Wenger Loosens the French Connection.

February 1, 2018

Another Obituary. Strange Days.

Today we wish Giroud a fond farewell, and give a gentle wave to Debuchy. Two more lockers to be emptied.

Matthieu Debuchy. Signed from Newcastle for, what was then, big money. Started his AFC career in fine form and seemed another good buy, but sadly he got crocked by Arnautivic (off the ball in what should have been a straight red card incident). In his absence Hector grew into the player we see today. Had Debuchy not been injured would Hector have made such an impression? We will never know. What is for sure is that injuries have blighted Debuchy’s AFC career. I like his punk attitude; he has not been satisfied being a squad player and now has the chance to enjoy the last years of his playing time in France. Could have been a good servant, sadly through events beyond his control, wasn’t.

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Like so many others I would like to thank Olivier Giroud for his input – a proper Arsenal man who (from media reports) wanted to stay at The Emirates. When OG arrived we were excited, a French International with a good scoring record, good in the air and just the chap to take over from RvP, or so we thought. Unfortunately OG is not and never was at the level of the Dutch Traitor. He is a very good attacker with great vision and a delicate touch but he is not of the first rank. Much admired but everyone knows he is simply not good enough for Arsenal. A great back-up striker and Plan B. For a team which has historically relied upon pace, OG was perhaps not the right fit but he always gave his all and we can ask for no more.

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No more will his song be sung, shame as it is one of the few that everyone knows both the tune and words. We will remember a man who loved the club, was extraordinarily handsome and scored spectacular goals.

Thank you Mr. Giroud. We wish you well.

So … we come to the end of a thrilling January transfer window, out of breath and in shock. I predicted we would sign and sell no-one, so did almost all of you. How wrong could we be?

Exciting times ahead.


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

 


Red Star Pre – Match

October 19, 2017

There are some names in football which have a ring to them, something romantic that takes us back to times past, Red Star Belgrade is one of those.

Before mass- televised football, before the fall of the Berlin Wall and the breakup of Yugoslavia, before drug testing etc Red Star were huge, Barcelona huge. They were Tito’s team, they played in Communist red and white with a red star. They were the team that Man Utd played before the awful Munich disaster. They had a ground which held 110,000 fans – more than Wembley, and they filled it for every game! In 1991 they won the  European Cup.

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Times have changed. After the breakup of Yugoslavia and the creation of Serbia, Red Star are no longer the powerhouse of East Europe. They remain the peoples team with almost 50% of Serbs supporting them.

The ground is called the Marakana, tonight is a 55k sellout and AFC can expect a hostile, intimidating welcome.

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Once again, I know nothing about the opposition squad. I expect them to be organised, hard working with a couple of tricky players and a big bloke upfront (much like us!)

My Team:

Cech

Debuchy   BFG    Monreal

Nelson     Elneny     Wilshire    Maitland-Niles

Iwobi

Walcott    Giroud

Debuchy is due to start his first game for almost a year. Apparently Mr Wenger tried to give him away in summer but received no offers, thanks to high wage demands. One has to feel for the Frenchman; injured early in his AFC career by a sly foul from some Stoke Orc. he has had the misfortune to see his place taken by a young, wonderful talent who, quite frankly, is in a different league to him. Given how much Debuchy cost, how in demand he was when at Newcastle, it must hurt not to be a first team choice and perhaps explains Debuchy’s less than compliant attitude.

Welbeck, Kos, Chambers, Sanchez, Ramsey and Mustafi are all out with different degrees of injury.

I expect Ramsey, Sanchez and Ozil to start at Evertion so Iwobi and Wilshere should be our creative hub tonight.

Not an easy game to predict as Red Star are a decent team, have home advantage and Arsenal will be putting out a second string team. It should be fun as we continue our Europa campaign.

 


The Case of the Disappearing Full Back.

November 16, 2016

I can’t speak for you but these are impoverished times for the Raddy family. Times are hard and despite taking Raddy Junior out of Eton and selling Mrs Raddy’s minks we struggle to maintain Raddy Towers. So how is it that Arsenal can afford to throw away cash on a blighter like Debuchy?

Where is he? Is he training with Arsenal? Is he working in the marketing department or helping Mr. Gazidiz buy his Xmas gifts? No, he is on loan at Bordeaux in lovely  France.

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We paid £12m for the chap,  we got 12 games out of him! Arsenal have paid the man’s wages for two years and no doubt we pay a percentage of his stipend at Bordeaux. Given that his wages are stand at £70k a week, his cost to AFC, so far, is almost 20 million of Her Majesty’s finest. That is over £1.5m a game!!

Madness.

One cannot blame Debuchy. It wasn’t his fault that he succumbed to a series of injuries at AFC (thigh, ankle, shoulder, hamstring and groin) nor was it his fault that Bellerin so brilliantly took his place in the side. No, the responsibility lies with whomever signed an injury-prone 29 y.o.and paid him so much money.

Arsenal offered him to all and sundry in the summer break but no-one would buy an understandably unhappy Debuchy because his wages make him unsellable, so we loaned him out. Again, why?

I know Corporal Jenks is a Gooner and gives everything to the cause but he is not as good a RB as Debuchy, so the only reason the Frenchman is on loan is because he was so unhappy at Arsenal – the team who over-pay his wages – that he was gifted to Bordeaux thanks to the “rotten apple” effect.

I realise it is difficult to know whether a player will bring value to a team (just look at MU’s recent buys 😄) and Arsenal’s record is above average but this was one they got horribly wrong.

written by Big Raddy

 


Major Tom to Ground Control

January 17, 2016

What a strange season it has been. Who would have thought that the ultra-defensive, park the bus mindset of so many PL managers would change so quickly into the exciting football we have seen in 2015/16. 3-3 draws have become the new 1-0’s. Long may it continue.

Or is it poor defending? 😀

Take today’s opponents, Stoke. Managed by one the the meanest, most defence obsessed, get in their faces, kick their best players out the game, route one obsessed men in the Premiership they have turned into a club who play proper football. What has happened to Sparky?

What changed?  What made the miscreant Hughes buy Shaqiri, Krkic and Affelay?

Whatever the reasons, I am delighted. However, Stoke still have their share of thugs with both Debuchy and Ramsey having bad memories of strong-arm Stoke-isms.

There are exciting developments at Arsenal.The arrival of El Nino and the possible return of Duracell Boy; I don’t expect either to start but both could get some pitch time. Our results suggest that we have not missed Sanchez but there can be little doubt we are better with him on the pitch. If Theo doesn’t put in a decent performance this afternoon the bench awaits. Flamini has done a sterling job but needs a rest –  would you blood El Nino against Stoke or Chelsea? I wouldn’t. A couple of sub appearances are most likely.

I expect the same 11 to start as at Liverpool.

We have lost 5 of the last 8 games at the Britannia. Not good and hard to fathom. We have always finished the season above them and despite the aggressive grunts emanating from the cavemen who grimace bare-chested in the stands, we should do better.

My dream scenario would be an easy Arsenal victory with Aaron Ramsey scoring a hatrick, Flamini giving Shawcross a sly kicking and Kos flattening the cowardly, cheating basket named Arnautovic. But I would take a scrappy , plucky, lucky 3 points.

As always at the Britannia we will need a strong referee who is not influenced by Stoke’s baying boneheads. The incumbent is Craig Pawson; don’t know much about this chap but we must hope for the best.

I am still hurting from the stupid equaliser at Anfield, a win today would set us up nicely for the Chelsea game and to some extent negate that pain. A draw and we go back to TotL.

My youth was spent living for football and music. The first time I saw one of my Heroes was at the Finsbury Park Rainbow. I queued for hours and got tickets to see Bowie. He came on stage an hour late and proceeded to do a 45 minute mime act with Lindsay Kemp and then left the stage. To say I was disappointed is a massive understatement. But … I didn’t give up and was fortunate to see him on many occasions including some of the most exciting and spine tingling musical moments of my life. Words cannot express my thanks to Mr David Bowie.

We can be Heroes …. Just for one day.

COYRRG


Are Arsenal’s fullbacks good enough?

August 28, 2015

The general perceived feeling on the forum is that we are doing fine on the full-back position as we have four reliable full-backs at our disposal:-Debuchy, Bellerin, Monreal and Gibbs.

I tend to agree that are “good full backs” but I am not convinced that they can take our club to the next level as they still suffer from defensive lapses, do not create enough assists or goals and worse, do not bring enough width to our game at times when we are stuck with fruitless possession in the opponent’s half…You look at Ivanovic, Alves, Rafinha, Lahm, Alaba, Alba and even Baines, Coleman or Clyne (he still needs to confirm though) and you realize that our FBs are not doing enough for our team…

What is your take on it?

Written by RC78


Keep the Corporal

June 22, 2015

It is my belief that we should be looking to retain the services of one Corporal Carl Jenkinson at THOF for the immediate future and I will state my case as to why.

What would be the reasons to let him go? Firstly some would argue he is not good enough. Others would say that we are well covered in his position and that there is no place for him when we have Bellerin, Debuchy and Chambers who can all play there.

Out of all our British players the corporal is still playing catch up. He doesn’t yet have the experience of being a regular senior international player and is arguably not yet able to put in performances at the highest level on a consistent basis, as you would expect from the likes of Jack, Ramsey, AOC, Gibbs.

That doesn’t mean though that he will not reach this level and, as with many of our youngsters, it is too early to say whether he will cut it at the top level or not. There have been glimpses that he has that level of performance in him. His recent performances at U21 level have seen him looking like one of the best of the young England players participating. The one game though that above others sticks in my mind was his performance against Bayern Munich in our 2-0 away victory. I believe it was Robben and Muller that were changing flanks to have a go at our young rookie, but he managed to keep both of them quiet for more or less the whole game, which is no easy feat. If that kind of performance is in there and can be replicated consistently then we have a player.

What about the competition?

Bellerin is a fine player and would currently get the nod as first choice but I have 2 things in my mind where this is concerned. Firstly it might be nice to have the option of playing Bellerin as a speedy right winger at times with Jenks behind him. Secondly is the dreaded Barca DNA. I would say there is a good chance that we will lose Bellerin to Spain at some point in the future, and also while he is still in his prime, if not at his peak. If Jenks has developed into that consistent top level player the impact will be lessened, rather than facing the situation scrambling around trying to recruit a new top level player who may need to bed in.

Debuchy? Well he is over 30 so has a limited period that he can provide us with top level cover in this role anyway. Debuchy’s ability to cover at CD and possibly even for Le Coq, (according to RC he played there for Lille which I found an interesting option), means for me that we can keep all 3 with Jenks easing into a more regular role as Debuchy fades / moves on. If Jenks is not as likely to get that playing time right now then I would suggest we get another loan season going while making sure we have him secured on a decent contract term. Chambers can also cover the role but my preference would be to develop him as a CD.

Finally, and perhaps the most important of the lot is the home grown quota rules. This consideration really extends beyond Jenks to all our quality young home grown players. The home grown quota rule may start to bite on some top teams as much as FFP. The team with the greatest amount of high quality home grown players could hold a significant advantage in the next few seasons to come, and we are, in my opinion, in one of the strongest (if not the strongest) positions in this sense relative to our top table rivals. For me it is a hands off to the Chavvies and Northern Oilers with Jenks, Jack, Aaron, Kieron, Calum e.t.c

As always over to you guys for your opinions.

Written by GoonerB


Bellerin or Debuchy?

April 26, 2015

I used to like them. I used to like the fancy-dans of Kings Road. I liked John Hollins, Charlie Cooke and Ossie and even Terry Vegetables. I enjoyed watching Ruud Gullit and Vialli and Pat Nevin, They had swagger, class and style. They were Chelsea but post the Russian have become The Chavs. New money, new ethos – efficiency over character.

If I were a Chelsea fan would I be happy? Of course I would but I know I would hanker after the Glory Days because football is not just about winning – it is also about entertainment.

A team with Hazard, Costa, Fabregas, Oscar, Willian etc should be able to get bums off seats, instead they are tailor-made for a mid-afternoon Sunday nap on the settee. You know what to expect – they do enough to win and no more. What happened to that wonderful team which hammered all-comers at the beginning of the season? Same players but totally different entertainment level.

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Chelsea fan mid-way through the first half

Why? The rot starts at the top, filters down to the horrible oik of a manager then to the dreadful team captain and onwards to the team.

I will not ruin your day by spending any time writing about the manager; suffice it to say that he is successful and charismatic – so was Stalin.

What of today’s encounter? First vs Second (well it was on Friday!). A win today takes us back to second with a game in hand on MC & MU (and 11 points ahead of the N17 neanderthals). Can we finally beat Mourinho?

To start with, Ramsey has to play. Whomever is to play right back will have to cope with Cesc, Oscar and Hazard. He will need the additional security of a tackling “winger” rather than Theo.

Bellerin or Debuchy? We discussed this briefly mid-week with the majority pointing out Bellerin’s fine run of form and his extreme pace; my inclination is to start Debuchy. Bellerin makes the odd mistake which is inevitable with such a young man, Debuchy may not be as pacy or as much of an attacking threat but he has the experience. That said, Debuchy did not excel at Wembley.

Then there is the battle of the Franks – Francesc vs Francis. Le Coq has excelled in recent weeks but Cesc is a level above all the MF’s he has faced. Whatever your feelings about Fabregas the man, he remains a wonderful footballer – the best in his position in the PL (IMO). Would he improve the current Arsenal team – possibly not, but who would you rather see in the Red & White, Cesc or Aaron or Santi?  All of them is my answer!

The teams seem evenly balanced and I expect the result to depend upon which side makes the least mistakes. If our defence can concentrate for 90+ minutes with the midfield backing up both FB’s we should win because we have better forwards. I know Hazard will be Player of the Season but in my opinion Alexis has been better. Ozil and Giroud are better players than Oscar and whichever lump plays upfront for Chelsea today.

BFG or The Archangel? If fit, Mertesacker has to start, though Gabriel seems to have pace and excellent abitliy in the air which could be vital against a team with such big CB’s. Cahill, Terry and Ivanovic have scored 15 goals between them!

My Team:

Ospina

Debuchy    BFG (if fit)   Koscielny   Monreal

Cazorla    Coquelin

Ozil

Ramsey     Sanchez

Giroud

Other changes could be Welbeck in for Ramsey as Mr Wenger may choose to be more attacking in a home fixture – somehow I doubt it. The bench is possibly the strongest in the PL. We have so many fine players in the squad. When The Ox returns will he find a place in the current first 11 or even the bench?

Matic worries me. The man is a beast and exactly the kind of player Mr Wenger should be buying in summer. Sadly this type of player is rare and as such hugely expensive. The physical battle between Matic and Le Coq will be interesting.

Courtois. This chap is fantastic, everything I wish TPIG could have been. Let’s hope he has a disastrous evening.

As to the Mourinho/Wenger hoodoo. It is just history – as irrelevant as our FAC Final win over the Chavs in the Ray Parlour final. That said it would be wonderful if we could win today to stop another tedious media narrative.

We have won 9 games in a row, are at home, have a fully fit team and bench. We can win.

I am 51% confident

written by Big Raddy

 

 


Summer Signings. Balotelli, Lukaku or Costa?

March 27, 2015

Let’s take an early review of our summer business in 2014. How are Mr Wenger’s new boys faring?   They are rated like this: Balotelli – a poor signing, Lukaku – an OK signing but could do better, and Costa- a great addition to the team

1. Ospina: I am undecided. His goals against and shots saved stats are impressive and he is top of the PL for average goals conceded in games played but there is something missing. He just doesn’t inspire confidence. I like a keeper who dominates his box, controls his defence and is vocal – Ospina seems too “nice”. Szczesny is a loony – and as we all know the best keepers are nuts (Schmeichel/Seaman/Shilton/Kahn.)

BR’s Rating: Lukaku

2. Debuchy. We can only go on his contribution to this season’s campaign and thanks to injury it is minimal. On his rare appearances he seems all we we would wish for – pacy, a good crosser, good in the air and a fine tackler but 10 appearances is not good value.

BR Rating: Balotelli 

3. Chambers: The lad has had a strange season insomuch as he has been seen as a brilliant signing in his first few games and done less well of late. He is clearly a fine prospect as told by his considerable signing-on fee . I think he will become an Arsenal stalwart but right now he needs to find a settled position. As I wrote yesterday, Bellerin’s progress has not helped his season.

BR Rating: Lukaku

4. Alexis Sanchez. What a start to his AFC career the little fellow has had. Goals, excitement, energy, skill, entertainment, desire, determination, strength, speed, joy – he brings it all. It has to be said that he looks tired of late but nonetheless he is a marvellous addition to the team and at €32m was cheap

BR Rating: Costa.

5. Welbeck. Danny has yet to establish himself in the team. With a fully fit squad he is unlikely to start but we never have a fully fit squad so his input is important. To start with, he is fine value at €16m. Welbz brings enthusiasm, pace and hard work, what he doesn’t bring is a proper goal threat. To be a top striker goals are an essential and his finishing needs much work – 4 PL goals is not enough. That said, his overall contribution is considerable.

BR Rating: Lukaku

written by Big Raddy (inspiration from RC78)


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