Strolling down the Prom – Blackpool Ratings

January 6, 2019

Much of the build up to the game focused on the owner of Blackpool FC who appears to want to watch the club go under rather than cede to public opinion. Hopefully the large band of travelling Gooners were all aware that money spent in the ground was only going to benefit one person. The empty stands showed the depth of contempt there is for the man in Blackpool. Really sad.

The other big concern in the warm-up was Kos suffering with his back and having to be replaced by Jenks. Hopefully it was more of a precaution due to the ropey nature of the pitch, rather than anything long term.

First Half

An entertaining opening to the game should have seen Arsenal over the hill and far away but Blackpool did have the odd effort or two. Eddie didn’t read his script. First he tried a near post shot when going across the keeper was the obvious option. Then he was unluckier in that A.M-N’s ball across the face of goal was just at the limit of his stretch causing a miss that looked worse than it was.

Eventually we did take the lead when a Rambo free kick came off Shearing’s shoulder and flew against the post but fell nicely for Joe Willock to nod into an empty net. Jenks could have nodded for the net instead of back across goal from a delightful dink from Wobbly.

Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images

That man Wobbly was again instrumental in the second goal. Controlling a nice forward pass superbly on his thigh, he laid the ball into the path of the oncoming Corporal who crossed for Eddie whose little nick at the near post fell nicely for Joe to add his second.

Eddie then missed the easiest of his chances, not fooling the keeper in a one-on-one.

Second Half

Didn’t see a lot of the second period but it sounded like I didn’t miss much. Wobbly popped up to seal the victory, tapping in after Laca had set up Rambo’s toe poke.

“We want you to stay”    Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images

I was disappointed that Saka was given just a few worthless minutes at the tail end of the game whereas Laca was forced to play for a full half hour. Still what do I know, Saka for Eddie wouldn’t have made sense either.

Conclusion

Job done, no injuries hopefully if the rumour about Kos being cotton-woolled is correct. Fourth Round for us this year, unlike last, with the draw to be made after Monday night’s game at Molineux.

Good luck to the Blackpool fans in their quest to remove the offending excrescence from their club’s shoes.

Ratings

Cech – only flapped at the odd one, otherwise competent … 7

Jenks – looked lively and involved in the game throughout – great for him to get a full game playing for his beloved Arsenal … 7

Lichtsteiner – a bit iffy in places but he was expecting to be terrorising a winger not having the extra responsibility of playing centrally … 6

Papa – enjoyed his duel with Blackpool’s big lad up front … 7

Wardrobe – his defensive abilities weren’t really tested … 7

Elneny – busy and efficient – not sure if he played his way into the first team though … 7

Ramsey – a class apart and seems to be enjoying his role as senior spoke in the second string wheel … 8

Willock – two goals and looked excellent on the ball especially in the first part of the game (i.e. the bit that I saw) – extra point for the brace … 8

Maitland-Niles – (definitely need a nickname for him?) another who looked above the level of the game but then again, you’d hope he would since we all have such high hopes for him … 8

Wobbly – Enjoyed himself at the seaside – another fine performance from the Nigerian Messi … 8

Eddie – shame he couldn’t take one of his chances – his running, movement and ability on the ball were excellent though … 7

Subs

Laca – When Unai was giving him instructions about coming on, you could see he would have preferred to stay snuggly in his sleeping bag – didn’t really affect the course of the game apart from freeing Rambo for the third … 6

Medley – had a nasty bump on the hip when flipped by a challenge while he was in the air, looked composed … 6

Saka – poor lad goes all that way to touch the ball three times … 6

chas  

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Oystons Out

January 5, 2019

Is there still any Magic in the Cup? Does the prospect of a day out at Wembley still set you in thrall? It does for me but I am traditionalist (in other words … old).

I still love the Cup and although there are less upsets than in previous years it remains one of the centre-pieces of the season with today’s tie up at Blackpool way more interesting than a Europa League game.

And, of course, we all know which club has won it the most, and which manager. The FA Cup has been good to us.

Will it be this afternoon?

It is distressing to read (and hear on the Arseblog podcast) of the current state of affairs at Blackpool. The Oyston saga is a warning to all and an indication of how impotent the PL and EFL are when facing a corrupt owner.

One must assume the B’pool fans want to lose today so no  more TV money goes into the club. Non-attendance is costing the owner as is the lack of money from the sales of shirts, burgers etc. A draw today and the resulting income of a game at the Emirates would be a huge boon to the Oystons.

What would happen at Arsenal if Kroenke starts to strip the club of its assets and refuse to buy players? He can. He owns the place. Would lifelong fans and the thousands of tourists who go to games refuse to attend? Even if they did, would it affect change when the owner is a billionaire and the club runs on TV money? Do you think, in this highly unlikely scenario, that the PL would do anything but issue platitude whilst jetting off to another meeting in a 5 star hotel in Dubai?

The action of the Blackpool supporters is a credit to all football fans. Oyston Out.

This is Mr. Emery’s first FA Cup game, how will he react? Will he send out a team of children with Grandad Cech at the back of them? Or will he persuade Mesut and Aaron that they need match sharpness?  We cannot risk PEA and Lacazette. Terrier, Wardrobe, Xhaka and Kos need a rest. I predict a start for AMN, Willock, Corporal Jenks, Elneny, Saka, Nketiah and Medley.

Blackpool’s most famous player is Sir Stanley Matthews, the Wizard of the Wing. The man was Ronaldo famous in his time, a worldwide icon. I actually saw him play at Highbury but for Stoke not the Tangerines. Arsenal could use a winger of his genius now, could Saka be the man?

We should win this game.

Let it Be So

COYRRG

written by Big Raddy


Not the most entertaining evening at the Seaside – Blackpool ratings

November 1, 2018

Another tie against a lower league side, another chance for our exciting youngsters to get some Emirates pitch time. Well, that’s always the hope. The reality is usually far less enticing.

First Half

Pretty dire throughout. The only moment of quality was the goal. Stephan Lichtsteiner made a superb diagonal run in behind the Blackpool bus. Matteo Guendouzi picked him out with a glorious punched wedge shot and the Swiss trooper managed to divert it past the stranded Tangerines’ keeper.

Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty

That really was the only football worthy of note in a turgid display of insomnia-crushing tedium.

Second Half

After the break, it seemed a case of, ‘score the second and we can all go home’. It duly arrived when a Jenko cross-cum-shot with his standing leg was palmed out by the Blackpool goalie back into the danger zone where Emile Smith Rowe shinned it into the turf and high up into the net.

Enter the referee, who was obviously disgruntled that his 15 minutes of fame was likely to peter out like a damp firework. He’d already missed several touches for corners and the like, along with the help of his incompetent sidekicks, but the coup de grace was still to come.

In the 56th minute Guendouzi put his arm across a Blackpool chap before hastily withdrawing it. The chap with orange shorts went down as if he’d been slung across the ring by Shirley Crabtree and the pathetic excuse for an official decided that this was a heinous-enough crime to send the Frenchman from the pitch for an early luxury jacuzzi and massage.

Game on for Blackpool. To be fair they did press, hit the post and then scored a goal from a corner from which O’Connor was given the freedom of Islington at the back post. They might have had an equaliser if their shooting and crossing was anywhere near standard. Cech was grateful to see the ball sail over his bar half a dozen times.

Petr’s passing out from the back hasn’t improved while he’s been in the sick bay. He nearly gifted Blackpool a second but the offside flag saved us.

Blackpool’s resurgence was ended when the ref evened things up after the Blackpool goalscorer committed GBH on Auba in the centre of the pitch. There’s a difference between taking a booking for the team and committing an offence which should get jail time. This was the latter.

Summary

Arsenal never looked like a team all night. Some seemed offended they’d been chosen to play for the second string, others were content to pass backwards rather than attempt to beat the bus.

The prize was yet another home tie, this time against our smelly neighbours. Hopefully we’ll get the winners of Boro v Burton in the semi final 2 legger. 🙂

Ratings

Cech: not a lot to do – needs to work on his passing…6

Lichtsteiner: great goal, looked at home against League One opposition…7

Mustafi: effective in parts – left his man (when he had a choice of two) for their goal…6

Pleguezuelo: Doesn’t look a centre back but a competent debut…7

Jenkinson: You can almost see how much he enjoys playing in a red and white shirt – assist for the second…9

Ramsey: not willing to make his extra class count – played well within himself…6

Guendouzi: MOTM by a country mile until the ref intervened – only pipped by Jenko’s enthusiasm…8

Smith Rowe: don’t remember him taking anyone on – the goal will give him some confidence hopefully…6

Maitland-Niles: lost at the start of the game but showed some decent touches when dropping deeper – rusty…6

Mkhitaryan: why am I playing in the Caribou Cup? – another Ramsey-like performance…6

Welbeck: ran around quickly but lacked much quality on the ball…6

Subs

Torreira: gives 100% regardless of the opposition – others take note…7

Auba and Iwobi: came on to see the game out…6

chas


Blackpool. Possible Line-Up. Miss Ross-Eggert

October 31, 2018

Carabao. Do you remember how we did last season? I have to admit I struggle.

We reached the Final and had a day out at Wembley which went very well until the 18th minute after which it all went TU.

Was it worth it? Do the clubs value the competition? On balance one has to say Yes, but I would temper that by pointing out AW’s policy of playing kids in the early rounds and first teamers as we progress, which IMO mocks the idea that it is an opportunity for the squad players (more of that later in the day, perhaps)

In yesterday’s post, GN5 gave us the background to our opponents, I cannot write about Blackpool without mentioning Stanley Matthews, the Wizard of the Wing. In my very early days, those days when one’s love for the beautiful game becomes an obsession, Stanley Matthews was as holy as Miss Ross -Eggert (my headmistress in junior school), and Dan Dare from the Eagle comic. In my first ever game at Highbury I saw Matthews playing for Stoke at the age of almost 50!! I could and perhaps one day will write a post upon the effect Matthews had upon a nation recovering from WW2,

images.jpeg

But of today’s Blackpool team I know nothing. I could Google but then so could you 😀

Given the forthcoming test against Liverpool and our growing injury list, I expect Mr Emery to start whomever is available sans Ozil and Xhaka. Even the over-worked Holding might have to start.

My Team:

Helmet

Jenks    Mustafi       Greek     AMN (Cons)

Ramsey   Elneney   Smith Rowe   Willock

Welbeck     Nketiah

A return for Corporal Jenkinson must be possible and I wiah him the very best. As to the other positions  – a mixture of experience and youth as always propped up by a solid deface. Maybe Medley at CB will get a kick later in the game.

We do not play League 1 sides very often and I look forward to seeing the standard of play. Blackpool will relish playing on the Hallowed Turf. Should be a good attacking game because, should B’pool try to PTB, they will lose in an ignominious manner, far better to go down in flames.

This is the Hors d’oeuvre before the main course at the weekend, hopefully a tasty morsel.

Arsenal should continue their unbeaten run.

COYRRG

 


Arsenal FC – Our home record against the Seasiders

October 30, 2018

Division Two

Our first game against Blackpool was a Division Two fixture played December 19, 1896 – one hundred and twenty two years ago – we won the game 4-2 with a brace apiece for Gavin Crawford and Adam Haywood.

Highbury in 1914

League Cup

Ticket from first replay in 1976 League Cup tie

The following is a report of the 2nd replay in the League Cup competition from the 5th October 1976………

Memory Match: Arsenal 2-0 Blackpool, 1976 (From the Blackpool Gazette)

Blackpool’s love affair with the League Cup ended in the third round second replay at Arsenal. But the Seasiders pushed Arsenal all the way and had chances to equalise Frank Stapleton’s 48th-minute headed goal before David O’Leary hit the killer seven minutes from time, with Blackpool committed to attack.

Blackpool won warm praise from Arsenal observers for their tremendous organisation and it is true to say that, if they had attacked Arsenal in the first half as they did when they went a goal down, the fourth round home tie with Chelsea could have been theirs. They almost covered themselves in glory with a stirring second-half rally which highlighted their outstanding potential. And throughout the match they played their way out of defence and into attack with constructive, thoughtful soccer.

With Blackpool less committed to defence, Arsenal created more clear chances in the first half than they did a week ago in the original tie, with nothing like the sort of pressure. But after a couple of incredible misses by Malcolm Macdonald, Blackpool hit back with two chances for teenage debutant Brian Wilson. Although Wilson found it hard getting into a match of these proportions, he was not afraid to put his weight around and when Bob Hatton crossed after 14 minutes, Wilson – sliding in – sliced his shot wide. After 35 minutes Wilson almost scored with a crisp left footer after Walsh’s great run round the back and fine low centre into the box, but Jimmy Rimmer blocked the shot. Hatton was another shirt’s width away from nudging home Paul Hart’s head down under pressure from Pat Rice, but George Wood had to make a couple of fine saves, and the half was marked by the near misses of Macdonald and Stapleton.

Blackpool did not seem at all flustered and the goal was unfortunate. Wood decided not to come for a cross he might have got, but Stapleton soared above two defenders to head home.

Blackpool roared forward with Billy Ronson, and also had Hart who was brilliant in defence and started a stream of attacks by surging through to midfield with some deft touches. Ronson, Stapleton and George Armstrong vied for Man of the Match. Blackpool sliced the Arsenal defence apart several times without any sort of luck with the run of the ball.

Walsh, who had taken Arsenal wide but been starved of the ball many times, powered through the middle but smacked a shot wide. Ronson’s surge down a similar path was halted by Alan Ball. After early lapses, Alan Ainscow’s authority as an attacking midfielder grew and his influence on the game became increasingly prevalent.

Ainscow then sent a brilliant chip over the advancing Rimmer but the ball went just wide. A superb Blackpool move started by Walsh’s defence-splitting pass and Ainscow’s great touch on, almost gave Hatton a goal but he could not adjust his stride running onto it so the ball hit his right foot and went agonisingly an inch or two past the post with Rimmer going the other way.

The infusion of the dropped Alan Suddick for Wilson after 75 minutes saw some brilliant play by the midfield star and sparked the Blackpool team as a whole. He brought the save of the match from Rimmer with a magnificent volley which few players could even have controlled. His class in knocking the ball about and moving it around rejuvenated Blackpool from a useful outfit into a highly dangerous one. Steve Harrison, who had a good game at left-back, shot just over the bar and Suddick and Bill Bentley worked a fine move for Ainscow to shoot at Rimmer.

Arsenal, notably Macdonald, missed a few chances before O’Leary rifled home from Armstrong’s corner, allowing the home fans to finally relax. But Blackpool had the last word with efforts from Walsh and Hatton blocked by Rimmer and Rice. Blackpool will not complain about the result because of the clear chances Arsenal missed, but their second half rally could so easily have won them the game.

Attendance: 26,791

Division One

Peter Storey (on the floor) heads home in March 1971

Blurry Pathe footage of the game on 20th March 1971 at Highbury. The playing surface doesn’t quite seem up to today’s standards!

Premier League

The only Premier League game against the Seasiders finished 6-0 featuring a Walcott hattrick and Arshavin penalty

So, during our history of playing Blackpool at home in the League or League Cup, we have lost just the two home games, both coming in 1958. These were the days of Stanley Matthews and Jimmy Armfield.

Hopefully our second string can beat the League One outfit this time around in the Caribou Cup.

GunnerN5


Have we ANY chance of winning at Bloomfield Rd?

April 10, 2011

This will be a positive post, so those of a cup half empty disposition, look away.

Firstly, we are on a long unbeaten run in the PL extending to almost four months. During that time we have conceded just 10 goals. Taking out the madness at St. James, we have conceded 6 in 12 PL games – hardly the stats of a dodgy defence.

Secondly, we have the best away record in the PL, amassing 26 points and losing only twice (MU & Chelsea).

Thirdly, this season we have beaten the PL Champions, the Champions of Spain (who are supposedly the best team of all time), and beaten a CL quarter finalist 5-1 (Shaktar).

We have done this despite a constantly full medical centre and without the services of our strongest CB. Which other team has suffered as we have? Down to our 3rd choice GK, 3rd choice DM, 4th choice CB.

Furthermore, we have a young player who had he continued his early season form would be a shoe-in for PL player of the Year, and we have an almost guaranteed winner of the Young Player of the Year.

Has all this good work been totally destroyed by the past few weeks very average performances? Some would say so, however at season’s start, had anyone offered me the position we are in early April, I would have taken it immediately. What is overlooked is that most Arsenal “fans” were predicting us failing to achieve Top 4 and that Spurs would be top North London club under the “genius of Harry.” In fact, most predicted a 6th place behind Liverpool. Sure the last month has been painful and in retrospect the B’ham CC game was a precursor for a difficult spell, but a true assessment of the season can only be made on May 23rd.

Onto today’s fixture. Everyone likes Blackpool (well, at least the football club!). The manager, the style of football, Charlie Adam, the David & Goliath theme etc etc. Well just for today, I say “Sod them”, we need the 3 points. Let them get the points they need to avoid relegation elsewhere because we are desperate for a confidence boosting win. A flukey 1-0 will do it, as long as it is accompanied by our usual 60+% possession.

Our injuries are as usual a major factor. This would be a good game for Theo to regain form and he awaits a fitness test. Song, Diaby, and Denilson are definitely out and there is a question mark over Sagna. Could Eboue get his final start in an Arsenal shirt (I hope it is final 🙂 )?

Could we repeat our home demolition of Blackpool? I doubt it, Blackpool lost a player early at the Grove and we were in a fine run of form. We can expect B’pool to fight all the way and with the return of their top scorer DJ Campbell will not be easy opposition, we will have to go toe to toe with them and hope Cesc and Nasri can create the chances to win all 3 points.

My team:

I really hope that should we not be winning at half-time, AW makes an early substitution. It worked at WBA, yet he didn’t repeat it with Blackburn which left us with only 10 minutes of all out attack. Chamakh and Bendtner should be on early if we are struggling.

Blackpool is best known as a holiday destination. I have been a few times (conferences!) and left shell-shocked. What is less known is that it is the birthplace of my fave bands at different times in my life. Starting with Graham Nash OBE of The Hollies and later the brilliant C,S & N, onto Maddy Prior of Steelye Span and Roy Harper, followed by Ian Anderson and Jethro Tull, then Robert Smith and The Cure, Chris Lowe of Pet Shop Boys and more recently Nick McCarthy of Franz Ferdinand. Not too Metally, but for a small town, Blackpool has a fine musical heritage.

I made the fundamental mistake of predicting a win last weekend, I promise never to do so again.

COYRRG

Written by BigRaddy


Arsenal Crush Blackpool 6-0 – written by London

August 22, 2010

What a great day, a day that sent me through a whole gamut of emotions, starting with goose bumps when the stadium first came into sight, pride as I saw how the Arsenalisation had progressed (Gazidis, not having the pesky irritant of the transfer market to distract him has obviously been able to focus on this during the summer). We now have photos of all the Arsenal captains, large murals of Cesc, the stands have been renamed; I now sit in the West Stand, we no longer have that dirge of an Elvis song to listen to as the players come out but best of all we have the clock back.

The club tried to turn this into a historical moment by letting fire works off as they announced its return; the fire works were a bit tame but the atmosphere that it created was up there with some of the best I have experienced at the Emirates so much so that I must confess it brought a few man tears to my eyes and if that wasn’t enough emotion for one grown man to cope with the players then took to the field wearing a proper Arsenal kit…..happy days.

It’s hard to imagine a more perfect opposition for our first home game of the season. Blackpool not only failed to park the proverbial bus but they foolishly tried to play football, the result being a six-nil mauling which sent them and their vocal supporters packing back up the motor way, tails between their legs while at the same time sending our confidence into orbit.

Wenger must be delighted; every single player got exactly what he needed from the game whether it be fitness, minutes on the pitch, scoring goals or the boost of confidence that comes from simply doing your job properly.

There were no stragglers in the Arsenal team everyone put in a shift, although, there was one who went beyond the call of duty, beyond what we have come to expect of him: Walcott put in a performance to silence his critics such as me, a performance to make us proud, a performance that easily justifies the award of Man of the Match.

The cynic in me still wants to see him prove that he can shine against more reputable defences before being totally convinced but as the saying goes “you can only beat the team that is put in front of you” and today Theo tormented anyone who went near him, scoring a hat trick along the way and setting up so many chances for others it was hard to keep count, although, three gilt edged gems for Chamakh, which he missed, remain in mind.

Arsenal took to the field in the confident knowledge that they were superior in every department to Blackpool and a comfortable win being the only acceptable outcome. Within minutes of the start slick Wengerball was on display which quickly led to the first goal; some superb inter play between Chamakh, Rosicky and Arshavin who rolled the ball to Theo to side foot home with power, the pressure was off and the teams settled into their expected roles.

Blackpool tried to make a fist of it coming close shortly after when they sent in a high ball to the far post which was met by one of their players who should have brought the score level. I do not expect Blackburn to be so generous next week.

Still, there was a game to be won; well, a game of sorts, as any resemblance to a competitive match was snuffed out when Chamakh was brought down in the box resulting in a penalty and a red card which reduced Blackburn to ten men. Arshavin dispatched it with ease but what gave me the biggest thrill of this goal was that he actually celebrated. I pay good money to watch the games and I want to enjoy the goal scoring experience as much as possible and someone putting their finger on their lips as if to signify silence does not do it for me, I’m a jump in the air kind of guy and I want our players to do the same.

Where was I, ah yes Theo’s second, our third, now this was class, one of my biggest criticisms of Theo is that he cannot operate in tight spaces, well that went out the window when he swivelled to score this gem.

Half time came and beer was dutifully drunk, out came the good guys for the second half and just when it looked like we might have a player to moan about up pops Diaby to half volley a very well taken forth.

Theo shortly after got his third from yet more great interplay and a very cool finish. Five nil up on the first home game of the season and you may ask how much fun can one set of supporters have in an afternoon, a darn sight more is the answer to that as Arsenal prepared to bring on Fabrégas and Van Persie, there was a moment of humour as Blackpool seemed to be doing anything they could to avoid the ball going out of play which would have enabled the change but eventually, of course, it did and on came our two World Cup finalists to a humongous reception.

It was difficult to top this but in an attempt to do so someone came up with the novel idea of scoring a goal from a corner, what I hear you say, Arsenal don’t do that, well they did yesterday, a beautifully flighted ball from Van Persie which was powerfully headed home by Chamakh. This went some way to make up for his earlier misses, although, this wasn’t a day to start pointing fingers but there is no doubt that the goal was an important confidence booster for him.

Six nil and a fine day was had by all. This only leaves one outstanding question: which knickers did Peaches choose to wear to the game? We won didn’t we; the answer is obviously the old lucky ones (clean of course).