December starts well! – Unai pops his NLD cherry – Arsenal v spuds Player Ratings

December 3, 2018

Everything you want to happen in an NLD does happen – Christmas has come early.

Hark the Herald Arsenal Sing, Glory to our new born King.

Ratings

Leno – several decent saves from Son and Kane to counterbalance his near post calamity for the spuds equaliser… 8

Bellerin – quality throughout – his one small misdemeanour we can forgive – Hector knows what an NLD is all about … 8

Sokratis – Solid, indefatigable, rock-like, showed some pace tracking Kane … 8

Mustafi – demonstrated that he has got something to contribute – warrior-like for a derby which is exactly what’s required … 8

Holding – felt sorry for him – all that bollix about him lunging in for the pen, he was trying to block a potential shot, not making any kind of tackle – it was a dive pure and simple – Mike Dean hang your head in shame – Rob looked good in possession … 8

Kolasinac – stood like a fat sack of potatoes for the spud first goal, playing 3 players onside, but his cut backs were a feature of his play in the Bundesliga and playing in a back five relieves pressure on his defensive shortcomings … 8

Torreira – what a magnificent purchase – sets the tone of Arsenal’s performance with his energy, enthusiasm and will to win. Brings ‘La Garra Charrua’ to Islington. A glorious first goal, too … 9

Xhaka – Granit plays as if the captaincy really means something to him – love his left foot – crossfield balls opened up the spuds in the first half … 8

Mkhitaryan – gave it his all in the first half – sometimes appears a luxury player – perhaps not the blood and guts player for a derby but full of rich quality … 7

Iwobi – looked dangerous – but rightly sacrificed for the second period … 7

Aubameyang – that second goal was so pivotal to the outcome of the match – Lloris didn’t have time to move – a real peach – two goals, great celebrations, back to smiling his tits off … 9

Subs

Ramsey – Aaron is really contributing even with his contract disputes – two assists made a big difference to the game’s outcome … 8

Lacazette – the way he skimmed the ball in of Dier’s shin was magnificent … 8

Guendouzi – he loves Arsenal – I love Guendouzi … 8

Other ratings

Unai Emery – masterful half time subs – what a way to pop your NLD cherry … 10

Mike Dean – awful, egocentric performance – thank Dennis it didn’t cost us in the end … -2

chas

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Spurs Pre-Match. Slightly biased.

December 2, 2018

Let us start here. This is an Arsenal blog,

if you expect a balanced view go elsewhere. If you expect me to be anything less than scathing towards our trophy-less neighbours from Wembley you will be disappointed. If you think I am going to write about Harry Kane being the best striker since Jimmy (not good enough for  the ’66 WC team) Greaves, think again.

Why? Because where I went to school you had a choice, you were either a Gooner or a Spud, and once you made that decision it was for LIFE. This was the beginning of my understanding of Yin and Yang, of the balance between good and evil, right and wrong. And for me and millions of others Spurs have always been wrong’uns.

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When I was blessed with Goonerdom it was a time of total THFC dominance (I know … to you younger chaps it is inconceivable!). Spurs were the best there had ever been and I can still recount the entire Spurs team of the early ’60’s. Sadly, but inevitably, a long slide into obscurity followed.

Do you know the last time Spurs won a proper trophy (not the Carabao/MilkToblerone/Disney Cup)? It was in 1991 – 27 years ago. And the one before that? In the early 80’s!!

And they think they are as big a club as the Mighty Arsenal 😀 😀

Their fans are so short of ammunition that they resort to 100+ year old history and complaints about our elevation to the top rank, from which, unlike Spurs, we have never fallen.

Enough of the past, how about today? It should be an enthralling encounter. Spurs on the back of 6 wins including two against decent opposition, us on a run of 18 unbeaten.

We go into a home game as underdogs, a rarity against the Miscreants, especially as we have lost just 2 of the last 14 (thank you GN5).

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I could spend the next few minutes writing about their players, but where is the fun (for me) in that? We know – their fans tell us often enough. Of all of their players the only ones I would want at AFC are Eriksen and maybe a CB to replace Mustafi. The others are all too ugly.

I could also write about their manager, David Wagner, who as an Argentinian is well versed in the dark arts.

As to their fans … they are the only visitors to our ground who regularly damage the stadium, one has to question why they smash a toilet or rip up a seat in the away end – it is not as if a Gooner uses them!

Of course many Spurs fans are reasonable people, and I count many amongst my friends but they have a rotten core, they have been misguided into an awful decision to follow the skinny cock. It has affected them – generations of “almost” would affect anyone.

I think it would be remiss of me not to remind them that “4th is not a trophy and nor is 2nd or 3rd”. A refrain we heard every season for almost 20 years.

So, in a big game who starts for us? Ozil is straight in, as is Terrier and Xhaka. As always we have problems at the back and I would not be surprised to see us line up with the back 3 which won at Bournemouth.

My Team:

Bent

Catwalk    Mustafi   Greek Bloke     Wardrobe

Terrier   Xhaka    Iwobi

   Mesut

Laca   PEA

Emery has a choice and it will be very interesting which direction he takes with the team; will he be pragmatic and look to control the midfield, including an extra MF/CB or will he attack?

I hope he gives it the beans.

As I am sure you know, we start slow, not leading at half-time at all this season, a strange stat. Could we please score early, pretty please?

As always this is a game between Good and Evil, sometimes twice out of 14). Given Spurs excellent form we have cause for concern but we have the tools to win. No place for feint hearts. For Harry, England & St. George etc

A tense afternoon ahead and we can win this.

Let it Be So.

COYRRG


Arsenal FC – Our home record v the Potato Men

December 1, 2018

The two teams met for the first time in the United League November 9th 1896. The match took place at Woolwich Arsenal’s Manor Ground in Plumstead and Arsenal won, 2-1. The United League was founded in 1896 to provide additional mid-week fixtures for teams drawn from a number of leagues including founder members, Woolwich Arsenal from the Football League, and Tottenham Hotspur from the Southern League.

The teams first met in a Division 1 Football League match on December 4th 1909 it was watched by a crowd of 18,000. Woolwich Arsenal won 1- 0 with Walter Henry Lawrence scoring their first league goal against Spurs.

Some key games between the clubs

Tottenham 0–1 Arsenal (3 May 1971) The final match of the 1970–71 league campaign, with Arsenal needing a win or a goalless draw to take the First Division title (a score draw would have meant Leeds United won on goal average). The game was tight with few real chances on goal, until the very end. With three minutes to go, John Radford’s shot forced Pat Jennings into a good save; George Armstrong got to the rebound and chipped the ball across goal and Ray Kennedy headed home the winner. Spurs desperately tried to get a goal back but to no avail; Arsenal held on to win the title (the first half of the Double that season).

Tottenham 1–2 Arsenal (4 March 1987) Arsenal and Spurs had drawn 2–2 on aggregate in the League Cup semi-finals; with no away goals rule in force, the match was replayed at Spurs’ home ground of White Hart Lane. Spurs went 1–0 up through Clive Allen but Arsenal substitute Ian Allinson equalised and David Rocastle scrambled home the winner to send Arsenal through to the Final, where they won their first trophy since 1979.

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Arsenal 1–0 Tottenham (4 April 1993 at Wembley) The second FA Cup semi-final between the two, in which Arsenal sought revenge over their North London rivals for the 3–1 semi-final defeat two years earlier. Tony Adams scored with a header from a Paul Merson free kick for the Gunners in the 79th minute; Arsenal prevailed despite Lee Dixon’s sending-off, and went on to win the FA Cup in May and complete the first ever domestic cup double.

Arsenal 2–1 Tottenham (8 April 2001 at Old Trafford) – the third FA Cup semi-final between the two. Gary Doherty gave Spurs the lead, before Patrick Vieira equalised for Arsenal. Robert Pires scored a second half winner to send Arsenal through to the first FA Cup final to be played outside England, where they lost 2–1 to Liverpool in Cardiff.

Tottenham 2–2 Arsenal (25 April 2004) Arsenal were unbeaten in the Premier League and only needed a point to secure the title. The Gunners were 2–0 up after 35 minutes thanks to Patrick Vieira and Robert Pires’ goals. A famous win looked to be on the cards, but Spurs restored some pride by denying Arsenal victory; in the second half Jamie Redknapp scored from long-range, then Robbie Keane converted a 90th-minute penalty to give Arsenal their second and, as of 2018, last league championship won at their rivals’ home ground.

Arsenal 3–1 Tottenham a.e.t (31 January 2007) Arsenal booked their place in the 2007 League Cup Final, for the first time since winning the competition in 1993, after this extra-time victory. The teams drew the first leg 2–2 at White Hart Lane where Tottenham threw away a 2–0 first half lead, eventually drawing the game. The return leg game was goalless until the 77th minute when Emmanuel Adebayor gave Arsenal the lead, before Mido equalised for Tottenham five minutes from time. Jérémie Aliadière restored Arsenal’s lead in the 105th minute and the game was eventually won by Arsenal after a 113th minute own goal by Tottenham’s Pascal Chimbonda, sending Arsenal through to the final, 5–3 on aggregate. Arsenal, however, would eventually lose the final to Chelsea.

The February 10th, 2018 North London derby between Tottenham and Arsenal at Wembley officially drew the biggest-ever Premier League crowd. No fewer than 83,222 fans flocked to watch the clash – ultimately won by Spurs 1-0 thanks to a Harry Kane header. In fact, the turn-out was just 38 fans short of the English league record of 83,260, set at the former home of Manchester City – Maine Road – in 1948.

The last time we lost a home game to Spurs was on November 20th 2010.

We peeled the Spuds 2-0 on their last visit to the Emirates Stadium.

GunnerN5

Recommended reading (Recommended by LBG)

https://www.football.london/arsenal-fc/news/ian-wright-what-arsenal-legend-15471315

 


Boys will be men! – Arsenal v Vorskla Player Ratings

November 30, 2018
Well, everything seemed to be stacked against the team in the beginning. Whose idea was it to organise a long trip away midweek before celebrating some serious Spud-bashing in the weekend! Really bad idea!

And then, serious brass monkey weather in the Land of Always Winter! Note, the ref needed a replacement can to paint the ground in the second half because the first one froze in his pants! 🙂

To top it all, martial law and proxy wars of the kind never seen in the civilized end of Europe on the correct side of 1945. Who would have thunk!

And then, in a shocking late move just to disrupt our preparations, UEFA decided at the last minute to move the game to the Olympic Stadium in Kiev. Surely, the sole purpose was to bring memories of another Brexit side crashing to European opposition in last season’s Champions League final!

Yes, the odds were all stacked against us.

In response, Unai Emery decides, in his enormous wisdom, to pack the team with teenagers fresh out of nursery. Bless the man and his sense of humour! In the event, we had a fantastic spectacle where the young gunners ran amok and Vorskled the shell-shocked opposition 3-0 on the night! What’s not to like?

We have struggled a bit with our academy setup in the past couple of years. But, if there was one thing we learnt last night, it was that the future is bright and shining. Yes, these young boys will be men soon enough. But will they stay and take it up the Arse? That is the long term question. In the short term, things look bright. We can look forward to another brilliant teen-show of Emery-ball against Qarabag.

Here are some quick thoughts and ratings. Please feel free to disagree.

Helmet: 6
Better with his feet than with his hands, which were probably frozen. Had to make a couple of saves, which he did, not without pretending to be nutmegged once early on. But that was just play-acting. Especially loved his bold clearance outside the box in the second half.

AMN: 6.5
Holding: 6
Jenks: 6
Licht: 6
The defence had precious little to do by way of stopping opposition attacks. It seems all aggression is diverted towards the Russians at the moment. Holding and Jenks were solid. Licht was good on the overlap. AMN was somewhat iffy in defence but linked up really well with the midfield.

Elneny: 5
Worked hard, but I thought he was the weak link on the night. Caught out of position a few times, and got himself into an offside position in the second half for what would have otherwise been Smith-Rowe’s second goal. However, decent assist for the third goal.

Rambo: 7
Almost convinced the ref and everyone else that he was attempting to dive, but in the process earned as fair a penalty as one would ever see. Wonderful stewardship of a bunch of youngsters (Cech was the captain on the night, I think, but Rambo looked very much the leader on the field). Most importantly, he got the opposition goalie on his knees for the penalty. Now, how many times have a seen a goalie defending a penalty kneeling down rather than diving! Wow!

Douzi: 6
Good solid link up play. Nothing spectacular except the hair, but valuable nevertheless.

Smith-Rowe: 8
Such games can sometimes be nervy affairs, and the first goal is always important. On the night, a wonderfully cool finish for an early first goal that set the tone for the game. To top it all, a wonderful sheepish smile after calmly finishing off a second half goal only for the goal to be disallowed very late. Just because Elneny was caught too far upfront trying to give the opposition goalie the eye!

Nketiah: 7
Tireless work throughout the game. Really gutsy, and very skillful. A fine assist to boot!

Willock: 7
What wonderful maturity, skill and finish for the third goal! A fine talent. A great pleasure to watch.

Zech Medley, Bukayo Sako and Charlie Gilmour.
What wonderful names! Never heard of them before. Medley was wonderful in defence, seems to be a real talent for the future. Sako was excellent in link up play. Both solid 6’s for me. Gilmour was not on long enough to make an impression.

Two final thoughts………..

First, a special thought for the team doctor (don’t know their name) who apparently did not travel with the team and reached late on his own. Then forgot that the game was moved to Kiev and travelled a pointless 400 miles by road to finally reach the game. What a performance!

Second. By the way, that is now 18 and counting! Look forward to some serious mauling of the blue-skinned swamp dwellers from N17 in the weekend.

A mildly satisfied,

Red Arnie


If the Kids are United

November 29, 2018

A very long trip for a game which MAY go ahead. Let’s assume it will.

The problems in Ukraine have resulted in AFC not needing to take a 400 mile round trip to somewhere out in the frozen wastes, this has to be a positive. Also, it means that it will be an away fixture for FC Vorskla.

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Ahead of Sunday’s game against the chaps from Harrow, Emery will be selecting a team filled with B players and youth, though to consider Ramsey a B player could be construed as an insult (same could be said of Holding, Mhiki etc).

Strange that we are taking only one CB with any first team experience, I wonder why Pleguezuelo is not in the squad as he did well against B’pool in the Carabao. Instead we have Medley who is just 18. Could Elneny play at CB or Licht?

My Team:

Helmet

Licht    Holding    Elneny    Corporal

Curly    Ramsey   M-N (Cons)

Mhiki   Smith Rowe (Lab)

Eddie

Perhaps this team is a bit attack orientated and Willock may get a start or M-N (Cons) will operate in the same manner as Wardrobe last Sunday. Given Mhiki’s dreadful performance at B’mouth he needs to find form and playing time is the only solution. Playing Henrik €250k p.w. is excessive given his AFC performances and it is easy to understand why Ramsey, who has consistently done well for us, considers he should earn commensurately.

There is an interesting article on Arseblog (written by Tim Stillman) on the need for Arsenal’s youth academy to deliver first team players. We have seen Bellerin and Iwobi come through, bought some fine kids (Curly and Terrier), now we need to see if Eddie, M-N and Smith Rowe can make that huge step up from being excellent in the Academy to being reliable first team squad members.  I expect many player sales in summer which will give opportunities to those with the talent and tenacity to take them.

Those on the fringes should read this article about one of our shining lights in the Academy over the past decade.    https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/european/chuba-akpom-exclusive-interview-chelsea-paok-arsenal-europa-league-a8657206.html

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We saw that Vorskla are a limited team who gave us few problems at THOF but tonight they will be playing a weaker AFC team and we can expect a tough fixture. A draw would be good, a win better.

COYRRG


Arsenal FC – Our record playing in the Ukraine

November 28, 2018

Our record in the Ukraine hasn’t been all that auspicious.  It’s a difficult place to go as winter creeps in.

Dynamo Kyiv were our first Ukrainian opponents in 1998. These were the days of playing at Wembley to allow more people in and swell the coffers that bit more. It was a dreadful idea as virtually all home advantage was lost. Kiev (as we called them in those days) had Shevchenko and Rebrov, which also didn’t help! We drew at home and then lost 3-1 away in November. (This was before Rebrov disgraced himself by going to the spuds, coming 12th and 9th before going on loan to Fenerbahce).

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In 2003 we again lost away but sneaked a 1-0 home win at Highbury with a late Ashley Cole goal. Kiev were drawn in our group for the third time in 2008. We managed to sneak a 1-1 draw in the Valery Lobanovskiy Stadium thanks to a very late Billy G equaliser and sneaked the home tie when Lord Bendtner popped up with an 87th minute winner.

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Against Shakhtar Donetsk in September 2000 at Highbury, I was proud to witness one of my favourite ever live games. Losing 2-0 early on, Wiltord gave us hope on the stroke of half time slotting in the rebound from a missed penalty. The last ten minutes will live long in the memory as Martin Keown popped up with two goals (one which appeared to be off his arm) to snatch victory at the death. Must have been his only brace ever. I smiled all the way home to Notts. The less said about the 3-0 away defeat in November the better.

We romped past Shakhtar in October 2010 5-1 at the Emirates featuring goals from the FFBW, a Cesc penalty and a Chamakh special before again losing away 2-1 in November. (Eduardo, our Brazilian Croatian ex-player, scored in both legs but shunned any goal celebrations)

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There’s a theme developing here. The later in the year you play away in the Ukraine, the harder it is to come away with a point. A proliferation of gloves and too many thermal layers probably doesn’t help.

Still all trends are there to be broken, starting on Thursday.

Update on Thursday’s game

Russian aggression towards the Ukraine appears to be escalating and in response the Ukrainian government has declared martial law. President Petro Poroshenko has said the implementation ‘aims to prevent an all-out Russian invasion’.

A statement from Uefa read: “The emergency panel has today taken the decision to relocate FC Vorskla’s Europa League group stage match against Arsenal from the city of Poltava, following the introduction of martial law into certain regions in Ukraine.

“Uefa will continue to monitor and assess the security situation in Ukraine in the coming days before making any decision on potentially relocating other matches.”

Up to 500 Arsenal fans were expected to travel to the game in Poltava and now must make alternative arrangements, with the decision coming less than 48 hours before the scheduled start time, which remains unchanged. (17:55pm)

chas


What’s in store for Emery’s Arsenal in December?

November 27, 2018

Yep, I realise November isn’t over yet but December starts on Saturday and Europa League matchday 5 will take up the end of this week.

So, what’s in store for December – Nine flippin games is what. This is partly due to the ridiculous amount of international breaks, maybe. Injuries will abound and the clubs with the biggest squads will benefit.

These 9 games include 7 in the Prem, 1 Caribou Cup game and our remaining Europey fixture. With us still to win in Vorskla away this Thursday, hopefully Qarabag at home on the 13th December will finally be a chance to play some Academy players.

The League Cup game on Wednesday the 19th is, of course, against our loathsome neighbours from Middlesex. I’ve no real idea how we approach that tie, except to win by as many as is humanly possible.

Arsenal’s David Rocastle shows the League Cup trophy to the fans at Highbury. 11/04/1987

December kicks off, yep you’ve guessed it, against the spuds at THOF – next Sunday the 2nd, with an earlyish kick off of 2.05pm, presumably to minimise potential crowd disturbances. Three days later sees a midweek trip to Manchester – everyone gets a draw there. Can we grab a point or even go one better? These are two massive fixtures which could set the tone for the whole month.

Either side of that Qarabag fixture we take on Huddersfield at home and Southampton away. Huddersfield at home last season was a bit of a romp – hoping for more of the same this time around. St Mary’s was turning into a bit of bogey ground a couple of seasons ago; what with Szczesny smoking after almighty howlers and other such nonsense like Shane Long looking a half decent player but only ever in the one game he played against us each year. Recently, however, we’ve managed to win 2 and draw 1 of our last three down on the South coast. Definitely need to keep up that improvement.

The ground staff will have their work cut out to fumigate the Clock End lower Tier after the spud Caribou game in time for the visit of Burnley in the League 3 days later.

Our last two fixtures between Christmas and New Year involve away trips to Brighton and then to Liverpool. Both will be tricky in different ways.

All in all, a quite horrendously busy month with the only 5 day gap between matches fairly early on, after the Huddersfield game and before Qarabag. I suppose we’ll just have to take it one game at a time. 🙂

Twenty one League points up for grabs. Where we might finish in the table come the end of the season should become more obvious by the turn of the New Year.

chas