Gooners Survival Guide: Away Games

March 31, 2016

Thinking of going to an away game?

Worried about your safety?

Here’s some top tips to get the most from your away day adventure.

Do your research. Take some time to visit the oppositions blog sites and get a feel for how the home team are doing. That way when you finally arrive at the ground you will be well versed in the local banter and you will be able to judge the mood. If you can find a blog that allows guest writers then you can even test your knowledge by writing a paragraph or two about the home teams current events.

Wear suitable clothing. Avoid anything associated with Arsenal. Top tip: buy the home teams shirt before you go and wear that. You could even get a matching scarf to blend in further. So you don’t feel like you’ve wasted your money, get the shirt signed by one of the popular home team players and hang it on your wall. That way you will have a souvenir of your great away day adventure.

Mind your language. Take a few weeks to train yourself to talk to the locals. When you’re talking about the opposition with the home fans use the words ‘our’ and ‘we’ to replace ‘your’ and ‘you’. For example, instead of saying ‘your left back is shit and you are going to get hammered’ say ‘our left back looks tired and I’d be happy with a point’.

Learn the songs. Before you go make sure you research the home fans songs and memorise them. Derogatory songs about Arsenal are especially valuable. During your trip you should visit some of the home fans favourite pubs and join in with a good old song song. This way you’ll have great memories to take back with you.

Buy tickets for the home end. You’re wearing the outfit, you’ve got the banter, and you know the songs, so why not go deeper undercover and sit in the home end. To make sure you don’t get exposed as the great Arsenal fan you are you should also think about cheering when the home team score. You could even go one step further and hug those around you when the ball flies past the Arsenal keeper.

Leave depressed. This is no time to celebrate an Arsenal victory. Moan about the referee and wait outside the stadium to throw things at your fellow Gooners. Top tip: The scarf can be a useful tool here as you can use it to cover your face so as to avoid getting recognised by your friends. Once home make sure you visit the home sides blog again and join in with the depressing breakdown of the match. Maybe offer to write a match report to round off your away adventure in style.

Finally, do it all again. You can never start researching early enough so ignore the midweek home game and get ready for your next away day adventure.

Stay safe Gooners.

Written by fgg

 

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Comparing the Top 4’s Attacking Efficiency

March 30, 2016

How would you begin to compare the teams at the top of the Premier League in terms of attacking efficiency? The team with the most points is the most efficient? Yes, of course, but let’s suppose we drill down to individual players and find a means of comparing them

Let’s begin by suggesting that a player getting an assist (yep, many will just say, ‘it’s just a pass’) is on a par with scoring a goal as without the crucial ‘pass’ the goal would not have occurred. So a player who achieves an assist or goal has affected the match outcome. Therefore if we total goals and assists for each player and work out how often these occur per match, we can get a rough guide to a player’s individual attacking effect for his team

Some Terminology

Agp – Actual games played = Total minutes/90

GA/app – Goal & Assist efficiency per app  (Total goals + Total assists)/(Agp)

Next, we could rank a player’s GA/app

Range (GA/app):

0.26 – 0.75 ( goal or assist per app ) (Average)
0.76 – 1.25 ( goal or assist per app ) (Good)
1.26 – 1.75 ( goal or assist per app ) (Outstanding)

If we examine the top 5 leagues in Europe, only 4 players fall into the ‘Outstanding’ range:

(Ligue 1) Ibrahimovic (27 goals, 11 assists, 2032mins, 25apps, 22.58Agp) = 1.68 GA/app

(La Liga) Lionel Messi (22 goals, 11 assists, 2009mins, 25apps, 22.32Agp) = 1.48 GA/app

(La Liga) Suarez (26 goals, 15 assists, 2520mins, 28apps, 28.00Agp) = 1.46 GA/app
(La Liga) Neymar (21 goals, 14 assists, 2336mins, 26apps, 25.96Agp) = 1.34 GA/app

Ibra (soon to be an Arsenal player J ) is playing in the dodgy French League, admittedly, but his stats have been superb throughout his career, so aren’t to be sniffed at.

Not surprisingly Barca’s frontline has the other three outstanding players (therefore we were always going to be on a hiding to nothing against such quality).

Now taking this idea to the Premier League, below is a rough guide on the “Attack – goal & assist efficiency” for the current Top 4 sides in the PL table.

We’ve mainly included those playing fairly regularly (at least 1/3 of total PL matches, i.e. 12 or 13 appearances and more) and only attacking midfielders and forwards.

Arsenal

Midfield

Ozil (5 goals, 18 assists, 2430mins, 28apps, 27.00Agp) = 0.85 GA/app
Ramsey (5 goals, 3 assists, 2218mins, 25apps, 24.64Agp) = 0.32 GA/app
Cazorla (0 goal, 3 assists, 1204mins, 14apps, 13.38Agp) = 0.22 GA/app
Oxlade-Chamberlain (1 goal, 1 assist, 924mins, 22apps, 10.27Agp) = 0.19 GA/app

Forwards

Giroud (12 goals, 4 assists, 1936mins, 30apps, 21.51Agp) = 0.74 GA/app
Sanchez (7 goals, 4 assists, 1746mins, 22apps, 19.40Agp) = 0.57 GA/app
Walcott (4 goals, 3 assists, 1288mins, 22apps, 14.31Agp) = 0.49 GA/app
Campbell (3 goals, 2 assists, 866mins, 16apps, 9.62Agp) = 0.52 GA/app

For interest

Welbeck (3 goals, 0 assist, 276mins, 5apps, 3.07Agp) = 0.98 GA/app
Iwobi (1 goal, 0 assist, 123mins, 6apps, 1.37Agp) = 0.73 GA/app

Brief Assessment

Mesut has tended to carry to team to some extent.  The otherwise unproductive midfield has been a huge disappointment. Santi has played in the deeper role to be fair, but Rambo and the Ox have not given us anywhere near the threat they are capable of.

Our forwards have generally struggled to contribute. Giroud has the best stats but as an out and out centre forward, you would probably expect that. Theo and Alexis have struggled to hit a decent run of form and Joel has spent much of his pitch time defending.

Leicester City

 Midfield

Albrighton (1 goal, 7 assists, 2440mins, 31apps, 27.11Agp) = 0.30 GA/app
Dyer (1 goal, 1 assist, 227mins, 12apps, 2.52Agp) = 0.79 GA/app

Forwards

Mahrez (16 goals, 10 assists, 2468mins, 30apps, 27.42Agp) = 0.95 GA/app

Vardy (19 goals, 8 assists, 2723mins, 31apps, 30.26Agp) = 0.89 GA/app
Okazaki (5 goals, 2 assists, 1638mins, 29apps, 18.20Agp) = 0.38 GA/app
Ulloa (3 goals, 3 assists, 684mins, 23apps, 7.60Agp) = 0.79 GA/app

Brief Assessment

Leicester City have produced amazing conversion rate stats with Mahrez & Vardy giving standout performances throughout the season. Ulloa has proved a super sub with high figures for low performance numbers. They seem to have little of the ball, allow the opposition plenty of shots, but convert an abnormally high number of their own chances.

Tottenham Hotspur

Midfield

Alli (7 goals, 9 assists, 2128mins, 29apps, 23.64Agp) = 0.68 GA/app

Eriksen (6 goals, 9 assists, 2312mins, 28apps, 25.69Agp) = 0.58 GA/app
Chadli (3 goals, 2 assists, 869mins, 22apps, 9.66Agp) = 0.51 GA/app

Lamela (3 goals, 5 assists, 1852mins, 28apps, 20.58Agp) = 0.39 GA/app

Forwards 

Kane (21 goals, 1 assist, 2741mins, 31apps, 30.46Agp) = 0.72 GA/app
Heung-Min Son (2 goals, 1 assist, 856mins, 21apps, 9.51Agp) = 0.32 GA/app

Brief Assessment

Totteringham seem to have found a balance, with everyone chipping in. Even those we may have previously regarded as reject such as Chadli and Lamela have performed fairly well.

Manchester City

Midfield

De Bruyne (5 goals, 9 assists, 1556mins, 19apps, 17.29Agp) = 0.81 GA/app

Silva (2 goals, 10 assists, 1678mins, 22apps, 18.64Agp) = 0.64 GA/app

Toure (6 goals, 5 assists, 2037mins, 26apps, 22.63Agp) = 0.49 GA/app
Navas (0 goal, 4 assists, 1639mins, 26apps, 18.21Agp) = 0.22 GA/app

Forwards

Aguero (16 goals, 2 assists, 1785mins, 23apps, 19.83Agp) = 0.91 GA/app

Iheanacho (3 goals, 1 assist, 414mins, 20apps, 4.6Agp) = 0.87 GA/app

Bony (4 goals, 2 assists, 1030mins, 21apps, 11.44Agp) = 0.52 GA/app

Sterling (6 goals, 2 assists, 1792mins, 28apps, 19.91Agp) = 0.40 GA/app

Brief Assessment

Aguero is class as we all know. De Bruyne’s injury seemed to wreck any chance City had of winning the title everyone thought was theirs. Iheanacho has excellent figures like Ulloa’s.

How about the stats of some of the other players who’ve had good seasons in the Prem?

Would they make a good shopping list of Premiership-ready purchases for the summer?

West Ham

Payet (8 goals, 8 assists, 1952mins, 23apps, 21.69Agp) = 0.74 GA/app

Liverpool

Firmino (8 goals, 8 assists, 1570mins, 25apps, 17.44Agp) = 0.92 GA/app

Everton

Lukaku (18 goals, 6 assists, 2514mins, 29apps, 27.94Agp) = 0.86 GA/app

Watford

Ighalo (15 goals, 5 assists, 2567mins, 30apps, 28.52Agp) = 0.70 GA/app

Chelsea

Costa (11 goals, 6 assists, 2017mins, 24apps, 22.41Agp) = 0.76 GA/app

Written by JM

 


Arsenal’s Privileged Position

March 29, 2016

Hi there,

We’ve just done Easter, and in many parts of the world different faiths, beliefs, religions and stuff like that celebrate the arrival of spring, symbolizing re-birth and new beginnings.

For me, it is a time to review my stance. Cleanse the filth from my life. I bathe. I purify and I put on clean pants. Then I look backwards, and then forwards. Inevitably, this results in change, and I like change. Nothing symbolizes this more than the most underrated of all cerebral manoeuvres. The U-turn.

As usual, thinking makes me ponder Arsenal, and my outlook on things football is a kinda metaphor for my outlook on life. Drastic actions, like U-turns, are simple manoeuvres to execute, so the cautious would urge, urrr, caution I suppose.

Not me. Not when it comes to matters football, because it’s hardly life and death stuff is it? In many ways Arsenal are sitting in a fairly privileged position. Only the starry eyed dreamers and believers in elves and pixies would believe we’re going to win the league, while only end of the worlders would believe we won’t end top four. So, eight games remaining where we can really muck about, experiment and throw caution to where it belongs. In the wind.

Over to you lot. U-turns and change. What could we try to maximize these last few games, and you can include the catering.

MickyDidIt89


Arsenal to be helped by International break

March 25, 2016

(Good) Friday Rant

Who would have thought that the league tables at the end of March would be such a shambles! Third place is not so bad, is it! We would not mind third place so much if the first and second were occupied by the oilers, would we! They are a bunch of absolutely despicable cheaters assembled at great expense by equally vile millionaires. Plus plenty of money to spare to entertain incompetent and bent match officials. Truth be told, the only contribution to humanity these clubs have made is the substantial depletion of black money to fund their over-inflated egos. But no, the oilers are way out of sight of the leaderboard.

One would perhaps not even mind that much if the leaders were the dirty Scousers or the smelly ManUre dumps from the recycling grounds up north. Personally, I have some sympathy for them. In their vain desperation to qualify for Champions League, they have endured starvation to try and buy success. Little did they know that class cannot be bought, it has to be earned. No, they are not the culprits either.

Instead it is the Foxes whose real home is in the jungles, and the slimy green creatures from the swamps down in N17. What foolhardy audacity! A bunch of amateurs cobbled together in the market for cheap seconds and assembled in the curry capital Leicester are threatening to win the League. Just beggars belief! And together, the over-priced collection of ego-centric incompetent bunch of jokers from N17 are pretending to upstage them. Who would have thunk! Just disaster, unmitigated disaster!!

We have been patient all along. Since December, I have been waiting for the Leicester and Spurs bubbles to burst. We have patiently tuned in to every game hoping for ROLF moments only to witness frustration progressively piled upon us. What misfortune! While we toiled away in multiple competitions, notably fighting valiantly against the best teams in the world, the Foxes have cunningly used their lack of European misadventures to string together decent performances in the League. And yes, the Spurs had some European games, but these were only against the young boys from obscure locations that do not even have postcodes. Plain injustice, I say, just a complete shambles!

Rasp compiled a vote this week on what we think of the international friendlies, and I like most others thought they were a complete waste of time. But heh, wait a minute! Surely this is a blessing in disguise! The pretenders from the land of pickle and curry, otherwise called Leicester, have 10 players on international duty, including Vardy and Drinkwater for England and Mahrez for Algeria. Injuries to two of the three will do fine. To be fair, is that not what has consistently happened to the good guys in the past? Spurs have 14 players on international duty. OK, 4 of them are in the Belgian squad, so let us perhaps cut them a bit of a slack. But injuries to two of the others will be nice, particularly Dele Alli and Kane. Mind you, not big injuries, but only smallish niggles that take them out of commission until the Euros will be good.

The international break has come at a good time, I would say. Some break in rhythm and little niggles for Leicester and Tottenham will work just fine. Three cheers for the International Break! What do you think, AAers?

Red Arnie


Diego Costa to Arsenal … How badly do you want to win?

March 22, 2016

It now seems certain that Diego Costa will not be at Chelsea next season. He is the best pantomime football villain ever. He looks like something Jim Henson created. I must admit I find it hard to take him seriously when he’s glowering from beneath those heavy eyebrows. Can he really but that angry and underhand in real life?

One thing is for sure, if I had a choice of having a beer with either Vardy, Kane or Costa, Costa would be my choice, at least he’s got a personality. He’s a big character that brings entertainment onto the pitch in these rather insipid times.

But apart from all that, last season he was probably the best striker in the league. When he’s on his game, he is a handful for any defence.

Arsenal have often been described as a team lacking in fight – well DC would certainly redress that balance in the side!

Many might say that hell would have to freeze over before Arsene signed a player like Costa- – but don’t forget, he put in a bid for Suarez.

So the question is, would you like to see Diego Costa in an Arsenal shirt?

Rasp


International Break …. or will it be Ligament Damage and Calf Strain?

March 21, 2016

The International break is upon us and as usual, the concern is whether or not any of our players will pick up injuries. We’ve seen it before with Walcott and Wilshere.

We know Arsene is honourable and our players never develop a dose of ‘Giggsitis’ that keeps them out of action just long enough to return to league duty as soon as the interlull is over.

So today’s poll is a simple question: are international friendlies a necessary evil or would you choose club over country?

Rasp


Can Leaky Arsenal subdue Lethal Lukaku?

March 19, 2016

Goodson Park, not the best place to go given our form and the coming International break. In the unlikely event of a loss for the Arsenal the fans will have at least a week to ferment (or should that be foment?).

Have we reason to hope for victory? I would say that there are the green shoots of a return to The Arsenal that we know and love. On the other hand, we have won once in our last 8 games and that to Hull reserves.

Supporting Arsenal is not for the soft-hearted, it requires fortitude and an ability to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune (see Rasp – even Shakespeare believed in luck 😀 ). This season has tested us to the full, however a win today would be a major fillip.

Lukaku: We should have shouldn’t we? He appears to be an expensive bargain but before berating the  Arsenal Purchasing Dept. I would also have had a punt on Benteke! Chelsea Directors must be shaking their heads at how The Unemployed One could have chosen to sell Lukaku yet keep Costa, Remy, and Falcao. I would break the bank to sign him.

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Barry and Mirallas are missing – is that a positive?

Everton are having a strange season, beating Chelsea with a superb performance last week yet throwing away a 2 goal advantage at home to West Ham the week before. If they are on form we will struggle.

Martinez is a man I thought could succeed Mr Wenger. I no longer believe he has the necessary vision. That said he has made some fine signings – Lukaku, Delafeu, etc

Enough of Everton. We need BFG to marshall what has become a leaky defence. Gone are the days of 1-0 TTA which given the quality of the individual defenders it is perplexing but that is also true of the other end of the pitch. We have to score more goals.

Is Welbeck strong enough to start twice in 5 days? I doubt Mr Wenger will start him.

My Team:

Ospina

Bellerin   BFG    Koscielny    Monreal

Elneny    Coquelin    Sanchez

Campbell    Giroud    Ozil

We will have a strong bench despite the succession of injuries to midfielders.

Does anyone know when we can celebrate the return of Wilshire? Mr Wenger has told Roy Hodgson to keep a place for Jack so it must be soon.

As always we must hope for a decent performance from the officials because Everton have a slew of divers and enforcers. Mark Clattenburg referees fresh from his CL trip to Madrid – could be worse.

I like Everton, like Arsenal they have history; when they play Liverpool I am a Toffee (why isn’t it a mint). This afternoon I hope Everton are three down at halftime.

COYRRG

 


Your choice of first names on the Arsenal team sheet ….. Poll

March 18, 2016

 

We have been underperforming as a team for some time. Few if any of our players could be described as being in top form. The signs against Barcelona were encouraging and we certainly didn’t disgrace ourselves – but two of the best performers (Elneny and Iwobi) weren’t what you might consider to be first team regulars yet.

Is the problem more to do with the team than the individuals, or is it that the players aren’t taking enough individual responsibility? A player can only be his best when others around him are also on top of their game, so clearly the two are interdependent. A team that is performing well can carry a couple of players who are below par, but a single player cannot carry a whole team unless he is a truly exceptional leader – and I don’t think we have anyone of that character in the squad. The team ethic is paramount.

One mark of a good side is actually knowing what your strongest eleven is and getting the best blend of players to gel into an effective team.

So I got to wondering how many of the currently available players would be categorised as ‘first names on the team sheet’.

Not enough is my answer!

These are the outfield players I would categorise as ‘must play’ in the important game ahead against Everton – there are only 6!

Koscielny, Bellerin, Elneny, Monreal, Ozil and Welbeck

That leaves 4 positions where I can’t see a clear first choice – and apart from the one CB, they are all in midfield/attacking midfield. The emergence of Iwobi as a ‘proper Arsenal player’ is one of the highlights of the season and I’d also play him on Saturday although he features just below my ‘must play’ rating.

How many and who would be your ‘must start’ players against Everton?

You can choose up to 10 (goalkeepers are not included) in the poll below and then review the results later in the day to see whether others agree.

Rasp

 


Arsenal Barcelona. Class prevails. As usual.

March 17, 2016

Last night The Arsenal took on Barcelona, while in Germany, Munich took on Juve.

In so many ways, both on and off the pitch, football mirrors society, and what resonated so loudly last night, was how the world’s top players are all crammed into four or five sides. Rather like the wealth gap in society widening by the minute, so the footballing giants are setting themselves so far apart from the also rans.

When I say also rans, I’m still talking about massive clubs, but nevertheless, the gulf in footballing class was so evident last night in Spain.

Barcelona simply didn’t need possession, space or time. They had the absolute world classiness of Messi, Neymar and Suarez, who they can be devastating either in space, or tightly packed penalty areas. Makes no difference, the smallest of opportunities and they devour them.

Make no mistake, I’m delighted we were playing at this highest of tables, and I’m equally delighted we fielded our strongest side. You have to measure yourself against the best to determine exactly where you fall short.

The Arsenal played hard, and certainly created goalscoring opportunities, but it would have taken a freak outcome (or a “Leicester” as I shall call it) for all the cards to fall into our laps in order to beat a Barcelona.

Freak results or outcomes prove nothing. The only common denominator amongst those with successful outcomes, is work rate and desire.

Last night proved only that class counts. A Barca front line with a market value of around £200M will always require a Black Swan scale event to be beaten by a front line valued in the region of £70M.

If the same Arsenal side took to the field against Everton, while putting in the same effort, I’d expect them to win.

MickyDidIt89


If Henry Can, Welbeck Can

March 16, 2016

Time to play with The Big Boys. Finish Top 4 and this is the reward. No-one expects us to win the CL, only one club can do so and, let’s be honest, it is not going to be Arsenal in the near future, but what Top 4 offers is the chance to play in the Camp Nou or the Allianz Arena or the Bernabeu.

In other words glory.

Can you remember when Thierry waltzed through the Real Madrid defence to score an unlikely winner? Or wee Arshavin slotting home to beat Barca? Or Ramsey scoring against all the odds at Dortmund?  Why do you remember those particular goals?  It is because we played and beat the very best and we have the opportunity to do so tonight.

 

Can Arsenal win? Why not? We have beaten Barca before and they have already declared that a couple of their first team will be rested (well, Pique at least). Barca will expect to win at a canter and there is no pressure on an Arsenal team who have been written off by both the media and their own fans.

We were a Bendtner kick and a bent referee away from beating them over two legs in 2011. Given that Welbeck is even better than The Greatest Striker Who ever Lived, we must have a fighting chance, though  it must be admitted that MSN are slightly better than VMP (Villa, Messi, Pedrito).

Our Team: Should Mr Wenger prioritise the weekend game with Everton or go with a full first choice team tonight ? Montreal and Bellerin were benched on Sunday and will surely start. Welbeck played just 15 minutes but what an impact he had! Will he start ahead of Giroud who took a battering from the Watford CB’s? In my opinion, Welbeck  – if fit – should be our first choice central striker until season’s end.

Campbell on the right or Theo? Was Theo rested or or dropped on Sunday?

Midfield must be Elneny and Coquelin, we have little choice.

And what of Ozil? He went missing in the home leg and has been peripheral in recent weeks. He tried to grab the game on Sunday and almost effected an unexpected comeback but where was he in the first 75 minutes? People question whether Ozil wants to stay at Arsenal; perhaps they should think about who would sign him to a winning team. Leave Arsenal and Ozil is unlikely to find a club playing to his unique talents nor will he find a place with the Big Boys. Sanchez is in the same situation.

We are massive underdogs for a reason , primarily thanks to Coquelin’s stupid foul for the penalty and BFG’s momentary lapse of reason, should they make similar mistakes we could be on the end of a hammering BUT Mr Wenger cannot PTB at Camp Nou – we have to score. Get one early and Barca could wobble. Get two and we will win.

Unlikely but possible, and whilst the possibility exists let’s believe it can happen

COYRRG