Chelsea. With Hindsight.

February 10, 2017

Was it really that bad? Enough to launch a Wenger Out campaign? Enough to insist upon radical changes in our squad?

Let me start with a statement which IMO is clearly true. Had we played our best 11 at SB we would have taken the points. We couldn’t and didn’t but that is not all …

We lost thanks to a dreadful refereeing decision.

Chelsea’s first goal came from a violent foul which affected  not just the scoreline but the whole of AW’s plans. Bellerin was essential to our game at SB, Theo is pants without him, and we have no-one else with real pace to combat the Chavs attack.

A proper ref would have sent The Deviant Chav off and cancelled the goal. I was apoplectic that a cowardly elbow to the face should be rewarded with a gaol. It was not just crap refereeing, it was rewarding violent and dangerous play.

If it happened in the street it would have been ABH.

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So, at one stroke the Chavs have removed a vital member of our team, scored a goal and are cock-a-hoop. We on the other hand have Gabriel at LB against a world class frontline.

Furthermore, the loss of Xhaka and Ramsey forced AW to rely upon hardworking but ultimately ineffective midfield, which could have a long-term impact upon the career of both Ox and Coq.

There is no getting away from the negatives, we lost an important game in a manner which hurt (forgetting the idiotic refereeing decision), and it raises questions…

  1. Ozil. Can a player be considered world class if he disappears in Big Games?
  2. If Sanchez leaves, would we be a better team?
  3. Walcott. What was his role?. The lack of intelligence of our front 3 was worrying.
  4. Cech. Is it time to promote Ospina?
  5. Monreal is a lovely chap but we have needed better for two seasons (if we can find someone)
  6. Coquelin. It isn’t his fault that Santi, Elneney, Xhaka and Ramsey are out, all of whom would start ahead of Ox, but it was time for Coq to show he is the go-to DM in the Arsenal team. IMO he showed he is a squad player.
  7. Ox. Where to start? Watford and SB, an ideal setup for him. Watford to get into the role of CM and Chavs to mix it with the best. He has all the attributes and did OK but we need more. I worry for his future. He needs a big game on the weekend (if picked)

Let’s be honest, the League was lost with the Watford game. Chas called it – he said it was a MWG, and it was. AW recognised it – in his press conference, Arsene’s face was a grey as his hair and tracksuit, he looked like John Major post election defeat. He was spent.

We are not as good as we should be but we are certainly good enough to challenge for second. A win tomorrow will start the repair process.

written by Big Raddy


Arsenal: expectation and enjoyment

February 6, 2017

Someone close to me has just been diagnosed with severe depression.

We talk at length on a regular basis and it’s always been clear to me that he sets himself up to fail. For him, being anything other than the best at anything he does, renders it all completely pointless, resulting in the inevitable doom and gloom.

Ironically he is the same bloke that I do many things with, all of which are very simple, and which have yielded some of our happiest memories. I am pleased he is now getting professional help as I can only offer my rather simplistic take on life.

Look for what makes you happy, and do it.

I share the view of Peaches regarding Arsenal’s past week. The loss to Watford at home hurt more than the loss to Chelsea away. Now the league title is out of reach, I feel a burden has been removed. Of course I’d like us to win the thing, but we now have fourteen league games remaining as well as some FAC and CL matches, so it’s time to look at where the fun is to be had, because if every game is going to make you miserable, then don’t watch and certainly don’t go.

I will be watching, I hope to go, and I will enjoy, and as anyone who knows me will understand I will only be looking for goals and excitement. Simple fellow, simple needs.

MickyDidIt89


Don’t make me laugh …………….. Match preview

February 4, 2017

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So it’s been a difficult week for some Gooners, the team has gone from ooh aah heroes last Saturday to utter befuddlement  at the performance on Tuesday night against Watford. Less said about that the better.

On to today………….

We picked up a couple more injuries the other night, one to Ramsey and he won’t be available for the game. That leaves Coquelin as a shoe-in (last man standing) and I’d put The Ox alongside him. For all the poor football that we saw the other night I thought The Ox played with confidence.

Theo has to start – I don’t think AW will start with Welbeck although it can’t be long. Lucas is on the naughty step for some reason so I expect our Nigerian dynamo to start on the left. There were two Iwobis on show the other night; I like the one that came out for the second half better, so hopefully he’ll be the one that starts.

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We haven’t won at the bridge since ……….. blaaaaah who cares, we hadn’t beaten them at the Emirates for years either and records are there to be broken. Ooops I’m beginning to feel optimistic ………….. who knows what will happen but to be challengers you have to fight as a team and if something goes wrong you have to rally and fight harder. Let it be so.

The weather is going to be vile but the game is in West London not up north so maybe it’ll be a proper battle.

This is my team

jochavs

 

If you’re scared come and join us behind the couch.

COYRRG

peachesgooner


Arsenal Have Been Found Out – Watford Player Ratings

February 1, 2017

Yes, that’s right, you know it and I know it, we’ve been found out, Bournemouth were the first to work it out and every other lesser team has followed suit with Watford jumping on the bandwagon and speeding away with all three points. I say speeding because they, like Bournemouth, realised that arriving in a huge Double Decker bus and parking it in front of the goal doesn’t really work, far better to arrive in sports cars and take the game to Arsenal at speed.

How do you say “they don’t like it up um” in Italian, whatever the translation is their manager said it before the game and it is true we don’t; our defence looked collectively like headless chickens as Watford took the game to us.

Perhaps a bit of perspective is called for: Watford’s first goal? Can you really point the finger of blame at any one player for that kind of fortunate deflection? As lucky was their second: we had four defenders in the 18 yard box and the ball bounced of Cech and kindly fell to Deany.

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Two nil down and you would have thought that we might have raised our game a bit but no we still couldn’t keep hold of the ball. Was I the only one who was thinking at this point that our attack on Saturday was better than our supposed A team that started last night?

We started much better in the second half; the team that we expected prior to the game seemed to finally turn up. Walcott replaced Giroud which helped add pace down the right flank and it didn’t take long before Theo found himself with a clear chance which unfortunately he fired straight at the keeper. This was promising but far more was happening down our left flank with Iwobi skipping past defenders and leaving them for dead. He was looking by far the most dangerous and the most likely to make something happen and true enough he was the one that got us off the mark.

1-2 and there seemed to be plenty of time to get back on terms but then of the many tactical mistakes that were made Wenger made another, he moved Iwobi away from the left wing and we went flat again.

Perez came on and came close with an excellent shot that hit the bar – very unlucky which just about sums our night up.

By a very disappointed LB

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……. a few match feelings and player ratings from chas

Walking to the ground, the rain increased in its intensity as was forecast and we knew we were in for one of those nights where the shocking weather would certainly play some part. Arsene must have been saying prayers of thanks to the FA for the 4 game touchline line ban. I presume he was relatively snug in the directors box during the game rather than p*ss-wet through sat on the bench. But having witnessed the abject first half display his Arsenal side produced, his spirit must have been as sodden and bedraggled as Bouldie’s coat.

It still amazes me, as LB says, that we fail every time against the high energy press from supposedly lesser opponents. Collectively the team has to drop 10 yards and give the man on the ball options when in possession. Do we ever do this? No, we do not, so we end up with harum scarum, fearful passing and no support for a beleaguered back four. I realise it can’t be that simple, else it would be sorted out each time, but that is how it seems to a bear of very little brain.

Attacking-wise, we were dreadful in those first 45 minutes. For some reason Iwobi on the right doesn’t work at all and you had to feel sorry for Gabriel finding himself as our main attacking threat from right full back.

Giroud seemed to care not one iota for the team effort. You’d think he had a point to prove after our mobile second string attack looked so effective at the weekend. But no, he lost the ball each time he was challenged from behind. That’s supposed to be your strength, man.

Ramsey failed to provide an outlet for the defence under the strain of the high press, half-heartedly tried to block Kaboul’s free kick (he would have been better just letting it go straight through to Cech), lost possession in the run up to the second goal and then succumbed to a convenient ‘I’d rather be in a hot shower than out here’ injury. All in 20 minutes, well played that man.

Talking about Kaboul’s free kick and I realise that in the ground one might see events in a slightly biased way, but didn’t the ref (whoever he was) seem to give Watford any free kicks he possibly could whenever any of their forwards fell to the ground in a heap, while refusing to judge any like incidents for us by the same standards?

At half-time the stadium was stunned. We’d been truly abysmal and even if there’d been an element of fortune for both of Watford’s goals, they were still deserving of a lead.

Walcott for Giroud at half-time; what had been said in the changing room? Was there an injury or had he been hooked for his dismal display? Perhaps we’ll never find out, however the change was dramatic. It was as if the team had been on strike in the first half and the substitution had resolved the trades dispute.

Suddenly everything moved up several notches. Theo looked dangerous and Iwobi burst into life on the left flank. It only seemed a matter of time before we got one back at least. Excellent work from Sanchez on the right created a difficult chance for Iwobi and we were back in it.

We continued to create chances and then a strange substitution completely unbalanced the side again. Everything was going through Iwobi, so for the life of me, I can’t see how moving him away from the left and into the centre could be seen as a positive move. Yes, that’s hindsight, but although it was excellent to see Lucas on the pitch, why would you move your most potent attacking threat away from the area in which he was causing Watford all the problems. Completely baffled.

Lucas rattling the bar (it’s still bouncing up and down now) was the final nail in Arsenal’s coffin. Just a few inches lower and it goes in off the underside of the bar, as Danny’s did on Saturday. If that rocket had flown in, I’m sure we’d have got the winner too, as team confidence surged.

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As it was, fine margins left us with Mustafi’s unbeaten streak in tatters in the week he’d said it would be tough to keep it going all season, but that that was his aim. I’d also been reading in the Evening Standard how Arsene had been agreeing that the fans would not be appeased with yet another top four finish unless we could sustain a title challenge. Hmmmmm.

Player Ratings First Half

Everyone gets a 3 for no other reason than we created 3 off target shots in the whole of the first 45. Oh yeah, Ramsey gets 2 and Giroud 1 for turning up.

Player Ratings Second Half

For the first 25 minutes of the second period, Iwobi gets a 9, everyone else 8.

For the last 20, it all went flat again, so all dropped to a 6.

Apologies to anyone hoping for some sensible player ratings. I haven’t watched any highlights, nor do I intend to. I just needed to vent at such a dire, depressing peformance produced at a time we could least afford it.

Perspective-wise, we only lost 1 point to the chavs, dippers and spuds last night, but it does feel like more. Only 3 at the Bridge will make up for it.

 

 


Watford, Minnows & Days of Yore.

January 31, 2017

An away draw at Sutton Utd . A win takes us into the 6th round a loss is unthinkable

Back in the Days of Yore, I went with AFC to Yeovil for an away Cup game.

In order to get tickets one had to check in the program, find out when the tickets went on sale and then arrive at Highbury at least 4 hours before the sale time. This meant bunking off school, not a problem for some but I had High Hopes (sadly unachievable 🙂 )

I recall it was a very cold queue though we got  to sing a fair bit before the turnstiles opened. I am not sure but think we queued at the Clock End, but as I seemed to be forever queuing for tickets to see the Arsenal, it could have been the North Bank. I preferred the North Bank because then I got a chance to visit the sweet shop to buy a bag of Mint Imperials.

Thousands were in the queue and less than half would have got tickets. Such was the disdain of the club for it’s fans that there was little stewarding and no-one to assess when to stop people from a vain pursuit. Even as a schoolboy I was able to understand that if there were 1000 tickets on sale, in a queue of 30000+ most would be wasting their time. But then, this was in The Days Of Yore, when folk just queued for a hobby. I remember queueing every Saturday night for the newspaper!

Different today. The molly-coddled away boys apply for tickets from the cosy comfort of their sitting rooms, only having to press a few keys on their laptops.

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It was a long journey on a freezing day down to Yeovil. Dennis Sugarman got attacked by some Yokels but not too badly. We escaped a beating by running into a hotel lobby. It was the Way it Was.

We won 3-0, thanks to a Raddy brace and went on to win the Double.

So …. Sutton away. Should be exciting.

Yeovil is (and was) much like Sutton. A banana-skin fixture. Tiny ground, crap pitch, no glory for a victory.

p.s. I am reminded that we are playing Watford at the Emirates tonight! And it is transfer Deadline Day!  Just in case you are thinking “what a silly old fool Raddy is” may I point out that Tempes Fugit and it will be your turn to live in the cosy cocoon of forgetfulness in the coming years 😀

My Team:

Cech

Bellerin    Gabriel  Koscielny   Monreal

Ramsey    Coquelin   Iwobi

Theo   Sanchez   Ozil

We need a good and an injury-free performance ahead of Chelsea

Let it be so …

written by Big Raddy


Dannyyyyyyyy………………..and player ratings.

January 29, 2017

Well that was exciting, I was excited thinking about the game all week, even more so when I saw the team selection and by the end I was down right ecstatic. An outstanding performance and a great result. Days like this are our reward for being Arsenal supporters.

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Player ratings

Ospina: when some think of him they go – ooh scary but I think that he is deceptive, yes he is south American so there is always going to be a bit of drama but look closely and you will notice that what he does he does well, clean sheet, that will do nicely: 8

Bellerin: Hector (we are back on first name terms) returned to his outstanding best; he and Walcott were pretty much unplayable down the right flank, it was interesting to see just how far Walcott was coming back to cover for Hector when the Spaniard was attacking, a real sign of just how much Bellerin’s attacking has improved and just how much Walcott has been told to respect that. 8

Mustafi: our lucky charm continues to shine as brightly as ever, should be interesting to put it to the test next weekend, another solid performance. 8

Holding: what’s not to like about this 2 million pound signing, still makes me laugh when I think of Wenger laughing at the beginning of the season when he was comparing him with the 55 million pound signing of Stones. I get the feeling that Holding is going to be at the club for years to come, a perfectly respectable performance. 7

Gibbs: said it before and will say it again, we are fortunate to have such solid back up for this position, an OK game, still the occasional mistake but equally there is still the occasional flash of quality. 7

Niles: it’s just good ol Niles from the hood now, lol, the young man had a fine game, a few understandable defensive wobbles but outstanding in his distribution: 7

Oxlaide-Beckenbauer: woo, haven’t seen him play the Ramsey role before and he was impressive, far more impressive than I expected and that in a nut shell is how and why I award my MOTM, Alex was spraying the ball around like the distant image I have of the great German, and calmly dealing with fires to boot. 9

Adelaide: Diabyesque, a few noticed this yesterday, he has such a characteristically Diaby dribble and drag back, of course, as soon as we had noticed it the next thing we know is that he is on the floor clutching his leg. He didn’t shine as much as I hoped, I must admit but that is not to say that I don’t expect great things from him in the future, I do. 7

Walcott: I am not a Theo fan and his three goals have not changed my mind, to me he is on the Giroud side of the attack, poor close control, no assists but gets you goals, whereas I want more on the Ozil – Sanchez side: great close control, lots of assists and get you goals. The problem for me is that I know that Walcott remains the best option on the right so I am going to have to grin and bear it. 5

Perez: I am a huge Perez fan; he is on the Ozil-Sanchez side of things, he gets assists, scores goals and has good close control, I thought he was outstanding yesterday and would have given a 10 if it weren’t for him missing his one on one with the keeper. 9

Welbeck: I may be a Perez fan but I have a man crush on Danny, I have said it before and I will say it again he is going to be the best attacker in the EPL. A front line of Welbeck, Sanchez and Walcott is going to be something awesome. Welbeck has everything we need from a player coming in from the left or even swapping with Sanchez, this is going to get really exciting. 9

Written by LB 

and some ‘feelings’ from mickydidit89 …………………….

2nd XI’s (more or less) from Southampton and Arsenal took to the pitch on the South Coast for an important  fixture in the Worlds’ finest knock out tournament.

Quite a few Arsenal players staked their claims to never again be considered 2nd XI’ers.

Here’s one thought I had about our players who featured yesterday:

Regular 1st Teamers: Bell, Gibbs, Mustafi

Outstanding performers: The Rest.

Very, very nice situation indeed. It would be very tempting for me to dwell on the front three who were all sensational, however, it was the Maitland-Niles Oxlade-Chamberlain Reine-Adelaide midfield trio that really surprised me (although a mention in dispatches for Holding).

When I saw the team sheet I was overjoyed by the attack but certainly felt the midfield was simply too many rotations. Wow, how wrong was I. They were outstanding.

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As I am someone who always blames the chap at the top when things go wrong, I don’t remember me ever bowing quite so low to Arsene as I did post match. It was an outstanding performance from the manager.

This morning I fancy Arsene has a massive headache, and it concerns team selection for the upcoming two PL games. Welbeck, Perez and Walcott have demanded selection and really, they are contesting two slots alongside Sanchez.

For me though, the biggest question mark is over The Ox. Has he done enough to start alongside Coquelin? I think so.

Happy Sunday Gooners from Admin 🙂


An Afternoon for Attack?

January 28, 2017

Are you confident of a win today? Really?

We always used to win at Southampton but in recent years our win ratio has plummeted.

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Given the lack of Elneny, Xhaka and Cazorla we are reduced to just two effective MF’s -Ramsey and Coquelin, a partnership which has yet to blossom. Furthermore, we are playing Watford in the PL on Tuesday and away at The Bridge on Saturday.

AW has problems. How will he resolve them? Will he play AR/Coq in all three games? Or Sanchez and Ozil? Or will he prioritise the PL? I know I would.

Much as I love the FAC the need to have our best team available and fresh for Chelsea is paramount. So, what is the solution? Do we go all gung-ho in Didit style or do we throw in an extra defender in the hope we can keep it tight and sneak a win?

I would prefer the all-out attack route, either go down in flames or live to fight again following a glorious victory.

My Team:

Ospina

      Gabriel     Mustafi    Holding    Gibbs

Ox     Coquelin     Iwobi

Perez    Sanchez    Welbeck

There is zero chance AW will play this team, but it would be great if he would.

I would keep Bellerin for Tuesday and play Gabriel, giving instruction to Ox to play the Ramsey role and get up the wings. In other words, a 3 at the back with Gibbs pushed further into midfield.

Imagine how worried the S’ton defence would be to face such a potent front line. If only Theo were fit to play his former team, but Perez is a fine replacement.

Is Welbeck ready to start a game? If so, should it be at St. Mary’s or at the Emirates on Tuesday. I would give the fellow a run this afternoon but doubt AW will.

Mr Wenger has said he will play one or two youngsters, so perhaps Maitland-Niles will start alongside Coquelin with Ox pushed further forward. Or even better we may get to see The Jeff!

Mr. Wenger will have a chance to rest his ageing bones in the stands, talking into his sleeve to Steve Bald (sp.) who will undoubtedly ignore him.

And what of the opposition?  They play in red and white striped shirts and black shorts. Matt Le Tissier used to play for them. So did Kevin Keegan and Gareth Bale.

And they have a very good young Danish MF called Højbjerg  (which means High Mountain) whom they signed from Bayern Munich.

We have a mountain to climb this afternoon. We have the necessary equipment, all we need is a bit of luck, the right weather and steely determination. It worked for Hillary and Tenzing – it will work for The Arsenal

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COYRRG