Blessed are the Cheesemakers

September 28, 2016

This is a game I really want us to win and win in style.

The bubbly, happy feeling generated by our magnificent victory over the Southern Oilers will continue into the weekend with a handsome victory. A scrappy one-nil would do but a little bit of Ozil magic allied to some Sanchez dynamite and a dash of Theo virtuosity would do even better.

We are playing a Swiss team. I have no wish to belittle the mountainous paradise but quite frankly football is not their strong-point. Skiing, Yes. Clock-making, Yes. Cheese production, Yes. Football, No.

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And yet they have a decent national team who did OK in the Euros, until a certain Granit Xhaka missed a penalty, and in FC Basle have a team with a record of wins against big clubs. I am sure you have read all about their giant-killing exploits so I will not google and regurgitate here.

Let’s be honest, you expect us to win, don’t you? Come on …. if we drew you would be disappointed, especially given our recent results. Win both tonight and the away game in Bulgaria (Ludo Radz) and TOTL is centred upon a home game against PSG.

So… who will play?

My Team:

Ospina

Bellerin    Mustafi   Koscielny   Monreal

Xhaka    Cazorla   Iwobi

Walcott    Sanchez    Ozil

Why change a winning team (bar Le Coq)? We have 4 days to recover before the trip to Burnley where I expect AW to rest some players. Perhaps Ox or Perez may start tonight in place of Iwobi but I doubt it.

Should Elneney start against his former club? The partnership with Xhaka is highly promising but who gets dropped? Cazorla? Santi has been magnificent and to drop him in order to save him for Turf Moor is poor reward for his excellence.

Gibbs short appearance on Saturday  was superb, possibly his best performance in many a month, though it would come as surprise to see AW change his back line.

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Basle are no pushover, they have won their first 9 games in the Swiss League scoring almost 3 goals a game and won their league 7 times in a row but we are different gravy. It is one thing winning away at BellRingers Sion or Grasshopper Young Boys of Thun and quite another beating one of the best teams in the world. Having said that, Basle beat the Chavs home and away in 2014!

So, will we continue our fine run of form and take a huge step towards the next round of the CL or will we stutter against a team who will come to defend (parken den bus)?

We have the team, we have the experience, we have the 12th man in the stands (for now).  Cheesemakers blessed? We shall see tonight.

COYRRG

 

 

 


Who is Arsenal’s Top Scorer in the Champions League?

September 13, 2016

Lovely warm Autumn night, great stadium, very good opponents, a night to look forward to. Win or draw (I never mention a loss) I will enjoy our return to the Champions League, our 19th season in succession.

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Can we get further than the last 16? We haven’t since 2010; if Arsenal are to be taken seriously as a top team then we must reach at least the quarter-final. Can we? Much will depend upon tonight’s result because if we leave Paris with at least a point we are in the box-seat to win the group.

PSG are in poor form (for them) and having lost both Luiz and the Big-Nosed Swede during the summer (how could my favourite player sign for those Northern swine?), they are definitely weakened, especially upfront where Cavan has struggled though PSG have recently spent well over €20m on ex-Barca forward Jese´

But let us not feel too relaxed – PSG remain an Oiler team who have so much money that they paid €22m to get rid of a manager – that is a Perez! PSG have only lost one of their last twenty home games in the CL and have reached the quarter finals in the last 5 seasons.

Here’s a question. Without googling, do you know who is Arsenal’s top scorer in the Champions League? Have a guess but no cheating.

As to Arsenal, the knowledge that Kos is recovered and will start is a huge fillip – the man has developed into a cornerstone of the team; who would have thought so when Vermælen was our defensive pivot?

The defence picks itself but in midfield we have so many combinations – given that Santi played 90 minutes on Saturday I expect him to be riding the pine. My guess is that Xhaka and Elneny will start with the intention of protecting the back 4 in an away fixture.

Giroud is certain to return but a poor performance could see him behind Perez as our main striker. Many are concerned about OG’s inability to become a clinical finisher but he is the best we have. Perez may well prove to be the player we need but on the evidence of Saturday he has a settling-in period to go through.

My Team: (BTW I know we do not play 4-3-3)

Cech

Bellerin    Mustafa    Koscielny     Monreal

Xhaka     Elneny    Sanchez

Walcott   Giroud    Ozil

This team may be a little too attack-miinded for AW, we may see Theo dropped to make way for Ox or Iwobi who are better defensively.

Can we win? As always my answer is, Why not? Arsene has pointed to the mix of age and experience in the squad. Almost all our players are used to high pressure CL games and this must have a positive effect. Let’s hope so.

COYRRG

 


Pay Da Money …

July 27, 2016

From the last 10 year’s experience of Arsenal’s transfer activity, we know that this is how it works ….

Most of the stories linking us to players or claiming we are interested in a particular player are either from web sites/journalists trying to garner hits, or from agents trying to manipulate the market = lies.

Often, when we are actually interested in a player, it becomes quite obvious from an early stage =  Nasri, Holding, Xhaka.

Sometimes we do a last minute deal = Park, Ozil

I believe we made an offer for La Cazette about a month ago. West Ham subsequently offered more but reportedly (that word means probably a lie), La Caz wants CL football. He’s good, he’s an alternative to Giroud, he knows where the goal is, he’s French :)  …. what’s not to like?

‘Reportedly’ Lyon want £40m. So if that is the case, just pay the *&^%ing money and get on with finding us a top CB to fill the vacuum in our defence please Ivan/Arsene.

Don’t tell me it’s not that easy – I know it isn’t but other clubs are securing targets, we need to pull our fingers out and do the business.

Rasp ….. T In C


If Henry Can, Welbeck Can

March 16, 2016

Time to play with The Big Boys. Finish Top 4 and this is the reward. No-one expects us to win the CL, only one club can do so and, let’s be honest, it is not going to be Arsenal in the near future, but what Top 4 offers is the chance to play in the Camp Nou or the Allianz Arena or the Bernabeu.

In other words glory.

Can you remember when Thierry waltzed through the Real Madrid defence to score an unlikely winner? Or wee Arshavin slotting home to beat Barca? Or Ramsey scoring against all the odds at Dortmund?  Why do you remember those particular goals?  It is because we played and beat the very best and we have the opportunity to do so tonight.

 

Can Arsenal win? Why not? We have beaten Barca before and they have already declared that a couple of their first team will be rested (well, Pique at least). Barca will expect to win at a canter and there is no pressure on an Arsenal team who have been written off by both the media and their own fans.

We were a Bendtner kick and a bent referee away from beating them over two legs in 2011. Given that Welbeck is even better than The Greatest Striker Who ever Lived, we must have a fighting chance, though  it must be admitted that MSN are slightly better than VMP (Villa, Messi, Pedrito).

Our Team: Should Mr Wenger prioritise the weekend game with Everton or go with a full first choice team tonight ? Montreal and Bellerin were benched on Sunday and will surely start. Welbeck played just 15 minutes but what an impact he had! Will he start ahead of Giroud who took a battering from the Watford CB’s? In my opinion, Welbeck  – if fit – should be our first choice central striker until season’s end.

Campbell on the right or Theo? Was Theo rested or or dropped on Sunday?

Midfield must be Elneny and Coquelin, we have little choice.

And what of Ozil? He went missing in the home leg and has been peripheral in recent weeks. He tried to grab the game on Sunday and almost effected an unexpected comeback but where was he in the first 75 minutes? People question whether Ozil wants to stay at Arsenal; perhaps they should think about who would sign him to a winning team. Leave Arsenal and Ozil is unlikely to find a club playing to his unique talents nor will he find a place with the Big Boys. Sanchez is in the same situation.

We are massive underdogs for a reason , primarily thanks to Coquelin’s stupid foul for the penalty and BFG’s momentary lapse of reason, should they make similar mistakes we could be on the end of a hammering BUT Mr Wenger cannot PTB at Camp Nou – we have to score. Get one early and Barca could wobble. Get two and we will win.

Unlikely but possible, and whilst the possibility exists let’s believe it can happen

COYRRG

 

 

 


7 Bullets in Arsenal’s Head

February 24, 2016

We saw the good and the bad of Arsenal yesterday. The result and subsequent reaction from AW have added fuel to the ‘we should have bought X, Y & Z’ campaign. No one wanted to write a report on this game, so I have just bulleted the key points as I saw them and invite you all to add your perspective on the game.

  1. For 70 minutes we got our game plan spot on and the players executed it perfectly apart from the vital ingredient of taking our chances when they were presented.
  2. A moment’s madness when Mertesacker forgot his discipline and ventured way too high up the pitch (we’ve seen this from him before)
  3. The failure of our defenders to be as cynical as Barca and ‘take one for the team’ by bringing down the player before the ball got anywhere near our box
  4. Bringing on Flamini, it should have been Elneni but he wasn’t even on the bench – why?
  5. Mertesacker laying the ball off to Flamini instead of clearing it out of the box
  6. Flamini being Flamini
  7. Arsene stating we made the same mistake as we did against Monaco as if he had no responsibility to ensure the players understood what went wrong in that game. He should have drilled them in how to avoid making the same mistake again.

Rasp


Ramsey or Rakitic or Both?

February 23, 2016

Are you like me – fed up of hearing how Barcelona’s forward line is the best of all-time? How we have no chance this evening? How poor Mertesacker is going to have a second fundament after the game?

Firstly, I do not agree that  the frontline of MSN are the best of all-time. I would point to the Brazil ’70 attack of Pele, Jairzinho, Tostao backed up by Gerson and Rivelino. What a shame they cannot play each other, that Brazil side would spank the Catalans.

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Best Ever?

We can win and I will tell you why. Because we are The Arsenal. That’s it. Nothing more. If Mr Wenger and Stevie B. manage to get this simple message into the heads of our lads we can and will win.

Forget tactics, forget worrying about the front 3, forget about the diving and cheating the Spanish Champs will inevitably display. When Alves hits the deck Coquelin must stand over him and laugh, pointing to the badge on his chest. When Messi cuts in from the wing and dummies his way into our penalty area, let The Helmeted Cech put his massive frame in the way and smile.

Let us recall that last time we played them over two legs Barca were forced to bribe the ref and even then needed a Bendtner blunder to win. By the way, has any player in the CL been sent off for kicking a ball away since? No they haven’t. QED.

So what if Barcelona haven’t lost for 32 games and are currently – Spanish Double winners, Champions League winners and both European Super League and World Club Champs; we are The Arsenal, and they aren’t – they don’t even have a The. It’s true, have you ever heard them called The Barcelona? No, you haven’t.

Team …

Cech

Bellerin   BFG   Koscielny   Monreal

Ramsey   Coquelin   Sanchez

Ox   Giroud   Ozil

My only concerns are Ox and Sanchez who were dreadful in their sub appearances on Saturday. Sanchez was a shadow of the player  we know him to be – Kelsey could have played as well.

As always when Barca or Real Madrid are rebuilding there are rumours of transfer targets; Ramsey is one who is often mentioned. Ramsey is a marmite player – hugely admired by his fellow players but not so by many a Gooner. To me he is the heart and soul of Mr Wenger’s team. Rakitic is the Barca equivalent. Both play similar styles allowing others to do the fancy-dan work and occasionally doing some themselves. Given their similarity I do not understand why Barcelona would be interested in Ramsey but perhaps together they could make a dynamic midfield pairing. Real Madrid would be a more likely destination but for the sake of Arsenal, I hope Ramsey stays.

More worrying is the Boy Wonder – Bellerin.  Surely a major target over the coming years. Hopefully young Hector doesn’t have Barca DNA or a Child Within.

Most important tonight is for both teams to excel and entertain the watching billions. We are unlikely to win the Big Cup but have to make an impression. We can win this leg and go to Barcelona with a lead to protect.

Last time we played them at The Emirates it was a little chap playing on the left who scored the winner for Arsenal  – could history repeat itself?

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Let it be So.

COYRRG

 

 


Vote: Beat Barcelona or Spurs?

February 18, 2016

So… here is the premise: The first knockout round of the Champions League is currently known as the Arsenal Stage because we (almost) always lose in it. We are about to face a team who are 31 games unbeaten, Champions of Spain and considered one of the best teams of all-time.

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Concurrently, we sit close to the top of the Premiership and have a damned good chance of winning it. In our way is an away trip to The Cave-Dwellers. Never a pleasant experience and a costly one in terms of points in recent times. A win there virtually eliminates the Lillywhites from the title race whilst boosting our own hopes.

Beating Barca over two legs would be immense but in your opinion would it carry as much glory beating our neighbours ?