2017. How was it for You?

December 31, 2017

It’s been an odd 2017, hasn’t it?

Will he stay/should he go being one of the main talking points (AW/AS/MO/JW/HB etc). Team played some great football, some lamentable football, some boring football and some football which got you out of your seat marvelling at the sheer ingenuity of the interplay. Probably not enough of the latter.

We have seen Guardiola transform an average team into one of the best ever (but not THE Best ever). Pocchettino take the Miscreants to un-imagined heights, coaching The Plumber (Harry Kane) into one of the world’s top strikers. Merinho reducing United into an expensive Stoke. Klopp making Liverpool the best viewing in the PL. Chavs winning the PL by a huge margin yet remaining unconvincing.

Add in the fairytale seasons for Brighton and Huddersfield and we have a fine year of football.

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My highlight of 2017? Unquestionably Per Mertesacker’s performance in the FA Cup Final. Magnificent doesn’t do him justice.

Giroud’s wondergoal came a distant second.

What was yours?

Like countless others I am a regular listener to the Arseblog podcast (the man deserves to be knighted for his services to Arsenal). Arseblog talked recently about how he is not sure that he “likes” the current Arsenal team.  This got me thinking and I have to say I agree with him. Individually I enjoy watching Ozil, Ramsey, Sanchez etc but as a team? Do they compare in terms of enjoyable watching with other teams from the last few decades? Not in my opinion.

Why?

Where is the swagger, the humour or the spirit of other teams, whether it be Merson’s insanity, Adams determination, Wrighty’s enthusiasm, Thierry’s brilliance, PV4’s domination, Pires’ elegance or Santi’s humour which were the essence of those teams? There is none of that. We have become industrial; yes, Ozil is a wonderful player but will be remembered as a true Gooner in 15 years?  I want someone to make me smile.  I want goals, and Yes, I want us to win, but above all I want to be entertained.

Perhaps this is why we have such high ambitions for Wilshere.

This being my final PM of the year please give me some licence – I am not going to write about how we should beat the team rooted to the bottom of the table who haven’t scored twice at home since March, Nor will I do the team etc etc. You can fill in the gaps …

From an AA point of view it has also been a hard year. Fewer visitors, fewer bloggers, fewer people prepared to write posts and add flavour/variety to the opinions on the site. Will AA survive to see NYE in 2018? Who knows but we are here today and in my capacity as a long-term AA’er we wish all who read the blog a very Happy New Year.

And Come On You Rip Roaring Gunners

 

 

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In The Merry Month of May. Player Ratings.

May 28, 2017

Just great to be a Gooner this morning.

You all watched the game so this will not be a minute by minute match report, more a flow of consciousness which considering I went to bed full of G&T’s, white Sauvignon Blanc and a nightcap of finest single malt, could be a little confusing. So this could be a long one.

Are you sitting comfortably?. Then we’ll begin ….

Firstly, Mr Wenger. He remains a wonderful manager. In recent weeks his team has beaten Guardiola, Me-rinho and Conte. So much for him being a man left behind in terms of tactics.

Prior to the game I was fairly relaxed thinking, as chas said “que sera, sera”, but within minutes of the kick-off when I watched Xhaka, Ozil and Ramsey completely dominate the midfield I knew we could win, and that made me tense, very tense.

In my bullet points in yesterday’s pre-match describing how we could win, a main one was a strong refereeing performance. Much to my amazement Mr Taylor was very good. Missed a bit of Costa thuggery and was a little soft on the Chav fouling but overall good. The decision over the Sanchez goal could have gone either way, I think it was the correct decision but understand why pundits said Ramsey interfered with play.

The Back 3. It just works. GIE is right when he says we could have won the title had we started earlier.

I was very concerned when I saw the team sheet with Ox on the left. Given that Hazard can be so dangerous and Moses is the new Lazarus (look it up) I felt we would be exposed but can you recall a single time that Hazard threatened? Lots of flashy runs and twists and turns but nothing to worry about. In fact Chelsea’s only real threat came from Costa – I may dislike Costa in a Chelsea shirt but I would absolutely adore the chap if he played for us.

How did that happen? Because of AW’s tactics and the exceptional work-rate of the entire team.

With some better finishing, worse Chav defending and a bit of luck we could have been 4 up at half time.

I expected Chelsea to dominate the start of the second half as Arsenal went back to their rope-a-dope tactics and hit on the break. Both Bellerin and Ozil had great chances to finish the game whilst Chelsea toiled.

Then Moses got sent off for cheating. Has that ever happened before in an FA Cup Final? Well done Mr. Taylor that was a gutsy decision and a correct one. Not much in the press about the dive but next season it will see Moses in the FA dock.

Against 10 men my nerves receded and I thought I would enjoy seeing us coast to a 1-0 to the Arsenal victory. But we don’t do that anymore, do we ? No, Costa scores a very good deflected goal ( I don’t agree that Ospina was at fault, he would have saved it but for the deflection) and my heart sank. Could we recover? Would Chelsea be inspired and go on to win?

OG and the Welsh Wizard had other ideas. Brilliant goal made by OG’s quality and strength allied to Rambo’s unbelievable energy.

From then on despite a couple of scares and some fine goalkeeping from Ospina, we were in Easy street. Didn’t stop me from wanting the final whistle though!

On such a day, I hope you will indulge me and let me continue to …

Player Ratings.

Ospina.  I have to say I questioned AW’s decision to play him. I was wrong. Ospina did not put a foot wrong all afternoon.      10

Holding. Loved the way he confronted Costa. What a player he can become. Needs to be a little stronger.  10

BFG. Imperious. Played a magnificent game. Our MotM.   11

Monreal.  Perhaps his best game in the shirt. Huge energy, solid in the tackle, stopped all attacks down the left.    10

Bellerin.   Back to his best. Would have loved to see him finish what would have been a superb goal but it wasn’t to be. Stopped everything coming down the right.   10

Ramsey.  His best game for ages. 3 FA Cup winners medals, 2 winning FAC goals. He deserves them.  Ran 14.4 kms during the game, the most of anyone in history (apparently)   10

Xhaka.  Magnificent. I said earlier in the season that we should build the team around him and Xhaka is showing why. Dominated the game in a Vieira-like fashion.    10

Ox. We just have to keep him. So versatile and developing into a true International class player    10

Ozil. Worked so hard to dominate the midfield. Played deeper than usual which I assume was on AW’s instruction    10

Sanchez.   If we goes he will be missed. MotM for the TV commentators. I disagree but the little Chilean had a fine game and I love his smile.    10

Welbeck. Worked so hard. Made so many runs.  10

Subs.

OG. What a set-up for Rambo. Made an immediate impact.   10

Coquelin.    Tried to be Sanchez in his cameo. Amusing.   10

Elneny. Played 2 minutes. Not at his best    5

Mr Arsene Wenger. Answered his critics in a display of tactical excellence. Out-thought Conte. More FA Cups than anyone in history which is record unlikely to be beaten. The Man.   10

Chelsea .   Complete over-hyped rubbish. Kante. Did he play? Hazard? Flatters to deceive. Sponge Bob? Ordinary. Costa and Chaill? Only players who lived up to their reputation.       1   (for turning up)

So. A successful end to a difficult season. We have silverware but Thursday nights. Spurs have as much chance of winning the Champions League next season as we do and have nothing in the trophy cabinet.

Deep Joy.

 

written by a Very Happy Big Raddy