The Opener.

August 14, 2016

It starts.

What an interesting couple of games to get us going – especially with our injury situation.  Two teams beginning with L. No idea what our record is agains teams beginning with different letters of the alphabet but I know we do well against T teams.

Strangely last season Liverpool struggled upfront despite having Origi, Benteke, Ings, Sturridge and Balotelli :-D. This is a massive investment into centre forwards but Klopp is so unsure about his attack that he has spent another bucket of money on the potentially excellent Mane (who would have fitted well into our squad).

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I noticed that they have signed an ex-Gooner in Alex Manninger. A pleasant and unexpected  addition to Alex’s pension fund.

If you look at Liverpool’s squad they are very strong in all positions, especially midfield. Klopp has strengthened an already promising team and in Coutinho they have a player who is almost Ozil-esque … almost.

But despite having a manager we coveted, a team which cost way more than AFC’s and a huge fanbase, they have consistently failed to get amongst the Big Boys. Why? In all honesty I do not know and more to the point I don’t care; this is an Arsenal blog!

So, what of our boys? Well, the Boyo is likely to start following his heroics in the Euro’s, so is our new boy, Xhaka, who is likely to have a major influence upon our season should he stay fit and strong.

Injury problems in defence will surely result in us playing with two DM’s to assist the youngsters. It will be interesting to see whether Coquelin or Elneny starts alongside our the Swiss chap. Midfield is going to be fascinating as we progress through to Xmas we have Cazorla, Ramsey, Iwobi, Wilshere, Ox and Ozil all vying for the attacking MF position.

My Team:

Cech

Bellerin    Holding   Chambers    Monreal

Xhaka   Coquelin

Ramsey

Ox     Walcott     Sanchez

It hurts to leave out Santi – he is such a wonderful player and perhaps he will take Ox or Ramsey’s place, more likely he will be a super-sub. Iwobi is a Wenger favourite, and rightly so, but I just cannot find a place for him although an alternative could be to play Ramsey on the left in place of Ox with Iwobi on the right of midfield

Walcott has to lead the line; he is a confidence player and should he score a goal we will benefit.My fear is that the Emirates faithful will scapegoat him should he endure a poor half and then we know that Theo will hide. Alongside Ox, Sanchez and Rambo we should have enough.

I don’t think we can judge how the season will unfurl from this afternoon – we lost to Villa a couple of season’s ago and our record over the past 5 seasons is W1 D3 L1, not too dusty.

A win today would be terrific, the bookies have us at 55% likely to win and Liverpool just 33% (the remainder is the draw).

Come On You Rip Roaring Gunners

written by Big Raddy

 

 


Are you ready for the 25th edition of the Premier League?

August 13, 2016

Looking ahead to our 25th season in the Premier League I’m filled with both anticipation and apprehension of what lies ahead for our team. In just a short few days our players will step on the field at the Emirates to play our 925th game in the PL to date our record is won 502, drawn 241 and lost 181 – which is the 2nd best all time PL record, shown below.

Pos- Team P W D L Pts
1- Man U- 924 586 194 144 1952
2- Arsenal – 924 502 241 181 1747
3- Chelsea – 924 486 238 200 1696
4- Pool – 924 456 233 235 1601
5- Spurs – 924 374 239 311 1361
6- Everton – 924 332 267 325 1263
7- Villa – 924 316 275 333 1223
8- Newcastle- 844 326 216 302 1194
9- Man C- 734 304 181 249 1093
10- Blackburn- 696 262 184 250 970
11- West Ham- 768 253 200 315 959
12- Saints- 658 210 177 271 807
13- Leeds- 468 189 125 154 692
14- Boro – 536 156 157 223 625
15- Sund’land- 570 147 153 270 594
16- Fulham- 494 150 136 208 586
17- Bolton- 494 149 128 217 575
18- Leicester- 384 118 110 156 464
19- Coventry- 354 99 112 143 409
20- Sheff W- 316 101 89 126 392
21- Dons – 316 99 94 123 391
22- WBA – 380 94 106 180 388
23- Stoke – 304 98 86 120 380
24- Charlton- 304 93 82 129 361
25- Norwich – 316 89 92 135 359
26- Wigan- 304 85 76 143 331
27- QPR – 278 81 65 132 308
28- Pompey- 266 79 65 122 302
29- B’ham- 266 73 82 111 301
30- CPR – 274 74 73 127 295
31- Derby – 266 68 70 128 274
32- Nottm F- 198 60 59 79 239
33- Swansea- 190 62 52 76 238
34- Ipswich- 202 57 53 92 224
35- Hull – 152 32 41 79 137
36- Wolves- 152 32 40 80 136
37- Sheff U- 122 32 36 54 132
38- Reading- 114 32 23 59 119
39- Watford- 114 23 28 63 97
40- Oldham- 84 22 23 39 89
41- Burnley- 76 15 18 43 63
42- Bradford- 76 14 20 42 62
43- B’mouth – 38 11 9 18 42
44- B’pool  – 38 10 9 19 39
45- Barnsley- 38 10 5 23 35
46- Swindon- 42 5 15 22 30
47- Cardiff – 38 7 9 22 30

 

We play Liverpool in what will be our 49th game against them in the PL where our home record is W9, D9, L6 and our away record is W6, D8, L10. Personally I am very nervous about our chances as with our makeshift defence Liverpool could easily turn us over.

My apprehension also surrounds our lack of a proven goal scorer; if we do not significantly improve in this area and are forced to compete with the same attacking force, I have strong doubts about our ability to win major trophies. We still have until the end of August to add a striker and another centre back but leaving it so late causes me great angst and reduces our chances of success.

My anticipation comes from the excitement of another season of watching the team I have grown old with; as odd as it may sound, I’m still like a young child waiting for the season to start (my 70th) and as usual I will be behind them 100%.

With the improvements in both management and players for Liverpool, Man U, Man C, Chelsea and Spurs, not to mention Leicester I feel that this will be one of the most exciting and competitive Premier League seasons on record.

Are you ready?  I am.

GunnerN5


Prediction Time. Can AFC compete with the Big Spenders?

August 11, 2016

Just a few days until the start of the campaign, surely the best time to dream that Arsenal can finish one place higher than last season.

Or perhaps you are a “realist” and think we will finish outside the Top 4; that the spending frenzy by The Oilers, Liverpool and United will condemn us to the Europa League at best.

What do you think?

 

written by Big Raddy


Theo Walcott: Like a new signing?

August 5, 2016

The one player that has divided opinion more than any other over the last few seasons is Theo Walcott. Last season his attitude to certain games (especially during spring) and his desire to play up top had the pendulum swinging further to the nays and taking on the form of the axe.

One player more than any other that represented the chaff to be separated. Think back three seasons and we were all imploring Theo to “sign da ting” which he eventually did but it appeared with some kind of caveat that he didn’t want to play on the wing anymore.

Whether you think Theo has a football brain or not he has often given us moments of pure joy, remember the mazy run and finish against Chavs and Newcastle where both times he bounced up off the ground mid run.

For me he has never possessed the attributes to be a striker, there are plenty of players his size that have managed it, Suarez, Aguero, Bellamy, even Shane Long can be counted in that group. What they possess and Theo doesn’t is a bit of the b****** about them, they are tough competitors, maybe too tough at times in the case of some. But you have to be if you want to be a centre forward and are not over 6ft.

So why isTheo like a new signing? This quote on arsenal.com:

I’ve said to the manager that I want to be known for playing on the right again, I can play up front, given the opportunity, and the manager says I can play up front, so it depends on which game it is.

I know I can do a job up front as well as on the right, but I want to make my position the right-hand side.

All together now “thank f*** for that”, it has to be said it’s taken too long for Theo to come to this conclusion, being left out of the Arsenal side and watching centre midfielders and academy players fill his berth on the flank also not going to the Euros has probably helped him realise. But at least he has.

So will Theo be like a new signing and become the perfect running machine for the likes of Ozil, Santi and Rambo? Comments on a post card, or the blog – it’s more immediate.

Gooner in Exile


Arsenal’s Precise Swiss Timepiece

August 4, 2016

I think it was Arsene Wenger who said that our Swiss recruit, Granit Xhaka, would “set the tempo” for Arsenal. Last night I watched a short youtube piece on his contribution in the MLS game, and I think see what Arsene was on about.

GXOver the last ten years or so, I’d say there are three players who I feel we missed out on big time, in that they were the rare type of player that would make a huge difference to OUR style of play. Top of that list is Alonso.

You can’t say that he is the best of anything, whether tackler, dribbler, passer, interceptor, leader, headerer (ok you get my drift), but he always was a superb “timepiece”. Everything he did was perfectly timed. Whether at Liverpool, Real Madrid or at Bayern, he would “set the tempo” of the whole side.

I think Granit has the same qualities. The movement into space, the pass, the tackle, everything perfectly synchronized to the needs of the team at any one precise moment. Cool and highly efficient.

As far back as Gilberto, we have lacked smooth lubricating oil at the heart of the machine.

The Chinese make cheap, shitty little timepieces that do the job but fall apart when asked the big questions. The Swiss make timeless quality pieces. I think Granit will make a massive contribution to the heartbeat of the side this season.

MickDidIt89


The Ox’s breakthrough season?

August 1, 2016

If I was Arsene Wenger, I’d be saying to Alex, ‘Alex, mon petit choux, I was thinking about going out and buying a right-sided attacker for the team?’.

‘The question is, do I really need to? Surely you could give me 10 goals from that area of the pitch? Yep, I realise, GoonerB thinks you’re played out of position and should be coming in from the left, but the little Chilean is fairly good in that position already’.

‘Come on, what do you say? Breakthrough season to that elevated position in the world rankings we all know you have in you?’

ox

……………….Coming up Boss……………………..

Sorted, so we just need a 30 goal-a-season guaranteed striker, La Cassette or that one Eddie fancies? Who else springs to mind?

chas