Your choice of first names on the Arsenal team sheet ….. Poll

March 18, 2016

 

We have been underperforming as a team for some time. Few if any of our players could be described as being in top form. The signs against Barcelona were encouraging and we certainly didn’t disgrace ourselves – but two of the best performers (Elneny and Iwobi) weren’t what you might consider to be first team regulars yet.

Is the problem more to do with the team than the individuals, or is it that the players aren’t taking enough individual responsibility? A player can only be his best when others around him are also on top of their game, so clearly the two are interdependent. A team that is performing well can carry a couple of players who are below par, but a single player cannot carry a whole team unless he is a truly exceptional leader – and I don’t think we have anyone of that character in the squad. The team ethic is paramount.

One mark of a good side is actually knowing what your strongest eleven is and getting the best blend of players to gel into an effective team.

So I got to wondering how many of the currently available players would be categorised as ‘first names on the team sheet’.

Not enough is my answer!

These are the outfield players I would categorise as ‘must play’ in the important game ahead against Everton – there are only 6!

Koscielny, Bellerin, Elneny, Monreal, Ozil and Welbeck

That leaves 4 positions where I can’t see a clear first choice – and apart from the one CB, they are all in midfield/attacking midfield. The emergence of Iwobi as a ‘proper Arsenal player’ is one of the highlights of the season and I’d also play him on Saturday although he features just below my ‘must play’ rating.

How many and who would be your ‘must start’ players against Everton?

You can choose up to 10 (goalkeepers are not included) in the poll below and then review the results later in the day to see whether others agree.

Rasp

 


Welbeck to Start.

February 28, 2016

Any trip to Old Trafford is cause for trepidation and despite MU’s poor recent form, this afternoon is no exception. It is 10 years since we won at their miserable, ugly, prawn-ridden stadium.

True, United no longer get sent out to kick two-colours out of our lads by the inspirational red-nosed alkie – instead they are inspired by Oliver & Hardy (LVG & Giggsy).

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LVG asking Giggs if he should sub Carrick

It has been an underwhelming season so far for MU, especially given their huge financial investment into the squad. 10 points behind us and 15 off the top is not what MU’s board would have hoped for.

BUT, the Mancs always raise their game against us. Just think back to the stand-out moments of recent seasons; the PV4/Keane battle, AW sent to the stands surrounded by bile-spewing muppets, Rooney’s dives, RvP’s goal off his shoulder (for MU), Fellaini. There always seems to be some misfortune which follows Arsenal at OT.

For example, De Gea returns from injury as does Smalling (wish AW had signed him), Martial and Rojo. This will not be the massively weakened MU we have seen over recent weeks.

There are concerns about our goal-scoring; almost 6 weeks since OG’s last goal, Sanchez playing way-below form, Theo ineffective, Ramsey not being able to hit a cow’s arse etc etc. However, in Ozil/Welbeck we have the keys to drive us to victory, not just today but in the title run-in.

I fervently wish for Welbeck to start today. Quite where he fits in I cannot fathom but we need his pace and strength. Where do you think he should play? He is naturally a left-sided attacker but that is where Sanchez plays and Alexis is undroppable.

We have succeeded in Manchester by parking the bus, playing a pressing game and attacking on the break. I think a similar plan would be effective this afternoon – it almost worked on Tuesday.

In an attempt not to repeat myself 🙂 I will not write of my admiration for Aaron Ramsey nor the need to remain vigilant for the excellent United wing play – Depay is starting to look like the world’s most expensive teenager again.

Nor will I mention Leicester or the need to keep pace with the excrement from N15. If we are to win the title a point today is the least we should hope for.

At this time in a post I often reflect upon my feelings about our opposition. For some reason I do not hate MU this season! Is it because of the humour and humanity of LVG, the awful run of injuries, the difficulty of changing from the SAF old guard to a new MU filled with exciting attacking intent (that is a joke) or just that it is an unpleasant trait to laugh at those who are going through tough times? Whatever the reason, I find I have some sympathy for our old rivals plight.

I still want to beat them though.

A repeat of the thrashing we gave United at the Emirates would be lovely

COYRRG

 

 

 


Euros to win the League for Arsenal

February 17, 2016

Danny Welbeck came to Arsenal from Manchester United, where he had performed a bit part role as a wide playing attacker.

Soon after his arrival, and in the absence of Olivier Giroud, Arsene played Danny through the middle, and such was the success, he was soon deployed in the same role by England Manager, Roy Hodgson. Danny’s period as Arsenal striker culminated in the sublime Henryesque goals against Galatasaray, before the returning Giroud shunted him back out wide.

Right, back to England. This same period saw the emergence of Mr Kane from “down the road”, and he in turn began to receive telephone calls from Roy.

Fast forward one season, and the Premiership has seen the meteoric rise of Vardy, who himself, now sees the opportunity of grabbing an England starting berth as we head towards this summer’s European Championships. We are now in February, and the teams sitting in the top three League positions all have potential England Euro starters in the central striker’s role.

We all saw on Sunday how understandably knackered Vardy was during the last twenty minutes, and the same fate awaits Mr Kane. Danny, on the other hand, is fit, fresh and has much to prove for both club and country.

I do feel that the freshness and speed of both Danny and Theo will give Arsenal a real edge as the legs of other teams’ defences tire, but my question for today is, will the England carrot dangled before the Welbeck nose give Arsenal the edge over the battle worn legs of Vardy and Kane?

 Written by MickyDidIt89


Loving The Alien

January 30, 2016

There is a chance we may have an exciting team taking the field in red and white. The BBC are expecting Tommy Rosicky to get a kick!

I recall speaking to Kelsey about Tomas a few years ago and we both agreed his time as a PL player was over, yet here he is making a Lazarus-like resurrection (somewhat appropriate with Lent around the corner). I am delighted. Top bloke, top player and a man whom, if he lasts a few games, will add much to our run in.

There is another rumour … apparently someone purporting to be Danny Welbeck is in training and could be available for selection. Now this I cannot believe. I am easily led and extraordinarily gullible but this is a step too far.

And Coquelin!! The boss said 6 weeks and here is Le Coq back within AW’s 6 week time frame which as everyone knows is 3 months in human time. Do you think that AW lives in a different time dimension to us? He is a remarkable man and who knows, perhaps he is not of this earth? An alien. This may explain his eyesight problems, his lack of understanding the need for a 40 goal a season striker and his strange sense of time.

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Mr. Wenger’s Father (and Mother)

Our opponents: I have written of Burnley in the past, of my affection for a proper old fashioned club, of Bob Lord, of claret and blue. Of Hovis adverts, coal mining and cotton. In my research about Burnley F.C  I discovered they had once been managed by a chap named Albert Pickles. Fair play to them.

Burnley are a decent team who will cause us problems but hopefully not too many. They sit a handy 3rd in the Championship and could easily face us in the PL next season. No mugs and in Sean Dyche have one of the best young managers around. We have won our last 5 FA Cup games against them with an aggregate score of 16-1.

Another exciting prospect for Gooners is the almost certain first appearance of Elneny, our first Egyptian player to play in the first team (Rami Shabaan had Egyptian parents and we had a chap called Fathy who played a couple of reserve games in 2004). I have a good feeling about this bloke.

I would like to see Theo given a start at CF today and OG on the bench. The big man needs a break and Theo is more likely to score and gain some confidence at home against C’ship opposition. The same can be said of The Ox who will surely be given Ramsey’s role again.

Another chap I would like to see rested is Koscielny. The man has become a masterful CB but like many could use a break, this would allow us to see our future CB pairing – GAbriel and Chambers. The more practice they have together the better the chances of them becoming a solid partnership.

Gibbs ahead of Monreal and Bellerin on the other flank thanks to our lack of a back-up LB. And Ospina in goal (if fit).

Sanchez, Walcott and Campbell up top with perhaps Ozil behind depending upon how his foot/leg has responded to treatment.

There is a chance we could win a hatrick of FA Cups. History making. Mr. Wenger deserves it. He could be the manager who went through a season unbetaen and one who won 3 on the trot.

Let it be so…

COYRRG

 


Do Arsenal Really need another striker?

June 5, 2015

Well, do we?

There will be many posts through the summer which regurgitate what is trending regarding our FA Cup winners 😀  This is just the first ….

It is the same old argument about Arsenal’s front line but hopefully with a different slant because I do not think we should sign a striker – we have enough.

Let’s look at the menu …… Welbeck, Sanchez (or is it Alexis?), Giroud, Podolski, Sanogo, Walcott, Campbell, Akpom. That is 8 players vying for 2 or 3 places. We have the numbers but do we have the quality?

Podolski is a busted flush, the US League football beckons

Campbell is still young but has struggled at Villarreal – and if he struggles there then he has little chance of establishing himself as a force in the PL. If we can get a couple of mill for the lad, sell, sell, sell.

Akpom. An exciting prospect. Keep him at AFC until January and then loan him to whomever is at the top of the Championship.

Sanogo? I just don’t know. The chap has the physical attributes to be a target man but has he the skills; can he learn them? His loan at Palace was a qualified success, as in he got some pitch time and scored in the FA Cup but on the other hand he could not force himself in the first team. His scoring record for the France U-21’s indicates there is a decent striker in his lanky form. I would keep him and give Sanogo another loan at  – say, Norwich.

Which brings us to the 4 main strikers:

I don’t care what you say, OG is a fine striker and is in the world’s top 10 CF’s. Is he as good as Aguero – No. Suarez – No. But neither is Costa or Cavani or Falcao. It is an unfair comparison. Is he a 20+ goal a season man? Yes, he is. Does he create chances for others? Yes, his link-up play is comparable with anyone. If OG had been fit during that horrible start to the season we would have been closer to the Chavs, of that there can be little doubt.

Theo. We have to keep him. The prospect of a fluid and very pacy front 3 is exciting. Walcott’s injuries have stopped us seeing just how good his partnership with Ozil can be – IMO Ozil will make Theo into a 20 gaol a season man IF he can stay fit. I have always supported Theo and remain convinced he can become one of the PL’s very best players.

So that is already 40 goals

20 more from the Sensational Sanchez or the Amazing Alexis.

Welbeck is more puzzling. The man has so much and yet is lacking so much. He does it for England so can clearly find the back of the net but where and when does he play? As a stop gap whilst Sanchez rests? Can he actually play through the middle? Was Mr Wenger looking at the way Welbz cuts in from the left as a signifier he can become another TH? Perhaps he can. I love his workrate, his enthusiasm and his pace. But.

Let’s be realistic. We are not going to sign Higuain, Falcao, Yarmalenko, the German chap, or even at the French fellow. It is fun to speculate about them but we have some terrific strikers at the club and there are other areas where we can improve.

We have 3 strikers who, if fit, will score 60 goals+ between them. We have MF’s who will score at least 25 between them and defenders who can add another 10. That is close on 100 PL goals. We do not need to spend €50m on a striker (but it would be nice, wouldn’t it?)

 


Wilshere and Welbeck to start at Wembley?

April 18, 2015

Well, With Whom Would you Wish Wenger to Walk onto the Werdant Wilds of Wemberlee? Wilshere, Welbeck, Wojciech or Wamsey?

Enough of that nonsense.

Let’s be honest we should win today but in the world of Arsenal there is many a slip twixt cup and lip. In a lifetime of supporting Arsenal I have witnessed many an embarrassing hiccup so I take nothing for granted but we should beat Reading – shouldn’t we?

We have won our last two games at Wembley, our form is excellent, we have had a week of rest and Diaby is fit. Reading are a decent team but in very average from – last 6 league games, D3 L3.

Can anyone explain this to me? The bookies are offering 14/1 for a Reading win and yet 1 to 4 on for an AFC win. Seems strange but I am no mathematician.

Unknown

The Current FA Cup Holders

How many of the players should be rested today without taking away the fluency of the team? I would bring in Debuchy and Gibbs, rest Alexis and perhaps Ozil giving Theo and Welbz a Wembley run, and TPIG for Ospina. But would such wholesale changes be too damaging?

Mr Wenger is a conservative manager, as such he would not make the wholesale changes BR suggests.

Wilshire was head and shoulders the best player on the pitch in his recent U-21 appearance and must be in the manager’s thoughts.  So ….. in essence I have no idea who will start this afternoon but this is my stab at the starting 11 …

My Team:

Szczesny

Debuchy      BFG      Koscielny     Gibbs

Wilshere      Le Coq     Cazorla

Walcott      Giroud       Welbeck

This is the team I expect AW to pick – same back 5, then

Ramsey   Le Coq

  Cazorla    Ozil

OG   Welbz

I could play with this all morning as it is many a year since we had so many possible formations and players to pick from. The squad is as good as I can ever remember.

I haven’t mentioned Reading much, have I? There is a reason  for this …. I know SFA about them. They have a couple of lardy big lumps up front who will try to muscle their way past our CB’s. A Chav loanee in midfield, an Arsenal schoolboy, Kanu on the wings – Reading are no doubt a battling, enthusiastic team. They will try to make it a physical battle because Reading are doomed if they try to play an expansive game. If we score early the game is over. If they score early TPIG will be the only player in the Arsenal half for the remainder of the game.

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Shape UP Man

Any game at Wembley is special. Being a traditionalist leftie hippy I prefer the old AV/MU grounds for the semi’s but who can deny Wigan/Reading/L’pool a Wembley day out. It is the highlight of their decade.

Last year’s FAC SF was one of the most gut-wrenching experiences of my life as a Gooner. We are prone to start slowly at Wembley – goodness knows why – and cannot this afternoon. Attack from the first, be aggressive, solid in defence with Le Coq holding the midfield. No stupid mistakes from the off-the-naughty-step Szczesny, some lethal finishing from our front men and another final awaits.

I am 74% confident.

COYRRG

written by Big Raddy


It’s a RIGHT old conundrum

April 16, 2015

There was one part of LB’s excellent post match report from the weekend that struck a chord with me when he made the following observation :

Ramsey on the right, really? This smacks of trying to maintain a political harmony rather than being ruthless in the team selection. Yes, he scored the winning goal and that should not be scoffed at but on the wing when we have Welbeck and Walcott on the bench and we were crying out for pace down that flank.

I felt that was a very interesting observation from LB and echoed thoughts that I have had for some time, and have also expressed on A.A before. I have previously taken a view that we potentially get a problem when trying to accommodate Ramsey, Santi and Ozil all in the same set up as one of them has to be a more designated wide player. Despite each of their varying great technical attributes they are all predominantly central midfielders and lack a crucial ingredient for a wide player, that being pace. I noticed that some of the comments on LB’s post indicated that many felt Ramsey on the right was the right call, and potentially also the right formation choice moving forwards.

Now it could of course be that for reasons unknown to us that Arsene identified some tactical area specific to a Burnley away game that was more suited to Ramsey playing this position, a type of horses for courses if you like. If not, however, then I am also slightly confused as to where this leaves both Welbeck and Walcott, if it is that Ramsey is considered a superior option to them in this role. I further seem to recall that on more than one occasion, earlier in the season, an available Ox was also overlooked for the Ramsey, Santi, Ozil trio with one of them taking up the wide right position rather than the more naturally pacy AOC.

Now I am not saying that this formation and combination can never work. There are many games in a season and it will likely be suited to some of them. The problem for me is that many of my recollections of games we were poor in had this trio in the starting line up, combined with Giroud up top, and with limited pace options from the wide areas.

Giroud actually becomes an important part of the consideration on this subject. I have always rated Ollie and have stated so, but have also stated that I felt we needed something even more world class if we were to compete in the final stages of the EPL and ECL. I still harbour some feelings in this direction but I will actually hold my hands up and state that my stance on this may have softened somewhat, such has been his recent performances, and I am potentially willing to change my mind on this with one particular proviso.

There is one point regarding Giroud that I still adhere to which is, that due to his lack of pace, he needs to have that natural pace either side of him that can run beyond him. Preferably these will be players that also have a decent eye for goal. This both enhances Giroud’s hold up and lay off skills and minimises exposing his one key weakness of a lack of pace.

We are all in a bit of Ollie heaven right now but I still cast my mind back to some earlier season performances where he was nullified and ineffective in certain games, and I strongly feel it was when we played slower but technical players behind and to the side of him rather than opting for wide pacy goal-scorers. My feeling is that we can get away with it when the opposition is not of the highest calibre but a better team uses that imbalance to take control of the game and nullify us.

In my view we have already seen this happen, even if not so recently so the question is, will it happen again to our cost, or have we now developed further as a team and it is no longer a relevant tactical consideration? Your great collective thoughts on this would be much appreciated.

Written by GoonerB