A Tough Early Evening Up North..

We should start today’s post by saying farewell to Mr Hill-Wood, a true Arsenal stalwart and the last of the traditional Arsenal men. His father, Dennis, was AFC chairman which means that Peter was born into an Arsenal family. He was involved in bringing George Graham, David Dein and Arsene Wenger into the club. On a personal note, as a teenager I washed cars on Sundays in Hampstead Garden Suburb and HW was one of my customers!

He needs his own post as Mr Hill Wood has been hugely influential in the development of AFC into the monster it is today.  One for GN5, I think.

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Two AFC Greats

Tough game today. Hands up who thinks we can even get a point. Not many of you. My hands were firmly on the keyboard.

In yesterdays post, GN5 highlighted our miserable PL record at Anfield. Apart from one very significant game in 1989, it has not been a happy hunting ground. And we go into the game suffering a serious depletion in available players with Ozil the latest to be unavailable.

Ozil. Knee knack? I thought Emery said his substitution at half time vs Brighton was tactical. What do you believe?

But Ozil-gate is for another day.

Can Arsenal reproduce the fine performance of Liverpool at home? A game we should have won (yet another). If, a huge if, we have a couple of returning defenders we have a chance, but this is unlikely. The biggest loss is Bellerin. Against a side blessed with pace we will struggle, especially against Mane and Salah.

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Liverpool’s defence is the best in the PL, a testament to their buying policy (Red Arnie). A winning team has a quality defence, witness GG and early AW, Klopp’s team play flowing attacking football based upon a very athletic, dynamic back 5. It works.

An example of the excellence of Liverpool’s current policy of spend, spend spend is that of Shaqiri. They have a very similar player in The Ox, who cost over €30m, Ox gets crocked for a season and L’pool buy a costly short-term replacement. Will Arsenal  do the same for Holding and Welbeck? I doubt it.

Can they win the PL? I hope not as it will cost me a fish 🐟.

Can we afford to play both PEA and Laca in this game? I would but I believe that attack is the best form of defence (once said to me by the Spurs legend Dave Mackay). Laca can be played a little deeper and take the Ozil role.

My Team:

Bent

Licht    Greek Bloke   Koscielny

Curly   Xhaka   Terrier   Wardrobe

Ramsey

Lacazette   PEA

This requires the old Swiss FB to spend much of his time in his own half and not play the over-lapping FB role. He hasn’t got the legs anymore. AMN (Cons) is a possible but he hasn’t the experience or the black arts of Lichtsteiner. However, this team is lop-sided and perhaps AMN would add some right side threat. Otherwise Ramsey will have to do so.

If we get a point it will be a victory. 3 would be heroic.

COYRRG

 

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101 Responses to A Tough Early Evening Up North..

  1. VP of Oz says:

    another great post, thank you
    4:30am kick-off, a perfect start to a lazy Sunday morning.
    COYG!!!!

    PS: shame that Ellyse Perry was not batting with Cummins

  2. chas says:

    Flippin excellent postage.

    My expectations are fairly low for today, so I’m hoping they will be wildly exceeded. 😊

    Are we allowed the banner? It has the tiniest crest on Her Madge’s hat!

  3. LB says:

    Thanks BR

    I know that is the best side we can muster up there, I can’t think of anything better, but it does look week as a fortnight and as unbalanced as a sinking ship.

    Only one thing for it……………………COYRRG

  4. Big Raddy says:

    chas. I need a new banner. Could we use a pic of Raddy or will the shitehawks complain?

  5. mickydidit89 says:

    Thanks Erik

    The bottom doth squeak a little at the thought of today’s game.

    Wow, our forces are depleted aren’t they. Yikes

    Last of christmas visitors left this morning, hooray, and I never want to see meat again. Out for some stiff exercise, then into a vigorous pre-match routine.

    Will Unai start both Auba and Laca, or drop one in favour of Iwobi? I’d play the two goalscorers every time

  6. Red Arnie says:

    Thank you, Raddy. 😀 Brilliant as ever.

    My hands are up. Both hands. COYG

  7. Red Arnie says:

    RIP Hill-Wood

  8. Rasp says:

    Great work once again Raddy, thanks

    As usual, you sum it up perfectly. I’m not sure I want to watch the game. I’d rather we won and you keep your fish 🙂

  9. GunnerN5 says:

    Excellent work Raddy,

    My expectations are extremely low and a win today would be a real footballing miracle. This is the best Liverpool team since their teams of the 70s & 80s – during a 15 year period from 1973 to 1988 they won 10 league championships.

    But I also believe that we deserve a miracle…………

  10. GunnerN5 says:

    I just realized that it was the Arsenal miracle on May 26, 1989 that stopped Liverpool making it 11 league championships in 16 seasons…………………so all is possible…………..just saying.

  11. RA says:

    Good afternoon, everyone.

    A very, very good pre-match Post, Raddy.

    RIP AFC Chairman, Peter Hill-Wood, son of Denis Hill-Wood, and the grandson of Samuel Hill-Wood.

    The Hill-Woods are a family steeped in Arsenal history, and although also wealthy in his own right it seems an irony that Peter having ‘gifted’ David Dein with his Arsenal shares for a rumoured, lowly £250,000 he could only watch as Dein, Fizman and Kroenke made a multi-million killing as the share values then escalated with the influx of Russian and Oil monies.

    I have no illusions over the difficulty Arsenal will have in matching ‘Pool this evening, but some games you know the team are probably not going to win, and with ‘Pool already threatening the Invincibles’ record, our chances of a shock win or a welcome draw, do not look too likely.

  12. LBG says:

    So it’s heroism for me, and you lot of negative realists can go boil your heads!

  13. Big Raddy says:

    Boil my head? Can it wait until after we have won the Champions League?

  14. chas says:

    Top banner, Rasp!

  15. chas says:

    Fantastic commentary!

  16. chas says:

  17. mickydidit89 says:

    After alot of fresh air, I’m quite looking forward to the game now

    Smash and grab has to be the theme. Lots of players behind the ball, with Granit or Ouzi to pop one over the top to Laca or Auba.

    Bosh, 1-0.

    It won’t be pretty, but parking the bus we must 🙂

  18. chas says:

  19. fatgingergooner says:

    Expecting a similar line up to the one that went away to Bournemouth ie legs all over the pitch.

    Leno
    Sokratis Koscielny Xhaka
    AMN Torreira Geundouzi Kolasinac
    Ramsey Iwobi
    Auba

    I think AMN might get the nod over Lich due to his extra pace but maybe Lich experience will come into it. Wouldn’t surprise me at all if Iwobi and Ramsey start in place of Laca and Özil as I think Emery will want runners to match Liverpool’s energy.

    Unfortunately, I don’t see much other than a defeat regardless of who we start with. I just think Liverpool have far more to play for than us and are much further along in development terms than we are. They have cover for their injuries whereas ours seem to involve a reshuffle at the moment.

  20. chas says:

    No match report from me, chaps.

    Off out for the evening and will unfortunately miss the match.

  21. chas says:

  22. LB says:

    It never ceases to amaze me how from a bag a shite Emery seems to be able to cobble something that makes sense together.

  23. fatgingergooner says:

    Well it’s been crosses that have undone us recently, so maybe against a small Liverpool side we won’t have to worry about that. However, the line up is as predicted, with legs in midfield and down the sides, and that suggests we are going to press and try to win the ball back deep in their half. The only problem with that is it means a high line for our defence and we’ve seen a few balls over the top cause us problems recently as well. Hopefully the inclusion of Mustafi will mean a better line of communication between keeper and back 3 and hopefully Lichtsteiner doesn’t have a shocker like he did at Brighton.

    If we can win the ball back in their half then we have a chance to score a couple. I just worry how many we will concede.

    Spurs losing home to Wolves….

  24. mickydidit89 says:

    Chas

    Sorry to hear you’ve been ill

    Serves you right for exposing yourself to the general public 🙂

  25. LB says:

    Wooo, starting to like this day

  26. mickydidit89 says:

    ha ha ha, thanks for that FGG

    Totnum 1-3 down at home

    Brightened my day considerably 🙂

  27. Red Arnie says:

    onwards … COYG

    realists? Nay. footie fandom is not about realism, but diehard optimism. IMO. 🙂

  28. Red Arnie says:

    welcome back, Micky. 🙂 Yes 1-3 looks good, and these are early days. Shittu are shiite, Chavs are iffy.

    Pool will start dropping points soon as well, I have a feeling from tonight itself. :).

  29. mickydidit89 says:

    Agree with all that Arnie. Emery demands 100%, and that can always earn anyone a cheeky win

    Saw the other day Everton scored five and that they only had five shots on target.

  30. Rasp says:

    Come on YRRG …. give me a present

  31. fatgingergooner says:

    Apologies for the depressing realism! Hope I’m sadly mistaken. 4 at the back is interesting. I guess to counter their full backs but straight away they’ve got a decent cross in.

    I hate this call on commentary to ‘pump it long’ as if playing around the back isn’t worth the risk. So British and negative. The whole point of playing from the back is to draw the opposition on and create space if you get out. Certainly worth the risk and these players should be good enough to execute.

  32. mickydidit89 says:

    Clean sheet so far, so all going according to plan 🙂

  33. fatgingergooner says:

    Nick the ball, score a goal!!!!

    Get in!!!!

  34. Aaron says:

    Iwobi and AMN!

  35. VP of Oz says:

    Maybe it could be…

  36. VP of Oz says:

    You f$&kin little beauty!!!

  37. fatgingergooner says:

    Oh dear. Tragic defending.

  38. fred1266 says:

  39. fatgingergooner says:

    I didn’t think we could defend worse. Wow. Oh dear.

  40. fatgingergooner says:

    Cringe

  41. Aaron says:

    firmino walked in both times. Not good.

  42. fatgingergooner says:

    Goals for us in this game, but scary how many goals they could score as well.

  43. Big Raddy says:

    Just when I had some hope

    Good game though

  44. Aaron says:

    Keep going at robertson, get that guy sent off AMN.

  45. fatgingergooner says:

    Settled well after that set back. Whilst only 1 behind we are in the game. Liverpool not as sharp as they usually are.

  46. fatgingergooner says:

    I’m going to stop talking.

  47. Big Raddy says:

    Our defence is so porous. This could get ugly.

  48. Aaron says:

    fgg, I know what you mean. The Arsenal were passing it around from the back nicely, moving pool around then bam…
    Just need to buy a few proper defenders in the next 2 windows.

  49. fatgingergooner says:

    Embarrassing BR,but surely we knew that coming in. We’ve not helped ourselves at all.

  50. fatgingergooner says:

    It hasn’t affected the score, but the refs been a joke. Given them everything so far.

  51. VP of Oz says:

    Why? You know he will fall on any touch

  52. fatgingergooner says:

    And just to prove my point, a nice penalty. Joker

  53. VP of Oz says:

    Why? When you know he will fall on any touch

  54. Aaron says:

    oliver is paid off. Again the Arsenal get taken to the cleaners on a dive.

  55. Big Raddy says:

    Salah dives and gets another soft penalty but why was Sokratis getting so close?

    Pleased for Chas that he isn’t watching this.

    I blame the kit.

  56. Big Raddy says:

    At least Spurs lost at home 😀 😀

  57. Red Arnie says:

    Gutted. I blame the kit as well.

    Shocking dive

  58. Red Arnie says:

    Gutted. I blame the kit as well.

    Shocking dive. Very poor

  59. fatgingergooner says:

    Where in the Arsenal handbook does it say that conceding a crap goal away at Liverpool means you have to concede 3 more in the next 30 minutes? We are so weak.

    I can’t wait for us to hit the summer and be able to buy and sell. Some of these players won’t be here next year. Emery needs to get some authoritative players in this side.

    As for Sokratis kicking off, whilst I’d love to see someone snap Salah’s legs second half, he’s only got himself to blame for making a stupid tackle, however soft. The defenders have been an absolute joke. Worst thing is, we have nobody to replace them. Would Koscielny do any better these days? I doubt it.

  60. mickydidit89 says:

    Yip, I’ll join you. It’s the kit 🙄

  61. mickydidit89 says:

    Hey Arnie,

    Aren’t you beginning to thing Erik had a point afterall. You know the one, about spending shitloads of other people’s money 🙂

  62. fatgingergooner says:

    The way Emery talked about the side after the Brighton game (I think), I get the impression he’s still very much assessing the currrnt squad. I can only imagine that he will look to make changes in the near future based on what he’s seeing at the moment.

  63. mickydidit89 says:

    Oh God, it’s started again!

  64. Big Raddy says:

    FFS Auba. Even my Granny could have scored that

  65. Aaron says:

    Does not matter as long as oliver can get his whistle into it. Not like pool need any help they are playing well at the moment.

  66. mickydidit89 says:

    can we go yet?

  67. fatgingergooner says:

    Referee is awesome.

  68. Big Raddy says:

    Oliver is a joke referee. 2 non-pens given. And two scored.

  69. fatgingergooner says:

    If we don’t include the goals we have them and the pens it’s 1-1! 😂

  70. fatgingergooner says:

    Well, I’ve turned off with 20 minutes to go.

  71. mickydidit89 says:

    I just going outside. I may be a while 🙂

  72. Oh my goodness …… and it started so well. I do wish we knew how to defend, it’s kinda embarrassing

  73. Aaron says:

    Will not be a popular view on here: sell all our scorers-Auba Laca and anybody else who has some value, Mustafi, Bel, Sead, Iwobi, and Xhaka, I do not care how much for, and let Emery rebuild the defense and midfield properly.

  74. Gööner In Exile says:

    2 non pens or not we have been garbage.

    How we can get beaten so easily by a ball over the top is disgraceful. Stopped pressing, stopped passing, stopped working.

    We will be lucky to get 5th the way he have played lately. How have we gone from a side that nearly beat (and probably matched them pass for pass and tackle for tackle) Liverpool in early November, is falling away so easily in late December?

    Nov…………………Dec
    Leno……………….Leno
    Bellerin……………Lichsteiner
    Mustafi……………Mustafi
    Holding……………Sokratis
    Kolasniac………..Kolasniac
    Torreira……………Torreira
    Xhaka……………..Xhaka
    Mikhi……………….Maitland-Niles
    Ozil…………………Ramsey
    PEA………………..Iwobi
    Laca………………..PEA

    Wouldn’t say there is much difference at the back,but the front line currently offers so little threat compared to the one that started in November that Liverpool could just forget about having to hold anyone back and could concentrate on attacking.

    Oh and as others have done recently, bypassed the centre of midfield.

  75. fatgingergooner says:

    A reminder of the gap between us and the top sides. Referee didn’t help but was no excuse for the non-penalty goals we conceded. We need CB’s, we need authority, and we need squad depth.

    We don’t currently own a top 4 defender or GK. That’s a scary thought.

  76. LB says:

    Let’s weigh up the positives and the negatives of that game:

    The positives: Maitland-Niles scored his first goal and his confidence soared.

    The negatives: everything else……………..

    Shall we all hide behind the Emery will need a few seasons to get the team that he wants?

    Makes sense to me………………..

  77. fatgingergooner says:

    Aaron,

    My view a year or so ago was that the £50m for Bellerin was big money. Get £30m for Özil and suddenly you have money for a new defence and you’ve got rid of one of the big question marks within our team (Özil).

    A proper side is built from the back and that’s what we need. Sign Maguire and De Ligt and we are one of the best teams in Europe again.

  78. Can’t the defenders just be coached to defend better?

    And another thing ….. how can we be so rubbish at winning the ball back? I watched us against spuds when we thrashed them and they hardly had a sniff of possession ……. where’s that gone? Liverpool managed to walk through us as if we weren’t there.

  79. GunnerN5 says:

    We went to Anfield hoping for a miracle – instead we got mugged!!!

    Game summary.

    We went ahead on a wonderful opportunists goal and then our defence took charge.

  80. fatgingergooner says:

    Not at 25+ years of age Peaches. They tend to be as good as they are going to get by that stage, so having a 26 year old, 30 year old and 33 year old at the back who are not really good enough is a real problem. If you stick a proper CB in between them like Liverpool have done with Van Dijk then you have a chance, but we haven’t done that. Also, if you have an unbelievable defensive midfield or some fantastic full backs then you have a chance, but we don’t have that either! We are capable against 95% of sides, but we are still lacking against the very best….exactly the position where Wenger left us.

    The best we can hope for this season is an improved mentality and hopefully a cup trophy.

  81. Aaron says:

    Saying in the US, american football analogy- “speed kills”, and the Arsenal defense has none.

  82. GunnerN5 says:

    The January transfer window will tell us the story of Arsenal’s future. Money talks and opportunistic buys are few and far between. We need to spend to splash the cash on our defense, right now I question if any of them re of the caliber required in today’s premier league.

    Today was an embarrassing comedy of schoolboy errors, lets not sink so low as to criticize the referee for the two penalties we need to look at the perpetrators and question their abilities.

    Instinctively I knew it was going to be a poor result but I’m shocked at how bad we were.

  83. fatgingergooner says:

    GN5,

    If you are looking to January for a saviour then I fear you will be disappointed. It’s a poor win down and one where it’s rare to find quality additions.

  84. But that proper centre back FGG does not leave a lot of change from the £80m you raised selling Hector and Ozil, and also takes two of our best players out of the squad.

    So what do we really gain.

    People can question his work rate all they like, but our side without Ozil has very little to shout about, he makes the game tick

    Also finding Lacazette on the bench so regularly is also frustrating, as PEA just simply does not offer enough as an out and out centre forward who can bring the rest of the team into the game.

  85. Aaron says:

    GN5,
    I hear you on the referee’s comment, but if I see oliver, dean or any other clown that has been proven statistically to be biased against the Arsenal on the game sheet, than I will call it as I see it.

    I will stick with my statement above, Emery needs to start buying in January, at least 1 defender, and 2 defenders or 1 cb and 1 midfielder more in the summer or he will be in for a brutal 2019, as will we.

  86. GunnerN5 says:

    FGG,

    You misunderstand my comment.

    This season is a write off, my comment was related to our future and I’m hoping (maybe foolishly) that the window will give us a glimpse of the clubs intentions.

    Kronke is known as a cheapskate who is averse to spending any money outside of the clubs budget. If that is going to be his ongoing position then we will become a very forgettable also ran.

    We are now in an era where the high quality players demand huge sums and it’s only the owners who are willing to make big gambles that will reap the rewards.

    Frankly I fear for our future – mid table mediocrity seems more likely
    than not.

  87. fatgingergooner says:

    GN5,

    In 2”17 there were many media stories about Kroenkes other sports teams. This year:-

    LA Rams won their division and are 2nd favourites for the Super Bowl in the NFL. They’ve spent the majority of their budget in comparison to the other sides.

    Denver Nuggets are winning their league at the moment in the NBA. 1st of 15 teams after 22 games.

    Colorado Avelanche are 3rd in their division in the NHL after 38 games.

  88. fatgingergooner says:

    GiE,

    2 of our best players? Really? On paper maybe, but in reality not so much. Özil is a fabulous player on his day, but he’s a problem we do not need or deserve at the moment. We are not good enough to carry him at his worst and he’s not good enough to win us games when we do not perform at our best. He wouldn’t have improved the score today and that says it all for me. Take the money and buy a player who can improve us. As for Bellerin, if Barca were genuinely looking to pay £50m plus then we should’ve bitten their arm off. RB’s are not that difficult to find and are not worth that much money. We need to improve the middle of the defence before we can move forward.

  89. Big Raddy says:

    Mustafi and Sokratis are our first choice CB’s. Are Bellerin and Nacho really going to make such a difference to this defence?

    The two penalties were joke but everyone knows Salah will fall over and that referees give pens at Anfield. Also, we said that Sokratis cannot continue to tackle like he does without being penalised, today he was.

    I don’t think 5-1 reflected the game, we weren’t that bad nor were L’pool that good; they just got the breaks.

    FGG. I cannot agree about selling Bellerin, his absence is proving costly.

    Would Ozil have made a difference? No. This is exactly the sort of game where he goes missing.

  90. Big Raddy says:

    I think this is a perfect moment for a Mugabe Lockdown. This game didn’t exist.

  91. fatgingergooner says:

    BR,
    If the stupid money of £50m was on the table (rumours, I know) then we could easily buy a decent RB for half of that. Wan-Bissaka for example has been Palaces best player this season and would cost less than that. We could easily sign a RB and use the extra cash to strengthen. I don’t think Bellerin is that good, certainly not defensively, and we only miss him because we have nothing else.

  92. oz gunner says:

    I know we got belted anyway but jesus those two penalties were atrocious. Makes me not want to watch games when two dives are rewarded and the commentators go on immediate rants about how the ref was correct in an effort to immediately quell any argument. The pushing and pulling that takes place in the penalty boxes has been a focus for a couple of seasons now but it has made the game worse, now defenders are flopping around like forwards. Lovren diving like that is a disgrace. He should be marched back to Croatia, stripped in the town square and whipped for his crime against football.

    Dejavu for Arsenal. Same shit for over 10 years now. Show glimpses of good form and pressing one game, and then we become sloppy and lazy. Someone bottle some ticker instead of this pathetic “I’ll show up when I want” attitude.

    Play Aubam and Laca together for christ sake!

    Ozil, pull your head out of your arse. Sell both he and Ramsey in Jan and get people that actually want to play for Arsenal.

  93. Gööner In Exile says:

    FGG if Hector and played today Liverpool have more to think about, Robertson could spend most of the game in our half, we offered nothing of threat down there.

    And whilst Ozil might of hidden did Ramsey do anything? What Ozil would have done is provided Liverpool midfielders with a question, should I leave him, should I follow him, can I cut supply, should I wait. He would have also shown for the ball in different areas and I expect Xhaka and atorreira to be able to find him, and whilst PEA is our top scorer he has actually had a lot of tap ins, he contributes very little to the shape of our play going forward, I can’t understsnd why Laca who works far harder than PEA is left out, if work rate is one of Emery’s requirements?

    Point is it’s a difficult juggling match, it’s easy to say right backs don’t cost a lot but it’s not true, that’s why we have Lichsteiner and Jenkinson as back up and City have Kyle Walker. Same with Centre Backs and every other position, you want to build a title winning squad you have two options, spend £300m+ like City do, or do what Liverpool have done and build a squad through good acquisitions and splash cash on last few players to complete your jigsaw, but it’s taken Klopp 3 seasons to get the side playing how he wants and now title contenders. He had time as Liverpool have been out of contention for so long, there was a little more understanding.

  94. chas says:

  95. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    Chas didn’t watch it, LB’s gone underground and BR has nothing to say.

    Does anyone want to write comment which we can make into a post or shall we have a quiet day?

  96. chas says:

    I was thinking of writing a homage to June Whitfield

  97. chas says:

    I could cut a few tweets together if you like

  98. chas says:

    Do you think the ref or the kit were more to blame?

  99. Big Raddy says:

    Having given the matter much consideration I would say both but with the emphasis upon the kit

    A few comments would be great

  100. chas says:

    NEW POST (hardly better than nothing, but there you go)

  101. Rasp says:

    Morning all, forget the scoreline, we were second best yesterday.

    We and City have both been badly affected by injuries in key areas. It is clear we don’t have the personnel to play the way UE wants. I suppose he could have been pragmatic and used the players he has to best effect, but we have lacked identity as a side for years now, so I back him to bring together a team (eventually) that will play the way he wants.

    I think we will bring in one or two players in January, but they won’t be top notch … just the sort of guys who will be good squad players when we have the inevitable clear out in the summer.

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