Brittania as an arena to act as a safety valve for the mob. I suppose it’s better than them torturing kittens or something.

All in all a good point away to a tough stadium, and still top of the league, with the cavalry not too far away with Alexis, Coquelin, Wilshere and Rosicky set to return soon.

Shard


Major Tom to Ground Control

January 17, 2016

What a strange season it has been. Who would have thought that the ultra-defensive, park the bus mindset of so many PL managers would change so quickly into the exciting football we have seen in 2015/16. 3-3 draws have become the new 1-0’s. Long may it continue.

Or is it poor defending? 😀

Take today’s opponents, Stoke. Managed by one the the meanest, most defence obsessed, get in their faces, kick their best players out the game, route one obsessed men in the Premiership they have turned into a club who play proper football. What has happened to Sparky?

What changed?  What made the miscreant Hughes buy Shaqiri, Krkic and Affelay?

Whatever the reasons, I am delighted. However, Stoke still have their share of thugs with both Debuchy and Ramsey having bad memories of strong-arm Stoke-isms.

There are exciting developments at Arsenal.The arrival of El Nino and the possible return of Duracell Boy; I don’t expect either to start but both could get some pitch time. Our results suggest that we have not missed Sanchez but there can be little doubt we are better with him on the pitch. If Theo doesn’t put in a decent performance this afternoon the bench awaits. Flamini has done a sterling job but needs a rest –  would you blood El Nino against Stoke or Chelsea? I wouldn’t. A couple of sub appearances are most likely.

I expect the same 11 to start as at Liverpool.

We have lost 5 of the last 8 games at the Britannia. Not good and hard to fathom. We have always finished the season above them and despite the aggressive grunts emanating from the cavemen who grimace bare-chested in the stands, we should do better.

My dream scenario would be an easy Arsenal victory with Aaron Ramsey scoring a hatrick, Flamini giving Shawcross a sly kicking and Kos flattening the cowardly, cheating basket named Arnautovic. But I would take a scrappy , plucky, lucky 3 points.

As always at the Britannia we will need a strong referee who is not influenced by Stoke’s baying boneheads. The incumbent is Craig Pawson; don’t know much about this chap but we must hope for the best.

I am still hurting from the stupid equaliser at Anfield, a win today would set us up nicely for the Chelsea game and to some extent negate that pain. A draw and we go back to TotL.

My youth was spent living for football and music. The first time I saw one of my Heroes was at the Finsbury Park Rainbow. I queued for hours and got tickets to see Bowie. He came on stage an hour late and proceeded to do a 45 minute mime act with Lindsay Kemp and then left the stage. To say I was disappointed is a massive understatement. But … I didn’t give up and was fortunate to see him on many occasions including some of the most exciting and spine tingling musical moments of my life. Words cannot express my thanks to Mr David Bowie.

We can be Heroes …. Just for one day.

COYRRG


A warm wind of change blows through Arsenal’s midfield

January 16, 2016

Will Mohamed Elneny or El Niño as Big Raddy has appropriately tagged him, breathe a warm wind of change through Arsenal’s midfield?

Elneny-Arsenal

He is a player of whom Arsene Wenger has high hopes.

Make no mistake, Elneny has not been brought in to warm the bench despite what some may describe as being a bit on the  ‘cheap’ side. His ability to defend and bring the ball forward together with his tenacity in the tackle and accurate distribution mean that Elneny will be serious competition to Coquelin when he returns to full fitness.

Arsene has already stated that because he has played in Europe Elneny should be ready for the EPL and we expect to see him on the bench against Stoke – or he may even start?

Is this because Flamini is running out of steam, or because time has caught up with Arteta? My guess is yes.

Arsene loves to attack, Elneny always look to pass the ball forward, he is an archetypal Wenger signing. No one had high expectations of Koscielny when he arrived, he is now arguably the best centre back in the EPL.

So expect great things from our new signing. Expect him to impress from the off and to be an ever present influence in our quest for the title.

Rasp


Who’s better ….. Sanchez or Aguero?

January 15, 2016

Here we are. Top of The League, and I’m terrified.

Here’s a thing though, it’s just dawned on me how much I have in common with South Americans, and I am not only referring to the finest ever manager in top flight English football ie Ossie Ardiles.

Like all purists, the little Argie believed in a five pronged front line, and like me and that GoonerB chap, understood that goals both win games and entertain in equal measure.

Ok, so back to my fear, or Manchester City as I call the little bastard. So far, we have kept them at bay, but the other day I saw Aguero back in action and weaving his way through the centre of a defence to score a terrific individual goal.

Then I thought to myself “Man up Didit, why the fear, for we too have a south American wizard”.

alexis sergio

I’ve done some research.

Sergio: 1.73m.  Aged 27. South American dribbly shooter.

Alexis: 1.69m. Aged 27. South American dribbly shooter.

I would argue that The Arsenal have played their purest football this season with Mesut providing the ammo to a front three of Sanchez, Theo and Aaron. I have also taken on board the wise words of two AA regulars, LB and GB.

LB has implied, rightly in my book, that on occasion Alexis hangs on to the ball a little too long, and tries one too many take-ons. I agree, however, also understand that Alexis has one thing on his mind: get in on goal and shoot. I like this very much.

Then we have the wise words of GB who, again like me, reckons a right footed Theo is more effective from the left, cutting in onto that right howitzer of a shot of his.

You can already see where I’m going with this can’t you. Aguero plays through the middle, so why should I be frightened of him, when we have one of our own.

MickyDidIt89


A Point at Anfield is Good

January 14, 2016

We set off from Nottingham at 3pm hoping the M6 rush hour traffic wouldn’t add too much time to our journey to Liverpool. E.T.A. Liverpool, L4 was 5.30pm with a following wind and my mind started to drift towards thoughts of beer for the first time. With high cholesterol foods (sorry, kelsey) safely tucked away in carrier bags for later, we were set for an interesting and calorific night out in Liverpool.

The sign at the entrance to the chosen (and very respectable) parking spot on Anfield Road said £10, though the digits were a little scruffy. “How much is it?” we asked the chap issuing tickets. “Twelve Pounds” came the reply. Well, he has to get a small reward for standing in the pouring rain on a Wednesday night!

Safely parked in a prime spot for a fast getaway, we set off for Arkles, the away fans pub just at the back of the Anfield Road Stand. It was packed but I was lucky getting a very efficient barman who was slightly more cheery than the old trout Ant had to endure for the second round. A magnificent large screen was showing highlights from the barcodes v mancs game from the night before which I hadn’t seen, so all was good.

Suitably refreshed we made our way to our ‘restricted view’ seats and were pleasantly surprised that only the top corner was obstructed by a pillar. Seeing the goal itself at the away end is always a problem at Anfield, but, hey ho, we could have been bored at home watching it in the warm and dry on TV!

1

Liverpool came steaming out of the blocks as usual at Anfield. Klopp had chosen Firmino over Benteke, so the plan seemed to be very mobile with a high press (ta, GoonerB). After 10 minutes Theo was caught in possession on the edge of our box when row Z would have been the option. From a fierce shot the ball rebounded from Cech straight to Firmino, whose strike on goal went through Koscielny’s legs and gave the keeper no chance.

Almost immediately it seemed we were level. Campbell playing Rambo through who scored with a neat, near-post drive.  Pandemonium ensued in the away end which hadn’t had long enough to get gloomy about going 1 down. Game on. Our big centre forward had gone down clutching the back of his coiffure in the run up to the goal. We were sure it was a cunning decoy.

Five minutes later we were behind again after some sloppy play in our own half. Firmino’s goal was very classy and thankfully we didn’t see it hitting the back of the net because of the shocking sight lines at Anfield.

Arsenal came roaring back and a lovely dinking move ended with Ramsey’s (I think) lob over Mignolet being cleared off the line for a corner. As Rambo went over to take it, I said, ‘a goal direct from this corner would be nice’.  Ant was slapping my back like a crazy man a few seconds later when it looked like we had scored in exactly that way. We had no idea Giroud had scored with his toe nail until he began accepting the congratulations from his team mates.

Two each and the rest of the first half was end-to-end and very exciting to watch. The TV companies certainly got their game choices right for midweek. The moment we thought we’d scored our third was very bizarre. From the away stand it looked as though Walcott’s cross had been turned into the middle of the goal by Giroud and had hit the back of the net. Our celebrations were halted with the scousers laughing at us. We thought it must have hit the post. Only this morning have I seen that the ball cannoned off Giroud straight to Mignolet. Such a shame.

Both teams came out firing at the start of the second half, Moreno with a good chance at the far post, but we were starting to show some dominance for the first time in the match with excellent chances created for Campbell and Walcott before the much-maligned Giroud again opened his legs and showed his class. His spin and shot for our third goal were top drawer. Raptures again followed in the away end.

3

Could we sew the game up, keep things tight and snatch a couple more on the break? Hmm, years of watching Arsenal tend to give you the impression that, no, we’re not that kind of side. Where would the fun be in that?!

In Arsene’s post match interview that we heard in the car, he seemed disappointed we hadn’t got a fourth, though I can’t really remember us creating too much after Giroud’s goal. My memory of the last half hour is gazing at the Kop End with us barely able to keep the ball longer than two seconds and Liverpool piling on the pressure. Perspective perhaps made us think that the Liverpool attacks were closer to the Kop goal than they were, but us parking the bus never seems to work. To me it just seemed a matter of time before they equalised. Only in the last five minutes did I start to hope we might hang on and snatch all three points. Well, you know what hope did! All in all, I think they deserved their 3rd goal.

Coming out of the ground and seeing the other scores made our point even better. The spuds losing at home – how we laughed!

Ratings

Cech – beaten 3 times so they had to be decent shots. I think he got his fingertips to Firmino’s curler – 7

Bellerin – excellent going forward and super play for Giroud’s second – 7

Koscielny – best defender in the League – 8

BFG – some great interceptions and blocks – 7

Monreal – has turned into a fine, athletic full back – 7

Flamini – No Coquelin but love him nonetheless – 7

Ramsey – Great goal, a little wasteful in possession but the scouse pressing caused many mistakes from us – 7

Ozil – majestic, sublime, love watching him – 8

Walcott – oh dear, an upturn in form should come soon, shouldn’t it? – 5

Giroud – did all he could to grab the points for us with little protection from the ref – 8

Campbell – another good game from Joel, such a great work ethic – 7

 p.s. I realise these ratings might be a bit off, but you all had a much better view of the game than I had!

Written by chas


Another 2-0?

January 13, 2016

I love Anfield night games for only one reason – I can mentally re-run the glorious events of 26 May 1989. A night never to be forgotten and as important to the development of mankind as the invention of the wheel, the conception of language, the development of steam engine and electricity, the invention of the spinning jenny and the birth of Dennis Bergkamp.

However, this evening , though important, has no dramatic finality; a win and we extend our time TotL,  a loss and we are still in a podium position with much of the season remaining.

Let’s start with Klopp. I have to admit I was hugely disappointed to see him at Anfield, my hope was that he would succeed Mr. Wenger and bring his charm to The Home Of Football. I am not convinced that his football philosophy is suited to Arsenal but there can be little doubt he would have challenged to likes of Gazidis to make the club more media-friendly. His public regard for Mr. Wenger says much about him.  He will do well at Anfield.

As to his current team; once again we have been duped by the Scouse loving media. All that guff about “ham-strung,” L’pool will start with a very strong team  and are probably better in central defence than when playing the bald thug bloke and the odd looking fellow they signed from S’ton. Having said that, Kolo’s last appearance at the Emirates was proof that he remains a Gooner – let us hope he repeats his performance tonight 😀

The new look Liverpool are a decent team and Arsenal will have to be much better than they have been in recent games. Fortunately Coutinho is hamstrung but they still have some fine attacking players.

As to Arsenal, the team almost picks itself. Many had a relaxing time riding the pine on Saturday and are fit for fight. As I am on a foreign computer I cannot do a team plan but you already know who will get a start.

Central midfield will be important. Lucas is a fine CM, better (IMO) than anyone we have at closing down the area in front of the defence. We have more skill, they have more power. I like to think skill wins.

Our forward line is a concern. OG is scoring but seems ill at ease, Theo has been anonymous and if he wants to maintain his place in the team when Sanchez returns he will have to influence the game far more than he has since his return.

Anfield is always a difficult fixture and L’pool are unpredictable – sometimes rubbish, sometimes very good. They played very well at The Emirates where we were outplayed for much of the game. I expect us to dominate possession and L’pool to try and use the power and pace of Benteke.

I would be satisfied with a point tonight.

COYRRG

 


Arsenal have found the new Diaby …..

January 12, 2016

I have made no secret of my admiration for Jeff Reine-Adelaide – hereafter to be known affectionately as just plain ‘Jeff’

J

He joined Arsenal last summer after coming through the ranks at Lens. On the Arsenal site he is described as….

Possessing great pace and close ball control, excelling in wide attacking midfield positions

Unsurprisingly Arsene believes the teenager has all the attributes to become an all-round central midfielder. “Comfortable playing up front, on either wing or behind the striker, Reine-Adelaide is in almost every way the archetypal Wenger signing.”

He already has international experience having represented France at Under-16 and 17 level

I watched Jeff closely when he came on against Sunderland and his performance confirmed the quality and potential I had seen watching him in The Emirates Cup against Lyon and Wolfsburg. This guy has the potential to be a great player.

He’s physically and technically advanced for his age but still only 17. Arsene is being cautious and clearly doesn’t want to heap too much expectation on his young shoulders. He had this to say …..

He looks very promising, but needs to work with us for a year with the first team, to play with the Under-21s and develop. There is fantastic potential there and he will stay with us.

I’m sure one of Arsene’s greatest regrets is that he was never able to realise the enormous talent that was Abou Diaby …. Jeff’s abilities are very similar to those of Diaby, let’s hope that with careful management and a resilience to injuries he can evolve into the player we all wanted Diaby to be.

Rasp