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

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Arsenal’s Top Seasons 1997-98 – Our 10th Best

November 21, 2017

This was Arsenal’s 100th season in competitive football and also Arsene Wenger’s first full season as our manager. In the transfer window, Arsenal purchased several players, including midfielders Marc Overmars and Emmanuel Petit and goalkeeper Alex Manninger.

Below are the comparisons of the 1997-98 season results for both Arsenal and Manchester United. The first ten games of the season saw Arsenal win 6 and draw 4 while Man U won 6 drew 3 and lost 1 leaving them a point behind Arsenal. Arsenal had victories over London rivals West Ham and Chelsea and drew with Tottenham.

Man U were a dominant team in the next ten games winning 8 drawing 1 and losing 1 while Arsenal only managed 3 wins 3 draws and suffered 4 losses – this left Arsenal trailing Man U by 12 points. After our away loss to Derby we were 4 points behind Man U and our next game was at home to them; a second successive defeat would have made it difficult for Arsenal to catch Manchester U, but not impossible. Striker Nicolas Anelka, standing in for Bergkamp, scored his first goal for Arsenal and Vieira added a second, leaving goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel rattled. Teddy Sheringham scored twice for Manchester United to level the score but midfielder David Platt headed into the far corner with seven minutes left of the match to score the winner for Arsenal.

Before our next game with Man U several of our games had to be rescheduled due to FA Cup replays. This meant that when we met United at Old Trafford in March, Arsenal still had 11 games left to play while United only had 8 games left.  After numerous attempts to break the deadlock in the match, Arsenal finally managed to score with 15 minutes left; Marc Overmars latched onto an Anelka header coming from a long ball and used his agility to flick it beyond goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel to give Arsenal the all important lead and win. This victory left us 6 points behind United with 10 games left to play (3 games in hand).

Arsenal then went on to win the next 8 games which completed an unbeaten run of 18 games. The unbeaten run culminated with a 4-0 victory over Everton at Highbury which clinched the title with 2 games to spare.

Arsenal’s season ended in double glory when we beat Newcastle 2-0 in the FA Cup Final to claim the second League and FA Cup double in our glorious history.  (The Port Vale tie was decided 4-3 on penalties, as was the West Ham 6th Round replay)

In recognition of the team’s achievement, Arsene Wenger was awarded the Carling Manager of the Year award and striker Dennis Bergkamp was given the accolade of PFA Players’ Player of the Year by his fellow peers and FWA Footballer of the Year by football writers.

Written by GunnerN5

 


Spud Bashing – Player Ratings

November 18, 2017

Team up for it, crowd up for it, great day in the Red and White side of North London. Grown men singing Sweet Caroline at the tops of their voices as they left the ground – Good times never seemed so good – and Neil Diamond was not wrong.

Cech: his maturity counts for a lot, solid as ever and a great save at the end to keep an impressive clean sheet. 8

Bellerin: excellent going forward, always there to offer an outlet on the wing, some decent defending and some down right worrying defending towards the end. 7

Mustafi: there was a reason why the defense worked today rather than not on other occasions and that was because of the return of Shkodran. A general in his organisation and a tower of strength to the other defenders around him and if that isn’t praise enough he set us on our way to the fine weekend that we are having now with a brilliantly headed goal, my motm: 10

(Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Koscielny: seemed to be inspired and lifted by his fellow CB, some superb defending and some down right poor passing in the first half. Maybe this is harsh as the noticeable thing was that he was the only player who was looking for the Lacazette runs, I noticed in the week that the French national team understand our number 9’s runs and know how to find him, they are still working this out at THOF. 7

Monreal: a very calm, sensible performance nothing fancy nothing silly just went about his job in his professional way. 7

Kolasinac: the honey moon period is over now and there is a touch of the Emperor’s new clothes going on here, don’t get me wrong I am as pleased as punch with the Oxlaide-Chamberlain upgrade but I am still struggling to see exactly what he brings to the table and is what he brings enough? That said if you play in a team that beats spuds 2-0 you will always be worthy of praise and so should his compact, no frills performance today. 7

Ramsey: probably the player that raised his game the least today and as for playing in trainers for most of it, sliding all over the place and loosing possession cheaply, that was not good; he finally changed his boots and got a bit more to grips with things. 7

Xhaka: this player always worries me as it always only seems like a matter of time until he gets sent off — but he didn’t today, I am not known to be the biggest Wilshere fan but I would have Jack in that team ahead of him everyday of the week. Granit sprayed the ball around well and clearly has a lot of self belief which is a useful asset. 7

Ozil: here’s a question, were you a Bergkamp fan or an Henry fan? If you were like me a Berkamp fan and are of a certain age then there is a linage that you have followed: you loved Liam Brady, you secretly admired Paul Davis more than Rocastle, you liked Merson, you thought and think that Bergkamp was and is the greatest player you have ever seen in an Arsenal shirt and you were a great admirer of Pires and yes you still have a soft spot for Fabrigas. Why all this? Because they are all a similar type of player and can be traced through the decades; the more skillful type rather than the pure goal scorer and as such, you, like me, love Ozil more than any other player at the club. We’ve got Ozil, Mesut Ozil, I just don’t think you understand. 9

Lacazette: he is getting close isn’t he, you can sense that there is so much more from him to come but it is coming isn’t it. Interesting that Wenger remains cautious wit him, only ever playing him for 70 minutes. I suspect Wenger knows the levels of fatigue that the Christmas calendar has on players and wants to make sure he is still standing in the new year. Good day today. 9

Sanchez: another brilliant performance, committed as ever and Johnny on the spot again to fire home our second. 9

Match thoughts from a jubilant LB


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?

Rasp


1-0 Down, 3-1 Up.  MOTM: Arsene Wenger.

September 15, 2017

Here are some brief “feelings” on the back of last night’s game, pulled together from my own thoughts as well as picking through the excellent comments on here from genuine experts.

  1. Back three/four. I think it’s wrong to judge a system by the personnel. Throw Koscielny and Mustafi into yesterday’s starting XI and I’m sure things would have looked different.
  2. However, perhaps we looked better second half BECAUSE of the switch. Thoughts?
  3. I’ve stated my concerns over our midfield pairing of Xhaka and Ramsey. Chief amongst my concerns is the lack of back-up, and now heavily underlined by the injury to Coquelin. Has anything from last night changed the thinking here? I always have liked Elneny’s quiet, unfussy, business like approach to the game. I thought he was excellent.
  4. Maitland-Niles moved more central, and we also saw the welcome return of Jack. I reckon we saw enough to think we have real quality in depth waiting in the wings.
  5. Sanchez, oh Sanchez. How would he react to the boos on Saturday and even having to start last night? My answer, he plays against Chelsea.
  6. Alex Iwobi. Love the guy, but I think his role lies further up field as back-up to Mesut, rather than in the deeper Ramsey role.
  7. Arsene Wenger played a superb 15 minutes at the break. A rare half time substitution, a change in formation, together with a considerably upped tempo from the boys from the first minute of the second period means he gets my MOTM.

Thoroughly enjoyable game. We saw many exciting things. Bring on Chelsea. Cannot wait.

MickyDidIt89


Arsenal – arrivals and exits, final hours.

August 31, 2017

Here is where we are in a nutshell ………

Ox is off to Liverpool

Gibbs has gone to West Brom

Mustafi is still here ……. Milan have given up wanting him

Today will be about whether Dick Law’s team actually know what they’re doing and can earn their wages.

Rumour has it, talks are ongoing to get Sanchez to Man City but we won’t allow the deal to happen unless we bring someone in. Sounds fair to me, only that could have happened a month ago …………. thanks Alexis.

My hope is for Draxler, he and Ozil know how to play together but Mahrez is on the horizon too.

Lots of talk of ‘no money’ out there ……. again no money!!!! To say this window is a mess is so far from an understatement it’s now comical.

But gooner friends, it does give us a large dollop of excitement for the final hours. Will our inept backstage team get a player over the line so that our Chilean can move on ………. 15 hours to go, buckle up we’re almost there.

 Written by peachesgooner


THE LATE DASH FOR THE ARSENAL EXIT DOOR

August 30, 2017

A little over 36 hours to the close of the window, and wow, it’s all happening at Arsenal.

Incredible really. Last season closed with ripples of optimism. The fabulous Cup win and the sexy new system. Add the three players down spine we needed, keep our best players, sell the obvious to clear the decks and free up wages and at least we’d have improved the on-field side of things 😊

The window began well. Now at August 30. What a bloody shambles. Sanchez, and Ox want out. We’re two CB’s down with Gabs away and Mustafi half way through the exit door

Let’s be realistic, it will be impossible to replace/upgrade all of those before tomorrow night, so we are in big time damage limitation. This means that any well thought out club transfer strategy is out of the window. This is by far and away the least professionally managed period I can remember in Arsenal history.

I won’t touch on names of possible recruits or exiters, but like many, I do wonder how this mess all came about so bloody late in the day. Something triggered the late dash for the exit as otherwise, for their own sakes, why didn’t these guys get their own careers sorted out earlier?

Written by mickydid89