2017. How was it for You?

December 31, 2017

It’s been an odd 2017, hasn’t it?

Will he stay/should he go being one of the main talking points (AW/AS/MO/JW/HB etc). Team played some great football, some lamentable football, some boring football and some football which got you out of your seat marvelling at the sheer ingenuity of the interplay. Probably not enough of the latter.

We have seen Guardiola transform an average team into one of the best ever (but not THE Best ever). Pocchettino take the Miscreants to un-imagined heights, coaching The Plumber (Harry Kane) into one of the world’s top strikers. Merinho reducing United into an expensive Stoke. Klopp making Liverpool the best viewing in the PL. Chavs winning the PL by a huge margin yet remaining unconvincing.

Add in the fairytale seasons for Brighton and Huddersfield and we have a fine year of football.

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My highlight of 2017? Unquestionably Per Mertesacker’s performance in the FA Cup Final. Magnificent doesn’t do him justice.

Giroud’s wondergoal came a distant second.

What was yours?

Like countless others I am a regular listener to the Arseblog podcast (the man deserves to be knighted for his services to Arsenal). Arseblog talked recently about how he is not sure that he “likes” the current Arsenal team.  This got me thinking and I have to say I agree with him. Individually I enjoy watching Ozil, Ramsey, Sanchez etc but as a team? Do they compare in terms of enjoyable watching with other teams from the last few decades? Not in my opinion.

Why?

Where is the swagger, the humour or the spirit of other teams, whether it be Merson’s insanity, Adams determination, Wrighty’s enthusiasm, Thierry’s brilliance, PV4’s domination, Pires’ elegance or Santi’s humour which were the essence of those teams? There is none of that. We have become industrial; yes, Ozil is a wonderful player but will be remembered as a true Gooner in 15 years?  I want someone to make me smile.  I want goals, and Yes, I want us to win, but above all I want to be entertained.

Perhaps this is why we have such high ambitions for Wilshere.

This being my final PM of the year please give me some licence – I am not going to write about how we should beat the team rooted to the bottom of the table who haven’t scored twice at home since March, Nor will I do the team etc etc. You can fill in the gaps …

From an AA point of view it has also been a hard year. Fewer visitors, fewer bloggers, fewer people prepared to write posts and add flavour/variety to the opinions on the site. Will AA survive to see NYE in 2018? Who knows but we are here today and in my capacity as a long-term AA’er we wish all who read the blog a very Happy New Year.

And Come On You Rip Roaring Gunners

 

 

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Eagles downed

December 29, 2017

A very entertaining game last night and if I had to sum it up in one sentence I would say it as a determined performance with some worring lapses of concentration.

Slim sums it up humourously: “We are like a team of narcaleptics! We just doze off unexpectedly then suddenly we wake up and are back at it.”

Cech: did you know he keeps whippets?

Chambers: no coincidence that Southampton have 75mil burning a hole in their bank accounts and out of the blue Chambers gets a first team start. 4

Mustafi: I had do a double take when he scored our first, the precision of the ball going from foot to goal made me think that it must have been Ozil at the same time I thought: wow good goal with your right foot Mesut – but no, it was no other than Skhodran M. Top goal, as for the defending, mah. 7

Koscielny: was he responsible for Palace’s second? Maybe. We won so a little generosity. 6

Bellerin: Hector should have had a couple of goals and if he had we would not have to focus on the fact that Zaha bossed him and Chambers down the flank. 5

Kolasinac: I am guessing that he didn’t much like riding the pine and as such when he got his chance to start again he was not going to miss it; he was far more determined last night and the fact that Palace had little joy down his flank is testament to that. 7

The Wilshere pass although superb was expected, the thing that has been surprising me is why he hasn’t been able to do that more often for Lacazette? He is improving with every game. 7

Xhaka: now I am usually quite tough on our Julie but I thought he had one of his best games for the club to date. Very determined, very confident, I am guessing that his goal against Liverpool has lifted his confidence and importantly no schoolboy errors. If it weren’t for a resurgent Sanchez he would have got my man of the match. 8

Ozil: always my favourite so I have to tone these down a bit, quiet start but got into it as the game progressed, so close to another wonder goal from the Sanchez pass. 7

Lacazette: the ball seems as though it just won’t fall for him to be able to slam it home, still he has become an important piece of the attacking jigsaw and there seems little doubt the goals will flow again. 7

Sanchez: MOTM, got his mojo back nothing to do with the transfer window opening again today of course just a case of Alexis’ doing his thing and making a few more simple passes to team mates, funny how that can be so effective. Two great goals. 9

written by LB


A Festive Season Treat or Too Much Mead Hangover?

December 28, 2017

Last season we got hammered by Palace at Selhurst Park by a CP team in trouble. Today  we go there in questionable form and Palace are once again in trouble. Recipe for an embarrassing defeat? Let’s hope not.

Any club that employs Roy Hodgson has my respect, he seems like a top bloke and it takes courage to employ a manager committed to football to take a team out of the relegation zone. Most clubs go for the Hoofball merchants like Moyes, Allardyce etc. I hope they stay up and go on an extended run of good form in the New Year.

Palace spent big money and have some excellent players, players whom the press were linking Arsenal with  – Zaha, Townshend, Benteke and Cabaye. Defence is their problem and one we must exploit.

It is time Sanchez returned to the form we know and love. I do not believe it is lack of desire which is his problem, probably the opposite.

Monreal may be crocked, so is Ramsey. and OG.

My Team:

Cech

Mustafi      Koscielny     Kolasinac

Bellerin    Xhaka   Wilshere    Maitland- Niles

Ozil

Lacazette    Sanchez

Perhaps Iwobi will get a start in place of M-N or Holding could replace Monreal. Who knows except Mr Wenger?

Our form has been strange, consistency conspicuously lacking. One week we are very good in defeat and the next poor in victory.

We need a win and an improvement upon our terrible away form….

Let it start this afternoon.

COYRRG

 


Merry Christmas To All Gooners Everywhere

December 25, 2017

Thanks to everyone who has written posts, read posts and commented on posts throughout the year.

Merry festivities from all at Arsenal Arsenal.


Merry Christmas, Sanity is Over – Arsenal v Liverpool player ratings

December 23, 2017

Woo, that turned out better than I expected a good way into proceedings.

Slightly disappointed that we didn’t come away with all three points just to be able to rub their noses in it but hey ho, we could be feeling a whole lot worse over Christmas.

Cech must love playing for Arsenal there is always so much for him to do.

Bellerin: the great excitement was not knowing how far Hector could go, there was a moment when in the heady days of his upward trajectory that people thought if he added goals to his game he could be one of the all time greats — never gonna happen. Hector is what he is, a perfectly ok right wing back.

Koscielny, pre Sanchez goal, all over the place, post Sanchez goal a commited determined CB

Nacho, defensive player of the year, was replaced by Mustafi who was back from extreme bought of embarrassment which he suffered during the man u game.

Maitland-Niles pre Sanchez goal post Sanchez goal the young Tory was a joy to watch all game long.

What happened to Wilshere? He was bog standard average at two down, then Sanchez scored and then he turned into a super hero.

Xhaka’s game was something akin to a Wild West performance if there were such a thing, talk about the good the bad and the ugly.

Iwobi was a bit sub standard, I found myself actually wanting Walcott to come on and replace him; I never thought I would ever prefer Walcott over anyone ever again. Theeeo, Theeeo, Theeeo.

Sanchez, went from needing to be throttled to wanting to be carried around the ground on everyone’s shoulders in the space of ten minutes, but he is one of a small few who can change a game in a moment and that I suppose is the reason that he is always picked.

Ozil, there is television Ozil and live Ozil, the former is slow and not committed the latter is a regular genius, we had both today in that order.

Lacazette, got to say he was the only one who looked like it mattered to him that we were getting played off the park; it really was set up for him to grab a winner and all three points but as we know that was not to be. Maybe next time?

Written by LB


About time we turned over the Mickey Mousers

December 22, 2017

The first team will be back on show at the Emirates this evening after Tuesday’s exhilarating performance from the second stringers.

This game could set the tone for a very happy festive period. The players owe us a special win after their dismal away performance at Anfield.

Maybe Sanchez will realise he can boost his number of potential January suitors by putting in a decent show with some goals.

Will we revert to a back three now that Shkodran’s bruises have faded? Iwobi’s Mum will be disappointed if he doesn’t play as he adds much needed creativity and link play.

Presumably Lacazette will be back in the starting line up. Unless Sanchez is shoe-horned into the striker’s role.

Perhaps Xhaka needs a break to recapture (?) some form. Maybe Maitland-Niles (Con) could play DM as Micky saw him play there once against Reading.

Let’s hope we can start creating chances again and even better, take some of them.

My team

………..Petr

Kos …. Shkod… Nacho

Hector…Jack…Ainsley….The Beast

Mesut….Laca…..Sanchez

Up The Arsenal.


Welbz with a Christmas Cracker

December 20, 2017

The midfield was a little flat with two similar players in the centre.

The centre backs handled a strong forward line with ease and composure.

Welbz ran his heart out and was duly rewarded, Big Ollie tried a few flicks, Theo missed a sitter.

courtesy of @11tegen11

Aside from two good chances for the good guys in the five minutes before half time, there was very little goalmouth action. West Ham had 1 shot in the whole 90 minutes, with none of ‘those’ on target. 🙂


Is there a game on?

December 19, 2017

Apparently there’s a Carabao carnival of soccer ball in North London this evening.

The “happy” Hammers come to the Emirates hoping for another glorious bore draw and penalties. Either that or the shackles will be off with the fear of losing Premier League revenue removed and we could be in for an attacking goal fest.

Arsenal’s second string could feature more youngsters than have been playing in the last few Europey matches. So maybe the heated seat brigade will get a chance to see Nelson and Willock once more. Maitland-Niles may get a breather after his promotion to the first team.

Welbz could do with a few goals and Jack needs protecting as Aaron’s in the sick bay.

Is it on telly? Who knows.

Up The Arsenal

 

 


Newcastle: “looking good at Subbuteo is not enough”

December 16, 2017

September 2nd 1893, The Woolwich Arsenal play their first competitive match against Newcastle Utd.

Then there was Supermac.

However, those are not the greatest ties between ourselves and today’s opposition. Newcastle were my favourite opponents on my Subbuteo baize. Always liked the red and white of Arsenal against the Magpie black and white.

I’ve only seen this Benitez side once, and that was against Brighton during their title winning campaign last season, and they were good to watch. They now sit one point above the bottom three, and my guess is there must be great pressure to bus park in tougher looking away fixtures.

Compound that with the fact that Rapha will have noted how ineffective we’ve been at breaking down massed defences recently, my hopes for the game rest squarely on us scoring early.

This will require all our good players, the dribblers, the scoopers, the eye of the needle threaders and the intelligent runners to be at their best, but more importantly, I think we have to up our tempo dramatically.

Also, and this will lead on to my team selection, I think we need to adjust our approach to risk.  In essence, be less afraid to fail with the killer pass or the one-on-one take ons. This is how space is made in the danger areas.

For this to be less worrying from a defensive point of view, defenders need to be quick to cover the counter.

I read suggestions by RC and FGG for alternative DM’s. While we play three at the back, the speed of the DM is less important and therefore Xhaka is fine, but I have a sneaky feeling Arsene may go with the four. If so, then I like FGG’s idea of Maitland-Niles in that DM role, as opposed to RC’s Monreal. Partly because I think Monreal is a far better attacking LB than The Beast in a back four.

My hope is that a positionally disciplined performance by M-N, combined with his high speed in covering back, would allow Monreal and Bellerin to provide the width in attack, but of course, they’d both need to be aware of who was making a run and at such time hold their defensive positions.

My XI:

……….Sanchez    Lacazette

……………….. Mesut

……..Wilshere  M-N   Ramsey

Monreal  Koscielny  Mustafi   Bellerin

……………………..Cech

Message to Newcastle and Rapha: “looking good at Subbuteo is not enough. Come and play football”.

Up The Gunners.

Written by MickyDidIt89


Academy of Football. Moyes?

December 13, 2017

The Hammers. Blowing bubbles. The Academy. Bobby, Geoff and Martin. Trevor’s header at Wembley.

All a long time ago. Nothing remains of that West Ham. Now they are just another industrious, unimaginative team. Allardyce and Moyes. Pragmatism. Andy Carroll.

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This doesn’t mean they cannot beat us, as they showed at the weekend such tactics can work. Any team under the harsh stare of Hawkeye Moyes will be difficult to beat especially if the opposition is not capable of winning a physical battle.

WHU have a player in their midst whom I detest. as does Debuchy – Arnautovic, who was the miscreant whose cowardly attack put Debuchy onto the treatment bench for months. Unfortunately this miscreant has talent and will be a threat to our defence.

They also have a fine GK in Adrian, and it is a mystery why WHU bought Hart. I expect him to be busy tonight.

Thinking of which, will BFG get another game? He was poor at S’ton, though not deserving of the insults from Goonerdom. Have they forgotten that this is our  Club Captain, a proper Arsenal man and a likely future manager? Or that BFG, only 6 months ago, led his team to the FAC victory? I detest the short-termism of some of our fans.

My Team

Cech

Holding    Koscielny    Monreal

Bellerin    Wilshire    Xhaka     Kolasinac

Ozil

Lacazette    Sanchez

I have picked Wilshire but, given this is away fixture, would not be surprised to see wither Coquelin or Elneny with Xhaka pushed further forward into his natural position.

Our away form has been awful, it needs to change. We have to beat teams in the lower half of the table in order to maintain our challenge. A win a home and a draw is no longer good enough.

We have the players, we have the depth of squad, there can be no excuses. That said, away at WHU is always a difficult game, should be an interesting night

COYRRG