Slightly less pants than West Ham – Player Ratings

August 26, 2018

And we’re off. Arsenal’s season is up and running with a 3-1 win over West Ham. Not one for the purists, names like Bergkamp, Pires and Henry will not be needed to describe this one; live long in the memory it will not, if it makes it past Tuesday it would have done well. But a win, is a win is a win and those important three points will stay with us for the whole season.

Goodness only knows what style of play Emery is trying to create; I guess we are going to have to wait a bit longer to see how that one unfolds. As for the system; he employed a 4-2-3-1 which sort of made sense. Our Basque manager is obviously getting closer to what he wants. I was particularly impressed with his substitutions and his taking advantage of the change in the FA rules that must now say that it is permissible to make changes at half time, I am guessing that it is a new directive because I have never seen such a thing in all my time of watching Arsenal, well certainly not for the last 22 years.

Iwobi you are not cutting it – off. Guendouzi: a few too many loose passes – off and Aubameyang: feeling a bit under the weather – off. The substitutions were decisive — you under perform and you are off. I like it.

As for the game, West Ham went ahead after more Keystone defending which allowed Arnautovic to rifle a low shot past Cech’s out flung right hand.

“We’re winning away, we’re winning away how (awful) must you be, if we’re winning away.”

Monreal put them back in their place, with superbly controlled effort that fell kindly to him after some kind of shananigans, I can’t remember exactly; I was just too relieved that it went into the back of the net.

Half time arrived and on came Lacazette who gave us a lot more thrust upfront. We were always in control it’s just that until you get the second goal there is always that nagging doubt that it might not happen and I have to write something on the lines of at least we didn’t lose. But not this time, Lacazette put us ahead after he spun, fired the ball into Aubameyang’s chest and into the goal. The man obviously plays snooker as he knew exactly where PEA was and the exact angle he needed to hit him in order for the ball to go into the pocket.

On came Danny to enthusiastic singing from the crowd; do you realise that Welbeck is the only player with a song. Think about it, what a sad indictment, there is only one player in the squad who is deemed worthy to have his name sung – having his own song. And long may it continue, I have a soft spot for Welbeck, I still think there is time for him to turn into one of the absolute best strikers in the EPL. What a cool finish; gather ball, back to goal, spin and blast past keeper. 3-1, and we all sighed a huge sigh of relief, no one more than Unai Emery.

Cech: great keeping, kept us in the game again, have you noticed how immediately after the break when there is a goalkick, Cech plays the ball out at a 90 degree angle and then, out of panic, because no one is quite sure what they are supposed to do, it is passed back and we all start feeling really nervous, this must be on half time managerial instructions. My point is that I liked it when Cech clearly thought that this is nonsense and reverted to clearing the ball like normal teams. 8

Bellerin: someone suggested that he must be playing as high as he does on instructions, there can’t be any other answer because again we were getting slaughtered down the right flank when we lost possession. Still, good going forward as usual. 5

Mustafi: I don’t know what to say, is it all his fault? Does he really know what is expected of him? Who knows? 4

GB: played one superb long diagonal pass that I was impressed with – slowly finding his feet. 4

Monreal: Excellent goal, still our number one left back choice, I do like Nacho. 7

Guendouzi: probably guilty of trying a bit too hard and not keeping enough of an eye on the basics; should be interesting what UE does with him next. 5

Xhaka: a workman like performance, not a DM and not a goal scorer. Imagine Torriera as the DM and Ramsey next to him, you have a genuine DM and a genuine attacking midfielder who scores goals. 5

Ramsey: well he got to play his supposedly favourite position, mah, it was ok. Now about that leaving Ozil in his ‘sickbed’  malarkey, hmmm. 6

Mkhitaryan: he was better today, tracking back and all, his place is secure because no one else can play on the right. 7

Aubameyang: come on PEA, we need a hero, someone worthy of a new song; it’s been so long since a player had his own shiny new song. 6

Favourite comment:

Aaron says:
August 25, 2018 at 4:43 pm
Did I just see the Arsenal slow up a counter? My goodness……

Written by LB
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How does the Arsenal squad 2018/9 shape up?

August 10, 2018

So, it looks as though the departure of Lucas Perez to the happy hammers was the only deadline day deal to get over the line.

Below is the Arsenal squad according to the Premier League website but, apparently, players can still be sold or loaned out until the end of August, so players such as David Ospina could still go.

Today is meant to be when 25 man squads are registered but changes to them will be made if players are sold or loaned before September 1st.

How are we looking?

 

 

 

Perhaps the midfield looks stronger with the addition of Torreira and  Guendouzi to replace the outgoing Jack. Emile Smith Rowe will be hoping to push on and get some first team action this year after impressing in pre-season.

Up front, we look mobile and pacy but with no plan B anymore. Thank Dennis for that, some will say! Maybe Ramsey will get more time further forward this season?

Kos not expected to be back in training until the end of the year at the earliest, looks to be the biggest hole in the squad at present. New signing from Dortmund, Sokratis wasn’t that convincing in pre-season, but presumably the new purchasing team have some idea as to what they’re doing, so I’m hoping he’s just taking time to settle in and will turn out to be a great buy.  Presumably Mustafi and Sokratis will be the first choice pairing.

The Beast out for a few months is a blow but Maitland-Niles is adequate cover for Nacho. Right back is looking stronger than it has done for ages, Hector can be rested safe in the knowledge that Lichtsteiner provides a wealth of experience.

What are your feelings? Are we good to go?

chas 

 


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


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