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

 

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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


Will the Gamble Pay Off?

February 3, 2018

In the past 2 years we have seen 34 players leave AFC with just 5 coming in (according to Arseblog). Who could have imagined such a scenario?

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Today we welcome both an incoming and outgoing player to The Emirates. Black Jedward is apparently ill but Mkhiki is due to start. This is exciting. Whom will he join in midfield? Will he play on the left wing? Only Mr Wenger knows.

I have to say that it is my belief Mr Wenger did not intend to buy Mkiki, we have other priorities and perhaps taking him was the best we could achieve in the Sanchez sale. That said, Mkiki is a player with much to prove and Arsenal is a good vehicle for him. How he fits into the first 11 is not obvious.

Arsenal have made a major shift in their forward planning, relying upon older, big name players coming in and reducing the numbers of the squad.The attack has been dealt with, Mr Wenger has stated he wanted to do more business with the defence needing more bodies (Evans??).  About time some may say but it is a gamble.

Fat Sam/Everton. Like one, dislike the other. One is all that is shite about the North, and the other the opposite. How quickly has The Walrus been allowed back into the top echelon’s of UK football after being sacked as England boss and outed as a liar and cheat?

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Everton are a proper club with good values. Walcott is a perfect fit. Let’s hope he is welcomed back and then has a stinker. They paid huge money for players in summer and January and have yet to really see an improvement. We made a mistake in allowing Everton to sign Pickford – he is a terrific young GK as we will witness this evening

My Team: Assuming JW and Auba are ill.

Cech

Koscielny     Mustafi    Monreal

Bellerin   Ramsey    Xhaka    Mkiki

Ozil   Iwobi

Lacazette

I am tempted to play Welbeck instead of Iwobi as this team lacks real punch. And of course, if JW /Auba are fit they should start.

Super day of sport ahead with an evening kick off for the Arsenal. Let us hope we continue our fine home form and take the points

COYRRG


Lacazette to Score?

January 3, 2018

Hopefully we will be playing against 11 and not 12 tonight. Another points-robbing refereeing decision could see me give up watching.

For a decade Chelsea have been a team studded with A-holes. Lampard, Terry, Costa, etc there were loads of them. Today only Luiz really approaches the awfulness of the past. Instead they have pleasant folk like Hazard, Kante, Cahill and Courtois.

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Can we beat The Champions?

To be quite honest, I am doubtful unless we find some form. Chelsea will hopefully not PTB and allow some space for our forwards; if they do we can beat them but unlike Arsenal they have a full squad to pick from.

Chelsea also have a clever, charming manager with very good hair. Abramovich seems to like a good haircut.

With Ramsey, Giroud, Monreal and possibly Kos and Kol out, we have selection problems.

Win tonight and it will be a decent Xmas, lose and we fall behind.

My Team:

Cech

Chambers    BFG    Koscielny

Bellerin    Xhaka    Wilshere    M-N

Ozil

Lacazette    Sanchez

Given Chelsea use pace to attack it may be wise to start Holding rather than our Club Captain in the middle of defence and perhaps Elneny, or Coquelin, in place of M-N to add a touch of security.

This is an important night for Arsenal can we beat or even compete with a very good team in form? Can we get our potent front-line to fire. Lacazette needs to score and go on a run of scoring if we are to compete for the CL places. Trouble is, I am not sure he or AFC are capable.

That said, we beat Chelsea last time they came to The Emirates and at Wembley 😀, we can again.

COYRRG

 


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

 


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