Happy Holidays?

January 3, 2017

Bournemouth is known as the English Riviera (or it is in my family!!).  We used to holiday there in the days before I was allowed to travel on my own. When I passed my driving test Bournemouth became a weekend destination because there were language schools full of Scandigirls who had weekend discos ( a portent for my future!) …. you can guess the rest!

As such Bournemouth raises happy memories in BR’s ageing head, let’s hope I feel the same way at game’s end today.

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Eddie Howe has done an amazing job . Not only keeping a small club in the PL but doing so by playing attacking football. They almost gave us a shock at the Emirates where a 90th minute goal from Sanchez sealed the points. We won 3-1 in an absorbing game with Bournemouth missing many chances. It was the game of Debuchy’s brief return.

Rotation will the keyword today. I expect AW to rest a few and perhaps finally experiment with the Ramsey/Xhaka combo.

My Team:

Cesc

Bellerin    Mustafi     Koscielny    Monreal

Ramsey    Xhaka      Coquelin

Perez       Giroud     Sanchez

Has AW the courage to rest Sanchez given that Ozil is out again? If so, it would be intersting to see Ox start on the right with Perez on the left. Or Iwobi.

I cannot recall a run of games when the whole of the top 6 win so consistently, Spurs, L’pool, MU and Chelsea have stepped up a gear and we need to do the same.  A win today is important, a draw is simply not enough. Winning under this kind of pressure is what makes Champions, and we will see how the team responds.

I still maintain that we were unfortunate in both losses in December and that it affected the fans more than the team – time will tell.

We are unbeaten in 2017, let’s keep it that way

COYRRG

 


Palace: Player Ratings

January 2, 2017

A bread and butter win against a poor Palace, with Özil out, presumably to flu, it gave us a chance to see what life would be like with a proper Mesut injury and to my surprise it didn’t look as bad as I feared. His absence seemed to embolden some; freed from having to pass it to the German Genius whenever he is available; players started to express themselves more than usual and it worked well. The Good Guys moved the ball around crisply and seemed to advance with a greater sense of urgency on the break. I will take those kind of wins all day long.

Cech: more confidence oozing from between the sticks; he had a chance to show off his skills three quarters of the way through the second half, making a series of impressive saves in the space of thirty seconds. 8

Bellerin: Hector, I am on first name terms, was even better than he normally is adding more to the attacking cause than usual while always doing the right thing in defence. 8

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Easter: with Mustafi on the bench the competition for places is hotting up in the back line and this fact wasn’t lost on our Brazilian; he upped his game accordingly and made it harder for the Boss to consider making a change. 7

Koscielny: this really should be a weekly copy and paste. Another game another captain’s performance, calm, thoughtful and well organised. 8

Monreal: I scoffed when RC78 made the comment at the end of last season that Nacho was the weakest link, I thought it a bit unfair but in view that there always has to be one weaker area than all the others, I feel confident in saying that the first new signing in the summer will be a left back. 7

Elneny: I really enjoyed his performance today, he seemed to add a bit of zip to things, the ball seemed to be moving around a lot quicker, compared to Coquelin there is less lunge and more thought. 7

Xhaka: a few people on here have said that they can see Vieira in him; it happened again, someone sitting behind me at the game said the same thing. For the life of me I cannot see it and I cannot tell you how much I want it to be true. Palace may have been poor but he was impressive, he is starting to take control and his passing was as accurate as Arteta on a good day. 7

Iwobi: my MOTM, with Ozil out Alex had a chance to play more centrally and wow was he good, I know like everyone else that he is a great prospect but I didn’t realise until today just how big a prospect he is. The man ran the show. 9

Sanchez: so what do you think: is he more effective on the wing or in the middle; full of beans as ever and a joy to watch. 8

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Giroud: in the first half Arsenal were playing some super quick pin ball machine football the only one unable to keep up is Ollie, but if you can score goals like that you are likely to keep your place. 7

Perez: “I believe that Perez really adds fluid movement and quick passing in the Arsenal school of thought” (Aaron) .  After spending the best part of the game surrounded by people criticising him it really made me feel good to read this when I got back onto the blog. Whereas Giroud will never be part of Arsenal’s quick interplay this guy could and the more of those the better things are in my humble opinion. 7

Written by LB


How to beat Palace. Turn Japanese

January 1, 2017

Bloody Fat Sam again. Pardew was bad but The Walrus? Didn’t the Palace directors ask WHU about him and his style of football? I am sure Cabaye will be thrilled.

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What can we expect from today’s game? You already know. FS will start his tenure at CP by  “shoring” up the defence, which is just another way of saying Park the Bus, 6 at the back and rough up the opposition. We need to score early otherwise this will be another yawn-fest.

Of course, I could be wrong and Mr Allardyce may send out his team  with a message full of attacking intent,  he has the talent available, Benteke, Cabaye, Zaha and Palace could play some great stuff under Pardew but sadly, it seems, AP lost both the dressing room and his job.

Shame. Palace are a fine club. Their fans do not deserve to go through what the Hammers suffered under Allardyce who turned the Academy into a joyless club.

The England job: It shows the remarkable stupidity of the FA that they chose FS, but if we are honest they do not have a recent history of inspired signings.

So … the game plan is obvious. Lightning fast attacks or Tora, Tora, Tora if you are Japanese).

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Mustafi is back so no need for two DM’s. Theo is out and Welbz isn’t ready yet. Ramsey is.

My Team:

Cesc

Bellerin    Mustafi   Kos    Monreal

Ramsey      Xhaka   Elneny

Perez    Sanchez    Ozil

Mr Wenger will disagree and not be so attacking. We are likely to see the Coquelin start as he always does when fit, but as Elneny is about to depart for the ACN, I would like to see him.

Given the worrying form of all our rivals we have to win today. We had almost 80% possession and 23 shots against WBA, it could be more this afternoon.

Happy New Year and let’s hope 2017 brings some silverware

written by Big Raddy