Emery’s Bermuda Triangle

January 7, 2019

Prompted by my Bros to expand on my criticism of Dick’s current tactics evident at the Fulham game, I offer another controversial effort for the perusal of AAers the world over.

I qualify what I am going to say in advance with the facts that…….

  1. We have lost Holding for a long time.
  2. Have not had Kos (and may never have the old Kos) for  a long time.
  3. Have missed an Improved Hector and reliable Nacho in recent weeks.
  4. Let alone had no chance to see the other Greek God, Mav, who I think could prove in the future to be the solution, together with Holding, to Dick’s Bermuda Triangle.

To explain:- Dick has regularly opted recently for the following three players in the vital “central triangle of defence”, and it is here he is making his mistake. Mustafi and Sokratis as CBs, with Xhaka in the central holding/receiving slot.

I will start with the CBs (without really needing to for anyone with eyes).

Sokratis has got guts, is committed and occasionally is in the right place at the right time (See fourth goal against Fulham). But good enough for us as a CB? Nah!

Mustafi is dog’s poo (thought I’d do your job for you, ed). Positionally poor, rarely wins a header as he is a short arse, slide tackles late and nowhere near the ball. Good enough for us as a CB? Nah!

Now, given this criticism, Dick has doubled the problems in his triangle by allowing Xhaka to play at the top as holding/receiver of passes from these two! Xhaka is in my eyes massively overrated. Sure he can spray long balls, but only when the oppo back off, and these long balls are rarely “dynamic” in their effect. (He is no Alonso). Under pressure he shovels poop, and under real pressure, he makes potentially disastrous passes. (He is no Gilberto). He cannot tackle really, and is regularly booked for this (lack of) “skill”. (He is no Kante……or for that matter, Terrier). And much of this slaughtering criticism is because he is not quick enough of thought or limb.

Sorry, I seem to have been a little scathing!

Does he deserve a place in the starting eleven? Well, for the moment my answer is ‘yes’. But play him forward of Terrier and Ouzi (alongside each other and in front of the defence). Both of these two are better at the job required there and, will shore up some of the defensive frailty currently evident. “For the moment” for that is the position I advocate for A M-N in the future, and then it could be bye bye Xhaka for me.

My view, sorry if you think I am still drunk with joy from my recent Birthday.

Written by LBG
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Happy Invincibles Day!

January 4, 2019

So, the achievement of Arsene’s squad of 2003/4 remains without equal for another season.

Liverpool succumbed at the 21st hurdle thanks to a determined Citeh side keen to make a decent fist of defending their title and to 11 millimetres of a football which refused to cross a goal line.

The tide swung towards Pep’s side when Aguero lashed in superbly at the near post but Firmino’s equaliser had us all wondering if last night wasn’t to be the night when Liverpool’s Lost column clicked round to ‘1’. Leroy Sané scraped one in off the far post and via a small deflection to give us what we wanted in the 72 minute.

Dejan Lovren’s ‘Liverpool can go unbeaten’ claim a day or two ago now seems faintly ridiculous with the Christmas decorations still up. I doubt he was too popular in the Liverpool camp putting the bock on it, big-style.

The red mancs managed 24 games at the start of the 2010/11 season before losing to Wolves which remains second to Arsenal’s full season unbeaten in the Premier League era.

To go the full 38 games seems unbelievable and is rightly up there as perhaps Arsene’s finest achievement.

Maybe some club will eventually emulate the achievement of Paddy, Thierry, Sol, Ralph, Jens, Kolo and Arsene (amongst others) in the modern era, but until they do, let’s celebrate the glory of that magnificent accomplishment in the 2003/4 season with all our hearts.

p.s. it was LBG’s birthday yesterday – quite a nice present I’d say.

chas


What does January hold in store for The Gunners?

January 3, 2019

Three home games in the Prem plus a little trip down to the Olympic Stadium in East London. There is also the small matter of an FA Cup trip to Blackpool (which is nearly in Scotland).

So, New Years Day and Fulham at home. Writing this before the game, it is absolutely imperative that the manager plus his team (however patched up it may be), get the supporters back on side after the disgrace of that Anfield performance. (4-1, not to be sniffed at)

The first weekend in January we have a trip to the Lancashire Riviera in the FA Cup and a tea time kick off.  Blackpool are a club in turmoil at the moment with fans boycotting matches to protest against the current owner’s lack of financial investment and regard for the club in general. Read more here.

https://atthematch.com/article/how-the-oystons-destroyed-blackpool

Maybe the visit of the mighty Arsenal will stir the locals. If not, there could well be more Gooners than home fans in Bloomfield Road.

West Ham away the weekend after is a lunchtime kick off. We’ve done pretty well at the London Stadium so far with one thumping victory which Ant and me saw sat in with the home fans. We were virtually the only ones left in our row by the time the ref blew the final whistle. Last season saw a tedious 0-0.

The chavs at home on the 19th Jan is back to a tea time kick off. (Arsenal are always good box office – shame it’s not always for the right reasons these days). Chelsea have been on the slide in recent weeks but now seem to be turning things around.

The last weekend in Jan is for FA Cup 4th Round fixtures. Our participation will depend on how well we do up the Tower this weekend.

Our fixtures for January 2019 are capped off with a home game against Cardiff on Tuesday 29th and will be our third chance of doing the double over a Prem team after Fulham and West Ham.

chas 


Arsenal 4 Fulham 1- Player Ratings – Convincing or Flattering?

January 2, 2019

After that disgrace at Anfield against the country’s best team, a decent result was essential heading into a New Year against a Fulham side also struggling for confidence.

First Half

Both sides showed some nerves early on and it was a bit scrappy. Thankfully Sessegnon left his shooting boots at home. Suddenly Granit decided to risk a nosebleed by moving into the rarefied heights of the penalty area. Wobbly’s pass was cleverly left by Laca and the big Swiss had a fairly simple toe poke finish.

Courtesy of David Price @priceyd101

Arsenal’s play picked up from there and we should have added to the lead before half time.

Second Half

The second goal was a thing of beauty with incisive work filleting Fulham’s left flank. Auba’s clever pass to the Wardrobe put him in the ideal position to lay one on a plate for Laca.

After a couple of chances to extend our lead the Tinkerman brought on two forwards with a gambler’s throw of the dice. A sloppy pass out to the Terrier and a barge in the back won Fulham the ball and the inevitable, ‘brown trousers watching The Arsenal’ period of the game came as the lead was halved by a sub. Fulham scented a wounded animal, so the next goal would be crucial.

Thankfully Rambo came on as sub and almost immediately followed up an Auba pinger against the post and we could breathe easy once again. Auba then missed a little dink finish over the keeper before finally getting his goal via a deflection and a Papa assist.

4-1 and game over for a Fulham team which probably expected no less.

Reuters

Conclusion

A fine result considering the less than perfect performance, though why we can’t see out winning positions without giving everyone kittens will, seemingly, forever be a weakness.

Ratings

Leno – competent, making crucial stops when the game threatened to slip away from us … 7

Maitland-N – right wing back or right back, equally adept – starting to get some confidence back … 7

Papa – far happier playing lesser strikers and his first assist for twenty years … 6

Kos – our captain is slowly beginning to find his feet again … 7

Shkod – Injured or another half-time tactical admission that we got things wrong in the first half? … 6

Wardrobe – majestic at wing back – like a runaway train on the burst, setting up chances with its front wheels … 8

Guendouzi – heart of a lion – more to come from the young man … 7

Xhaka – his goal should have been the cue for a landslide – he himself could have had another – excellent through ball in the second half to set Laca free … 7

Wobbly – big chances galore came from his feet in the first half – much improved … 8

Laca – Fine goal and perhaps didn’t moan quite as much when he was subbed …. 7

Auba – a goal machine – he’s going to run away with the golden boot if he can sharpen his finishing even further … 7

Subs

Terrier – clearly he needs a rest as he’s been carrying some of the team on his tiny shoulders earlier in the season … 6

Rambo – instant impact at exactly the right moment – thanks for all the goals Aaron … 7

Saka – debut boy got a brief taste of the high life … 6

chas (who largely saw the game through BBC goal flashes and Arsenalist clips on Twitter)

 

How lucky are you? Double Bubble and a rather more sombre reflection on the day’s proceedings from LBG, your man at the stadium……

At the start of the day Chas asked for a “game to be proud of”. I will include the word proud for as long as is possible, but I’m afraid readers may see it disappearing into the ether quite quickly in my assessment of the game.

Be proud AAers of the result and three points, of some evidence of determination to rectify the travesty of a performance that was Anfield.

Be pleased with another goal from Aubang ( even thought he should have had an easy hat-trick) and Laca being given enough time on the pitch to score his goal before being (ridiculously) substituted. (Be pleased that he thought about kicking up a right fuss on seeing his number, but refrained when he heard the whole ground boo the decision, and instead went off graciously).

Be pleased with the short period of time AM-N was able to influence the game further forward before being dragged back in the rearranged defence.

Be pleased Fulham were useless in front of goal and Leno had little to do. (Two x Sessegnon chances put away early on and we could have lost!)

Be pleased that Kos is back, even if puzzled by the couple of pub defenders playing alongside him, which makes him more nervous than usual.

Be pleased Ramsey mishit a shot and scored.

Sorry, that’s the best I can do on the “proud”ish front.

I have an opinion, on why much is not right currently and will share when others have disagreed with everything I’ve said!

LBG Ratings

Leno – What he had to do was fine. Goal was up the other end and, although looked somewhat chaotic, didn’t seem he had added to that … 7

AM-N – Some good things going forward, breaking inside. Shame dragged back, where he is wasted, but still kept his end up defensively … 7

Mustafi – No pace, poor positioning, no sense of danger. Always tackles to the ground. Rarely gets the ball … 3/4 

Sokratis – Didn’t win anything in the air. Always tackles to the ground. Sometimes gets the ball … 4

Kos – Some good work. Unlike the other two, does find his own players mostly with passes going forward … 5/6

Wardrobe – Some good work going forward. Not a very good defender … 6

Ouzi – A good game generally. Looking to play “dynamic” passes and succeeds generally. Makes some mistakes (He’s young), but positive, which is what I want from him … 7

Xhaka –  Slows everything down, shovels poop, passed back more often than forward. Is simply not good enough, not quick of thought and action enough to be “the Controller ” in the deep-lying central position. And because he is (trying) to do this job, displaces Terrier to the right, which wastes him through lack of contact with the ball … 3 (for his goal)

Wobbly  – End product, passing, shooting, dribbling generally poor. Knocked off the ball several times easily. Dribbles round and round and round and up his own backside … 4 ( for his pass for Xhaka’s goal, and probably something else that I’ve forgotten)

Aubang – Goal. Missed goals, closes down occasionally. Would like to see more heart … 6/7

Laca – Goal. Works hard, makes runs, rarely found due to people like Xhaka not looking up unless opposition back off and then Laca’s runs are marked … 7

Subs

Ramsey – Goal … 6

Terrier – ( couple of poor tackles on him. Lucky not to be injured …. again) … 6

And the winger Did he touch the ball?

Graham Scott? more like Terry Scott                                                            Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

Referee – Absolute pants (original choice of description didn’t pass the censors – ed). One penalty waved away. Tackles from behind allowed throughout the second half … 1

Written by a slightly miffed (it would seem) LBG


New Year Wishes

January 1, 2019

In this first post of 2019 I would like to thank you. Thank you for reading AA, thank you to those who commented and an especial thank you to those who wrote a post.

2018 was a tumultuous year at Arsenal, I expect the same for 2019. Hopefully no managerial change but equally hopefully, a change of on-field personnel. Arsenal have created an entirely new management set-up, brought in the very best chaps to change the club from Arsenal Wenger. They have in Emery a man who will not be concerned about damaging egos and will bring AFC into the modern era.

My targets for AFC up to summer will be a Top 6 finish, a good run in the Europa and most importantly an indication of an Emery team; one which is based upon organisation and a solid defence. He must be massively frustrated by the goals against column.

In summer I would like to see us loan/sell at least 5 players with a similar number coming in.

By Xmas I would like to see us less than 16 points below the PL leaders and playing the Arsenal way. with a cohesive defensive policy, creative MF’s and the same two excellent strikers.

Let’s start with a win this afternoon.

Unknown.jpeg

A Proper Arsenal Goal

Many a slip twixt lip and cup, and we know Arsenal can slip up but Fulham have to be good opposition after the recent humiliation. Despite the mounting injury list, AFC should not lose in the manner of L’pool. A player of Sokratis experience should not be conceding 2 penalties (yes, I know they were both bogus).

GN5 gave us the stats which indicate a positive result. We need it.

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year and a fine victory this afternoon.

Let it be So.

 


Our home record against Fulham

December 31, 2018

Fulham were formed in 1879 as Fulham St Andrew’s Church Sunday School F.C., founded by worshippers (mostly adept at cricket) at the Church of England on Star Road, West Kensington (St Andrew’s, Fulham Fields). They won the West London Amateur Cup in 1887 and, having shortened the name from Fulham Excelsior to its present form in 1888, they then won the West London League in 1893 at the first attempt.

The club gained professional status on 12 December 1898, the same year that they were admitted into the Southern League’s Second Division. They were the second club from London to turn professional, following Arsenal then named Royal Arsenal 1891.

Famous names like Johnny Haynes, Bobby Moore, Rodney Marsh and George Best had been part of the team through the years.

Our first league meeting with Fulham was in Division 2 on March 14th 1914 and it ended in a 2-0 victory for Arsenal. Overall we have played them 27 times at home and Fulham have never won a single game; they have managed just 5 draws and have been outscored 67 to 23.

Arsenal v Fulham 1914

Complete league results

Fulham’s Bobby Robson clears the ball from Arsenal’s Jon Sammels

 

At the time of writing Fulham’s 2018-19 record is W2, D5, L12, GF17, GA43 and they are in 19th place.

I cannot envisage anything other than a victory for Arsenal.

GunnerN5


An Egregious Abomination at Anfield – Ratings

December 30, 2018

First Half

Poor old Ainsley, scores his first goal in a game he’ll never ever want to recall again in his entire life.

Here’s Auba’s heatmap from that first half. Four of his 9 touches were restarts.

Second Half

Shame you can’t just throw the towel into the ring like in boxing.

Conclusion

Can’t quite decide if it was the ref or the kit which caused such a cataclysmic trail of ignominy. 🙂

Here are a few stats from Orbinho on twitter to contemplate………..

Goals conceded at Anfield last six seasons

Arsenal 22

Swansea (5 games) 16

West Ham 16

Everton 14

Man City, Watford (3 games) 13

Newcastle, Spurs (5 games) 12

Stoke, WBA (5 games) 10

Southampton 9

Arsenal have played 10 games away from home in the Premier League, scoring 22 times, conceding 21 goals and keeping zero clean sheets.

The last time Arsenal conceded more than 30 goals after 20 league games was in 1966 (39)

Michael Oliver has awarded seven penalties against Arsenal in the last 10 Premier League games he has officiated.

This is my favourite – finding some light from somewhere …………

Ratings

A two for everyone apart from threes for A.M-N for his goal and Wobbly for his assist.

Getty Images