The Invisible Man

May 21, 2018

Amongst all the glam and glitter of the departure of Mr Wenger, there has been hardly a word about the loss of another gentleman who has worked faithfully  for over 20 years to bring glory to our fine club – Boro Primorac.

He is the chap who does all the unattractive groundwork, the man who puts out the cones, wanders around with a stopwatch, reads the pre-contracts, takes Arsene out for a few glasses of red wine after a defeat and has been the constant factor in Arsene’s reign.

Such was his media presence that know very little about Boro yet he was a fine player and an excellent coach.

As a player Boro was a centre half who played in Yugoslavia and France (where he met AW) , representing and captaining his country 14 times. He became a manager with Cannes where he and AW furthered their friendship, Cannes being the neighbour club to Monaco.

When Arsene went to Grampas in Japan Boro joined him as an assistant and followed him to Arsenal in 1997.

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A point in Boro’s favour is his fluency in 8 – yes, 8  –  languages! He can speak to every member of the squad in their own language which given the inability of some players to learn English is of vital importance (looking at you Mr Sanchez). He is apparently the analyst of opposition (apparently we do have one), has encyclopedic knowledge of players.

I am having trouble fleshing out this post because despite Boro being at Arsenal for as long as Arsene there is little information about him. We know he is a big bloke – 6´3″.  We know he is clever but he doesn’t give interviews … ever. He doesn’t sit on the bench, preferring to be in the stands leaving just before half-time to give his analysis to the manager before he talks to the players.

What of the future for such a loyal servant? Can’t see him finding a role in the new manifestation of AFC. Perhaps he will follow Arsene to his new job. Whatever it is, thank you Mr Primorac for such loyal service.

A statue? No-one would have a clue who he was.

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So Long and Thanks for all the Fish – Huddersfield Ratings

May 14, 2018

So after over 1200 games in charge, we finally reached the point where M. Arsene Wenger would be Arsenal FC boss for the last time. A goalfest in the sun would be perfect but some sneaky first away points of the year, acceptable.

First Half

Huddersfield pressed like terriers in the first twenty minutes without really creating a chance, except from dead balls. One particular goalmouth scramble saw David Ospina make his first close range block.

Two planes flew banners over the beautiful arches of the Huddersfield stadium and the 22nd minute of appreciative applause was well observed.

The Beast wasn’t sharp enough to poke home a near post flick-on from a corner before the first quality piece of football in the match produced Aubameyang’s mini record-breaking goal. Laca and Mkhi exchanged passes before setting Rambo free on the left. His outside of the boot driven cross was superbly anticipated by Auba sliding in on his derriere at the far post.

Second Half

The second half saw even more huffing and puffing from Huddersfield but little quality. Twice as many ‘attempts’ on goal than us but with one fewer on target tells its own story.

Two glorious one on ones for the boys in charcoal grey and pink were both squandered by Laca and Welbz respectively. Laca chose to lob a keeper who carried on standing up and Danny really needed to stop and change the angle rather than continue on his weaker left.

Huddersfield had two last attempts at spoiling the Wenger party, one shot flicking off the top of the crossbar and Ospina keeping out a last gasp header at the second attempt.

Ratings

Ospina – Probably did more than anyone else to ensure Arsene left with a victory … 7

Bellerin – Looked great in the Yorkshire sunshine  … 6

Mustafi – Some decent challenges and blocks … 7

Holding – Will be interesting to see if the next manager can bring more out of Rob … 6

Kolasinac – Rampaging Berserker … 7

Ramsey – Flitted in and out like a delicate butterfly  … 6

Xhaka – Great end of season, looking forward to him doing it all year  … 7

Iwobi – Scampered around trying to find a crack … 7

Mkhitaryan – on the beach already  … 6

Aubameyang – Became the fastest Arsenal player to reach 10 Prem goals, ultimately the match winner   … 7

Lacazette – Will a new manager have Alexandre down the middle with PEA on the left? – hmmm … 7

Subs

Monreal – presumably came on to bolster the defence? … 6

Welbeck – created his one on one with a fine challenge but couldn’t find the coup de grace – 6

Maitland-Niles – came on, passed and tackled well … 6

Summary

So Arsene got the send off he deserves with the team finally winning three points away from home at last.

Curiously enough, the dolphins had long known of the impending demolition of Earth and had made many attempts to alert mankind to the danger. But most of their communications were misinterpreted as amusing attempts to punch footballs, or whistle for titbits, so they eventually gave up and left the Earth by their own means – shortly before the Vogons arrived. The last ever dolphin message was misinterpreted as a surprisingly sophisticated attempt to do a double backwards somersault through a hoop, whilst whistling the ‘Star-Spangled Banner’. But, in fact, the message was this “So long and thanks for all the fish”.

chas


The Final Hurrah

May 13, 2018

So we come to the end of a momentous season. Superb at home, dreadful away, nearly-men in the Europa, and about to be manager-less.

But let’s not look back just yet, let’s focus on this afternoon, just as Mr Wenger will. Can we finish with a win?

I cannot remember the last time all 3 promoted teams stayed up, can you? (without the help of Google!). A tiny club like Huddersfield avoiding the drop is a remarkable achievement. Huddersfield is a rugby town, home to Harold Wilson, There has been a settlement there for over 4,000 years and yet not since the ’30’s have they had any footballing success. HTFC have not been in the top tier since the early ’70’s. Promotion was huge, staying up is even bigger.

Given they needed points from their last 3 games which were MU, Chavs and AFC the Terriers seemed doomed but they did better at OT and the Bridge than we did – much better. Can they three-peat?

Herbert Chapman. Before AW without question HTFC & AFC’s most influential and successful manager. You know the rest … blah, blah blah Arsene Wenger.

My Team:

Cech

Chambers    Mustafi    Monreal

M-N   Xhaka    Wilshire   Kolasinac

Mhki

PEA     Laca

Ozil injured (???) and the Big Bubble banned.  This could be the final game in the shirt for a few of our players  – Wilshire, Ospina and a couple more may be on their way out.

It is the time for change which is very exciting.

The focus will inevitably be upon Mr Wenger. I have written hundreds of posts and PM’s  – all of which have featured Arsene. I have enormous respect for him and wish him well. The reception he was given at Leicester was spine-tingling, we can expect the same this afternoon.

A win would be great for a number of reasons; a final hurrah for Arsene, a better end of season party for the players, removing the inevitable media focus upon not winning an away match in 2018, and sending BR into the summer break with a smile on his face.

Thank you to those who have read my pre-matches throughout the season, they are usually fun to write.

COYRRG

 

 


Who should be the new Club Captain and Allegri, the new Boss?

May 11, 2018

Arsenal FC’s new Club Captain?

So the BFG is moving even further away from the playing side at the Club leaving a situations vacant for Club Captain.

Does anyone leap out at you as his obvious replacement?

Does the position mean much anymore?

Do we need a leader on the pitch?

 

Massimiliano Allegri – the next Arsenal manager?

Allegri featured for a variety of Italian clubs during his playing career as a creative, inventive midfielder. Promotion and a couple of decent seasons in Serie A with Pescara perhaps the highlight.

The lowlight of Allegri’s time as a pro footballer was a one year ban in 2001 for match-fixing.

Allegri’s managerial career is a different kettle of fish entirely. Having served his apprenticeship in the lower leagues, he first hit the top flight with Cagliari in 2008. The Sardinians finished a creditable 9th, not far from UEFA League qualification and played with such flair with extremely limited resorces that Allegri was awarded the Panchina D’Oro (golden bench), the Italian version of Manager of the season, ahead of Serie A winning coach Mourinho (I’m liking this chap already).

Milan liked the look of this nuovo arrivato, signed him up in 2010 and he led them to the Serie A title in his first season. When switching to Juve in 2014, he again won the top flight title in his first season, though it was to be the Old Lady’s 4th title on the bounce (the previous three while managed by Antonio Conte).

The following seasons at Juventus were littered with Serie A titles and Coppa Italia victories plus two Champions League Finals (losing to Barca and Real).

He seems a fine choice as Arsene’s successor, being strong on tactics but liking fluid formations and attacking pressing football. His daughter is quite attractive too.

chas


The Leicester Game….some match feelings

May 10, 2018

Well, if our own intrepid specialist author of the “in-depth” post, Mr GoonerB Esq, was confused after watching The Arsenal play majestic football against The Burnley, he will be aghast at the away performance of last night.

This was a match with no meaning, and the ten men of Arsenal put in a staggering display of effort, and commitment. Remember, this was away AND meaningless. Unreal. Had Arsenal managed to combine the performance of Sunday with that effort, over the course of the season well, who knows.

One thing for sure, I’d imagine the new manager will lick his lips at the prospect as he is inheriting a very talented squad who can really give it the beans. Yip, I know, the defence, but aren’t we just two or three worlds short, GB? I think we are.

My overall feelings? Yes, I still reckon Iwobi has what it takes, and Maitland Niles remains a truly outstanding prospect, and I believe that even using the word prospect is exceedingly harsh. Of course, the question of his his most effective role remains unresolved, but after last night, I’m a whole lot less concerned about an injury to Bell.

Lastly, it was a crying shame our young Greek got himself sent off, as I’m pretty sure we would have won otherwise, nonetheless, losing meaningless games does not hurt. It was after all a pulsating end-to-end encounter leaving me feeling very optimistic.

Written by MickyDidIt89


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

 


Burnley face a wave of Emotion

May 6, 2018

Has there ever been such an irrelevant game with such relevance? Today is about Mr Wenger, Burnley and the 90+ minutes between the first and final whistle are a sideshow.

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Should this PM be a peon to the mighty Arsene or your bog-standard run through of the runners and riders? Let me ponder a little ….

OK. I have decided. It is to be a normal PM because this game is not season’s end and the final minutes of an era, it is an opportunity for the paying Gooners at The Emirates to say goodbye to a man who is one of my heroes. There will be time for the obituaries in a couple of weeks.

But …. I wish I could be there. I really, really wish I could be there. I want a Merci Arsene t-shirt.

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So, Burnley.

Sean Dyche has done a fantastic job and must be manager of the season. Guardiola has created a monster of a team but Dyche’s achievement is outstanding. How many Burnley players can you name? Try. How many did you name? I got two – Aaron Lemon and Jack Cork.  Do you know that Ben (Bertie) Mee is their Captain?

Yet if Burnley win today they have a fair chance of finishing above us!! Remarkable, almost as amazing as Ranieri taking Leicester to the title.

My Team:

Cech

Chambers    Mustafi     Monreal

Ramsey    Xhaka    JW

Mhki    Ozil

PEA    Laca

An attacking line up. Perhaps AW will give one or two of the youngsters a run – M-N in place of Ramsey, or our new Bubble at CB? Or could Mr. W play the same sort of team which did so well at Old Trafford?

Whomever plays and whatever the result today is all about The Great Man.

I have a favour to ask. If you are  lucky enough to be going to the game and someone around you bad-mouths Mr W. please don’t just sit seething , please tell the ingrate to Go Forth and Multiply.  This is one of the rare occasions when having a contrary opinion is totally unwarranted.

A final home win would be marvellous. Let it Be So.

COYRRG