Arsenal Have Been Found Out – Watford Player Ratings

Yes, that’s right, you know it and I know it, we’ve been found out, Bournemouth were the first to work it out and every other lesser team has followed suit with Watford jumping on the bandwagon and speeding away with all three points. I say speeding because they, like Bournemouth, realised that arriving in a huge Double Decker bus and parking it in front of the goal doesn’t really work, far better to arrive in sports cars and take the game to Arsenal at speed.

How do you say “they don’t like it up um” in Italian, whatever the translation is their manager said it before the game and it is true we don’t; our defence looked collectively like headless chickens as Watford took the game to us.

Perhaps a bit of perspective is called for: Watford’s first goal? Can you really point the finger of blame at any one player for that kind of fortunate deflection? As lucky was their second: we had four defenders in the 18 yard box and the ball bounced of Cech and kindly fell to Deany.

kaboul

Two nil down and you would have thought that we might have raised our game a bit but no we still couldn’t keep hold of the ball. Was I the only one who was thinking at this point that our attack on Saturday was better than our supposed A team that started last night?

We started much better in the second half; the team that we expected prior to the game seemed to finally turn up. Walcott replaced Giroud which helped add pace down the right flank and it didn’t take long before Theo found himself with a clear chance which unfortunately he fired straight at the keeper. This was promising but far more was happening down our left flank with Iwobi skipping past defenders and leaving them for dead. He was looking by far the most dangerous and the most likely to make something happen and true enough he was the one that got us off the mark.

1-2 and there seemed to be plenty of time to get back on terms but then of the many tactical mistakes that were made Wenger made another, he moved Iwobi away from the left wing and we went flat again.

Perez came on and came close with an excellent shot that hit the bar – very unlucky which just about sums our night up.

By a very disappointed LB

kaboul2

……. a few match feelings and player ratings from chas

Walking to the ground, the rain increased in its intensity as was forecast and we knew we were in for one of those nights where the shocking weather would certainly play some part. Arsene must have been saying prayers of thanks to the FA for the 4 game touchline line ban. I presume he was relatively snug in the directors box during the game rather than p*ss-wet through sat on the bench. But having witnessed the abject first half display his Arsenal side produced, his spirit must have been as sodden and bedraggled as Bouldie’s coat.

It still amazes me, as LB says, that we fail every time against the high energy press from supposedly lesser opponents. Collectively the team has to drop 10 yards and give the man on the ball options when in possession. Do we ever do this? No, we do not, so we end up with harum scarum, fearful passing and no support for a beleaguered back four. I realise it can’t be that simple, else it would be sorted out each time, but that is how it seems to a bear of very little brain.

Attacking-wise, we were dreadful in those first 45 minutes. For some reason Iwobi on the right doesn’t work at all and you had to feel sorry for Gabriel finding himself as our main attacking threat from right full back.

Giroud seemed to care not one iota for the team effort. You’d think he had a point to prove after our mobile second string attack looked so effective at the weekend. But no, he lost the ball each time he was challenged from behind. That’s supposed to be your strength, man.

Ramsey failed to provide an outlet for the defence under the strain of the high press, half-heartedly tried to block Kaboul’s free kick (he would have been better just letting it go straight through to Cech), lost possession in the run up to the second goal and then succumbed to a convenient ‘I’d rather be in a hot shower than out here’ injury. All in 20 minutes, well played that man.

Talking about Kaboul’s free kick and I realise that in the ground one might see events in a slightly biased way, but didn’t the ref (whoever he was) seem to give Watford any free kicks he possibly could whenever any of their forwards fell to the ground in a heap, while refusing to judge any like incidents for us by the same standards?

At half-time the stadium was stunned. We’d been truly abysmal and even if there’d been an element of fortune for both of Watford’s goals, they were still deserving of a lead.

Walcott for Giroud at half-time; what had been said in the changing room? Was there an injury or had he been hooked for his dismal display? Perhaps we’ll never find out, however the change was dramatic. It was as if the team had been on strike in the first half and the substitution had resolved the trades dispute.

Suddenly everything moved up several notches. Theo looked dangerous and Iwobi burst into life on the left flank. It only seemed a matter of time before we got one back at least. Excellent work from Sanchez on the right created a difficult chance for Iwobi and we were back in it.

We continued to create chances and then a strange substitution completely unbalanced the side again. Everything was going through Iwobi, so for the life of me, I can’t see how moving him away from the left and into the centre could be seen as a positive move. Yes, that’s hindsight, but although it was excellent to see Lucas on the pitch, why would you move your most potent attacking threat away from the area in which he was causing Watford all the problems. Completely baffled.

Lucas rattling the bar (it’s still bouncing up and down now) was the final nail in Arsenal’s coffin. Just a few inches lower and it goes in off the underside of the bar, as Danny’s did on Saturday. If that rocket had flown in, I’m sure we’d have got the winner too, as team confidence surged.

kaboul3

As it was, fine margins left us with Mustafi’s unbeaten streak in tatters in the week he’d said it would be tough to keep it going all season, but that that was his aim. I’d also been reading in the Evening Standard how Arsene had been agreeing that the fans would not be appeased with yet another top four finish unless we could sustain a title challenge. Hmmmmm.

Player Ratings First Half

Everyone gets a 3 for no other reason than we created 3 off target shots in the whole of the first 45. Oh yeah, Ramsey gets 2 and Giroud 1 for turning up.

Player Ratings Second Half

For the first 25 minutes of the second period, Iwobi gets a 9, everyone else 8.

For the last 20, it all went flat again, so all dropped to a 6.

Apologies to anyone hoping for some sensible player ratings. I haven’t watched any highlights, nor do I intend to. I just needed to vent at such a dire, depressing peformance produced at a time we could least afford it.

Perspective-wise, we only lost 1 point to the chavs, dippers and spuds last night, but it does feel like more. Only 3 at the Bridge will make up for it.

 

 

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127 Responses to Arsenal Have Been Found Out – Watford Player Ratings

  1. Eddie says:

    Thanks for the report and player ratings.
    Thanks fattie for an excellent comment last night.
    No thanks to Arsenal.

    Many of you try to blame individual players, or formations, or team selection, or the captain, or bad refereeing, bad luck and even bad weather.

    Feck that. Soooooo much money, billions invested in the team, the stadium and the manager, so much experience, decades of history and we still produce shit like the first half of last night?? Nay, that has just been the last straw for me. I don’t think I can care anymore

    wake me up when we have a new manager.

  2. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    Thanks LB and Chas. Always good to have two views of the game from chaps who braved the elements.

    I am a huge fan of Ramsey but either he wasn’t fit from k.o. or his mind was elsewhere because it was a piss-poor performance. Just look at his work for their second goal (see Arsenalist) – he fails to take a difficult ball from he throw in, gets eaten in a onion one and then just watches as the player runs towards the defence. It was rubbish.

    As you say Chas, OG was equally as bad. Why dis AW start him against a team of defensive giants? He was never going to win the ball or hold it.

    The team I picked would have won, Bellerin was much missed, Theo made a difference and Sanchez should have played centrally against a static, heavy defence.

    Eddie is right. Much of the blame is AW’s.

  3. Big Raddy says:

    Eddie. Is this another resignation? I hope not.

    You can’t resign every time we lose – which is inevitable – on AA we win as a unit and lose as one.

  4. Eddie says:

    Raddy – and Gabriel?? He is shit. We try to embrace him waiting for signs of brillians, but there aren’t any

  5. I told myself I wasn’t going to have a rant and probably I don’t need to now that I’ve read the words of LB and chas who reflect my own feelings.

    We were complete garbage in the first half, didn’t try to control the game after going 2 down and so lost the whole 45 minutes playing really really badly.

    I love what Giroud can bring to our game late on but he really shouldn’t start. At least we got the half time sub of Giroud off and Theo on – very unusual.

    Alexis was sooooooooo frustrating but his tracking back on a couple of occasions in the first half was awesome only that’s not what he’s there for!!!!!!!!!!!

    Very disappointed 😦

  6. Eddie says:

    Raddy – I am not sure what to do, but hell if I am going to brave Saturday fixture. Bollix to that, my old heart deserves better. I am going to go to a cinema to see some proper drama dripping in blood

    Will check the results after

  7. Big Raddy says:

    And just to repeat …. Marriner was shite last night. Watford fowards were backing into our CB’s and he kept giving fouls to Watford.One of which resulted in their first gaol..

    Ozil got a proper kicking in the first half – no yellow cards, no protection

  8. Big Raddy says:

    Eddie. Fully understand that decision 🙂

  9. Raddy – Ozil was getting mashed – often off the ball – in the second half and getting nothing.

    I still love how everything slows down when he has the ball 🙂

  10. LB says:

    Excellent read Chas, you capture the mood really well.

    And by the way I agree with your player ratings 100%

  11. mickydidit89 says:

    LB and Chas

    Very controlled reports, and it’s always good to hear from ringside

    I missed most of 2nd half, but agree with everything you said about the first.

    Last night GB mentioned how he felt seeing the team sheet. I posted it last night, but thought better than passing on my negativity pre match, but every time I see Giroud and Ramsey starting my heart sinks.

    What I’m beginning to wonder is how the other players feel which just might help explain the collective apathy

    Dunno

  12. mickydidit89 says:

    Eddie

    Forget the cinema this weekend for blood and guts. Six Nations and you’ll get the lot.

    Saturday 4th February 2017

    Scotland v Ireland at BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh 2:25pm
    England v France at Twickenham Stadium, London 4:50pm

    Sunday 5th February 2017

    Italy v Wales at Stadio Olimpico, Rome 2:00pm

  13. GoonerB says:

    Morning all and thanks for the obituary….sorry post match report LB 🙂

    Chas, very hard to disagree with your synopsis and I fully concur with your sensible ratings 🙂

    I also found it hard to disagree with anything FGG said in his comment at insomniacsO’clock in the early hours 🙂

    My thoughts are aligned with his totally on the Ramsey thing that he is not best suited to that free roaming CM role which requires in equal measure a player to face forwards and create for the team, and face backwards to receive the ball and initiate forward transition from defence. He looks far better when predominantly facing the opposition goal, hence the number 10 role suiting him best.

    He doesn’t seem to have that 360 degree vision and awareness, (ala Fabregas, Cazorla and Jack), and isn’t quite sharp enough or twisty turny enough on the ball to evade a team employing a quick press, and thus often surrenders possession. Don’t even get me started on what I think about him on the attacking right side.

    I would also add that I think the 10 is Iwobi’s best position as well in the longer term (although would agree with Chas to leave him on the left last night if he was causing problems to them), and arguably Jack’s as well. Now we start to see the problem AW has created for himself and hence the shoehorning and performances that don’t match the quality of each individual player on paper.

    AW seemingly found a solution to our attack earlier this year, (one that could possibly provide the step up needed to genuine title challengers), with Sanchez as the striker and Ollie proving a very effective player later on in games. Ollie always has little purple patches that seemingly always leads to AW promoting him back to 1st choice number 9, then the performances drop, the goals dry up and we drop out of contention in a 5-6 game spell. This happened last season as well when we played far better with Theo at number 9.

    On the subject of the marmite kid….. I think Ollie has more supporters amongst the ranks than Theo who has way more detractors. It seems that there is more an acceptance with Ollie of his weaknesses and a “it is what it is” mentality. Theo has obvious weak points in his game which are used as a stick to beat him with just because he can’t be all things to all people.

    We have had title winning teams in the past with players who had deficiencies in their game who were not of the Bergkamp and Henry calibre, but remained important with a key role to play none the less. Why can’t this be the case with Theo. The one thing I would say is that our performances seem to be far more cutting edge and more on the front foot from the off when comparing Theo and Ollie in the starting 11.

  14. Big Raddy says:

    GB. Unusually we agree 🙂

    I doubt we will see either OG or Ramsey start the The Bridge

  15. chas says:

    Thanks, LB.
    Immediately I woke up (5 hours after getting in at 1am), I started composing the team’s obituary in my head.
    I read yours as soon as I’d seen your comment and I agreed with everything you said.
    I realise that I more or less just repeated the same sentiments, but I now feel exorcised, so it was worth doing.

  16. chas says:

  17. fatgingergooner says:

    I agree with others that the team we chose last night was wrong in certain areas but at the same time I can understand the thinking in resting Bellerin until Saturday, and Ramsey had to play where he did due to lack of other options. The area of the field where we did get it wrong though was upfront with Iwobi playing next to Giroud. If you are going to start Giroud then surely you have to put pace on both sides of him, not just one.

    I’d really like to see us try a 433 with Özil starting on the right like he does for Germany. If you had pace up front then this could work. It would also give us an extra player in midfield to help pass through teams whilst keeping us solid. With the way our fullbacks get forward we would never be short of attacking threat and Bellerin would thrive playing in the spaces left by Özil cutting in on his left foot. We also might start to see a better Ramsey and Wilshere if they were playing in a 3 and had less defensive responsibility.

    Cech
    Bellerin Mustafi Koscielny Monreal
    Ramsey Xhaka Cazorla
    Özil Welbeck Sanchez

    You could even switch and attack down the left with Iwobi picking the passes for Theo and Sanchez

    Cech
    Bellerin Mustafi Koscielny Monreal
    Elneny Coquelin Wilshere
    Walcott Sanchez Iwobi

    Either way I just think the balance of the side is so much better from front to back and also side to side.

  18. GoonerB says:

    Arsene I would say still has a fantastic eye for the potential in a player even from the lower ranks of football. Koscielny is a prime example, and similarly I would expect both Holding and the new young left back to prove again his genius in this area.

    Arsene will always be our greatest manager I feel. He changed the whole club ethos and identity and brought silverware with wonderful football to boot. He was also brilliant in keeping us in the top 4 through the austerity period of the move to the emirates and quite literally had us punching above our weight.

    Now that the shackles are somewhat off and better players and deeper better quality squads are on the agenda it seems he no longer knows how to form a title winning team. For the last 3-4 seasons we have been punching below our weight (in EPL and to a lesser degree ECL terms).

    This is not a 1 season observation. This is a consistent failing and one that can only point towards a manager that is no longer up at the top end of things with the ability to win a domestic league…. ( just for Chas…I hope to be proven wrong 🙂 )

    What has often been lauded as a great achievement of consistency (top 4) I can’t help but feel now represents a kind of stagnation of non progression.

    I really had hoped he would get one more title to leave us on a real high. He deserved it, but similarly I feel the reason it has not happened is mostly down to him as well. He has assembled the players to do it but not managed to mould them into a cutting edge unit consistently across a whole season.

    However with his eye for the potential in players and his standing in the game I really hope he doesn’t leave us entirely. He could be critical to us in the background as a recruiter of young talent and, possibly more importantly, as a negotiator in persuading world class players to come to us.

    As a first team coach and manager I just feel we need someone younger with a more modern thought process.

  19. mickydidit89 says:

    GB

    It could be like promotion to The House of Lords
    Give him a brilliant title, ship him upstairs into a throne in the Directors Box and import an Italian to keep Eddie and Peaches happy

  20. It’s very sad coming to that conclusion GB.

    For him to come out and say the players weren’t ready for the test that Watford gave us is pathetic.

  21. mickydidit89 says:

    I said an Italian, Peaches

    Doesn’t that thought brighten your mood just a little?

  22. GoonerB says:

    FGG, a little chewing of the tactical bolleux fat with your good self if I may 🙂

    I shan’t go through your suggested line ups one by one as there is much I agree with. I have 2 main thoughts though.

    Firstly I wouldn’t move Ozil out wide. AW tried it when he first came and it didn’t look good. He only started to show his world class status once he was moved centrally. I would actually build the team around him centrally so that he always had the right players in front of him to play in on goal but was also comfortable that those behind him would largely release him of defensive responsibility so that he can focus on what he does best…help win us the game.

    If we have other (too many?) options in Ozil’s current position in the likes of Ramsey, Iwobi, Jack e.t.c then that is just an issue of our own making we will have to deal with. Unfortunately I have felt for some time that we are top heavy and someone, possibly even a top player that we all like, needs to be sacrificed. The money for said player can be put towards the one stellar signing we probably need to move up into the top tier in Europe.

    Needless to say that if Ozil (or Sanchez) leave us the goal-posts change.

    My second thought is on what I term the holding midfielder. I know not everyone thinks this, but I feel this is a critical role for the team. I too often think we try and get a pivot shift of 2 more technical CM’s in there which, on paper, should look more attacking and better, but in reality leads to a bit of an unfolding of the teams fluidity and harmony as more of our attacking players are forced into rearguard covering for the deficiency.

    I have always felt that this holding player screening in front of the back 4 literally releases the shackles from the other players so in fact the team as a whole gets more freedom and becomes more attacking through the cover he provides. This player needs to have the attributes of pace, strength, and good tackling even over and above technique and passing ability (although at our level they can’t be a complete donkey).

    Further, said player needs to have the primary instinct to hold his position in front of the back 4 with less of a craving to bomb forwards. That is for his other CM partner to do who could be termed the box to box DM or free roaming DM. The holding midfielder literally becomes the minder of his DM partner and the team as a whole so that they can play with more freedom.

    It is no coincidence that in his playing days the great Zidane publicly placed such a high emphasis of importance on Makelele, because he knew that this guy allowed him and the other more technical players the freedom to play and express themselves.

    This is why I place a great emphasis on Coquelin who IMO is the only true holding midfielder we have. All our others I feel are the other type of DM and none of them, I feel, are, or will become, as specialist as Le Coq in the role. This is why I felt that the addition of Elneny followed by Xhaka was again stockpiling too many similar players. Some playing strengths and weaknesses aside I feel that Elneny, Xhaka, Cazorla and arguably Jack and Ramsey are all competing for the same role.

    We lack a good alternative to Coquelin it seems. However for me I would prefer to see a more technical CD take up the role as back up before the Elneny’s and Xhaka’s. Their primary instinct is to hold deeper and snuff out danger and then recycle, so a converted CD of the right type fits the bill more for me than a deeper CM with too many instincts to go forward.

    I think Mustafi has the technical ability to cover Le Coq very well but possibly also our forgotten lad Chambers and would prefer to see them in the role after Coquelin. I still feel that the right 2 man CM partnership in front of the back 4 and behind a more attacking 4 is a better way forward than a 3. This I feel is more a negative change to cover for the deficiencies of that one specialist role.

  23. GoonerB says:

    Yes agree Peaches, the whole array of post match statements like being fatigued, not being mentally ready and playing with handbrakes off is becoming more tiresome now.

    Agree Micky, Lord Arsene would be good.

    BTW, that is the end of my war and peace offerings for today….you can all breathe easy and come out of hiding 🙂

  24. GoonerB says:

    handbrakes on.

  25. chas says:

  26. mickydidit89 says:

    GB

    My fear right now is that discussing tactics may be interesting, but if the Mesut’s of the team lose faith and therefore interest, we’re buggered.

    The last remaining hope is a team selection the players are happy with against Chelsea

    I know the players should do as the manager says and all that, but I cannot see a happy bunch of campers for which there is a reason, and my guess is personel

  27. mickydidit89 says:

    Carp numbs parts other fish cannot reach

  28. mickydidit89 says:

    Ok, that’s it, no more football talk. Dragging down is where it’s at 🙂

  29. GoonerB says:

    No, stick with it Micky. I am offski shortly and then you can talk about the worlds stringed instruments to your hearts content 🙂

    You are right about world class players want to play in a world class team (or at least one heading towards this) or will likely lose faith and seek pastures new.

    I think Sanchez just wants a team that wins. I think Ozil wants this but probably wants the players around him that allow him to play to his strengths.

    You have to ask yourself when he gets the ball in an advanced attacking area and has a split second to execute his next move what type of forward players he wants to see standing in front of him and around him? Mobile pacy ones that are looking to exploit the space in the box, or ones where the only main option is a ball to feet with back to goal and CD’s at their back?

  30. Cheers lads

    i don’t believe we have been found out? Teams have been employing aggressive pressing tactics on us for donkey years.

    Yesterday was a particularly bad day because it was raining.

    Skillful players like ours need good conditions. If we played Watford in May we would have beaten them 5-0

    In my youth i was a very skillful player so refused to play if it was overcast. Every touch of the ball was with the outside of the foot and I never headed the ball. Anyway my mum never allowed it. You see, prior to some kid striking my mums brother on the head with a thrown conker he was a hardworking family man, but after the conker he got nicked for committing an armed robbery on Barclays Bank and had affairs with a string of women.

    At his trial a string of people gave evidence saying that he had committed other crimes before the bank job and some women turned up saying she was his girlfriend? But we knew this was bollox, it was before the conker.

    So to avoid me arousing the intrigue of inmates that for to long had not felt the soft body of a women, I refused to head it.

    Arsenes time isn’t up. He can’t control the weather. Were still in a good position but do need to turn over Chelsea and I think we will.

    Can someone check Saturdays weather forecast?

  31. Eddie says:

    terry – I am afraid you have lost all credibility after admitting you fancied Theresa May,

  32. chas says:

    Oh, shit.

  33. fatgingergooner says:

    The issue with Wenger is that he no longer brings anything to the table that makes him better than other managers that are out there. Sure, he’s got a great eye for a player, but with scouting networks as they are now it’s very difficult to make this a huge advantage. Also, if you were listing managers in the PL based on tactical astuteness then where does he rank? 5th maybe? Another issue is that by spending near on £100m this season he’s finally put himself in the same firing line as all the other managers in the league. There was always a small question of whether he actually had funds available, but this summer he well and truly answered that question, and by doing so he’s got rid of the one excuse that people used to offer up when defending him – ‘he’s not had the same resources as other managers’. Wenger is a man of his word, and IF (things may still change) we end up falling a good 10-15 points short in the title race, and we are out of the cups by March, then he would have no option but to move upstairs or leave the club altogether.

    Nobody should ever criticise the amazing things he’s done for this club, but those achievements don’t help us now. The question has to be asked – is the Arsene Wenger that sat in the stands yesterday and watched his team put in a terrible first half performance still capable of bringing the big trophies to Arsenal? Or are there better options out there?

  34. chas says:

    FGG
    Didn’t he make a potentially game-changing sub at half time when he was allowed into the changing room and then Steve Bould fecked it up by shifting Iwobi into midfield?

  35. fatgingergooner says:

    Our winning percentage with Coquelin this season is 45%. 21 played 9 won 7 drawn 5 lost

    Without him it’s 100%. 13 played 13 won.

  36. fatgingergooner says:

    Bould Out!

  37. chas mobile says:

    Coq Out!

  38. Shit chas, its pissing down. Anyway we can get the game postponed? If anyone whilst out in the rain has been hit on the head and ended up robbing a bank and having an affair let me know. We can send the evidence to the FA.

    Only went after Theresa after you scorned my love Eddie. Broken hearted I took solace in her but had no choice but finish it. She turned nasty. Threatening to check my dental recordst so would have found out that when i entered the country claiming to be 14, i was really 43, and that unless i agreed to do her tax return without charging a tariff she would start dating Trump and the Twat would not have to pay tax

  39. fred1266 says:

    I but wish I was out

  40. Rasp says:

    Afternoon all, I can’t add anything to what has already been said.

    I’ve felt like it is time for a change at the top for some time now, but expressing such feelings when we are still in with a chance in 3 competitions is counterproductive. Everyone involved last night has to look at themselves and take some responsibility.

    I doubt if the balanced, fresh side we played against Southampton would have been 2 down at half time. Our inability to find an effective strategy when subjected to a high energy press has not been addressed …. we will not win the league again until it is.

  41. Rasp says:

    Sorry, I’m forgetting my manners … thank you to LB and chas for having the gumption to write a report on a game that left me speechless 😦

  42. mickydidit89 says:

    We’re having my famous orange soup for supper with diet cheesy garlic bread

    After that, I’ll be ready to think about winning the league again

  43. chas says:

  44. mickydidit89 says:

    Tonight, semi finals of ACN

    Burkina Faso v Egypt

    Come on Mo El

  45. mickydidit89 says:

    What kind of telly do you need to get Eurosport?

  46. chas says:

    ELneny not fit enough to even make the bench.

  47. fred1266 says:

    Elneny didn’t even play last game

  48. mickydidit89 says:

    Oh dear, but thanks lads

  49. mickydidit89 says:

    Mmmm, I think we may be getting BT TV with our new super duper broadband package, but I don’t know because I’m not in charge of that sort of thing

    How bad in the Mo El injury? I go look at AFC.com

  50. mickydidit89 says:

    Nope, not on the sick list

  51. wally says:

    What a wasted opportunity. A win Saturday is now a must.

    Eddie! The line is starting to form. Doesn’t make one happy but it is what it is, isn’t it.

  52. Eddie says:

    oh wally, it is so sad. I really loved being an Arsenal supporter. It played a big part in my life. But I am losing interest now. Few too many disappointments and unanswered questions.

    The point of football is to score as many goals as possible and definitely more than conceding. That wins you games. The more goals you score, the more games you win. The more games you win the better chance you have of winning the Big Cheese. If Arsenal have no chance of winning big trophies than I find the whole thing pointless.

    I know many fans support clubs always in the relegation zone and they are not throwing toys out of the pram. Fine, but we The Arsenal and are supposed to be something special. Are we?

  53. Ant says:

    Eddie- Arsenal is for life – not just for Christmas

  54. chas says:

  55. chas says:

  56. chas says:

  57. Eddie says:

    “Jose Mourinho: Man Utd manager says rules are different for him”

    of course ,you twat, you are the Special One and get special bloody treatment 🙂

  58. Eddie says:

    Ant – no, dog is for life not just for Xmas. You are confused 🙂

  59. mickydidit89 says:

    Eddie

    Reality is Arsenal have won 13 league titles in their 130 year history

    One every ten years

    It’s time for change, not the end of The Arsenal. In the meantime, we could win the Cup this season.

  60. Eddie says:

    …and not one major European cup.

    micky, if you were going to the same restaurant for several years and the food was good, but hardly Michelin star. Prices are going up, waiters are being replaced, but the Chef stays the same. You keep on going there in hope that one day there will be something special, that the Chef will change his recipes and excel once again.

    After many years the truth hits you and you go elsewhere. No?

  61. chas mobile says:

    Are you off to White Hart Lane then?

  62. Eddie says:

    how many major trophies have the won in last 130 years?

  63. mickydidit89 says:

    More than most 🙂

    Eddie, I want Arsenal to win the CL before I snuff it and in the meantime, watch good exciting football.

    Re the restaurant, Arsenal are like family. I might go off a child or a brother or a sister but I cannot change and wouldn’t want to anyway. Arsenal are in my DNA.

    Now, change within Arsenal, sure, no problem at all.

  64. Eddie says:

    in that case I was probably just a foster parent 🙂

    the question about major trophies was for chas and about Spurs

  65. mickydidit89 says:

    Simply recalibrate the Arsenal relevance Eddie

    It is a game, not life

  66. chas says:

    So the spuds haven’t won enough for you, huh?

    How about moving your support to Chelsea?
    If you do it quickly, you’ll probably win a ‘Big Cheese’ this season.

  67. chas says:

  68. fatgingergooner says:

    13 years since we won the league. We don’t win leagues anymore and we don’t get to European finals anymore. It’s disappointing, but it’s reality. We all live in hope, as most football fans do, and we are a lot closer to these achievements than most other clubs too, but are we close enough for us to get so angry and frustrated when it doesn’t happen? I used to think so, but I’ve adjusted my expectations and the current Arsenal sit a lot better with me than they used to although they do still annoy me from time to time!

  69. GoonerB says:

    FGG. Personally I think the opportunity has been there for us to win the league in the last few seasons. I know we will still not compete at that extreme bracket that football seems to have slipped into, (the £80m+ player and £300kpw+ wages), but I think we now have enough financial resources to have a quality of first 11 and squad depth to win the league, and probably have had for a few seasons

    Additionally we have been the most stable club over the last few seasons in consistency of manager and player retention, so have faced very few upheavals and have had plenty of time to progress this side to a title winner. It would at the very least be nice to be seen to be getting closer to it (again I would look at our points tally over actual league position to measure progress or lack thereof).

    There are certainly some transfer activity factors (or lack thereof) that have undermined us in this to a degree but again I would reiterate that I feel the intrinsic factors are far more relevant. So unfortunately I have been unable to adjust my expectations (although I envy you and your retained sanity in managing this) to a lower level because I feel it has been there for the taking and we have consistently under-performed.

    Anyhow I am mostly whinged out now otherwise it becomes repetitive so onwards and upwards to the big game at the weekend.

    So how to win the league…

    Before Watford my estimate was we needed 12 wins and 4 draws from the final 16 games to take us to 87 points, a total that is roughly in the right average ball park for the EPL title winners.

    We still need those 40 points but now from 15 games. That is 13 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss. To be on the safe side I would plump for 13 wins and 2 draws to take us to 88 points.

    None of the draws (or the single loss) can be to Chelsea or Spurs, so if we are not 6 points behind Chelsea after Saturday then in reality the remaining 14 games will probably just be going through the motions.

    While very difficult this is achievable with the players and squad we have. Remember the run we put together in AW’s first double winning season? We can hit 13 wins and 2 draws and turn over Chav’s and Spuds away but it will require a massive epiphany from Arsene regarding the team he favours playing till the end of the season.

  70. mickydidit89 says:

    GB

    Maybe we have to rely on the right injuries to force his hand 🙂

    I mean it

  71. fatgingergooner says:

    Not that much of an epiphany. Wenger just needs to look at the 18 game unbeaten run we went on after the Liverpool game. A few injuries seemed to force us into switching things around which in turn led to Giroud being up front, but now all our forward players are fit again (with the added bonus of Welbeck) so it’s about time we went back to what was working early in the season i.e. pace.

  72. chas says:

  73. KdF says:

    I’ve been reading your site now for some time, and felt that everything I’d have wanted to say has been said. I was a regular distributor some years ago when it changed names to AA. But now living in Spain, I have more time and find myself checking the comments a few times a day, wanting to ‘like’ something, as in Face ache. So I’ve bitten the bullet and I’ll try and join in with your discussions and add my tuppence worth. For the record I started going to Highbury in 1967, and left my season ticket behind a couple of years after we moved to the Emirates, I couldn’t get used to it. But the important thing is, in my virginal opinion, [AA wise] is that we will never win a major trophy under AW, I love him, and don’t want to upset him, because he has made my life sensationally better than it could ever have been, but its time for a separation. I watched a video of the Invincible’s last week, the team were so fast, and they had guv’ners on the pitch. Maybe that was the key, but now the team come out looking like they’ve had a nap. I know all this has been said before but I had to break my silence! Ahhhh.

  74. LB says:

    Welcome back on board KdF.

    I look forward to reading more of your comments. Just write as and when you feel in the mood, no pressure.

    Penny dropped three quarters of the way through 😉

  75. LB says:

    The funny thing was that when I read: “I now live in Spain” I thought ooh, I wonder where in Spain?

  76. chas says:

    Who is Mr Finch, LB?
    Is it one of your mates or someone from before my time?

  77. So what is the reality? This is specifically addressed to anyone who believes that the departure of Arsene Wenger is the answer to restoring our past glory.

    Leicester was a phenomenon but them apart, the Title in the last 12 years has gone to three clubs. Man Utd’s resources and the earlier foundations set during the Ferguson era kept them as genuine title contenders but the last three years has seen them falter.

    Man City’s success was built in the enormous spending spree of there owners. Now there team has aged, they are doing a Utd. This will be three years in a row they will not win the title.

    Like City, Chelseas initial success was built on an owners splurge. To be fair to them however they have bucked the trend of Utd and City and seem to sporadically reinvent themselves. I genuinely believe that a big factor in this is that unlike Utd or City, there is no pressure to play attractive football. They are the ultimate pragmatists.

    My conclusion is that football clubs are like any other large structures, the results are dependent on the structures of the recent past.

    To this end, what about us? With the stadium move and therefore subsequent tightening of finances, we went through an earthquake. Look, as a kid I was sitting in my grans back yard in Crete when all of a sudden the chickens went crazy. I was terrified, what had I done? I gave up Kentucky Fried Chicken years ago. Within 10 minutes the ground shook, I ended up on my arse, and the Cock escaped. It was an earthquake.

    It’s no laughing matter but at least I recaptured the Cockerel. Dinner that night was delicious.

    We have been attempting to be title winners with a culture, legacy, and many players borne out of the stadium earthquake. We have done well but recapturing past glories has been to difficult

    People will say that it’s no excuse because the last three years has seen a loosening of the purse strings and to some extent I agree. But what about Theo, Ramsey, Jack, Chamberlin etc. Would they all have had such pivotal roles at the club if money in the past was not so tight?

    And what about the players that left. Quite a few are still young enough to be still there today. Make no mistake, Wenger did not want these players to leave

    Would some new manager instill a new culture and approach that will bring us the success we crave? Maybe. But, Wengers been there 20 years, unlike any other manager all the players are his, the coaching staff are his, the only relationship the top brass have ever had is with him, the playing style is ingrained from the youths upwards.

    Maybe it’s what we need but when Arsene leaves, get ready for earthquake 2.

  78. chas mobile says:

    Brilliant, Terry.

  79. LB says:

    Superb read Terry.

  80. LB says:

    Yes Chas, Mr Finch is a dear, dear friend of mine and as much of an Arsenal supporter as I am.

    I am unable to watch the game live on Saturday so I obviously won’t be able to write anything.

  81. fatgingergooner says:

    Arsenal and Wenger is quickly becoming a loveless marriage. The first 10 years were amazing. Sex every night, exciting conversation, beautiful food and holidays abroad. The last 12 years though things have started to deteriorate. Yes, they’ve built a beautiful dream home, and even had a couple of exciting adventures, but ultimately the conversation has gone stale and the holidays have been replaced with watching mind-numbing tv repeats and microwave dinners. There is a deep connection that 20+ years of marriage will give you, but both sides know that at some point they are going to have to go there separate ways. Is it really worth clinging on for a few more years just because it’s easier and it’s routine and there is the faintest of hopes that the love might be recaptured one last time? Or is it better for everyone to start the hard journey of rebuilding and go seperate ways before resentment starts to kick in?

    I remember when we signed Özil saying that now the purse strings have been loosened Wenger has a chance to prove himself again. That was 3 years ago now and whilst we have won 2 FA Cups (loved it!) and improved a little bit, I’ve not seen a massive amount that makes me think that in 2 more years we will suddenly be a top, top team with Wenger in charge. I love the man, but all good things have to end at some point, and the fact his contract is up at the end of the season just seems to be the right moment to finally part ways. Clinging on to hope that he might have one last title in him just seems like 2 more years wasted that could’ve been spent trying to rebuild after he’s gone.

  82. fatgingergooner says:

    If Wenger did sign a new deal then I wouldn’t be distraught. Having him in charge is comfortable and reassuring, but ultimately I think we and the players need something fresh and new.

    My shortlist would be Allegri, Simeone and Löw, not necessarily in that order. I think it’s too soon for Howe.

  83. mickydidit89 says:

    6:59 makes me not believe in evolution. some spooky power at play

  84. Eddie says:

    team had a nap??!! At half time they were blooding snoring.
    You could not hear it in Spain, of course, but it was loud and clear in Cuffley

    LB is a chicken, scared of watching tomorrow’s game 🙂

  85. mickydidit89 says:

    It’s a 12:30 KO Eddie. Hardly convenient. I’ll be desperate to watch if Danny starts but will struggle all the same

  86. Eddie says:

    another chicken

  87. Eddie says:

    terry – spot on! At least with Wenger we are safe in knowledge that we will continue winning eff all. Consistency is key.

  88. Eddie says:

    poor Kylie 😦 😦 How would you cheer her up didit?

  89. mickydidit89 says:

    Hey Eddie

    Serious question. If winning the trophies is the important thing (a reasonable position) what’s the point in watching the games in between, why not just tune in for Cup Finals and title deciders?

  90. mickydidit89 says:

    Well, for one, tell her to grow up and stop dating a toy boy

  91. mickydidit89 says:

    ie shag them, fine, marry them no

  92. Eddie says:

    I suppose Kylie has the looks, the voice but no brains. Nobody has it all thank God

    I love trophies and fighting for them is very exciting. But if half way through a season (or 13 seasons if you like) you know there is fat chance of winning then I switch off. Or get angry. Interestingly enough I am not angry, passionless acceptance. Worst of all feelings.

  93. LB says:

    I am actually in the alps skiing seeing as you asked

  94. Eddie says:

    skiing in the Alps! feck, I wish I never asked 😦
    jealous.

  95. mickydidit89 says:

    LB
    Be careful. You know how it ended for Franz Klammer V1.0 aka Rasp

  96. mickydidit89 says:

    Eddie
    I understand she’s quite brainy enough. It’s not that

  97. mickydidit89 says:

    1-2-1-2 testing
    Been on mobile all day and around lunch saw a post about Cesc
    Now it’s gone bush
    Like the people

  98. Eddie says:

    thank heaven it’s not just me
    I thought I imagined the whole thing

    And actually as things turned out I think it was a huge mistake not to have Cesc back. He will punish us for that tomorrow

  99. Hi all

    Just popping my head out from behind the sofa to find that LB has escaped to the Alps …………. lucky him.

    Big Raddy has sent his apologies but he’s awfully poorly and won’t be writing a pre-match for tomorrow. Yippee I say, not that BR is poorly but that we can maybe pretend there’s nothing of interest happening tomorrow 😉

    Would anyone else feel like stepping into the pre-match shoes? It’s only a game afterall. Maybe chas can mock up a pic of a group of us hiding behind the sofa.

  100. ……….with Micky defiantly sat out in front 🙂

  101. Eddie says:

    peaches – when you were behind the sofa chas published a new post, got a few replies (2 from me) and then took it down. Has he decided that it did not generate enough interest? Strange fish that chas

  102. What happened to Kylie?

  103. How weird, I’ll have a look in the back …………..

  104. Yep, well and truly trashed

  105. Eddie says:

    re Kylie – according to Didit’s philosophy of life it is ok to have sex with people half your age but not to marry them. Oh, I think it only applies to women

  106. I’ve written a pre-match but I need chas to add a bit of magic.

  107. Eddie says:

    oi, paul daniels, Peaches needs you

  108. Eddie says:

    you know what Peaches? your PM could be the only positive about tomorrow’s game. You can all call me a doomer tonight, but beware of the revenge after the game

  109. StewD0G says:

    Team for tomorrow is Cech, Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Oxlade Chamberlain, Walcott, Ozil, Iwobi, Sanchez. Idiots at Arsenal.com have given it away

  110. Morning

    Anyone around? I can put the pre-match up early (and then go back to bed) 🙂

  111. chas mobile says:

  112. chas mobile says:

    Stick it up

  113. fatgingergooner says:

    Game day! Who cares if we lost to Watford? Who cares if there is a good chance we get a beating a today? The fact is there is also a slim chance we bag a point or 3 and put in a stellar performance when we need it most. Today, we are the Watford fans turning up at the Emirates expecting a hiding. Look how that turned out!

    Who’s ref btw!?

  114. chas says:

    Atkinson

  115. chas says:

    We won’t have a Marriner helping us.

  116. chas says:

  117. New Post ………………………

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