Day 4 in the World Cup House

June 17, 2018

Well I thought the ref got the France pen decision correct the first time. Bloody VAR defeating the Aussies.

What’s in store today? Looks dull to me, so it should be blinding.

Costa Rica v Serbia  1pm

Germany v Mexico  4pm

Brazil v Switzerland  7pm


World Cup Day Three Fixtures

June 16, 2018

After yesterday’s glorious thrust and counter thrust of the Iberian derby, what delights will 4 game Saturday hold for us on day 3 of the 2018 World Cup?

Saturday June 16

Hors D’Ouevres
France v Australia  Group C
Kazan 11am (UK) BBC

Fish Course
Argentina v Iceland Group D
Moscow 2pm (UK) ITV

Main (Seal Flipper Pie)
Peru v Denmark Group C
Saransk 5pm (UK) BBC

Croatia v Nigeria (D)
Kaliningrad 8pm (UK) ITV

World Cup 2018 — Group Game Timetable.

June 13, 2018

The 2018 World Cup in Russia is now upon us with the first game between Russia and Saudi Arabia kicking off at 6:00am on Thursday June 18th. With so many games to watch I created my own WC timetable for the group games.

Here is a copy.

My personal level of excitement is very low but I love watching football and given that in Canada and the -5 hour time difference with the UK it will make it a little easier to watch.

The group games are usually the dullest with so many having next to zero chance of advancing to the knock out games.

England should advance with little trouble but as yet I have not bothered to see who in the final 16 teams they will potentially face.

Written by GunnerN5

Emery’s Arsenal target: to be City light

June 12, 2018

You know the expression: “aim for the stars,  and see what happens”.

Well, in terms of style, and more importantly goal difference, it’s only City that dwell in the heavenly kingdom above. They represent the lofty ambitions of all other sides in England. We know that some other side in Manchester will attempt to overthrow their neighbours by adopting a more pragmatic approach, however The Arsenal  has been trained in a better school than that.

I know, we don’t have their deep pockets, but let’s get over that particular triviality and set out our stall to emulate the footballing ethos of attack, a lot, and score, a lot (their GD was 79, to the closest of Liverpool on 46!!!).

I just googled their formation and discovered that their cunning manager appears to deploy more than one pattern, and there have I been, cleverly or so I thought, building my Arsenal around a Mesut Ozil.

Interestingly, that De Bruyne fellow appears both central and wider depending on game, and I also noticed how in their line up against Barca, they went for a 4-1-4-1 set up, whereas against lesser mortals in the league we often saw a 4-2-1-3 (4-2-3-1) deal. In amongst that 2 in the defensive midfield area, that clever Pep fella also used two systems there as well.  Either the doubled up tough guys, or the one toughster and one more up and down.

In short, I’m now beginning to think there may be something in this tactical bollocks thing after all.


Which Midfielder needs to Leave??

June 8, 2018

We have signed a man at the end of his career and one whose career has yet to start. Welcome both the Swiss fellow and the French chap.

We need to trim the squad. Starting with midfield, who gets sold?

One or more of Wilshire, Ramsey, Iwobi or Xhaka.

Xhaka? Towards the end of the season Xhaka showed he is becoming accustomed to the PL. He is a vital part of the team, a player who controls the pace of the midfield. He no longer gets red cards for stupid tackles but is more considered in his work. Definitely a keeper and next season could be a when we see his true quality. A big WC and his value will rocket. We need him to stay until M-N flowers.

Wilshire? His reluctance to sign his contract is worrying but should we keep him even if he is willing to sign? Jack is a proper Gooner who has been at the club since childhood, it would be sad if he moved on but his play is simply not good enough to get us to a Top 4 place. I ask this question … would JW get into any of the 5 teams above us? The answer is No. So, he has to go.

Ramsey? You know he is one of my favourite players but does he fit into the current squad? Not really. He is a wonderful player with all the attributes for a dynamic midfielder but he just doesn’t fit with Ozil and, for me, the team has to work around Mesut as it did around DB10. If Aaron hasn’t signed a contract extension by mid-July then he has to go. We should sell him whilst he still has a value. If he signs, and it is a big IF, will he be happy playing a bit-part? I doubt it.. If he goes, we will be losing  a man who has scored two winning FAC goals. It would be a sad but necessary loss.

Iwobi? Has tremendous potential but can he achieve it? Can he do so at AFC where he will not, for the time being, be a first choice player?  Lack of true pace is his problem because he has all the other skills needed to be a fine attacking MF. Another who could have a big WC. We have to keep him.

Would it be to the detriment of the squad if both JW and AR left? Of course it would – they are both International quality players but Arsenal are no longer a Wenger team and perhaps these men are part of our past, not our future.

I could be wrong but I very much doubt both will be at Arsenal come August.

written by Big Raddy


Arsenals Top Season 2003-2004 Step up – Arsene Wenger’s Invincibles

June 6, 2018

They are the only team to go unbeaten for a complete season since Preston North End went unbeaten in the inaugural season of the Football League in 1889 with a record of P22, W18, D4, L0, GF74, GA15, Pts58.

In retaining the Premier League Championship in 2001/02, Arsenal had earlier equalled Preston North End’s record of going unbeaten away for the entire season by beating Manchester United 0-1 at Old Trafford in our final away game. Perhaps it was this outstanding achievement which prompted Arsene Wenger’s outrageous prediction in September 2002 that his side could go a whole season unbeaten – the journos and footballing establishment mocked such a claim.

The ‘Comical’ jibe plus beret were a reference to an Iraqi Information minister at the time

Arsene only used 22 players in the whole season with Jens Lehmann playing in all 38 games – which included 15 shut outs.

Although he performed well throughout the 2002/03 season, long-serving keeper David Seaman was released at the end of the campaign. Arsenal brought in Jens Lehmann from Borussia Dortmund for a mere £1.5 million – a steal, considering just how important he would be for Arsenal over the next 12 months. Due to building the Emirates there were no big-name signings; club captain Patrick Vieira signed a new contract in the face of strong interest from Manchester United, Chelsea, and Real Madrid. With Arsene not make any big changes to the squad, and with no major departures, Arsenal started the season with the same group of players as the previous season.

The season kicked off with Arsenal in inspired form. A 2-1 home victory over Everton on the opening day was followed up with 4-0 win over Middlesbrough, a 2-0 win over Aston Villa and a 2-1 away victory over David Seaman and Manchester City. With just four games played, Arsenal had already put three points between them and fellow title-chasers Manchester United, leaving them sitting comfortably in first place, having scored ten and conceded just two.

Our unbeaten run came close to ending at Old Trafford in the sixth game of the season when United were awarded a penalty in injury time (no surprise there) but (our least liked player) Ruud van Nistelrooy stepped up and missed the penalty and the match ended tied at 0–0. Tempers boiled over in the game dubbed the ‘Battle of Old Trafford’ following Vieira being given a red card.

October presented a tough schedule with a trip to Anfield and a home game against Chelsea.  Despite falling behind against Liverpool we recovered to win 2-1. Going into the Chelsea game, both sides were level at the top of the table and were also undefeated in the league. The game appeared to be heading for a draw until a Carlo Cudicini blunder saw Thierry Henry give Arsenal the win, bringing an end to Chelsea’s unbeaten run. Despite the fact we had still not lost a poor 0-0 draw against Fulham on Nov 30th gave Chelsea the chance to take over at the top of the table.

At the turn of the year Arsenal had made it half way through the season without tasting defeat in the Premier League and the unbeaten season began to take place: but despite this feat, Arsenal entered 2004 in second place, one point behind leaders Manchester United.

The Gunners’ first game of the year once again ended with a lacklustre draw against Everton, while United secured a victory to increase their lead to three points. Although, things picked up with a dominant 4-1 win over Middlesbrough, which saw us draw level with United on points, goal difference and goals scored. Henry then began a goal scoring run which would see him net in each of the club’s next six games, the second and third of which came against Aston Villa a week later giving Arsenal all three points. Despite a trip to title chasers Chelsea and a visit to Manchester City, February would prove to be one of the best months in the campaign, with five wins in five games.

After 30 games Arsenal had officially beaten the Premier League record of consecutive game without defeat.

The 31st game saw perhaps the game of the season with Thierry Henry scoring a blistering hat trick to beat Liverpool after being 2-1 down at halftime.

Henry beats Dudek having left a trail of prostrate Scouse defenders in his wake

On April 25th we went to White Hart Lane knowing knew that a single point would be enough to end any chance of a late Chelsea comeback. Goals from Vieira and Pirés were enough to secure a 2-2 draw that handed Arsenal the trophy at the home of the North London pretenders with four games to spare.

We saw out the final month of Premier League action comfortably, with a bore draw against Birmingham City followed up with a 1-1 draw at Portsmouth and a 1-0 victory over Fulham. Despite going behind in their final game against Leicester City, Arsenal bossed the second-half, claiming victory thanks to goals from Henry and Vieira.

After Arsenal completed the only 38-match season unbeaten, the Premier League commissioned a unique gold trophy to commemorate the achievement. Arsène Wenger was presented the trophy as a parting gift from the club after his last home game as manager on 6 May 2018.

 Written by GunnerN5



Build it around Mesut, Unai, or I storm the bridge

June 4, 2018
Brace yourselves as I’m in new territory here as far as post writing is concerned. Two reasons: yesterday I finished a book which is relevant, and unbelievably, I’ve just done seven minutes of research.
The book: Art of Learning. This is about an American fella called Josh Waitzkin. From being a chess prodigy, he quit the game at twenty three, took up a form of Tai Chi, and went on to become world champion. It is a highly illuminating and in depth analysis of the competitive psyche, and I recommend it.
While reading, it made me think about Mesut Ozil. 
Waitzkin talks about the fine margins that define the difference between competitors at the very highest levels of any discipline/sport. Part of that difference is the recognition that you cannot operate at peak performance at all times, and true champions know how to operate at a higher level for most of the time and elevate to peak level for short but decisive moments. This is Mesut Ozil.
Now the research bit. This morning I googled the Low German World Cup team formations and then did ditto for the Unai PSG sides, as I wanted to understand how and where Mesut was likely to fit in.
For Germany Mesut plays central of a three behind a lone striker.  These three operate in front of the rock steady pair of Khedira and Kroos.
Next up, Unai’s PSG. Here we see a temptation to play a deeper anchor midfielder with two in front. Can’t do this as you end up with the awful box to box headless chicken runners stuff. Happily, many google images of the Emery PSG line ups show the more Germanic set up with the two, which of course, is what any sensible manager would do to optimise The Mesut Ozil.
Arsene understood that creative genius is an essential component to the art of football, and even the more pragmatic Germans realise that a Mozart needs someone to build the concert hall.
Written by MickyDidIt89

When will we see The Emery Effect?

June 2, 2018

Just won our first trophy of the new season as Beth Mead was voted England’s Women’s Young Player of the Year. Well played Beth.

It is early days in the transfer market. It will be a very busy few weeks as the transfer period has been shortened to conclude on Aug 9th instead of Aug 31st, plus few players will be willing to discuss moving clubs during the World Cup.

We have discussed at length the needs of the team though Emery may well disagree. Do you think it was the new manager who decided the shirt numbers? If so, Cech is our Number One and my hopes of us signing a top quality young GK will be dashed. Perhaps the young GK’s at Arsenal are considered to be good enough to step up the the first team.

How will Emery assess the strength of the squad without actually working with them? He will not get the chance until after the WC and the player’s holiday time. I doubt we will see the Emery effect until after Xmas.


Anyone who watched the France vs Italy game last night will have seen why Lacazette is not in their final 23. Two teenage front men whose combined transfer fees are €400m (yes – €400m) were frighteningly good. Lemar got a short kickabout and our former target looks top quality, though whether he is worth €100m is doubtful. I can see France winning the WC playing some wonderful attacking football, if they don’t it will be due to crap management.

Not much going on, hence the randomness (is that a word) of the post!

written by Big Raddy