Arsenal v Spuds Ratings

December 20, 2018

Two for the price of one today! We won the one that mattered, so don’t be too downhearted.

First up our resident glove butler followed by the world’s foremost expert on continental imports.

If no one else will say it I will that was piss poor!

Everything about that defeat was our own making from not creating enough, not taking chances we did create, and far too easy to be broken down from defence to attack.

Now here’s an issue teams have stopped playing through our midfield because we’ve actually sorted that problem, so instead they bypassed it twice and took the chances. Southampton went wide, and I’m also a bit concerned with the positions out midfield two were taking up.

Also professionalism was lacking getting upset at Spuds timewasting tactics at 2-0 but we shouldn’t have been 2-0 down, so it’s crying over spilt milk what do we expect them to do?

Going through the team you can see the players playing Emery’s way and the ones not:

Cech just can’t play the ball out back,cost us possession far too often with his inability to pass ball ten yards or fifty.

Monreal playing high up the pitch leaving us exposed, but I think he is one of the hardest battlers in the side and never hides

AM-N we know he is out of position on the right and I love the kids touch he can pull a ball out of the sky and invariably he puts it in front of him ready to pass on, however there were times tonight where I wanted to see first time crosses from a diagonal ball but he chose an extra touch.

Sokratis a solid defender, but that’s it.

Xhaka …. not a centre back, better midfielder but mainly better at long passes

Guendouzzi ….. covers a lot of ground, maybe step back to disciplined central role.

Torreira …. is he getting a bit attack minded or was it needs must in second half? Would prefer him to be asked to stick to break up and tick over duties

Ramsey …. disinterested or not wanting to get injured or basically not good enough to be missed

Mikhi…he is currently the player we need to do the creating but seems unable to step up to the plate consistently. I do like him though and think he is most likely to do as asked.

Iwobi….end product end product

PEA …. not enough variety in his play as the lone striker, tried to play on the shoulder, rarely comes short

Kozzer …. still ring rusty
Laca ….. with Iwobi and Mikhi off he had no one playing to him with Ramsey in hiding
Nketiah…looked out of depth but by that stage I am not sure what formation we were playing.

Emery…struggle to see the benefit from the substitutions, however recognise that we are shortnib the squad due to injuries and some selections are forced on him. And don’t believe that is what he asked players to do. Time to see what he can do.

If you hadn’t guessed I’m pissed off and maybe that colours my assessments above.

That was simply not good enough.

Not sure what has happened with Ozil but I think we continue to look less dangerous without him.

Written by GIE

Cech – 4

AMN – 4. He needs to play higher up the pitch.

Sok – 5. Was our best defender.

Xhaka – 4.5. Tried hard but also multiple poor passes.

Monreal – 5. Tried hard as always but not cut out to play as a FB the Emery style.

Guen – 5. Tries but needs to tidy up his passing.
LT – 5. Looks tired.
Ramsey – 4. Wanted to do well but did not want to run much.

Miky – 4.5. Seems like he is struggling physically at the moment because his running is low. Needs to work his fitness level and also rediscover his magic passes.
PEA – 4. Frustrating night for our forward
Iwobi – 5. Tried hard, created chances but should have created a lot more.

Kos – awful. I am sorry but I think he is a liability.

Laca -5. A decent showing but would have done better if he started the game

Nketiah – 3. Too big of a game. Was lost on the pitch

2 losses in a row. Now I hope that Emery does the right think and rests some players and brings some energy in our next game.

Leno – Lichten, Mustafi, Sok, Monreal – AMN, El Neny, Xhaka, Douzi – Laca, PEA

Ratings by RC78


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.


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. 🙂


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


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

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


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.


A new month for the New Arsenal

October 1, 2018

A pinch and a punch for the first of the month. What does October have in store for us?

Despite the month being split right down the middle with yet another interlull (albeit slightly improved with the new competitive format), it’s still quite a busy time for the Club. There will be two games in the Europa on the 4th and the 25th. both away trips and to CarrierBag and Lisbon respectively.

Qarabag FK stadium

In the League we travel to Fulham and Palace on the 7th and 28th, so Oyster cards at the ready. October 22nd is a Monday night home fixture playing Leicester and the month is topped off with the recently drawn Caribou Cup game against Blackpool which could be on either the 30th or 31st.

To summarise, 2 away Spursday games, two Prem away games in London and a home Prem Monday nighter, too (all televised), with the home tie against the Seasiders in the Caribou to top it all off. None of that sounds too difficult but, of course, football isn’t quite that predictable. Let’s hope our run can continue.

Weekend observations

Rob Holding is benefitting from new management. He looks taller and more sophisticated somehow.

Shkod desperately needs some extra coaching about staying on his feet and not launching into poorly considered challenges. He’s a bit like a Staffie chasing a manky tennis ball sometimes.

Perhaps the Welsh Messi needs some time riding the pine to reconsider his choice of agent.

Why do we need to see 45 minutes of a poor team structure to realise things need changing every chuffing week? Perhaps a strong second half is part of the new tactics?

Apparently 12 Man U players are struggling to agree new contracts. Could be just the Mourinho effect or is it the new norm with all the power in the hands of the players?

After our two tricky opening fixtures, we’ve won the next five, sit level with the spuds, two behind the chavs and have cruised up into the Europa League place…….5th. 😦

Golfers playing for pride and not just money has proven once again that team games are always going to produce a better spectacle than individuals ever can. (Feel free to disagree)

Danny quells the swarm – Brentford Ratings

September 27, 2018

First Half

Two goals from Danny in the first half had Arsenal cruising as the interval approached. His first came from a Matteo Guendouzi pinpoint cross after a short corner. The many Arsenal runs in the box confused Brentford who forgot to mark the only player who stood still; but what a fine header it was from Welbz.

The second goal was warmly applauded by Mr Emery as it probably encapsulated all he wants from his players on the break. Brentford were pressing high, eventually the ball came to Lichtsteiner in a 50:50 challenge – no contest, Micki slipped the ball inside his marker freeing Iwobi on the burst. The Nigerian cockney used his mirrors to perfectly judge the run of Monreal steaming up behind him. A perfect perpendicular pass to the waiting Mancunian and it was two nil.

Second half

Arsenal quickly lulled themselves into a false sense of security in the opening few minutes of the second period. Emile Smith Rowe had a couple of decent positions which came to nothing; his usual youthful confidence giving way to indecision or a bad choice. Brentford fought for their hive like workers not drones and started to create some chances.

Their free kick to pull the game back to 2-1 was excellent but resulted from Guendouzi giving away a nonsensical free kick in a dangerous position. Suddenly the commentator was interested – he started to think he might see what he was hoping for after all.

Lacazette came on for ESR and proceeded to stink the place out with a complacent attitude and poor use of the ball. His touch was off even when slipped through by Guendouzi in prime real estate territory. Another sub was required.

Enter Lucas Torreira, avenger of evil and possessor of large hairy feet capable of mopping up in front of the back four. Things started to settle and the final quarter of the game left the commentator a little bereft of excitement and lacking in hope that all his dreams of a Brentford comeback would still come true.

Lacazette finally showed some class as he stroked home the third in the dying moments and it was through to the next round we go.


Unai Emery’s first League Cup team was a strong one and in the final reckoning, it needed to be.


Leno – not ready to displace the helmet as yet but steady and secure after an early blip….6

Lichtsteiner – struggled just a touch with the pace of his youthful winger but used his enormous experience to redress the balance….6

Mustafi – only one really comical moment giving the ball away and then falling over. Just the one hair-raising moment is quite good for him….6

Holding – don’t remember much that he did good or bad. Is that good or bad?….6

Monreal – Nacho is a real 100 percenter and was justly rewarded with an excellent slide rule assist. It’s a good job the Beast is back to share some of his workload….7

Elneny – he stood out for me simply because he did almost nothing of note apart from run around like a headless chicken. A DM he is not….5

Guendouzi – the odd sloppy pass but 95% of his work was rapid, incisive and clever. Was fouled quite nastily by Yennaris which Dean overlooked completely….8

Mkhitaryan – Henrikh played very well when we were on top but sometimes appears to lack the cojones for a scrap. Excellent use of the ball in the build up to the second goal….7

Iwobi – Another fine performance from Alex….7

Smith Rowe – Playing a little further forward seemed detrimental to Emile’s play though he showed some bright moments in the first period. He seems better coming from deep to me….6

Welbeck – two great goals which effectively won the game – is Brentford his level? – I sincerely hope not….8


Lacazette – one awful moment after another until his opportunist’s goal late on….5

Torreira – steadied the ship according to LB….7

Ramsey – didn’t really add much more than the player he replaced, Elneny….6

Mike Dean – just as bad as we all know he can be – fat, old and incompetent….3


Another London Derby

September 26, 2018

Carabao Cup. Usually a good night of soccer and we get to see Mr Emery’s first experiment of mixing yoof with experience. We reached the final last season before getting thumped by City and it would be great if we could win it this time. Why not? It’s silverware, isn’t it?


Youth: We have not been too successful in recent years of developing world class kids; Bellerin and Iwobi are the only ones who have been through the academy (though M-N may  become a regular starter in time). I guess the bar is set so high that the days of local lads becoming top players are over, nowadays we sign youngsters at 19 from other clubs( Douzi, Holding, YGB (Young Greek Bloke) ).

An example of how difficult it is to become a PL star is Brentford’s own Josh McEachran, who was once touted as Chelsea’s next superstar. Tonight he will want to show he still has the talent to become a PL player. He is a fine example to Smith-Rowe (and a similar type of player). Having rave reviews is not enough, good luck with injuries, hard work and dedication are required to become a first team PL starter.

Brentford: Without GN5’s excellent synopsis of our opponents I know little about them. We last played them in May, 1947!! They are 7th in the Championship. So, no walkovers.

Who will play? And will there be anyone at The Emirates to watch them?

The crowd at the last Europa game was very disappointing and I expect the same tonight. We will see whether reduced prices can attract fans though I suspect not.

My Team:


Swiss Chap     Holding    ??    Kolasinac (if fit)

Curly      Egyptian Dreadlocks       Nigerian Dreadlocks

Smith Rowe (Lab)      Welbz


Given both Greek blokes have knee knack or something similar plus Kos is out, and Accident Waiting to Happen cannot play every game, we have a problem at CB. Do you remember when we always had a problem at CB? How UE solves this will be interesting Kolasinac could well be fit for tonight otherwise we are could play Willock.

I think tonight will be a struggle but a winnable one.



Oil Money FC losing to Wigan – Good, Bad or Irrelevant to The Arsenal?

February 20, 2018

So, the quadruple is off. What effect might that have on Sunday’s game at Wembley?


Seeds of doubt sown.

Shows that anything is possible in a one-off game – even when you have only 17% possesion.

Aguero might be banned for throwing a punch at a supporter.

(Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Delph is banned?

City look less effective without De Bruyne.


They could be after revenge against the footballing gods and take it out on us.

Mancs, spuds and chavs path to the trophy got easier.

De Bruyne will be playing.

They can’t be as bad as in last season’s semi.


What happens in a different competition six days prior to a Final has no bearing whatsoever.

In a one-off game even the BFG can play in Beckenbauer fashion.

Auba will be playing.

Good, bad or not relevant to Sunday? What do you think?

Mink DeVille 


Wembley Beckons – player ratings for Carabao Semi part two

January 25, 2018

First half

The chavs came flying out of the blocks, high press, overloading the centre backs with Hazard, Pedro and Willian confusing the whatnots out of Koscielny and Mustafi. Thank Dennis their early goal was cancelled out by Nacho’s crazy double kiss header, else the game could have run away from us.

Our midfield was all over the place with no-one quite sure what they were supposed to be doing as the ball flashed past them.

Gradually we got a toe-hold and had the two best chances in the rest of the first half; a Granit fizzer from a free kick and Mesut’s deflected right footer just before the break.

Second half

So much better second half, even without the cones! Chelsea began to play for the away goal counting after extra time. Their rotational fouling was not penalised by the lenient Oliver. Granit must have had a nose bleed being in the chavs’ six yard box but there he was, at a ridiculous altitude at precisely the right moment; almost as if it was pre-ordained. Alexander missed a chance to put the game to bed which, being kind, was probably harder than it looked. No major scares in the last ten minutes – job done, off to Wembley.


Ospina – Busy Doing Nothing – 2 shots on target for the chavs didn’t leave our Colombian much to do ….7

Monreal – Pinball Wizard – Magnificent commitment throughout, his goal came at exactly the right moment ….9

Mustafi –  Working in the Coal Mine – always tries hard, improved as the game went on….8

Koscielny – Leader of the Pack – seemed to be fighting his injuries even more than usual but still imperious  ….8

Bellerin – The Way You Look Tonight – quiet, didn’t do much at all ….6

Xhaka – Road to Nowhere – summed up Arsenal’s performance, chaotic but Johnny-on-the-spot ….6

Wilshere – Push It – barely got a touch in the first half, an inspiration in the second ….7

Elneny –  Nowhere to Run – covered every blade at the apex of the upside down midfield triangle ….8

Iwobi  – Back Door Man – most tackles, most misplaced passes, bizarre  ….7

Ozil – Pretty Beat Up – the man with the weave decided kicking him was the only way to lessen his impact ….7

Lacazette – So Lonely – even less support than normal with the dog-botherer gone and an extra body in midfield ….7

Chelsea Pre-Match. Ozil’s Night?

January 24, 2018

Another semi-final. In the last one we smashed Man City.  Can we do the same to the Southern Oilers?

Team selection will be interesting as it will show how much of a priority Mr Wenger gives to the Carabao – very little is my guess. Though in a season which promises to end poorly, any silverware is important.


Man City put out a full squad against Bristol, they are clearly focussed upon winning the CC, which indicates that AW will give it the beans tonight.

I fear the away goals rule, it could cost us dear, especially given the flakiness of our defence. We conceded twice against the Chavs last time we met at THOF, do so tonight and we wave goodbye to Wembley (until we play away to THFC).

No Miki, he is cup-tied. No OG, Welbz and possibly Nacho. So almost a full squad.

If we are to win Ozil has to perform. He has been in good form of late and his set-up for Lacazette last weekend was superb. More of the same tonight, please.

Conte, who like most Italian managers is blessed with magnificent hair,  will be prudent, adopting  defensive tactics and relying on the counter-attacking excellence of Willian and Hazard. As always, our wing backs will need to be wary.

My Team:


Chambers      Mustafi    Koscielny

Bellerin   Wilshire    Xhaka    M_N

Ozil    Iwobi


We have little attacking threat on the bench with Theo gone, and OG/Welbz injured. Could it be the night when Eddie cements his Carabao and AFC career, scoring late in the game to seal a victory?


I know I shouldn’t mention this but one of my worst football moments was late in a return leg CL game at Highbury against the Chavs, you know the one. That’s not going to happen tonight, is it?

We can win this.



Welbz with a Christmas Cracker

December 20, 2017

The midfield was a little flat with two similar players in the centre.

The centre backs handled a strong forward line with ease and composure.

Welbz ran his heart out and was duly rewarded, Big Ollie tried a few flicks, Theo missed a sitter.

courtesy of @11tegen11

Aside from two good chances for the good guys in the five minutes before half time, there was very little goalmouth action. West Ham had 1 shot in the whole 90 minutes, with none of ‘those’ on target. 🙂