Can Arsenal win the league?…..a fan’s view and player ratings.

So we managed not to slip on the banana skin or should that be the Burnley skin. Slippery enough as a fixture before the weekend which only got slipperier after the Liverpool result and was downright black ice slippery after Manu, man city and spuds all dropped points; we wobbled in added time but kept our balance and our nerve just long enough to claim all three points and move into second place in what turned out to be a thrilling end to an otherwise dull game.

Burnley are a very organised team, set out extremely well who chased everything down and if that isn’t a big enough compliment they took the game to us for large parts of the first half. I think I say this because I am an Arsenal snob and in general find it difficult to take clubs like Burnley seriously so I was respectfully surprised.

Still, that’s enough benevolence, we won and I am sitting here basking in that sweet glow of victory, the LB household is a happy place, pleasant tones will be used when addressing my girlfriend and children, even the cat can strut its stuff without fear of being kicked for all this week, well, up to the Southampton game anyway.

mesutcat2

Waffling, moi? Well you try and find something to say about that first half? Iwobi on the right and Sanchez on the left solved the team selection conundrum; the problem was that both of them naturally are drawn to the middle in an attempt to get more of the ball, the downside of that is that it gets very congested which made it much easier for Burnley to defend against. There was very little goal mouth action, I can’t even think of a decent chance at either end in the first forty five.

The second half started with far more gusto as all our games seem to have done in recent past, am I the only one out there asking why, I tell you if this were cycling there would be a full scale finger pointing drug investigation going on by now but it’s not so we must all assume that its Arsene’s pep talks that are doing the job.
We immediately pinned Burnley back and started turning the pressure screw up. I can’t think of a clear cut chance but we were definitely going in the right direction. The break though came with what I think was Mustafi’s first goal for the club: a well weighted corner by Ozil enabled his fellow countryman to guide his header into the far corner beyond the helpless keeper.

mustafi

Burnely huffed and puffed but they didn’t look as though they had enough to get back into the game or certainly not without a helping hand which came in the form of Xhaka being an absolute idiot by completely unnecessarily lunging at a Burnley player, giving the ref the perfect opportunity to show off his red card.

Down to ten, and all still seemed possible even with twenty minutes to go, we were spraying the ball around comfortably keeping possession, everything under control, ninety minutes came, Giroud had been replaced by Welbeck and Bellerin had replaced Ozil…..7 minutes, 7 minutes added on time, people started leaving, as even with that ludicrous amount of added time we still had things under control and then we slipped arse over face on the banana skin by giving away the penalty, the Burnley penalty taker was apparently an Arsenal supporter, well if he was that much of one he could have shown it a bit more and done the honourable thing and missed, it wasn’t a well taken penalty but it still found the back of the net.

1-1 with one and a half minutes to go and Chelsea and Tottenham laughing their arses off at us. But were we beaten, oh no we were not; it was all hands to the pump and into the breach. One last charge or so it seemed, a high ball into the box and the good guys gave it their all to get onto the end of it but none more than our captain who was painfully kicked in the head, screams of penalty seemed to fall on deaf ears as the ref peeled away dismissively. The game had gone as had our chance to claw some important points back, a draw against Burnley, oh the ignominy, but then a miracle – the linesman, who I shall be recommending for a medal in the next years honours list, indicated penalty, got to be a knighthood at the very least don’t you think? Sanchez stepped up and calmly chipped it over the goal keeper cue pandemonium.

1111

Player ratings:

Cech: still doing the business, about time you saved a pen though Petr. 8

Gabriel: interesting choice this one, does add more steel at the back, curious to see if Wenger continues with this, perfectly good performance. 7

Mustafi: did you see him try and do a scorpion kick in our own 18 yard box? Very funny. He is our lucky charm and a goal to boot. 8

Koscielny: Captain Kos, throwing your face at someone’s boot to get the penalty really is going beyond the call of duty and for that he gets my MOTM. 9

Monreal: a much tidier game today, worked really well with Sanchez down the left flank. 7

Xhaka: his sending off caused a bit of a kafuffle around where I was sitting, as people started clapping him as he walked off, others were absolutely livid with him letting the team down so unnecessarily, guess which side I was on? 4

Ramsey: interesting debate in the week about who should play in the midfield alongside the must be played Özil and when you think about it one of those players has to be able to score goals and there is only one other that is likely to do that and it is Ramsey. He is still not back to his best but who would really be surprised if he scored against Chelsea? 8

Iwobi: Alex obviously drew the short straw and got shunted out on the right wing, not his position at all and unsurprisingly was not very effective. 6

Özil: not a classic from the German Genius but nothing wrong either. 8

Giroud: it doesn’t look like I am going to get my wish of us starting with Perez with his far superior close control but I might get to see Welbeck there which will do just fine and dandy. Giroud is only effective when we are hoofing the ball high into the box and that usually only happens in the second half; he should not be starting, jogged around the pitch reasonably well. 6

Sanchez: yesterday’s game and winning the way we did was made for our little busy bee. 8

An LB offering.

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33 Responses to Can Arsenal win the league?…..a fan’s view and player ratings.

  1. Wolfgang says:

    I’m afraid Monreal aint up to the job. He has failed to stop crosses coming in.

  2. gunnerpete says:

    I hope AW is tempted to play a back three, Gabbs, Mustafi, Kossy, for a while in away game. With Belerin and Gibbs Le Coq and Ramsey, mid four. It could be the answer to us shipping stupid goals.

  3. Good post, LB

    Commentator’s comment re: Giroud

    I believe until the Burnley game he scored in all previous 8 games.
    At least that was the TV commentator’s comment.

    You say: “interesting choice this one”, re: Gabriel.
    Bellerin has been out, no-one else to choose from, considering Jenkinson is a waste of time. Yes, Bellerin was on the bench, which would suggest he wasn’t 100%, but playable if only necessary.

    Otherwise, I agree with your summary. Nice one.

  4. Big Raddy says:

    LB. Thank you.

    Definitely a knighthood and possibly even an Order of the Garter.

    I agree about Burnley. They played well and we didn’t.

    Given the lack of width it was a surprise not to see Bellerin start. It will be interesting to see how we line up with Xhaka out for 4 games, the obvious solution is Coquelin, I would rest Iwobi and play Ox (perhaps) at S’ton.

  5. chas says:

    Super stuff, LB.

    What a crazy end to the game that was.
    I was still in a ‘what the feck happened there?’ state for 20 minutes after the final whistle.

    I’m sure the lino had just raised his flag for belatedly realising that Kos was offside as the ball was played in but Moss was so incompetent he thought it was a signal for a pen. 🙂

    Cmon you Reds.

  6. Rasp says:

    Beautifully crafted report LB. I was working during the game and had to rely on the torture of the BBC website 😦

    Only the points matter.

    Xhaka … if he picks up another red this season for an equally unnecessary challenge … I’d sell him in the summer. If we are to be in with a chance of winning the league this season it will be decided on very fine margins and he very nearly cost us 2 points.

    Gabriel is growing on me. We have a tradition of butt ugly CBs and Gabs is giving Keown a run for his money …. but he has the attitude and fight I like to see in the backline … I’d like to see us try a back 3 the next time we have an opponent where experimentation is possible … it didn’t do the chavs any harm!

  7. mickydidit89 says:

    LB

    That is a brilliant article Really well written. Thank you.

    Of course

  8. GunnerN5 says:

    Wonderful report LB.

    In the end we were fortunate to get all 3 points as that was the type of decision that usually goes against Arsenal. That’s the sort of luck we will be needing if we are to overcome the eight point deficit with Chelsea.

    FA Cup game against Southampton on Saturday; they play a mid week Milk Cup game against Liverpool U so hopefully that will add to our odds of winning.

  9. mickydidit89 says:

    Ooops

    Of course I agree with your comments about Giroud, and think you very kind to give him 6 points. He was awful and so limits Sanchez and Mesut. My God, Arsene must absolutely loathe Perez.

    Ollie is magnificent from the bench and dreadful for our style of football from the off. I simply don’t understand Arsene.

    Thanks again, it was a joy to read.

  10. GunnerN5 says:

    Rasp I agree with you about Gabriel he is adding the steely determination that we have been missing in our defense, he is also getting more adept in his offensive forays.

    On another topic personally I have no problem with Xhaka and suggesting to him that he should be more cautious in his tackling could have the negative effect of reducing his effectiveness. He is fast becoming a must have name in the starting eleven and will be sorely missed during his suspension.

  11. fred1266 says:

    Why when we go defensive in a game we always concede

  12. chas says:

  13. Big Raddy says:

    GN5 makes a good point about Xhaka. He is an important player for AFC. Like Vieira he will have to learn how to tackle in the PL.

    I still predict a fine future for him

  14. mickydidit89 says:

    I agree with Erik when he was agreeing with GN5, but we have Coquelin while Granit gets corrected.

    Now, AA’ers, some serious advice needed. My family have decided we want to start watching a box set type of thing which we can download from the black telly box

    I need ideas and fast. We liked watching homeland a year ago.

  15. LB says:

    I am assuming you have watched the best box set of all time which is obviously Breaking Bad?

  16. Big Raddy says:

    Morse?

    Of course, I like the Danish TV especially The Bridge (Broen). 3 series, all good and another in the making.

  17. Big Raddy says:

    LB. Never watched it. Perhaps I should

  18. chas says:

    Breaking Bad *****
    The Wire *****
    The Sopranos *****
    Luther ****
    Bloodline ****
    Stranger Things ****
    Fargo ****
    Black Mirror ****
    Better Call Saul (offshoot of Breaking Bad) ****
    House of Cards ***/****

  19. GunnerN5 says:

    I agree with Raddy & Micky agreeing with me 🙂 🙂

    You make a good point about Vieira Raddy his tacking was always on the wild side but he learned to tone it down and was still one of the (all time) best mid-fielders in the PL. He and the old version of Ramsey would make a formidable pairing.

  20. GunnerN5 says:

    I meant Ramsey & Xhaka.

  21. GunnerN5 says:

    I’ve watched two of those series and can endorse the quality and entertainment value of both House of Cards and Breaking Bad.

  22. mickydidit89 says:

    Gentlemen

    Thank you for the tips

    I think the solution lies in working through Chas’ list, although sounds like Breaking Bad must be top of the list

    Tonight we watched first two of Designated Survivor on Netflix (?) and it’s ok

    Thank you. I love telly again. Goodnight

  23. oz gunner says:

    Cheers LB. Well said. We definitely needed those points. Rare that everyone around you slips up so capitalising was a must.

    The Xhaka tackle was clumsy. You can tell he hates losing, but he needs to cut out the brain fades. We live to fight another day.

    @Micky

    I agree with others, Breaking Bad can’t be missed. ‘Vikings’ too.

    If you need a family show look at ‘Shameless’ – US version. Whilst it is only family drama, the main girl gets her top…looks after the family well.

  24. Aaron says:

    Chas-
    Great list, and you have excellent taste in cat video’s if I don’t say so myself.

    To add to your viewing pleasure:

    Madmen *****
    The Goodwife *****
    Prison Break ****
    Longmire ****
    Peaky Blinders *****

  25. mickydidit89 says:

    Oz

    When you say “the main girl gets her top…”, it was probably a related issue as to why so many gentlemen watched Madmen so enthusiastically 🙂

  26. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    Anyone know what has happened to Theo? I thought AW said he would be out for a “couple of games”

  27. mickydidit89 says:

    Only Chas, Eddie 🙂

  28. mickydidit89 says:

    Actually Eddie, there is something I wanted to run by you.

    Post our chat about angry wimin demonstrating against Trump in London, there was a huge gathering of similar loathsome creatures in New York on another “don’t grab my pussy” march

    Here’s the bombshell. One of my sister’s in law was on it!

    I’m not on facebook myself, so couldn’t give the obvious reply of “no danger wimin, the only grab you’ll get is from the wimin next to you”

    I’m horrified. Help me out here Eddie

  29. mickydidit89 says:

    Giroud or Arsene out. One has to go 🙂

    Off on manoeuvres, so no tin hat required 🙂

  30. chas says:

    NEW POST

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