Milan 0 Arsenal 2 – Witnessing A Miracle in Milan – Player Ratings

March 9, 2018

The psychology of the human, or is it the human psychology? I don’t know, but one thing is for sure, it is a funny old thing. Bit like football.

I have just scanned down the list of the remaining 720 sides left in the Europa, and Milan are, by some considerable margin, what we would call the historically ‘biggest’ named team remaining.

Of course they are nowhere near the Milan of old, but an away win in their home town at the legendary San Siro must feed the psychology of the Arsenal footballer a huge dose of positive vibrations.

Those select, nay elite, few of us who actually managed to watch the entire second half unaided, may have missed the two goals that knocked the stuffing out of the Italians, I wouldn’t know, but not only will our players take confidence into the second leg but into the rest of the competition.

I’m sure we’d all rate Atletico as the biggest threat, but come on, beating them is certainly not beyond us, and I believe our chances would be improved by meeting them in a one off game like the final as opposed to an earlier round two-legger.

Ok, the game itself. For previously mentioned reasons, I might not be best placed with the detail, in any case, I don’t like detail so I’m very much in my comfy zone here.

The team pretty much picks itself which is a real positive. I’ve mentioned before on the blog how I think Granit is a fine player, just not best suited to our own team’s needs in the more frantic English League, however he looked way more comfortable on a pitch with our continental neighbours. You may think it strange that I pick out this particular individual, but this defensive midfield spot is our Achilles heel in the league.

Not sure how serious The Beast’s injury is, but M-N looked absolutely superb. Confident, composed and very very capable.

That’s it. Me done. Over to you Arsene. Rest the whole lot against Watford I say.

Written by MickyDidIt89

Ratings (chas)

Ospina – Another clean sheet, his pace off the line is both his strength and also his weakness, made some excellent interceptions though, so gets a deserved pass – 7

Chambers – Calum must have found playing in a team running its nuts off to support one another so much easier than playing during Sunday’s debacle, nearly scored with a left foot half volley belter  – 7

Koscielny – Really focused and oozing assurance, watching those scary Gattuso videos must have helped get him ‘in the zone’ – 8

Mustafi – another who grew in confidence as the team began to play football again, a warrior when he’s not acting like a tart – 7

Kolasinac – gained in confidence along with the team until he got injured, needs to work on his final ball, though has probably forgotten what you do when you reach the byline – 7

Ramsey – he covers so much ground trying to find space and his ability to pop up in support of the striker is crucial to our style of play, I so love it when you see an Arsenal player round the keeper, it’s as if you can start celebrating a whole half second before the ball is over the line – 8

Xhaka – playing in Europe you could see Granit’s class, his passing and defending were excellent away from the frantic white noise of the Premiership – 8

Wilshere – Jack seemed to be playing further forward than expected, linked very well with his midfield partners, a competent display   – 7

Ozil – two assists, you could visibly see him enjoying playing in a team that was playing football once more and he ran his legs off   – 7

Mkhitaryan – his quality shone through, crucial goal to cement the team’s fine start, a proper footballer, that’s why he didn’t get on with Mourinho – 8

Welbeck – Vast improvement from the MTH, constantly closing down, finding space and holding the ball up well. Much talk about his mishit but I thought the Milan player running behind just clipped his heel, anyway, everyone catches one fat every now and then – 8


Maitland-Niles – so cool on the ball, his pace is a wonderful asset – 7

Holding and Elneny – slotted in and did what was asked of them – 7


Big Weng – got everything right, Gennaro who? – 9


Toffees Trampled in North London – Player Ratings

February 4, 2018

How one feels about some event tends to say more about the individual doing the feeling than it does about the event itself.

Of course I am talking about one isolated game of football, and for me, the fluctuations in my range of feelings begin with anticipation, the team sheet, and finally the performance. The bigger picture stuff is completely forgotten about in the moment. It can wait.

The anticipation of this particular isolated event was naturally bolstered as it came on the back of a storming transfer window which brought the promise of a refreshing new era.

I don’t suppose anyone believed our new star, PEA, would be making the XI, but that is what happened. If you did not experience a surge of tingles shortly after the team was announced just after 4:30, then hope fades for you. Auba was starting, and better still, being re-united with the man with whom he shared such a devastating partnership in their heyday at Dortmund, Mikki.

The game was pure joy from start to finish, and with the exception of LB, we all saw it (I hope our own cyclist has access to internet replays). Stars shone and stars were born, but most importantly there was the old Arsenal swagger back in sharp focus. Confidence oozed and smiles on players faces returned, replacing the furrowed brows of our recent visit to Wales.

Now that the dust has settled, and the sun rises over a new era, we get to do the bigger picture stuff. Well, to be more precise, you lot do.

I think  Eddie has already perfectly captured the new mood regarding the big picture when she said earlier: “the best aspect of yesterday’s display is our imminent trip to Wembley. Instead of being scared I am actually looking forward to watching some spuds being mashed.”

On a personal note, I never believed for one second we’d actually sign Auba. Damn it’s good to be wrong.



Cech/Ospina – Where Did Our Love Go – It’s so much more fun being in the crowd when David is taking goal kicks ….8/8

Monreal/Kolasinac – Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Nacho is important to the team – as the Beast proved in the second half…9/8

Mustafi – Uptight (Everything’s Alright) – Committed, positive and forthright ….8

Koscielny – Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me) –  Stooping header to finish off his centre back partner’s flick on – Bould and Adams?  ….8

Bellerin – Living For the City – Loved going forward, knowing he might actually receive the ball  ….8

Xhaka – Ball of Confusion (That’s What the World Is Today) – Much better from Granit – Fat Sam not playing any strikers until the second half helped ….8

Ramsey – Three Times a Lady –  Bang, bang, bang – enjoyed himself immensely – as did we all ….9

Mkhitaryan – Reach Out, I’ll Be There – Micki loves creating goals, works hard for the team and hits early pinpoint balls across the box – what’s not to love? ….9

Iwobi  – You Can’t Hurry Love – Didn’t look out of place playing in such esteemed company  ….8

Ozil – Let’s Get It On – Loves playing with his new teammates ….9

Aubameyang – Dancing In The Street – Majestic finish to equal Stevie Bould’s achievement of scoring on his debut ….8

Written by MickyDidIt89 

(except the ratings)


Goodfellas. Player Ratings

November 27, 2017

Arsenal passed their first test against serious opposition in recent weeks with flying colours. A game of two halves with Burnley having the better of the first; Sean Dyche has got his team playing well with committed, crisp interplay play that took all of Arsenal’s concentration to go into the break still on equal terms.

As much as the first half belonged to Burnley the second belonged to Arsenal; if this was Wenger’s game plan then I salute him because it worked; the cherry on the hard fought northern cake being Sanchez’ well taken penalty in the dying seconds.

Burney supporters would probably argue that it could have gone either way and possibly it could have; so much so, that I had the alternative headline written in my head ‘Nothing good ever comes of going to Burnley’ but this was unnecessary as Sanchez slotted home with aplomb to snatch all three points and take us up to forth in the table. Power shift? Pah.

Cech: Cool hand Luke. 9

Koscielny: The French Connection. 8

Mustafi: Das Boot. 8

Monreal: No Pasaran. 6

Bellerin. Bullet 7

Kosinac: Raging Bull. 7

Ramsey: Tiger Bay. 6

Xhaka: The Sound of Music. 7

Iwobi: Forrest Gump. 5

Lacazette: Breathless. 8

Sanchez: The Great Escape. 8

5 things we learned from Saturday

November 20, 2017
  1. I will start with this because IMO it is the most important. We had a proper 12th man. The fans were wonderfully raucous from before kick off until well after games end. It makes a massive difference to the players. Just imagine you were on the pitch (a dream, I know), which would inspire you, The Library or Saturday’s passion? We need the same every week.
  2. We work best when we have our first choice 11. Obvious. How many times this season have we lined up with the same defensive 6? Once or twice? People write about how there are open spaces across our defence and we are too gung-ho/undisciplined/tactically naive etc etc. Simple matter is that when we have AW’s chosen men we play better.
  3. Hard work pays. Ramsey led the ranks as usual, but all the players ran tirelessly. Surprisingly Spurs ran more than us! The difference was that our players ran with purpose.
  4. We should have scored more. We totally dominated the last 15 minutes and a 4-0 would have been even more dispiriting to the WHL miscreants. Subbing off Lacazette for Le Coq was unnecessary given how dominant we were. Mr Wenger has developed this habit of securing the points rather than going for the jugular but given the quality of the top 6 teams goal difference could be very important.
  5. Despite rumours to the contrary, Spurs are and always have been … merdre


written by BR

Superb performance, balanced side …. and without Ozil?

September 18, 2017

What you are about to read may be considered sacrilege by many. I don’t want to cast any negatives after such a good result yesterday ….. but I’m just going to put something out there.

I only saw highlights of the game, but from that and the comments of respected bloggers, I think we all agree that the team performance was excellent with special mention for Monreal, Iwobi, Ramsey and Bellerin … and all that without Mesut Ozil.

Many of us would make Ozil the first name on the team sheet. His technical ability is on a different level, and contrary to popular opinion he works very hard and covers a lot of ground … but there is a growing belief that he and Ramsey (and Iwobi, his understudy) cannot function effectively in the same side. Moreover in playing them both, the team becomes unbalanced and gaps appear in our midfield.

I’m a self confessed Ozil fan. I’m also a big fan of the Ramsey we saw in yesterday’s game. He’s a much more potent attacking force when he’s not having to share territory with Ozil. There doesn’t seem to be the same problem when he plays with Iwobi. I don’t know the answer. They’re both great players. Ironically, I think that more clubs would be interested in signing Ramsey than Ozil.

Arsene clearly loves having Ozil in the side. He hasn’t signed a new contract and may leave on a free in the summer …. would that be a huge loss if we can get the best out of Ramsey and Iwobi continues to improve?

I don’t want this topic to be hijacked by ‘fans’ who don’t have the perception to appreciate what a brilliant player Ozil is … he’s class … the only question I ask is …. is he always the best man for the balance of the team?


Now we play Stoke City in the Potteries

August 17, 2017

This is my least favourite away game of the season; we play the ever repugnant Stoke City. My thoughts are always dominated by the FA Cup semi final games in 1971 and 1972, both semis went to replays and we won them both. The circumstances involved in those losses caused Stoke fans to have an everlasting dislike/hatred for the Arsenal.

The most infamous away game was seven seasons back on May 10th 2010 when Ryan Shawcross got a red card for breaking Aaron Ramsey’s leg. One of the headlines that sticks in my head was –

“Spare us the sanctimony about Ryan Shawcross being a nice lad”

Poor Arsene Wenger always suffers terribly at the torrents of abuse cascading down from their “fans” but he handles it all like a true gentleman.

Anyway  – our away record against them is as abysmal as they are – we have only won two away games in the Premier League era and to make matters even worse their manager is the equally obnoxious – Leslie Mark Hughes.

Historically we have only managed to get 33.3% of the points in our away games against them so based on the past we should not be too optimistic – but the past is the past and we are the ARSENAL.

 Here is our complete league record against Stoke City.

Written by GunnerN5

Riverside Revolution? – Player Ratings

April 18, 2017

Match Thoughts

So three at the back is less than four at the back but as we generally play with the full backs over the halfway line, three is more than two. That’s the tactical bolleaux over with.

I’ll leave more in-depth analysis to the specialists.

The first half was pretty unmemorable with both Boro and Arsenal struggling to create many meaningful chances. The referee seemed hell bent on giving the home team free kicks anywhere in Arsenal’s half for the softest of challenges as if he realised Boro needed as many opportunities as possible  to lump the ball in the box.

The one cast-iron free-kick correctly awarded was for a foul on Xhaka at the edge of the ‘D’. Thankfully, Alexis had brought his up and over boots to the game and produced a magnificent dipper which the keeper would have struggled to have got anywhere near, even if he had been able to see the ball.

The second half started in customary ‘what are you smoking at half-time?’ fashion.

Boro equalised and looked capable of going ahead. Gradually we eased our way back into it and Mesut scored with his swinger from a fine chest lay-off from Ramsey. The last 20 minutes were reasonably comfortable and hanging on to the three points was exactly what was required.

The team looked genuinely pleased to have won after a difficult run of results and the new formation had been given its baptism.


Cech– Fairly solid, though a huge upgrade on Martinez, I’m not so sure ……7

Gabriel – Gabs likes defending and maybe the back three will suit him  ……7

Koscielny – So good to have him back though Negredo gave him the slip for the equaliser ……7

Holding – Hopefully will mature into an Arsenal great. Very accomplished….8

Oxlade-Chamberlain – The Ox looked more comfortable in a middle 4 than stuck out on the flank. Involved throughout  …..8

Xhaka – Looked composed against an admittedly poor Boro side. Always looks good when a destroying DM is not really required   …..7

Ramsey – A little ponderous in the first half but grew into the game as some match sharpness returned …….7

 Monreal – Maybe Nacho will enjoy playing a role further forward without having to worry about the huge gap he’s leaving behind him as in a 4-3-3…. 7

Ozil – Ran his heart out for team and scored a really crucial goal …..7

Sanchez – Peach of a free kick. Many wasted dinks and chips into the box but one helped to produce the winning goal, so keep it up Alexis…..7

Giroud – Fought manfully (mais oui), was unlucky not to win a pen for being manhandled but should have scored with an attempted curler from one of our few clear-cut chances. …..7


Match Thoughts from FGG

Don’t Juve play 3 CB’s under Allegri? Bit of conspiracy theory for you. Maybe this was nothing to do with what Wenger wanted and with the season practically over our new manager is now influencing things! 😄

Back to reality, I feel we need a ball playing CB to really make this formation work. Mustafi is decent but another is needed aswell. I’d also like to see a new LB, hopefully the lad that’s been linked is the answer. If not then why not go for Rodriguez who were linked with in the summer? His new manager is the guy who just left us and took Ljungberg with him. Could be an easy deal to sort out. Another question is how do Ramsey and Wilshere fit into this formation? It’s been an ongoing issue for a while and I don’t think this change makes it any clearer! Fabregas has found it tough to get in the Chelsea side.

Does this formation help or hinder Giroud? It gives us more crossing opportunities based on what we saw yesterday with Ox and Monreal getting chances to put it in the box, but at the same time there will be occasions where Özil and Sanchez get into narrower positions and are looking for a run in behind. Do we still need a better CF or could Welbs or Giroud thrive.

Finally, where does this change leave Walcott? If we are to switch permanently, how can you fit him in the team?