Why do Spurs have five home games remaining (4 after last night) and we have 5 away? I know they play at Wembley which could have affected their programme but surely not to this extent.
Man Utd: 4 home, 2 away. We all know how much the FA love their pre-eminent brand, as do the big European clubs who still believe the hype about MU being a “Glamour Club” whilst knowing they are comfortably beatable.
Much of this morning’s speculation will revolve, once again, about Mr. Ozil. This being the case I think we can gloss over that and discuss something else. No, not Brexit or a Wall or even the heat in Australia. Not even the worrying statement from Emery about our economy.
How about we cheer ourselves up in the knowledge that the squad is returning to good health with only Welbz and Holding on the long-term injured list. Emery can pick a solid defence – or as good as he can with the tools available, not that I wish to call Mustafi a tool, but if the cap fits …
The back 3 doesn’t work, one only has to look at our goals against to confirm this, so we have to go back to a more solid 4 and abandon the idea of FB’s as wing-backs, especially with AMN and the Wardrobe. The return of Hector and Nacho should add some backbone.
Some AA’ers doubt Belllerin’s defensive ability, you may be right, but IMO he is amongst our best players.
Quite why Mr. Emery abandoned the deep Xhaka/Terrier combo by sending the little chap further forward is a mystery. Against Spurs they were the key to our victory, surely he will operate the same system this afternoon?
Also, a return to playing one upfront. It appears great mates do not make a great striking partnership. It worked well when we could bring on PEA in the final 20 minutes, his pace terrifying tiring defenders. Why was this tactic abandoned?
Not sure if Mhiki is fit, but we need him back to provide something positive ahead of Bellerin, yet there is no space in the team for both Iwobi and Mhiki if Ozil plays, and Ozil MUST play.
What of Chelsea?. Their manager, David Wagner, is a strange but likeable chap who appears to be doing a very good job with a team depending upon the genius of Hazard allied to the tenacity of the marvelous Kante. The goalkeeper shows the difference between a €60m and a €25m signing, ugly bugger though, our boy is no oil painting but at least he looks human. The midget microphone, Willian always does well against us, hopefully he is crocked.
World Cup winner OG returns to his real home where he should get a rousing reception, thanking him for some unforgettable moments including this …
Look for OG’s pass early in the move
When I lived in London most of my friends were Chelsea or closet Spurs. We always beat them. Always. Who can forget Winterburn’s screamer at the Bridge? As GN5 showed yesterday, those days are well in the past.
Play like we did against West Ham and we will get hammered again, play like we did against Spurs and the points are ours.
Let’s be honest, if we get a point from this evening it would be a surprise. Come the final whistle we are likely to be rooted at the bottom of the table with no points to our name. When was the last time we propped up the table? Only GN5 could answer that (perhaps).
Unlike BR to start with a negative as he is an optimist and always believe we will win prior to kick-off.
We weren’t terrible against City, had a couple of chances to draw level at 0-1, and could, with a bit more luck, have ground out a point but City showed why they are so good. The hope is that we can re-create their tactical pressing game.
Chelsea are also in transition but a little ahead of us – it should be recalled that they won the title a year ago. Sarri seems a good appointment. They have bought well and will be serious rivals for the Top 4.
Why they didn’t buy another striker is a mystery; will Giroud and Morata be enough firepower? Hazard is fantastic but they cannot continually rely upon his brilliance.
Giroud was crap at the WC, yet played every game (?) and won a WC Winners medal. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer bloke and I wish him well, apart from this afternoon.
In defence the Chavs are strong on the flanks and if we are to find the net it will be through pace in the cantre of attack. A few clever passes and PEA will get behind their CB’s, then a little dink over the world’s most expensive GK. No-one highlighted the extraordinary finish against City from an offside position, the man is class.
Changes to last week? Torreira has to start, he is to be our Kante (who IMO is the best player in the PL). The Hairy One should to be benched. Ramsey or Mhiki could be dropped to allow us to play two up-top. Monreal to return and add some spine to the right side, though it must be said that the Swiss bloke was very good last week.
Bellerin Mustafi A Greek Bloke Monreal
Ramsey Torreira Iwobi
We will not start with this team but it is how I would like to see us line up. Iwobi is more mobile and better defensively than Mhiki (though perhaps not a better attacker). Mhiki was anonymous last week, so was Ozil – we need more.
Of the London teams Chelsea are the second best club, they may be Oilers but they play decent football and have got rid of the awful JT/Frank L generation.
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?
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?
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.
This was a reply to a GoonerB question which needed a wider audience
Everyone saw the recent Watford game in which we won 3-0. Was anyone really surprised? No. Why? Because Arsenal have a better team. Why do Arsenal have a better team? Because Arsenal have more money to buy better players. This is not rocket science. So I think it is fair to say that if Arsenal played Watford 100 times, Arsenal would win 95 of them.
It then naturally follows that if there were a league of just those two teams that Arsenal would win most of the time. However as the odds suggest Arsenal could have an off day as we did when Watford dumped us out of the FA cup. This is the equivalent of Leicester winning the league, they are the exception that proves the rule that the clubs with greater spending power are more likely to win the league.
Things should be clear now using the Arsenal – Watford example, where it gets complicated is when loyalty gets in the way because that can be the only excuse for not seeing that exactly the same applies to Arsenal and Man City. If they they played us for 100 consecutive games they are more likely than not to win 95 of them for the same reasons I give above.
Winning is quite simply all about money, it is not a case of Stan Kroenke loosening the purse strings; he is not competing against another rich man he is competing against an oil rich country. It cannot be won and should not be expected to be won.
So what does this mean? It means that yes we can still win the league but the odds are against us. What I want is a manager who understands this and accepts the challenge in order to increase the small chance of winning the league to the maximum that it can be. And who do I think is best placed to achieve this? Arsene Wenger and that is why I remain loyal.
That obviously needs explanation but I don’t want to turn this into a book.
We had a game this weekend, it was won by the home team. It wasn’t a surprise.
Have you looked at the PL table? It is possibly the most unusual in a few decades. To see one team so dominant that they are 16 points ahead of 2nd and likely to harvest the highest number of points in PL history (though they will lose 3 when we beat them at The Emirates).
City are a brilliant team, team being the operative word. They have fine players but unlike United they are not dependent upon individual skills. Me-rinho knows he cannot compete as a manager with Pep but he can spend a few hundred million buying players who can win a match on their own. It will get him 2nd or 3rd spot
Spurs and Liverpool are on season highs as Chelsea plummet. If Spurs get 4th will it be considered a trophy 😀
And what of Arsenal. When Chelsea win tonight we will be 7 points off 5th and 8 off 4th. Realistically it is all over for the top 4 place.
Yet, we are also 9 points ahead of 7th place. We will finish 6th and in a league of our own. Had Arsenal a clue when it comes to playing away from home, this was a season when we could have finished much higher but our mysterious away form.
There is a problem arising in the PL. None of the teams below are going into the Top 6 in the near future.. Everton have spent a fortune, so have Leicester yet both of them are almost 20 points off top 4 and 10 points behind us.
Everton and Leicester are in competition with Bournemouth, Burnley and Watford for 7th place (Europa?).
Given our BoD’s decision to loosen the purse strings and buy our way back to the Top 4, 2019 will be exciting.
Another semi-final. In the last one we smashed Man City. Can we do the same to the Southern Oilers?
Team selection will be interesting as it will show how much of a priority Mr Wenger gives to the Carabao – very little is my guess. Though in a season which promises to end poorly, any silverware is important.
Man City put out a full squad against Bristol, they are clearly focussed upon winning the CC, which indicates that AW will give it the beans tonight.
I fear the away goals rule, it could cost us dear, especially given the flakiness of our defence. We conceded twice against the Chavs last time we met at THOF, do so tonight and we wave goodbye to Wembley (until we play away to THFC).
No Miki, he is cup-tied. No OG, Welbz and possibly Nacho. So almost a full squad.
If we are to win Ozil has to perform. He has been in good form of late and his set-up for Lacazette last weekend was superb. More of the same tonight, please.
Conte, who like most Italian managers is blessed with magnificent hair, will be prudent, adopting defensive tactics and relying on the counter-attacking excellence of Willian and Hazard. As always, our wing backs will need to be wary.
Chambers Mustafi Koscielny
Bellerin Wilshire Xhaka M_N
We have little attacking threat on the bench with Theo gone, and OG/Welbz injured. Could it be the night when Eddie cements his Carabao and AFC career, scoring late in the game to seal a victory?
I know I shouldn’t mention this but one of my worst football moments was late in a return leg CL game at Highbury against the Chavs, you know the one. That’s not going to happen tonight, is it?
Chelsea away. Injuries all over the shop. Porous defence. Lack of confidence. Fans less than enthusiastic.
Doesn’t bode well.
Last game was a cracker; full of excitement and top quality attacking allied to dreadful defending from The Arsenal, diving and awful finishing from Chelsea. I expect much of the same tonight and would be thrilled with a similar result.
Sanchez: According to the media we have received a €20m offer from City. How will that affect both the player and the manager? Would you sell him or let him go for nothing in summer? Is €20m enough?
VAR: Exciting and interesting development which will/could change the way football at the highest level will function. It works in other sports but can it work in football? Would Hazard’s clear dive be a penalty or not? Depends upon one’s viewpoint which is exactly the point!
Given that Chelsea and MC remain in the Carabao, was AW decision, to prioritise tonight over the FA Cup, pragmatism or stupidity?
We shall see.
There is no doubt in my mind that if Arsenal play well, particularly if we take the chances in attack, we can win. The question is – does the team share my faith?
Hopefully we will be playing against 11 and not 12 tonight. Another points-robbing refereeing decision could see me give up watching.
For a decade Chelsea have been a team studded with A-holes. Lampard, Terry, Costa, etc there were loads of them. Today only Luiz really approaches the awfulness of the past. Instead they have pleasant folk like Hazard, Kante, Cahill and Courtois.
Can we beat The Champions?
To be quite honest, I am doubtful unless we find some form. Chelsea will hopefully not PTB and allow some space for our forwards; if they do we can beat them but unlike Arsenal they have a full squad to pick from.
Chelsea also have a clever, charming manager with very good hair. Abramovich seems to like a good haircut.
With Ramsey, Giroud, Monreal and possibly Kos and Kol out, we have selection problems.
Win tonight and it will be a decent Xmas, lose and we fall behind.
Chambers BFG Koscielny
Bellerin Xhaka Wilshere M-N
Given Chelsea use pace to attack it may be wise to start Holding rather than our Club Captain in the middle of defence and perhaps Elneny, or Coquelin, in place of M-N to add a touch of security.
This is an important night for Arsenal can we beat or even compete with a very good team in form? Can we get our potent front-line to fire. Lacazette needs to score and go on a run of scoring if we are to compete for the CL places. Trouble is, I am not sure he or AFC are capable.
That said, we beat Chelsea last time they came to The Emirates and at Wembley 😀, we can again.