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.

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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.

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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


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

 


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.

Ratings

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

chas

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?

 fatgingergooner


The Arsenal Dilemma …. summed up in 4 lines …..

April 11, 2017

Whatever is going on behind the scenes, it cannot be in the best interests of the club or the team to maintain this radio silence. Apart from those at the top in the know, everyone else needs clarification.

With 12 players entering the last 18 months of their contracts, and the likely loss of millions from dropping out of The Champion’s League, there is also a looming financial problem to address.

The calls for the manager to go have reached an all-time high, but still there is no decisive action from the club. Could it be that our management structure has disintegrated? No-one knows who’s in charge?

From the perspective of a mere supporter reliant on the media for information, this is how I would sum up the situation:

Arsene has too much power?
Gazidis has too little power?
The Board haven’t got a clue what to do?
The owner isn’t bothered?

This is not the time for supporters to turn on one another.

We need to know ‘what’ we are supporting … is it a team that has no heart? … a club that has lost its direction? …. a manager who cannot let go?

Your considered and respectful thoughts are welcome ….

Rasp


Opposing views about Arsene Wenger erupt in violence

April 4, 2017

I’ve been watching in dismay videos of fights between various factions of Arsenal supporters both during and after the Manchester City game. I guess it was only a matter of time before the different groups clashed but as a long time supporter I found it to be very sad. It’s a long time since I attended games on a regular basis but when I did I never witnessed a fight between Arsenal fans – that was always reserved for the opposition and not our own.

The fight in the stand appeared to be between those that had hung up a pro Wenger sign and those that felt it did not support their opinion. Outside the ground it was near the guy holding Arsenal Fan TV interviews and again it was between those with opposing views on Arsene.

Those involved appeared to be in their twenties and thirties and their main comparison would obviously be Arsene’s early years when we winning on a consistent basis. The feeling is shared by people in all age groups but hopefully the older generations would only verbalize their thoughts and not resort to violence.

My opinion is that both sides of those involved in the fights should be identified and banned for life from attending any Arsenal games.

I have several questions that I would like to some opinions on.

  1. Is it mainly the younger fans that would resort to violence?
  2. Is a lifetime ban appropriate?
  3. Do the Arsenal Fan TV post game interviews stir up emotions unnecessarily?
  4. When should Arsene announce the decision on his future?
  5. Should Arsenal ban the use of signage in the ground?
  6. Is fighting amongst Arsenal fans commonplace?

Written by GunnerN5


How rare is it to win a League Championship?

March 27, 2017

The first Football League Championship played was in 1888/89 when Preston North End was crowned as champions. They were also winners of the FA Cup beating Wolverhampton Wanderers 3-0 in the final therefore becoming the very first winners of the League and Cup double.

Final 1888/89 League Table:

Since that time there have been one hundred and seventeen league championships encompassing both the old League Division 1 and the Premier League. How rare is a championship victory – well incredibly enough since the formation of the league in 1888 only twenty four different teams have tasted the sweetness of victory. Five of those teams have dominated winning sixty seven championships or 57.3 % of the time.

Over the years approximately one hundred and fifty different teams have competed for the League Championship with just ten of those teams winning ninety trophies or 76.9% of the time.

During the twenty first century a mere five teams have been crowned as champions. The data shows that it’s a very rare occurrence to win the championship and that double digit winners are even rarer – only three in football league history. Since the inception of the Premier League only six different teams have raised the trophy out of the forty seven teams who have competed for the championship.

Among the all time Championship winners Arsenal is placed third and is in the elite group of double digit winners.

All time League Championship Table.

Only five teams in the current Premier League have won a title in either the PL or the old Div 1 in the past twenty seven seasons and one hundred and twenty six other teams have tried and failed to win either league.

Written by GunnerN5


A successful season? You decide ………………

March 20, 2017

What would success look like for you by the end of the season given the current situation?

We are in trouble, we haven’t lost 4 out of 5 consecutive Premiership games in the Wenger era until now.

Is there anything that you feel can happen in the next few weeks to improve the mood.

Questions from RC78