Howay The Lads

April 15, 2018

Mid-table, virtually meaningless clash? Exciting PL game between two highly experienced, quality managers? The chance to see world class footballers giving their best? Or a mix or all three?

IMO any Arsenal game is anticipated with bated breath, I love to watch my team; sadly, in recent time the excitement has dissipated after 30 mins as we muck about with hardly a shot on target; hopefully the new attack can change this.

PEA can be the answer.

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We are on our best winning run of the season, admittedly we have played some very average teams, most of whom are relegation threatened. Newcastle are also on a fine run and are now safe.  Will both teams give it the full beans? I doubt it.

We haven’t lost to Newcastle since 2010 but we have yet to win an away PL fixture in 2018. One of these runs will continue. Apparently we have not lost 5 away games in a row since 1925!

My Team:

Cech

Chambers    Mustafi     Holding

Bellerin      Xhaka    Elneny    Iwobi

Ozil

PEA    Welbeck

A few second string players, maybe Nelson or Maitland- Niles will get a kick. Ramsey, who suffered a very nasty cut midweek, Kos, Nacho, should be rested. Maybe Ozil benched for Nelson with Iwobi “in the hole”.

Early kick-off following a heavy Sunday lunch. Hope I can stay awake for the second half.

COYRRG

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Can Arsenal keep Naples & Higuain at Bay?

October 1, 2013

Every Arsenal game is something to cherish but every so often one comes along which brings a spring to the step – tonight is such a game. A stylish Italian team, 2nd and unbeaten in Serie A with a new and highly successful manager, a €35m player whom we tried desperately to sign but who chose (understandably) to follow the money, and at home on an Autumn evening.  Jumping Jehosiphat, I wish I was going.

Before I go into meltdown about the quality of Napoli it should be recalled that …. Yes, they beat Borussia Dortmund (which was magnificent) but we won away at the team who beat them in the CL Final – and I guess that is our running flush to their four of a kind.

Where to start? Mr Wenger much admires many of this Napoli team; starting with a dwarf named Insigne. The little fellow impressed at the Emirates in summer leading to paper talk linking us with him (AW said “we know a lot about him,” which translates into “we tried to sign him”). Smaller than Jack Wilshere, he stands 5´4″ in his boots but has real creative talent, Hamsik is their Ozil with the highest number of assists. But it is  Higuian who will attract today’s attention. Will the Boards reluctance to match Napoli’s bid come back to bite us? We shall see but I am quite happy with our own centre forward.

Benitez has had a flying start to his Napoli career. After a torrid but successful season at the ingrate Chavs he has found a club willing to back him financially and it is great to see such a decent man flourish. I wish him well apart from the two AFC games.

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“If you throw the game The Godfather will give you back your family”

Will Benitez set his team out to play on the counter-attack, after all it is the way he played with both Liverpool and Chelsea and, come to think of it, during his disastrous time at Inter Milan. So, I guess the answer is , Yes. Parcheggiare il autobus? Unlikely but not impossible.

How will we play tonight?

In recent times Arsenal have been more comfortable allowing the opposition more possession. This could be tactical in which case what has changed? Is it that the purchase of Ozil’s remarkable passing ability allows us to be more potent on the counter? Or is it that the team has learned to sit back and take a breather when not on the ball? With the plethora of games it would be understandable that we do not play at breakneck speed for 90 minutes.

Rosicky is back in the squad which is great news given the injuries to Pod, Theo and Ox. I hope he starts tonight but it may be a game too early, in which case Gnabry will get a third start in a week.

My Team:

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I love that we can win games with just one out and out forward – it must be Mr Wenger’s dream.

The bench is starting to regain some strength and I expect to see Nik B get a run tonight should we be tied at 70 minutes. The Monreal solution works well as we look more secure in the final minutes with him on the pitch.

Given that Napoli are unbeaten in Serie A , BD are top and unbeaten in Bundesliga, Arsenal top of the PL and Marseilles just a point behind the leaders of Ligue 1, Group F is without doubt the best group in the CL –  on form probably the best and hardest in CL history. There are often 3 good teams but never 4 with such quality. If we get through it will be a major achievement.

An exciting game in prospect.

COYRRG

Written by Big Raddy


Pool – Arsenal in at the Deep End – written by BigRaddy

August 15, 2010

Written by Big Raddy

First game of a new season, new players, an opportunity to wear our new kit, ….. what is there not to get excited about?

Well, shame on me but I am approaching a trip to Anfield with some trepidation. I am normally confident every time we travel to Liverpool and I am reminded that we opened with a 6-1 victory up there last season (Everton is in Liverpool). But this time there are significant differences, and we all know what they are.

Firstly, Liverpool have finally signed a decent manager. Benitez was quite frankly one of the luckiest men on the planet. Without exception, their Cup victories were fortunate in the extreme (who has ever seen a less deserved CL victory than 2005, exciting though it was). That Benitez spent a King’s ransom and has taken the club backwards is a better indicator of his years as manager than Stevie G beating West Ham. Hodgson on the other hand is (in my opinion) one of the best managers in Europe and will make the Scousers a decent side.

Hodgson has in Reina, Agger, Johnson, Carragher and Aurelio, the personel to create a really solid defence. The signing of Poulsen (whom we should have signed) is inspired. He is a DM who can pass out of defence, is good in the air and above all can be a really dirty b*stard in the Roy Keane mould – expect to see a flurry of cards! With Gerrard in form, Aquilani bedding in, and Cole desperate to show he is worth his wages, they will present a formidable midfield. Thankfully Torres is unlikely to play and N’gog/Babel and Kuyt are hardly clinical finishers.

Secondly, we are not in great shape. Injuries, lack of form, severe defensive frailties and the lack of a reliable goalkeeper are likely to cause  sleepless nights for Mr. Wenger. The injuries are frustrating; when will we start a season with our full squad fit and ready? Song is at best 50/50 to play, and to rely on Denilson again is an indication of a poor summer’s work by our manager (who I am delighted to read is about to sign a new contract). We have been lacking a quality partner to Song for too long, and the possibility of having to start Frimpong is madness, however much of a prospect he is. Should Song be out, we will struggle to win the physical battle in midfield, as we will against any of the top 6 clubs…… we must buy an experienced CB/ DM to have a chance of winning the PL. Hopefully Sunday afternoon will not be a pre-cursor of difficulties to come

Much has been written about Fabregas this summer and I can’t wait to see him play for us this season – I expect him to confirm that he is the best in the World, bar none. He has to play at Anfield for us to win.

My team would be, (though I must point out that I have an unblemished record in this department – never having been right!!) :-

Mr. Wenger usually goes with a defensive team away from home and much as I would like to see Theo get a game, I doubt he will. The questions about RvP’s fitness must preclude him from what will be a tough fixture.

I will be satisfied with a point.

Regular readers of AA will know that I like to give some background about the towns we play in, and this season will be no different. Liverpool was founded by King John in 1207 and he personally designed the street layout (though only for 500 inhabitants). And, this is a brilliant and hard to believe fact….. over 40% of the entire World’s trade went through Liverpool at the start of the 19th Century!! There are many famous Liverpudlians amongst whom are; Rick Astley, the famous Youtube star and Keith Chegwin (Janice Long’s brother), both of whom are Gooners.

Most famous Scousers get out fast and move to Kent/Surrey – Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Cilla Black, Jimmy Tarbuck, Freddie Starr, Anne Robinson, Paul O’Grady etc etc ……. I wonder why??