Chelsea. With Hindsight.

February 10, 2017

Was it really that bad? Enough to launch a Wenger Out campaign? Enough to insist upon radical changes in our squad?

Let me start with a statement which IMO is clearly true. Had we played our best 11 at SB we would have taken the points. We couldn’t and didn’t but that is not all …

We lost thanks to a dreadful refereeing decision.

Chelsea’s first goal came from a violent foul which affected  not just the scoreline but the whole of AW’s plans. Bellerin was essential to our game at SB, Theo is pants without him, and we have no-one else with real pace to combat the Chavs attack.

A proper ref would have sent The Deviant Chav off and cancelled the goal. I was apoplectic that a cowardly elbow to the face should be rewarded with a gaol. It was not just crap refereeing, it was rewarding violent and dangerous play.

If it happened in the street it would have been ABH.

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So, at one stroke the Chavs have removed a vital member of our team, scored a goal and are cock-a-hoop. We on the other hand have Gabriel at LB against a world class frontline.

Furthermore, the loss of Xhaka and Ramsey forced AW to rely upon hardworking but ultimately ineffective midfield, which could have a long-term impact upon the career of both Ox and Coq.

There is no getting away from the negatives, we lost an important game in a manner which hurt (forgetting the idiotic refereeing decision), and it raises questions…

  1. Ozil. Can a player be considered world class if he disappears in Big Games?
  2. If Sanchez leaves, would we be a better team?
  3. Walcott. What was his role?. The lack of intelligence of our front 3 was worrying.
  4. Cech. Is it time to promote Ospina?
  5. Monreal is a lovely chap but we have needed better for two seasons (if we can find someone)
  6. Coquelin. It isn’t his fault that Santi, Elneney, Xhaka and Ramsey are out, all of whom would start ahead of Ox, but it was time for Coq to show he is the go-to DM in the Arsenal team. IMO he showed he is a squad player.
  7. Ox. Where to start? Watford and SB, an ideal setup for him. Watford to get into the role of CM and Chavs to mix it with the best. He has all the attributes and did OK but we need more. I worry for his future. He needs a big game on the weekend (if picked)

Let’s be honest, the League was lost with the Watford game. Chas called it – he said it was a MWG, and it was. AW recognised it – in his press conference, Arsene’s face was a grey as his hair and tracksuit, he looked like John Major post election defeat. He was spent.

We are not as good as we should be but we are certainly good enough to challenge for second. A win tomorrow will start the repair process.

written by Big Raddy


Remember your Shinpads

November 21, 2015

Much to look forward to today – a possible Merinho breakdown, Klopp’s second defeat in a row, the Classico, MU downed by the rampant Hornets. What I am not looking forward to is the physicality of a game at the Hawthorns.

I have nothing against WBA, I admired them during the Big Ron era for their support of black footballers, also that they would routinely gift us 3 points at home and away, but things are different today; today they are managed by Tony Pulis.

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Imagine how you would feel if it was announced that Mr Wenger was to be replaced by Pulis? First out of the door would be Ozil – Pulis would never have an artist in his team. Theo Walcott? No chance – the man is a wimp. Cazorla? A holding midfielder who can’t kick indiscriminately  and physically oppress the opposition. Going through our team how many would get picked by Pulis? I would hazard a guess at Alexis, Coquelin, BFG and Gabriel.

Having said that, it is one of the pleasures of football that there are many ways to win 3 points and perhaps it would be boring if only fluent, attacking, exciting, skilful, intelligent football was the only style on offer. (a little BR joke for those who are too literal)

In 12 PL games WBA have scored 10 times, have collected 26 yellow and one red card (we have the lowest in the PL with 12/2). They have 4 points from 6 home games and are without question the dullest team to watch in Europe, if not the world, universe, galaxy, etc.

I wonder what Pulis makes of Mr. Wenger. What must he think when reading of AW wanting to bring out the beauty in his footballers? Of his eloquence following a match and his humour at press conferences?

This is not to say that Pulis is thick – he clearly isn’t but I hate his football philosophy. I hated his violent Stoke team. I hated his defence of Shawcross. I hate his idea that if you cannot win by playing with the ball then play the man. It is offensive.

We celebrate the return of Bellerin. I understand Debuchy’s frustration regarding his relegation to the bench which may affect his Euro place but Bellerin is fantastic – perhaps the best AFC debut season since that bloke who is on the bench at Stamford Bridge.

Unfortunately Ramsey is not available until mid-week and IMO he is the lynchpin of the side. We have struggled in his absence especially in the Spurs game.

Santi is fit again and played well for Spain, scoring a fantastic goal which may initiate his Arsenal goal scoring. It is a mystery that such a talented player cannot hit the target.

Alexis played two full competitive games for Chile and will surely be rested for much of the game. Who takes his place? I guess Campbell will continue out right and Arteta or Flamini alongside Coquelin allowing Cazorla to play further forward.

The bookies have us as 8/15 favourites. I am less confident.

But beating a Pulis team makes for a happy Big Raddy household and I am sure the Arsenal squad and backroom staff are all in favour of that.

Let it be so.

COYRRG

 


Sunny Afternoon?

April 4, 2015

Saturday afternoon. Sunny day. Liverpool at home. An important game = Excited.

It seems an age since we played a meaningful game at home to a real rival and for the first time in a decade, Liverpool can be said to be quality opponents. Last season, L’pool surprised many with a startling run of form centred around the genius of the Biter, this season shows that Rodgers team management can propel them to the Top 4 but not the title.

And why not the title? Because they are bottlers and have been since we did them in May 1989.

Yes, they have won a few Cups thanks to the type of good luck which can only come from having sold one’s soul to the devil. Their Treble showed similar good fortune to those chaps who have won the Lotto twice (though I would swap the ’91 title for a European Cup!).

Unlike Mr Wenger, Rodgers has no scruples about forcing his players to remove themselves from the international scene. Amazingly the severely injured Sturridge and Sterling  are fit to play today. If I were Hodgson I would not pick these blokes for the next few games.

Stevie Me and Scramble are banned but other than them L’pool have their first choice 11. I am saddened that Gerrard will not play, he has completely lost his mojo and is a shadow of the player he could be in his pomp. His playing would have made our winning almost a certainty, instead the points are in the balance.

We are without Ox, Debuchy and probably Welbeck from our best 11. I think Ramsey has recovered from his hamstring knack.

The rest you know ….. we have won 14 out of 16, 9 of the last 10. Of our last 11 home games against top 5 opposition we have lost 7, drawn 3 and won just one (how crap is that 😢) We are scoring regularly. Le Giroud is on fire scoring both for club and country.

My Team:

Ospina

Bellerin    BFG      Koscielny       Monreal

Ramsey   Coquelin

Cazorla   Ozil      Sanchez

Giroud

As always midfield will be vitally important, I was going to write match winning but given our propensity to miss chance after chance I would say that clinical finishing is more important. Coquelin vs Lucas will be an interesting battle. As will be Bellerin and Monreal’s ability to control the mercurial Sterling. If the boy is available for €50m I would buy him – after all, it isn’t my money!

We are 6 points ahead of the Scouse. A win today would be a huge plus towards our quest for second place. For Liverpool a loss would herald a season of Spursday nights.

I am 53% confident.

COYRRG

written by Big Raddy


Bellerin hurts Mertesacker.

March 26, 2015

How? Why? When?

Well, it went like this …..

During the summer Arsene recognised the need for a Vermaelen replacement and bought Chambers.  Our future centre half should have had a few games in the middle and a couple at right back as he was inculcated into the Arsenal Way. But things didn’t go to plan.

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€15m, 0 appearances. Nice work AW.

Arsene also bought a fine right- back and Sagna replacement in Debuchy. An experienced, aggressive full back in the Lauren mould, but sadly, the man who is an important cog in the team got long-term knacked, came back and got knacked again. This gave the opportunity for Gooners to see why Chambers is so highly rated as he made his Arsenal debut at right-back and he seized his chance. The man/boy  was terrific but his lack of pace was a cause for concern. In comes the young man we poached from Barcelona to make his first team debut at Dortmund away in the CL. Hector Bellerin struggled but who wouldn’t, however he showed potential and has grown with each game. He looks the real deal and a future Arsenal stalwart.

We have 4 quality right backs – Debuchy, Chambers, Bellerin and Jenkinson. Sadly for Gunner Jenkinson, Bellerin’s improvement has cost him his place in the squad – I cannot see him returning. Chambers has shown he is better placed in the centre of defence where his lack of recovery pace is not so costly. I think Debuchy remains our first choice RB with Hector as his back-up.

And why does this affect Mertesacker? Because the signing of Gabriel heralds the end of BFG’s career at Arsenal. If Chambers is our RB back-up there is space in the squad for 3 top quality CB’s but is there room for 4? Bellerin’s rise pushes Chambers into the middle and means that we have a glut of CB’s

We are very well served in defence as Mr Wenger has bought players who can play in more than one position. Chambers, Gabriel and Monreal can all play CB and FB.

Debuchy is 30 this summer – his time is limited. BFG is 9 months older but clearly in decline (as much as I love the big galloop). Montreal turned 29 in Feb. Koscielny is exactly the same age as Debuchy yet remains our best defender, TA and Keown played well into their 30’s, barring injury and his fragile achilles, Koscielny can do the same.

I see our back 4 in 2016 as Bellerin, Gabriel, Koscielny and Gibbs (or a new, shiny LB). Chambers and Monreal as the multi-purpose CB/FB back-up’s until 2017. As such BFG becomes expendable and we can sell him for good money back to the Bundesliga in summer.

That said, Mertesacker appears to be very popular with the team and a man who has The Arsenal Spirit. Perhaps we should keep him as we have kept Arteta.

written by Big Raddy


Steve’s Monday Assessment

March 16, 2015

Results this weekend, in the main, pretty good week; dropped points for the Chav’s a loss for City, United starting to get it together, and for us, who are the most important, another 3 points.

Keep on winning is all we can do, We have had what can only be described as a bit of an up and down season so far. We have lost games we feel we should have won, and won games that looked like games we struggle with.

I honestly believe that new players take a while to settle, although most of ours seem to have blended in quite well, we have had a bit of turmoil with injuries. Players who were first team choices at the start of the season, who got injured and unsettled the balance. Theo of course was one who started the season injured, Wenger knew he was a long term injury so needed to add, In came Sanchez who hit the ground running.

Vermaelen leaving and leaving a big hole was a blow, Wenger replaced with a young man Chamber’s, Not many of us knew a great deal about him, but he seemed to come across as a bit of a utility player, i read that he was a right back but could be utilised across the back, It has to be said that this youngsters heroics was like a breath of fresh air. I dont believe Wenger ever expected to use him as much as he has,Injuries to BFG and Kos and then Debuchey meant he would be used for all positions.

Of course with a long term injury to new man Debuchy, a young man springs up from our reserves in Bellerin, a bit rough around the edges but with a great engine probably was the reason the Jenkinson was not recalled from a loan spell with Wham, who needed a season of premier league experience, hopefully he will return the better for it.

Bellerin has made mistakes but the effort he puts in bodes very well for the future. I would assume that once Debuchey gets fit Belerin will deputise but good experience for him for the future.

Paulista who was brought in at Christmas looked a good prospect sadly an injury has side lined him but he does look like he may replace the ageing Merts.

All in all the season has been as I said a bit up and down, Our new signings including Welbeck have started to shine, the squad seem to have been thrown together with new faces mixing fairly well.

Our need for a HM only became worse with Arteta and Flamoney both getting Injured, and one of our youngster having to be recalled from a loan spell which i felt was a stepping stone to being let go, but for Coquelin it gave him a final chance to show Wenger that he still has a future here. Coq has been immense since he returned, a couple of Motm awards has only shown this youngster has a future.

All in all this season has shown that the squad we have, once sorted is a mixture of what is needed to win things, I think its clear that players like BFG Arteta and Flamoney along with Rosicky could be nearing the end of their journey with us, but with clever recruitment and a few from our reserves shows that we are not lacking in players. I feel Wenger will still buy the odd player in his search for excellence, but that was to be expected.

Arsenal are sitting Third looking at second, and with a turn of fate could even win the league, But at present we are still in line for top 4 any thing can happen we know, can Wenger manage another top 4 it certainly looks that way, how many times is that? Magnificent is the word, unbelievable.

COYRRG’s

written by Steve Palmer1


 Out but not Down – Match Review

September 24, 2014

I had a very hazy view of the game but here goes.

Ospina….. Made a few excellent stops. He looked a bit short in the team photo and Clyne’s worldie sailed over his head, but this was partly down to the swerve on a brilliantly hit ball. The goal reminded me of one Thierry scored against Roy Carrol in front of the North Bank.

Bellerin….. Looked composed on the ball and particularly good when making recovery tackles. Must be that lightning speed.

Chambers….. What a buy!

Hayden….. Stepping up and didn’t look out of place. 4th choice CB, maybe?

Coquelin….. A few positional errors but largely a super performance at an unfamiliar left back. As LB says, perhaps we have more cover at left back than we thought.

Diaby….. Great to see the big man back, purring like a Rolls Royce. Fingers crossed.

Wilshere….. Jack never stopped driving the team forward. Unlucky to be on the losing team.

Rosicky….. From what I could make out Tomas is unsurprisingly a little ring-rusty. Tried a lot of stuff which didn’t quite come off. His challenge to get the Saints back in the game was stupidity itself.

Podolski….. Did very little to stake a claim for a first team place. I would have thought he’d be champing at the bit to impress, not just biding his time riding the pine.

Campbell….. I really liked what I could make out, especially in the second half. Needs game time also, but I’m not sure where he’s going to get it now we’re out of the Mickey Mouse Cup.

Sanchez….. Man, what a player we have. He never stops running and has as many tricks as Paul Daniels. His free kick was amazing. Perhaps the GK thought it was sailing over the bar as he helplessly watched it dip from outer space just under the crossbar. Stunning.

sanchez

Admittedly the Saints had a few good chances on the break but our rookie defence could not be blamed for either of the goals.

The midfield looked good. If Rosicky had been sharper, Jack and Abou’s good work might have brought more reward.

The only thing the performance lacked was more goals.

What did you think? Especially if you were lucky enough to be at the Emirates.

chas


BVB. The Return.

September 16, 2014

The Signal Iduna Park. Scene of one of the best football nights of my life. Regular readers will be bored with yet another reminder of the why’s and wherefore’s of Didit and my victorious campaign to German soil. We came, we saw, we conquered. Enough said.

However, a repeat of the Arsenal victory may kick start our season and I can see no reason why we cannot beat them again.

To begin with BVB have lost important players – Lewandowski (who scored at the Emirates) has joined Bayern and Gundogan, Reus, Hummels,  Sahin , Ji and some bloke with an unpronounceable name from Truskolasy in Poland are all out injured.  However, Sven Bender and Kagawa are fit as is some Armenian CF who is a bit tasty and whose name I cannot spell.

BVB are finding their feet in the Bundesliga having won two and lost one so far. Kagawa returned to a heroes welcome at the weekend and scored in an easy win over Freiburg but Arsenal are (hopefully) a sterner test.

Arsenal have defensive problems …… Debuchy knacked,  Monreal banjaxed, Chambers 50/50 (throat knack). Thankfully Gibbs is fit and I suggest we may see Flamini take the right back shirt with Arteta returning to the conductor’s podium. Or we could blood Bellerin. Would you?

Now I have high hopes for Bellerin – I like that he comes from the Barca factory, that he has phenomenal pace and that he has a ridiculous haircut. Plus his parents were irresponsible enough to name the lad Hector. Can you imagine going into the 5th form classroom and introducing yourself as Hector? He must be well hard by now.

Mr Wenger has taken Bellerin with the squad to Germany so he must trust the boy.

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Does this chap look the full shilling?

These defensive injuries are certain to arouse the smug  “I told you so’s” amongst some of the AFC fans but before you get all Jack the Peanut – the defensive frailties have been highlighted by every single football fan and you are not cleverer than Mr Wenger – so sit down and shut up. Mr Wenger was obviously after a specific target and didn’t get his man. Nor did he find a suitable player to improve the squad. Like everyone else I think this was poor, make that piss-poor from our Purchasing Dept.

Elsewhere we abound with outstanding talent, so much so that great players cannot even get on the bench and that is without Giroud, Walcott and Diaby. I would start Podolski tonight instead of  ….. mmmm I don’t know who 😀

And that is the problem. We have too many quality players.

My Team:

16th sept

Perhaps we could rest Welbeck, play Sanchez centrally with Rosicky or Podolski playing a more defensive left sided role. We have been exposed recently by our over-zealous attacking fullbacks. I don’t blame them – I would prefer to look at the tactical awareness of the midfielders who must see the huge gaps Monreal and Debuchy leave behind.

The local food in Dortmund is unsurprisingly beer and sausage. The local brew is Dortmunder Pilsner and I can tell you from personal experience it is possible to almost drown in the stuff without losing consciousness (5.5% alc).  A fine tasting brew. I am told it is best accompanied by the “Salzkuchen mit Mettente” which is a curried sausage in a caraway seeded, bagel type roll. I have only tried the bratwurst (hugely disappointing).

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So will we come home with the points? It is undenianable that BVB are a fine team, one of Europe’s best and the sense of lassitude about tonight’s game is purely repetition rather than opposition. It must be the same for Messrs. Klopp and Wenger, whom we are told are good friends which may be very exciting when thinking about Arsene’s successor! Both teams are weakened by injury, both teams are struggling for form as their international players recuperate from the stresses of the World Cup. I would be delighted with a repeat of 1-0 to the Arsenal.

Lastly, I am disappointed but not surprised by ITV’s decision to show Liverpool against a team of East European hairdressers as opposed to what is the plum tie of the round. No doubt we will hear that the “atmosphere is incredible as Liverpool return to the Big Stage” etc etc  Anti-Arsenal bias? You bet.

written by Big Raddy