Our Cup Final.

May 8, 2016

This is a game to get the blood coursing through the veins. It is almost winner takes all and possibly our most important game of the season (huge exaggeration but you get the drift!).

If I am honest I am not optimistic. I know we won there last season, I know City have just lost an important game, I know that they have a few injuries and those who are fit are misfiring and for City this could be “After the Lord Mayor’s Show” …

But We are The Arsenal and in recent years we struggle when the pressure is really on.

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Living in Copenhagen I am often asked why the Danes are The Happiest Nation on Earth (THNOE), amongst my answers is this- Happiness is directly linked to Expectation. If I expect to be first and come second I will be disappointed whereas if I expect to finish third and finish second I am happy with my result. I expect Arsenal to lose this afternoon 😀

The game would have been even more interesting had WHU not blown up yesterday. They are playing Man Utd midweek with the winner having the chance to gain CL qualification. Sadly, their bubble has burst (:-D )

Pellegrini, whose final home game is the honour of facing The Arsenal,  has been a fine addition to the PL. Had he been a few years younger (62 y.o) I think he could have been a good successor to Mr Wenger.

Do you think that Coq-elny are a copy or as good as the MC Fernandinho midfield defensive axis? And will AW play both Coq and Elneny in order to give us more protection against the pace and strength of Aguero and Sterling/Navas? He hasn’t in recent games.

Will Cazorla get pitch time? Or Wilshire?  Will Sanchez start on the right? My guess is that we will start with  the following:

Cech

Bellerin   Paul Easter    Koscielny    Monreal

Ramsey     Elneny    Coquelin

Sanchez     Welbeck    Ozil

Mr. Wenger, please, please, pretty please, do not start with OG. I like the Big Galoomph but as an impact substitute, Welbz gives us pace and a different dimension plus he hates City.

We are reaching the point when the bench is a difficult choice, we have such squad depth when all are fit. Had all been available throughout the season we would be hailing AFC as PL Champions but the fates have not been kind.

A point would be very, very welcome but ff we lose today we always have Aston Villa to finish the season on a high and leave me with a happy summer.

Should be an exciting afternoon – especially for those in the Prawn Sandwich section.

COYRRG


Arteta: A Thank You.

May 7, 2016

In yesterday’s press conference Mr Wenger confirmed that our Club Captain Mr. Arteta will be leaving this summer.

When we signed Mikel from Everton he was 29 y.o. with much PL experience – it seemed a decent but uninspiring squad signing; at the time we had a young squad who needed guidance and, if nothing else, Arteta is a cool- head when the pressure is on.

But …. I see the signing of Arteta as symptomatic of the lean years. He is a good player but he is not a great player. The usual epithet is that Mikel is a “model professional (MP)” which is just another term for journeyman – Mark Noble is a MP, Milner is a MP etc MP’s do not inspire, they are the water-carriers and every team needs one but the best teams have the best players and IMO Arsenal could have bought better. If a player is not good enough to earn a single cap for his country then they are not going to lead a team to the PL title.

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Part of the problem was that Arteta did not really have a set role, he was neither a DM nor an AM. Lacking pace, aggression and trickery he did not inspire but he was reliable – a much under-rated asset.

Arteta seems a top bloke, he has wonderful hair, he appears unhurried on the pitch with an eye a pass. He takes a mean penalty. He captained the team to the FA Cup victory over Hull.

However, in the 5 seasons he has been at AFC he has played just over 100 games – slightly more than 20 a season. Why? Because since the start of the 2014/15 season he has played just 15 games.

How will Arteta’s time at AFC be remembered? For me, it probably won’t be. I have always been underwhelmed by Arteta’s signing thinking that as likeable as he is, Mikel is not Arsenal quality..

Mikel Arteta has been Arsenal Captain which is surely the pinnacle of any player’s career. He was Captain during a turbulent period in the club’s history and did so with good grace, intelligence and panache. Arteta appears to be ideal manager material and has been taking his coaching badges.

I wish him well and expect to see him back working at The Emirates sometime in the future.

written by Big Raddy


Should We Ditch Arsenal Fan TV?

May 6, 2016

Before anything else is said, I realise it’s not anyone’s decision to remove ArsenalFanTV from the netwaves, apart from Robbie’s.

Let’s take a look at a few points in favour and a few against the whole set-up.

Pros

  • Gives the fans a voice
  • Allows fans to vent
  • Presumably the Arsenal PR department monitor what’s being said?
  • Gives Robbie a job
  • Allows some, who would struggle to find someone to talk to in the pub, a wider audience

Cons

  • Interviews are carried out when emotions are raw after a poor result. We all calm down a few hours/days after a bad result
  • Makes us all look ridiculous by association
  • Other teams’ fans laugh at us
  • The rise of celebrity fans like the Wealdstone Raider is detrimental to the image of the UK football-going public

fantv

Have I blown it out of proportion when only a small section of supporters actually watch the youtube videos?

What do you think?

Written by chas


Why is Ozil Out of Form?

May 3, 2016

Three moths ago Mesut Ozil was a serious contender for Player of the Season, today he is a shadow of that player. Why?

Let’s look at the evidence (?). Pre- February Mesut was scoring goals, playing with freedom, setting up assists in almost every game, always had time and was without question the best player on the pitch – he was remarkably consistent.

But it all seems to have come to a halt.

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Today we see a Mesut who seems harried, he rarely smiles, rarely has time and space, his assists have plummeted – his last PL assist was back in February away at MU!

If you look at our poor run of form (unbeaten in 8 PL games) it starts when Mesut’s numbers dropped. This is no co-incidence because Ozil is essential to our method of attack. If we are to play the fast passing game then there has to be someone who can unlock the packed defences and it seems that Ozil is the only Gooner who has that ability. Stop Ozil and you stop Arsenal.

Is it that the opposition mark him more tightly? Are other teams more aware of his manner of play and instead of close marking him lay off and watch for the  off-ball runs Ozil is looking to pass to? I am no tactician nor do I look at how other teams are playing against, so cannot say.

Or perhaps Ozil is playing as well as ever but contributing in other ways.

What do you think?

written by Big Raddy

 


Time for Welbeck

May 1, 2016

Arsenal 1 – 0 Norwich

Possession %

68.6 – 31.4

Total Shots

14 – 12

On Target

3 – 3

Off Target

6 – 6

Corners

7 – 3

 

Press Conference:-

on a much-needed win…
It was much wanted and much needed. It was difficult. We played against a team who were very well organised. We didn’t find a good pace in our game but we were serious and organised, and in the end we got the win. In the first half we needed to be patient, and we needed Petr once or twice. In the second half, it was a deserved win against a team that fights not to go down. It was a typical game that you get. We played Sunderland and Norwich and got two similar games.

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on Wenger getting cheers from the fans…
It was a bit of a strange atmosphere. We have to live with that. Some fans were protesting, yes, but a big majority didn’t and the big majority was behind the team. They showed that they appreciate what I’ve done until now, so it’s alright. It was a difficult atmosphere yes, but we have just to live with that, give more, focus on our performance and try to make 100 per cent of our fans happy. That’s our target.
on who the atmosphere was difficult for…
The game was difficult in itself and the atmosphere was alright. I think the fans were behind the team and I believe as well we had not the stylish performance that could raise people off their seats. We had a serious and studious performance, a bit subdued at stages. We wanted absolutely to win the game and we did it.
on if he was aware of the ‘one Arsène Wenger’ chants…
During the game? Yes.
on if he was emotional at that point…
No, I was focused on the game. My job is to win football games, so once the game starts, I focus on that. You can do both – you can appreciate and focus on the game.
on acknowledging the chant…
Yes, I did.
on Alexis not being happy at coming off…
No. My job is to make decisions and there again, to get [everyone] 100 per cent happy is very difficult.
on Alexis walking straight down the tunnel…
I honestly didn’t see it. At that stage I was more worried to keep the 1-0 and I didn’t see it.
on if support today vindicating belief that vast majority of fans are behind Wenger…
I don’t know. I’m a professional who has given 19 years to this club and tries to give the best for the club. I have to accept the judgment of people. The only thing I don’t doubt is my sincere commitment to the club. After, I’m sorry if I can’t keep [everyone] 100 per cent happy, but maybe it’s as well because we have been remarkably consistent. This season is a bit special because we were in a position for a long time where our fans believed we could win the league. We didn’t, so that’s why I think it’s more disappointed love than real aggression. We have to accept that because we are a bit in the same situation.
on Arsenal scoring less goals this season than last season…
What the problem we have faced this season is exactly the same problem we had today. We lost in the first game of the season against a team who sat very deep and didn’t come out. After that, all the teams came here and sat very deep. We did not find a way, in the air or on the ground, to score goals. Today again, I think once we were 1-0 up, there were more goals in the game for us, but we couldn’t finish the game off. You can always be caught back. Crystal Palace was 1-1. But I agree with you that we have not solved that problem against teams that sit deep. Why did we have fantastic results against the teams at the top of the table? Because they come out more, they play more and the game was more side to side. We had the problem that we couldn’t solve this season against teams who sit in front of their box.

on that happening despite having lots of creative players…
We analysed that many times. At the moment we have to finish as well as we can.

 

Player Ratings taken from the Daily Mail:-

Cech 7.5

Bellerin 6.5

Koscielny 7

Mertersacker 6.5 (Paulista 6.5)

Monreal 6.5

Ramsey 6.5

Elneny 7

Iwobi 6.5 (Welbeck 8)

Sanchez 6.5 (Coquelin 6)

Özil 7

Giroud 6.5

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Wenger’s 750th PL game in charge of Arsenal will be remembered more for banners than it will for the football. Two banners spring to mind, one said ‘Proud of Arsene, Ashamed of Fans’ and the other read ‘no further alcohol will be sold at today’s fixture’. There were some others too but they were less memorable!

On the field Arsenal dominated the ball as expected but once again were up against a team who were happy to pack the edge of their own box and work hard to limit the space. In fairness to Norwich they did actually show some attacking intent and played very well. Im not sure what the answer is to break down teams that sit deep and defend as a unit, and with Leicester winning the league and Atletico taking on the worlds best in the CL, I’m not sure other teams know either. Thankfully, on this occasion, Wenger made a game winning substitution and we came away with 3 very important points.

Stats compiled by fgg