Arsenal 2 Cardiff 1 – Player Ratings

January 30, 2019

Mesut as Captain.

What’s this? Have they made up or just a sop against a lower team?

We shall see.

First Half

Absolutely dire in the sleet. Two poor teams.

Cardiff might have thought they shaded it with slightly more dreadful efforts off target.

Stuart MacFarlane

Neither keeper had his hands warmed in 45 minutes of something you could barely call football.

Laca should have had a penalty when kicked from behind in first half stoppage time. Dean was poorly positioned and didn’t see the challenge.

Second Half

There was a slight improvement after the break with Wobbly on for our centre back screenplay writer.

A penalty was awarded at last when (even) Dean couldn’t pretend he hadn’t seen Kola being tripped in the area. Wobbly’s pass behind the defender was the best pass of the whole game and created the penalty. Finally, we had a clear chance of  scoring. Auba obliged.

Laca scored a well deserved second after 83 minutes having got back on his feet after being fouled (one of the only ways of escaping having someone kicking your ankles on a night for the brave).

Cardiff’s consolation was fortunately too little, too late.

Conclusion

A strange team selection which was 100% reflected in a poor first half from the boys in red and white.

No real pattern or structure in Arsenal’s play. I’m still flummoxed.

Still, three valuable points on a miserable January night.

Stuart MacFarlane

Ratings 

Leno – nothing to do, can’t blame him for that  … 7

Lichtsteiner – subbed for Jenks about summed up how effective he was… 6

Mustafi – it seemed incredible that he arose from the dead like Lazarus after seemingly jarring his ankle irreparably to not only continue but also make a few decent challenges – deserves an extra point for tomorrow’s swelling on his ankle  … 7

Elneny – ’tis a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. … 6

Monreal – thank heaven he was fit – our best defender by a mile   … 7

Kolasinac – flat pack special from the wardrobe – has become plan A … 6

Torreira – still have no idea what his role in the team is meant to be and, it seems, neither has he  … 6

Guendouzi – deeper than Torreira in the first half- why? Kicked so many times without recourse from Dean – his legs are going to be blue tomorrow – still only 19 years old, he’s going to be some player if he survives … 7

Ozil – a test or a punishment? – could be either. Not his best performance or his worst. Waved to the crowd when he was subbed  … 6

Lacazette – worked his couilles off as usual – extra point for the decisive goal  … 8

Aubameyang – reminded me of Adebayor’s first touch in the first half, slightly improved after the break – scored with the pen which is all you would ask … 7

Subs

Iwobi – added some forward impetus – superb Mesut-like pass for the pen  … 7

Jenkinson – tried hard and did his best while looking slightly like he’s playing in the wrong league  … 6

Ramsey – did ok when I’m sure he would have preferred to stay in his warm sleeping bag, nearly got the third … 6

Managers

Emery – some seem to have a clear vision of what his aim is for team structure, I’ve none – three points not to be sniffed at, though, even if it was against relegation fodder … 7

Wagner – ‘brave’ showing from his team of average footballers asked to run around like crazy, nipping at ankles like Jack Russells on heat  … 5

chas


If it wasn’t for bad luck, we wouldn’t …

January 29, 2019

Much of the pre-match attention will focus on the tragic loss of Sala. In a sport dominated by brusque masculinity it is rare to hear someone speak with as much dignity and emotional honesty as Neil Warnock. Hats off to the chap (henceforth known as David Wagner). I know Arsenal will handle the event with the tact and grace we expect from our club.

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Chapeau

I appreciate Mr. Wagner the man but certainly not his footballing philosophy. Wagner/Warnock knows his teams don’t have the skill sets to compete so he instills them with aggression, shit-housery and an ability to PTB. All of which we will witness this evening.

As you would expect the prime reasons for Cardiff being in the relegation zone are an inability to score goals allied to an propensity to concede. They have scored only 19 goals, second lowest to Huddersfield, and conceded 44, second highest to Fulham. Mr. Wagner has problems. Thankfully, David is used to the relegation battle and I wish him luck in keeping Cardiff in the PL, hopefully at the expense of some Northern team of cloggers.

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Mr. Emery. These are our 3 Best Players

We go into this match with a skeleton crew of defenders. Two lost in our last match. With both Bellerin and Holding on a gap year and the young Greek lad still in the treatment room we are down to bare bones. It must be awful if Mustafi is the first name on the teamsheet 😦

There is the possibility that Koscielny may play with a mask – he can be our be our Lone Ranger with Monreal as Tonto and Mustafi as Silver (only the older reader will get that joke!)

Elneny can play central defence. A chimp can write Macbeth.

No problems upfront, just a selection. Does Mr.Emery play an attacking team or continue with the midfield diamond? You know my opinion. We are at home against a team in 19th who have picked up 5 points on the road, scoring just 6 times. It is a night to unleash the attacking talents in the squad.

I would like to see Iwobi start, alongside Ozil, PEA and Laca. Drop Ramsey and Wardrobe and Nacho playing left of a back 3. This requires Iwobi to cover much ground but the lad is young and will love running about on a chilly night in London.

We need a win after the confidence draining result last Friday and with a trip to Maine Road on Sunday.

Let it be So

COYRRG


Arsenal FC – Our home record against the Bluebirds

January 28, 2019

Cardiff City was founded in 1899 as Riverside A.F.C. In 1905, Cardiff was granted city status by King Edward VII, and as a result the club put in a request to the South Wales and Monmouthshire Football Association to change their name to Cardiff City, but the request was turned down as they were deemed to be not playing at a high enough level. To combat this they arranged to join the South Wales Amateur League in 1907.

In 1908 the club changed their name and in 1910 they entered the Southern Football League – in 1920 they joined the English Football League. Since 1908, the club’s home colours have been blue and white, leading to a nickname of The Bluebirds, with the exception of a period between 2012 and 2015 when the club’s owner, Vincent Tan, changed the home colours to red.

They are the only club from outside England to have won the FA Cup, doing so in 1927. They have also reached three other cup finals in English competitions, the 1925 FA Cup Final against Sheffield United, the 2008 FA Cup Final against Portsmouth and the 2012 Football League Cup Final against Liverpool, suffering defeat on each occasion, and have won the Welsh Cup on 22 occasions.

Ninian Park – 57,893 fans crammed in to watch the League clash with Arsenal in 1953.

The team’s longest period in the top-tier of English football came between 1921 and 1929 and they have spent nine seasons in the top-flight since this period, the most recent being in 2018–19.

Cardiff’s main achievements

FA Cup Winners:  1927     Finalists:  1925,  2008

FA Charity Shield Winners:  1927

Football League Cup:   Finalists:  2012

Welsh Cup

Winners: 1912, 1920, 1922, 1923, 1927, 1928, 1930, 1956, 1959, 1964, 1965, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1988, 1992, 1993

I’ve written about their 1927 FA Cup win on several occasions; suffice to say they beat Arsenal 1-0.

This clip is from 8th January 1955 the next time we played Cardiff in the FA Cup. The Cardiff kit was exactly the same layout as the Arsenal kit but in blue. Thank Dennis real life wasn’t in black and white!

Here is our home record in the League.

 

 

Arsenal 2 Cardiff City 0 – 1st January 2014

The last time Cardiff were in the Premier League, we sneaked past them with two goals in the last 3 minutes of the 90, courtesy of Lord Bendtner and Theo Walcott. Solskjaer was watching from the stands and took over as the Bluebirds’ manager shortly after. He couldn’t save them from relegation though and was sacked after a poor start to their following season Championship campaign.

Another home victory for Arsenal is the most likely result. GunnerN5


Sticky Taffy Pudding – Cardiff ratings

September 3, 2018

Well, the world feels a whole lot better having beaten Cardiff than had we drawn. We got there in the end but not after more stressful defending nightmares. The image that came to mind was of a group of eleven men dressed in red and white Father Christmas outfits arriving in Cardiff bearing gifts (or should that be goals) for all the poor local children who had gone without for so long. The only thing missing from the cartoon was big white bushy beards.

Mustafi’s bullet header opened the scoring

I am really tempted to say that everything new that Emery has introduced is causing downright panic and everything that was already there is working really well. The attack was already there and it is getting closer to firing on all cylinders. First rate goals from Aubameyang and Lacazette back this up. Was the defence any better last season? Mah, maybe not. Was the midfield cover of the defence better last season, mah also maybe not? Perhaps, I should have said that I was tempted to say that ‘almost’ everything that Emery has introduced has caused downright panic.

The obvious example is the insistence of Emery to have Cech play the ball out to players waiting near the corner flags only to have it passed back to the keeper who continually deals with it like a hot potato and on more than one occasion passed it out badly creating a goal scoring opportunity for the opposition.

You might expect that I am going to rip into Emery at this point but you would be wrong. Let’s ask: if all this manoeuvre went well and Cech had the foot skills to carry this off what is Emery trying to achieve? I obviously can’t be certain but what I can see happening is that the opposition are being drawn forward and are staying there in the hope of exploiting an error; this in turn, creates space beyond these advanced opposition players which gives our attackers incredibly valuable and extremely important extra space to operate in up front.

Not convinced? Did West Ham and Cardiff park the bus, surely we would have expected them to do so, it certainly would have happened last season, so why didn’t it – because they were cleverly manoeuvred away from it.

If this turns out to be right then Unai Emery deserves a lot of praise but in the mean time watching Arsenal has become a viewing past time that should be avoided by the faint-hearted.

Laca celebrating Auba’s goal – Photo by Geoff CADDICK / AFP

This obviously is a work in progress but I would bet a barrel of Danish herrings that that is exactly what Leno has been brought in to do. The new keeper will be slowly introduced through the Europa and the Caribou and by the end of the season or, if not, by Christmas he will be our number one keeper. Why not start with him now? Woooo, hold your horses, too much change too quickly can be very risky. Cech is still a fine keeper and after the ten minutes at the start of the game and ten minutes after the restart he reverts back into an absolute first class keeper.

Two wins in two games and apart from some Keystone moments there are some real signs of progress being made. Perhaps I should have been tempted to have said that quite a few things that Emery is doing are working. Lol.

Do you want me to describe the game? Is there a need? Mah, we all saw it.

Mesut looks left out of the bromance

Cech: notice that after the first ten minutes of cartoon football he changed back to clearing the ball however he saw fit, this is not a player defying his manager; it is a player carrying out instructions. 8 for his keeping but for his footwork, hmmm, not so much.

Bellerin: I really wanted to say that his crosses into the box continued to improve but they didn’t. The message has finally been received that he needs to be covered when he is advanced and play breaks down; this was done by Guendouzi and then better by Torriera. 5

TAWTH: Good goal; still continues to be a headline star in Arsenal’s defensive comedy show. 6

GB: starting to get his feet under the table, maybe a bit better this week. 5

Monreal: nothing spectacular today, not sure he fully understands what the plan is. 5

Guendouzi: still a bright spot, obviously the player that is not tainted by previous seasons and also seems to be the player that Emery feels he can most easily mould to the way he wants the team to play. 5

Xhaka: someone whisper to him that the food in Italy is very good. 4

Ramsey: no lack of trying, he knows he is getting prime real estate on the pitch; the much sort after terrain where Mesut’s mansion usually sits is not often vacated. He is aware that he is being given a chance and he is doing his best to take it. A bit slow in his manoeuvrings at times which slowed our counter attacks down but on another day he will score a hat trick so all is well really. 7

Ozil: you have to bear in mind that when writing about Mesut I start from a point of thinking that the man can do no wrong. It made me laugh watching Ozil today, shunted out to the right obviously on Emery’s orders he decided that rather than spend another weekend in the sick bay he would tow the line; he stayed out there for 50 minutes and was completely ineffective. Clearly bored of such nonsense, he then reverted back to what Mesut does best – playing where ever he likes and he was magnificent; watch his involvement in the Aubameyang and the Lacazette goals and the play in general around that time. Emery had his opportunity to reassert his control by hooking him off later on. 7

Lacazette: Man of the Match; Emery has man managed him well, the Butcher’s dog was let off the lead from minute one today and he was just dying to get stuck in. 8

Aubameyang: great goal, should do his confidence the world of good. 7

Oh, I have just seen the spud result, there clearly is a god.

Written by LB


Arsenal F.C. – Our record against The Bluebirds

September 1, 2018

Arsenal results v Cardiff City

Our first game against Cardiff City was a Division 1 game that took place at Highbury on December 26, 1921 it ended in a 0-0 stalemate.

Our unhappiest defeat against Cardiff City came on St George’s Day, 23 April 1927, at Wembley Stadium in London. Cardiff became the only non-English side to win the FA Cup by defeating Arsenal 1–0 in the FA Cup Final. Hughie Ferguson scored the only goal of the game. In the 74th minute, he received the ball from Ernie Curtis and tamely shot toward the Arsenal goal. Dan Lewis, the Arsenal goalkeeper, seemed to have the ball in his grasp but, under pressure from Len Davies he clumsily allowed the ball to roll through his hands. In a further attempt to retrieve the ball he only succeeded in knocking the ball into his own net. King George V presented the trophy to Cardiff – only seven years after they had entered the Football League.

Here are our League records.

Cardiff City  – 57,893 record attendance at Ninian Park (v Arsenal) – First Division (April 22, 1953)- “you’ve only come to see The Arsenal”

written by GunnerN5

 


Cardiff Away Remembered

August 30, 2018

Last time we played Cardiff away was at the end of November 2013 and we cruised down the River Taff to take a 7 point lead over Liverpool and Chelsea at the top of the Premier League (both were playing a day later). The BBC published the following stat alongside their match report…… “Arsenal have now won 10 of their last 12 Premier League games and continue to hold the division’s best away record.”  Here’s the AA post from the day after – take it away, LB.

How good was that? It is getting more and more difficult to find sufficient superlatives to describe the Arsenal performances these days. As the first half rolled on and the Good Guys were spraying the ball around with consummate ease the term “thoroughly professional performance” came to mind. But we have used this a few times recently and somehow it didn’t seem enough to describe what I was watching, intensifying the search was the first goal and the brilliance of its simplicity: a tidy pass to Özil who sent over an inch perfect cross for Ramsey to head home and put us in the lead. As he walked away avoiding celebration out of respect for his fellow countrymen, I thought to myself I am going to need something far more complimentary to describe this.

Racking my brains, playing cards came to mind and the hierarchy that exists: a pair is beaten by three of a kind which is beaten by a straight which, I believe, is beaten by flush and then it came to me: the next up from a “thoroughly professional performance” has got to be “A performance worthy of winning the league” and that is what is was, a full house of a performance, not to be confused with a “Winning the league at White Hart Lane performance” that is obviously a Royal Flush and although rare, it does seem to happen with more regularity than many might imagine.

Wenger foxed us all again with his team selection, it made sense to all who considered it to play Flamini alongside Arteta but no, Le Boss had plans for the Frenchman and opted to start with Wilshere and within one and a half minutes we all understood why: an arrow of a shot released from the edge of the box had all the makings of goal number five for our non-attacking midfielder lol but alas at the last moment it swerved away and hit the bar.

As it turned out, as far as Arsenal taking the game to Cardiff was concerned, this was only the start, the Good Guys were brimming with confidence, chances weren’t coming as often as London buses do when you don’t need them but they were coming; the next fell to Giroud who, clean through one on one with the goal keeper, decided to “walk” before the umpire had given him out, it might be the honourable thing to do as Özil clearly touched the ball but in this day and age — really?

We had to suffer five uncomfortable minutes when Mertasacker hit the deck with the force of a felled giant redwood having clashed heads with Sagna; I defy anyone not to have worried about the possible downside of this potential calamity but luckily all was well with our Big Friendly Giant.

Still goalless, but in today’s script only one person was going to be first on the score sheet and our humble Welshman rose to the occasion and headed us into the lead that took us into the break.

Cardiff started the second half well and created a couple of chances that were a bit closer than I for one would have liked, notably a header from Campbell that brought a brilliant save from Szczesny. TPIG was looking as commanding as ever, we could have and should have made more of the breaks that were frequently arising but our interplay was not quite as good as it should have been, it seemed like Theo time but Jack was tiring and they were coming onto us with a tad more purpose than was good for the blood pressure so Wenger opted to shore things up and bring on Monreal and then Flamini.

As the Frenchman took off his track suit all eyes were on the sleeves – tradition won out and rightly so; someone had clearly whispered into his ear that he had, perhaps without realising, upset a few fundamentalists and today was not the right time to go desecrating sacred objects – best solution: roll your sleeves up and go and score a thumping second goal — and that is exactly what he did, yet another sublime assist from Özil who rolled the ball into the Frenchman’s path to powerfully hit home and put us all at ease.

Was this going to be Flamini’s day, no it wasn’t, this was Aaron Ramsey’s day; a second goal for him and with it he rightly picks up pretty much everyone’s Man of the Match award.

Somebody remind me, where are we in the League?

Enjoy your Sunday.

Written by LB


Can I have some more, please. Cardiff again.

January 1, 2014

A long night’s partying means that the opportunity of lying supine on the couch and enjoying an afternoon’s football is very attractive, an Arsenal victory would make it doubly so. Given the condition of the man writing this post it will be short and to the point …

What stands between us and 3 points? A host of injuries, a stubborn Cardiff side and  ….. well, nothing really, we should beat a managerless team who are in disarray. We beat Cardiff just a few weeks ago with another superb display from Ramsey but little can be predicted as Cardiff will be playing a very different Arsenal.

I watched the recent Cardiff vs Sunderland game and Cardiff for most of the game were strong and well-organised; expect the same today.

A domestic dialogue from earlier this morning …..

“BR: I am really interested in seeing our B team

Mrs BR: Oh, come on Big Raddy, you know that isn’t strictly true – a B team doesn’t have BFG etc in it.

BR: You don’t understand, Ozil, Ramsey, and a host of others are crocked.

Mrs. BR: Doesn’t that give the excellent squad members a chance to shine? You may even see that little fellow Gnabry whom you speak of so often. And  I will have a chance to see my mad countryman Big Nik start a game.

BR: Exactly, doesn’t fill me with confidence. Hopefully Podolski will score a brace and Santi will return to scoring ways.

Mrs BR. See, you are already feeling more confident as our “B Team” is still made up of 11 internationals who have easily enough talent and experience to beat a team likely to be relegated.

BR: You are right as always , my Dearest.”

My Team (assuming the injury rumours are true):

arse v cardiff

The bench should be interesting!!

2013 was an excellent year in the development of this team, in particular it was a good year for Mr Wenger who once again has shown himself to be a manager of the very highest order. Hard to believe that he has worked as AFC manager for longer than all the other PL managers have managed their teams added together. We have been blessed.

It was another trophy-less year (though in any just world there would be a trophy for the  team which wins the PL in the calendar year 🙂  ) and many will say we have once again not achieved anything solid, but I beg to differ, we have seen some outstanding football, lots of goals, the founding of an excellent defence and the development of real world class talents; much is made of Ramsey’s improvement but what of Cazorla, Gibbs, Koscielny and BFG?

My personal year highlight has been sharing many hours with my friends on Arsenal Arsenal. Thank you all (except the troll)

Happy New Year

written by Big Raddy


The Arsenal Rover’s Revenge On Cardiff

November 30, 2013

Cardiff. Hate the place.  I lived there in the late ’80’s and was visiting my daughter who was in Cardiff Royal Infirmary. I had parked my vintage  ´60’s Rover P5B in the underground carpark and it was stolen, only to be found burnt out not more than 800 yards from the hospital. An act of pure vandalism which has coloured my view of the city ever since.4374975717_b12ba8fb7d_z

Hope whomever torched my beauty suffers eternal damnation (mine was British Racing Green)

Anyway … enough of my personal angst. We play a hopeful Cardiff side today, fresh from a totally undeserved draw with United, they were cock-a-hop and understandably so. This is why I love football – it is so uncertain; we were by far the better side at OT and lost to an off-the-shoulder number from a traitorous cheese-eater. Next week the same team lose two points to a promoted side who cost less than MU’s bench.

No doubt the Cardiff fans will be expecting a similar or better result against our heroes. Could they repeat the defeat of the Northern Oilers? Possibly.

Cardiff have beaten Arsenal twice since 1927! Not a great record though as we haven’t played them in the PL it is difficult to be too triumphal.

Much is being made of Aaron Ramsey’s return to his home club. He hasn’t scored for two games and will be desperate to end his barren spell 🙂  Captain of Wales and the best player to come out of the province since John Charles (… of course he is better than  MonkeyBoyo, HairyBoyo Giggs, Madboyo Bellamy, ThickBoyo Rush or FatBoyo Southall), Ramsey is on fire. Not just his goal scoring but his all-round play. I am never impressed by yards run during a game- if it were an indicator of quality we should play Mo Farah – but it does show how involved he wants to be and it is this drive which makes him special. Same with Jack or Flamini or Sagna – they want the ball.

At this point let me show you the interior of the Rover P5B 3.5V8 ……….

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Can you see why I was upset?? (mine had black leather interior)

On another point, can I say how happy I am that TPIG has signed a long-term contract and Merts is in discussions. We need to develop the side and not allow another Fab 4/BSR situation to re-occur. A settled squad is vital – just look at the mons down the road (Mons = Disaster. Derives from 1st WW).

Cardiff: Good but not great players. Among their big summer signings was Andreas Cornelius , a huge 20 y.o. Danish Unit of a centre-forward. Cornelius has been injured but is due to return today. He cost a club record fee of €10m from FC København where he was so popular that over 40% of the shirts sold had his name printed on them! The man is strong in the air and swill usurp our stupid Dane in the national team. (p.s. there is another superb Dane coming through,  Viktor Fischer a left winger at Ajax, for whom a huge future is predicted).

Well organised, very fit, strong in spirit and team-ethic Cardiff will push us but we really should beat them if we find some form.

I will make a prediction: If Malky Mackay stays Cardiff will stay up, if , as is predicted, he leaves for Fulham or Norwich then I am afraid we will return to having just one Welsh club in the PL.

Arsenal: All about team selection – who gets dropped? Arteta and Gibbs are both fit and in the squad, but both Monreal and Flamini were superb mid-week so how can AW drop them? After the debacle that was Santos last season it is such a turnaround to have two brilliant LB’s. How to keep them both satisfied when both have significant chances to go to Brazil IF they get first team games  – very difficult for AW because if Monreal is dropped then what does that do to team morale? Why should reservists bust a gut to get a chance and then when they get one and play an almost perfect game only to be dropped …… you get the point.

Away from home I expect both Arteta and Flamini to start but that means dropping one of our attacking MF’s – actually more than one with the return of Theo.

This is my guess:

cardiff v arse

But, the team could equally include Rosicky (who has been fantastic) Wilshere and Cazorla! The return of Theo to the team will give us more Thrust.

Do you think we can take three points from a team lying in 15th place, just 3 points off the drop zone? If we are to be contenders then the answer must be yes, and it is only that Cardiff have done well against the Big Boyo’s that theres any apprehension. On the other hand they have lost to both Spurs and Newcastle.

It is getting cold and thus time for our heroes to start wearing lycra undergarments and gloves. Not like the old days ….

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Bobby Gould training at Highbury when men were men

written by Big Raddy