Standard Liège – No Waffling Please Freddie!

December 12, 2019

Arsenal travel to Liege, a little town in Belgium known for its waffles (gauffres de liege), coffee (cafe liegeois), its opera house and train station and not so exciting weather but very friendly local people who despite the rain do not hesitate to sit outsite on terraces to enjoy coffees and beers alike…

This is our last Europa League group stage game. Barring a 5-1 loss at Liege’s hand, we will qualify. A draw sees us through for sure and a win would help with our mood and confidence.

What should Freddie do? Keep the momentum going with the same squad or rotate ahead of our big test against City? We have a few injured with Bellerin, Tierney, Xhaka, Ceba and certainly Holding. Liege is not a bad squad, they have some decent players, especially Mpoku – a very able dribbler and he is an industrious player too not hesitating to put in a shift. Liege will create chances but will concede chances too so if I were FL, I d play a team with fast players on the sides and Laca upfront.

Expected team:
Martinez

Chambers, Sokratis, Luiz, Kolasinac

Douzi, Torreira, Willock

Nelsson, Laca, Saka

 

My team:
Martinez

Medley, Chambers, Sok – AMN

Douzi, Luiz, Nelsson

Willock, Saka – Laca

I know that I put Nelsson as a WB but I think that with our back 3, AMN and Nelsson as WBs are not too much of a risk as long as the front three also defend properly.

COYG!

RC78


The case for Ancelotti ……..

December 11, 2019

And so the search for a new coach just got very exciting with Ancelotti now released by Napoli.

Why shall we try to convince him to join us?

  1. He knows the EPL and he has been successful here. He also likes London.
  2. He is an experienced coach that comes with winning pedigree, having won the EPL, Italian league, French League and German league and has won a few Champions Leagues too.
  3. He is the type of coaches that players want to play for so he is not only going to have the current team’s buy-in but his name will also be able to attract new players.
  4. He is very tactically astute and likes his teams to play attacking football with a balanced squad.

From the start, he was my preferred option BUT he needs to work with Freddie in his staff.

So shall we finally hire an Italian coach? He gives me more confidence than Sousa for example

RC78


A win at last.

December 10, 2019

Hell on Earth – Purgatory – First rung of stairway to Heaven

Just as I was beginning to believe, like some Emery contagious disease, that it wasn’t really Freddie and the BFG sitting on the bench but holograms, a young 18 year old turns up, unmarked in the box!!!

A first half that could be summed up by…….well, virtually 22 professional footballers, with no confidence, or belief, or ability to pass, or turn and lift the head or beat a man.

That said, West Ham at least seemed to want to win, were more often first to the ball, and were prepared to tackle forcefully. They got a deflected goal when a blanket would have covered our players in the box and half time came with the feeling all was lost.

Nothing much changed for the first 10 mins of the second half, then God, of whatever persuasion looked down and said ” Enough of this sh***, Satan, we all know you are a Totteringham fan, get your foot off Arsenal’s neck”.

And so Martinelli popped up, and we started to look a bit more confident. Pepe did what he was bought for and Aubameyang, despite being out of the game, did an Aubameyang.

Seeds of new growth. Send the youth, and Mustafi, out to Belgium and wrap up first place in our group. And add any player who shows heart to the squad for Sunday. We don’t expect miracles, but we do expect heart, Fred ( no, not you!).

LBG

And some player ratings from RC78

Leno – 6
AMN – 6
Chambers – 7
Sokratis – 6
Kolsinac – 6
Xhaka – 6
Torreira – 6
Ozil – 6
Pepe – 7
Auba – 6
Martinelli – 8

And so after 64 days Arsenal supporters could go to bed with a smile on their faces. Whoever flicked the switch, can they please flick it early on Sunday ……….. before we’ve conceded would be good 😉

 


Arsenal v West Ham pre match ………

December 9, 2019

Having not won in our last 7 PL games, we travel to the London Stadium to face a West Ham side, winless in their last 4 home games, sitting 16th in the table, only 3 points behind us!!

Our last away win was back in August, against Newcastle!! Sheesh!! So, needless to say I’m very nervous about this game (& not only because half of my family are Hammers!)

I’m hoping it’ll be 3rd time lucky for Freddie, who’s bound to get a warm reception from the home fans, having been a Hammer for the 2007-08 season.

I came across these interesting facts –

1) Aubameyang hasn’t scored against West Ham in 3 appearances.

2) We haven’t scored in our last 2 visits to the London Stadium.

3) West Ham have lost a PL high of 29 matches on a Monday. While only the Mancs (43) have won more than us (39)

I also saw that Felipe Anderson hasn’t scored/assisted in his last 8 appearances, oh great, we all know what will happen tonight!!

For them, our former keeper, Fabianski, is still out injured. Wilshere is a doubt. If selected, Mark Noble will make his 500th senior appearance 👏

For us, Ceballos is still out, Holding to be assessed.

This is the team I’d like to see –

Leno

Bellerin   Chambers   Luiz  Kolasinac

Guendouzi  Torreira   Martinelli

Pepe  Ozil  Aubemeyang

 

We really need to get back to winning ways, as we’re too close to the bottom 3 for my liking!!

Oh jeez, Mike Dean is refereeing, so more than likely we’ll be playing against 12 men!! 😬

My heart says we’ll win 2-1, but my head says 2-2….. COYG!!!

Sue


Aussie Arsenal Coach?

December 8, 2019

As an Arsenal supporter from the land down under, I thought I would consider an Australian coach to fix the Arsenal malaise and return us to title glory.

So I have 2 applicants for you all to consider.

One is already at Arsenal and the other is in Japan (remember that place where Arsene was plying his trade).

Arsenal Womens team were struggling, they used to be the best in the land but were in a barren patch with no titles or trophies for many years (sound familiar), so Arsenal scoured the world for a new coach and settled on Aussie Joe Montemurro. Success quickly followed and continues to this day. Joe has successfully coached mens teams in the past and he now has much more experience so maybe its time to transition that success from Arsenal Womens across to the Arsenal Mens team.

And then we have Ange Postecoglou, fresh from winning the J League title, something not even Arsene could achieve. As for Yokohama F Marinos, it was the teams first title in 15 years (again similar to us).

From Fox Sports –

The manner in which he’s turned the Marinos side from mid-table battlers into champions, playing attacking, expansive football, has sparked rumours he could take his talents to Europe.

Postecoglou’s tremendous accomplishment is merely the latest in a long line of accomplishments.

As a player, he won the NSL – a competition he then won twice as a coach.

Then there’s his two A-League championships, and a record-breaking run with Brisbane Roar that saw them go 36 games undefeated in 2011, breaking a 74-year-old record for Australian national club competitions (previously held by rugby league’s Eastern Suburbs).

He then took over the Socceroos, guiding them to 2015 Asian Cup glory and ensuring they qualified for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Both coaches are from European heritage and have suffered and been forged in the fires of diversity that continues to besiege Australian Football/Soccer. And even though the odds seem always against them, they seem to easily able to assert their own identity and attacking playing style onto the teams they coach and more importantly they get the results and the titles.

So maybe its time that Arsenal had an Australian revolution and appointed their first ever Aussie coach. The J League has just had the very first Australian coach winning the title and maybe the EPL is now due for an Australian title winning coach. What are your thoughts?

VP from OZ


Another disappointing night at the Emirates …………

December 6, 2019

Well it wasn’t to be ………

Before I start with the doom and gloom just want to say it was really a pleasure to meet LBG and Ant. It must be said LBG is now my favorite Englishman, sorry Ant and chas you have just been demoted.

This is not so much a review but my thoughts from sitting in upper tier (yes upper tier) in the clock end. I was so far away I kinda miss judged the players, for instance I thought Aubameyang scored our goal.

When I got to the stadium the game had already started (would not like to say who kept me back lol) so I only saw from the 10th minute Arsenal were playing a lot of long ball …….. why? Only they know.

I still can’t understand why Mesut is being played out wide, even Arsene didn’t get the best out of him in that position so why in  hell do other coaches think they can get him to play good out wide.

After Arsenal went a goal down they did actually play with some vigor but still couldn’t get the break through. Arsenal 0 – 1 Brighton at half time and when the team went off there were some boos.

Taking a page from the Unai playbook, Freddie made a half time substitution bringing on Pepe for Willock and immediately there was a dominance about our performance. The Pepe introduction really raised the atmosphere the in the ground too.

After a few near chances the goal finally came from Lacazette. We kept pilling on the pressure and eventually we were 2-1 up but VAR took away our goal once again. To me after that the team seemed to have lost the vigor they had at the start of second.

Some one needs to tell the ground man to stop wetting the pitch at cause Sokratis keep slipping on the wet pitch. Who knew all this time it was the pitch and not his defending that’s the problem.

Because I’ve never seen Arsenal draw a game David Luiz wasn’t going to let this be the first and did his usual backing off until the attacker could put in a quality cross right on the  the head of Maupay …….. Leno didn’t have a chance. Arsenal 1- 2 Brighton.

For the remainder of the game Arsenal huffed and puffed and finally it was over.

Personally I  will give every player a 5 as no one really stood out to me while sitting in the upper tier (yes upper)

Fred 

And some Player ratings from Rocky ………….

Leno 7

Some terrific saves from our German custodian and no chance for the two goals. He’s turning into one of the best GKs in the Premiership. It’s just a shame that what’s in front of him doesn’t match up to his standards. MoTM.

Bellerin 5

Hector had some good moments and was looking to attack and taking on defenders several times during the game. I have seen other people criticise his performance but I saw signs of him beginning to return to the form that made us love him.

Sokratis 4

We were beaten in the air pretty much every time Brighton pinged a cross into the box. If Sokratis can’t win headers, the other parts of his game don’t merit a place in the team.

Luiz 5

It’s tempting to give really low marks to Luiz and Sokratis, but our defensive issues go beyond individual performances. Luiz had some good moments where he was aggressive and won tackles. He has been blamed by most people for Brighton’s second goal, but closer examination shows it’s more on Torreira. In the build-up Torreira is marking Maupay. You can see Luiz look across and clock that that’s the case. Then, just before the cross comes in, Torreira goes sprinting away from Maupay as if the little Frenchman had just delivered a spectacular vindaloo fart. By the time Luiz tries to react it’s too late.

Kolasinac 5

He looked good attacking at times, was defensively suspect at times. A pretty typical Kola outing.

Xhaka 6

Arguably our best player after Leno. He’s the only player we have who doesn’t give me palpitations when being pressured on the ball in our own half. He also tried to get us on the front foot with his long passes. Even so, he still has two or three horrendous mistakes per game in his repertoire where he just passes to the opposition for no obvious reason.

Willock 3

Picked up where he left off against Southampton. A largely anonymous first half before being substituted at the break. Presumably Freddie rates him from his time running the youth team, but our Joe looks like he needs a loan-out to toughen up and hone his skills.

Torrieria 4

Is he protecting our box? Is he an extra striker? Is he a winger? Answers on a postcard if you know the answer, because he managed to do all three at different times last night. Was most culpable for Brighton’s winner. I don’t see a future for him at Arsenal. He’s too lightweight to be a DM and seldom plays that role anyway.

Ozil 4

One of those games where he just never got into it, partly due to Brighton’s tenacity and work rate. Mesut never likes it when players are all over him and he never wins a 50-50. In fact he seldom wins a 60-40 even when it’s 60-40 in his favour.

Lacazette 6

Scored our goal. Never stops trying, but we didn’t manage to get him into enough dangerous positions.

Aubameyang 5

Relatively anonymous for large parts of the game and found it hard to impose himself. He feels wasted out wide against a hard working defence like Brighton’s.

Substitutes

Pepe 7

Came on at half time and immediately injected energy and attacking verve. His attempts to beat defenders don’t always come off, of course, but when they do they open up the defence in a way none of our other attackers managed to achieve. Very promising outing and needs to start in our next game.

Tierney 5

Replaced Kola on 72 minutes. Not much changed.

Martinelli 6

On for the last 15 minutes or so. Got flattened within seconds of coming on but did not let it intimidate him. The kid tries hard and was unlucky not to score with a glancing header into the bottom corner which the ‘keeper just got to.

RockyLives


Arsenal v Brighton prematch

December 5, 2019

I’ve been waiting for three months for this day, my first game day in 2 years. Where shall I start, so much to say. Well for one I will be seeing Freddie’s first home game, which is a great privilege. One occasion that really stood out to me from Freddie’s playing was seeing him playing with his wrist banded up later to realise his hand was broken. Hopefully he can instill that fighting spirit into the players.

Thus far my record in watching Arsenal play live is 3-1, really hope at the end of the trip it is 5-1

I have to admit that I am really nervous. When you don’t get to see Arsenal play live much, what you really want is a great game from the team. Will I even get that? Sue jokingly told me that I will get tickets for the games but getting to see them win might be pushing it 😉 Well I guess now, what I took for a joke, she was being serious grr

Predicted line up …………..

Leno

Chambers   Mustafi   Luiz   Tierney

Willock   Xhaka   Guendouzi

Aubameyang   Lacazette   Ozil

 

So the only one change from the last team is Tierney in for Kolasinac.

Personally I would go all out attack with the following team ………..

Leno

Chambers   Holding   Luiz   Tierney

Willock   Torriera

Pepe  Ozil   Aubameyang

Lacazette

 

Hoping I bring my name sake some good luck for his first home game.

COYG

Fred