What would success this season look like to you?

March 6, 2020

As we are now only 3 months away from the end of the season and we are also 2 months into the Arteta regime, it is a good time to assess or re-assess our expectations for this season.

We started the season poorly and until the end of December, there was a disconnect between the team and the fans to add to the abysmal team performances and results.

Arteta arrived and injected some life and passion into the players and the fans responded. Some results were very positive and others were painful like the loss to Chelsea and Olympiakos but overall, the team is in a more upwards and positive trajectory.

With the Europa League out of our reach now and with the Top 4 seemingly out of our reach too, the FA Cup seems to have become a major priority.

What would it take for you to call the Arsenal season a success given our poor form in the first part of the season?

From my side – success would be:- a top 6 finish (ideally being ahead of the Spurs); – an FA Cup triumph;- Arteta already having the 2020-2021 first XI in his head, which would integrate some of our promising young players like Saka and Martinelli;-Convincing Auba to stay with us.

Over to you fellow blogger

RC78


Olympiakos v Arsenal – Is Greece, Arsenal’s Achilles heel?

February 19, 2020

We’re back to Europa League fixtures this week.

 

After the convincing win against Newcastle, it seems that there is a bit more belief in our chances in this very exciting European competition…but make no mistake, the Greek opponents are not going to roll over and let us go through this round that easily!

Our mission in Greece will be tricky as Olympiakos is unbeaten in 18 matches and currently leads the Greek Super League and is composed of solid players like:- El-Arabi, Hassan, Mor and Valbuena upfront;- Camara, Fortunis in the middle;- Semedo at the back.

El-Arabi is on fire and Valbuena always plays well in European matches but their winger Al Soudani is off injured so they will most likely play in a 4-5-1 against us (see below), which they used against Tottenham and Munich in the Champions’ league group games.

It is not the first time Olympiakos and Arsenal have met each other in Europe. We have previously played against them four times  in the group stage of the Champions League. The first 6 matches ended in home wins and the last 2 in away wins. The last away win was memorable, with Giroud scoring a hat-trick for us to win 3-0 in Greece.

Olympiakos’ record at home, with their very supportive and vocal fans, to English opposition is W7, D4 and L4 including a 2-2 this year against the Spurs. In the knockout phases, they have won 2-0 vs Man Utd in 2014 but lost 3-0 to Utd (Van Persie hat trick) at Old Trafford.

Our record in Greece is not great…W3, D1, L4 but if we win, we will set a new record for an English club by recording 23 wins in the Europa League (surpassing Tottenham by 1) so we better win tonight 🙂

Expected line ups:

Arsenal:

Martinez

Maitland-Niles   Sokratis    Mustafi    Kolasinac

Torreira    Ceballos

Pepe    Willock    Martinelli

Lacazette

 

Olympiakos: Sa – Elabdellaoui, Cisse, Semedo, Tsimikas – Masouras, Camara, Bouchalakis, Fortunis (or Valbuena), Hassan – El-Arabi

I think this game could most likely end up in a 2-2 draw BUT I also feel like we can snatch a win so I am going to back an Arsenal win 2-1 with a goal from Sok and a goal from Laca for us and we concede a goal to either Hassan or El-Arabi.

COYG – we want to celebrate Greek style by breaking plates right after the game!

RC78


Standard Liège – No Waffling Please Freddie!

December 12, 2019

Arsenal travel to Liege, a little town in Belgium known for its waffles (gauffres de liege), coffee (cafe liegeois), its opera house and train station and not so exciting weather but very friendly local people who despite the rain do not hesitate to sit outsite on terraces to enjoy coffees and beers alike…

This is our last Europa League group stage game. Barring a 5-1 loss at Liege’s hand, we will qualify. A draw sees us through for sure and a win would help with our mood and confidence.

What should Freddie do? Keep the momentum going with the same squad or rotate ahead of our big test against City? We have a few injured with Bellerin, Tierney, Xhaka, Ceba and certainly Holding. Liege is not a bad squad, they have some decent players, especially Mpoku – a very able dribbler and he is an industrious player too not hesitating to put in a shift. Liege will create chances but will concede chances too so if I were FL, I d play a team with fast players on the sides and Laca upfront.

Expected team:
Martinez

Chambers, Sokratis, Luiz, Kolasinac

Douzi, Torreira, Willock

Nelsson, Laca, Saka

 

My team:
Martinez

Medley, Chambers, Sok – AMN

Douzi, Luiz, Nelsson

Willock, Saka – Laca

I know that I put Nelsson as a WB but I think that with our back 3, AMN and Nelsson as WBs are not too much of a risk as long as the front three also defend properly.

COYG!

RC78


Eintract Frankfurt vs Arsenal: Match Preview

September 19, 2019

We travel with a party of 19. Apparently 75 mins before kick off, it will be reduced to a match squad of 18.


Goalkeepers: Leno, Martinez,

Defenders: AMN, Luiz,Holding, Mustafi, Chambers, Kolasinac,

Midfielders: ESR, Guendouzi, Willock, Torreira, Xhaka, Ceballos,

Strikers: Nelson, Aubameyang, Martinelli, Saka, Pepe.


If we had beaten Watford, I’d have expected the line up to have been:


I expect Saka will drop out. Had we beaten Watford, he might have stayed in and maybe Luiz drops out. Emery needs a win. With that in mind, he may start along the lines of:


I also have to say, I really have no idea what he’s going to do. I have come to the conclusion that Emery’s biggest failure as a manager is his inability to control his senior players. I think he has little or no respect from them because I’m not sure he knows how to earn it. I don’t think he is confident in his convictions. The reason I say this is because if you look at the 4 goals we’ve basically gifted in our last 2 games, they’ve been from mistakes by senior players. If they respected or “feared consequences” from their manager, they would be unlikely to continue to make them. If you are part of a squad that watches Granit Xhaka continually struggle yet play every game he’s fit for (and some not!!), you might think the same.


Frankfurt are no mugs. They reached the semis of the EL last season and lost on penalties to Chavs. They have lost a few players, certainly a couple of their last season standouts and have started with 2 wins and 2 losses. They play in an incredible atmosphere and we will find it intimidating. I’d have said it would be a harder assignment than Watford away. That sounds a little redundant now.

This is a huge game for Emery. He is in danger of losing the fans, his fans (of which I am still barely one but he is seriously testing my loyalty). I’m tired of saying it but if Xhaka plays, we will struggle. I hope if he plays, we win 3-0. I will stand corrected. What I hope more is that he plays Willock from the start, hopefully with Gwen, Dani and LT and we play like an away team in Europe against good opposition. We play 2 banks of 4 and make them break us down, then hit them on the counter. Then after we take the lead, or are holding them, we bring off 2 attacking players and put on an extra midfielder and Martinelli for the last 15-20 mins to snuff out their midfield and keep it tight. But that would make too much sense, be too simple. It wouldn’t involve outsmarting everyone (incl. your own players) and all it would need would be 100% commitment and a lot of hard work. I’m dreaming.


Then I woke up and realized he’ll probably play 3 up front, Xhaka in the center of midfield and we’ll probably be 2-0 down at half time. Truly I hope not. I guess we’ll see.

No prediction I’m afraid because the line up is as unpredictable as the result.

Mike


How Was it For You?

June 5, 2019

No, not that … the season.

Were you satisfied?

Did you enjoy it?

Did it cement your affections towards The Arsenal?

Did it make you confident about the future of the Club?

I can only answer Yes, to one of the above. For me this was the first season when I felt alienated from my club. It could have been the departure of Mr. Wenger, who was a magical figure and a man I admired hugely. He single-handedly maintained our traditions and honour. During his tenure I didn’t think at all about management structure, transfer budgets and especially, The Brand. With him gone I fear my connection has weakened.

Don’t get me wrong – I will die a Gooner but this season there were times when I coudn’t be bothered to watch the games. They bored me. In fact, I hate to admit this, but sometimes I preferred watching Liverpool or City than us. The highlights on Arsenalist saved me some of the tedium.

Of course it is not always so, sometimes we played superb football and I enjoyed the introduction of the young players,; Iwobi, Guendouzi, Terriera, Holding and AMN. I enjoyed the Europa run and of course, the early season unbeaten run. The future could be good but we are miles behind the Top 2 .

Mr. Emery had a very hard job taking over from a Legend, he has done OK and statistically it was a season of progress but we have lost our identity.

How was last season for you?

written by BR


2018/19 Europa League Final – Arsenal v Chelsea history

May 28, 2019

We are off to Baku Azerbaijan; the city is the scientific, cultural, and industrial center of Azerbaijan. Many sizeable Azerbaijani institutions have their headquarters there. The Baku International Sea Trade Port is capable of handling two million tons of general and dry bulk cargoes per year. In recent years, Baku has become an important venue for international events. It hosted the 57th Eurovision Song Contest in 2012, the 2015 European Games, 4th Islamic Solidarity Games, the F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix since 2016, and now it will host the 2018-19 UEFA Europa League Final between London rivals Arsenal and Chelsea. It will also be one of the host cities for UEFA Euro 2020.

Baku is the capital and largest city of Azerbaijan, as well as the largest city on the Caspian Sea and of the Caucasus region. Baku is located 28 metres (92 ft) below sea level, which makes it the lowest lying national capital in the world and also the largest city in the world located below sea level. Baku lies on the southern shore of the Absheron Peninsula, alongside the Bay of Baku. At the beginning of 2009, Baku’s urban population was estimated at just over two million people. Officially, about 25 percent of all inhabitants of the country live in Baku’s metropolitan area. Baku is the sole metropolis in Azerbaijan.

Baku is divided into into twelve administrative raions and 48 townships. Among these are the townships on the islands of the Baku Archipelago, and the town of Oil Rocks built on stilts in the Caspian Sea, 60 kilometres (37 miles) away from Baku. The Inner City of Baku, along with the Shirvanshah’s Palace and Maiden Tower, were inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. According to the Lonely Planet’s ranking, Baku is also among the world’s top ten destinations for urban nightlife.

Shirvanshah’s Palace

The city is renowned for its harsh winds, which is reflected in its nickname, the “City of Winds”.

Now let’s talk about football.

The first league meeting between the two teams took place on 9 November 1907 at Stamford Bridge (112 years ago). This was the first Football League First Division game played between two London clubs and drew a crowd of 65,000.

The first London derby 1907 at Stamford Bridge

A match between the clubs at Stamford Bridge in 1935 drew a crowd of 82,905, the second highest recorded attendance for an English league match. They met in two close contested FA Cup semi-finals in the 1950s, with Arsenal winning both times.

The clubs have contested three major finals: the 2002 FA Cup Final, which Arsenal won 2–0, the 2007 Football League Cup Final, which Chelsea won 2–1, and the 2017 FA Cup Final, which Arsenal won 2–1.

The two teams have also met in the UEFA Champions League in the quarter-finals in 2003–04, drawing 1–1 at Stamford Bridge, and Chelsea winning 2–1 at Highbury to go through to the semi-finals. (a bitter memory for Arsenal fans)

Throughout the 112 year history Arsenal has won more games in all competitions than Chelsea, having won 76 times to Chelsea’s 63, with 58 draws (as of 19 January 2019). Arsenal’s record win was a 5–1 victory in a First Division match at Stamford Bridge on 29 November 1930.

Arsenal has also won more league games – GP164, W63, D49, L52, GF231, GA210.

The last game was at The Emirates on January 19th 2019 when Arsenal won 2-0 with goals from Lacazette (14) and Koscielny (39).

1994 Copenhagen
Colorsport / Stuart Macfarlane.

The journey of 2,709 miles will be an arduous one for both teams.

GunnerN5


Should Petr Cech play in the Europa Final? Poll

May 22, 2019

Should Petr Cech keep goal for Arsenal in the Europa League Final?

Having played in Europe all season, he is the logical choice.

This tweet he put up the other day is a bit sickening but it was a personal triumph for him to be a part of the spawniest CL win in history in 2012.

Now we have the news (presumably leaked by Chelsea ) as the Europa Final approaches that the big Czech is to return to the bus stop in Fulham as Director of Football after this season is over.

Is there a sudden conflict of interest or will Petr’s outstanding professionalism dispel any doubts in Unai’s mind?

What do you think?

Should he play in the Final? Are you having any second thoughts?

chas