He’s Got No Hair.

May 31, 2019

I am still bruised and angry.

No point whatsoever looking at a one-off game and reaching conclusions about the future of certain players and whether they were responsible for that shitfest. Ozil was crap but he is one of 10 (Cech is excluded). It wasn’t lack of effort that cost us, it very rarely is, so what is it?

There is a simple answer …. look at our goals against record. I cannot recall a season when the defence was so porous. Goals conceded in the PL were 51!! Well over a goal a game. 13 conceded in the EL and we really only played 3 decent teams.

Is the personnel? I can’t say it is. Monreal may be a little slower but he remains a quality player. Kos and Sokratis are both experienced International defenders. Mustafi had a poor season but came good in the last couple of months. We have good young back-up in Mavro and Holding. AMN and Bellerin are both fine players with AMN doing well in a position which doesn’t suit his skills. Our GK’s made few mistakes.

Is this a new situation? Not really, we have been getting progressively more porous. 51 in the PL last season, 44 the year before and 36 the season before that.

Mr. Wenger was never a defensive minded coach and left a problem for Emery.  The problem seems to be that we do not have a viable defensive coach which considering who is our assistant manager is bizarre.

Steve Bould has been marvelous as a player and loyal as a member of the management team. One would expect him to be the man with the ability to create the defensive cohesion which is so clearly lacking. Why can’t he?  Is he not allowed to work on tactics? I cannot believe it. As a member of Arsenal best ever defence he has the knowledge and the experience, surely the defensive unity is his remit.

If we are to progress next season, the defence and especially the ability for the midfield to shield the CB’s has to improve. We may sign a defender or two but most of the players will still be at Arsenal in August …

Steve Bould may not.

written by BR

 


Europa Final – Player Ratings

May 30, 2019

There was a Final.

We lost rather embarrassingly.

What a depressingly poor last eight weeks of the season it’s been.

Over two weeks to prepare for a European Final and all we could come up with was that.

Hello Europa for the third year – we’ve found our level.

Ratings

Every player gets a rating of 4 – one for each of Chelsea’s goals.

Soz, that’s all I’ve got.

chas


Emery Knows

May 29, 2019

I woke up yesterday morning thinking I was remarkably calm considering we have a European Final on Wednesday. This morning I awoke with a nervous energy not felt for many a moon. The hours until kick off  going to be very long. I have bought a 9 pack of Tuborg Green (we Danes are hard drinkers and 6 packs are rare!) and a couple of bottles of a cheeky Italian Dolcetto to make the time go faster and numb my pre-match nerves.

Baku is awash with intrepid Gooners, people who have sacrificed much to support their team. Can the Arsenal give them the victory they deserve?

My first emotion when we made the Final against the Shed Boys was a cloud of negativity – “Chelsea are too good”, “Hazard’s last game”, Chavs have more experience and Big Game players” etc etc. I am sure many of you will have shared those thoughts. But I find today I am far more positive – this is a winnable game. All we need to do is perform as we did earlier in the season when we annihilated the Chavs at the Emirates. That’s all.

Can we? Of course we can.

Now I know there is many a slip twixt cup and lip and Arsenal have royally effed up many big games in recent time (Brighton/Palace etc etc) but Emery Knows 😀

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The media are expecting a Chelsea win and the betting odds are against us but how can anyone gamble against a side with our front two? They are special and above all they are winners.

Do you think Mr Emery will pick Mesut to start? I don’t know either. I dither, changing my mind on a hourly basis. Had Mhki been available then No, but given his absence Yes, I would start Ozil. However by the time I finish writing this PM, I may well have changed my opinion.

Cech or Leno? We had a poll and Leno won but we all know Cech will start. The man has been great for AFC. I recall when he signed how excited I was that we had a safe and secure GK after the two flaky Poles (both of whom have developed in top GK’s). I wish him well in his final game.

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And what of Iwobi? Will Mr E. choose a more defensive model and leave Alex on the bench?

Who is sure to start? Cech, Koscielny, Sokratis, Kolasinac,  Xhaka, PEA and Laca. The rest remain in doubt, even Nacho.

If we play 3 at the back then, given his recent form, I would trust Mustafi but Nacho is so reliable and so experienced.

Could AMN start? We will need pace to counter Hazard, Willian, Pedro etc.

And in midfield, will Douzi be picked ahead of Terrier? I hope not though a midfield of Xhaka, Terrier, Douzi and Kolasinac is quite likely.

Cech

Mustafi    Kos   Sokratis

AMN   Terrier   Xhaka   Kolasinac

Ozil

PEA    Laca

My concern with this side is the reliance upon AMN and Wardrobe to get forward thereby allowing space  behind for fast counter attack by the excellent Chelsea wide players. As always, midfield discipline must be maintained.

For Chelsea, well mostly I don’t care but I will be very upset if  OG scores. Very. Hopefully Kante will be injured as he is a wonderful player.

VAR will be used tonight; much discussed, I believe VAR assists the game though some decisions remain open to interpretation. Referee is Rocchi, an Italian with much experience, we must hope he hasn’t been gifted a house or two by Chelsea’s owner

Last night I was over in Malmo Sweden  alongside West Ham Bob watching another Malmo victory. He sat on the fence but hoped for an AFC win. Like many his head says Chelsea but his heart is Gooner. For us it is simple – Death or Glory. If we are to lose I do not want to look at any AFC player and think they could have worked harder – mistakes will be made, they are human, but to win tonight will require 100% effort and concentration.

A European Final as the final game is way beyond my season expectation. Win or lose the team have had a successful campaign but how wonderful would it be to lift the trophy?

Come on boys, you can do it.

COYRRG

 

 

 


2018/19 Europa League Final – Arsenal v Chelsea history

May 28, 2019

We are off to Baku Azerbaijan; the city is the scientific, cultural, and industrial center of Azerbaijan. Many sizeable Azerbaijani institutions have their headquarters there. The Baku International Sea Trade Port is capable of handling two million tons of general and dry bulk cargoes per year. In recent years, Baku has become an important venue for international events. It hosted the 57th Eurovision Song Contest in 2012, the 2015 European Games, 4th Islamic Solidarity Games, the F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix since 2016, and now it will host the 2018-19 UEFA Europa League Final between London rivals Arsenal and Chelsea. It will also be one of the host cities for UEFA Euro 2020.

Baku is the capital and largest city of Azerbaijan, as well as the largest city on the Caspian Sea and of the Caucasus region. Baku is located 28 metres (92 ft) below sea level, which makes it the lowest lying national capital in the world and also the largest city in the world located below sea level. Baku lies on the southern shore of the Absheron Peninsula, alongside the Bay of Baku. At the beginning of 2009, Baku’s urban population was estimated at just over two million people. Officially, about 25 percent of all inhabitants of the country live in Baku’s metropolitan area. Baku is the sole metropolis in Azerbaijan.

Baku is divided into into twelve administrative raions and 48 townships. Among these are the townships on the islands of the Baku Archipelago, and the town of Oil Rocks built on stilts in the Caspian Sea, 60 kilometres (37 miles) away from Baku. The Inner City of Baku, along with the Shirvanshah’s Palace and Maiden Tower, were inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. According to the Lonely Planet’s ranking, Baku is also among the world’s top ten destinations for urban nightlife.

Shirvanshah’s Palace

The city is renowned for its harsh winds, which is reflected in its nickname, the “City of Winds”.

Now let’s talk about football.

The first league meeting between the two teams took place on 9 November 1907 at Stamford Bridge (112 years ago). This was the first Football League First Division game played between two London clubs and drew a crowd of 65,000.

The first London derby 1907 at Stamford Bridge

A match between the clubs at Stamford Bridge in 1935 drew a crowd of 82,905, the second highest recorded attendance for an English league match. They met in two close contested FA Cup semi-finals in the 1950s, with Arsenal winning both times.

The clubs have contested three major finals: the 2002 FA Cup Final, which Arsenal won 2–0, the 2007 Football League Cup Final, which Chelsea won 2–1, and the 2017 FA Cup Final, which Arsenal won 2–1.

The two teams have also met in the UEFA Champions League in the quarter-finals in 2003–04, drawing 1–1 at Stamford Bridge, and Chelsea winning 2–1 at Highbury to go through to the semi-finals. (a bitter memory for Arsenal fans)

Throughout the 112 year history Arsenal has won more games in all competitions than Chelsea, having won 76 times to Chelsea’s 63, with 58 draws (as of 19 January 2019). Arsenal’s record win was a 5–1 victory in a First Division match at Stamford Bridge on 29 November 1930.

Arsenal has also won more league games – GP164, W63, D49, L52, GF231, GA210.

The last game was at The Emirates on January 19th 2019 when Arsenal won 2-0 with goals from Lacazette (14) and Koscielny (39).

1994 Copenhagen
Colorsport / Stuart Macfarlane.

The journey of 2,709 miles will be an arduous one for both teams.

GunnerN5


Arsenal’s Century Club – Ian Wright – Wright – Wright

May 26, 2019

Nineteen players have achieved the feat of scoring 100 goals for the Club over the past 96 years. The players are sorted by the number of games taken to reach the 100 goal mark. Ian Wright sits at number 2.

Ian Edward Wright, MBE (born 3 November 1963) was born in Woolwich, London.

Wright’s father absconded and left mother his Nesta to raise her family in a one-bedroom house in Brockley, South London. Ian said “That house wasn’t a good place for me, which is probably why I would stay outside kicking a tennis ball against a brick wall for hours on end,” He was bullied by an older step-brother, but it was his step-father’s cruelty which caused him most pain. “One of the few things my brother and I looked forward to in the house was Match of the Day, and my step dad used to take that away from us – just because he could.”

Wrighty as a boy

Wright’s primary school teacher Sydney Pigden taught him to read and write and made him the register and milk monitor. Tony Davis and Harold Palmer, who ran a local football team Ten-Em-Bee used pick him up at his house and drive him directly to training in an effort to keep him focused and out of trouble with the police. However in 1982, at 19 years old, he ended up in Chelmsford Prison for two weeks for non-payment of driving fines.

 

Despite having had trials at Southend United and Brighton during his teens, he was unable to attract sufficient interest to win a professional contract offer. Reverting to playing for amateur and non-league teams, he was left disillusioned about his chances of a career as a professional footballer.

But he eventually overcame his deprived childhood, his abusive step-father and a spell in prison to become a professional footballer relatively late in life.  A Crystal Palace talent scout, Peter Prentice, happened to see Wright playing for Dulwich Hamlet and invited him to have a trial at Selhurst Park. “It was only a three-month trial but I’d done it: I was able to call myself a professional footballer,” Wright said. “After nearly 11 years of rejection, bullying, prison and all sorts of nonsense, and I had finally gotten my dream.”

Having impressed then-manager Steve Coppell, he signed professional terms for Crystal Palace in August 1985, just three months short of his 22nd birthday. He quickly made his mark in his first season, scoring nine goals to finish as Palace’s second-highest scorer. When Mark Bright arrived on the Palace scene the following year the duo soon established a successful striking partnership and it was largely their goals which took the club to top flight via the playoffs in 1989. Ian was particularly instrumental that season, scoring 24 goals in the Second Division and a grand total of 33 in all competitions.

An ankle injury reduced his initial impact in the First Division. However, after recovering from the injury he made a dramatic appearance as a ‘super-sub’, in the 1990 FA Cup Final against Manchester United. He equalised for Palace a few minutes after coming onto the field forcing extra time, then putting them ahead in extra time. The eventual score was 3–3, but Palace lost the replay 1–0.

With attention-grabbing goals in the league and in the 3-3 FA Cup Final draw against Manchester United in 1990, it was little surprise when Wright gained the attention of bigger clubs. Arsenal paid a club record £2.5 million for the striker in 1991. At the time Arsenal were reigning champions and there were question marks over the necessity of the signing: Alan Smith, Kevin Campbell, Paul Merson and Anders Limpar were already among the clubs’ ranks He scored on his debut against Leicester City in a League Cup tie, and then scored a hat-trick on his League debut against Southampton. He won the Golden Boot in his first season by scoring 29 league goals, five of which were for Palace, and 31 in all competitions. He scored a hat-trick in the final game of the season against Southampton; his third goal being the last ever scored in the old First Division.

He went on to be Arsenal’s top scorer for six seasons in a row. He played a major part in the club’s success during the 1990s, winning an FA Cup and League Cup double in 1993; he scored in both the FA Cup Final and the replay against Sheffield Wednesday. Ian also helped Arsenal reach the 1994 UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup Final, although he was suspended for the final in which Arsenal beat Parma 1–0.

The period that followed proved to be a difficult time for both Ian and Arsenal, manager George Graham was dismissed over illegal payments, and under caretaker Stewart Houston they could only manage a 12th place finish in the league. The arrival of Bruce Rioch heralded a bleaker time; the two did not get on and eventually Wright handed in a transfer request, which he later retracted. The arrival of Dennis Bergkamp heralded a brief but fruitful striking partnership, and in their first season playing together they helped Arsenal finish fifth in the league and qualify for the UEFA Cup. They also reached the Coca-Cola Cup semi-finals, where they went out on away goals to eventual winners Aston Villa.

By the time Arsène Wenger had arrived at Arsenal in September 1996, Ian was nearly 33. Despite his age, he continued to score regularly (being the second highest Premier League scorer in 1996–97 with 23 goals), and on 13 September 1997 he broke Cliff Bastin’s Arsenal goal scoring record with a hat-trick against Bolton Wanderers. His final goal at Highbury came on 4 October 1997 against Barnsley and was his 300th career goal for both Crystal Palace and Arsenal. He scored his final goal for Arsenal on 6 January 1998 in a League Cup quarter-final victory against West Ham United.

While he was still a professional footballer at Arsenal, he published his autobiography, Mr Wright. In 1993, he wrote and released a single called “Do The Right Thing”. The song was co-written and produced by Chris Lowe (of Pet Shop Boys) and reached #43 the UK Singles Chart.

Shortly after his retirement from playing in 2000, Ian was awarded the MBE for his services to football.

In total he registered 185 goals for Arsenal; a record that has since been passed only by fellow Hall of Fame and Arsenal legend, Thierry Henry. On 15 July 2008, he finished 4th in ‘50 Greatest Gunners’ listed on the Arsenal website.

Wright went on to play for West Ham, Nottingham Forest, Celtic and finally Burnley (helping them to win promotion) before his retirement in 2000. Since retirement Wright has made a career in punditry and television work.

Clubs: Crystal Palace, Arsenal, West Ham, Nottingham Forest, Burnley
Caps: 33, 9 goals
Honours: 1 Premier League, 2 FA Cups, 1 League Cup, 1 Cup Winners’ Cup

Shortly after his retirement from playing in 2000, Ian was awarded the MBE for his services to football.

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Ian scored his 100th goal for Arsenal against Crystal Palace at Highbury on October 1st, 1994.

GunnerN5


Arsenal’s Century Club – Jimmy Brain

May 25, 2019

Nineteen players have achieved the feat of scoring 100 goals for the Club over the past 96 years. The players are sorted by the number of games taken to reach the 100 goal mark. Jimmy Brain sits at number 3.

Well here – we are we have now reached the top 3 in Arsenal’s Century Club.

James (Jimmy) Brain was born in Bristol on 11th September 1900. He played in local football in Wales before joining Arsenal at the age of 23 in August 1923. He did not make his league debut until the following season he played against Tottenham Hotspur on 25th October 1924 and scored the only goal of the game (what a way to make yourself known to Arsenal fans). During the 1924-25 season he scored 14 goals in 31 games, including a hat-trick against Burnley and four in a game against Leeds United.

Arsenal manager Leslie Knighton was sacked at the end of the 1924-25 season and Herbert Chapman, the manager of Huddersfield Town, was persuaded to join Arsenal.

The first man that Herbert Chapman signed was Charlie Buchan, who had scored 209 goals in 380 games for Sunderland. Chapman also purchased Herbert Roberts, Joe Hume and Cliff Bastin. In the 1925-26 season Arsenal finished in second-place to Huddersfield Town. The top scorer was Jimmy Brain with 37 goals in 47 games. This included four hat-tricks against Everton (2), Cardiff City and Bury.

Meeting the King at the 1927 FA Cup Final

The Arsenal chairman, Henry Norris did not allow Chapman to buy new players to strengthen his team and in the 1926-27 season Arsenal finished in 11th position. Brain scored 34 goals in 44 games that season which included a hat-trick against Cardiff City and scored four against Sheffield Wednesday and Burnley. In the 1927-28 season Brain scored 29 goals in 44 games. This included two hat-tricks against Derby County and Liverpool. Arsenal finished 9th in 1928-29 and Jimmy scored 22 goals in 42 games.

The following is from an F.A. Cup 5th Round Replay, played at Highbury on 24 February 1926. The first Arsenal goal is seen at 00:38 – the scorer is Jimmy Brain. The old East Stand with A-R-S-E-N-A-L spelt out on it is a sight to behold. Love the hat waving after a goal is scored. (full screen is top right)

https://www.britishpathe.com/video/bravo-arsenal

Herbert Chapman gradually adapted the “WM” formation that had originally been suggested by Charlie Buchan. Chapman used his full-backs to mark the wingers (that job had previously been done by the wing-halves). He also developed what became known as the counter-attacking game. This relied on the passing ability of Alex James and goal scoring forwards like Jimmy Brain, David Jack, Joe Hume, Cliff Bastin, and Jack Lambert. Chapman also built up a good defence that included players such as Bob John, Eddie Hapgood, Herbert Roberts, Alf Baker, Tom Parker and George Male.

Jimmy’s form dropped off in 1929-30, and he competed for his position with Jack Lambert, David Jack and Dave Halliday, meaning he only played six league matches in that season. He missed the Gunners’ 1930 Cup final win over Huddersfield Town; David Jack and Jack Lambert led the line that day. However, the following season, 1930-31, Jimmy finally won a medal as Arsenal won their first ever First Division Championship with a record 66 points. The Gunners only lost four games that season. Jack Lambert was top-scorer with 38 goals. Brain scored 4 goals in 18 games and therefore qualified for a league championship medal. His final appearance in an Arsenal shirt was a 2-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday on 21 March 1931.

Crossing the North London divide between Arsenal and Tottenham can be one of the most inflammatory actions in English football. Sol Campbell, Emmanuel Adebayor, and William Gallas have all done it in recent times, all feeling the wrath of both sides supporters. But who was the first to do it?

The man with this dubious badge of honour is none other than Jimmy Brain. In September 1931 Brain was transferred to Tottenham Hotspur. Over the next three years he scored 10 goals in 45 games.

He played his final years out at Swansea Town and Bristol City. After retiring as a player, he managed first King’s Lynn and then Cheltenham Town from 1939 until 1948, after which he retired completely from football.

click image to see enlarged

In total, he scored 140 goals in 232 appearances for Arsenal, making him the Gunners’ joint-fifth top scorer of all time. However, he never played for England; he managed to secure a trial for the national team but was never actually selected.

Jimmy Brain and Jack Lambert share the record of each scoring 12 hat tricks for Arsenal.

Getty Images

He scored his 100th goal against Sheffield United on January 7th, 1928.

He died in 1971, at the age of 71.

GunnerN5


Arsenal’s Century Club – Jack Lambert

May 24, 2019

Nineteen players have achieved the feat of scoring 100 goals for the Club over the past 96 years. The players are sorted by the number of games taken to reach the 100 goal mark. Jack Lambert sits at number 4.

Born in Greasbrough near Rotherham, Yorkshire, Lambert was turned down by Sheffield Wednesday after a trial in 1921, so he started his career playing for Rotherham County in 1922. He soon made a move to Leeds United, but spent three years there with little success. He finally came to prominence after becoming a regular goal scorer for Doncaster Rovers, joining the side in January 1925.

Playing in Yorkshire, he had attracted the attention of Herbert Chapman when the latter was manager of Huddersfield Town. Chapman became Arsenal manager in 1925 and needing a quality centre-forward, he signed Jack for £2,000 in June 1926. Lambert initially struggled to get into the first-team and he did not make his league debut until the beginning of the following season against Bolton Wanderers on 6th September 1926.

Lambert scored only one goal in 16 appearances that season and was not selected for the FA Cup Final against Cardiff City. Over the next two seasons he was reserve centre-forward to Jimmy Brain and only scored 4 goals in 22 appearances. When he appeared in the first-team he was often barracked by the crowd. Herbert Chapman was furious and proposed that barrackers should be thrown out of the ground if they did not respond to an appeal for fairness over the loud-speaker.”

The clip below – a familiar Final to those following GN5’s series but slightly different version this time, Lambert scoring the second after Alex James’ opener.

He became a regular for the club towards the end of the 1929-30 season; scoring 18 times in only 20 league appearances. The following season (1930-31) he was even more successful, scoring 38 goals in just 34 games in the League, a club record at the time.  Arsenal won their first ever First Division Championship with a record 66 points. The Gunners only lost four games that season. Jack Lambert was top-scorer with 38 goals. This included seven hat-tricks against Middlesbrough (home and away), Grimsby Town, Birmingham City, Bolton Wanderers, Leicester City and Sunderland.

24th December 1932, Arsenal beat Sheffield Utd 9-2 as Jack Lambert scored five times and Cliff Bastin claimed a hat-trick

In the 1932-33 season Arsenal won the First Division by four points. Lambert only played in 12 games that season but he still scored 14 goals. This included five in a 9-2 win over Sheffield United. By now Jack was over 30 and only a bit-part player (Ernie Coleman having led the front line through most of 1932-33), and the signing of Jimmy Dunne in September 1933 forced him out of the side; his last game came on 13 September 1933 against West Bromwich Albion.

Herbert Chapman seemed to have lost confidence in Jack and frustrated by his lack of first-team opportunities, he agreed to be transferred to Fulham for £2,500 in October 1933. He only played for two more seasons before retiring in 1935. The following year he became coach of Margate (who at the time were Arsenal’s “nursery” club) and returned to Arsenal in 1938 as a coach of the club’s reserve side.

Overall he scored 109 goals in 161 games for the Gunners, a very high ratio of .68 goals per game, but it wasn’t enough for him ever to be selected for England.

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Jack scored his 100th goal for Arsenal on Guy Fawkes Day 1932 against Wolves at Molineux Stadium.

Tragically, he died at the age of 38, killed in a car accident (during WW11) in Enfield, Middlesex.

GunnerN5