Should Arsenal be worried by empty seats?

April 7, 2018

Empty seats at a European competition quarter final? – what’s going on? Should the Club be worried about the loss of matchday revenue through advertising and corporate entertainment, as well as overpriced hotdogs and fizzy lager? With a healthy season ticket waiting list, does it matter if some regulars fall by the wayside? 

GoonerB’s take on some of these questions is below. What do you think?

Afternoon all. Went last night as got a late club level offer I couldn’t refuse. Sorry I couldn’t meet any of the guys but I was beholden to the itinerary of those I went with.

I really enjoyed the game and we were very good with the ball last night, but you could still see certain old problems bubbling beneath the surface that a better team would punish.

I know a lot of season ticket holders and meet different types of Arsenal fans all the time, and you do get an insight for the general feelings of many fans. This is how I would perceive it :

There are still some stalwarts out there who will go and support come what may and don’t concern themselves with things like the direction the club has gone in and whether Arsene is the right man. I feel these fans are becoming a very small minority. Many of these fans will probably still want Arsene to continue and feel he is the right man.

At the other end for some staying away has become a form of protest. I know some season ticket holders who refuse to step back inside the stadium till Arsene is gone. They are also still more of a minority for me.

I have to say I feel there are very few that see Arsene as the man now. The bigger group seem to be the ones that feel Arsene should have already stepped down by now and feel he churns out the same old stuff and follows the same pathway even when it proves not to work. In not looking for a manager to improve us, many feel the board are more concerned with sticking with him because he keeps us at a certain level with little outlay required. They feel the club lacks ambition and have stagnated to the point that we are somewhat regressing now.

They have now become apathetic about the club, the football we play, and even football as a whole. Some still regularly attend in their apathy, but others just aren’t that bothered anymore and have lost their love and excitement of it. If there is something else they can do they will likely often do that instead of going to the game, where before going to the game always came above all else.

This is what I feel is the majority group and the club should be worried about this. I don’t think they have been bothered about it, and as GN5 said I don’t think they have been too bothered because they just take the view that there are more fans in waiting to get a ST.

Very dangerous to ignore your long standing fan base though, because there is no guarantee that those newbies in the waiting have anywhere near the long term emotional investment in the club and their support from the terraces that the long standing fans have, and that can have knock-on effects in how the club is viewed in its standing worldwide with all the negative commercial consequences Micky mentioned.

Like the rest of you I feel the remaining EPL attendances will prove an embarrassment to us. Anyone bothering to listen could have seen this coming but there has been a fairly dismissive approach taken towards the majority fanbase, a bit like the attitude towards the public leading up to the Brexit vote. You realise, too late, that you should have listened earlier.

Written by GoonerB

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Stoke Thrashed. Player Ratings

April 2, 2018

They came, we conquered.

All this nonsense about a penalty which upon first sight was nailed on and only on slo-mo was perhaps wrongly given. By this time Stoke were blowing and an Arsenal victory assured,  just check the stats – we had 24 shots! Were Stoke unlucky to lose by 3 goals? Of course not, they were lucky not to lose by more.

That said, the first half was simply awful; full of wayward passes, backward movement, silly defending and hardly a shot on target.

Ospina:  Kicking a bit wayward. Didn’t concede. Stoke hit the post from a corner which he should have caught.  I don’t trust him.   6

Chambers: Some of his passing was dreadful and put us onto the back foot when we should have been launching attacks. His tackling was good as was his work at set pieces. Should/Could have scored.    4

Mustafi: A strange game. Some of his interventions were excellent though I worry when as the last defender he goes to ground to block the attacker. Needs to play the simple ball out of defence.   7

Monreal: Not his best game. Not secure at the back nor contributing much to attack. Had one very good shot saved by Butland.   5

Ramsey: IMO our best player. Always in place for a pass, working hard to supplement the attack. Like others his passing in the first half was below par  8

Wilshire: Didn’t really influence the game. I want more from him.  Worked very hard and improved 2nd half   6

Elneny: We saw his limitaions in what was probably his worst game in the shirt. The difference when Xhaka replaced him was massive, though it must be said that Stoke were tiring at this point. His passing was awful in the first half.   4

Welbeck:  Worked ahrd as always. Contributed little missing a good chance. Again, we saw the difference when Miki came on.   5

Ozil: Not at his influential best but lovely to watch.   7

PEA:  Scored twice. Missed a one on one though Butland did well to stop him. Lovely finish for his second and generous in giving Laca the second penalty.  6 games, 5 goals. Gave a good post-match interview in excellent English (did you listen Sanchez?)  7

As ever ratings are subjective and on a day when few are blogging, does it matter if you disagree? 😀

written by Big Raddy


Free Falling

April 1, 2018

Before I lay into Stoke can I bring your attention to a peculiar decision by another relegation threatened side? Southampton. I like the Saints; proper club, good history,  some wonderful ex-players (Le Tis, Channon, Shearer, Theo, Ox, Lallana, Monkey-Boy Bale etc etc) and generally well run. But who in their right mind looks at the league table and then appoints a manager who has taken a relegation rival into the mire? S’ton deserve to be relegated for making the deeply repugnant Hughes their manager.

But more deserving of the Drop of Shame are today’s opponents. A bigger shower of shite does not exist outside of Tottenham.

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Pulis, Hughes, Lambert – has there ever been a worse trio of anti-football coaches in any club’s history? Apparently, Hughes wanted to improve the standard of football played by The Orcs which resulted in his sacking. Says it all.

Horrible club, horrible fans, horrible city and horrible football team.

And then there are their players. Huth, Shawcross, Adam, Ireland. Thugs. It must be said that intermingled with these hatchet men are some quality players, Shaqiri, Affelay, Zouma, Bruno Martins and Butland (why didn’t we sign him?).

Tactics? Crouch.

It is no surprise that in a league where the skill levels have risen over the past few seasons that Stoke’s reliance on fighting football has resulted in possible relegation. Stole’s main hope for salvation will be that there are some equally poor teams around them.

We, however, are on a run :-). Unbeaten in 3. 8 goals scored, one against.

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Does Mr Wenger rest players ahead of the Europa game on Thursday? Is it more important for the players to be amtch fit and confident, assuming we win and no-one gets hurt, or give Ozil, Ramsey etc more rest?

I would play our strongest team but rest Koscielny, giving both Wilshire and Lacazette 30 minutes as sub.

My Team:

Cech

Chambers    Mustafi    Monreal

Bellerin    Ramsey    Xhaka    Kolasinac

Ozil  Miki

PEA

Perhaps Iwobi for Kolasinac but I think we need some muscle in midfield and Alex played for Nigeria in the Interlull. PEA will be looking to add to his already decent scoring record.

We got stuffed by a referee at Stoke, Lacazette was not offside and perhaps his season and ours would have panned out very differently if that goal had stood.

Just 2 points ahead of Burnley in 7th (really hurts to write that!). A win is important.

Let it be So

COYRRG


Snow White and the Seven Tiny Midfielders

March 1, 2018

Succinct PM :

Up against it against a better organised and balanced side.

Arsene, play your best balanced and strongest 11 not just put your 11 best individual (or most favourite) players out there.

Play a proper HM to protect the back 4 not an attackingy type CM in this position…..and not 2 of them to make up for this as it wastes a valuable player elsewhere in the line up.

Get some width in the team and / or instruct certain players to give us that width at the right times. Tell them when this is most important.

Get more support to the striker so he is not isolated with 2 CD’s on him.

 

Go win game.

Cheers, simples.

GoonerB

 


What type of Manager would suit Arsenal for the Future?

February 28, 2018

Is it true that the general consensus seems to be that it’s time for a new Manager? It does appear so.

So considering our dressing room current state what do we need? Our main competitors have taken varying routes from employing the best coaches (with a history of trophies) or pinching potentially good managers from smaller clubs when they have PL experience.

The former seems to work well for one or two seasons, especially when it’s just a case of a settled squad that won things recently needing fresh impetus (City, Chavs etc). The latter has worked well for Spuds most recent, but not so great for Liverpool (Rodgers), United (Moyes), and in all the years Fergie was at United and Arsene at Arsenal none have proven successful long term until the last couple of seasons.

Still the chances of Klopp or Poch getting a trophy this season are slim.

So when Arsene leaves, be it summer 2018 or 2019, what are we looking for? I’ve seen TH14 and PV4 names mentioned which is frankly ridiculous, Ancelotti and friends of that generation are not going to take us anywhere new and are best at organising a well paid squad, (Maureen is probably in this bracket too).

So the only option to me is next big thing out of Europe (have no idea) or take one of the smaller teams managers that we like Howe, Pellegrini, Puel, Wagner.

For me, only Wagner would bring enough status to satisfy the likes of Ozil. And that maybe where we have to accept something, if we are going to take an up and coming Manager, we have to accept that there is going to be quite a bit of readjustment.

Written by a Gooner In Exile


Merry Christmas, Sanity is Over – Arsenal v Liverpool player ratings

December 23, 2017

Woo, that turned out better than I expected a good way into proceedings.

Slightly disappointed that we didn’t come away with all three points just to be able to rub their noses in it but hey ho, we could be feeling a whole lot worse over Christmas.

Cech must love playing for Arsenal there is always so much for him to do.

Bellerin: the great excitement was not knowing how far Hector could go, there was a moment when in the heady days of his upward trajectory that people thought if he added goals to his game he could be one of the all time greats — never gonna happen. Hector is what he is, a perfectly ok right wing back.

Koscielny, pre Sanchez goal, all over the place, post Sanchez goal a commited determined CB

Nacho, defensive player of the year, was replaced by Mustafi who was back from extreme bought of embarrassment which he suffered during the man u game.

Maitland-Niles pre Sanchez goal post Sanchez goal the young Tory was a joy to watch all game long.

What happened to Wilshere? He was bog standard average at two down, then Sanchez scored and then he turned into a super hero.

Xhaka’s game was something akin to a Wild West performance if there were such a thing, talk about the good the bad and the ugly.

Iwobi was a bit sub standard, I found myself actually wanting Walcott to come on and replace him; I never thought I would ever prefer Walcott over anyone ever again. Theeeo, Theeeo, Theeeo.

Sanchez, went from needing to be throttled to wanting to be carried around the ground on everyone’s shoulders in the space of ten minutes, but he is one of a small few who can change a game in a moment and that I suppose is the reason that he is always picked.

Ozil, there is television Ozil and live Ozil, the former is slow and not committed the latter is a regular genius, we had both today in that order.

Lacazette, got to say he was the only one who looked like it mattered to him that we were getting played off the park; it really was set up for him to grab a winner and all three points but as we know that was not to be. Maybe next time?

Written by LB


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