Do AFC have the Cojones?

May 2, 2019

Two exciting and entertaining semi finals played earlier in the week, can we continue this fun?

To be honest, I know nothing about Valencia apart from what GN5 gave us on Tuesday, and I was really disappointed that they beat Villareal in the quarters, thus denying us the return of Santi. But the team sitting in 6th in La Liga are strong opposition.

Valencia have scored 40 goals in 35 La Liga games, hardly attacking prowess, they have conceded 32, and are 31 points behind the leaders, Barcelona having drawn almost half of their games. On paper this should be a home victory but we are short of players and form.

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Ozil has to start, this is exactly the kind of game he thrives in – opponents who are unlikely to be over-physical and rely upon breaks.

It is vital we keep a clean sheet and you all know how likely that will be! Back 3 and one with experience – Kos, Sok and Nacho. Wardrobe and AMN, maybe an Iwobi , a Xhaka and the two upfront PEA/Laca. We still lack any width relying upon the wing-backs for crosses. Lacking attacking options on the bench means Eddie could get to play in a European semi final.

Emery knows both Valencia and the EL, will he choose to be less attacking in his team selection for the first leg, trying to ensure a clean sheet at home? If so, Terrier will come in for Iwobi, and possibly Mhki for PEA.

The Emirates needs to be noisy and get right behind the team. There will be tension and there will be occasions when Xhaka etc make mistakes but this is when the players need encouragement not the frustrated moans of the “supporters”. PLease, if you are lucky enough to attend, sing, shout, chant … roar. As usual we TV viewers will be in Peaches’ pocket making as much noise as possible.

Whatever happens I am hoping for an improved performance from our chaps; we have been awful recently and thrown away the chance of 3rd place. But we can win this tie – Valencia are simply not as good as Arsenal, we have better, more expensive players but do they have the cojones?

We shall see

COYRRG

 

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Bournemouth Preview

February 27, 2019

Micky summed up Bournemouth in  a few words yesterday – Language Schools and David Wagner.

Let’s start with language schools. The moment I passed my driving test at the age of 17 my mates insisted we spent each post-season weekend down in Bournemouth. Why? Because the language schools were full of ladies from Scandinavia with, what we assumed, were looser morals than our North London girlfriends.. We would rent a few rooms in the local B&B’s and go to the school’s discos with the hope of some horizontal exercise. Were the rumours of  degenerate behaviour correct? A gentlemen couldn’t possibly say.

David Wagner: His managerial record at a club whose ground capacity is under 12k is astonishing. Wagner’s first season in 2009 saw him take over a bankrupt club. Winning promotion in his first season he has transformed Bournemouth and brought unimagined glory to the PL smallest club.  I expect him to go to Spurs when the Podgy Argie leaves for Spain.

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They have some decent players, in particular, the midfielder David Brooks who scored against us at Dean Park earlier in the season. He has a bright future. Begovic always excels at the Emirates and both King and Wilson are dangerous on the break.

Arsenal: Our home record is impressive and despite a growing long-term injury list we are over-performing this transition season, Win today and we can be either 4 points from Spurs in 3rd (if Spurs lose) or 6 points ahead of the Chavs (if they lose).

Would love to see Ozil start but expect the same starting 11 as the weekend with perhaps Koscielny in for Mustafi and AMG replacing Lichtsteiner should be not be fit.

And what of Auba? Too good for the bench but we play better with one up top (IMO),. Does Emery rotate on a weekly basis? He seems to prefer the industry of Lacazette over the mercurial PEA.

B’mouth have conceded 48 PL goals and I expect us to help them reach the half century. They have lost their last 7 away fixtures.

Trouble is …. as we often discovered with those young Scandigirls that there is many a slip twix’t the cup and the lip:-D

An important game ahead of two very difficult and possibly season defining fixtures

COYRRG


Southampton. Match Report and Player Ratings

February 25, 2019

A few years ago one of our bloggers (I think it was Kelsey) wrote a match report without having seen any of the game. Sometimes this is for the best. The second half of yesterday’s game was certainly a case in point.

At least our game had goals; the two other “Season Defining”  (according to Sky) games played yesterday afternoon were snooze-fests with only one shot on target in both games!! Call that entertainment? The only talking point were the Chav’s hissy fits, which were hugely enjoyable.

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So … we kicked off. Played some fine football for 20 minutes. Ramsey made his presence felt, Iwobi entertained. Two defensive lapses, some clinical finishing and we were two up. I could stop here because until Auba came on it was a dull watch.

In the second half it was difficult to tell which team was in the relegation zone, we created nothing, S’ton created nothing. Auba’s arrival saw an injection of pace and he could have scored a couple. Ozil made a few lovely moves – one pass to free Auba, off the outside of his boot, was wonderfully creative.

A calf injury (?) to Licht could be costly. We created nothing down the right with Mhiki making little impact apart from his goal. Who knew that Bellerin was such an important player?

No Suarez. Why did we sign him?

Player Ratings:

Leno: Little to do but made one superb save near the end.   7

Lichtsteiner: Had little work defensively. Created nothing and his link play with Mhiki needs work.     5

Mustafi. Played well. I feared the worst when Austin came on, but our CB’s stopped S’ton from creating a single clear chance.      7

Sokratis:: Another solid game. I love that he is first in when there is a rumpus, almost TA-esque.    7

Kolasinac: His link play with Iwobi improves. Had little work to do defensively. 103 touches – the most in the team   6

Xhaka: Solid. Made 2 key passes at 90+% accuracy.    7

Torreira. Busy as always yet didn’t have his usual influence. Rusty?    7

Ramsey. Deserved the ovation he received when subbed.  Worked hard.     8

Mhki. Not one of his best afternoon’s. Had he not scored I would not have known he was playing. A point for the goal     6

Iwobi. Very pleased he tries the outlandish. He is the one player with a touch of the Kanu about him. Faded in the second half     7

Lacazette. Led the line, battled, scored. 5 shots, 4 aerial battles won.My MotM.  8

Koscielny. Came on for Licht. Ran about    6

Ozil. Just a few minutes but we improved offensively.  He has to start.   7

Auba. Could have scored a couple against a tiring defence. Bad luck or bad finishing?   6

Written by Big Raddy

 


Chelsea Preview.

January 19, 2019

Much of this morning’s speculation will revolve, once again, about Mr. Ozil. This being the case I think we can gloss over that and discuss something else. No, not Brexit or a Wall or even the heat in Australia. Not even the worrying statement from Emery about our economy.

How about we cheer ourselves up in the knowledge that the squad is returning to good health with only Welbz and Holding on the long-term injured list. Emery can pick a solid defence – or as good as he can with the tools available, not that I wish to call Mustafi a tool, but if the cap fits …

My opinion:

The back 3 doesn’t work, one only has to look at our goals against to confirm this, so we have to go back to a more solid 4 and abandon the idea of FB’s as wing-backs, especially with AMN and the Wardrobe. The return of Hector and Nacho should add some backbone.

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Some AA’ers doubt Belllerin’s defensive ability, you may be right, but IMO he is amongst our best players.

Quite why Mr. Emery abandoned the deep Xhaka/Terrier combo by sending the little chap further forward is a mystery. Against Spurs they were the key to our victory, surely he will operate the same system this afternoon?

Also, a return to playing one upfront. It appears great mates do not make a great striking partnership. It worked well when we could bring on PEA in the final 20 minutes, his pace terrifying tiring defenders. Why was this tactic abandoned?

Not sure if Mhiki is fit, but we need him back to provide something positive ahead of Bellerin, yet there is no space in the team for both Iwobi and Mhiki if Ozil plays, and Ozil MUST play.

What of Chelsea?. Their manager, David Wagner, is a strange but likeable chap who appears to be doing a very good job with a team depending upon the genius of Hazard allied to the tenacity of the marvelous Kante. The goalkeeper shows the difference between a €60m and a €25m signing, ugly bugger though, our boy is no oil painting but at least he looks human. The midget microphone, Willian always does well against us, hopefully he is crocked.

World Cup winner OG returns to his real home where he should get a rousing reception, thanking him for some unforgettable moments including this …

Look for OG’s pass early in the move

When I lived in London most of my friends were Chelsea or closet Spurs. We always beat them. Always. Who can forget Winterburn’s screamer at the Bridge? As GN5 showed yesterday, those days are well in the past.

Play like we did against West Ham and we will get hammered again, play like we did against Spurs and the points are ours.

Let it Be So

COYRRG

 


Burnley face a wave of Emotion

May 6, 2018

Has there ever been such an irrelevant game with such relevance? Today is about Mr Wenger, Burnley and the 90+ minutes between the first and final whistle are a sideshow.

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Should this PM be a peon to the mighty Arsene or your bog-standard run through of the runners and riders? Let me ponder a little ….

OK. I have decided. It is to be a normal PM because this game is not season’s end and the final minutes of an era, it is an opportunity for the paying Gooners at The Emirates to say goodbye to a man who is one of my heroes. There will be time for the obituaries in a couple of weeks.

But …. I wish I could be there. I really, really wish I could be there. I want a Merci Arsene t-shirt.

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So, Burnley.

Sean Dyche has done a fantastic job and must be manager of the season. Guardiola has created a monster of a team but Dyche’s achievement is outstanding. How many Burnley players can you name? Try. How many did you name? I got two – Aaron Lemon and Jack Cork.  Do you know that Ben (Bertie) Mee is their Captain?

Yet if Burnley win today they have a fair chance of finishing above us!! Remarkable, almost as amazing as Ranieri taking Leicester to the title.

My Team:

Cech

Chambers    Mustafi     Monreal

Ramsey    Xhaka    JW

Mhki    Ozil

PEA    Laca

An attacking line up. Perhaps AW will give one or two of the youngsters a run – M-N in place of Ramsey, or our new Bubble at CB? Or could Mr. W play the same sort of team which did so well at Old Trafford?

Whomever plays and whatever the result today is all about The Great Man.

I have a favour to ask. If you are  lucky enough to be going to the game and someone around you bad-mouths Mr W. please don’t just sit seething , please tell the ingrate to Go Forth and Multiply.  This is one of the rare occasions when having a contrary opinion is totally unwarranted.

A final home win would be marvellous. Let it Be So.

COYRRG

 


I’ve Got A Feeling

April 26, 2018

Firstly, there is an AA’er in hospital (RA), wishing you a speedy recovery.

Tonight is an oddity, we go into a tie as firm underdogs. Hardly a pundit gives us a dog’s chance, and it would take a confirmed optimist to disagree with them; AM, on paper, are easily the best team in the competition.

But ….

We are The Arsenal. We are not Sunderland or Stoke or Lokomotiv Crapski, we have history and have won silverware in 3 out of the last 4 years. Atletico will be worried.  Even the mighty Real Madrid lost in London this season.

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Simeone has stated he is likely to play an extra defender tonight to bolster an already tight defence. Atletico boast the best defence in World football (or so we are led to believe). They have conceded only 18 goals in La Liga and not once at home for 11 matches. Simeone is the George Graham of Spanish football, a man who believes that defences win games.

Our defence is the opposite 😦

But …

Atletico have not won silverware since 2014. They are an ageing team with many players over 32. They may be missing Diego Costa (hopefully) and if we can stop Greizmann and Gameiro on the counter, are unlikely to hurt us (big IF). Should Costa play I look forward to his reception from the fans 😀

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Can Arsenal win? Of course we can. A slice of luck, some genius from Ozil, a Ramsey masterclass,  rapier-like finishing from Lacazette, allied to an organised defensive performance and we are Kushti.

My Team:

Cech

Mustafi    Koscielny    Monreal

Bellerin    Ramsey    Xhaka    Wilshire

Ozil

Lacazette    Welbeck

Elneny’s injury gives Jack a chance to shine, he has been below par the last few games but play well tonight and he will be WC Russia bound, play poorly and not only will he not get a new contract but he will be West Ham bound!

Patience may be vital without the team going gung-ho as the game progresses.

Some passionate support (Anfield was amazing on Tuesday),  players willing to give 100% and we have a chance.

I am an optimist, I think we can beat AM over two legs, as the Beatles sang “I’ve got a Feeling”

COYRRG

 


Semi-Final beckons. Can we? Will we?

April 12, 2018

4-1 up, it can’t go wrong, can it? Given the results over the past two days anything can happen and with Mustafi in his current form we have to be concerned.

It may be unfair to spotlight one player in what has been an awful season for us at the back (43 PL goals conceded so far) but Mustafi’s inconsistencies are hardly of benefit to the confidence of the others. Take the S’ton game, both goals came directly from his shilly-shallying (now there’s a word!).

So what should we do? Drop him for Chambers? Probably not. Should AW select a team to PTB or play a normal attacking game? Will he include Elneny as an extra defender in place of the attacking Miki or give Iwobi a run? My guess is he will err on the side of caution.

We saw that CSKA Moskva are limited in their defensive abilities themselves with us carving out chance after chance at the Emirates. I expect us to score and then the tie is done but what if we don’t? Can the team keep a pacy Russian attack at bay? It is questionable.

My Team:

Cech

Koscielny   Mustafi    Monreal

Bellerin   Ramsey    Elneny    Kolasinac

Ozil      Welbeck

Lacazette

Jack has to be benched in a match of importance and with his form at such a low ebb. Kolasinac is the better defender and more likely to add some steel.

The first half of the home tie (which thanks to Chas and Peaches I was able to attend), was the best we have played in many a moon, the ingenuity, pace and sheer verve of the performance gave rise to hopes that next season could be so much better.

I expect CSKA to be very aggressive in an attempt to unseat our brave boys; they will have to start fast and stop our passing through midfield. Ramsey etc will need shin and calf and ankle pads. A strong, unbiased referee, please.

Concede early and the nerves will kick in, score early and the tie is over. I know what we all want.

COYRRG