Now we travel to Stamford Bridge to play Chelsea

September 17, 2017

 Chelsea Football Club was founded in 1905 and since that day their only ground has been Stamford Bridge.  Since then they have had no less than 39 different managers go through their turnstiles.

The following does not make pleasant reading but the facts are that Stamford Bridge has not been a very happy hunting ground for Arsenal in the Premier League era. We have not won a game there since Oct 29, 2011 and have only gained 8 points in the last 13 seasons – so our expectations should be minimal.

Here is our Stamford Bridge record.

From 1993 to 2004 –

P12, W5, D4, L3, GF18, GA13, Pts19, Pts% 52.78

From 2005 to 2017 –

P13, W2, D2, L9, GF11, GA27, Pts8, Pts% 20.51

We fared a lot better away from 1907 to 1992 in the Division 1 era when we spilt the games equally. (The points are based on 3 points for a win).

W18, D19, L18, GF73, GA69, Pts73, Pts% 44.24

Roman Abramovich purchased  Chelsea Football Club in 2003 and the money that he has pumped into the club and squad heralded a change in their fortunes and a major shift of power in the Premier League.

My team.

Now here’s a slice of very pleasant memorabilia.

May 4, 2002: Chelsea 0-2 Arsenal, FA Cup final

Ray Parlour had scored just one goal all season before unleashing a screamer from 25 yards to give Arsenal the lead in the 70th minute. Freddie Ljungberg then added the second with a spectacular solo effort, curling in a shot from outside the area to make sure of the victory. A few days later we beat Manchester United 1-0 at Old Trafford to secure the Premier League title and a famous Double.

Oct. 23, 1999: Chelsea 2-3 Arsenal, Premier League

This game looked well out of reach for Arsenal after we conceded two headers to trail 2-0 against a Chelsea side that had not conceded a league goal at Stamford Bridge that season. But substitute Kanu single-handedly lead us to an improbable victory, scoring a hat trick in the final 15 minutes to stun Chelsea and silence the crowd. The winner came in the 90th minute after he came through the puddles to round goalkeeper Ed de Goey near the by-line before scoring from a tight angle with a shot that sailed over the heads of two Chelsea defenders.

Sept. 21, 1997: Chelsea 2-3 Arsenal, Premier League

This proved a key victory in Arsene Wenger’s first title-winning campaign and one of the finest moments for long-serving left-back Nigel Winterburn. Dennis Bergkamp had scored twice to leave the game level at 2-2 before Winterburn unleashed a stunning 25-yard strike with his left foot that curled into the far top corner. Arsenal went on to win their first Double under Wenger.  This game has very special memories for GN5 as it was the last game that I ever watched with my Dad – while he was on a visit to Canada.

Our last PL game against Bournemouth was a very positive sign and even knowing of our misfortunes at Stamford Bridge I still remain positive and hopeful that we will gain yet another memorable win at Stamford Bridge.

Written by GunnerN5


1-0 Down, 3-1 Up.  MOTM: Arsene Wenger.

September 15, 2017

Here are some brief “feelings” on the back of last night’s game, pulled together from my own thoughts as well as picking through the excellent comments on here from genuine experts.

  1. Back three/four. I think it’s wrong to judge a system by the personnel. Throw Koscielny and Mustafi into yesterday’s starting XI and I’m sure things would have looked different.
  2. However, perhaps we looked better second half BECAUSE of the switch. Thoughts?
  3. I’ve stated my concerns over our midfield pairing of Xhaka and Ramsey. Chief amongst my concerns is the lack of back-up, and now heavily underlined by the injury to Coquelin. Has anything from last night changed the thinking here? I always have liked Elneny’s quiet, unfussy, business like approach to the game. I thought he was excellent.
  4. Maitland-Niles moved more central, and we also saw the welcome return of Jack. I reckon we saw enough to think we have real quality in depth waiting in the wings.
  5. Sanchez, oh Sanchez. How would he react to the boos on Saturday and even having to start last night? My answer, he plays against Chelsea.
  6. Alex Iwobi. Love the guy, but I think his role lies further up field as back-up to Mesut, rather than in the deeper Ramsey role.
  7. Arsene Wenger played a superb 15 minutes at the break. A rare half time substitution, a change in formation, together with a considerably upped tempo from the boys from the first minute of the second period means he gets my MOTM.

Thoroughly enjoyable game. We saw many exciting things. Bring on Chelsea. Cannot wait.

MickyDidIt89


We welcome the Billy Goats for our 1st Europa League game

September 14, 2017

This season we play Thursday night football in the Europa League and our first game is home to Fußball-Club Köln also known as FC Köln or FC Cologne in English. They play in the Bundesliga, the highest league of German football and were Champions in 1962/3, 1963/4 and 1977/8. The club’s nickname Die Geißböcke (“The Billy Goats”) refers to the club’s mascot, a male goat named after the veteran FC player and former manager Hennes Weisweiler. The first mascot goat was donated by a circus entrepreneur as a Cologne carnival joke.

The competition has gone through several changes and was previously known as the Fairs Cup then the UEFA Cup and now the UEFA Europa League.

Below is a comparison of both teams’ records in these competitions.

FC Köln – P98, W52, D16, L30, GF184, GA105, Win% 53.6

Arsenal –   P49, W24, D9, L16, GF91, GA51, Win% 48.98

Arsenal have won 2 European competitions the 1970 Inter City Fairs Cup and the 1994 European Cup Winners Cup.

As far as I could find we have only played FC Koln once before – in the 1971 Fairs Cup when we won 2-1 at home and lost 0-1 away.

My team (Oh dear where is Big Raddy).

An under par Arsenal lost to Liverpool 4-0 in our 3rd Pl game and then we dominated against an under par Bournemouth to win 3-0.  The boost in confidence we gained from the victory over Bournemouth should be used as a springboard and a reminder of how well we can play.

This competition is very winnable and to start with a home game is a positive; if the crowd get behind the team then I predict (always confident) that today we will have a comfortable 3-0 victory over FC Koln.

Written by GunnerN5


The Mesut/Alexis Conundrum

September 13, 2017

Question of the day from GoonerB

What do people feel we should do with Sanchez and Ozil? Options could include:

  1. Play them as 1st 11 choices all season and let them leave on a free in May.
  2. Show them the contract now and say sign or you go to the reserves, and we invest the playing time in our future players rather than you.
  3. Play them till January then look for the best deals we can get. If so should we look for player swap deals (but with which clubs?) or straight cash (but with which clubs?).

What we learned from the Weekend.

September 11, 2017
  1. Lacazette is worth the money.
  2. We can win without Sanchez.
  3. Mr Wenger’s experiment of playing Bellerin on the left is over.
  4. Kolasinac needs PL experience but looks a fine addition.
  5. Welbeck can finish!
  6. Mustafi central with pacy CB’s outside him works against teams who have no attack
  7. Our midfield excel against teams lacking confidence and ability
  8. We are better without The Ox (but good luck to the chap).
  9. In Xhaka and Ozil we have two wonderful creative players who will propel Lacazette towards 25 goals this season
  10. Arsene will struggle to find game time for Walcott

And from elsewhere:

  1. MU are flat-track bullies and will struggle against better, more organised sides.
  2. Chelsea remain a quality team
  3. De Bruyne is a marvellous player and should be sold to Real Madrid – immediately.
  4. The same can be said for Harry Kane
  5. Liverpool played exceptionally well when beating us and were rubbish on Saturday
  6. West Ham are doomed.
  7. And this hurts to write …. Spurs are serious title contenders.

I also learned that it is not a good idea to go walking in torrential rain

written by Big Raddy


Is a Clean Sheet possible ?

September 9, 2017

Seems an age since we got hammered up at Anfield. Why? Not just the International break but also thanks to the poisonous atmosphere around the club. Let’s be honest, it has never really disappeared despite a decent end to last season and an encouraging win on the opening day. Sadly, it will be just below the surface until Mr Wenger leaves the club. Some people, especially the media want him out and will not be satisfied until he departs, all I can say is “you don’t know what you’ve lost ’til it’s gone”.

Enough of that …

The only way to silence the critics is by playing well and a win today is the start of the process.

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Are Bournemouth ready to be thrashed? I doubt it. They are compact, efficient and organised – they will be tough to beat. In particular Begovic is showing why he such a highly rated GK having left the Chelsea bench. Afobe will be trying to show the club that he should not have been sold. Defoe loves a goal against us.

We all know about Eddie Howe. Could he be the next AFC manager? The name certainly fits – we have had a Howe as manager in the past (Don) and he was an Arsenal legend.

Will Sanchez start after a depressing time with Chile and a long flight? It must be difficult to live under such scrutiny and it is starting to show.

And what of the Back 3 experiment? Like many I would go back to a back 4 which suits our squad but why buy Kolasinac if not to play him as a wing-back?

My Team:

Cech

Mustafi    Koscielny    Monreal

Bellerin    Ramsey    Xhaka    Kolasinac

Ozil

Lacazette     Welbeck

I would love to find a place for Iwobi but it will have to be a 20 minute sub appearance, same with Sanchez. We need to see Lacazette  take a more central and involved role, so far he has been peripheral and for 50+m I expect more. Bellerin has been pants and needs to get a grip or get dropped, though it may help the young Spaniard if he were played in his preferred position (are you reading AW?)

Defensively this has been a carcrash of a start. 8 goals conceded in 3 games. Not good enough. Solution? Play Mustafi on the right of the 3 with a RB in front of him – AW trying Holding and Ox was an unmitigated disaster and quite frankly was one of the most baffling decisions of his 20+ year reign at AFC.

We need a win – nothing else will suffice.

Let it be So

COYRRG


Arsenal 2017/18 Squad

September 7, 2017

Now that the summer transfer window has closed here is our First Team Squad as shown on Arsenal.com.

Now here is the Academy squad.

I’m not and expert on either squad formation or tactics, all I can intelligently discuss is my opinion of the players skills, attitude and team contribution based on viewing them during televised games. But nonetheless I would enjoy an open dialogue on the merits of this squad.

Written byGunnerN5