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

Advertisements

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.

Unknown.jpeg

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.

images-1.jpeg

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


The Final Hurrah

May 13, 2018

So we come to the end of a momentous season. Superb at home, dreadful away, nearly-men in the Europa, and about to be manager-less.

But let’s not look back just yet, let’s focus on this afternoon, just as Mr Wenger will. Can we finish with a win?

I cannot remember the last time all 3 promoted teams stayed up, can you? (without the help of Google!). A tiny club like Huddersfield avoiding the drop is a remarkable achievement. Huddersfield is a rugby town, home to Harold Wilson, There has been a settlement there for over 4,000 years and yet not since the ’30’s have they had any footballing success. HTFC have not been in the top tier since the early ’70’s. Promotion was huge, staying up is even bigger.

Given they needed points from their last 3 games which were MU, Chavs and AFC the Terriers seemed doomed but they did better at OT and the Bridge than we did – much better. Can they three-peat?

Herbert Chapman. Before AW without question HTFC & AFC’s most influential and successful manager. You know the rest … blah, blah blah Arsene Wenger.

My Team:

Cech

Chambers    Mustafi    Monreal

M-N   Xhaka    Wilshire   Kolasinac

Mhki

PEA     Laca

Ozil injured (???) and the Big Bubble banned.  This could be the final game in the shirt for a few of our players  – Wilshire, Ospina and a couple more may be on their way out.

It is the time for change which is very exciting.

The focus will inevitably be upon Mr Wenger. I have written hundreds of posts and PM’s  – all of which have featured Arsene. I have enormous respect for him and wish him well. The reception he was given at Leicester was spine-tingling, we can expect the same this afternoon.

A win would be great for a number of reasons; a final hurrah for Arsene, a better end of season party for the players, removing the inevitable media focus upon not winning an away match in 2018, and sending BR into the summer break with a smile on his face.

Thank you to those who have read my pre-matches throughout the season, they are usually fun to write.

COYRRG

 

 


Who should be the new Club Captain and Allegri, the new Boss?

May 11, 2018

Arsenal FC’s new Club Captain?

So the BFG is moving even further away from the playing side at the Club leaving a situations vacant for Club Captain.

Does anyone leap out at you as his obvious replacement?

Does the position mean much anymore?

Do we need a leader on the pitch?

 

Massimiliano Allegri – the next Arsenal manager?

Allegri featured for a variety of Italian clubs during his playing career as a creative, inventive midfielder. Promotion and a couple of decent seasons in Serie A with Pescara perhaps the highlight.

The lowlight of Allegri’s time as a pro footballer was a one year ban in 2001 for match-fixing.

Allegri’s managerial career is a different kettle of fish entirely. Having served his apprenticeship in the lower leagues, he first hit the top flight with Cagliari in 2008. The Sardinians finished a creditable 9th, not far from UEFA League qualification and played with such flair with extremely limited resorces that Allegri was awarded the Panchina D’Oro (golden bench), the Italian version of Manager of the season, ahead of Serie A winning coach Mourinho (I’m liking this chap already).

Milan liked the look of this nuovo arrivato, signed him up in 2010 and he led them to the Serie A title in his first season. When switching to Juve in 2014, he again won the top flight title in his first season, though it was to be the Old Lady’s 4th title on the bounce (the previous three while managed by Antonio Conte).

The following seasons at Juventus were littered with Serie A titles and Coppa Italia victories plus two Champions League Finals (losing to Barca and Real).

He seems a fine choice as Arsene’s successor, being strong on tactics but liking fluid formations and attacking pressing football. His daughter is quite attractive too.

chas