Disgrace at the Liberty – Player ratings

January 31, 2018

A few comments from AA bloggers to summarise that rock-bottom performance.

Big Raddy says at 7:54
Looks as though there has been a touch of rain in Swansea

(Ed…This is always bad news when we play – we perform badly in the rain – the only time it’s an advantage is when we play a team that’s poncier than us, like Chelsea)

and at 8:08
20 minutes gone and Fabianski has yet to touch the ball.
Playing across the back is fine but can’t we just try and attack?

and at 8:19
What a brilliant pass from Mesut and a terrific finish.
Get in.

Rasp says at 8:21
How typical, we score and then concede within 2 minutes … will our training staff ever pick up on these repeated patterns …. we switch off after we score!!!

Eddie says at 8:30
lucky it is not 4 nil

FGG says at 8:37
Defensively dreadful from Xhaka. He looks at Clucas and just stands still whilst he runs past him into our box. I don’t care what anyone tells me, there is no way he has ever been a HM player. He just doesn’t see danger at all.

Big Raddy says at 8:38
We are being outplayed by the bottom team in the PL. They are faster to the second ball, more dynamic, more organised in defence and overall comfortable. We have been crap.

FGG says at 9:08
May as well not have a manager or strikers if we are going to do stuff like that. Terrible.

Rasp says at 9:41
Arsenal:
75%possession
9 shots, 1 goal

Swansea:
25% possession,
12 shots, 3 goals

No hiding, our style of football is not effective

Match assessment

Possession football – what is the point of it exactly? Arsenal sides in the past few years have always tended to have excellent numbers in terms of possession. This has also been reflected in the number of chances we’ve created. The worrying trend this season, and away from home especially, has been that our possesion stats have stayed high but the number of chances to score have been plummeting.

What is the point of continually holding on to the ball in non-threatening positons and then losing it immediately you get anywhere near the opposition’s 10 man defence? Players are scared to lose the ball by making potentially chance-creating passes. Our football is stale and how to play against us has been worked out, polished and then perfected by the poorest of teams.

Ratings

Cech – Back to work – hmm, yeah right ….4

Monreal – Great goal, one of the few dangerous runs forward of the night. Poor throw to Mustafi in the build up to the second goal. Slipped for the third goal ….5

Mustafi – If you’re put into a difficult situation, put it in row Z ….4

Koscielny – Still our best defender but too quiet to be captain ….5

Bellerin – Tried hard, crossing still poor ….5

Xhaka – Track midfielders running into the area, ffs …3

Ramsey – Not even playing against his old enemy could inspire Rambo to much on his full return to the Premiership ….4

Elneny – At least he committed himself for the cause ….6

Iwobi – Better going forward than last time out – possible should have had a rest in favour of the new boy ….5

Ozil – Quality assist with one of the few penetrating passes of the game – must be pleased he’s left his options open ….6

Lacazette – Poor service and the lad almost seems to have given up hoping this nightmare will turn around (much like the rest of us) ….4

Giroud looked as sad as the Arsenal Away Boys.

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Mkhitaryan free to play at Liberty Stadium?

January 30, 2018

This season the only consistent aspect of the team is it’s inconsistency. Our away record is awful – we have yet to win away in 2018 and have won just 3 games on the road (out of 12). Had we won the same as Rubbish Spurs, we would be in 3rd place a point behind MU.

With the change in Swansea’s fortunes since Carvalhal’s arrival, Arsenal’s task looks difficult. Liverpool went there on the back of beating City and lost without scoring; we could easily do the same.

But we won’t, will we?

A full squad, apart from OG, Welbz and Santi, means Mr Wenger can experiment with a system to include Mkhitayran (henceforth HM or Miki). Will Miki find form, can he be the replacement, is he as good as Mesut, can they play together, is he another Wilshire, can he play a defensive role and replace Xhaka, is he good in the air , can he recapture his BVB form etc etc? Whatever the answers, he is an exciting prospect.

Whilst lauding recent Swansea form, it must be remembered that they sit bottom of the PL with a minus 20 goal difference – we should get something from the game. An early goal will force Swansea to attack and not PTB which is their usual tactic. We have to be careful at set plays and of the counter.attack but this is a team who have scored just 7 goals at home so far this season (from 12 games) – they are not an attacking threat, so I would load the team with attackers …

My Team:

Cech

Bellerin    Mustafi    Koscielny    Monreal

Wilshire   Xhaka    Mkik

Iwobi    Ozil

Lacazette

Yes –  the Famous Xmas Tree Formation (FXTF). With the total absence of wingers in our squad (can you remember us ever being winger-less?) other systems will have to be employed.

Should be an exciting 48 hours.

COYRRG


Get it done please, Ivan

January 29, 2018

Who would have thought the January transfer window was going to be so busy and exciting?

Coq out, Theo out, Sanchez out – Henrikh in as part of the latter deal.
If we manage to get Pierre-Emerick over the line, then it would be seen as a successful window, surely?
If not, the squad would appear depleted and the pervasive mood one of deflation.

Does the Aubameyang sale depend on Dortmund finding a replacement?

Did BVB initially want Big Ollie as part of the deal but we slapped a ‘Not For Sale’ notice on his beard?  Would you be happy losing our plan B?

In today’s cash-rich footballing world, the difference between 50 million and 60 million seems negligible – is that how Arsenal see it?

We can surely afford to reduce our cash reserves a little so are there any other considerations regarding wage bills?

Do other clubs have these seemingly interminable transfer sagas and we just don’t notice them?

Ivan, bearing in mind we can’t force Dortmund to sell and if it is humanly possible, please don’t allow yourself and Arsenal Football Club to end up with egg on our faces by 11pm on Wednesday.

We can’t even blame Dick Law now.

 


Arsenals Top Seasons 1947-48 – Our 7th Best

January 28, 2018

One night during WWII I was lying in bed when the room was suddenly lit up with a nearby searchlight coming on. Thinking it was a raid coming, I jumped out of bed and I started to get dressed. Looking out of the window, I saw dozens of searchlights sweeping the sky and waving backwards and forwards. I went into the front room where Mum and Dad had the radio on and they were just announcing the end of the war in Europe. Our next-door neighbour rushed in and everybody sat talking until the early hours of the morning. The next day nobody went to work and we had an impromptu party down at the corner of the road. People took cakes and sandwiches down to be shared out and a radiogram was fixed up to provide music for people to dance to.

Germany had officially surrendered and Londoners could now try to rebuild their damaged City and lives. Life was still very difficult, good jobs were scarce, food was still rationed, we still used Cow and Gate powered milk, and bomb sites were scattered all over town. But gradually life was returning to the streets and the daily fear of bombing raids, and having to dash to air raid shelters for safety, was now just a horrible memory.

The Arsenal ground in North London was not spared war damage as the North Stand was extensively damaged by fire and the roof had collapsed, the South Stand terracing was also badly damaged and in need of repair. The debts from the construction of Highbury and the costs of repairing the war damage were a heavy financial burden, and Arsenal struggled when competitive football resumed.

The war had cut short the careers of many of the club’s star players, including Bastin and Drake and nine of the pre-WW11 staff  were lost during the war. Upon the league’s resumption in 1946-47 the club began poorly and were bottom at Christmas. However, George Allison managed to make two signings late in 1946 which laid the foundations for the success of the following 1947/8 season. Cultured left half Joe Mercer was signed from Everton in November at the age of 32 on the agreement that he could commute from Liverpool and Ronnie Rooke, a prolific goalscorer in Division 2, signed from Fulham a month later. With a face carved from granite, his 6ft 3in, 15 stone frame helped to define his powerful playing style.  Rooke scored 21 goals in the 24 games he played that season and helped to drag Arsenal up to 13th place.

 

After close to forty years with the Arsenal, George Allison decided to retire from football in the summer of 1947 and was replaced by his assistant Tom Whittaker, who had been the club’s trainer under Herbert Chapman. Whittaker took over the reins at Highbury with Joe Shaw joining him from Chelsea. Arsenal kicked off the1947/48 season with a 3-1 victory over Sunderland at Highbury, an ideal start for the new management team (see British Pathe video below).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ys2vdV_r8No

Leslie Compton, the previous club Captain who had been playing cricket for Middlesex, returned to Arsenal and we won the next six games. Joe Mercer had been Arsenal’s Captain in Compton’s absence but Whittaker felt that now Compton was back he should, once again, lead the team but Compton felt differently and persuaded him to keep Joe on as the club Captain. There certainly seemed to be harmony in the Arsenal dressing room as we remained unbeaten in the first 17 games of the season, winning 12 and drawing 5 before losing 0-1 away to Derby County in the 18th game.

That 17th game of the unbeaten start proved to be a milestone in the life of GunnerN5. I was nine years old and I spent endless hours playing football with my mates on Avenell Road as we kicked a rag football (made by my Mum) about using the main gate into Highbury as our goal. We were in awe of all the supporters as they streamed in and out of Highbury on Saturday afternoons wishing we could be inside with them. The Oohs and Aahs coming from the ground always left us wondering what was happening but we always knew when the Gunners had scored as that caused the biggest roar of all. My maternal Grandfather changed my life when he gave me the best birthday present I’d  received – for my 10th birthday he took me to my very first Arsenal game – it was November 22nd 1947 Arsenal vs Huddersfield Town and we won 2-0. That game was the start my lifelong journey of supporting the Arsenal and it was capped off with us winning the League Championship.

North London had the original Ronnie and Reggie up front as Ronnie Rooke and Reg Lewis powered Arsenal to the title with 47 goals between them (Rooke’s 33 goals still stands as a post-war record, although Thierry Henry did manage 30 goals in 4 less games in the Invincibles season). Arsenal were the dominant team of the season and were ahead of the other final top teams from the 2nd game of the season onward – as shown in the following table. The highlighted variance column shows how many points the 2nd, 3rd and 4th teams Manchester United, Burnley, and Derby County) were behind Arsenal after each game of the season. Top of the table for 41 of the 42 League matches – the phrase ‘never in doubt’ has never been more correctly used.

In the final Arsenal matchday programme of the 1947/48 League Championship winning season, ‘Marksman’ (aka Harry Homer), the programme editor of the day, wrote: “…my mind seeks an apt quotation with which to close this season which has been such a glorious one for Tom Whittaker, Joe Mercer and all connected with The Gunners. Shall we turn for once to Latin? ‘Victoria Concordia Crescit’. Translation: ‘Victory grows out of harmony.’”

Two seasons later and Arsenal unveiled its new crest which incorporated Marksman’s Latin maxim. Tom Whittaker explained in the 1949/50 handbook (which also included the new crest) that the Club had been impressed by Marksman’s motto and it had now been officially adopted by the Club. The new crest also featured ‘Arsenal’ in a gothic style typeface, the westward facing cannon, the Borough of Islington’s coat of arms and ermine(courtesy of Arsenal.com)

Written by GunnerN5


Goodbye Mr. Sanchez

January 26, 2018

Having written a fond farewell to Le Coq and Theo, it is only right  to contribute a few thoughts about Sanchez.

Let’s be honest, every time he got the ball there was excitement, he is a fantastic player. Sanchez has the ability to get you out of your seat, he can twist and turn like a spinning top, his centre of gravity is at knee-level, His ball control is excellent, his shooting and ability to see a chance exceptional. Thick as two short, not a true team play, capable of giving the ball to the opposition when a simple pass was available, greedy but nonetheless, a brilliant player. We will miss his ability.

images-2.jpeg

A difficult man to warm to which explains the lack of angst at his departure. When RvP left to join the same team, we were unhappy, very unhappy. Like Sanchez, RvP was our main goalscorer but unlike RvP his departure does not feel like a betrayal. Why? Because Sanchez has never been a Gooner, he has always been a mercenary. He continues to be one.

A top team needs world class players, we have had many during the Wenger era, Sanchez is, in my opinion, very close. If one was to pick the world’s best 11 players, Sanchez would be in the squad but probably not get a bench seat. Ozil? Make up your own mind. Mktiaryan? …?

AW’s gamble to keep Sanchez last summer has not worked (though there are mitigating circumstances) it is in everyone’s best interests for him to leave, though I am deeply saddened that we sell a player to MU and Merinho, any player. If it makes them a better team it will be painful.

For once, I do not wish an ex-player well. Alexis, thank you for your contribution to AFC but I hope you have a miserable couple of seasons at Old Trafford.

written by Big Raddy

 


Wembley Beckons – player ratings for Carabao Semi part two

January 25, 2018

First half

The chavs came flying out of the blocks, high press, overloading the centre backs with Hazard, Pedro and Willian confusing the whatnots out of Koscielny and Mustafi. Thank Dennis their early goal was cancelled out by Nacho’s crazy double kiss header, else the game could have run away from us.

Our midfield was all over the place with no-one quite sure what they were supposed to be doing as the ball flashed past them.

Gradually we got a toe-hold and had the two best chances in the rest of the first half; a Granit fizzer from a free kick and Mesut’s deflected right footer just before the break.

Second half

So much better second half, even without the cones! Chelsea began to play for the away goal counting after extra time. Their rotational fouling was not penalised by the lenient Oliver. Granit must have had a nose bleed being in the chavs’ six yard box but there he was, at a ridiculous altitude at precisely the right moment; almost as if it was pre-ordained. Alexander missed a chance to put the game to bed which, being kind, was probably harder than it looked. No major scares in the last ten minutes – job done, off to Wembley.

Ratings

Ospina – Busy Doing Nothing – 2 shots on target for the chavs didn’t leave our Colombian much to do ….7

Monreal – Pinball Wizard – Magnificent commitment throughout, his goal came at exactly the right moment ….9

Mustafi –  Working in the Coal Mine – always tries hard, improved as the game went on….8

Koscielny – Leader of the Pack – seemed to be fighting his injuries even more than usual but still imperious  ….8

Bellerin – The Way You Look Tonight – quiet, didn’t do much at all ….6

Xhaka – Road to Nowhere – summed up Arsenal’s performance, chaotic but Johnny-on-the-spot ….6

Wilshere – Push It – barely got a touch in the first half, an inspiration in the second ….7

Elneny –  Nowhere to Run – covered every blade at the apex of the upside down midfield triangle ….8

Iwobi  – Back Door Man – most tackles, most misplaced passes, bizarre  ….7

Ozil – Pretty Beat Up – the man with the weave decided kicking him was the only way to lessen his impact ….7

Lacazette – So Lonely – even less support than normal with the dog-botherer gone and an extra body in midfield ….7


Chelsea Pre-Match. Ozil’s Night?

January 24, 2018

Another semi-final. In the last one we smashed Man City.  Can we do the same to the Southern Oilers?

Team selection will be interesting as it will show how much of a priority Mr Wenger gives to the Carabao – very little is my guess. Though in a season which promises to end poorly, any silverware is important.

carabao-cup.jpg

Man City put out a full squad against Bristol, they are clearly focussed upon winning the CC, which indicates that AW will give it the beans tonight.

I fear the away goals rule, it could cost us dear, especially given the flakiness of our defence. We conceded twice against the Chavs last time we met at THOF, do so tonight and we wave goodbye to Wembley (until we play away to THFC).

No Miki, he is cup-tied. No OG, Welbz and possibly Nacho. So almost a full squad.

If we are to win Ozil has to perform. He has been in good form of late and his set-up for Lacazette last weekend was superb. More of the same tonight, please.

Conte, who like most Italian managers is blessed with magnificent hair,  will be prudent, adopting  defensive tactics and relying on the counter-attacking excellence of Willian and Hazard. As always, our wing backs will need to be wary.

My Team:

Ospina

Chambers      Mustafi    Koscielny

Bellerin   Wilshire    Xhaka    M_N

Ozil    Iwobi

Lacazette

We have little attacking threat on the bench with Theo gone, and OG/Welbz injured. Could it be the night when Eddie cements his Carabao and AFC career, scoring late in the game to seal a victory?

Unknown-1.jpeg

I know I shouldn’t mention this but one of my worst football moments was late in a return leg CL game at Highbury against the Chavs, you know the one. That’s not going to happen tonight, is it?

We can win this.

COYRRG