Season Predictions.

August 11, 2018

We know our squad, we know the strength of the opposition squads, where do you think we will finish come season’s end?

I am excited (as always) by the prospect of a winning season for The Arsenal and IMO we have almost all the assets to do well; a mixture of youth and experience, a new manager with an outstanding past record, new coaches and backroom staff and, above all, some variety in attack.

Much has been made of the defence and with good cause, we certainly looked shaky in the friendlies, particularly at centre back. Given the PL inexperience of the Greek chap and Mustafi’s inexplicable lapses it was a huge gamble to loan Chambers but perhaps Holding has impressed in training, or we had our sights set on a solid CB and the transfer did not come to fruition. Whatever, it is cause for concern. And what of the full backs? We look strong on the right with the Swiss bloke being a fine addition (if he remains fit) but on the left?? Nacho is losing pace, The Beast is not a proper defender nor is M-N. Much will be expected of The Terrier (we need a Jack Russell as opposed to a Westie).

Our attack lacks a winger and I hope UA will not try to make PEA into a TH14 – he is a very effective central striker. How UA makes space for Ozil, and Mhiki will be interesting, as will how Iwobi develops. Unlike many, I believe Iwobi has all the talent to become a top player.

And what of the other teams?

Man City are a superb team and odds-on to repeat their PL victory. Mahrez is a good addition. I cannot see anything but them being crowned Champions again and doing much better in the CL.

Man Utd. I have never hidden my dislike of Merino and he has created a team in his image.  Their arrogance can be seen in the antics throughout the club with Pogba being the worst culprit. Shame because they have some fine players. I wish them ill and will laugh as their managers moans about lack of investment.

Liverpool. Where do they get €200m+ to spend in one summer? Why can’t we get someone in who is prepared to do the same? Klopp has to deliver this season. 4th is not good enough, though a losing CL final appearance is testament to the improvement under his management. Can Salah have another wonderful season or is he another Clive Allen? Can the Scouse finally win a title? Not in my opinion.

Spurs. Got better and better in 2017/18 but ultimately they got Spursy and won sweet FA. No signings but no departures. New ground on it’s way hence tightened purse strings.  Last won the title in 1961 and despite the last 8 years having a 1 in them, they continue to flatter to deceive.

Chelsea. Expensive but worse GK. Kovacic and Jorginho will take time to settle. Can they get back to Top 4 under a new manager? They need a proper finisher and it is a major surprise they continue with Morata, OG (WC winner) and some other bloke.

Everton. The Nearly Men. Spent big money, have a decent squad plus Theo. Have High Hopes

So, how will the table look at the end of the season?

My Prediction is:

  1. Man City
  2.  Liverpool
  3.  Arsenal
  4.  Chelsea
  5.  Man Utd
  6. . Everton

What do you think?

written by Big Raddy


Superb Young Footballer? Sign for Arsenal.

May 1, 2018

Last night I watched the youth get hammered by a superb Chelsea team in the FA Youth Cup.

Chelsea won the Cup for the fifth year in a row and had some truly outstanding kids showing remarkable poise, skill, tactical awareness and above all pace. Arsenal tried hard, gave their all but Chelsea were just too good.

I was left with this thought …

Why would a brilliant young player player sign for Chelsea?

Do they have a history of bringing players into their first team? How many of the team from 5 years ago are in the current Chelsea first team?

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As far as I can tell there are no players from that team in Chelsea’s first team squad. That’s right – None. How can this happen?

Let’s come back to Arsenal. We got hammered and have not been at the top level of youth football since 2007 when Wilshire’s team won the FAYC. However, we have brought young players into the first team. Bellerin, Iwobi and Wilshire all came through the ranks

Waiting in the wings are M-N, Nelson, Willock, Eddie and a host of others. They will get their chance. Of these Maitland-Niles seems the most mature and ready for a long Arsenal career but who knows, he may fall by the wayside like so many others.

A few seasons ago we focused upon Project Youth, it didn’t work. In the PL experience is essential, apart from MU’s wonder generation, you cannot rely on kids. But how do the youngsters get experience? Bellerin was fortunate insomuch as Debuchy got injured and we had no experienced replacement. We have seen that Holding and Chambers, who were two of the most lauded youth players in English football, have struggled after initially impressing. I believe they will develop into quality PL players but they must have game time and when making the inevitable mistakes, should be given some leeway.

Fans want instant success, they do not consider that a player is finding his feet, they just look at the stupid series of errors and condemn the player. Chambers is going to be a fantastic CB, but will it be at Arsenal? Will the fans give him time? I hope so.

So … Chelsea thrashed us and their players will rightfully thrilled, but if they want to have a career at Chlsea they tare sadly misguided. They should have signed for Arsenal.

written by Big Raddy


Elneny in a Back 3 again?

November 23, 2017

A win in Kōln sees us top the group which will bring us an easier route through the tournament. Given they are bottom of the Bundesliga without a win it should be a formality but we know otherwise.

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Mr Wenger says he will pick a team full of PL experience indicating he may “rest” some of the youth players, I think this is a bit of kidology but we do have players returning to the squad from injury who need gametime.

Chambers is rumoured to be fit, I expect a bench role and 15 minutes for Calum (for whom I still hold great expectations).

My Team:

Ospina

   Elneny    BFG    Holding

  Debuchy  Wilshire  Coquelin   Maitland-Niles

Giroud    Welbeck    Iwobi

 Elneny can play RCB, where he played so well in a recent game , (I can’t remember which, can you without Googling?) this allows Debuchy to provide width upfront – he delivers excellent crosses and in OG/Welbz we are strong in the air.

I am still basking in the glory of the weekend’s victory and am finding it hard to get excited about tonight. Thinking of which … we may be happy to beat Spurs by 2, but Köln beat them 8-0 in 1995 🙂

Strange k.o. time (18.00GMT).

Given the chaos created by the German fans at The Emirates, it should be a good atmosphere tonight. Best way to quiet the crowd is to score early. Could we? Just for once?

COYRRG

 


Season Assessment: Centre Backs

June 24, 2017

We have a lot of them don’t we? Do we need so many? Are they all good enough to do the job? Do we need to improve on their quality?

The season was definitely split into two as regards the defence, with the move to a Back 3 making giving the CB’s more support. But … one must question why we conceded so many goals whilst operating AW’s favoured Back 4 formation, Tony Adams etc were rightly critical.

Arsenal conceded more goals from set pieces than any of the Top 10 teams. Given the quality of the individuals one can only surmise this was an organisational problem, but why did things improve with the new system? How does that affect defending a corner?

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Mustafi: First season. Started well. Got injured. Came back less assured. Has undoubted quality and seems to be a leader as he is very vocal. To be honest I expected more considering how much we paid for him but then I remember that MC paid €50m for Stones 🙂

Gabriel: Love his attitude. The man is a passionate defender, grimacing his way through the game. His spats with Costa are great fun. Prone to the odd positional error. Improving but I am not sure of his AFC future as the youngsters come through.

Koscielny. Another superb season. Probably the PL’s finest CB. Pacy, determined, intelligent. The first man on the team sheet. And … a worthy Captain.

Holding. An excellent prospect. His Cup Final performance was an indicator of how good this man will be. Versatile enough to play as Bellerin’s replacement. Mr. Wenger showing he still has the ability to find a diamond.

Monreal: Has to be included as he did some sterling work in the centre. Not sure I want him there on a regular basis. Where does he fit in when we play a Back 3 and how does he feel about the signing of Kolasinac?

Mertesacker: What can one say about his single start? Perfection. I love the BFG.

Chambers: His season in a relegated team has allowed him to mature and blossom which can be evidenced by his excellence with the England U-21’s. With Kos and BFG hitting their mid-30’s the future is bright.

We have an excellent balance of youth, age and experience in the heart of defence which is not something which could be said a few years ago. No signings needed.

written by Big Raddy.


Black Cats in the Cup – Not For Long?

January 9, 2016

This is a mobile pre-match from your roving disgraceful supporters Ant and Duck. Apologies for any lack of quality. BR has technical difficulties.

Rumours are that Fat Sam will field a weakened Sunderland line-up. No-one rates the FA Cup anymore except Micky.

Who would you like to see play today for the good guys?

Ant and Duck predicted line-up

Ospina

Gibbo Gabriel BFG Debuchy

Chambers Arteta

Ramsey

Ox Giroud Walcott

Sunderland is one of our favourite away trips, but we really could do without a replay. Will our second string have enough to beat their ‘weakened’ team?

I’d imagine we’ll have a strong bench in case of emergencies.

Fat Sam allegedly said that a full press causes leg injuries – his teams need strong necks!

written in a huge hurry by Ant and Duck


Bellerin hurts Mertesacker.

March 26, 2015

How? Why? When?

Well, it went like this …..

During the summer Arsene recognised the need for a Vermaelen replacement and bought Chambers.  Our future centre half should have had a few games in the middle and a couple at right back as he was inculcated into the Arsenal Way. But things didn’t go to plan.

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€15m, 0 appearances. Nice work AW.

Arsene also bought a fine right- back and Sagna replacement in Debuchy. An experienced, aggressive full back in the Lauren mould, but sadly, the man who is an important cog in the team got long-term knacked, came back and got knacked again. This gave the opportunity for Gooners to see why Chambers is so highly rated as he made his Arsenal debut at right-back and he seized his chance. The man/boy  was terrific but his lack of pace was a cause for concern. In comes the young man we poached from Barcelona to make his first team debut at Dortmund away in the CL. Hector Bellerin struggled but who wouldn’t, however he showed potential and has grown with each game. He looks the real deal and a future Arsenal stalwart.

We have 4 quality right backs – Debuchy, Chambers, Bellerin and Jenkinson. Sadly for Gunner Jenkinson, Bellerin’s improvement has cost him his place in the squad – I cannot see him returning. Chambers has shown he is better placed in the centre of defence where his lack of recovery pace is not so costly. I think Debuchy remains our first choice RB with Hector as his back-up.

And why does this affect Mertesacker? Because the signing of Gabriel heralds the end of BFG’s career at Arsenal. If Chambers is our RB back-up there is space in the squad for 3 top quality CB’s but is there room for 4? Bellerin’s rise pushes Chambers into the middle and means that we have a glut of CB’s

We are very well served in defence as Mr Wenger has bought players who can play in more than one position. Chambers, Gabriel and Monreal can all play CB and FB.

Debuchy is 30 this summer – his time is limited. BFG is 9 months older but clearly in decline (as much as I love the big galloop). Montreal turned 29 in Feb. Koscielny is exactly the same age as Debuchy yet remains our best defender, TA and Keown played well into their 30’s, barring injury and his fragile achilles, Koscielny can do the same.

I see our back 4 in 2016 as Bellerin, Gabriel, Koscielny and Gibbs (or a new, shiny LB). Chambers and Monreal as the multi-purpose CB/FB back-up’s until 2017. As such BFG becomes expendable and we can sell him for good money back to the Bundesliga in summer.

That said, Mertesacker appears to be very popular with the team and a man who has The Arsenal Spirit. Perhaps we should keep him as we have kept Arteta.

written by Big Raddy