Spud Bashing – Player Ratings

November 18, 2017

Team up for it, crowd up for it, great day in the Red and White side of North London. Grown men singing Sweet Caroline at the tops of their voices as they left the ground – Good times never seemed so good – and Neil Diamond was not wrong.

Cech: his maturity counts for a lot, solid as ever and a great save at the end to keep an impressive clean sheet. 8

Bellerin: excellent going forward, always there to offer an outlet on the wing, some decent defending and some down right worrying defending towards the end. 7

Mustafi: there was a reason why the defense worked today rather than not on other occasions and that was because of the return of Shkodran. A general in his organisation and a tower of strength to the other defenders around him and if that isn’t praise enough he set us on our way to the fine weekend that we are having now with a brilliantly headed goal, my motm: 10

(Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Koscielny: seemed to be inspired and lifted by his fellow CB, some superb defending and some down right poor passing in the first half. Maybe this is harsh as the noticeable thing was that he was the only player who was looking for the Lacazette runs, I noticed in the week that the French national team understand our number 9’s runs and know how to find him, they are still working this out at THOF. 7

Monreal: a very calm, sensible performance nothing fancy nothing silly just went about his job in his professional way. 7

Kolasinac: the honey moon period is over now and there is a touch of the Emperor’s new clothes going on here, don’t get me wrong I am as pleased as punch with the Oxlaide-Chamberlain upgrade but I am still struggling to see exactly what he brings to the table and is what he brings enough? That said if you play in a team that beats spuds 2-0 you will always be worthy of praise and so should his compact, no frills performance today. 7

Ramsey: probably the player that raised his game the least today and as for playing in trainers for most of it, sliding all over the place and loosing possession cheaply, that was not good; he finally changed his boots and got a bit more to grips with things. 7

Xhaka: this player always worries me as it always only seems like a matter of time until he gets sent off — but he didn’t today, I am not known to be the biggest Wilshere fan but I would have Jack in that team ahead of him everyday of the week. Granit sprayed the ball around well and clearly has a lot of self belief which is a useful asset. 7

Ozil: here’s a question, were you a Bergkamp fan or an Henry fan? If you were like me a Berkamp fan and are of a certain age then there is a linage that you have followed: you loved Liam Brady, you secretly admired Paul Davis more than Rocastle, you liked Merson, you thought and think that Bergkamp was and is the greatest player you have ever seen in an Arsenal shirt and you were a great admirer of Pires and yes you still have a soft spot for Fabrigas. Why all this? Because they are all a similar type of player and can be traced through the decades; the more skillful type rather than the pure goal scorer and as such, you, like me, love Ozil more than any other player at the club. We’ve got Ozil, Mesut Ozil, I just don’t think you understand. 9

Lacazette: he is getting close isn’t he, you can sense that there is so much more from him to come but it is coming isn’t it. Interesting that Wenger remains cautious wit him, only ever playing him for 70 minutes. I suspect Wenger knows the levels of fatigue that the Christmas calendar has on players and wants to make sure he is still standing in the new year. Good day today. 9

Sanchez: another brilliant performance, committed as ever and Johnny on the spot again to fire home our second. 9

Match thoughts from a jubilant LB

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The Seagulls fly into The Emirates

October 1, 2017

Brighton & Hove Albion F.C. were founded in 1901 and started playing in the Southern League where they won the 1910 FA Charity Shield, which at that time was contested by the champions of the Southern League, and the Football League Champions.

The 1910 FA Charity Shield was the third Charity Shield. The match was played on 5 September 1910 between 1909–10 Football League winners Aston Villa and 1909–10 Southern League champions Brighton and Hove Albion. The match was played at Stamford Bridge, London, and ended with a 1–0 win for Brighton and Hove Albion. The goal was scored by Charlie Webb, an amateur, with 18 minutes of play remaining.

Poor management brought them close to relegation from the Football League to the Conference which they narrowly avoided in 1997 and 1998. A takeover saved them from liquidation, and following successive promotions they returned to the second tier of English football in 2002, from then on playing in the second and third tiers of English football until the conclusion of the 2016–17 season, where the club earned promotion to the Premier League for the first time in their history, marking an end to a 34-year absence from the top flight.

In December 2008 – after 12 seasons without a permanent home the building of their current home The Falmer Stadium started. On 31 May 2011 the club officially completed the handover and was given the keys to the stadium with an initial capacity of 22,374 seats, which has since been increased to 30,750. They are nicknamed The Seagulls or simply Albion.

We have only played 8 league games against Albion, all in Division 1.

Here is our record.

I cannot see anything but a victory for the good guys regardless of our team, it seems that Koscielny is doubtful and Ozil, Coquelin & Welbeck are out and many of the viable alternatives played in Belarus on Thursday – so it’s a real guessing game – but here is my stab in the dark.

 

Keep the FAITH – we will win.

Written by GunnerN5


Now we welcome the Baggies to the Emirates

September 25, 2017

West Bromwich Albion Football Club was formed in 1878 and they have played at their current ground since 1900. They are known as The Baggies, The Throstles or WBA. They are based in the West Midlands with their main rivals being Aston Villa and Wolverhampton Wanderers.

In 1930/31 they won The Double of The FA Cup beating Birmingham 2-1 and winning Promotion – this version of The Double had not been managed before or since then.

In 1953/4 they came close to being the first team in the 20th century to win the recognized League and Cup double. They beat Preston North End 3-2 in the FA Cup but  finished as runners up to their bitter rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers in the league.

They have only been English Champions once after winning the League in 1919/20.

For the main part of their history The Baggies have played in the top flight of English Football, however when the FA formed the Premier League in 1992, Albion were down in the third tier (the current League One). Gary Megson was appointed as their manager in March 2000 and he led them to promotion into the Premier League in 2001/02.

Our home record against the Baggies –

Arsenal go into the game with a renewed level of confidence after winning their previous three home games against Bournemouth 3-0, FC Koln 3-1 and Doncaster Rovers 1-0.

My team = a shot in the dark.

Tony Pulis was appointed as their manager in January 2015 and in August of 2016 they were purchased by a Chinese investment group.  With Pulis as their manager, we should expect them to park a bus in front of goal and hope to beat us on a break away – in the past we have found these types of defences inordinately difficult to break down.

Let’s hope Gibbo has an off day

They have only beaten us at home once and that victory came back on September 25, 2010 so even with Pulis in charge, I fully expect us to come out as 2-0 winners.

Enjoy the game – but most of all keep the FAITH in our Gunners.

Written by GunnerN5.


Friday Night Football at the Emirates

August 9, 2017

For the first time in the Premier League history the season will kick off on Friday August 11th when Arsenal will host Leicester City at the Emirates with the game starting at 19:45.

We played our first game against Leicester 125 years ago on January 7th 1895 – back then the teams were known as Leicester Fosse and Woolwich Arsenal, we lost the game 3-1. Overall we have played 124 league games against each other with Arsenal having an overall record of – W58, D38, L28, GF247, GA169.

Woolwich Arsenal 1895 – courtesy Arsenal.com

We have not lost a league game against them for 23 years when Leicester beat us 2-1 at their ground on November 23rd 1994.

Our starting line up then was:

Goalkeeper David Seaman

Defender/Right back Lee Dixon

Defender Steve Bould

Centre back Martin Keown

Centre back Andy Linighan

Left back Nigel Winterburn

Midfielder Jimmy Carter

Midfielder Stefan Schwarz

Midfielder Ian Selley

Forward Paul Dickov

Forward Ian Wright

Ian Wright scored from a penalty in the 19th minute while Leicester’s goals came from Andy Linighan 16′ (og) and David Lowe 28′.

Here is our league record against Leicester for the past 40 seasons.

After our performance against Chelsea in the Community Shield I’m feeling very confident that we will win our opening game to set us on the right track for the season ahead.

Written by GunnerN5

(Ed – other notable Friday night Arsenal fixtures….)

Friday May 26th 1989

Friday April 16th 2004

 


Arsenal: Tight Fisted Scrooges or Profligate Wastrels?

July 31, 2017

The Emirates Cup was a strange mixture of youthful carefree enjoyment in a deeply satisfying and fun filled first game against Benfica, and an inhibited and surprisingly chaotic lurch into the tippy tappy football of the older more experienced players who did not appear to gell in the second game.

It would be pointless to read too much into the games with many different variables conflating to make it impossible to predict what will be the strongest team that AW will put out for the start of the season.

We meet the Chavs, again, next weekend in the pre-season FA Community Shield, with donations going to the Grenfell Tower support fund, a worthy cause.

The problem is that Chelsea gave a very youthful Arsenal team a bit of a pasting 3 : 0 in an earlier pre-season, so-called friendly, and now they will look to go into the new season on a high by repeating the dose at the weekend and in doing so have the opposite effect on our lads.

So what can we make of all that? Well to start with we had several players making appearances in the Ems Cup who may, or may not, be sold on or let go this summer. Confusingly we also had players who played who are looking to leave us, although the manager has resolutely maintained that every one of them, including the ‘flu stricken one, and his dog, will stay, come what may.

All I can say to that is …… hmmmmm?

The stance by Arsene is at least a gamble, because keeping players who are disillusioned with the club, or who are mendaciously wanting to stick their snouts deeper into the money trough demanding increases to their already sky high salaries is risky because angry employees, and they are only employees, cannot be relied upon when the going gets tough.

An interesting side note is that if we keep Sanchez (boo, hiss) and Özil (brilliant but spasmodic) and the Ox (excellent – in patches) then at a market guesstimate, of £60m + £60m + £3om the club stands to ‘lose’ £150m.

Does that ‘don’t care’ attitude sound like the club, or Wenger? Experience tells me no way, José.

Then there were those playing like Chambers and El Neney and Ospina and Giroud and Le Coq who were heavily rumoured to be playing their last games for the Gunners – although we all know how much bollix is spouted through bloody rumours.
What was the point of playing them – if the rumours were accurate?

To cap that, we had oodles of Tyros, young wannabees playing at the tender ages of 17 to 20, many of whom like Reiss Nelson and Joe Willock and Nketiah and Maitland-Niles were making a good fist of their chances to impress the manager – but frankly for all their skill, energy and enthusiasm have not got Chas’ cats’ chances in hell of playing in anything but cup games next season.

Confused? Me too.

Then there is the other side of the club, or Arsene, (indistinguishable?) we spent what seemed to be weeks negotiating the purchase of La Caz, and that tactic revolved around bidding the lowest figure possible, having it rejected and increasing the bid incrementally.
Look it is a seller’s market – ask them what they want – evaluate it and pay it or leave it.
But no – this is the parsimonious side of deal making and it is ineffectual.

Lesson learned? Nope. We are allegedly trying to buy Lemar a very highly rated young midfielder – and blow me down — the same ‘negotiating’ tactic is being used with the lowest, and most implausible bid offered to start with, which predictably gets refused and is currently creeping up in incremental bands.

These club owners are mostly already billionaires – they are not billionaires because they are stupid. They will say what they want – give it to them or gracefully walk away, and stop getting our hopes up.

There we have it – two sides of the same coin – prepared to blow £150m on a year’s worth of playing time from three reluctant if not recalcitrant ‘stars’ who are not for bending, but then farting around over £5m or £10m for Mr Lemar, a player many of us believe is essential for our chances next season – and that defies logic.

So, what is it? Parsimonious nitwits, or profligate spenders throwing good money after bad?

If the various rumours and leaks are mostly correct in these cases, I would sell SOO for £150m (you work it out) – sell Chambers, Giro etc for £50m (if that is what the powers that be have decided) and reinvest that dead £200m into completing the deal for Lemar and then buying at least two others to stiffen the spine (as we pundits call it 🙂 ) at CB and CF and hey presto we are in good shape – if not I will blame Terry. 😀

Written by Zee


Better Days?

January 11, 2017

 

The Old Days. We always think they were better …

Would you exchange the better standard of football we see every season at The Emirates for the mud and passion of Highbury?

Unknown.jpeg

Why do I long for a TA/Steve Bould  tackle which would “let the player know you are there” as opposed to the Guardiola idea of staying on your feet?

Some of the intricacy of our current teams passing football is beyond ken but I yearn for a Radford bullet header from a hopeful punt from George Armstrong. Why is hoofball so looked down upon as a short-term tactic?

Why did the architects of The Emirates build the stands so far from the pitch? It makes the paying punter spectators as opposed to being fans involved in  the play as we were at Highbury. Why can’t PL stadiums have a standing section?

Arsenal-Supporters.png

Football has become sanitised (IMO). Is the sport better for it?

p.s. This post was inspired by a photo of the tunnel at Arsenal Tube Station published by Chas.

written by Big Raddy


Bournemouth Bullet Points.

November 27, 2016

Must win game.

Wilshere not playing.

Bournemouth managed by a good chap who may one day succeed Mr. Wenger

We are “stuttering”.

Xhaka?

Coquelin to be rested?

Sanchez burn out.

Giroud to continue his scoring run.

Walcott needs to get back to early season form.

18 game run

B’mouth have never beaten AFC

B’mouth only one away game since February without conceding a goal.

My Team:

Cech

Jens   Mustafi    Koscielny    Monreal

Xhaka   Ramsey     Iwobi

Walcott   Giroud    Ozil

I think that sums it up

COYRRG