The Glamour Game

December 2, 2017

Throughout my Goonerdom there have been two fixtures which thrill – Spurs and United. There was a time when the arrival of Liverpool or City created a frisson but they are just not the same. United has always been the glamour tie of the season.

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Why?

George Best, Duncan Edwards, Bryan Robson, Cantona, Charlton, Ronaldo – the list is very long. Then there were the deeply unpleasant swine who played for them – Ince, Keane, the Nevilles, Hughes, Rooney, Sheringham ++ I have been to many hundreds of Arsenal games and in my highlight reel are many momentous moments playing United …

George Graham and Best being brilliant in a 2-2 draw at Highbury with GG scoring a superb scissor kick. Platty’s header in front of the North Bank, TH14’s brilliant turn and volley at the Clock End. Wiltord at OT. Plus plus plus.

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This afternoon will see two clubs in winning form. IMO if we beat United we will finish their tilt at the title (I know it is early). We win and we are just a point off second. Can we?

Much will depend upon our defensive concentration and rigidity. Against a forward line and midfield which cost an insane amount of money (just Lukaku & Pogba cost almost €200m!) we have to be aware. Since the return of Mustafi, we are doing much better at the back. My fear is that we will be as open as we were against Huddersfield – MU will punish those mistakes.

Upfront we will miss Laca, he is perfect to play against MU’s CB’s. I would play Snachez central and Welbeck on the left, as oppposed to Giroud playing as the target frontman.

My Team:

Cech

Koscielny    Mustafi    Monreal

Bellerin    Ramsey    Xhaka    Kolasinac

Ozil

Sanchez    Welbeck

Does anyone know where Walcott is? Is he injured? With Holding, Chambers and BFG as back up CB’s we are good. But, what happens if Bellerin gets injured?

It should be a football festival between two very good sides but there is a Portugese Fly in the ointment, Me-rinho and his PTB tactics. Will Jose give his players permission to play open, attacking football?

I would love it if we win.

COYRRG

 

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Home Run to Continue?

November 29, 2017

Huddersfield Town F.C. was where Herbert Chapman won Div 1 twice before arriving at Arsenal. We owe them but the debt should be paid by allowing them a few minutes of parity before scoring a a hatful.

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One of GN5 mates

A hatful is possible but unlikely because, as H’field showed against City, they are a very good, well-organised team. Scoring is a problem, as far as I can see, they have scored only 3 goals away from home all season and all three were in the same game! But, they have beaten Man Utd so this is unlikely to be a walkover.

Much is made of Wagner (the manager not the composer), and he does seem to be more than just Jurgen Klopp’s best friend.

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Expect PTB and loads of possession, something we witness so often at The Emirates.

My Team (the one I expect to play, not the one I would pick)

Cech

Mustafi    Koscielny    Monreal

Bellerin    Ramsey   Xhaka   Kolasinac

Wilshire

Lacazette    Sanchez

If it were my choice we would play 4-3-3 with Welbeck starting and resting  Kolasinac. I don’t see the need for the extra defender when playing a side who are certain to defend in depth and play on the break.

What would be your chosen team?

We need these 3 points and to continue our wonderful home form (well results rather than form). With a hige game on the weekend we need to maitain confidence and drive.

So, welcome to the Emirates Huddersfield, it is excellent when such a small club proves money is not the only driver in football. I really hope you have the opportunity to play here next season and get beaten again 😀

COYRRG


5 things we learned from Saturday

November 20, 2017
  1. I will start with this because IMO it is the most important. We had a proper 12th man. The fans were wonderfully raucous from before kick off until well after games end. It makes a massive difference to the players. Just imagine you were on the pitch (a dream, I know), which would inspire you, The Library or Saturday’s passion? We need the same every week.
  2. We work best when we have our first choice 11. Obvious. How many times this season have we lined up with the same defensive 6? Once or twice? People write about how there are open spaces across our defence and we are too gung-ho/undisciplined/tactically naive etc etc. Simple matter is that when we have AW’s chosen men we play better.
  3. Hard work pays. Ramsey led the ranks as usual, but all the players ran tirelessly. Surprisingly Spurs ran more than us! The difference was that our players ran with purpose.
  4. We should have scored more. We totally dominated the last 15 minutes and a 4-0 would have been even more dispiriting to the WHL miscreants. Subbing off Lacazette for Le Coq was unnecessary given how dominant we were. Mr Wenger has developed this habit of securing the points rather than going for the jugular but given the quality of the top 6 teams goal difference could be very important.
  5. Despite rumours to the contrary, Spurs are and always have been … merdre

 

written by BR


Home Run to Continue?

October 28, 2017

Saturday. 3.00 p.m. kick-off. Home game. It feels wrong.

I have read and heard that Swansea are our bogey team but , didn’t we beat them last season with just 10 men? Yes, I know we lost a couple at home and got beaten in Swansea in 2016, but we beat them 0-4 in Wales. Why not today?

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Swansea’s form is wretched at the moment, ours is variable but on an upswing swing (hopefully). We have no further injuries with both Mustafi and Chambers back in the squad. We haven’t lost a home game since January.

It augurs well.

But there is many a slip between the cup and the lip and we can be sure that Swansea, who have conceded just 3 goals in their away games, will be fired up. Fabianski continues to be their stand-out player and it delights an old romantic that he has done so well after his troubles at AFC.

Swansea like a goal from set pieces, their second highest scorer is the CB Mawson, as such I would keep Mertesacker in the teaming give Mustafi more recovery time.

My Team: Same as at Everton.

Cech

Koscielny    BFG    Monreal

Bellerin   Ramsey    Xhaka    Kosanovic

Ozil

Lacazette     Sanchez

Let us hope their is no complacency or arrogance following our thrashing of Everton. What we have seen are the green shoots of the growth of what could be an excellent team, but that is all it is, Everton were rubbish and we put them to the sword, but we scored 3 goals against 10 men in the final few minutes.

Once again, we have an outstanding bench, almost certainly the best in the PL. It gives options.

Let’s keep the home form strong and make the Emirates impregnable (as if).

COYRRG


Arsenal vs WBA: Player Ratings

December 27, 2016

This is what I think.

Cech: if you keep a clean sheet you must have done something right. Commanding, confident and his usual array of hoofing the ball upfield. 7

Bellerin: the curious thing about Hector is none of us know how good he is going to end up being; his upward curve of improvement continues at the same angle as China’s global trade output. I say this because although he is not putting away that many chances of those that come his way it suddenly dawned on me — what would happen if he did? 7

Easter: as I said above, you can’t knock a clean sheet but Mustafi he ain’t; still, playing against a Pulis mob is never an easy task and he did well. 7

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Koscielny: the doomsday scenario would be if Kos got injured; he has been playing so well he has become irreplaceable again another great Captain’s performance. 8

Gibbs: we are very lucky to have such quality back up for the LB position but that is what he is, back up; he is so one footed it gets a bit embarrassing; defenders show him inside which he takes and then realises that he is so out of his depth that he makes a meaningless pass to salvage something but yesterday he tried to run with his right foot; he inevitably lost control and then to compensate unnecessarily lunged to recover, the result being that he got injured – again. 6

Coquelin: Francis pretty much has to start as he is the only midfield ball winner we have; we may be chock full of midfielders but he is the only defender amongst them. This is, of course, a double edged sword; he is a defender so against teams that come to park the bus and time waste he is not as multi functional as we need; that’s to say, he is not about to join the list of goal scorers in the foreseeable future and that is exactly what we need from our midfield. 7

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Xhaka: both he and Coquelin are the problem; they were the problem against Everton, against City and were five minutes away from being the problem yesterday. As a partnership they are incapable of augmenting the attack and without that you have the four in front of them being easily harnessed or more easily than they should. Ramsey may not be everyone’s favourite Welshman but he is capable of adding weight to the attack. As for Xhaka I don’t get it, his arrival confuses me. 7

Ozil: I have had a theory about this man for a while, there are in fact two Ozil’s the one that you see on telly and the one that you see when you go to the game. The problem with this is that it cannot be proved; I either have to watch the game live or watch it on telly. Every time I watch this man play at THOF he spends 90 minutes running his heart out, making me wonder how anyone could ever question his commitment to the cause. Not a bad game, not an outstanding game but he still did send in the superbly weighted cross for the lumbersexual to head home. 8

Giroud: and on the subject of the lumbersexual, I think I really should start by complimenting him on how well he took his goal which put a stop to a stadium erupting in booos just five minutes later and trust me, that is exactly what was about to happen. Giroud is OK; I would still have Perez playing for the ninety minutes but hay ho. 7

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Sanchez: a centre forward, hmmm, really, the fact that we still discuss this shows that he jury is still out. The red hot chili pepper was on the wing yesterday and mercifully he was feeling the need to beat two players, before he passed, far less and it helped — it helped a lot. 7

Iwobi: West Brom were predictably going to be extremely well organised so we needed the silky skills of everyone’s favourite Nigerian to try and twinkle toe his way past the lines of defence and break the dead lock. It didn’t really happen for him, he is a great prospect but he still wouldn’t make my starting eleven. 7

written by LB


Giroud to Start.

November 23, 2016

This may be the most interesting and glamorous game so far this season, with both teams guaranteed entry to the next round attacking football is assured.

PSG are a fantastic team; full of wonderful top quality players, Parisian (which is a very good thing),  a huge following, a fine stadium, playing attacking, intricate, intelligent football. Everything that I love about Arsenal (apart from tradition and geography) is true of PSG. That said, my Gallic friends consider PSG the Chelsea of French football, having come from nowhere and being bankrolled by foreign money

Beat them and we win the group, draw and we  (can) win the group. We have to be favourites despite being outplayed in the away fixture with Ospina winning MotM. Had Cavani played to his normal standard we would have been hammered, but he didn’t and we weren’t.

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How marvellous is it that Aurier has been refused entry to UK? Perhaps they can do the same for Messi, Suarez and Neymar when they next come to Arsenal:-D

Thanks to the quality of our squad we have question marks over the team selection. The media focus is upon who plays CF and whether Ramsey will start. Some Gooners will be hoping for Xhaka to start ahead of Elneny especially after our lacklustre display at the weekend. Given Theo has a “tweak” will Ox start on the right? Will Iwobi return?

What do you think?

My team:

Ospina

Jenkinson    Mustafi    Koscielny     Monreal

Xhaka    Coquelin     Iwobi

Walcott    Giroud      Ozil

I am hoping that Xhaka will try some long distance shots as this is something we have been lacking in recent weeks. Sanchez needs a rest and will be on the bench as supersub, as will Ramsey and Ox.

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If we draw the our performance in Basle becomes more significant, if we win or lose, it doesn’t.  Unlike many I give little credence to the importance of finishing first or second, all the teams in the final 16 are very good.

Off subject, a little, what was going on with Spurs last night? To spend hundreds of millions to achieve the ambition of reaching the CL, why play a weakened team in a vital match? Bizarre but typically Spurs. Perhaps they will go far in the Europa 😀

It will be a cloudy, windy night with some showers, a win will see us Walking in Sunshine .

COYRRG


Arsenal – ammunition on it’s way

August 2, 2010

The football season is back with us. The games at the Emirates this weekend enabled AW to showcase his two new signings, both of whom rose admirably to the occasion and gave a good account of themselves. We have a new attacker and defender that are comfortable on the ball and capable of seamlessly fitting into the Arsenal system, whilst adding a much needed touch of aggression at either end of the park.

This tournament last year introduced the chirpy Little Jack Wilshere to a wider audience than those real fans who were already in the know. Having gone to Barnet to watch the reserves play or sad souls like me who having subscribed to yet another pay TV channel saw the precocious 16 year olds awesome, performance against West Ham. Capped with a curling Henry like goal, right in front of the watching AW, sat on his own behind the goal.

Needless to say he was named man of the tournament last year, as indeed he was yesterday, somewhat luckily I felt. He played well enough and his shot on the volley that cannoned off the bar would have been another collectors piece had it been 6”lower.  His immaturity showed through when he was conned by a clever body check into conceding a penalty.

His real success this year and the exciting part for many fans was his link up with another unknown from the Academy conveyor belt Emmanuel Frimpong an 18 year old, solid, tough tackling, defensive midfielder who will collect a card or two along the way but looks the warrior many have been crying out for. Together the two took on the Milan midfield and were not found wanting. To young to do it week in week out, but by the season end I am sure will be regular squad members who have a number of first team appearances – ready to become regulars next season.

Theo has taken a lot of stick recently, but I thought he showed on Sunday with two assists, what his pace and crosses can do for us, if only his team mates would attack the far post when he is making for the goal line. He too is far from the finished article but seems to me to be growing in confidence.

Finally, AW stated he was still in the market for a defender and yet still a hard core of Arsenal fans continue to doubt his word.  I have been staggered by the number of conspiracy theories that follow AW press conference statements since the transfer window opened.  Do we really doubt the integrity of the man that much; how would his constant critics react if they were treated so shabbily, it is not his fault that we are linked with half a dozen different defenders on a daily basis. Shouldn’t we wait until the window closes before we crucify the guy?