Emery Knows

May 29, 2019

I woke up yesterday morning thinking I was remarkably calm considering we have a European Final on Wednesday. This morning I awoke with a nervous energy not felt for many a moon. The hours until kick off  going to be very long. I have bought a 9 pack of Tuborg Green (we Danes are hard drinkers and 6 packs are rare!) and a couple of bottles of a cheeky Italian Dolcetto to make the time go faster and numb my pre-match nerves.

Baku is awash with intrepid Gooners, people who have sacrificed much to support their team. Can the Arsenal give them the victory they deserve?

My first emotion when we made the Final against the Shed Boys was a cloud of negativity – “Chelsea are too good”, “Hazard’s last game”, Chavs have more experience and Big Game players” etc etc. I am sure many of you will have shared those thoughts. But I find today I am far more positive – this is a winnable game. All we need to do is perform as we did earlier in the season when we annihilated the Chavs at the Emirates. That’s all.

Can we? Of course we can.

Now I know there is many a slip twixt cup and lip and Arsenal have royally effed up many big games in recent time (Brighton/Palace etc etc) but Emery Knows 😀

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The media are expecting a Chelsea win and the betting odds are against us but how can anyone gamble against a side with our front two? They are special and above all they are winners.

Do you think Mr Emery will pick Mesut to start? I don’t know either. I dither, changing my mind on a hourly basis. Had Mhki been available then No, but given his absence Yes, I would start Ozil. However by the time I finish writing this PM, I may well have changed my opinion.

Cech or Leno? We had a poll and Leno won but we all know Cech will start. The man has been great for AFC. I recall when he signed how excited I was that we had a safe and secure GK after the two flaky Poles (both of whom have developed in top GK’s). I wish him well in his final game.

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And what of Iwobi? Will Mr E. choose a more defensive model and leave Alex on the bench?

Who is sure to start? Cech, Koscielny, Sokratis, Kolasinac,  Xhaka, PEA and Laca. The rest remain in doubt, even Nacho.

If we play 3 at the back then, given his recent form, I would trust Mustafi but Nacho is so reliable and so experienced.

Could AMN start? We will need pace to counter Hazard, Willian, Pedro etc.

And in midfield, will Douzi be picked ahead of Terrier? I hope not though a midfield of Xhaka, Terrier, Douzi and Kolasinac is quite likely.

Cech

Mustafi    Kos   Sokratis

AMN   Terrier   Xhaka   Kolasinac

Ozil

PEA    Laca

My concern with this side is the reliance upon AMN and Wardrobe to get forward thereby allowing space  behind for fast counter attack by the excellent Chelsea wide players. As always, midfield discipline must be maintained.

For Chelsea, well mostly I don’t care but I will be very upset if  OG scores. Very. Hopefully Kante will be injured as he is a wonderful player.

VAR will be used tonight; much discussed, I believe VAR assists the game though some decisions remain open to interpretation. Referee is Rocchi, an Italian with much experience, we must hope he hasn’t been gifted a house or two by Chelsea’s owner

Last night I was over in Malmo Sweden  alongside West Ham Bob watching another Malmo victory. He sat on the fence but hoped for an AFC win. Like many his head says Chelsea but his heart is Gooner. For us it is simple – Death or Glory. If we are to lose I do not want to look at any AFC player and think they could have worked harder – mistakes will be made, they are human, but to win tonight will require 100% effort and concentration.

A European Final as the final game is way beyond my season expectation. Win or lose the team have had a successful campaign but how wonderful would it be to lift the trophy?

Come on boys, you can do it.

COYRRG

 

 

 

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Arsenal’s remaining season: what’s the point?

February 16, 2019

I’m writing this on the back of the Bate result with all the despondent reactions still ringing in my ears. Now I don’t want to sound like I’m high as a kite on false hopium, BUT, pre-season, and on the back of a new manager, most Arsenal fans were pretending to show a more mature and patient side with getting back to being a top four side as step one.

We are currently sitting in 5th, with just one point separating Utd in 4th and Chelsea just below us in 6th. Hardly a time to chuck in the towel.

Beyond the League (although this post is about the League), in the Europa most think we’ll get past Bate, and we recently beat the bookies favourite, Chelsea.

Ok, the remaining League fixtures:  much will be decided by how each of the 4th spot contenders perform against the lower sides as that’s the majority for each’s remaining games, however much will depend on encounters between us, so here they are:

ARSENAL
Totnum a
ManUtd h

CHELSEA
Totnum h
Liverpool a
Man Utd a

TOTNUM
Chelsea a
Arsenal h
Liverpool a
Man City a

MAN UTD
Liverpool h
Arsenal a
Man City h
Chelsea h

I haven’t included City or Pool because they are not in the race for 4th , although interestingly, City have only one fixture left against a top six side, while Pool have three.

I have included Totnum because they are more than capable of spectacular implosions.

Some of these could end up effectively being the classic six pointers.

Can we make it? Stranger things have happened.

mickydidit89


Back in Business – Arsenal v Chelsea Ratings

January 20, 2019

No Mesut in the starting line-up. Could the team raise their performance without him after last week’s dismal showing in Stratford? You Betcha.

First Half

It was Blitzkrieg in that opening period of the game. The only disappointment was having only Laca’s wonderful strike to show for it.  We retreated a little just after the goal as if the team couldn’t quite believe it was actually winning in a first half. Pedro’s dink over the keeper was the only real moment of extreme danger, though.

We still had the better chances in the remainder of the first half including a bullet header from Kos straight at the keeper’s face. When almost exactly the same chance came again, Kos decided to use something he’d practised in training, a  no-look header (© fgg).  Fooling the Arrizabalaga that he was going to power a header again, he deftly deflected the ball off his shoulder, cushioning it into the far corner. The keeper stood as if he’d watched a magic trick. It gave us some vital breathing space before half time.

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Second Half

Chelsea huffed and puffed but failed to really get up a decent head of steam against Arsenal’s well-organised defensive structure.

Kos even took one in the orchestra stalls blocking a pile-driver. You can see the after effects here.

OG came on from the bench and got more respect in a few minutes than he ever did while playing for the Club.

A third goal looked possible on a couple of occasions but wasn’t to be.

Conclusion

A different team performance altogether from our recent away efforts. Everything worked perfectly on the day, so a time to bask in beating our West London rivals.

One shot on target from the chavs in the whole 90. Emery using Ramsey to cut the supply lines to Hazard was a masterstroke. A superb defensive tactical display from the Arsenal and a clean sheet to boot. Not often we say that.

Reuters

Ratings (extra point for everyone for beating the chavs)

Leno – one shot on target from Alonso, saved comfortably, competent elsewhere … 8

Bellerin – such a shame just as he was regaining form and importance … 8

Koscielny – majestic in defence and cunningly brilliant for his goal … 9

Sokratis – shame he couldn’t find the net with his first half header, solid throughout …8

Kolasinac – almost looked an accomplished defender in addition to being a wardrobe on wheels … 7

Torreira – still not sure if he knows 100% what his role in the side is but he worked really hard throughout, tiring a little in the second half … 8

Xhaka – only the odd sloppy pass but generally a rock in midfield … 8

Guendouzi – perpetual motion, which sometimes make him look like a schoolboy chasing the ball over the field, ten out of ten for youthful exuberance … 8

Ramsey – excellent in that first period where we could have run away with it – the pressure’s off for Aaron, so hopefully he can have a massive positive effect on the rest of our season … 8

Lacazette – magnificent finish at the near post the like of which we have seen before from him – tireless and willing … 8

Aubameyang – A couple of belting chances not snaffled up in the first half, though the bicycle kick was unlucky … 7

Subs

Maitland-Niles – a couple of really important challenges – with Hector out, it’s time for him to push on … 8

ElNeny – tidy, and helped in the second half rearguard display … 7

Iwobi – didn’t see much of the ball up top but helped out in his own half … 7

Managers

Emery – does this make up for the West Ham debacle? – yeah , go on then, one game at a time … 9

Wagner – out thought, outplayed, lovely … 5

chas

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Additionally we have an FGG assessment of yesterday……..

Without a doubt, my favourite performance of the season.

Obviously we all enjoyed the Spurs game at home, but we’ve just beaten Chelsea without our goalkeeper making a single significant save. Tactically we were absolutely outstanding and you could see that Emery had looked at the opposition and had decided that stopping Jorginho was the way to stop that team hurting us. Ramsey dominated him for 60 minutes and then Elneny came on and stood next to him for the last half hour. We allowed them space out wide knowing that they could couldn’t hurt us with crosses, and the performances of our CB’s was a joy to watch. If we had more players who cared about the job they do as Sokratis then we would win the league. He may not be the best player, but he was absolutely immense today and you can see he cares about defending. We haven’t had a player like that for a while. Everything the Greek lacks in technical ability though, the guy stood next to him absolutely makes up for it. Koscielny oozed class and gave a defensive masterclass in positioning and guile. What a performance.

I’m not going to pretend this makes up for the last few performances, but I can see that with the right players, Emery has the tactical nous to take us forward. We just need the right players to implement what he’s asking.

Absolutely loved that 2nd half and watching the last 15 minutes knowing that Chelsea had zero chance of scoring was a rare treat. Let’s hope it continues.

Interesting to listen to Keown’s comments after the game. He seems really frustrated that Ramsey played so well today but won’t be with the team moving forward. I’ve also seen a lot of comments from Merson recently about Arsenal letting players go on the cheap. Whilst we all agree that certain things have been awful behind the scenes, I don’t understand the total negativity that comes from these people.

Personally, I believe that getting rid of players like Ramsey and Özil will see the club move forward. Emery has his own ideas about the squad and if he believes that the £350k we pay Özil and the probable £200k+ we would’ve had to pay Ramsey can result in us signing 2 or 3 players then I’m with him. Don’t get me wrong, the club could’ve handled the contract situations of Wilshere, Ox, Ramsey, Özil and Sanchez so much better than they have, but in reality, I look at that list of players and wonder how many of them really would be moving our club forward right now. Four of them have been out injured for the last month ffs, how often was that a problem for Wenger’s teams!?

Comments from FGG


Arsenal FC – Our record against Chelsea

January 18, 2019

Some of Chelsea’s origins.

Chelsea FC was formed on 10 March 1905 in an upstairs room at the Rising Sun pub, Fulham Road. Among the founding directors were millionaire owner Henry Augustus ‘Gus’ Mears, his brother Joseph, their brother-in-law Henry Boyer, publican Alfred Janes and his nephew Edwin. In 1904, Gus Mears acquired the Stamford Bridge athletics stadium with the aim of turning it into a football ground. An offer to lease it to nearby Fulham was turned down, so Mears opted to found his own club to use the stadium.

The club, the brainchild of another founder, Frederick Parker, would be started from scratch to fill Gus Mears’s ambitious stadium, being built across the road at Stamford Bridge by the architect Archibald Leitch. Scotland international Jacky Robertson was engaged as the fledgling club’s player-manager. In collaboration with Parker, who also engineered Chelsea’s admission to Football League Division Two, Robertson built a squad that included their larger-than-life 23 stone goalkeeper Willie Foulke; the club hired football’s first ball-boys to emphasise his presence.

The first game was away on 2 September 1905 at Stockport County in front of a crowd of 7,000. William Foulke, known as ‘Fatty’ became the first Chelsea goalkeeper to save a penalty, but in the melee that followed a wayward County shot was deflected into his own net by Robert McEwan, resulting in a 1- 0 loss.

Here is our entire league record.

Our overall home record against Chelsea has been positive but we have only won 3 of our last 14 games – W3, D6, L5, GF14, GA18.

Memorable home victories in the Prem

27th December 2010 Arsenal 3 Chelsea 1

Goals from Song, Fabregas and Walcott in the 10 minutes either side of half time blew the chavs away. Petr Cech was in goal that day and our only survivor for tomorrow is Kos.

24th September 2016 Arsenal 3 Chelsea 0

Mesut and the dog fancier ran riot two seasons ago. Sanchez and Walcott scored in 4 glorious minutes at the start of the game and Mesut wrapped it up five minutes before half-time. We could field the same team tomorrow minus Le Coq, Santi, Walcott and the dog fancier, which is quite surprising.

Chelsea are 6 points ahead of us therefore losing would put us 9 points behind with only 15 games remaining – and if Man U win or draw against Brighton we would drop into 6th place. A must win game for sure.

GunnerN5


Wembley Beckons – player ratings for Carabao Semi part two

January 25, 2018

First half

The chavs came flying out of the blocks, high press, overloading the centre backs with Hazard, Pedro and Willian confusing the whatnots out of Koscielny and Mustafi. Thank Dennis their early goal was cancelled out by Nacho’s crazy double kiss header, else the game could have run away from us.

Our midfield was all over the place with no-one quite sure what they were supposed to be doing as the ball flashed past them.

Gradually we got a toe-hold and had the two best chances in the rest of the first half; a Granit fizzer from a free kick and Mesut’s deflected right footer just before the break.

Second half

So much better second half, even without the cones! Chelsea began to play for the away goal counting after extra time. Their rotational fouling was not penalised by the lenient Oliver. Granit must have had a nose bleed being in the chavs’ six yard box but there he was, at a ridiculous altitude at precisely the right moment; almost as if it was pre-ordained. Alexander missed a chance to put the game to bed which, being kind, was probably harder than it looked. No major scares in the last ten minutes – job done, off to Wembley.

Ratings

Ospina – Busy Doing Nothing – 2 shots on target for the chavs didn’t leave our Colombian much to do ….7

Monreal – Pinball Wizard – Magnificent commitment throughout, his goal came at exactly the right moment ….9

Mustafi –  Working in the Coal Mine – always tries hard, improved as the game went on….8

Koscielny – Leader of the Pack – seemed to be fighting his injuries even more than usual but still imperious  ….8

Bellerin – The Way You Look Tonight – quiet, didn’t do much at all ….6

Xhaka – Road to Nowhere – summed up Arsenal’s performance, chaotic but Johnny-on-the-spot ….6

Wilshere – Push It – barely got a touch in the first half, an inspiration in the second ….7

Elneny –  Nowhere to Run – covered every blade at the apex of the upside down midfield triangle ….8

Iwobi  – Back Door Man – most tackles, most misplaced passes, bizarre  ….7

Ozil – Pretty Beat Up – the man with the weave decided kicking him was the only way to lessen his impact ….7

Lacazette – So Lonely – even less support than normal with the dog-botherer gone and an extra body in midfield ….7


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.

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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


We lost …. Reaction …. not Over Reaction

January 25, 2016

These are a selection of the comments posted yesterday in reaction to our home defeat to Chelsea

Big Raddy ……

5 minutes of naivety cost us the game.

Fairplay to Chelsea they defended very well and we did not create a single clear chance

We were really good in the second half and perhaps deserved a draw.

The return of Sanchez will be important and just because we lost today it does not mean we are out of the title race but today’s defeat hurt … a lot

Fatgingergooner …..

I thought we played well with 10 and you cant accuse the players of not trying. The sending off ruined our chances. poor decision by Merts. If we go 1-0 with 11 we still have a great chance to win the game.

It was tough to take but Sanchez looked good and Burnley next week to help get over it.

Gooner In Exile …..

The second Sanchez came on the pitch we had another dimension, Ozil came alive knowing there was at least one more he could work with at that level that very few can, both Alexis and Ozil draw defenders in and mainly keep it. The thing that Ozil does so well and that probably highlights the weaknesses of others is knowing when to release it and how to release it. He rarely plays a pass blind whereas so many others seem to judging by where the pass ends up, sometimes it’s better to keep the ball and try another angle than force a pass where one doesn’t exist.

So up side from the game is Alexis is back, upside from the weekend is we are still within 3 points of the leader and have both teams above us to play. So it’s in our hands.

We need to get out of this dip and go on a run of four or five wins.

Next 5 games, Southampton, Bournemouth, Leicester, United, Swansea. We will soon find out if we have the stomach for the title challenge.

Rockylives …..

We actually created quite a few half- and there-quarter chances even after going 0-1 down, but we didn’t have the composure to make the most of them.

Mesut picked a bad day to have a rare poor performance and Fabregas, who has been poor all year, looked much the better player.

Shard …..

Frustrated, but with some pride as well.

I don’t think we played very well. We played well enough to win, if we hadn’t been stupid for 5 minutes. Where was the midfield, why was Kos languishing rather than busting a gut to get level, and why did Per dive in? I would add that Costa went down without a touch, and that Clattenburg hence got it wrong, but that is besides the point.

Theo. Not a very good way to celebrate being captain. Once again a poor performance, and his lack of tecnhical ability is a real issue at times. Now that Alexis is back, I’d drop Theo, unless he’s playing through the middle. Poor Giroud. I wouldn’t have subbed him off, but the logic of going for speed over a target man is sound. I was furious that we conceded just a minute after that substitution. That piece of defending really annoys me. If we’d kept it at 0-0, I think we would have won even with 10 men.

Did anyone see a replay of the handball appeal we had just before the red card? I didn’t, and to me that signifies something fishy, because that is what used to happen earlier. Wrong decisions not shown on replay.

MickyDidIt89 …..

Completely agree with the importance of getting Coquelin and Sanchez back

If anyone had told me when those two first went injured, that two months later when they were returning we’d be level on points with City, and three points behind leaders Leicester, a. I’d have they were bonkers and b. I’d have taken it in a heart beat

Very disappointing today, but very much all to play for.

Also, I don’t think it will damage confidence one bit, as the team will understand the significance of those returning, and also the uphill mountain faced by any team going down to ten men so early in any match.

Peachesgooner …..

That was a very sad game of football although it’s fantastic to have Alexis back and amazing how Ozil and Alexis find each other.

Usual scummy tactics from Diego Costa. Per had already made me worried in the opening minutes where I’m sure his brain knew what he wanted his legs to do but somehow they couldn’t keep up with his train of thought 😦 Anyone think Gabriel would have started ahead of Per if there hadn’t been the history?

I’d love us to hold onto the ball better when moving forward, we just waste too many passes at the moment but hopefully Coquelin will steady the ship when he gets back.

Ozil ran and ran and ran, he must’ve be shattered.

On another day Flamini would have been a hero and scored one of his chances.

Still in the top four and three points off the top, all good really 🙂

LB …

I want to cry.

….. If you’ve got anything to add to those observations, join us in comments and have your say ……..