Arsenal back to winning ways and player ratings

February 12, 2017

We all know the drill by now, lose against weaker opposition (Watford), drop out of the title race and then when the pressure is off we put in a barn storming run to the end of the season. Yep, no real pressure today and the barn stormer seems to have got off to a flyer. We were always on a hiding to nothing playing Hull because as we also all know, beating Hull is to be expected and would have only have drawn any real attention if we had gone and done something stupid like lose. But we didn’t, we won and we won pretty well really.

We ran the show in the first half with the lion’s share of the possession and guilt edged chances created galore. There were so many that pretty much everyone had the opportunity to put us ahead but it took the Chilean pocket rocket to do what he does best and put the ball into the net. Not a thing of beauty, quite a scrambled affair really with Hull players pleading for a handball decision but the goal stood and nerves were calmed.

alexis

………………..The Hand of Dog ………………

There wasn’t a great atmosphere at the ground and next to no enthusiasm during the break but there were a few really heartfelt renditions of “we love you Arsenal” that resounded throughout the ground. Maybe many people protested by not turning up; there were a lot of empty seats but the sincerity of the singing albeit short was read by me as just as much of a defiant protest, a protest by those who felt it important to turn up and support their team. Well done to you I say.

The second half started in the normal blood and guts, hundred miles an hour kind of way, the way that we have pretty much started most games recently, the way that does make me wonder what on earth are they taking during the break. Hull nevertheless were well organised and showed no signs of rolling over easily but equally they never showed too many signs of scoring either.

walcott

…………. Theo Gets Tough ………………

It all looked as though we were going to get the three points with just a one goal margin when close to the end we found ourselves in a break away with Sanchez tearing down the left and Perez charging down the right in support, Sanchez sent over a pin point accurate pass for the, by then, free Perez who headed it goal bound only to have Clucas handle it for which he received a red card.

The funny thing here was watching Wellbeck innocently get the ball and take it to the spot, nonchalantly appearing to be the one who was going to take the penalty. Good try Danny but Sanchez was having none of it and bounded over and took control, probably just as well because he is full of confidence; the goal keeper having obviously watched his last chipped penalty stayed in the middle but Sanchez was ahead of him and drove it low and hard into the net and with it got us all three points.

Quick player ratings.

Cech: made some fine saves in both halves, dodgy clearances as usual but a clean sheet still counts for a lot. 6

Bellerin: good attack play, decent defending, should have done better with his goal scoring opportunity in the first half. 6

Mustafi: a perfectly good performance, some may have fallen out of love with him but he is still in his honey moon period with me. 7

Koscielny: one of his trade mark top drawer performances, did everything right. 8

Gibbs: all credit must go to Kieron for his excellent foul on Markovic who was Hull’s best player and needed to be brought down to stop him getting what would have been a one on one with Cech. Overall, a decent performance. 6

Coquelin: Le Coq wasn’t needed today, more of a ball player rather than a stopper would have been better but as they were all injured or banned we had to make do. Nothing wrong with his performance. 6

Oxlaide-Chamberlain: a very calm and collected performance from Alex which is something I don’t think I have ever written about him, normally he is a but erratic and loses the ball far too easily. He is starting to grow on me in his new found midfield role. 6

Ozil: not great not poor, still love watching him play in an Arsenal shirt. 6

Walcott: the only silver lining I can see to Wenger retiring at the end of the season is that he might take Theo with him or the new manager will tell him he should consider taking up a different sport. Why so many fans are still blinded by his pace remains a mystery to me. 3

Sanchez: if it weren’t for the fact that he scores goals this players would be getting a bigger roasting than Walcott, why, why, why don’t you just pass the ball to the player who is open rather than feel the need to unnecessarily try and beat two opponents before doing so, it looks good when it works but we lose the ball far more than we need to. Frustrating at times but he scores goals and that’s what it’s all about. 8

Iwobi: continues to improve week on week, another tireless performance and although it is not easy to chose a stand out player I am going to give it to the person who seemed to give just that bit more. Alex Iwobi MOTM. 8

An LB offering


Hull.A New Dawn?

February 11, 2017

Should be a fine day’s sport. Arsenal, a respite and then England/Wales in Cardiff.

The damage of the last two losses is in the past, the players have to show why they earn squillions and give us a reason to believe (sounds like a song). We are at home against a struggling team much the same as Watford (gold and black kit).

Unknown-1.jpeg

Do you think Silva’s Hull have the courage to do a Watford and attack from the start? I certainly hope so but as Silva is known as “Clean Sheet Silva”, the chances are high that we will see Hull PTB early. “Clean Sheet Silva”, sounds like a porn star name but the man has certainly improved Hull. Clean sheets against both Liverpool and MU in his last two games is testimony to manager who can organise his team.

Our boys need a boost, an early goal would provide one. Anything will do, an OG, a wicked deflection, in off the woodwork, anything. My fear is that if Hull score first the whole ground will become a venomous environment. Arsenal have millions of fans but far less supporters.

My Team:

Cech

Bellerin     Squillaci    Koscielny    Gibbs

Ox    Coq   Ozil

Walcott    Perez    Sanchez

Why not? Perez at CF? A front three that can all pay at CF? Ideally I would like to see Danny start, he is so great to watch. This is a very small front 6 who will have to do do loads of running about (in a tactical way).

With BM midweek I can envisage a much changed side and this is just a punt.

There is a genuine threat that the Top 4 could escape us this season, it is time to get back  onto the winning horse.

COYRRG


Chelsea. With Hindsight.

February 10, 2017

Was it really that bad? Enough to launch a Wenger Out campaign? Enough to insist upon radical changes in our squad?

Let me start with a statement which IMO is clearly true. Had we played our best 11 at SB we would have taken the points. We couldn’t and didn’t but that is not all …

We lost thanks to a dreadful refereeing decision.

Chelsea’s first goal came from a violent foul which affected  not just the scoreline but the whole of AW’s plans. Bellerin was essential to our game at SB, Theo is pants without him, and we have no-one else with real pace to combat the Chavs attack.

A proper ref would have sent The Deviant Chav off and cancelled the goal. I was apoplectic that a cowardly elbow to the face should be rewarded with a gaol. It was not just crap refereeing, it was rewarding violent and dangerous play.

If it happened in the street it would have been ABH.

Unknown.jpeg

So, at one stroke the Chavs have removed a vital member of our team, scored a goal and are cock-a-hoop. We on the other hand have Gabriel at LB against a world class frontline.

Furthermore, the loss of Xhaka and Ramsey forced AW to rely upon hardworking but ultimately ineffective midfield, which could have a long-term impact upon the career of both Ox and Coq.

There is no getting away from the negatives, we lost an important game in a manner which hurt (forgetting the idiotic refereeing decision), and it raises questions…

  1. Ozil. Can a player be considered world class if he disappears in Big Games?
  2. If Sanchez leaves, would we be a better team?
  3. Walcott. What was his role?. The lack of intelligence of our front 3 was worrying.
  4. Cech. Is it time to promote Ospina?
  5. Monreal is a lovely chap but we have needed better for two seasons (if we can find someone)
  6. Coquelin. It isn’t his fault that Santi, Elneney, Xhaka and Ramsey are out, all of whom would start ahead of Ox, but it was time for Coq to show he is the go-to DM in the Arsenal team. IMO he showed he is a squad player.
  7. Ox. Where to start? Watford and SB, an ideal setup for him. Watford to get into the role of CM and Chavs to mix it with the best. He has all the attributes and did OK but we need more. I worry for his future. He needs a big game on the weekend (if picked)

Let’s be honest, the League was lost with the Watford game. Chas called it – he said it was a MWG, and it was. AW recognised it – in his press conference, Arsene’s face was a grey as his hair and tracksuit, he looked like John Major post election defeat. He was spent.

We are not as good as we should be but we are certainly good enough to challenge for second. A win tomorrow will start the repair process.

written by Big Raddy


Arsenal: expectation and enjoyment

February 6, 2017

Someone close to me has just been diagnosed with severe depression.

We talk at length on a regular basis and it’s always been clear to me that he sets himself up to fail. For him, being anything other than the best at anything he does, renders it all completely pointless, resulting in the inevitable doom and gloom.

Ironically he is the same bloke that I do many things with, all of which are very simple, and which have yielded some of our happiest memories. I am pleased he is now getting professional help as I can only offer my rather simplistic take on life.

Look for what makes you happy, and do it.

I share the view of Peaches regarding Arsenal’s past week. The loss to Watford at home hurt more than the loss to Chelsea away. Now the league title is out of reach, I feel a burden has been removed. Of course I’d like us to win the thing, but we now have fourteen league games remaining as well as some FAC and CL matches, so it’s time to look at where the fun is to be had, because if every game is going to make you miserable, then don’t watch and certainly don’t go.

I will be watching, I hope to go, and I will enjoy, and as anyone who knows me will understand I will only be looking for goals and excitement. Simple fellow, simple needs.

MickyDidIt89


Don’t make me laugh …………….. Match preview

February 4, 2017

sid-james2

So it’s been a difficult week for some Gooners, the team has gone from ooh aah heroes last Saturday to utter befuddlement  at the performance on Tuesday night against Watford. Less said about that the better.

On to today………….

We picked up a couple more injuries the other night, one to Ramsey and he won’t be available for the game. That leaves Coquelin as a shoe-in (last man standing) and I’d put The Ox alongside him. For all the poor football that we saw the other night I thought The Ox played with confidence.

Theo has to start – I don’t think AW will start with Welbeck although it can’t be long. Lucas is on the naughty step for some reason so I expect our Nigerian dynamo to start on the left. There were two Iwobis on show the other night; I like the one that came out for the second half better, so hopefully he’ll be the one that starts.

alex-iwobi

We haven’t won at the bridge since ……….. blaaaaah who cares, we hadn’t beaten them at the Emirates for years either and records are there to be broken. Ooops I’m beginning to feel optimistic ………….. who knows what will happen but to be challengers you have to fight as a team and if something goes wrong you have to rally and fight harder. Let it be so.

The weather is going to be vile but the game is in West London not up north so maybe it’ll be a proper battle.

This is my team

jochavs

 

If you’re scared come and join us behind the couch.

COYRRG

peachesgooner


Arsenal Have Been Found Out – Watford Player Ratings

February 1, 2017

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.