The Emery job at Arsenal: Easy or hard?

May 29, 2018

Here on AA yesterday there was a discussing between FGG (who knows an awful lot about football), and Erik.

Naturally they disagreed, but I thought the topic was interesting. Does Emery have a difficult task ahead to improve The Arsenal.

FGG felt we had a fallen quite a way behind the top four, and using this as a barometer, amazingly I’d side with Erik. We all remember how Arsene transformed Arsenal into double winners in his first full season, and despite the fact I know how seismically the footballing landscape has changed, I do believe that we are looking at tweaks rather than having to deploy the surgical scalpel.

The baseline for evaluating improvement is the point at which you begin, and in our case, that’s winning nothing and finishing above The Burnley.

Next point is that one of the major obstacles in previous season’s was the fact that Arsene appeared from the outside to have too many roles to be hugely effective at any one of them. The Club have clearly recognised, and addressed, this weakness. Bearing in mind I believe the effects of that division of responsibilities has already become fruitful by way of our January transfer activities, leaving Emery to be more focused on the footballing side.

Finally, few would disagree that we have an exceedingly talented squad, together with two or three very promising younger players, which should provide the continuity so vital to progress. Also very unusually, most can agree about the obvious areas to strengthen, so I doubt the Arsenal recruitment team will be far away from seeing the same needs.

His biggest challenges? Team structure and understanding of responsibilities within the Emery system, defensive organisation, and our away form.

Great, just the 2-3 players short, then 🙂

Written by MickyDidIt89

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Who Do You Believe?

May 28, 2018

Mr Gazidis stated last week that the BoD had rigourously interviewed 8 candidates prior to employing Mr Emery. He said that all 8 wanted the job right up until the final decision was made and all had been through a full interview process.

Do we really believe this?

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Who were the 8? The media say PV4 was approached at the last minute as a token gesture but that at no time was he interviewed for the post. Arteta we know about but the other 6/7?

Dyche? Howe? Seri? Could it have been Allerdyce or Moyes? The chap from Østerlund?

I cannot believe Guardiola or Zidane or Tuschel or any of the top managers who are currently employed by successful Big Clubs would want to take on AFC – despite it being a very attractive and well-paid job.

Conte? Perhaps. Poccettino? It would have been very funny but surely, if Ivan is telling the truth, we would have employed him as Poch would be an excellent choice for us.

Any other candidates?

Or was Ivan’s statement just a fop to the fans  as we took a last minute punt on Emery instead of Arteta?

We will never know

written by Big Raddy


The new Arsenal manager…let’s try and be rational

May 24, 2018

You, me, him, her, and probably everyone who reads this knows that Arsenal are by far the greatest team the world has ever seen. We’re right, they are wrong and facts are facts.

However, let’s consider some other poor souls for a few short moments, and by poor souls, I’m referring to the Allegris, Tuchels and the Zidanes of this world.  By my calculations there are six sides who you would back to lift the Champions League trophy in any one season, although I appreciate other runners and riders can emerge to upset the betting, and this season it is Liverpool who have emerged as a surprise contender. The souls to whom I just referred will always look to manage an elite club with a realistic chance (and budget) of lifting ‘Ol Big Ears.

Arsenal are not one of those sides. So. What are we, who should we be, and why is Emery a very good fit for us now?

Before the start of last season, I suggested that Arsenal were a Cup side. My comment referred as much to what I thought was an element of the glory seeking, big time Charlie attitude of one or two of our superstars. In other words they didn’t have the appetite for a seasons’ long slog in the rain to sustain a League challenge, and anyhow, barring the freak event we are outside the main pretenders as defined by budget.

What are we? We are a top six English side, and yes, we are a good cup side. What should we be? We should be a club that strives to grow through better results/performance within the boundaries of our budget. In other words, without oiling up, out target models are the likes of Bayern (and Juve?). This is a longer long term objective than the media driven immediacy demanded by today’s society permits, but the club just have to deal with that crap, as do we all.

The aim for the next 1-3 years is to establish ourselves as the best of the rest. This brings me back to two things I have mentioned, one was Liverpool and the other was cups.

When I spoke almost a year ago about our cup sidedness, I did mention also how I liked this. It’s a personal thing, but I way prefer knockout football to league football.

This, at last,  brings me to Emery. RC79 has very kindly enlightened us as to the detail of the man, his tactical philosophies and his footballing ethos. I especially liked his insight on Emery’s ability to get the most out of a second tier budget by developing youth and pushing the superstars.

I believe he is the right man to lead us through the next three years or so as we consolidate amongst our domestic top four, and, as he has done at both PSG and more impressively at Sevilla, become a Cup specialist.

Who knows what lies beyond that, but step one looks good to me.

Written by MickyDidIt89


The Invisible Man

May 21, 2018

Amongst all the glam and glitter of the departure of Mr Wenger, there has been hardly a word about the loss of another gentleman who has worked faithfully  for over 20 years to bring glory to our fine club – Boro Primorac.

He is the chap who does all the unattractive groundwork, the man who puts out the cones, wanders around with a stopwatch, reads the pre-contracts, takes Arsene out for a few glasses of red wine after a defeat and has been the constant factor in Arsene’s reign.

Such was his media presence that know very little about Boro yet he was a fine player and an excellent coach.

As a player Boro was a centre half who played in Yugoslavia and France (where he met AW) , representing and captaining his country 14 times. He became a manager with Cannes where he and AW furthered their friendship, Cannes being the neighbour club to Monaco.

When Arsene went to Grampas in Japan Boro joined him as an assistant and followed him to Arsenal in 1997.

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A point in Boro’s favour is his fluency in 8 – yes, 8  –  languages! He can speak to every member of the squad in their own language which given the inability of some players to learn English is of vital importance (looking at you Mr Sanchez). He is apparently the analyst of opposition (apparently we do have one), has encyclopedic knowledge of players.

I am having trouble fleshing out this post because despite Boro being at Arsenal for as long as Arsene there is little information about him. We know he is a big bloke – 6´3″.  We know he is clever but he doesn’t give interviews … ever. He doesn’t sit on the bench, preferring to be in the stands leaving just before half-time to give his analysis to the manager before he talks to the players.

What of the future for such a loyal servant? Can’t see him finding a role in the new manifestation of AFC. Perhaps he will follow Arsene to his new job. Whatever it is, thank you Mr Primorac for such loyal service.

A statue? No-one would have a clue who he was.


The Case for the Defence – New Manager Conundrum

May 17, 2018

So, the dust has settled on the 2017/8 season and all final league positions have been decided. What pointers will it have given our new boss as to how the team needs to be reinforced?

Let’s take a look at the teams at the top of table.

Man City

Well Pep has forged an exciting new team by lashing out close to half a billion on top of an already decent squad. 106 goals and 27 against. Hmmm, maybe we ought to look elsewhere for clues.

Man U

Mourinho bored the pants off everyone yet again, his team scoring six goals less than us but almost emulating City’s meanness in defence. No thanks.

Totts

Surprisingly with the best England striker in decades and a vibrant young attack, they managed to score precisely no goals more than us. Their 15 goals better goal difference came from another source!

Pool

Fun to watch during the season with a rampaging front three operating along similar lines to City. Second only to City in goals scored and with goals conceded similar to the spuds and chavs.

Chelsea

8 goals less than AFC but 7 points more. Last season’s runaway winners were not in evidence at all. It is so hard to win back to back titles, though. (Will City sustain their dominance next time around?)

AFC

74 goals for, 51 against (12 more than 7th placed Burnley, though they only scored an appalling 36 goals).

One conclusion might be that the new chap in the hot seat needs to spend any moolah available to him on bolstering our porous defence.

Or is it more a case of better game management all round?

With a front 4 of Auba, Mkhi, Laca and Mesut, recruits up top seem less of a consideration unless a top line left sided forward becomes available, maybe. (I’ve no idea if this is true but always see it written everywhere!)

A new defence or defensive plan is much needed – that does appear a logical conclusion. Or is that just too simplistic an analysis for the tactical geniuses out there. 🙂

What do you think?

chas

 


Alex Scott. A Thank You

May 16, 2018

This is the first of series of posts throughout the summer saying farewell to Arsenal stalwarts. We are entering a new era with the inevitable casualties as people retire or are moved on.

First in the series is Alex Scott. Who? You don’t know? Arsenal Captain, 140 caps for England, MBE – yes … MBE! The only other Arsenal player I can think of who has a gong is TA6 (Alan Ball got one but not whilst at AFC).

Alex started her career at AFC at the age of 8, had one season at Birmingham and then returned to AFC where she became a cornerstone of the best Women’s team of all-time, winning the Quadruple in 2006/7 including the UEFA Champions League Cup – the first British team to do so.

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Alexandra Virina Scott has played at right full back and winger, she is a better Ashley Cole.

A spell in USA followed before returning for her third and final stint at AFC.

In 2016 Alex even won Bear Gryllis’ Mission Survive.

This is a proper AFC legend having won 5 League titles, 7 FA Cups, the Champions League plus numerous other Cups.

AT 33, Alex hangs up her boots. She has a burgeoning career in the media both as a journalist and TV pundit. Her smile and winning personality added to her knowledge and passion for the game make her a natural for television.

Alex, you are are an Arsenal great. Thank you so much for your efforts over past 25 years. There should be a statue.

Written by BR


So Long and Thanks for all the Fish – Huddersfield Ratings

May 14, 2018

So after over 1200 games in charge, we finally reached the point where M. Arsene Wenger would be Arsenal FC boss for the last time. A goalfest in the sun would be perfect but some sneaky first away points of the year, acceptable.

First Half

Huddersfield pressed like terriers in the first twenty minutes without really creating a chance, except from dead balls. One particular goalmouth scramble saw David Ospina make his first close range block.

Two planes flew banners over the beautiful arches of the Huddersfield stadium and the 22nd minute of appreciative applause was well observed.

The Beast wasn’t sharp enough to poke home a near post flick-on from a corner before the first quality piece of football in the match produced Aubameyang’s mini record-breaking goal. Laca and Mkhi exchanged passes before setting Rambo free on the left. His outside of the boot driven cross was superbly anticipated by Auba sliding in on his derriere at the far post.

Second Half

The second half saw even more huffing and puffing from Huddersfield but little quality. Twice as many ‘attempts’ on goal than us but with one fewer on target tells its own story.

Two glorious one on ones for the boys in charcoal grey and pink were both squandered by Laca and Welbz respectively. Laca chose to lob a keeper who carried on standing up and Danny really needed to stop and change the angle rather than continue on his weaker left.

Huddersfield had two last attempts at spoiling the Wenger party, one shot flicking off the top of the crossbar and Ospina keeping out a last gasp header at the second attempt.

Ratings

Ospina – Probably did more than anyone else to ensure Arsene left with a victory … 7

Bellerin – Looked great in the Yorkshire sunshine  … 6

Mustafi – Some decent challenges and blocks … 7

Holding – Will be interesting to see if the next manager can bring more out of Rob … 6

Kolasinac – Rampaging Berserker … 7

Ramsey – Flitted in and out like a delicate butterfly  … 6

Xhaka – Great end of season, looking forward to him doing it all year  … 7

Iwobi – Scampered around trying to find a crack … 7

Mkhitaryan – on the beach already  … 6

Aubameyang – Became the fastest Arsenal player to reach 10 Prem goals, ultimately the match winner   … 7

Lacazette – Will a new manager have Alexandre down the middle with PEA on the left? – hmmm … 7

Subs

Monreal – presumably came on to bolster the defence? … 6

Welbeck – created his one on one with a fine challenge but couldn’t find the coup de grace – 6

Maitland-Niles – came on, passed and tackled well … 6

Summary

So Arsene got the send off he deserves with the team finally winning three points away from home at last.

Curiously enough, the dolphins had long known of the impending demolition of Earth and had made many attempts to alert mankind to the danger. But most of their communications were misinterpreted as amusing attempts to punch footballs, or whistle for titbits, so they eventually gave up and left the Earth by their own means – shortly before the Vogons arrived. The last ever dolphin message was misinterpreted as a surprisingly sophisticated attempt to do a double backwards somersault through a hoop, whilst whistling the ‘Star-Spangled Banner’. But, in fact, the message was this “So long and thanks for all the fish”.

chas