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?

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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


Arsenal Huddersfield – Player Ratings

December 9, 2018

Was it going to be another difficult day exacerbated by yet another appalling ref?

Unfortunately, yes.

First half

So many fouls it was difficult to keep track. Laca missed a simple one by slipping just before shooting.  The half finished with us on 4 bookings and the dirty Udders on 3. That sums up how poor the ref was.

Second half

More of the same except the good guys sneaked a goal via a glorious overhead kick courtesy of our Uruguayan genius.

Summary

Justice done. A team of journeyman turn up running their arses off hoping for a point. Thank Dennis they got diddley squat in return for contributing absolutely nothing to a game of football.

Awful game but three points – on we go.

Ratings

Leno – nowt to do … 6

Bellerin – hmmmmm … 6

Mustafi – got injured, no idea if that’s good or bad … 6

Sokratis – looked like he could produce a good doner… 6

Lichtsteiner – hmmmmmm … 6

Kolasinac – yep … 6

Torreira – thank heaven for small mercies from Uruguay … 8

Xhaka – tried hard … 6

Guendouzi – hair looked good, surely he was tugged over by the ghost of Fellaini? …6

Aubameyang – perhaps should have done better diverting a near post effort wide with his left peg, though it did come quickly at him … 6

Lacazette – unlucky to have a goal disallowed by a trigger happy linesman, slipped on an earlier chance … 6

Subs

Mkhitaryan – brought on too soon … 6

Iwobi – brought on too soon … 6

Monreal – thank heaven he’s still alive … 6

What we’d all like to do


Terrier’s Return.

December 8, 2018

It was a surprise when Huddersfield forced their way in to the PL and it was an achievement of almost Leicester standards for them to stay up last season. Town have spent hardly anything, have a small ground and … how can I put this? … just think cobbled streets, Hovis and Lowry’s stickmen.

Manager Dick Wagner (  😀 ) has done a fantastic job.

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Dick Wagner

In terms of economy, history, players there is no comparison with Arsenal but Town will give us a hard game this afternoon, just as they did at Wenger’s farewell at the John Smith’s in May.

We hammered the Terriers 5-0 last time but the score flattered us, with 3 goals in 4 second half minutes.

With two Danes, it would be 3 but for the suspension for Billing, there is much Huddersfield interest in Denmark.  TBH I know nothing about their other players,  the Dutch CB, Kongolo, appears to be their stand out man.

Thinking of CB’s, it is horrible news about Holding who is developing into a solid performer. We must hope he can make a full recovery ready for our title winning season in 2020.

We have injuries, some long-term, the loss of Welbz and Holding will probably result in January TW activity.

My Team:

Bent

Catwalk    Mustafi   Greek Bloke    Kolasinac

Terrier    Xhaka

Ozil    Iwobi

PEA    Lacazette

I pick a very attacking team. Why not – it’s Xmas.

Will Ozil’s “back spasm” continue? I have had back problems and can assure anyone who hasn’t that it is very debilitating requiring rest and time to improve. I prefer not to believe that there are tensions between Ozil and the club.

We have been on an wonderful and much unexcited run, a win today is important.

Let it be So.

COYRRG

 


Arsenal FC – our home record against the Terriers

December 7, 2018

Here are our all time home results starting with Division 2.

Our first home game against Huddersfield was in Division 2 on February 14th 1914 we lost 0-1

Our history with Huddersfield would be incomplete with mention of Herbert Chapman, he was manager of Huddersfield from 1921 to 1925 and won the FA Cup in 1921/22 and the First Division Championship in 1923/24 and 1924/25.

In the 1925 close season, Chapman had already set about improving his squad for Huddersfield to seek a third successive title (something which had never been achieved before). At the same time, Arsenal was looking to replace Leslie Knighton, who had been sacked. Arsenal chairman Sir Henry Norris placed an advertisement in the Athletic News:

“Arsenal Football Club is open to receive applications for the position of TEAM MANAGER. He must be experienced and possess the highest qualifications for the post, both as to ability and personal character. Gentlemen whose sole ability to build up a good side depends on the payment of heavy and exorbitant transfer fees need not apply”

Although Arsenal had been fighting relegation in both the two previous seasons, and despite the chairman’s restriction on spending, Chapman nevertheless moved to Arsenal soon afterwards, attracted both by the London club’s larger crowds and a salary of £2,000, double what he earned at Huddersfield Town. At Arsenal, Chapman immediately made an impact by signing 34-year-old Charlie Buchan, an England international and Sunderland’s all-time record goalscorer, whom he made Arsenal captain.

During his time at Arsenal he won the FA Cup in 1929/30 (our first trophy) and the First Division Championship in 1930/31 and 1932/33, he passed away of pneumonia on January 6th 1934.

 

GunnerN5


Man Utd Away: Player Ratings

December 6, 2018

I wrote in the pre-match that we needed a strong referee. A forlorn hope at Old Trafford.

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Moaninho is nothing if not pragmatic and he knows his football history. Under SAF when United were under threat of defeat they took advantage of lilly-livered refereeing and started to maim the opposition. This was a tactic. Shit-housery everywhere; rotational fouling, underhand violence, shirt tugging, hair pulling, leaving a boot in after a sliding tackle – anything was acceptable. Last night we saw it again.

Holding smashed out of the game in a horribly late tackle by Rashford which was not even punished. Ramsey crocked, Terrier kicked repeatedly, Curly the subject of a red card tackle and then having his hair pulled by Fellaini. The list is very long. Oh and an offside goal given to Utd. Quelle surprise. Marriner was pathetic – only Mike Dean could have been worse.

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Yet despite this shocking show of both weak refereeing and violent tactics, I feel disappointed that we dropped two points.  We were the better side throughout and with clinical finishing would have won comfortably.

Player Ratings:

Leno: Two mistakes cost us dearly.  6

Bellerin. As ever an energetic display, Even got stuck in a couple of times   7

Mustafi. Soild. Scored.   8

Sokratis. Not one to shirk away from a challenge   8

Kolasinac. So much better in attack than in defence.  Created many chances. 7

Holding. Was doing well until kicked out of the game. Hope he is not too crocked.   8

Terrier. Must be used to this type of game in Uruguay. Our Duracell bunny   8

Douzi. Amazing maturity for a teenager. Never shirked   8

Ramsey,  He was superb before being kicked out the game   8

Iwobi.  Not really his sort of game.   6

Auba.  Had chances, didn’t put them away.   6

Subs:

Licht. A game made for our master of the dark arts.   7

Laca. Scored (of course he did).  Energetic   7

Mhiki. Missed a sitter.  6

written by BR.


Man Utd Pre-Match. Confident? Don’t look at the Stats.

December 5, 2018

A two part post today. Big R’s pre-match followed by GN5’s statistics for the game

Pt 1:

IMO next to our trophy-less neighbours the biggest game of the season is the Red Devils especially now they are managed by The Miserable One.

As you will read below, we have a poor record at OT but Mr Emery is a new brush, could he bring us our first victory since 2006? If so, how?

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Would you choose the Back 3 which has been so successful  or revert to a Back 4? Will Ozil return? Should Wobbly start or Lacazette? Ramsey or Mhiki?

LB made a fine case that Emery is using the Back 3 to accommodate Kolasinac whose defensive discipline is uncertain. It appears to work as this frees the Wardrobe to play with more invention thus he had his best game on Sunday.  If Mesut is still suffering from “back spasms” then I see us lining up with the same team but rewarding Ramsey for his impressive 45 mins..

My Team:

Bent

Mustafi      Sokratis    Holding

Catwalk   Terrier   Xhaka    Wardrobe

Ramsey    Wobbly

Auba

As we know, Mr Emery is likely to make changes should it not be working.

Enough of that … time for some vitriol. Anyone who has read my comments over the years knows how I detest  Moaninho. Since his first press conference in London, his cowardly eye-gouging, the destruction of Inter Milan, his playing style, his conceit and arrogance. And now the beleaguered act. To read the farcical statement that Everton have spent more money than MU said it all, He is the Donald Trump of the PL.

As to the MU team … expect a rough game. Lukaku is a battering ram who creates the space for the lightning fast raids by Rashford and Martial. In midfield they are aggressive but have flair.

And then there is Fellaini.

We need a strong referee. Dean was appalling on Sunday, tonight we have Andre Marriner and we can only hope for better.

Arsenal must be on a high after 3 wins in a week. It should be an exciting but cagey, tense game.

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Pt 2:

Perhaps our least impressive away record is against Man U, the last game we won at Old Trafford was September 17, 2006 and we have only won a total of three games in the Premier League era. This particular game is special as it’s the 100th away game.

Here is our overall away record.

Our away record by game – in the Premier League.

Memorable victories at the Old Cowshed

14th March 1998 – Man U 0 Arsenal 1

A fair few points behind in the League but with games in hand, this game was pivotal in Arsene’s first League title. Marc Overmars scored in the 79th minute after Arsenal had dominated throughout. Bergkamp, Anelka, Parlour and Petit were imperious and Alex Manninger made a crucial stop when a linesman failed to flag an offside Andy Cole in the first half.

Photo by Rui Vieira/PA.

8th May 2002 – Man U 0 Arsenal 1

With Henry injured and Dennis on the bench, Paddy V, Edu and Parlour bossed the midfield allowing Wiltord and Kanu to score whenever they wanted. They chose the 55th minute (with Freddie’s help) and Arsenal went on to clinch the Double at the home of their nearest rivals (The FA Cup had already been won a few days earlier with goals from the Romford Pele and Freddie).

This is a new era with a new Manager and a renewed level of energy which may introduce a new flavour to our results at Salford.

We are unbeaten in the last 19 games in all competitions – will we make it 20?

GunnerN5