Emery Knows

May 29, 2019

I woke up yesterday morning thinking I was remarkably calm considering we have a European Final on Wednesday. This morning I awoke with a nervous energy not felt for many a moon. The hours until kick off  going to be very long. I have bought a 9 pack of Tuborg Green (we Danes are hard drinkers and 6 packs are rare!) and a couple of bottles of a cheeky Italian Dolcetto to make the time go faster and numb my pre-match nerves.

Baku is awash with intrepid Gooners, people who have sacrificed much to support their team. Can the Arsenal give them the victory they deserve?

My first emotion when we made the Final against the Shed Boys was a cloud of negativity – “Chelsea are too good”, “Hazard’s last game”, Chavs have more experience and Big Game players” etc etc. I am sure many of you will have shared those thoughts. But I find today I am far more positive – this is a winnable game. All we need to do is perform as we did earlier in the season when we annihilated the Chavs at the Emirates. That’s all.

Can we? Of course we can.

Now I know there is many a slip twixt cup and lip and Arsenal have royally effed up many big games in recent time (Brighton/Palace etc etc) but Emery Knows ūüėÄ

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The media are expecting a Chelsea win and the betting odds are against us but how can anyone gamble against a side with our front two? They are special and above all they are winners.

Do you think Mr Emery will pick Mesut to start? I don’t know either. I dither, changing my mind on a hourly basis. Had Mhki been available then No, but given his absence Yes, I would start Ozil. However by the time I finish writing this PM, I may well have changed my opinion.

Cech or Leno? We had a poll and Leno won but we all know Cech will start. The man has been great for AFC. I recall when he signed how excited I was that we had a safe and secure GK after the two flaky Poles (both of whom have developed in top GK’s). I wish him well in his final game.

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And what of Iwobi? Will Mr E. choose a more defensive model and leave Alex on the bench?

Who is sure to start? Cech, Koscielny, Sokratis, Kolasinac,  Xhaka, PEA and Laca. The rest remain in doubt, even Nacho.

If we play 3 at the back then, given his recent form, I would trust Mustafi but Nacho is so reliable and so experienced.

Could AMN start? We will need pace to counter Hazard, Willian, Pedro etc.

And in midfield, will Douzi be picked ahead of Terrier? I hope not though a midfield of Xhaka, Terrier, Douzi and Kolasinac is quite likely.

Cech

Mustafi    Kos   Sokratis

AMN   Terrier   Xhaka   Kolasinac

Ozil

PEA    Laca

My concern with this side is the reliance upon AMN and Wardrobe to get forward thereby allowing space  behind for fast counter attack by the excellent Chelsea wide players. As always, midfield discipline must be maintained.

For Chelsea, well mostly I don’t care but I will be very upset if¬† OG scores. Very. Hopefully Kante will be injured as he is a wonderful player.

VAR will be used tonight; much discussed, I believe VAR assists the game though some decisions remain open to interpretation. Referee is Rocchi, an Italian with much experience, we must hope he hasn’t been gifted a house or two by Chelsea’s owner

Last night I was over in Malmo Sweden  alongside West Ham Bob watching another Malmo victory. He sat on the fence but hoped for an AFC win. Like many his head says Chelsea but his heart is Gooner. For us it is simple РDeath or Glory. If we are to lose I do not want to look at any AFC player and think they could have worked harder Рmistakes will be made, they are human, but to win tonight will require 100% effort and concentration.

A European Final as the final game is way beyond my season expectation. Win or lose the team have had a successful campaign but how wonderful would it be to lift the trophy?

Come on boys, you can do it.

COYRRG

 

 

 

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Arsenal FC – Our record playing in the Ukraine

November 28, 2018

Our record in the Ukraine hasn’t been all that auspicious.¬† It’s a difficult place to go as winter creeps in.

Dynamo Kyiv were our first Ukrainian opponents in 1998. These were the days of playing at Wembley to allow more people in and swell the coffers that bit more. It was a dreadful idea as virtually all home advantage was lost. Kiev (as we called them in those days) had Shevchenko and Rebrov, which also didn’t help! We drew at home and then lost 3-1 away in November. (This was before Rebrov disgraced himself by going to the spuds, coming 12th and 9th before going on loan to Fenerbahce).

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In 2003 we again lost away but sneaked a 1-0 home win at Highbury with a late Ashley Cole goal. Kiev were drawn in our group for the third time in 2008. We managed to sneak a 1-1 draw in the Valery Lobanovskiy Stadium thanks to a very late Billy G equaliser and sneaked the home tie when Lord Bendtner popped up with an 87th minute winner.

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Against Shakhtar Donetsk in September 2000 at Highbury, I was proud to witness one of my favourite ever live games. Losing 2-0 early on, Wiltord gave us hope on the stroke of half time slotting in the rebound from a missed penalty. The last ten minutes will live long in the memory as Martin Keown popped up with two goals (one which appeared to be off his arm) to snatch victory at the death. Must have been his only brace ever. I smiled all the way home to Notts. The less said about the 3-0 away defeat in November the better.

We romped past Shakhtar in October 2010 5-1 at the Emirates featuring goals from the FFBW, a Cesc penalty and a Chamakh special before again losing away 2-1 in November. (Eduardo, our Brazilian Croatian ex-player, scored in both legs but shunned any goal celebrations)

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There’s a theme developing here. The later in the year you play away in the Ukraine, the harder it is to come away with a point. A proliferation of gloves and too many thermal layers probably doesn’t help.

Still all trends are there to be broken, starting on Thursday.

Update on Thursday’s game

Russian aggression towards the Ukraine appears to be escalating and in response the Ukrainian government has declared martial law. President Petro Poroshenko has said the implementation ‘aims to prevent an all-out Russian invasion’.

A statement from Uefa read: “The emergency panel has today taken the decision to relocate FC Vorskla’s Europa League group stage match against Arsenal from the city of Poltava, following the introduction of martial law into certain regions in Ukraine.

‚ÄúUefa will continue to monitor and assess the security situation in Ukraine in the coming days before making any decision on potentially relocating other matches.‚ÄĚ

Up to 500 Arsenal fans were expected to travel to the game in Poltava and now must make alternative arrangements, with the decision coming less than 48 hours before the scheduled start time, which remains unchanged. (17:55pm)

chas


Ready for a Viking Invasion?

February 22, 2018

It was a strange game in Sweden and evidence that Mr. Potter’s unusual coaching style had little effect in the first 30 minutes. Rarely have I seen such a poorly organised team.

What of tonight?

Ostersunds players must be excited. A couple of days in London with it’s bright lights, shopping, theatre, museums and gay bars. An eye-opener after the frozen wasteland of central Sweden.

We saw in the second half that Ostersunds can play and I expect them to give a good account of themselves. They played against a very strong Arsenal team in their home leg and the opposition is likely to give them more encouragement tonight.

Given this is the biggest game in Ostersunds history, we can expect to see Viking hordes¬† full of mead and schnapps sail up the Thames, rampage though Holloway Road, occupy the terraces, primed to take on allcomers and abuse our womenfolk. If approached take the only sensible action …. Run Away.

As to Arsenal, it is a chance for the reserves to get a kick about. Maybe for Welbeck to show why he deserves a contract extension. Another opportunity for the sparse crowd to give the “Eddie” chant another rendition.

It would be risky for Mr Wenger to play anyone whom he wants to start at Wembley and, in recent years, Mr Wenger is not a risk-taker. As such he could select a very unusual 11.

My Team:

Ospina

Chambers    Holding    Kolasinac

Nelson   Elneny   Willock   M-N

Miki   Welbz   Eddie

This may be a little too risky for AW! JW could start especially if Ramsey is likely to be fit for Sunday.

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I am finding it hard to be enthusiastic about tonight. The opposition are poor, we have already won the tie, The Emirates will be half empty, no stars playing. Will I watch? Of course I will but most probably with my mind elsewhere.

We should win this tie whichever Arsenal players are on the pitch.

COYRRG

 

 


Our…

November 2, 2017

Turn

The B team. Any team which represents Arsenal has a duty to give 100% and perform with pride. So far our reserves have done just that.

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We welcome Red Star and their passionate fans, who will hopefully bring the kind of atmosphere created by Koln (but not the chaos, please). If I am honest the Belgrade fans were the best part of the away leg, we won but it was turgid stuff.

Can we entertain tonight, please?

Win tonight and we top the group, which is no more than expected. We are on a different financial level to our rivals. Things will change as we enter the knockout rounds – just last night Athletico Madrid, Napoli and Borussia Dortmund (you know we will draw them!) dropped into the Europa. It will be tough to win.

But that is for another day ….

My Team:

Macey

Debuchy   Elneny   Holding

Nelson    Willock    Coquelin    Maitland-Niles

Wilshere

Walcott   Giroud

This team seems a bit light in creative midfield and perhaps Iwobi will start. It is not a vital game and as such, why put players at risk ahead of Man City?

By the way, I have seen Red Star play at Highbury, we drew 1-1 in 1978. This was the team

Pat Jennings
Pat Rice  David O’Leary   Willie Young  Sammy Nelson
Graham Rix  Steve Walford   David Price  Mark Heeley
Frank Stapleton   Alan Sunderland
Look at that back 5!  Excellent.

Win tonight and Mr Wenger can play the Arsenal Ladies team against Bate.

COYRRG


Journey into the Unkown

September 28, 2017

I have to admit to knowing very little about Bate Borisov – I didn’t even know they were based in Belarus, in fact I don’t even know where Belarus is! But, if they are in the Europa then they have to be decent opposition!

I have read that Hleb started his career at Bate, that they have won the Belarus League the last 11 years running, Their ground holds 13k and will be filled with Arsenal fans because Belarus has many Arsenal fan clubs.

Beyond that ….??

So, this PM will concentrate on the away team. How many goals have Arsenal conceded in their last 4 games? I will tell you. None. Given  the start we had with 8 goals leaked in just 3 games, this is huge. Some may say that it is down to good fortune, fortunate refereeing decisions and poor opposition but the fact remains, we have gone 360+ minutes without conceding,

This is huge.

We are wonderful attacking players, so many that International first teamers cannot even get on the bench, but defenders? And defensive organisation?

And midfield control? Have we just been lucky or has Mr Wenger found a way to set up his team to stop the massive gaps exposed by Leicester and Liverpool?

Is the absence of Ozil and the resurgence of Ramsey just co-incidence?

3 games in 6 days means rotationand a chance to judge the quality of the squad.

Even allowing for over half the team being reserves we should still win tonight (though I hesitate to predict a victory as I usually put a bok on the team). A front line including Walcott, Sanchez and Giroud is potent.

My Team:

Ospina

Holding    BFG     Monreal

Bellerin   Maitland- Niles     Wilshire     Elneny

Walcott   Giroud     Sanchez

Perhaps it would be good to start with Ryan Nelson but given Holdings frailty aon the right it makes sense to give him the security of Bellerin.

6 p.m. kick off (7.00 CET), ideal, wish there were more.

Our first away fixture in the Europa. It would be great to start with a win … Let it be So.

COYRRG