Champions 2017/18?

August 10, 2017

How do you think we will fare this season? Will the strengthening of the squad be enough to propel us to the Title? Will it be enough to regain our Top 4 status?

Here’s what BR thinks (subject to change depending upon results 🙂 )

Let’s look at the opposition, starting with:

Chelsea: We have recently  beaten them twice in two important games and lost a meaningless friendly. We are better than them – full stop. Yes, they may be Champions but I fear for them and doubt they can repeat their mid-season run of form which propelled them to the title. They are lacking in midfield (why sell Matic??), are half the side without Hazard and are about to sell their best attacker. Morata? €60m is a huge gamble on a man who has yet to play a full season in a first team (RM made €30m profit  on him after just 26 games!!).

We will finish above them.

Man City:  Spent a fortune – over €100m on just full backs! Almost €40m on a GK who has yet to gain a full International cap. If their first 11 stay fit and Stones starts to show why he is so highly rated they will do well.

Champions? A team with De Bruyne, Sterling, Aguero, Gundogan and Sane will not be far off but somehow, they just don’t do it for me.

Man Utd. Mourinho has to deliver. Winning the Europa was good but not considering the massive investment made in the summer of ’16, Finishing just 6th could have been a sackable offence. Over €150m spent (added to the €165m last summer) makes this a hugely expensive squad. They have managed to recoup less than €10m in sales! MU should have the best squad and if they had a manager who had the slightest intention to entertain we should be happy to see such wonderful talent in the PL BUT they don’t, and MU remain a dull team to watch. The purchase of Lukaku points to a Route One season They were awful in the Supercup where Real Madrid made them look amateur.

MU should be favourites in a financially doped league.

Spurs: If any other team had achieved what Spurs have I would be delighted and rooting for them to go one step further – but it isn’t, it is Spurs and I have an innate dislike of anything Blue & White – to the point where I will not even allow a blue & white toothbrush into my bathroom. FairPlay to them, they have managed to retain the bulk of their squad (so far), sold players for massive profits and look potential Champions. But, there are two huge problems , firstly, they are playing at Wembley, and secondly, and much more importantly, they are Spurs.

Relegation awaits.

Liverpool: Dark horses. On paper they look excellent. Solid in every position. If they can keep Coutinho it will be a signal of their intent. Salah is a good signing and if Sturridge can form a partnership with Mane, they are strong in attack. Klopp remains a terrific addition to the PL . Good enough to move on and win the title? Good enough to maintain a top 4 place?

I doubt it.

Everton: Given their ambitions and expenditure they have to be considered. Koeman is doing very well and has created an excellent defence, strengthened by Pickford and Keane. Given the loss of Lukaku how will they cope in attack? Will Rooney have the legs? Where does he fit into the team? Not in midfield where Everton have Schneiderlin, Barkley, Davies and Barry. Goalscoring could be problematic.

6th

Arsenal: If Sanchez, Ozil and Ox stay plus we sign another body, then the title is ours. The development of Iwobi and Xhaka, plus the purchase of Lacazette means that both Ozil and Sanchez can leave in 2018. However,they need another season to bed in. Rumour abounds about Gabriel being sold but I doubt it, nor Chambers who has a future at AFC. Mustafi has had a bedding in season and the 3-4-3 means that we have choices, especially given the exciting arrival of Kolasinac.

Champions

written by Big Raddy


Friday Night Football at the Emirates

August 9, 2017

For the first time in the Premier League history the season will kick off on Friday August 11th when Arsenal will host Leicester City at the Emirates with the game starting at 19:45.

We played our first game against Leicester 125 years ago on January 7th 1895 – back then the teams were known as Leicester Fosse and Woolwich Arsenal, we lost the game 3-1. Overall we have played 124 league games against each other with Arsenal having an overall record of – W58, D38, L28, GF247, GA169.

Woolwich Arsenal 1895 – courtesy Arsenal.com

We have not lost a league game against them for 23 years when Leicester beat us 2-1 at their ground on November 23rd 1994.

Our starting line up then was:

Goalkeeper David Seaman

Defender/Right back Lee Dixon

Defender Steve Bould

Centre back Martin Keown

Centre back Andy Linighan

Left back Nigel Winterburn

Midfielder Jimmy Carter

Midfielder Stefan Schwarz

Midfielder Ian Selley

Forward Paul Dickov

Forward Ian Wright

Ian Wright scored from a penalty in the 19th minute while Leicester’s goals came from Andy Linighan 16′ (og) and David Lowe 28′.

Here is our league record against Leicester for the past 40 seasons.

After our performance against Chelsea in the Community Shield I’m feeling very confident that we will win our opening game to set us on the right track for the season ahead.

Written by GunnerN5

(Ed – other notable Friday night Arsenal fixtures….)

Friday May 26th 1989

Friday April 16th 2004

 


Chelsea Preview

August 6, 2017

Tempus Fugit. Seems like yesterday  … actually it doesn’t, much talk and some action has taken place since season’s end, some good, some not so good, some still to happen. Has anyone left from the 1st team squad? Will they? Loans must be the order of the day as we try to clear the decks. We need more bodies etc etc

But today we have the little matter of a Wembley appearance, and we are good at Wembley, aren’t we? 8 wins on the bounce. Though we play for bragging rights and a Shield which isn’t really a trophy.

Unusually this is a repeat of last season’s Cup Final which was FAR more important and left Chelsea dreaming of the Double. On the day, we were so much the better team it was embarrassing and one was left to question how it was that Arsenal failed to achieve Top 4 (or even the title).

This is our 22nd appearance in the curtain raiser – a record.

Injuries abound which is worrying in a quiet International summer. Ozil, Sanchez, Cazorla, Gabriel, Mustafi, Koscielny, Wilshere and Coquelin are all knacked to some extent. If I were Mr Wenger I would be giving all concerned a rest or at most a bench seat.

I am excited by the current squad; the addition of Lacarazette and the other chap have given the boost we needed, one more body in midfield will see us cushtie and title pretenders.

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3-4-3 this afternoon with Holding, BFG and Monreal at the back – it worked last time

Ospina

Holding    BFG   Monreal

Ox   Ramsey   Xhaka   Kolasinac

Ozil    Lacazette     Welbeck

As I have done little AFC study over the close season this team could be way off the mark but IMO it is a winning 11, particularly as we have such a strong bench.

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Chelsea will be looking for Wembley revenge. Denuded by the loss of Costa (Conte must be mad to sell him) they have spent huge sums but look weaker on paper.

If you are lucky enough to be attending Wembley this afternoon, give the lads a cheer for us sad souls stuck on the sofa. The pre-kick-off rituals of Wembley are some of my finest footballing memories.

The serious business starts next week but another trophy/shield would be a great start to the campaign…

Let it be So.

COYRRG


Arsenal Decisively Indecisive?

August 3, 2017

Being decisive is usually recognised as recognising a problem, or identifying a need to improve a situation, and arriving at a decision to quickly and effectively act to resolve it.

And in some ways, that has happened, in that defensively we seemed to be all at sea last season, until realising that the absence of the wise old head of Per Mert and the continuing frustrating injuries affecting Kozzer, AW decided to change to a three at the back, primarily until the injured CBs returned to the roster the following season at which time he would review which formation fitted the team the best. And undoubtedly the change in formation worked very well.

The ‘3 at the back’ was self-evidently caused by the lack of resources in defence because in addition to the loss of Per and Kozzer, Chambers had been loaned out, Gabriel had shot himself in the foot, or something, and Holding was still learning his trade and making a good fist of it, but to cap it all there were injury problems in the backs as well.

So, good decisive reactions helped us to almost qualify for the CL, except for possibly one of the more inept performances seen in many a year, when we lost to a poor Crystal Palace team who every pundit expected us to put to the sword. The three points conceded there would have given us 4th place, instead of just missing out.

It was clear in a very confusing time, when even the Chief Executive Gazidis said it was a catalyst for a change meaning that there had to be a restructuring of the team personnel and the management, presumably in the close season.

Frustrated fans reacted with a glimmer of hope that a decisive reaction had come at a time when Arsene was indecisively stalling on renewing his contract. Again – action and reaction – yin and yang – decisive and indecisive.

Last summer the club should have reacted decisively to the failure of Özil, Sanchez and Chamberlain to extend their contracts, but instead there was a sense of apathy and indecision throughout the summer 2016 transfer window, and eventually AW announced he was sure contracts would be signed during the season, and anyway there was still 2 years left in which to negotiate. Wishy washy? Selling such important players under 2017 transfer window pressure and attempting to buy top replacements has been predictably difficult.

And what has happened to the reinforcement of the CBs? Kozzer has what is known as a chronic injury that is not going to go away, Per has announced that he will retire soon, and although he has the right mental attitude to play, his physical decline has continued as was clear in the pre-season and he is unlikely to be able to play regularly – and both are getting older.

To add to that, there is still no sign that Gabriel is likely to recover from his injury any time soon, and with Calum on the ‘to sell’ list, not much attention seems to have been shown in shoring up a key area for the team. Decisive? I think not.

AW explained quite clearly that he did not like other clubs continually asking for Sanchez, Chamberlain and Özil, and ignoring his decisive message that they were not for sale.

He went on to declare that Arsenal’s policy was that when we wanted a player we would inquire if that player was available for sale, but, if told they were not for sale, then the club would respect that and walk away.

But hold you hard. How does that decisive statement square up with the rumoured bids for Lemar when it seems Arsenal have been told he is not for sale, and yet we appear to have been going back with increased offers in trying to acquire him. Not taking ‘no’ for an answer there then.

It beggars belief that Arsenal will reject the prospect of possibly making £150m in sale proceeds for selling the above-named trio this summer, and simply lose all that money next summer, as they walk away on ‘frees’.

Either the manager will decide late on in this window that he will sell after all, and probably find it difficult, if not impossible, to buy replacements at short notice, or we will be without 3 key players next summer, and to make matters worse – also without that £150m needed to buy the equivalent replacements.

Does anyone feel a little tremor of indecision creeping into the Arsenal thought processes – especially from Kroenke, the man whose money it is?

Me too.

Written by Zee