The November Curse – Real or Imaginary?

November 4, 2016

It now seems to be accepted fact that November is always a bogey month for Arsenal.

A calamitous November last season is still fresh in the memory. In the League we started with a drab 1-1 with the N17 miscreants. This was followed by a 2-1 away defeat to the Baggies (they had 1 shot on target); Le Coq was injured early on and Arteta, his replacement, put the ball in his own net before being replaced himself. Santi missed a penalty after some spot-tampering by Olsson. What could go wrong, did go wrong.

The final League game of November 2015 was a 1-1 draw with Norwich in which Santi was injured early in the 2nd half but played the whole game for some strange reason (causing him to miss most of the season) and Alexis was withdrawn with a hamstring after being shoved into a camera dug-out!

In the Champions League, the month had started with a 5-1 battering from Bayern with the only consolation, a 3-0 win over a poor Zagreb side.

alexis-dugout

On the basis of that evidence, it certainly seems as though November is cursed for us, but I wondered just how bad it had been over the past 10 years, so decided to take a gander.

The snapshot below shows both Prem and CL games won, lost and drawn and also details of any fixtures played against our next two League opponents. The bottom row shows our win, draw and loss percentages over the last 10 Novembers.

november

Arsene Wenger’s overall percentages are 57.5% wins, 23.2% draws and 19.3% losses. (Based on 1,136 total games including 653 victories, 264 draws and 219 defeats)

It immediately becomes clear that, in the League particularly, there is an 18% increase in defeats compared to the average. That is huge. In the Champions League the defeat percentage is about average and an increase in draws maybe due to the nature of the CL group stages.

What could be the cause of such a large anomaly in the League?

Injuries? Possibly.

An increase in snood and glove–wearing nambypambyism caused by colder weather? Doubtful.

Excrement happens? Maybe so, but why always in the same period of the season?

Has anyone got any theories?

On a more positive note, November has had some highlights and in some seasons has even been pretty good.

November 2008 saw us beating our November nemesis, the mancs, 2-1. This victory was easier than it sounds. Two goals by the FFBW, one a belter from a snake-like pass from Fabregas, were followed by the mancs getting a late consolation.

November 2012 included the second glorious 5-2 (in one calendar year) against the spuddies. Adebayor, both put them in the lead and then, in true secret agent style, revealed his Arsenal roots and deliberately got sent off a few minutes later.

November 2013 saw us win 3 of our 4 Prem games. A 2-0 win over Liverpool, including a stonker from Rambo, one of the highlights. We also won 2 out of 2 Champions League games that month; one of which, a 1-0 away win in Dortmund, is fondly remembered by two of our AAers and their Ford Focus.

rambodippers

November 2016 started with a fine, hard-fought CL win on Tuesday capped with a goal of rare beauty from our German maestro. Hopefully we can continue to build a head of steam with the NLD on Sunday and our visit to the Old Cowshed the following weekend.

The next two fixtures probably won’t make or break Arsenal’s season, but they could certainly go a long way to breaking the ‘bogey November’ idea and launch us forward into a successful winter.

We’ve recently broken the Swansea hoodoo, let’s continue with this theme and banish another skeleton from our closet.

Written by chas

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Cheating Costa to get his Comeuppance?

September 24, 2016

What would we do without the comedy villain? In the past it has been Shearer, then Sheringham, Van Nistelrooy or Keane, Shawcross etc. I guess it has always been such as we construct our narrative about our favourite game. Chelsea are unusual insomuch  as they have two.

And we all know who we want to get a good shoeing and a red card this afternoon.

Diego Costa is a player whom I would love to see in the red and white of Arsenal, he is a horrible but efficient, destructive player. I suspect that off pitch he is a really good bloke but on-pitch he changes. We do not have anyone like him and perhaps we are the lesser team because of our “niceness”. Perhaps Xhaka will change this.

Of course ,the other villain is the ageing and possibly missing JT . Be honest – if he had been in the Arsenal shirt and under the tutelage of Mr. Wenger for the last 15 years we could have been a legend; instead Terry is a boor.

Unknown.jpeg

We need to win today, we need to beat Chelsea and get this monkey off the back. Me-rinho has gone but we still haven’t beaten them in too long, much too long.

Let’s be clear, whatever they do Chelsea will always be in our shadow. Arsenal are the biggest club in London and no amount of illicit money will change that. Yes, they have won more silverware in the past 10 years than we have but so what? We have history, Chelsea have Russian money.

I still admire Fabregas. Bear with me, this is a man who desperately wanted to return to his home club in Barcelona, got binned and saw the error of his ways. He wanted to re-sign for Arsenal but Mr Wenger decided we  had better, it wasn’t Cesc’s fault that we signed Ozil and Cazorla. Why castigate the poor chap who has to pull on that repulsive Blue shirt? Isn’t that enough punishment? Imagine the pain every time he has to walk into the dressing room. I think the chap deserves our sympathy not our dislike.

We go into the game on a strong run of results and must be confident. The Alexis experiment is likely to continue and I expect AW to pick the same team which won at Hull

My Team:

Cech

Bellerin    Mustafa    Koscielny    Monreal

Cazorla   Coquelin    Iwobi

Walcott    Sanchez    Ozil

One of the most interesting aspects of today’s game will be how Mustafi copes with the aggression of Costa, let us hope he can control himself better than Gabriel!

Also, how will Hazard play? If he is on-song the man is a potent weapon and will certainly stretch our defence.

It should be a cracking game, especially if Chelsea  and Conte choose to attack.

I see no reason why we cannot win against a team who, quite frankly, have besmirched our wonderful sport since the days of the execrable criminal Ken Bates. We are the men in the white hats waiting for the outlaws to arrive. let’s give them a thrashing and send them home crying.

Let it be so

COYRRG


Fabregas: Did Wenger make a mistake?

June 20, 2016

I know we have done this to death a couple of seasons ago with the general consensus being that he is “dead to us” but ….  during the Euros, is Fabregas showing us what we have lost?

Let’s compare is work with Aaron Ramsey.  Fabregas controls the pace of the team through his positioning and passes, Ramsey doesn’t. I realise they are not the same type of player but they do play in the same position and carry the same responsibilities. Which player has more influence? Sadly, you know the answer.

Or was it Little Jack Wilshere  (see, I can spell kelsey) who was the player whom AW thought would be better than Fab? Surely not. JW is a little magician but he is simply not in the same class as Cesc.

Or Ozil, though they are very different players and operate in different areas of the pitch. Imagine the two of them orchestrating the Arsenal team – would we have fared better over the past 2 seasons?

My guess is that it was Cazorla whom Mr Wenger thought was a better choice than Fabregas, in this he is mistaken. Cazorla is  undoubtedly a wonderful player however Del Bosque,who knows both players well, chooses Cesc every time.

Spain have been the best attacking team in the Euro’s and Fabregas is an integral part of their midfield. Had we re-signed Cesc he would have combined wonderfully with Cazorla and made us a better team.

Mr Wenger made his decision and Cesc was forced to sign for a morally bankrupt club guiding them to the title in his first season

BUT ….

The Euro’s have also given us our first view of Mr Wenger’s next Arsenal playmaker, Granit Xhaka. Xhaka’s stats are impressive, very impressive. The way he controls the tempo and direction of play from a defensive position is reminiscent of the Great Man, PV4. Only Pogba in the modern game holds a candle to Vieiera but nonetheless Xhaka in combination with Santi, Ramsey, Wilshere, Elneny, Ox or Coquelin could be a winning midfield.

Cesc was the past and in my opinion should have been the present but Xhaka is the future and the future is looking bright (assuming we buy an extraordinarily expensive striker)

written by Big Raddy


Should Arsenal be flying Fabregas’ flag when we play Chelsea?

April 24, 2015

There is a poster on display on the bridge at The Emirates depicting former Arsenal player Cesc Fabregas.

Cf

It is part of the “Arsenal Greats” gallery which includes such luminaries as Tony Adams, Dennis Bergkamp and Charlie George, all players who showed a lasting loyalty to our club, why is there then a picture of a former Arsenal captain who deserted the club supposedly to complete his boyhood dream of playing for his beloved Barcelona?

It seems that when his dream move turned sour he couldn’t resist the lure of the wheelbarrow loads of Abramovich roubles on offer down the Fulham Road.

Does Fabregas really deserve to lauded alongside those true Arsenal Greats listed above?

With the imminent visit of the Chavs, and Fabregas, why is the poster still on display?

Should it be removed prior to Sunday’s game? I say Yes!!

Have your say and vote ……

Written by Norfolk Gooner


Is Cazorla better than Fabregas?

February 24, 2015

It is pointless to write long paragraphs about the two best Spanish midfielders Arsenal fans were lucky to claim as their own. This comparison has been made many times before and at times Arsenal fans were accused of trying to justify not resigning Cesc. 

Admittedly there is a grain of truth in that, Cesc has never been replaced and only too often the gaping hole in the middle of the field was only too obvious.

Cazorla has hit top form this season and we won all the games he orchestrated. 

Santi is a match winner and a great free kick taker – someone badly needed in our squad for a long time.

His presence has been immense, but the same can be said about Fabregas’s at Chelsea.

Fabregas relies on the team being build around him, whereas Cazorla blends in with the team.

The list of differences is long, but do the similarities end on the physical attributes of these 2 short Spanish midfielders?

Stats below are from whoscored.com. 

 

Santi Cazorla:

Tournament

Apps

Mins

Goals

Assists

Yel

Red

SpG

PS%

AerialsWon

MotM

Rating

Premier League

21(3)

1930

6

6

4

2.6

88

0.1

4

7.65

UEFA Champions League

4(1)

388

2

1.8

83.5

0.2

7.36

FA Cup

2

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

League Cup

0(1)

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Total / Average

29

2318

6

8

4

0

2.4

87.2

0.1

4

7.60

 

Cesc Fabregas:

Tournament

Apps

Mins

Goals

Assists

Yel

Red

SpG

PS%

AerialsWon

MotM

Rating

Premier League

21(1)

1871

2

15

8

1.4

86.9

0.7

2

7.83

UEFA Champions League

7

574

2

3

2

0.7

86.6

0.6

7.80

FA Cup

0(1)

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Total / Average

29

2445

4

18

10

0

1.2

86.8

0.7

2

7.82

SpG: Shots per game

PS%: Pass success percentage

MotM: Man of the match

 

Discuss!

 

PS  Although my gravatar is a photo of Santi, whom I adore I have to admit to still having Cesc’s photo on the wall, I find it hard to part with it

written by Eddie


Our first signing of the Summer needs to be……

June 1, 2014

My view is that Arsene signed his new deal because he has been promised access to the new funds available via the Puma and Emirates deals. Some of it has probably already been spent on improved contracts but these deals are mega compared to the old deals, we managed to breakeven even with those old deals, so there is now not just a lot of cash sloshing around but also some guaranteed income streams from which to pay wages to new signings and now literally no need to supplement our profits with cash from selling players.

So the player at the top of my shopping list is the man grabbing the headlines yesterday as his club have apparently said he can go, and as the Metro claimed the President said he wasn’t for sale we can only assume they are incorrect and that the other media outlets are correct. His name? Come on now pay attention the one man we need…..Cesc Fabregas.

cf1

What’s that you say? We have a ton of small gifted attacking midfielders already we don’t need another one….

Sorry you’ve really not been paying attention have you. Remember when Arteta joined us? 28 years old and up until that point an attacking midfielder, Arsene saw something different he saw a player who was able to be our metronome to safely bring the ball out of defence and to get it to the attacking midfielders, he also understood that a player who has spent the vast majority of his life opening up defences would be the man to snuff out danger when we were defending seeing the space and marshalling it or nicking the ball back, the only thing going against Arteta now is his age.

So Cesc, 27, whilst he has spent the last two seasons racking up the most assists in La Liga he has not set pulses racing as he did at Arsenal, he has played in a variety of attacking midfield positions but for us he played deeper, more the Rambo role than the Santi/Ozil role.

Bring him back put him at the back of our midfield three, add Rambo, Jack, Ozil and Santi to the mix, that’s one good looking midfield that would strike fear of ball starvation into any PL side

On top of that he always had his own clock, Cesc could receive the ball and whilst everything around him was going at 100mph he was seeing it all in slow motion, receiving the ball off BFG I doubt Cesc would ever be caught out.

And what of tackling and winning back possession, well we all know you don’t have to a brick outhouse to play DM, a quick brain, quick feet, desire and agression are equally desirable traits, Cesc has all of them.

So please Arsene bring Cesc home and make him our metronome.

By Gooner in Exile


Give Us A ‘C’: Arsenal Alternative Alphabet

May 28, 2014

And so we move on to the ‘C’ words in our alternative Arsenal Alphabet.

C is for:

Charlies

We Arsenal fans have been blessed with a simply wonderful pair of Charlies: first, there was Charlie George – an Islington boy who went from terrace tearaway to Wembley wonder. The picture of him lying on the turf with his arms in the air after scoring in the 1971 FA Cup Final is one of the most enduring Arsenal images of all time. Our second Charlie is Charlie Nicholas, the mercurial, genius Scot whose goals clinched us the first trophy of the George Graham era (he scored a brace against Liverpool in the 1987 League Cup Final). Sadly his love of the high life soon grated with disciplinarian Graham and he was on his way not long after that Final. However he’s still very fondly remembered by the supporters.

Chicken

Whenever we need a laugh all we need to do is glance up the Seven Sisters Road and look at their ludicrous club crest: a chicken standing on a basketball.

Clock

How many great moments have been shared by the faithful beneath the Clock End at Highbury? The only mystery about the clock is why it took the club so long to figure out that they should install it at the new ground when we moved to Ashburton Grove. At least they got there in the end.

Curse

There was a story put about that, when the stadium was being built, a construction worker who supported the Spuds buried a Totteringham shirt somewhere on the site in an attempt to curse us. Given the shaky start to our trophy efforts at the Grove some Gooners even began to give credence to this tale. Well, the FA Cup win over Hull should put paid to that nonsense. The buried Spud shirt had all the efficacy that Spud shirts normally have – namely none.

Crocks

If only, if only… how many times in recent years have we wondered what might have been if our key players had managed to stay out of the treatment room? Our injury record is simply appalling and I really hope that dealing with this recurring problem is a priority this summer. Although the portents are not good: apparently we’ve agreed a three year deal for Mr Bump, while we have also made an official bid for Humpty Dumpty.

Cashley

Poor, poor Cashley Hole. He could have been an Arsenal lifetime legend, instead he almost crashed his car because of our terrible pay offer of 60 grand a week, held illegal meetings with The Special Needs One and decamped to Chav Towers, lured by filthy luchre and the attraction of the club’s impressive three year history. Now the Chavs don’t want him any more and he’s trying to find a new club. He needs to start calling up his contacts… now where did he put that mobile phone?

OK, over to you for your own C Word contributions…

RockyLives