Arsenal Player Ratings vs S’ton

December 17, 2018

Run over. Disappointing performnce done. Emery had severe selection problems. Let’s move on …

But before we do here are some purely subjective player ratings:

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Leno: Despite GIE’s fine disclaimer, I think Leno could and should have done better with the goals. Made one fine save.      5

Bellerin: A costly injury to a player who has done well this season. Could have got closer to the crosser for S’ton’s first goal    5

Lichtsteiner. Not good. Despite his vast experience he was continually caught out. S’ton are not blesssed with great attackers but the defence allowed them to score 3 headers.    4

Koscielny. Love the bloke but he had a shocker. I know there are many excuses/reasons but nonetheless we can only judge on his afternoon’s work    3

Xhaka. Not a Swiss Army knife. He is no full back nor is he a CB. Did his best – it wasn’t good enough   4

Monreal. One of hhis worst ever games. Apart from the cross for Mhiki’s first he contributed little to attack and was absent too often in defence    4

Guendouzi.  Ran about a lot. As yet  not a creative MF, and we needed one.    5

Terrier. As usual he took a kicking which the referee allowed. Probably our best player.   6

Iwobi. Started well, faded rapidly.  A poor performance from a man who needs a goal to bolster his confidence    3

Mhiki.  Scored twice which raises his rating from a 4 to a     6

Auba.  Well marsalled but had chances.  Worked hard.     5

Subs.   AMN. Caught napping for S’ton’s winner (according to some)     4

Ozil.  Played too high up the pitch to influence. Some delightful flicks     5

Laca. Busy.    5

Mr. Emery. Given the lack of available defenders he was always struggling but I felt his choice of Duozi in midfield and Xhaka at the back caused us problems. We never managed to gain control in midfield  nor did we have players to create chances for PEA (apart from an early long ball from Douzi).. Was he keeping players back for the midweek Spurs game. It was obvious that S’ton with Ings and Austin would try to score from crosses so why not play a Back 4?   4

The run had to end but it should not have done at team who had yet to win at home this season.

written by Big Raddy

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Pre-Match & Our away record against the Saints

December 16, 2018

A double dose today; our away stats from the ever accurate GN5 followed by a gentle pre-match from Raddy.

Our first game against The Saints was at home in the FA Cup on March 26, 1927 and ended in a 2-1 victory for Arsenal, incredibly we never played them again until we met in  Division 1 game at home on December 26, 1966 (39 years later) and then played them again the very next day.

Premier League away record

Overall league away record

Football – 1991 / 1992 First Division – Southampton 0 Arsenal 4. David Rocastle of Arsenal celebrates with goalscorer Ian Wright, at The Dell. Wright scored a hat trick on what was his Arsenal league debut. 28/09/1991

The Saints have proven to be very difficult for Arsenal to beat at St. Mary’s, our record in the last 8 games being W2, D4, L2, GF8, GA11.

So far 2018/19 has been a tough campaign for The Saints they have won just one game, away to Crystal Palace, their home record is a miserable W0, D5, L2, GF6, GA10. Their last home game was on December 1st and Manchester U was fortunate to come away with a 2-2 draw.

I leave it up to the pundits to pick a winner but it could be a tricky game.

Historic Southampton Trivia

  1. God’s House Tower, on the corner of Town Quay, Lower Canal Walk and Platform Road, was the first dedicated artillery fortification built in England. It was constructed in 1417, as part of the drive to fortify Southampton following the French raids some 80 years earlier. The town gunner was paid sixpence a week.
  2. The Central Parks in Southampton were common land (Lammas lands) for residents of the medieval town, and used for cultivation up until August each year, when they were then used for grazing cattle. The bell on the top of the Bargate was used to alert those working in the fields when to return inside the town walls. The parks were made into the green leisure spaces enjoyed by many today, in the mid 1800s and the cricket pitches in Hoglands Park have been used almost continuously since 1867.                                                      
  3. Southampton played a major role in the success of fish fingers. Clarence Birdseye tested herring sticks and cod sticks on shoppers in Southampton and South Wales. The Southampton customers loved the cod sticks, which then became known as fish fingers and rolled out across the country.

 

Enjoy the game and let’s see if they can make it 23 games in a row unbeaten.

GunnerN5

St. Mary’s has been a mixed bag over the years, as you can see from GN5’s stats. I recall the days of Laurie McMenemy, Mick Channon, Le Tiss and a very curly Kevin Keegan. No such stars there any more. I wonder of Le Tiss, who was a footballing genius, would have stayed at STFC had he been playing today.

Southampton are struggling, having been Mark Hughes’ed over the recent past; how he gets work is incredible. Their new manager is another German import, David Wagner, and we must hope AFC do not suffer from S’ton’s efforts to impress their new chap.

BTW never liked Shane Long, he looks too much like a haddock in my opinion.

S’ton haven’t won a game in ages, we haven’t lost in ages. Worrying isn’t it?

It will be a makeshift defence but the reurn of Kos and Nacho is timely. Ramsey will surely start.

My Team:

Bent

Catwalk   Kos   Nacho   Wardrobe

Ramsey  Terrier   Xhaka

Ozil

Laca   PEA

There is little chance that I have predicted the team – Mr. Emery confounds us all. AMN could start, so could Wobbly or Mhiki or the Swiss fella.

Given the form of the teams above us it is imperative Arsenal maintain their unbeaten run.

Let it Be So

written by Big Raddy

 


Alternative Qarabag – exciting prospects give us a glimpse of the future?

December 15, 2018

As things stand we have very few options on the right: Ramsey and Ozil have been deployed out there with very little success; I mean what’s the point in tasking Ozil with tracking back and worse, what a waste? Ramsey is slightly better in the sense that he is more naturally aware of what is expected from someone playing in that position but with all the best will in the world, his main drawback is that he is very slow over the ground and when tracking back with pace is one of the principal yardsticks in which a player is gauged on the flank, the Welshman will always be seen as being lacking. Aubameyang and Lacazette drift out there from time to time but obviously offer no defensive cover or token at best.

Then there is Mkhitaryan, I have read on a few occasions how Henrich seems to be one of Emery’s favourites and is the reason why, on occasions, when it seems to make no sense, he gets the nod ahead of Ozil. I don’t see this at all. In fairness, on the flank, Mkhitaryan does offer something going forward, he does have good close control and does try to track back, certainly does better than any other player that Emery has used in that position, but that is not saying much. And this is where I bring you back to the match you are trying to forget or more than likely had forgotten: Qarabag.

ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images

The most interesting point for me was how Emery deployed AM-N; he started as predicted at LB which, as we know, he can play but as we equally all know, there is so much more in his locker but second half Emery put him wide right and he almost created a goal with his first very exciting foray into the 18 yard box.

I think a lot can be read into this. What is becoming apparent is that Emery loves a mobile player with good close control; the ability to push forward but, above all, the player must be able to defend (did I just describe Torreira?)

You see where I am coming from. If you think about it, AM-N has all of those qualities plus one further special gift: he is fast and when he gets going he is very fast. I expect Emery to play him out there far more in the near future.

A couple of other thoughts: I like the way that Saka is being fast-tracked, yes he is the latest hot young prospect that we are all getting excited about but, hey, what is wrong with that? Cynics point to a long line of players that people like me have got excited about but have fallen short of what was hoped for (I thought Jack Wilshere was the next Maradonna but hey ho we can’t get them all right) However, I would argue that to not to get excited about the next hot thing is to miss out on an incredibly important and uplifting part of supporting a football team.

Photo by Action Foto Sport/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Young Bukayo, only seventeen, started the game naturally nervous, he may have trained with Ozil and Lacazette but playing along side them is understandably going to take some time to get used to. It was noticeable that he got better and better as the game went on and having drunk some of Unai Emery’s half time magic drink he, like every other player at the club, came out in the second half a changed man. It also helped when Lacazette went off and then finally Ozil; the young man was then surrounded by players up front that he is used to playing with on a weekly basis and the reason for him being fast tracked became apparent. The man possesses superb close control and can seemingly go past players at will; he was in the right place at the right time to receive AM-N’s deft cross on the break to leave Saka one on one with the keeper but unfortunately he fluffed his lines and missed. As for when he is likely to break into the first team, hmmm, I wonder if he can defend. If so, then fast tracked really will mean fast tracked.

Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

The last player I want to give a bit of attention to is Zech Medley, still only 18 but as nervous as Saka started, Medley was the absolute opposite; he came on and immediately went to take up his natural central defensive position only to be told by Koscielny to go out to the left, did this make him nervous? Not at all, what we have here is a left footed, tall central defender who can obviously play LB with close control skills that are so good I can’t even think of a comparison. Ohh, and the other reason that he gets a mention above others is that he is one of us, a boyhood Arsenal fan and that will always count for an awful lot in my household. COYRRG.

Written by LB


Qarabag Ratings

December 14, 2018

This is the reason international friendlies never entice – if there’s nothing riding on a game of football, tedium ensues.

First Half

Laca scored a beauty from a Mesut pass.

Laca even had time to do a celebration dance as the ball sped under the keeper

Second Half

I went to bed to read.

Ratings

Everyone got a … 6

except

Laca (for scoring),  Kos (for surviving) and Mesut (for being Mesut) … 7

Qarabag … 2 – so poor they didn’t even try to make it an entertaining game of football even though they had nothing whatsoever to lose.

Comments from AA match attendees

LB

I got the feeling that Ozil wasn’t out there for as long as he was to get important game time but as a kind of sop to us poor souls who braved the cold.

LBG

I can safely say that was a worse game to be at than even the recent 0-0 draw.
Good luck with player ratings. Not one of the youngsters did themselves justice. Sokratis OK, Kos OK Laca frustrated by no service. Mesut reasonable. Ref shit (for a change…ed)

On to Sunday, take your boots if you’re going, you might be needed.

chas


Qarabag. Potential Team Line Up

December 13, 2018

A return to Europa action in front of what could be our lowest attendance for some time. If only 33k turn up for a Spurs CL game, how many will bother paying to watch the kids tonight? That said, I wouldn’t turn up to see Spurs play anyone 😀

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We know who is dropping down from the CL to the Europa: these are the contenders – Club Brugge, Inter Milan, Napoli, Galatasary, Benfica, Shaktar Donesk, Valencia (who just humiliated MU), and Viktoria Pizen.

Of these only Inter, Napoli and Valencia are to be feared, though we have lost to Benfica in the past.

Tonight we will see a return for our Team Captain, Mr. Koscielny. At 33 y.o. and having recuperated from such a chronic injury, I expect him to be unable to recover his former exccellence. Less pace, less stamina, less jumping ability, but more experience. He is an important player but IMO is unlikely to ever be a first choice player again.

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A night for the youngsters who have done so well this season. Smith Rowe (no hyphen) Maitland-Niles (with hyphen), Willock etc  Qarabag have nothing to gain from tonight either so we could see a a very open. attacking game.

My Team

Helmet

Licht   Sokratis  Kos   Corporal Jenks

Douzi   AMN    Elneny

Smith Rowe   Iwobi

Nketiah

Maybe a bit light upfront.

And what of Ozil? I expect him to ride the pine and then come on for the second half, or perhaps start and get subbed. He needs pitch time ahead of S’ton.

Sokratis is banned on the weekend so should start.

A dead rubber (whatever that means!!), nonetheless I expect us to win and continue our unbeaten run

Let it Be So.

 


The Trouble with 3 at the Back

December 11, 2018

The trouble with playing three at the back is that you use up your store of centre backs all too quickly. They either get injured or get extra bookings leading to suspensions.

Let’s face it, they’re not really cut out to cover large amounts of the pitch. All  that extra running will be bound to take its toll eventually.

Perhaps we ought to go to the other extreme and just play one centre back who plays higher up the pitch between the right and left halfs ……. let’s call him a centre half.

How about the full backs as the rear most defenders and the centre half just drops into the back line occasionally. This will leave us exposed on the counter, so the only solution is not letting the opposition have the ball at all. It will also stop the full backs getting forward down the flanks, so perhaps we would need dedicated wing men, perhaps even a left and right winger.

Two attacking midfielders will be essential to keep the pressure on the other team – inside right and inside left? So, starting to look like this ……..

Who could play in this line up?

………………..                               Leno

…………                        Bellerin                   Monreal

…….                    Torreira           Koscielny          Xhaka

Mkhitaryan    Ramsey   Aubameyang      Ozil         Iwobi

There you go, sorted for Southampton. Full out attack for the first half hour. Build a lead and bring Lacazette on for the second half to give Kos a rest in the second half.

Could work, don’t you think?


Centre Half problems and Copa Libertadores

December 10, 2018

Sokratis, Holding, Koscielny, Mustafi, Mavropostolopuslos, Chambers. Who would have thought that we would struggle to find a CB by Xmas?

We have only one available CB for our next PL game at Southampton, Koscielny who hasn’t kicked a ball in anger since the Europa semi-final back in the first week of May. Much will be expected of our Club Captain.

It is strange how we get a slew of injuries in one position. It used to be full back and left back in particular – can you remember Flamini doing so well there?

So what is the solution – do we sign a CB or two in January, do we rely upon our youth players? Do we utilise the dazzling centre half skills of Elneny, Lichtsteiner or Nacho?

We have a couple of fine youth players coming through in Zech Medley and Julio Pleguezuelo. The latter (can’t be arsed to write his name again) came from the Barca academy and has already played for the first team in the Carabao (Blackpool), he is highly rated.

Medley got some minutes at Vorksla, he is only 18 y.o and is 6’5″. Apparently an excellent prospect.

I expect Mr Emery will play Nacho and the Swiss fella at St Mary’s.

Did anyone watch the Copa Libertadores? It was great entertainment, everything one expects from a game between two Argentinian teams. Diving, fake injuries, shit-housery, allied to superb skill, pace, and energy. Both teams would do very well in the PL. The fans were superb and for once the Bernabaeu was rocking.

written by BR