Red Star Pre – Match

October 19, 2017

There are some names in football which have a ring to them, something romantic that takes us back to times past, Red Star Belgrade is one of those.

Before mass- televised football, before the fall of the Berlin Wall and the breakup of Yugoslavia, before drug testing etc Red Star were huge, Barcelona huge. They were Tito’s team, they played in Communist red and white with a red star. They were the team that Man Utd played before the awful Munich disaster. They had a ground which held 110,000 fans – more than Wembley, and they filled it for every game! In 1991 they won the  European Cup.

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Times have changed. After the breakup of Yugoslavia and the creation of Serbia, Red Star are no longer the powerhouse of East Europe. They remain the peoples team with almost 50% of Serbs supporting them.

The ground is called the Marakana, tonight is a 55k sellout and AFC can expect a hostile, intimidating welcome.

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Once again, I know nothing about the opposition squad. I expect them to be organised, hard working with a couple of tricky players and a big bloke upfront (much like us!)

My Team:

Cech

Debuchy   BFG    Monreal

Nelson     Elneny     Wilshire    Maitland-Niles

Iwobi

Walcott    Giroud

Debuchy is due to start his first game for almost a year. Apparently Mr Wenger tried to give him away in summer but received no offers, thanks to high wage demands. One has to feel for the Frenchman; injured early in his AFC career by a sly foul from some Stoke Orc. he has had the misfortune to see his place taken by a young, wonderful talent who, quite frankly, is in a different league to him. Given how much Debuchy cost, how in demand he was when at Newcastle, it must hurt not to be a first team choice and perhaps explains Debuchy’s less than compliant attitude.

Welbeck, Kos, Chambers, Sanchez, Ramsey and Mustafi are all out with different degrees of injury.

I expect Ramsey, Sanchez and Ozil to start at Evertion so Iwobi and Wilshere should be our creative hub tonight.

Not an easy game to predict as Red Star are a decent team, have home advantage and Arsenal will be putting out a second string team. It should be fun as we continue our Europa campaign.

 

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Time for a Change

October 18, 2017

Just a quickie…

Last weekend’s 15 minute collapse was horribly painful and worse, a return to the type of loss of control we have seen over the past few seasons.

But

Everything changed in one moment and it was a moment out of control of anyone in an Arsenal shirt. I write of the cheating Watford player and the awful refereeing decision made by Swarbrick. WE NEED VIDEO TECHNOLOGY IN THE PL.

I have no doubt that Arsenal would have won the game had the penalty not been given. We were comfortable and likely to score again, instead 3 points were lost and more worrying the fragile confidence built over the brief run of wins is gone.

And we would have 3 more points has Lacazette not been wrongly adjudged offside at Stoke.

A 30 second delay whilst a video ref assessed the footage and wrong decisions are reversed.

How can this work? Well, it is hardly a new discussion, is it? Do I care whether this technology is not available at all levels of soccer? No, I don’t give a monkey’s cuss. Do you? All I care about is that AFC stop being the victim of rubbish refereeing and diving cheats.

n.b. I am fully aware that Leicester would have been awarded a penalty when Mustafi brought down some numbskull but Cech would have saved it (as if :_D)

written by Big Raddy


Into the Hornet’s Nest

October 14, 2017

The Good: We are on a fine run of results having lost just one of our last 5 games. Watford have yet to win a game at home this season.

The Not So Good: Watford are on a fine run of results having lost just one of their last 5 games. We have yet to win a PL game away from home this season.

A draw seems the obvious result.

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The Interlull was costly in terms of injuries with Mustafi out for a number of games and Sanchez, Kolasinac, Xhaka and Ramsey unlikely to start this afternoon’s late kick-off thanks to exhaustion . Mustafi’s injury is unfortunate because Mr Wenger has yet to discover a consistently effective back 3, though our recent defensive record is good (none conceded in last 4 PL games). The injuries to Chambers, Kos and Mustafi must drive AW nuts.

Chambers is interesting. Rumours were that he would be sold in summer, instead it was Gabriel. Then fans said he was persona non grata with Mr Wenger and had no future at AFC, yet this week he signed a new contract until 2021!! I predict a big Arsenal future for the young man.

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Thanks to the Internationals our starting 11 is difficult to predict. Welbeck is back in the squad, so is Magic Mesut. Will Iwobi be rested after his Nigerian exploits? Will Theo get a start or Giroud? I have huge respect for Mr Giroud as he continues to score on a regular basis – is there a better attacking sub in the PL?

Watford: Sorry – you will have to look elsewhere to discover their strengths and weaknesses. For some reason I cannot raise the enthusiasm to do any research. I enjoyed the trips to Vicarage Road and always associated Watford with an excellent multi-racial policy (think Blisset and the wonderful John Barnes), bit today …

My Team:

Cech

Holding     Koscielny    Monreal

Bellerin   Elneny    Wilshere    Kolasinac

Ozil

Lacazette   Welbeck

I like this team, it has creativity and defensive security. Mr Wenger has been “bigging up” Wilshire as he returns to fitness and form, surely he will start this evening. With Theo and OG on the bench we have potent attackers on the bench should they be needed.

Today’s referee is Neil Swarbrick, surely not the violin wizard from Fairport Convention?

Can we open our Away wins account? Why not?

Let it be so ….

COYRRG


Arsenal’s Top Seasons – 1952-53, our 12th best

October 9, 2017

The 1952-53 season started well for Arsenal as we won the opening two fixtures but then only managed to win two of the next eight matches. A 5-1 victory over Liverpool at Anfield on November 15 helped to inspire the team and the goals continued to flow throughout that winter. We beat Bolton 6-4 (away from home on Christmas Day), Wolves 5-3, Spurs 4-0 and Derby 6-2 in the next couple of months.

April proved to be the decisive month; the Gunners played eight league matches during the month, including a run of five straight wins. The last game of the month though, was away to title rivals Preston. Arsenal was two points ahead with two games remaining and could seal a league title with a victory at Deepdale. However Arsenal suffered a 2-0 defeat and both sides were level with one match left. Preston played first, beating bottom side Derby 1-0 on Wednesday. Two days later Arsenal knew that only a home victory over Burnley would give them the title. Burnley took an early lead but Alex Forbes, Doug Lishman and Jimmy Logie all found the net to make it 3-1. Burnley made in 3-2 in the second half but Arsenal held on for the crucial two points and we won our 7th League Division 1 Championship. It was two points for a win in 1952-53 so we ended the season tied with Preston on 54 points each; we won based on goal average (Arsenal 1.516 – Preston 1.417) – goal average being the rule back then, not goal difference as it is today. (goal difference, Arsenal 33 – Preston 25)

Jimmy Logie sneaks in at the back post to score Arsenal’s third against Burnley 1st May 1953

We had reached the FA Cup Final in two of the previous three years, but in 1952-53 we lost to eventual winners Blackpool in the quarter-final.

Arsenal 1952-53 appearances: Daniel 41, Roper 41, Wade 40, Lishman 39, Forbes 33, Logie 32, L Smith 31, Goring 29, Mercer 28, Kelsey 25, Milton 25, Shaw 25, Holton 21, Swindin 14, Chenhall 13, Cox 9, Marden 8, Platt 3, Oakes 2, Bowen 2, Dodgin 1.

Arsenal 1952-53 goalscorers: Lishman 22, Holton 19, Roper 14, Goring 10, Logie 10, Milton 7, Daniel 5, Marden 4, Mercer 2, Cox 1, Forbes 1, Oakes 1, own goal 1.

Also that season… Stan Mortensen scored a hat-trick for Blackpool in the FA Cup final but the game was remembered for the contribution of his team mate, 38 year old Stanley Matthews. Blackpool beat Bolton 4-3 in the (Matthews) final, and Mortensen’s hat-trick remains the only one in a Wembley FA Cup final.

And – Marilyn Monroe graced the cover of first ever edition of Playboy magazine in December

Tom Whittaker became the Arsenal club’s new manager in 1947.

During WW2 he was an Royal Air Force pilot and achieved the rank of Squadron Leader.

For his service in missions on D-Day, he was awarded an MBE.

Tom Whittaker’s league record –

Games 378, Won 171, Drawn 101, Lost 106,

Goals for 677, Goals against 509,

Goals for per game 1.79, Goals against per game 1.35

Points won 58.6%.

Average League Position 5.22

Total # of trophies won – 2 League titles, 1 FA Cup, 2 Charity Shields.

Arsenal Footballer (1931-52) Leslie Compton serving a pint to Tom Whittaker in Compton’s pub in Henley

Sadly Tom passed away far too early from a heart attack in 1956, aged 58.

Written by GunnerN5

 


The best Arsenal players NEVER to have won a major trophy with us

October 4, 2017

mickydidit89 says:

October 2, 2017 at 7:30 pm

Lads lads lads

Had an idea for a mini series of posts

  1. The best Arsenal players NEVER to have won a major trophy with us
  2. The worst Arsenal player to HAVE won a major trophy with us
  3. The best player for us who then did jack shit after leaving
  4. The player who did jackest shitest for us who went on to greater things elsewhere

Wha’d’ya reckon?

While the great hopes of English International Football snuggle up for two weeks, we’re left in the void, picking our noses and scratching our arses. Bloody awful situation.

Things at Arsenal are looking considerably brighter than at the onset of the last ghastly international break, and frankly, while Arsene continues to pick the right players, in the right positions, and we continue winning, there’s bugger all to moan about, so I’m afraid we’re treading water until we play Watford.

Let’s start with No.1 from above and see how we get on. I use the term “major trophy” and by that I’d say League, FA Cup or a European thingy.

courtesy of Stuart MacFarlane

Some of you can be really quite nit-picky and will talk about squad members who don’t really play but get medals and shit like that, so if that’s your bag, then fine. The detail is not my thing.

Written by MickyDidIt89


The Seagulls fly into The Emirates

October 1, 2017

Brighton & Hove Albion F.C. were founded in 1901 and started playing in the Southern League where they won the 1910 FA Charity Shield, which at that time was contested by the champions of the Southern League, and the Football League Champions.

The 1910 FA Charity Shield was the third Charity Shield. The match was played on 5 September 1910 between 1909–10 Football League winners Aston Villa and 1909–10 Southern League champions Brighton and Hove Albion. The match was played at Stamford Bridge, London, and ended with a 1–0 win for Brighton and Hove Albion. The goal was scored by Charlie Webb, an amateur, with 18 minutes of play remaining.

Poor management brought them close to relegation from the Football League to the Conference which they narrowly avoided in 1997 and 1998. A takeover saved them from liquidation, and following successive promotions they returned to the second tier of English football in 2002, from then on playing in the second and third tiers of English football until the conclusion of the 2016–17 season, where the club earned promotion to the Premier League for the first time in their history, marking an end to a 34-year absence from the top flight.

In December 2008 – after 12 seasons without a permanent home the building of their current home The Falmer Stadium started. On 31 May 2011 the club officially completed the handover and was given the keys to the stadium with an initial capacity of 22,374 seats, which has since been increased to 30,750. They are nicknamed The Seagulls or simply Albion.

We have only played 8 league games against Albion, all in Division 1.

Here is our record.

I cannot see anything but a victory for the good guys regardless of our team, it seems that Koscielny is doubtful and Ozil, Coquelin & Welbeck are out and many of the viable alternatives played in Belarus on Thursday – so it’s a real guessing game – but here is my stab in the dark.

 

Keep the FAITH – we will win.

Written by GunnerN5


Journey into the Unkown

September 28, 2017

I have to admit to knowing very little about Bate Borisov – I didn’t even know they were based in Belarus, in fact I don’t even know where Belarus is! But, if they are in the Europa then they have to be decent opposition!

I have read that Hleb started his career at Bate, that they have won the Belarus League the last 11 years running, Their ground holds 13k and will be filled with Arsenal fans because Belarus has many Arsenal fan clubs.

Beyond that ….??

So, this PM will concentrate on the away team. How many goals have Arsenal conceded in their last 4 games? I will tell you. None. Given  the start we had with 8 goals leaked in just 3 games, this is huge. Some may say that it is down to good fortune, fortunate refereeing decisions and poor opposition but the fact remains, we have gone 360+ minutes without conceding,

This is huge.

We are wonderful attacking players, so many that International first teamers cannot even get on the bench, but defenders? And defensive organisation?

And midfield control? Have we just been lucky or has Mr Wenger found a way to set up his team to stop the massive gaps exposed by Leicester and Liverpool?

Is the absence of Ozil and the resurgence of Ramsey just co-incidence?

3 games in 6 days means rotationand a chance to judge the quality of the squad.

Even allowing for over half the team being reserves we should still win tonight (though I hesitate to predict a victory as I usually put a bok on the team). A front line including Walcott, Sanchez and Giroud is potent.

My Team:

Ospina

Holding    BFG     Monreal

Bellerin   Maitland- Niles     Wilshire     Elneny

Walcott   Giroud     Sanchez

Perhaps it would be good to start with Ryan Nelson but given Holdings frailty aon the right it makes sense to give him the security of Bellerin.

6 p.m. kick off (7.00 CET), ideal, wish there were more.

Our first away fixture in the Europa. It would be great to start with a win … Let it be So.

COYRRG