Many questions, Few answers

January 14, 2018

Be honest, how excited are you about this game? Less than thrilled? Give a monkey’s? Stomach churning anticipation? Mildly interested?

How did you feel pre-game at season’s start?

What’s changed?

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Is it the surfeit of football since Xmas? Or that Buornemouth are likely to PTB? Or that Arsenal are not exciting viewing in recent times? Or all of these?

Whatever it is, I am struggling to find the enthusiasm to write this post which is a rarity. It is instructive that the Newsnow feeds, which are my usual source of game info, have nothing on the match and all on AFC’s potentially disastrous transfer window!

Onto the game. Bournemouth are a surprise insomuch as I hardly expected them to survive a season in the PL let alone become established mid-table. This season they sit just above the drop zone but in recent weeks have improved.

It is admirable that the much-in-demand Eddie Howe has stayed, and that the BoD and backroom staff at B’mouth have created an atmosphere which not only keeps Howe satisfied but also imbues the players with confidence. Much like our own club.

Could Howe manage AFC or do we need a higher profile more Internationall experienced manager? A discussion for later.

As usual we have a swathe of injuries – JW joining the chaps on the massage table. Ramsey may well return to continue his partnership with Xhaka.

My Team:

Cech

Chambers   Mustafi   Holding

Bellerin   Ramsey    Xhaka    M-N

Iwobi

Lacazette    Sanchez

It is time Iwobi came good. It is time Lacazette scored. Time Sanchez showed his undoubted class and repays some of the debt he owes Mr Wenger in keeping him at such cost this season.

If we want Top 4 winning games and going on a long unbeaten run is imperative.

Let it start this afternoon.

COYRRG

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A Fond Farewell.

January 13, 2018

So, Mr Coquelin leaves the squad.

A player who resurrected a failing career in a manner which will inspire other players. He is proof that endeavour pays and his reward is a fat contract with a top Spanish club. Well done, Francis.

I cannot say that I have been a fan of Mr Coquelin, in fact to me he represents all that has been wrong at Arsenal over the past decade – a reliance upon players who simply are not good enough to propel my club forward. Neither good enough in defence nor attack, his skills lie in hard work, hard tackling and playing simple balls to more creative players. This may be harsh as we have had the occasional glimpse of a player who has great skill and can distribute accurately from midfield to attack, sadly, it was a rare glimpse.

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Squad players are necessary. We have many of them. It must be galling to be either on the bench or not even there week after week. To spend all that energy in training trying to impress the manager but rarely having a first team appearance. Knowing that only if a couple of players are injured you will have a chance.

Of course €30+k a week is a decent recompense for such trials.

Coquelin is only 26 y.o., played over 100 games for us, won 2 FA Cups, a Charity shield and became a multi-millionaire. Not bad for a man who was on loan at Lorient, Freiburg and Charlton in a career that seemed to have stalled.

Upon his return from Charlton Le Coq was a revelation in his DM role resulting in Mr Wenger calling him “the long-term solution”, it wasn’t to be .

Will he play first team football at Valencia? I guess so though Valencia currently sit 3rd in La Liga, 5 points ahead of Real Madrid, which must mean they have a settled team.

Valencia must be happy with AFC,having sold us Mustafi for €40m and used just €12m to buy a decent midfielder.

Thank you Francis Coquelin, Goonerdom wishes you well in your future.

written by Big Raddy


Where’s the transfer fizz and froth?

January 12, 2018

Sources say, linked to, Gazidis on flight to, sister-in-law confirms…… yip, transfer season, but hey it’s January 12 and I hear so little noise. What’s up?

Well, I like to think it’s crazy busy out there, and that my recent internetless period has merely kept me out of the loop, but peering around I’m not sure that is the case. A Greek defender has arrived, and Francis Coquelin has cleared off, and of course we’re left with the inevitable whispers about Mesut and Sanchez. The latter in particular due to the way the last minutes of the summer merrygoround ended.

To be honest, I have no idea what parameters we’re operating within regarding players being cup tied (Europa/CL?), movement domestically/abroad and so on.

Arsenally speaking, things have changed since the last window. We’ve witnessed the reappearance of Jack and the epic progress of Maitland Niles. We all know every single position could be improved upon, but equally, we all realise we’re not Real Madrid so what do we expect.

I think, once again, much will hinge on the Sanchez situation and one would assume Arsene sees the departure of Coquelin as leaving us thin in the defensive midfield position, or has he already pencilled someone in? Maitland Niles?

My personal thoughts on the window’s outcome? Nothing. Not sure why, but I have this gut feeling things won’t pan out for Sanchez the way he wants.

This is an incredibly dull window round up. I hope some of you can add some fizz and froth.


Solid at the Bridge – Player Ratings

January 11, 2018

Serial Diver

Went down only when he’d lost his balance

Ratings

Ospina – Lazarus got in the way when it mattered ….8

Chambers – WWE slam on Azpilicueta my personal highlight ….8

Mustafi – No unnecessary lunging tonight, except to block shots ….9

Holding – Looked more comfortable against Morata than Brereton  ….8

Bellerin – 100% focused – all thoughts of what to wear after the game on the back burner  ….6

Xhaka – The Hills are Alive with the sound of crunching tackles while on a yellow ….7

Wilshere – Buzzing – luckily the bang is on his “good” ankle ….8

Maitland-Niles – The young Tory oozed class and a complete disdain for Marxian economics ….8

Iwobi  – Magnificent Maradona-esque dribbles followed by powder puff shooting ….8

Welbeck – Magnificent tackle on the snake for which Alan Smith tried to award a penalty ….7

Lacazette – not the day to be an Arsenal striker – best chance half-volleyed into the stands ….7

Elneny – Booked for a foul on Morata ….6

Sanchez – Lively in his pursuit of a transfer ….6

Big Weng – gave the members of the press box something to watch ….8


Wembley on the Horizon

January 10, 2018

Chelsea away. Injuries all over the shop. Porous defence. Lack of confidence. Fans less than enthusiastic.

Doesn’t bode well.

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Last game was a cracker; full of excitement and top quality attacking allied to dreadful defending from The Arsenal, diving and awful finishing from Chelsea. I expect much of the same tonight and would be thrilled with a similar result.

Sanchez: According to the media we have received a €20m offer from City. How will that affect both the player and the manager? Would you sell him or let him go for nothing in summer? Is €20m enough?

VAR: Exciting and interesting development which will/could change the way football at the highest level will function. It works in other sports but can it work in football? Would Hazard’s clear dive be a penalty or not? Depends upon one’s viewpoint which is exactly the point!

Given that Chelsea and MC remain in the Carabao, was AW decision, to prioritise tonight over the FA Cup, pragmatism or stupidity?

We shall see.

There is no doubt in my mind that if Arsenal play well, particularly if we take the chances in attack, we can win. The question is – does the team share my faith?

COYRRG

 


Should we sign a Forward?

January 7, 2018

FA Cup. It has been good to us in recent years having only lost once in 4 seasons, can this run continue?

Away at Forest is a potential banana skin, especially as Mr Wenger  is expected to rotate his squad. Xhaka, Ramsey, Giroud, Kolasinac, Koscielny and Monreal are all injured, so the potential for rotation is limited. Wilshere needs to be rested and with Xhaka out we will struggle to be creative. Should be interesting to see if Iwobi, Coquelin and Elneny can find space and provide the ammunition for the front men.

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I know nothing about the current NF team. Once Cloughie left and they dropped out of the PL I lost interest. Thankfully for the Forest owners, their fans have not and they average over 25k attendance at the new City Ground (more than 7 PL teams).

Forest have a caretaker manager having sacked the previous incumbent, (what a lovely word) Mr Warburton after 9 months of difficulty. This is often bad news for The Arsenal as players try to impress the new manager.

My Team:

Ospina

Debuchy   Chambers   Holding

Nelson  Coquelin      Elneny    Maitland-Niles

Iwobi

Welbeck   Walcott

Not sure about this attack as Mr Wenger must have a reason to freeze out Walcott,  if it is because Theo is leaving then he is unlikely to play. In which case we are struggling to find a fit forward. Could Nelson be played upfront or Akpom? Mr Wenger has stated we are not interested in signing Aubameyang.

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Both teams could use The Lord

Mr Wenger starts his 3 match touchline ban, punished for telling the truth. Referees have ruined our season which may cost Arsenal millions of pounds. Where is their accountability (a post in the making?)?

Can we continue AW’s astonishing run of never having lost in the FAC 3rd round?

Hope so.

COYRRG


Lacazette to Score?

January 3, 2018

Hopefully we will be playing against 11 and not 12 tonight. Another points-robbing refereeing decision could see me give up watching.

For a decade Chelsea have been a team studded with A-holes. Lampard, Terry, Costa, etc there were loads of them. Today only Luiz really approaches the awfulness of the past. Instead they have pleasant folk like Hazard, Kante, Cahill and Courtois.

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Can we beat The Champions?

To be quite honest, I am doubtful unless we find some form. Chelsea will hopefully not PTB and allow some space for our forwards; if they do we can beat them but unlike Arsenal they have a full squad to pick from.

Chelsea also have a clever, charming manager with very good hair. Abramovich seems to like a good haircut.

With Ramsey, Giroud, Monreal and possibly Kos and Kol out, we have selection problems.

Win tonight and it will be a decent Xmas, lose and we fall behind.

My Team:

Cech

Chambers    BFG    Koscielny

Bellerin    Xhaka    Wilshere    M-N

Ozil

Lacazette    Sanchez

Given Chelsea use pace to attack it may be wise to start Holding rather than our Club Captain in the middle of defence and perhaps Elneny, or Coquelin, in place of M-N to add a touch of security.

This is an important night for Arsenal can we beat or even compete with a very good team in form? Can we get our potent front-line to fire. Lacazette needs to score and go on a run of scoring if we are to compete for the CL places. Trouble is, I am not sure he or AFC are capable.

That said, we beat Chelsea last time they came to The Emirates and at Wembley 😀, we can again.

COYRRG