Last Gasp Laca – Chelsea Chastened by Iwobi pen

August 2, 2018

Let’s just cut to the chase, dive straight in and talk about the best part of the ninety four minutes, no I don’t mean the last gasp goal from Lacazette that saved us from one of most horrible feelings that there can be no matter what the competition – losing to Chelsea is never a good look and never a good feeling; no, I am talking about something so much more uplifting, what is it, what is it, all this build up, is it going to be worth it? Oh yes it is – Guendouzi’s body check on Hudson-Odoi. The irritating upstart had been messing Hector around all game when suddenly bosh, have some of that you dirty chav; Guendouzi who is rapidly coming one of my favourite players showed him what is what and left the annoying blue mess writhing on the deck.

It is staggering that he is only 19 and has been playing in French lower league. There is no doubt in my mind that he has made Elneny redundant and some may say Xhaka too. Granit is a bit of a marmite player so I understand where some people are coming from but it is a bit early for that. Incredibly there is a lot of similarity in their style play but if anything the young Frenchman moves that ball around just that bit quicker, so although, I don’t expect that it will be long until Granit returns he will know he has serious competition for his place and he will not have the protection of being a shiny new Emery signing: Xhaka is a product of the old regime. Should be interesting, we shall see. Can’t stop thinking about that body check – love it.

Chelsea put out a pretty strong side and carved our defence open like a Sunday roast. You can say that with Monreal, Torreira and Xhaka in the mix things might have been a bit different – perhaps, but even with all three of them there I don’t think we would have stopped their goal and what’s more I predict we will suffer an awful lot more of that kind. Koscielny might have done something about it but that is a long way off.

The best form of defence is attack, well it is going to have to be, although, fortunately we are blessed in that department. And there is Iwobi – Barn Door meet Iwobi, Iwobi meet Barn Door, no Alex it’s over there; he should have scored and given us a slightly calmer finish.

But cometh the, (how on earth am I going to make this one work? No idea.) cometh Lacazette. We all saw it; he was more potent in 5 minutes than the rest of the attack had been for seventy minutes. The Butcher’s Dog got himself on the score sheet again and has surely earned himself a starting berth against City.

Cech was awesome. The step up for Smith-Rowe was a tad far; I bet he regrets not taking the shot on when that golden chance appeared. Kolasinac: we have done this one, he is just filling in. The central defence pairing, well if you can see some upside please let me know?

Mah, it was only a friendly and we avoided losing which no one likes. Next up, the caring sharing, kind hearted souls from Italy’s capital – Lazio. Onwards and upwards.

Written by LB

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The Missing Piece of the Jigsaw?

July 31, 2018

For years, according to the Gooner blogdom experts, we’ve been 2 or 3 players away from having a team capable of mounting a serious assault on the Premiership summit.

Arsenal goals Centurion he may have become, but Monsieur Giroud (gorgeous though he was) never looked capable of pushing the team that little bit further with 25 or 30 league goals in a season. Now we have Auba and Laca who both seem to have a much more natural, born-goalscorer’s disposition.

Again, perceived wisdom from the multitude of fan social media sites would have it that Arsenal have lacked a key player at the key defensive midfield position since first Gilberto, and then the Flamini of 2008, left the squad.

Step forward one Lucas Torreira, the man born in Fray Bentos, Uruguay. Could he be the man to put the beef back into that crucial zone just in front of Arsenal’s back four?

                      Courtesy AFC/Getty

Slight of stature in the mould of a Makelele or Kante, he is swift across the ground, strong in the tackle and appears to possess that uncanny knack of sensing where his team’s defence is vulnerable.

An apprenticeship at Pescara in Serie B, followed by two successful seasons at mid-table Sampdoria in Serie A, have seen his star rise enough for him to make his international debut this year and then look completely at home on the world stage at Russia 2018. His previous manager at Sampdoria rates him up there with the best – ‘second most effective DM in Europe’ after the loathsome Sergio Busquets.

At 22 and with his best years ahead of him, he’s decided to join the best Club in the world. There’s a real buzz about Arsenal’s pre-season; could our new Uruguayan signing be the final piece of the puzzle?

Some might be wary of building up hopes too high even before Unai Emery’s Arsenal has emerged from its chrysalis properly and they’re probably right, but who knows, fingers crossed, we could be in for a real treat this season.

 

 


That’s Entertainment – Arsenal thrash PSG

July 29, 2018

If football is meant to entertain, lift the spirits and make us happy then watching Arsenal beat PSG in Singapore on a Serbian stream while sitting on my sofa in London ticked all of those boxes.

It was good fun wasn’t it? Something new is happening, it may not be the much talked about high press, well not yet anyway, but there is something. Maybe there is a new found determination, maybe there is a new found freedom I can’t quite put my finger on it yet. It’s like Unai Emery has added oil to where oil was lacking and the whole thing seems to be flowing much smoother.

The format followed that of Atletico: there were three parts to it. In the first 60 minutes UE played a sort of serious team, this gave way to half a dozen changes for what seemed like giving certain players game time and then the third part in which the remaining academy players got a run out.

There is no doubt that up front we have an abundance of riches — and we have Iwobi. Özil was playing with a smile on his face as wide as the Bosphorus; that would be the same Özil that was playing with the body language of a dead frog only a month ago. (That description makes me howl) His goal was superbly taken.

Taken that is from a beautifully weighted pass from Aubameyang who was (if I am not mistaken) playing out on the right this time. Mkhitaryan looked as classy as ever and all this without Lacazzette who not only turned up in the second half looking as fit as a butchers dog he had sharpened his shooting boots as well. Two really good goals, the first being the peach of the pair which I had to watch at least five times to see just how he had made Buffon look — well silly.

Guendouzi was the standout, I am afraid to say it but I think he has made Elneny redundant already. Xhaka with a Side Show Bob hair do? The young Frenchman seemed to be everywhere and he is never going to be accused of not wanting the ball. There was a touch of show boating in the Atletico game which had vanished this time againsd PSG after what must have been a stern word in the ear.

Hector looked sharp; in fact the whole squad looked hot damn fit and ready to go. Kolasinac was left wanting for pace when conceding a penalty; he is surely only filling in for Monreal who himself is just filling in for what must almost certainly be the next heavy weight signing. No offence Nacho, love you to bits, it’s an age thing but fear not there is will be a role for you for quite some time just look at Lichtsteiner.

Goalkeeper looked ok; he made one clearance that we nearly scored from which I was impressed with. Good to see Eddie get on the score sheet again.

Yeah, all in all a fun day’s viewing and looking forward to the Chelsea game.

Written by LB


Atletico Arsenal – Deja Vu?

July 27, 2018

So, what did we learn today after witnessing Unai Emery’s first game in charge? Your guess is as good as mine but as I am writing this it is my guess that is going to be heard. Did we see evidence of a new much talked about high press? Err not really. Lacazzette was looking as fit as a butcher’s dog and was covering the final third with what seemed like a new found determination. The number nine is his but the Frenchman knows that he has to earn it every week because it is only a short hop across from the left wing for Aubameyang who, as we all know, is more than capable of playing that role.

Ramsey strutted his stuff with all the air of a player who knows he can leave and be made welcome at any club in Europe. I have no doubt that the club are doing all they can to keep him but unless you have been living under a rock for the last five years everyone knows that there is nothing that a club can do anymore to force an in demand player to sign a new contract. My guess is he will do an Özil.

The one punt I would have as to what is new is that UE wants to put his marker down on who he wants to bring through the ranks and into the first team. Maitland-Niles was conspicuous by his absence in the starting line up. Why? M-N is a Wenger prodigy, Smith-Rowe is now clearly an Emery prodigy. See where I am going with this? The same applies to Guendouzi.

As for the defence it looks as though we are in for another heart stopping season. If Emery can whip that lot into shape then he will truly deserve all the credit that comes his way.

So I watched the game on Bein Sports 2 in Arabic and when it came to the end of the 90 minutes I turned off not realising that there were penalties – doh.

Anyway, good to see the boys in the glorious red and white back in action, ohh, I almost forgot that should be the boys in the glorious red, white and pink!

Strange times.

Comment from LB


An Embarrassment of Riches?

July 19, 2018

Apparently an Arsenal X1 beat Crawley Town 9-0 yesterday in a behind closed doors game at Colney.

Bernd Leno made a first appearance between the sticks and plenty of other first teamers dusted off their boots to grab some playing time.

Lucas Perez and Laca bagged a brace each and Auba also got on the scoresheet.

                                                Courtesy AFC

Along with goals from Eddie, The Jeff, Reiss Nelson and Micki, it’s starting to look as though we have a very strong group of mobile attacking players to begin this season. 🙂


This Glorious Arsenal– Burnley Ratings

May 7, 2018

BR’s pre-match predicted the day’s path with Burnley facing both a glorious tsunami of emotion and wave upon wave of breathtaking Arsenal attacks. Could the joint third meanest defence in the league stand up to the onslaught? Would the finger in the Dyche prove capable of holding back the torrent? The wonderful sunshine at the Emirates was the perfect backdrop to the guard of honour, a farewell befitting the great man.

First Half

Early on Alex Iwobi jinked his way through like a slalom skier and we knew we were in for a treat. Auba’s first goal looked similar to umpteen goals he scored for Dortmund. Someone who anticipates a driven cross has been something we’ve lacked for ages – we don’t anymore. The assist from Lacazette was superb.

The ball fizzed down Burnley’s left flank time and again, Micki firing over before a Bellerin cut-back was smartly dispatched by Laca’s left foot volley.

Second Half

At the start of the second period, Vokes tamely headed the ball straight at Cech – this was the only Burnley chance I can remember; though copious pre-match libation may have something to do with that.

A spanking left foot piledriver from The Beast after superb work from Jack, got the second half properly underway. Fred’s favourite, Iwobi, soon followed up with the 4th goal from an Auba cross. The rout was complete with my favourite finish of the day, Auba diverting Hector’s cross past the keeper with a delicious outside of the foot touch.

As BR said yesterday, the 90 minutes in between honouring Arsenal’s greatest ever manager were always destined to be a sideshow, but what a glorious sideshow it was, wholly befitting a man who helped to transform and revolutionise both Arsenal’s football and football in England in general.

A pre-booked train meant that we could not stay for the after match festivities. I’ll have the chance to savour AW’s final Emirates moments later on today.

Thanks for being such a massive part of my life for so many years, Arsene.

Merci beaucoup.

Ratings

Cech – Almost a spectator he saw so little of the ball … 8

Bellerin – Loved the sunshine and provided two fine assists  … 9

Mavropanos – Another fine game, looks a big old unit with skill, class and composure … 8

Chambers – Looks to have found the quality that Arsenal shelled out for in the first place … 8

Kolasinac – Spanking goal, looked comfortable … 8

Wilshere – A vast improvement on recent form  … 9

Xhaka – In a game like this Granit looks perfectly at home to orchestrate the midfield  … 8

Iwobi – Revelled in the sunshine, corking goal too … 8

Mkhitaryan – great skill, passing and passion to drive forward, part of a new attacking golden triangle  … 9

Aubameyang – Two excellent goals, great wing play  … 9

Lacazette – Left footed peach and right footed assist, next season should be good … 9

Subs

Ramsey/Welbeck – both enjoyed their late arrival to the party – 8

Mertesacker – even in his short time at the club he’s proved to be a true Arsenal man and got the send off as a player he deserves – 9

Big Weng – Thanks man – 10

Summary

Just the most perfect day up The Arsenal.

chas