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,

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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

 

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Sporting Lisbon. Ramsey to Shine?

October 25, 2018

Cristiano Ronaldo, Nani, Quaresma, William Carvalho, Luis Figo, Peter Schmeichel, Phil Babb (!),  All played for Sporting and, had they still been in the green and white shirt, this evening would be very difficult but they don’t. In fact, Sporting Lisbon had a player revolt in summer which resulted in players cancelling their contracts and leaving the club.

7 players left including 4 Portuguese internationals, and all left on a free transfer. And we think players in the PL have too much power! Without too much research this happened because Sporting got a new Chairman who created a poisonous atmosphere within the club, they then went on a losing run resulting in some fans attacking the players on the training pitch, giving the players the right to cancel their contracts.

Needless to say, this has weakened the team and this season they sit in 5th place in the Primera Liga.

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As to their players I know Zip, but I am sure they will be hard working, good on the ball etc etc etc

We come into this game in tremendous form and, despite a mounting injury list, Emery is certain to play around with his squad and we may well see Smith Rowe or even Elneny in midfield.

My Team:

Lemon

Catwalk    Mustafi   Holding    Lich

Ramsey   Curly   Elneny

Mhiki

PEA   Welbz

Both AMN (Cons) and, believe it or not, Carl Jenkinson are travelling with the squad and must therefore be available. I really like Jenks – not as a player for Arsenal but as a proper Gooner. I wish him well and perhaps he will get a start in the Carabao. Maitland-Niles (Cons) has a big future at Arsenal and may well get some pitch time this evening.

Ramsey was poor in his 10 minutes at the weekend, he needs to up his game and I expect him to do so. A wonderful goal apart, he has struggled, but he remains a very influential player. Tonight he will want to show Emery he is deserving of a first team shirt.

Watching Emery’s press conference yesterday I was delighted that when questioned in Portuguese, Unai understood the question and then answered in English. This shows his commitment and also his intelligence.

Tricky away fixture (we have never won in Portugal), if we draw this and win the home tie we will top the group. but we have a very food squad in good form and there is no reason why we cannot win tonight in Lisbon then celebrate with a bowl of Sopa de Cacao.

COYRRG


Carl Jenkinson. A Worry.

December 15, 2016

We do not think much about the travails of the modern PL footballer, we assume that the fame, bright lights, supercars, surgically augmented girlfriends  and vast wealth must make for a wonderful life, and in most cases it seems to – but as with most things this is not the whole truth. Let us look at one of our own, Mr Carl Jenkinson.

A gooner all his life with a dream to play for his club, something all of us have dreamt of but in Carl’s case it became a realty, sadly, not bringing the joy he must have assumed would come from his achievement.

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The Birmingham Mail are reporting that Carl is about to be loaned to Aston Villa in January. Does this herald the end of his Arsenal career? Were a couple of quite frankly piss-poor performances enough to convince Mr Wenger that Carl cannot cut it at Arsenal? Perhaps.

West Ham Bob assures me that Carl did well in his first few games at WHU but towards the end they were delighted that he got injured, such was the negativity surrounding his play. Carl returned and got fit, Boosh was injured, Hector got injured, Carl got his chance, failed, Boosh got 20 minutes and Gabriel was brought in at RB. How will that affect the confidence of a man already questioning his abilities? Not well, one would imagine.

Arsenal are known to have a team of top psychiatrist and motivators, they realise how much stress is placed on young men with no life experience other than being lauded for being excellent at football. Just the fact that 80+% of footballers go bankrupt within 5 years of retirement highlights this naivety. Goodness knows how many succumb to addictions in a futile attempt to fill the gap of the dressing room.

Mental fragility is never discussed about top sportsmen but skill is not enough. In golf, there is something called the “yips”, when a player who has previously been able to putt with astonishing accuracy suddenly cannot. It is a nervous complaint and very, very difficult to remedy; it has cost players their careers. As a team sport footballers have less focus but not much.

Carl’s performance against Southampton when he couldn’t find a pass, completely lost his ability to judge where he should be in relation to the play and continually ran into trouble was reminiscent of the sad day when Eboue ‘s form disappeared. Eboue had the strength of character to resurrect his Arsenal career. Can Jenkinson?

On the AFC website today there is a piece on Jenks coming back from rehab, I could be wrong and Carl may well have a glorious future as Bellerin’s understudy, but I fear for him. Above all I wish him well.


Man Utd Preview.Where is the Glamour?

November 19, 2016

When the deeply unpleasant Me-rinho announced that he would be talking over from flaky LVG I was concerned; this was a chance for him to resurrect his career. Hopefully, he will continue the fine work done by his two predecessors.

Jose’s press conference yesterday told all we need to know about him; just watch his facial expressions, listen to his envy. If I were one of MU’s phalanx of spin doctors, I would be worried. The man is unspooling.

Long may it continue

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Onto the game.  As always there is the truism – points lost at OT are no more valuable than those lost at say, Vicarage Road. Nonetheless this is an important game, we need the points to stay with the front-runners and doing damage to MU is always good.

November. Bellerin. Santi. Sanchez. We know the problems.

Team selection will be very interesting. Will AW go with a defensive midfield pivot of Xhaka & Coquelin alongside Elneny? Will Ramsey start? Or Sanchez?

And what of right back? Peaches put out the rumour that Coquelin could start rather than Jenks, I can’t see it. Jenkinson has experience and is likely to start. Or could AW play Gabriel at RB and allow us to play with 3 at the back, pushing Monreal into midfield and thus giving space for an  attacking MF (Ramsey?).

A little about MU. They seem a club without an identity. In times of yore there was always a glimmer about them, some glamour. This is why Pogba and Ibra are so important to United, Pogba in particular, will be the man to base the team around. They have young talent in Rashford, Martial (I would love him to work with AW at AFC), Shaw and Bailly. Keeping De Gea was huge – he earns them at least 6 points a season. Someone will make them into a Top 4 side – I pray it is not the obnoxious Jose´.

My Team:

Ospina

Jenkinson    Mustafi    Koscielny     Monreal

Xhaka     Coquelin     Iwobi

Walcott   Sanchez   Ozil

Given Iwobi’s midweek travelling from Nigeria it may be that Ramsey will take his place, but let us not forget The Ox whose energy would do well in a more defensive performance.

The pundits are predicting Me-rinho will PTB, it is his way when facing attacking quality. Without Ibrahimovic I expect him to play on the counter and defend deep. Mata always plays well against us so I would not be surprised to him man marked.

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This will be a test for us, the portents are not good – the Mourinho jinx, November, our recent record at OT, injuries but this is the time when all good men come to the aid of the party.

COYRRG

 


Another Goal-Fest?

October 25, 2016

Strange how the EFL Cup has become such so much fun. A few years ago it was just anther fixture to be got through in a busy PL/CL season and one we hoped would not result injuries; today it is  (IMO) more interesting than Boro last w/e.

Why? Because:

A.  It doesn’t really matter if we win or lose.

B. We get to see the depth of our squad and in particular the young stars of the future.

C. It is potential Silverware (though not open-bus through Islington silverware).

Tonight we entertain Reading. A Reading who not so long ago were a PL team with good players and Steve Coppell as manager. Not so any longer and one must wonder why. Reading is a rich town, has a fine ground with a good fanbase evidenced by an expected 5,000 travelling fans tonight.

They have a good man at the helm, Jap Stam is a proper bloke, anyone who stands up to the Whisky Sodden SAF is OK in my eyes; whether he is a good manager is another thing altogether but I wish him well.

Players? No idea. I only know Paul McShane, who plays FB for ROI, and Steven Quinn who played for Hull when we smashed 😀 them at Wembley in 2014.

Our team is just a guess. I am delighted that Corporal Jenkinson makes his Emirates return tonight and hope he has a brilliant game. Hector is just magic but we need a proper back up.

Anther player returning is Didit’s favourite player Mr Giroud. I look forward hearing that Beatles dirge at least once tonight.

My Team:

Martinez

Jenks    Gabriel   Holding    Gibbs

Maitland-Niles    Ox    Elneney   Iwobi

     Riene-Adelaide        Perez

This team has two chaps with double barrelled surnames. I like it. Could this be a marketing plan to increase the costs of replica shirts? If so, AW is a genius and expect more such signings.

I expect a tough but open game and hope for a win.

Actually what I really, really hope for is a repeat of the 7-5  of which I am sure Chas will find a video for our entertainment.

COYRRG


Keep the Corporal

June 22, 2015

It is my belief that we should be looking to retain the services of one Corporal Carl Jenkinson at THOF for the immediate future and I will state my case as to why.

What would be the reasons to let him go? Firstly some would argue he is not good enough. Others would say that we are well covered in his position and that there is no place for him when we have Bellerin, Debuchy and Chambers who can all play there.

Out of all our British players the corporal is still playing catch up. He doesn’t yet have the experience of being a regular senior international player and is arguably not yet able to put in performances at the highest level on a consistent basis, as you would expect from the likes of Jack, Ramsey, AOC, Gibbs.

That doesn’t mean though that he will not reach this level and, as with many of our youngsters, it is too early to say whether he will cut it at the top level or not. There have been glimpses that he has that level of performance in him. His recent performances at U21 level have seen him looking like one of the best of the young England players participating. The one game though that above others sticks in my mind was his performance against Bayern Munich in our 2-0 away victory. I believe it was Robben and Muller that were changing flanks to have a go at our young rookie, but he managed to keep both of them quiet for more or less the whole game, which is no easy feat. If that kind of performance is in there and can be replicated consistently then we have a player.

What about the competition?

Bellerin is a fine player and would currently get the nod as first choice but I have 2 things in my mind where this is concerned. Firstly it might be nice to have the option of playing Bellerin as a speedy right winger at times with Jenks behind him. Secondly is the dreaded Barca DNA. I would say there is a good chance that we will lose Bellerin to Spain at some point in the future, and also while he is still in his prime, if not at his peak. If Jenks has developed into that consistent top level player the impact will be lessened, rather than facing the situation scrambling around trying to recruit a new top level player who may need to bed in.

Debuchy? Well he is over 30 so has a limited period that he can provide us with top level cover in this role anyway. Debuchy’s ability to cover at CD and possibly even for Le Coq, (according to RC he played there for Lille which I found an interesting option), means for me that we can keep all 3 with Jenks easing into a more regular role as Debuchy fades / moves on. If Jenks is not as likely to get that playing time right now then I would suggest we get another loan season going while making sure we have him secured on a decent contract term. Chambers can also cover the role but my preference would be to develop him as a CD.

Finally, and perhaps the most important of the lot is the home grown quota rules. This consideration really extends beyond Jenks to all our quality young home grown players. The home grown quota rule may start to bite on some top teams as much as FFP. The team with the greatest amount of high quality home grown players could hold a significant advantage in the next few seasons to come, and we are, in my opinion, in one of the strongest (if not the strongest) positions in this sense relative to our top table rivals. For me it is a hands off to the Chavvies and Northern Oilers with Jenks, Jack, Aaron, Kieron, Calum e.t.c

As always over to you guys for your opinions.

Written by GoonerB


Why did we loan out Jenkinson and buy Welbeck?

September 7, 2014

I am perplexed by all this loanee stuff. I understand that loaning a player helps the balance sheet and allows the loaning side to get a player off the paylist, whilst at the same time allowing the signing team to get a player without the transfer fee and risk but sometimes it is illogical.

Two things come to mind …. why have AFC not loaned Welbeck rather than buy him and why loan out Jenkinson when we are so short of bodies in defence?

Let’s look at Jenks first; we all know he is not ready to play as our first choice RB. However, he was signed to a long contract less than a year ago which indicates the Boss must have faith in him. Getting regular first team play at WHU under Fat Sam (who is a specialist at defensive play) can only assist the young man and assist his development. But why now?

We have just 6 defenders to get us through the season – or until the January transfer window – which given our players proclivity to injury is at best foolhardy. Jenkinson is a big lad and can cover for BFG (in emergencies), plus he has PL experience for when Debuchy get knacked.

You are all thinking “what about Chambers”? And you are right but what happens if one of our CB’s gets injured at the same time as Debuchy  as is inevitable goes into the red zone? Is it better to trust Gibbs will stay fit  and Monreal covers? Not in my opinion.

Perhaps there is a clause in Jenkinson’s loan deal which allows him to return to AFC  with immediate notice, I hope so.

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Which raises the question – is a loan deal contract a fixed loan? In other words if Monaco go tits up in La Ligue can they insist upon the return of Falcao? Or Negredo back to MC?

Onto Welback. Who insisted it was a sale as opposed to a loan? Did Mr Wenger get forced into the purchase by MU knowing the seriousness of our centre forward predicament with the injury to Giroud? In this case a loan with a possible purchase clause at the end of the season was the obvious course, Welbeck may well be the dog’s nuts but why take a £16m gamble?

We will never know how these transfer deals transpire which is a shame.  Were Arsenal (or MU) forced into the purchase? Did FFP have an influence (as they have at Monaco)?

What I do know is that AFC could use Jenkinson in the squad.

written by Big Raddy