Auf Wiedersehen Kola und vielen dank!

September 30, 2020

So it seems that Kolasinac is going back to Germany and most likely to Leverkusen or Shalke. Arsenal is looking to recoup 9 Mln EUR + 2 Mln bonus so a total of 11 Mln EUR for the Bosnian international left back.

Kolasinac joined AFC for free in 2017 and made 107 appearances for the club. He has now fallen behind Tierney, AMN and Saka as a left back but has deputized with his usual commitment and intent at LCB and LB whenever called upon.

He scored 3 goals and delivered 11 assists. After a very promising first season, he struggled a bit with the demands of the EPL and was definitely a player that suffered under Emery. When he joined the club for free, he had just had a great season with Shalke and overall, it seems that he failed to live to the excitement and expectations. That said, he always showed commitment and professionalism.

I think he will also be remembered by his nickname “The Beast”, not only because of his robust physique but mostly because of how he handled the whole car-jacking incident with Ozil.

I know Sue will miss his physicality and looks but he is still young and returning to Germany makes sense for him from a footballing and family perspective. So as we are near to parting ways with Kolasinac, let us all join in and say “Auf Wiedersehen Kola and vielen dank! Alles Gute!”

Looking forward to reading your views on Kola’s contribution to our club and his departure.


Liverpool 3 – 1 AFC – Post Match Report

September 28, 2020

Fatgingergooner – post match report: Shape, effort, closing down, understanding of the game. We’ve come a long way under Arteta so far, but the reason he keeps saying it’s a process is because there is still a long way to go before we can really head to Anfield with belief. It’s not just work on the field that is required, its also making sure we sign players with the right attitude who can improve us (Pepe…!? ) over a couple of windows. We lack a bit of authority on the ball and a bit of creativity. The fact is our players are not as good as those of the top, top sides. It feels like Arteta is getting a lot from this group so the improvement will have to come from the youth ranks and from recruitment. We were certainly competitive tonight though, and that was probably our best performance at Anfield for quite some time.

LBG: summary post-match report: MOM Elneny in 90mins, Ceballos in 15mins. No team would have beaten Liverpool tonight. Disappointing for us and Lacazette, but I believe we would still have been swamped by the end. The good luck God of football is saving things for Thursday.
No team, except the Invincibles, is excellent throughout a season. COYG

RC78: summary post-match report: Not a bad performance to be honest – we contested well but ultimately, LFC was too good. Ceba gave us another creative dimension when he came in and AMN is growing into this LWB role. Liverpool has too much quality around the pitch and ultimately, it showed. 3-1 is a bit harsh I feel and I am convinced we could have snatched a draw but I am not disheartened by this defeat. Team is still growing under Arteta. On to Thursday for our Cup Game vs LFC, again

RC78 Player ratings – feel free to disagree

Leno – 5
Bellerin – 5
Holding – 6
Luiz – 6
Tierney – 5
AMN – 7
El Neny – 6
Xhaka – 6
Willian – 5
Laca – 5, should have scored the second
Auba – 5

Pepe – 4, two poor corners and nothing else
Nketiah – N/A
Ceba – 6, made a big difference


What would AA’ers accept tonight?

September 28, 2020

Mikel Arteta has changed the aspirations of most Gooners during the last year as we approach a pivotal week.

What would be acceptable to you regarding this week’s games against the Dippers, and how can it be achieved?

Well for me, I would be more than happy to go to a silent Anfield and take away a draw tonight ( monies on 2-2!), and then a crushing ( dreamland) win on Thursday!!

How? …….Now that is more problematic!

But stick with the tried and tested, pray hard to the God of good football fortune, and whatever you do keep your hands in your pockets!! COYG.

LBG

 


Arsenal Singe Foxes Fur.

September 24, 2020

A solid Arsenal win really nothing to get over excited about but plenty to feel reassured about. The person who probably got the most out of it was Arteta. These games are supposed to give us a glimpse into the future and yes some fringe players got a few minutes game time but it was clear that the future for Arteta went no further than Monday’s game against Liverpool, by the end eight of the eleven starters for Liverpool were out there playing in their usual positions practicing for Monday night’s clash. Nothing wrong with that of course, only a few tweeks will be made to the team that finished last tonight. The bigger fish that Mikel is frying is of course a Champions League spot for which he will be judged a success or a failure at the end of the season.

Leno: will be on a hiding to nothing for some time to come as he is compared to Martinez, I still felt worried every time he had to catch something high but solid as ever on the ground. 7

Kolasinac: best game for a while which is what we need if Tierney doesn’t make the start on Monday. 7

Luiz: commanding, oozing experience, the best player on the pitch by some way. 9

Holding: not surprisingly so much more reassured when he has Luiz next to him, will start ahead of Gabriel on Monday. 7

Maitland Niles: just when you think he has a chance of taking that RB slot we are reminded that he is not a RB, moved to the left late on and was solid as a rock, will start there ahead of Saka on Monday. 6

Elneny: solid performance without setting the game alight, good back up player.
6

Willock: did you know that he joined the club when he was just four and a half, think about that for a moment, it boggles the mind? Sadly I can’t see that going past next season unless he makes an improvement of Martinez proportion. 5

Saka. The bar is now quite high for this player; he shone in the first half but drifted in the second, more is now being expected. 6

Pepe: goodness we have overpaid for this player, FGB predicts he will be the player of the season, I hope so but there seems to be some way to go. 5

Nketiah: got his goal but, but, but, I want more, I want better hold up play, I want more speed on the break, the boy still has a lot of work to do. 6

Nelson: it was good to see Reis given an opportunity to come in from the left; he looked a lot more reassured than when shunted out on the far right. 7


Leicester vs Arsenal, who cares?

September 23, 2020

I do, for me the first round of this competition offers an intriguing glimpse into the future, a peak at what we might have to look forward to. I have a love hate relationship with these games, I always end up going if it is at home but it is not without a mental battle. It starts a few weeks earlier when the draw is made by me telling myself that I am definitely not going, its an unimportant cup and there is no need to bother, besides it will be on telly so I can watch it in the comfort of my home.

This thought process runs round my head for a few days until I realise that the game is not on telly and my desire to watch it rises. By the time the game arrives I am in full scale mental torture about missing it and inevitably end up late on kicking myself into gear, not having organised a ticket I buy one on line at the, by now, higher price and make my way to the ground.

I am rarely disappointed though the youngsters always give their all, Nketiah scoring his pair to save the day come to mind of which there are of course many more.

The insight into the future is what it is all about and tonight should be no different,

The future

—————Leno

Bellerin, Saliba, Gabriel Tierney

——–Partey, Aouar

———Smith-Rowe

—-Pepe, Nketiah, Saka

Tonight

———-Runarsson

Soares, Saliba, Luiz, Kolasinac

—Elneny, AMN

——–Willock

Pepe, Nketiah, Saka

What do you think?


Napoleon was a Gooner.

September 20, 2020

“Don’t bring me good managers; bring me lucky managers” (Napoleon 1808). A very prophetic statement from the Frenchman. Arteta does seem to be lucky, his beaming smile at the end of the game said it all: we got away with that one and he knew it. A very scrappy win but hey ho, give me a scrappy wins over a well fought draws any day.

The general tone after the game seemed to be one of frustration as to how poorly we played, not without foundation, but I can’t help but feel really up about how things are going.

Arteta added rightly that we are going to get many more games like that and so we have to be prepared for them. The many more games like that I took to mean that West Ham had worked out how to nullify our style that had been so effective recently against City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Fulham last week, all of those teams came onto us allowing us to play out from the back and then play long passes for Aubamayang to run onto towards goal with great effect.

West Ham had clearly worked this out and deployed a plan to neutralise it; they simply sat back and crowded out our attack – and it worked. Willian was almost non-existent as were Aubamayang and Lacazette for pretty much most of the game.

The only way we were going to get something out of the game was if someone was able to thread an inch perfect pass to open up West Ham’s tightly packed defence and the only player we have capable of that is Ceballos; I am not trying to big him up as something really, really special, he’s not but he is the only player who has that talent to do what was needed, hence the reason you could hear Arteta shouting instructions to the defence to play the ball to Ceballos. (The only player that is, apart from one sitting on a beach somewhere being paid 300,000 a week, but hey ho that’s another story).

One thing is for sure; Elneny could not have done that — and a word on the Egyption. He played a good game against Fulham and understandably some made him motm, the bar was very low, is he the long-term future, of course not. Someone pointed out that Ceballos and Elneny are different types of players and could be deployed as and when needed depending on the opposition; I am going to be polite – the thought had crossed my mind.

Someone else may put forward the idea of: why did we play so well against Fulham, we looked so much more balanced — because they pushed up allowing Tierney to play Auba through with his telling passes that worked so well in the cup final etc. We had acres of space and Willian was running riot. This had little to nothing to do with Elneny.

The comparison that was running through my mind as I watched the game yesterday was liking the team with that of a tug of war team, with Tierney and Luiz out we lost so much of our strength, without those two and their long range ability, we were totally dependant on Ceballos.

Considering all this I find it hard to imagine that Arteta is not only on the same page but way ahead in the book and as such I equally find it hard to imagine that we will not add to the creativity of the midfield before the close of the transfer window.


Martinelli, Nketiah, Smith-Rowe, Nelson, Willock ….. how does Arteta fit them in?

September 17, 2020

I have left Saka off this title list because I want, eventually( and sooner rather than later) for Mikel to go to four at the back as his norm and Saka IMO, should then hold down the left wide position in the “midfield”.

But my question to AAers is how does Mikel fit in to “the/his system” the other five?

And just to add to the dilemma, I want Partey and would not turn down Aouar( even with too many vowels) because from what I have seen and read, I believe in his “creativity”.

The problem, for me, as a long time demander for ‘giving yoof a chance’ is that I don’t want, at the end of this season, the horrifying prospect of five disheartened young talents angling to get away.

So, my initial, perhaps controversial , thoughts (as always)………..

Laca, for me should not be a starter. A fit Martinelli and Eddie should be given their chance up front alongside Aubang. Smith-Rowe can learn from Willian and perhaps Aouar about the No10 role. That leaves Willock and Nelson, who, if we get the two possible outstanding transfers, I have great concern for. Haven’t even mentioned Elneny and you all know my opinion of X! Over to you folks!

LBG


Fulham 0 – 3 Arsenal, a promising start

September 13, 2020

RA Comment:

“The opening game against Fulham was more like what we expected of the Arsenal of Old.

No more pussy footing around waiting for the first Gunners mistake, and then the almost inevitable collapse of confidence, and the spiralling down into the oblivion of another losing start to a Premiership season with the inevitable turmoil of fan anger and despondency.

Early days? Do I hear? Yes, yes, yes.

These are early days, agreed, but gilded with the gold of understandable tactical brilliance already beginning to show under Mikel, and players already schooled to play for each other and their adoring fans.

The player acquisitions from current transfer activities chose to shine, with Willian playing a stormer to back up our main strikers and giving three assists with all the nonchalance of a man who has done it all before over the previous 7 years or so in the premiership. Talented? You bet.

Not to be outdone, Gabriel, who has not played in any competitive games since before the virus struck, was asked to play in the pivotal role alongside Tierney and Holding and was simply terrific. His command in the air, especially when under attack in the penalty area, immediately brought back memories of Tony Adams and Steve Bould and his positional nous and skill were outstanding.

Defensive headers – yes – but from a corner taken by Willian he scored his first goal for us – from a header.Talented? Yes, and there is much more to come from young Gabriel.

The calm way in which the team played while getting the measure of Fulham was impressive, and just to show them not to get too cheeky, a wobbly, weak shot from the man with a thunderous shot, Xhocker, resulted in a meleé, with Willian shooting against the GK leaving the rebound for the alert Laca to score.

And that showed the wonder of Arteta for me, the defence, the midfield and the attack melded into each other in a way I have not seen for years.

Tierney, for example, was key in a CB three, and yet suddenly he was up there supporting the attack, leaving AMN to automatically cover for him, and all throughout the team similar moves were happening, as the well coached and practised exchanges were planned – not the potentially disastrous mad-chicken, one man breakouts we have become so familiar with,

Auba, scored a fabulous goal, the team all played well, and although it was ‘just’ Fulham, as our team settle in, they are going to get better.

Promises for the future to make all us Gooners very happy.”

My player ratings:

Leno 6

Holding 6

Gabriel 8

Tierney 7

Bellerin 6

AMN 6

El Neny 6

Xhaka 6

Auba 7

Laca 7

Willian 7

Willian with 2 assists and Gabriel with a fantastic performance. Gabriel is my MOTM.


Match Day 1: Fulham vs Arsenal…Let the EPL season begin!

September 12, 2020

And the wait is over! Premi.er League football is back and I am sure we are all very excited.

First and foremost, I hope that the season goes without any issues and the Covid-19 situation will be under control and that stadiums will soon be full again. Football stadium without fans are not the same and even visioning the games from our cozy sofas is not the same without hearing and seeing the fans singing their Club’s glory or booing players…

How nice is it that we start our season with a London derby? It is also nice to have another London team in the EPL and personally, I never disliked Fulham. They have made some shrewed business from the French league getting Areola (he is a very good GK) and Tete (he is a good back up full back) and most importantly, they have a very clever coach in Scott Parker.

I feel like there are a lot of similarities between Parker and Arteta. Both very good midfielders with good defensive contributions and great understanding of the game. Parker has re-energized Fulham like Arteta did with Arsenal and both are young coaches leading historic London clubs although our club of course has a much richer and better history 😛

When it comes to the confrontations, it seems that Fulham is the best club at losing London derbies so let this streak continue today and then they can win against Tottenham and Chelsea. I think we have not lost to Fulham in a long time and also not lost to a newly promoted team on MD1 in a very long time. It seems past confrontation’s statistics give us an edge but…

Fulham is going to come out fighting and with passion to prove to EPL clubs that they belong to this league so I am expecting a tough battle at Craven Cottage and our defensive injuries are not going to help:

  • Chambers, Mari, Mustafi, Sokratis and Luiz are out;
  • ESR and Martinelli too

Apparently, Willian has been training well and he may just get a start today along with Saliba and Gabriel who would slot in for injured players so here is the potential line-up:

Leno – Saliba, Gabriel, Tierney – Bellerin, El Neny, Xhaka, Saka – Willian, Laca, Auba

COYG! Make us proud today! Let us win MD1 and start the season on a positive note


Laca stays! Yay!

September 11, 2020

I was worried that Lacazette would leave but he has confirmed that he would like to stay and I think that unless a massive offer comes for him, Arteta is going to be able to count on him this season. With Auba’s new deal about to be announced, we will start the season with the following forward players:

Willian, Pepe, Reiss-Nelson ; Saka, Martinelli, Auba ; Laca, Nketiah

I think it is a very exciting offensive armada that offers plenty of possibilities to Arteta as most of the players can play in different positions. It is going to be interesting how we line-up tomorrow and the rest of the year:

In any case, I am happy to hear that Laca will most likely stay at AFC for another season. He is a solid striker and I am sure that he will contribute to our club’s success this year with more goals and assists.

Anyways – Laca stays 🙂