Southampton. Player Ratings

May 11, 2017

Cech. Terrific, even his distribution was good. Saved a couple of one on ones and made a spectacular flying save from Redmond.   9

Holding. Early to make this huge statement but this man has a touch of the Tony Adams – he could be that good. Calm, clever, determined and strong. 8

Mustafi. A welcome return and he seems very comfortable as the fulcrum of the back 3. A couple of times he was out of position which allowed S’ton to get behind the defence.  7

Monreal. I think he is a better attacker than Gibbs but also a better defender and he was very solid last night.   7

Ox. Made an energetic start but often his final ball was inaccurate. Made one lovely cross before injury.  6

Ramsey. Massive energy and ambition but as usual much of his work comes to nothing. Clever headed cross for Giroud. 7

Xhaka. He is becoming the metronome of the team. This is both good and bad as sometimes he delays his passes or goes sideways but I have high hopes for his future at AFC. Tried a couple of long-distance shots which was positive. No yellow card – again!!  7

Gibbs. Settling into his role but (and I know I keep saying this) he is not good enough in the opposition half. His crossing is not accurate, he is not on a wavelength with Sanchez. That said, he played well   6.

Ozil.  As always he worked hard. Made a lovely pass for Sanchez goal.  Love the bloke.   7

Welbeck. Plenty of runs but had poor service. I cannot recall him forcing a save from Forster.  6

Sanchez. Brilliant but oh so frustrating. Every game I despair as he gives away ball after ball then he pops up with another outstanding, match-winning goal   8

Subs

Bellerin. Doesn’t seem comfortable with the 3 at the back  system. Feels as though he needs the summer to re-group and come back fitter and faster.   5

Giroud.  Just on the pitch for a few minutes and scored to once again hit double figures for the season.   7

Mr. Wenger. Another clean sheet indicates that the Back 3 experiment is working. We have conceded just 3 goals in 5 games. Substitutions were as expected.  7

My MotM. Cech.  An outstanding performance

A competitive first half with Southampton dominating the opening 15 minutes, from then on Ramsey and Xhaka controlled the game and I was always confident we would win.

written by Big Raddy

 


Southampton: MWG?

May 10, 2017

Just in case anyone is getting ahead of themselves and thinking this will be an easy win, may I point out that we have not won at St Mary’s in our last 5 visits plus we have lost 5 of our last 6 away matches. We need a win because if we draw or, heaven forbid, lose, the rest of the season is just filling in time until the Cup Final.

Unknown.jpeg

Beating both Manchester clubs must give some confidence to our troops and given Liverpool’s odd form there are genuine chances for a top 4 finish (though Stoke will be difficult).

Southampton are a strange team, sometimes they play attacking positive football, at others they are just dour, evidenced by just 39 goals for (44 conceded). In a season which has seen the EPL split into two divisions S’to are just 4 places below us in 10th yet 21 points behind.

Tonight’s referee is John Moss and just to show that I never bear grudges may I ask you to recall the action below. Moss was refereeing that day and did not even give a free kick! IMO it was one of the most dangerous, deliberate fouls I have seen. Moss is known for “letting play flow”, I call it bottling major decisions. He was also the referee when we played Burnley at home earlier this season and Barton got away with grabbing Iwobi’s face.

I do not expect much change from Sunday’s team – Koscielny may be injured and being so important is likely to be rested. Hence …

My Team

Cech

Holding    Mustafi   Monreal

Ox   Ramsey   Xhaka   Gibbs

Ozil     Sanchez

Welbeck

Once again, I would prefer to play someone other than Gibbs though he did play well in the second half on Sunday. Gabriel may return in place of Holding.

Southampton were super dull against Liverpool and I can see no reason why they shouldn’t be so tonight. Puel’s job is apparently under threat, though what do S’ton’s BoD expect? Puel has done OK with limited resources. What he does have is a very good defence which is why we have to score in the first half to make an entertaining game otherwise we are in for another night of tension, possession, dilly-dallying and reluctance to shoot.

Bang one in early and we could be kushtie

Let it be So

COYRRG


George Best? Merinho wouldn’t have picked him

May 7, 2017

For so many years this was my favourite fixture of the year; Best and Charlton coming to Highbury, hating Sheringham, Cantona getting sent off , Van Nistleroy and Keown, TH14’s wonder goal at the Clock End, PV4’s penalty in Cardiff, Pizzagate and much much more.

Post- Merinho –it has lost it’s glamour. Completely. United are just an expensive Stoke.

Unknown.jpeg

Words cannot describe how much I dislike the little Portuguese misery. To see a Man Utd team thrilled by a 0-0 draw at Maine Rd summed up the changes he has made up at OT; thank goodness the man will never come to the Emirates.

Enough of him, he gets enough press. What of his team? Packed with very, very expensive players.  Homegrowns? Rashford will get a game but only due to injuries, Lingard? Bit part player because he can be entertaining.I could go on. How can one take a wonderful prospect like Luke Shaw and destroy him? Answer …. ask Juan Mata.

Rooney? Must love his manager. England Captain and can’t get a game.  Certain to leave in summer. If he would come to AFC, I would sign him. Terrific player and one who could do a fine job for a couple of seasons.

George Best was a hero at MU, yet can you imagine Jose playing him? Look what the man did to the brilliant Eden Hazard and he works twice as hard as George. Bobby Charlton? No way – couldn’t tackle. Cantona? You’re joking.

Unknown-1.jpeg

Proper Football

So, this afternoon we will get the usual Merinho PTB dull, dull football. Unfortunately Arsenal are not in the right shape for us to be confident of taking advantage of MU’s player rotation and injury problems.

Let’s be honest, the Spurs game was awful. Play like that for a season and we are relegation fodder. But be positive, after all Mr. Wenger must be desperate to finally beat a Jose´team. We are at home, we have few injuries and are rested after a week off. It can be done.

My Team:

Cech

Gabriel     Koscielny     Holding

Ox    Ramsey    Xhaka  Monreal

Welbeck    Sanchez   Ozil

No chance of the above but I believe this team could win. I would like to see Iwobi get some pitch time as he has been terrific this season and could use the fillip of a few minutes in another big game. Maybe Elneny instead of Ramsey, and Mustafi instead of Holding.

Please Arsenal, please Mr Wenger, please fans at the ground, do everything possible to beat MU. This United is a shadow of the great club of the past, they need to be thrashed.

Let it be so

COYRRG


Who goes? Who stays?

May 3, 2017

Which players shall be sent away and why?

Cech – Ospina – Martinez – Szecesny

Bellerin – Chambers – Jenkinson – Debuchy
Monreal – Gibbs
Kos – Mustafi – BFG – Holding – Gabriel

Xhaka – Coqueiln – El Neny
Ramsey – Wilshere – Cazorla

Ox – Walcott –
Iwobi – Ozil – Campbell
Sanchez – Jeff

Giroud – Wellbeck – Lucas – Akpom – Asano – Sanogo

Here is my start:

Cech – Mustafi, Koscielny, RECRUIT – Bellerin, RECRUIT, Xhaka, Ramsey, RECRUIT – Sanchez, RECRUIT

Recruits as starters:
DC = Ideally Bonucci but can live with Pepe or Varane
LB = Ideally Mendy but can live with Rodriguez or Gaya
CM = Ideally Vidal but can live with Sygurdsson
FW = Ideally Lukaku but can live with Vardy

Must leave:
Scezcesny
Debuchy, BFG, Gabriel, Monreal, Gibbs
Coquelin, Ozil, Campbell, Lucas, Asano, Sanogo

Loan out:
Jenkinson or Chambers, Akpom

Your team (without players on loan) shall consist of 27 players MAX and at least 23 players.

written by RC78 (cobbled from a couple of comments)

 


One Cockerel does not a summer make

April 30, 2017

So here we go folks, the final North London Derby at WHL. This occasion really should have called for the daddy of pre-matches, but unfortunately there are some trees that need a hug…..so you are stuck with me.

I need to say in advance that I have a superstition about being too condescending ahead of these games so if you are expecting lots of belittlement and ridicule then disappointment will be the order of the day. Having said that the rest of you can fill yer boots.

I strangely feel a degree of sadness that this is the last outing at their place, as WHL holds some fond memories for us. I am normally very nervous about these games. On reflection I think this is because we have pretty much been the favourites in games against them since some fellow called Newton had an apple fall on his head. As such I think the expectancy to win adds more angst to the occasion. This time however I have them down as favourites. Spurs are the form team this season while we have struggled.

Stating this actually doesn’t cause me any issues because this aberration can be redressed in readiness for next season. A shift in the balance of power?……pffft (he expectorates on the floor in distaste). As Lord Wenger intimated the other day, one cockerel does not a summer make. If anything Spurs form versus ours this season may be the main proverbial kick up the derriere that we needed. If it turns out to be the catalyst for action that sees us awaken from our slumber and head into next season a different animal, then I will doff my cap to those white lillies and say thank-you. I may even resort to a chicken on a beach ball as my screen saver……ok maybe not….still a few white wine spritzers clouding my judgement this morning.

I am reconciled with the fact it is now near impossible for us to celebrate St. Tott’s day this year. If you gave me a choice between winning the F.A cup and finishing below them or finishing above them with no silverware then I would take the former all day. This is a real possibility for us so it could be that in a few weeks time we are actually celebrating a more successful season than them. How galling would that be for them?

Onto team matters. I am not sure if a mere stand in for the pre-match is allowed to mutter these sacred words, but here goes………..

my team (ooh it does make one feel powerful) :

 

Cech

Holding Koscielny Gabriel

Ox Coquelin Ramsey Monreal

Ozil Sanchez

Welbeck

Why change the formation that has revived our fortunes recently. I would also like to stick largely with the same players with a couple of proviso’s. I think the pace of Welbeck with Ozil and Sanchez flitting about behind him would suit this game more. Giroud and Walcott are useful impact subs. I think we need the defensive graft of Coquelin in a disciplined role front of the defence. They are dangerous in that area and a big game from him could be a deciding factor. If he is able to largely stifle them in this area and free up the rest of our team in attack then I will be very hopeful. Xhaka has played well recently but is more reckless and we can’t afford to be down to 10 men in this game. Other than that it is as you were.

As I said, based on form and them being at home they are the favourites…….but I have a feeling in me bones. Being favourites carries that extra psychological burden. Also our new system will be far less easy for them to predict than when we were labouring with the 4-3-3 system. Even we don’t yet fully know what Arsenal will turn up in this system, so it should create some doubt and uncertainty in their minds.

All this should mean that for once, us rather than them, can approach the game with less to lose and can literally just go out and play without burden. There is one final consideration. This is a historic day for them. There must be a few nerves in their camp that the final NLD at old WHL could go down as an Arsenal win. WHL holds some fond memories for the Arsenal. Who can forget the 3rd May 1971 or the 25th April 2004? Let the record books show that Sunday 30th April 2017 saw Spurs title bid crash down around them as the good guys in red and white registered a historic final win at WHL.

COYRRG’S

Written by GoonerB

 


Poetic Justice does exist – Leicester Player Ratings

April 27, 2017

My old man used to bang on about justice to me when I was a kid. By the time I’d reached my teens, I had categorically realised that it is an abstract notion which does not, in reality, exist in any tangible form.

How beautiful it is when rare moments in this cruel and random world actually make it appear that poetic justice, karma, poor behaviour getting its comeuppance etc do have some outward manifestation, however imaginary.

Leicester have certainly returned to their shape and structure of last season. Ten men behind the ball as often as possible, hoof the ball up to Steptoe to chase whenever the opportunity to swing a size 11 boot presents itself. Don’t get me wrong, they did have a few sniffs at goal, largely from Arsenal-inspired breakdowns of possession, referee-inspired dubious free kicks anywhere in our half and even from some revolting, Delap-like trebuchet missiles. However their negative anti-football in the second half, purely designed to win them a point, got them exactly what was deserved – sweet Fanny Adams.

The first half was pretty tedious it has to be said. The personnel changes to our new system took some bedding in. We attempted to give Crisp Advertisers FC some golden opportunities with dodgy back flicks, poor GK clearances and other examples of sloppy play.

Our two best chances I can remember came from a Gabs’ near post header which nearly fell to our new striker, Nacho and the outstanding moment of the half when Sanchez crashed the ball against the bar with Schmeichel floundering just before the break.

The second half was a procession towards the North Bank goal. The Leicester defence dropped deeper, their half-time talk was obviously about wasting even more time and killing any entertainment the fairly sparse crowd had bothered to turn up in the hope of seeing. Unwittingly they were just the stooges in their own downfall, building the platform for an epic final 10 minutes.

The strangest challenge of the whole game was when the Leicester defender with the incandescent bonce decided he’d use Giroud as a climbing frame. How on earth Mike Jones didn’t see that as a red card only Mike Riley knows.

The goal, when it finally came, was beautiful in its grotesque manifestation. My brother had spent large parts of the second half repeating the mantra, ‘we must clear Huth’ every time we had a free-kick, corner or cross. For Nacho to smash it wide of the goal but not wide of Huth’s massive gut and the ball to cannon into the back of the net, became such a glorious vindication of my old man’s belief in the idea that people should get what’s owed them.

Those who left early not only missed the beautiful post goal celebrations but also a Mike Jones Brian Rix-inspired farce of epic proportions. (When I commented after the game about it being like a Brian Rix farce at the end, Ant wondered why I was on about Graham Rix).

Previously Ulloa had left the pitch when substituted as if he had bound feet, each step moving him forward six inches at the most. Now the Leicester defender with the shiny head, Bennylooanus or something, was subbed and he sprinted off. Every person left in the ground with a red and white heart, howled with derision. So funny.

Then the farce reached new heights when Sanchez stood in front of Fooks readying to launch another long throw into the box. Mike Jones did not ask Sanchez to retreat but encouraged Fooks to get on with the throw. Eventually Fooks’ petulance got the better of him and he simply threw the ball directly at the Chilean. It was clearly intended to cause a few lost teeth and so we were astonished when the ref failed to send off the Leicester player but instead booked Alexis for deciding he needed to closely inspect the fine partly-artificial weave of the Emirates turf. The melee involved most of the players on the pitch including both keepers.

Yeah sure, we believe you

Leicester’s final chance also seemed scripted for Mack Sennett’s keystone cops, bodies flying everywhere followed by Schmeichel and several players in blue chasing the hapless referee.

The 4 minutes injury time morphed into 6 or 7 with all the mayhem, but justified victory was finally and beautifully achieved when the ref thought he’d better blow before someone grabbed his shorts and yanked them to his ankles.

Ratings

Cech – Poor kicking, magnificent save from Mahrez ……7

Gabriel – Silky skills on the ball and a fearsome warrior in defence ……7

Koscielny – Cool, calm, composed Captain. Seemed to recover from a knock in the 2nd half – we need him on Sunday ……8

Monreal – Looked fine as part of a back three and his half-volley against Huth’s belly a thing of rare beauty….8

Gibbs – Gibbo looked a little short of match practice understandably. Covered well for Nacho …..7

Bellerin – Cornrows gone, back to man bun. Wing back could suit him down to the ground. Crossing/delivery into the box needs to improve ….7

Coquelin – Fighting every step of the way. You just cannot fault his commitment …….8

Xhaka – The new formation suits him as he has more cover behind, so can look forward instead. Lovely to watch in possession…..8

Ozil – Struggled to break down a resolutely tedious defence but never let that stop him trying…..7

Walcott – Really weak, struggled to get out of Hector’s way for most of the game. If he doesn’t score, he’s pretty redundant …..5

 Sanchez – Gave away possession, smacked the bar with a beauty and then rivalled Rivaldo for a Bafta  …..7

chas


Winning Run to Continue?

April 26, 2017

A chance to play and beat the Champions. We managed a draw away at a time the Leicester boys were shafting Ranieri, can we do better tonight?

Unknown.jpeg

Since Tinkerman left LFC have done very well and seem a rejuvenated team (shameful), we have won two on the bounce. It should be a good game. Leicester tend to rely on the pace of their attack, in particular Vardy.

Vardy and Mahrez. Both AFC targets last summer, both turned us down, both had awful seasons. Good. I was hoping for relegation but mid-table mediocrity will do.

In the excellent Ian Wright interview with Arseblog, Wrighty complained long and hard about our buying policy. On the whole I agree with him, but the non-signing of two Leicester players who just a season before had been journeymen, shows how hard it must be to land the big fish.

Will we continue with the Back 3? Your guess is as good and probably better than mine.

Will AW put out a second string team with the Spurs game in mind on  Sunday? I hope not. A win in either gives the same points.

My Team

Cech

Bellerin     Gabriel    Koscielny    Monreal

Ramsey   Coquelin    Iwobi

Walcott  Welbeck    Sanchez

Some rotation is necessary with 3 games in just over a week., and for this reason I would revert to the normal back 4. Resting Ozil may be contentious but I want to see Iwobi and Mesut can have a rest on the bench. Welbeck ahead of Giroud because pace could be important.

Of course, the above team will win, Leicester rarely leave Arsenal with points and we must hope tonight continues the trend.

A win tonight puts us back in the mix for an unlikely Top 4 finish. ….

Let it be So

COYRRG