Theo off the Naughty Step?

December 7, 2017

Welcome to Bate Borisov. We beat you at your noisy home ground and tonight you will admire our magnificent, state of the art stadium which is likely to be half-full. I expect you to lose again.

We have already topped the group, can’t do any better than that, so I expect to see a weakened team with another host of youngsters.  Shame for the Belarus champions who must have been thrilled to draw AFC  and expected to see Ozil, Sanchez, Ramsey etc instead they will get Eddie, Nelson and Maitland Niles, though whomever plays in the red and white they represent Arsenal and must give their best.

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Another big night for Jack Wilshire who will be given the task of orchestrating the team, can he/will he achieve his potential or will be become another multi-millionaire wasting his talents at West Ham? I wish him well.

My Team:

Ospina

Chambers   Holding   Elneny

Debuchy    Nelson    Willock   Maitland-Niles

Wilshere

Walcott   Giroud

Walcott has to regain some confidence and form, he is a very good player; he can have a future at AFC IF he finds consistent form. Let us not forget that he was second top scorer last season with 19. Trouble is that it is a Big If.

Apparently we have sold over 50k tickets for tonight which I find surprising.  We shall see… Hopefully, Eddie will get some minutes to liven up the crowd in the second half.

We can and should win this.

COYRRG

 

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Red Star Pre – Match

October 19, 2017

There are some names in football which have a ring to them, something romantic that takes us back to times past, Red Star Belgrade is one of those.

Before mass- televised football, before the fall of the Berlin Wall and the breakup of Yugoslavia, before drug testing etc Red Star were huge, Barcelona huge. They were Tito’s team, they played in Communist red and white with a red star. They were the team that Man Utd played before the awful Munich disaster. They had a ground which held 110,000 fans – more than Wembley, and they filled it for every game! In 1991 they won the  European Cup.

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Times have changed. After the breakup of Yugoslavia and the creation of Serbia, Red Star are no longer the powerhouse of East Europe. They remain the peoples team with almost 50% of Serbs supporting them.

The ground is called the Marakana, tonight is a 55k sellout and AFC can expect a hostile, intimidating welcome.

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Once again, I know nothing about the opposition squad. I expect them to be organised, hard working with a couple of tricky players and a big bloke upfront (much like us!)

My Team:

Cech

Debuchy   BFG    Monreal

Nelson     Elneny     Wilshire    Maitland-Niles

Iwobi

Walcott    Giroud

Debuchy is due to start his first game for almost a year. Apparently Mr Wenger tried to give him away in summer but received no offers, thanks to high wage demands. One has to feel for the Frenchman; injured early in his AFC career by a sly foul from some Stoke Orc. he has had the misfortune to see his place taken by a young, wonderful talent who, quite frankly, is in a different league to him. Given how much Debuchy cost, how in demand he was when at Newcastle, it must hurt not to be a first team choice and perhaps explains Debuchy’s less than compliant attitude.

Welbeck, Kos, Chambers, Sanchez, Ramsey and Mustafi are all out with different degrees of injury.

I expect Ramsey, Sanchez and Ozil to start at Evertion so Iwobi and Wilshere should be our creative hub tonight.

Not an easy game to predict as Red Star are a decent team, have home advantage and Arsenal will be putting out a second string team. It should be fun as we continue our Europa campaign.

 


Europa Cup. What’s the point?

February 27, 2014

“Come on you Spurs” was a comment I made a few minutes ago. Why? Because I’d love them to have a fixture on the Thursday before we play them in the league on Sunday March 16.

Crikey, it then dawned on me that the only point I see in The Europa is to create fixture congestion for domestic rivals. Hardly a good reason to justify a Tournament.

Were Arsenal to fail to make Top Four and qualify for The Champions League, would I want us to play in The Thursday Cup? No, I would not, as it would merely serve as an unwanted distraction.

Only a few days ago, I heard yet another discussion on the radio about plans for a European Super League, with a reduction in the number of Premiership Clubs, and the merging of the two European Tournaments. I am not in favour of this either. So what is it I would like to see?

To be frank, I’m not sure. Perhaps you lot can unearth a solution for me.

Back in the days of The Cup Winners Cup, and one team per Nation in The European Cup, things made sense, and there were considerably fewer fixtures.

I understand that money/TV talks, with this being the sole motivation behind UEFA thinking. Sadly however, I’m pretty sure there is no way to halt the momentum of this hideous juggernaut.

From a selfish point of view, the downside to doing away with The Europa, is that it would create a massive disadvantage, domestically speaking, for those Teams participating in a solitary European League/Cup.

MickyDitIt89