An Arsenal home win. Was it good for you?

March 2, 2015

You saw the game. I saw the game. So I won’t cramp my post with details, rather thoughts and feelings.

Laboured win, but an extremely valuable three points is one of the things I observed. Another were empty seats and a very muted crowd for a perfectly timed 2pm Kick Off.

Everton arrived ever so slightly staler than us having Spurs Nighted on the Thursday. The turning point was a scuffed shot from Ollie, but low on confidence strikers whoever they are, need just such fortune.

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You are probably sensing an impending note of doom in the air, and you’d be right. Earlier in the season we put a poor performance, but three points bagged, down to occasionally “winning ugly”, and I agree that’s a great quality. My problem is that we are only winning ugly, with just sporadic flurries into style.

Damn I was looking forward to the days when we would have a fit attack comprising Mesut, Ox, Theo, Alexis and Santi. They are going to terrorise defences with mesmerising football. It’s just not happening.

Even on this site, the majority are happy to bag the three points, and style and performance matter less. Are the Match Goers sending out a different message? We may get Top Four (something very important), and who knows maybe an extra £20M by coming second, and I would be delighted by that result.

My problem is that these players are capable of so much more. We have seen odd glimpses throughout the season, but they are rare sightings. I happen to believe we can win 3-0 in Monaco, but I have absolutely no idea which are the key players to have fit on the day to engineer a clicking performance.

Are my levels of expectation unreasonably high?

MickyDidIt89


Mesut to the Rescue

August 23, 2014

For a fanatical gooner this has been a difficult week. The results were acceptable but there has been disappointment in the manner of our play. And yet ….. today our Germans return.

Mr Wenger has stated that not all will play and I think he means Podolski. We miss a spark, we are too predictable, too slow on the counter as the final ball is ill-conceived. We need a will o’ the wisp and thankfully we have one.

By now you will have realised that I am putting my faith in our World Cup winner and most expensive signing. He must be rested, having spent the last few weeks bobbing about on a luxury yacht (or whatever young mega-rich chaps do). Am I being foolhardy to trust in Ozil? Can he step up to become the player around whom our forward line play? Is he as good as his reputation? This season will tell. Ozil must be hugely confident at present and desperate to get out on the pitch to enthral us and against Everton he will hopefully find the space to enjoy himself.

Everton gave us a lesson at Goodison last season and they were very good at The Emirates. They have maintained their squad and bought Lukaku (who could have foreseen Everton spending £28m on a player?). The long-term injury to Ross Barkley must have been a blow to Martinez –  though Naismith is a decent replacement he is hardly of the same quality.

We know what to expect from a Martinez team, a commitment to hard work in midfield and to attack. He has the players and in Lukaku a player to ruin Monreal’s day as he did when Martinez played him on the left last season. However, I believe that a defence of Distin and Jagielka is vulnerable to pace and ingenuity.

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It is a shame Arteta will not play today, he retains much respect at Goodison where he spent so much of his career. We are ham-strung by ham-strings. Gibbs, Myachi and Sanogo are all out but otherwise we have a strong squad.

The most exciting thing about today will be to finally see how Sanchez can play with Ozil, and how Ramsey fits into this triumvirate of genius. Once Theo returns and possibly takes the central role he craves, we will be Kushti. Mark my word …. Kushti.

There is always the possibility that Mr Wenger will rest Sanchez who has played our last 3 games and could use a rest. I hope not but should he do so it opens the way for Rosicky.

It is a shame for young Chambers that he will be riding the pine for the foreseeable future (or until one of our CB’s gets crocked). I flag this up to herald the return of one of my very favourite players the BFG. I was delighted when Mertesacker signed a 2 year extension to his contract because this bloke is the fulcrum of the team. He may not be the best CB in the world but he is one of the best in the Premiership and his partnership with Koscielny is outstanding. Welcome back Big Man.

My Team;

Football Pitch 4

Hopefully Mr Wenger will be on better form than in Turkey where, in my opinion, he did not pick the best team nor react fast enough to enforce a win. We have such a strong bench that he can afford to tinker. Joel Campbell could well start on the left, it must be time to test him but I expect Joel to get his first appearance at the Emirates.

We have not beaten Everton for 4 games which is the longest run against any PL team (according to The Independent!) and to be honest I can see the run continuing. Everton played well but were held to draw at Leicester and will be looking to start their home campaign with a win over a direct rival. Martinez says the Top 4 is his target and one Everton could have achieved after the 3-0 win at Goodison had the Arsenal not won their last 5 games whilst the Toffees fell apart to finish 7 points behind.

An interesting game against one of my favourite opponents, I would take a point but prefer three 😀

As no-one (meaning Big Raddy) has come up with an interesting theme for the season (physicists was mooted but I know sweet FA about the sciences) I leave you with a picture of The Man…..

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Written by Big Raddy

 


End of the Difficult Games

April 6, 2014

Another must win game? Of course not, we can afford to lose and still get a top 4 spot. Yes, I know that mathematically Everton would be favourites if they win today but they have some difficult games ahead and will certainly drop points – if they don’t and win what will be 12 games in a row then they deserve to be in the CL, plus if any team is to take our 4th place then I would like it to be Everton.

Phew, that was a long sentence!!

This is the 3rd game of the season vs Everton, we have won one, drawn one and perhaps will lose one. Will we? Who knows – the form book would certainly favour the Toffees  and they have been better than us for parts of both previous games.

That is enough negativity. Draw or win today and we are almost guaranteed CL football next season, and I see no reason why we cannot get a result.

Everton: Lovely old-fashioned ground which is a euphemism for a ground in desperate need of a rebuild, but Goodison Park is still one of the PL’s most atmospheric grounds.

As to the team, they are strong all over the pitch. Loan players have hugely added to their performance this season and if one took away their loanees Everton would have been 11th instead of 5th at the turn of the year. We have discussed this at length and no doubt will do again, but Mr Wenger agrees with me – players should only be loaned out of their club’s division. Lukaku remains their strongest attacking force, a lethal striker with a shot accuracy rating of  64%  (Giroud’s is 40% 😦  ). Barry is Everton’s most active player who has most passes, tackles and influential contributions. Both loan players.

My hope is that Mr Wenger spends much of his transfer budget upon Ross Barkley, this kid looks superb and has all the physical attributes. Imagine him alongside Rambo, Ox and Jack in years to come. All British as well. But we know he won’t – Barkley will end up in Manchester, probably at the end of next season.

UnknownFuture Team-mates?

Much has been made of Arsenal’s injury list especially when compared with Everton’s who have only one player with a soft tissue injury. Some have pointed at the manager’s training regimes to account for this. Reasonable??

Martinez is much lauded and rightly so. If Mr Wenger signs his new contract , probably a two year term, will Martinez still be at Everton and available to come to THOF? He appears to be a natural fit for us – intelligent, multi-lingual, attack-minded but with a knowledge that a strong defence is essential and an organiser. The coming man.

Arsenal: We come to the end of Death Cluster 2 and will have some vital players back for the run-in. It is my opinion that Theo and Aaron would have added another 6-8 points to our tally and as such their injuries have cost us the title – not the first time this has happened. (I know I am biased!)

Sadly, none are available today and our poor exhausted troops must soldier on, though a weeks break must help. My main concern is the link up play between our Midfield and Giroud, too often he is isolated, especially against a team which closes us down in our own half – a team like Everton.

This is another twist or stick game, by that I mean do we keep the same side which drew so admirably against City or give the fit again Rosicky a start?

My team:

dc2

Podolski had a fine game last saturday but Rosicky brings more pace to the side- perhaps not through his running but with his speed of pass, and he always brings the ball forward. I do not understand why Gnabry has seen so little pitch time, he has a wonderful future and needs to be blooded in big games – hopefully he will get a subs appearance this afternoon.

As I wrote earlier, I do not believe this is a winner takes it all game (Mrs Raddy has been listening to Abba)  but a win would be just brilliant, in fact like last week I would be happy with a draw.

The two games against the Toffees this season have been great entertainment with the two teams bringing the best out of each other. Let us hope for the same today.

Big Raddy


She wore, She wore, She wore a Yellow Ribbon

March 8, 2014

Wouldn’t it be great to get to Wembley? Just a couple of wins and we can walk up the Empire Way with a song on the lips and hope in the heart, but first we have another difficult task – beating a very good team who are in form.

Last week Everton were cheated out of a result at Chelsea (quelle surprise!). I watched the game and they deserved not just a draw but the three points – they were the better team. What this tells us is that Everton will take to the pitch full of confidence. Another reason for their positivity will be their last game at THOF, a game I was privileged to attend.

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For want of something to write let me review that game in a couple of sentences …. We started well and then Everton took control. Our much lauded midfield was being bossed by the lanky teenager Barkley, who looks a wonderful prospect, and we were struggling to cope with Everton’s attacks. Fortunately, they were lacking a finish and Chesney was playing well. We improved during the second half and took the lead with 9 minutes remaining through an Ozil goal but Everton equalised almost immediately through the excellent Deulofeu.  With seconds remaining Giroud rattled the crossbar with his best shot of the season. Everton’s was the best performance by a PL side at THOF this season – they played with verve, fluency and control. Should they replicate this  form today we will struggle.

But …… neither team is in the form we were back in November.

Everton: Lukaku is back for Everton and apart from Jagielka they have a fully fit squad. With a midfield of Barry, Barkley, Mcarthy or Osman, plus Mirallas and Pienaar, Everton will  swamp the midfield and look to deny us space. An Everton player I like very much is Seamus Coleman whom, if Bacary doesn’t re-sign, I would love to see at Arsenal; he has pace, is a good crosser but above all can defend.

Arsenal: With JW knacked and Ramsey not back until Spurs we will line up with an ancient midfield – Cazorla, Rosicky, Arteta and Flamini  – Santi is the youngest at 29!! Of course, I missed out Mesut and Ox but for sake of argument they are attackers.

Fabianski will continue his FA Cup run and perhaps Jenks will feature after a fine game for England U-21’s. Koscielny is having an assessment pre-match but I wouldn’t risk him and hope to see our Club Captain. It may be wise to give Sanogo another game but I would love us to win the FAC so prefer OG.

My team:

fa cup arse v toffees

I doubt AW will agree with me – he rarely does, but given an important game midweek it may be wise to rest Rosicky. We will have a strong bench.

Looking at the remaining teams in the Cup there is little to be fearful of (apart from one obvious exception), win this and the Twin Towers (spiritually if not physically) await.

written by Big Raddy

p.s. If anyone ever sees Raddy in a bar and watches him move from drinking wine to cocktails and onto beer please take him by the arm and remind him that he is too old for such behaviour. Hopefully this will result in a more lucid and informed AA post 😀


Arsenal v Everton …. The Battle Of The Midfields

December 8, 2013

This is my virgin post written on an iphone, any mistakes should be blamed on my text typing and Steve Jobs …..

Everton. The start of our tough run of pre-Xmas games. Fresh from their record breaking defeat of some mid-table Northern cloggers, they come to The Emirates full of confidence.

Is the difference Martinez, Lukaku, Barry and Barkley or the loss of Moyes? My guess is the latter. Allowing good players to express themselves in a system designed to attack rather than hinder opponents is proving to be effective.

Let there be no doubt Everton are a fine team in good form, but so are we.  Once again this game will be decided in midfield, it is where Everton are strongest.

Arsenal. No Flamini, no Sagna – can we cope? I fear for Jenkinson who is super going forward but prone to mistakes defensively; understandable given his youth and inexperience but Flamini’ s awareness will be missed on the right.

Theo has to start today, we are playing wonderfully without him, however TW frightens defenders and with Baines out he could be important.

My team

arse v everton

If we follow trends and stats we should win. Given the shock results of yesterday we know not to take 3 points for granted but if Everton leave with a point they will be delighted, which says it all.

Big Raddy


Arsenal Get The Point

April 17, 2013

I don’t know about you, but I really enjoyed the game last night. I know, I know, it’s bad for us given that picking up only one point drags us back within range of Spurs, as well as Chelsea. But the game was a keenly contested match between two proper, competitive teams. Everything was played on the edge, and that makes for an enjoyable spectacle. I’m sure I’m not alone in having enjoyed this 0-0 more than our 3-1 win on Saturday.

Not that the match started that well for us. For the first 20 minutes, we failed to show any quality on the ball, and it all looked pretty disjointed. And we could easily have gone a goal down, when Steven Pienaar received a through-ball from Phil Jagielka that managed to elude both Koscielny and Mertesacker. Fortunately, Szczesny was quick to attack the ball and did enough to put off Pienaar, whose shot sailed over the bar. Bit of a let-off though.

It took a while for us to find our rhythm but eventually things started to click for us, especially in terms of more effective use of the ball. Our best first half chance came near the 40-minute mark, when some sublime play from Cazorla led to Ramsey putting in an excellent first-time cross, which was delivered perfectly into the danger-zone, where Giroud was waiting. Unfortunately, Big Ollie’s shot wasn’t what it should have been and it went wide.

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Everton took a robust approach to the game – I don’t think they were especially dirty, but it was clear that they would get in our players’ faces pretty quickly. The referee, the unfamiliar Neil Swarbrick, wasn’t really up to the intensity of the match, and didn’t deal well with some pretty obvious gamesmanship from Everton, not least from Marouane Fellaini, who often made up for being outpaced with arms going across the player he was competing with. The most obvious failure of the referee came when he failed to give the most obvious of second yellow cards to Darron Gibson, when he cynically body-checked Walcott to prevent a useful break. There was simply no room for debate, it was as obvious a yellow card offence as you could wish to see, but the referee bottled it. But for the most part, both sides approached the game fairly, even if some of the tackles were strong.

It was great to see Arsenal rediscover the joys of playing on the break. And it was from one of those that Chamberlain received the ball when advancing into the penalty area. He had a choice: shoot or pass. He opted to slide a pass into Giroud, but Coleman did just enough to scramble the ball away before Giroud could get it home. Perhaps the Ox should have gone for his shot after all. This was probably the closest we came to scoring, we opened up Everton completely.

A few minutes later, with Everton tiring, Arteta received a lovely pass from Cazorla and advanced into the box – for a moment, it seemed to open up and a shot against his old club appeared likely, but Jagielka recovered his position to snuff the attack out. A little later, Chamberlain played in Giroud, who was forced a little wide, so the angle was narrow, making the shot a tough one – his effort had to be hit with power if it was to get past Howard but it lacked control and soared over the bar.

Overall, a draw seemed right – a lot of effort was spent by both sides, but neither side got many clear sights on goal. It’s a shame only to draw but that point could well end up being very valuable for us. There were some good performances from the Blues, I particularly liked Ross Barkley, who very nearly scored in the first half, and their defence played very well throughout. But they tired in the last 10-15 minutes, which was when some of our best chances arrived.

Szczesny: 7 Having had a rest after a period of declining confidence and performances, the other Pole in goal did a really good job, with some sharp interventions and safe hands. I was also really pleased to see him deliver a Schmeichel-like long throw, to Gibbs on the halfway line, to launch an attack. I always think when I see a keeper do that that it shows he’s confident in his abilities.

Gibbs: 8 Very good performance from Gibbs, both defending and going forward. He even managed to get in our first shot.

Koscielny: 7 Kos did well, working so effectively in tandem with the BFG. He won most of his aerial duels and generally remained highly concentrated.

Mertesacker: 7 Solid performance from our beanpole, he had Anichebe in his pocket for pretty much the whole game.

Sagna: 7.5 The man with the beads had one of his best games of the season. It’s a shame he can’t cross very well, because he combines very well with the more attack-minded players on his flank.

Arteta: 8 A typically excellent performance from Mr Legohead – he did what he does best, lots of short passes that allowed the side to keep its shape and the ball to be kept moving.

Ramsey: 8.5 MOTM Picked up where he left off at the weekend, with a confident, energetic display. The ground this guy can cover is impressive, and it was great to see him sharp into the challenge. It didn’t work every time but Ramsey turned over possession on various occasions by reason of getting his challenges in early.

Cazorla: 7 Santi had some sublime moments with the ball, there are times when you see his control and think he must have velcro on his boots. And his passing game is often beautiful – he delivers the ball with care and thought, so that it usually arrives at the recipient at the perfect pace and direction. That said, there were also some unusually sloppy moments from the litll’un.

Wilshere: 7 A much, much better performance from LJ than his blowing-away-the-cobwebs contribution on Saturday. Wilshere took a bit of a battering at times last night but he soaked that up and provided a solid performance, even if his passing wasn’t always able to slice through the Toffees’ defence.

Walcott: 6 Theo didn’t find his space often enough, and didn’t have sufficient impact on the game, That said, his passing was very efficient.

Giroud: 6.5 Worked as hard as ever, and had three good chances. He didn’t manage to get any of them on target, which ultimately cost us two points. But he didn’t do much wrong.

Podolski: 7 Did well when he was on the pitch, but he didn’t get any clear opportunities to do what he does best with the ball.

Oxlade-Chamberlain: 7 Added energy at just the right time, when he came on to replace a slightly ineffectual Walcott. The Ox created some good openings, and arguably should have scored.

Monreal: 7 Came on late in the game, didn’t do much wrong, but did manage to pick up a quick yellow card, when he took one for the team.

Written by 26May1989


Nervous??

April 16, 2013

I am already nervous and thinking about when to start my alcohol intake, lunch-time seems appropriate ! Tonight BR will be decked out in everything lucky , having eaten his lucky dinner, be drinking the lucky wine and watching the lucky stream. I will do everything possible to help the team because tonight is a huge game.

Unknown-1

Score early tonight Theo ….. pretty please

Of course, if we consider 4th place just to be an invitation to go out of the CL at the group stage like MC and the Chavs then I guess it isn’t so vital – but that rarely happens to us. Then there is the matter of finishing above the N17 Miscreants, not because I think it proves they are better than us but because they will think they are, and a Cocky Spurs fan is a cock indeed.

An Arsenal win tonight knocks Everton out of the race, a loss severely damages our hopes.

Trouble is Everton are really on a roll and arrive full of energy and confidence. For a club with the financial restraints they have to consistently finish above their “noisy neighbours” is a fantastic achievement, and a testament to the Joys of Moyes.

What should we expect tonight? I would be happy if Everton came to attack but I doubt they will – they know we have the pace to hammer them on the counter. No, I expect Everton to be combative in midfield, close down our creative players and attempt to staunch our ticky-tacky approach play around their box. They have a sound defence and in Mirallas and Anichebe fast attackers in a rich run of form. They come into the game unbeaten in six.

Before I get too negative about our chances, our run is even better than theirs, and we are at home where we have not lost to Everton since 1996 – I was there that day and Southall saved them, the Fatboy made save after stunning save as the Toffees stole the points. Let’s hope that Tim Howard has a poor night, though he usually does well against us.

As you know, I rarely delve too deep into games and tactics because so many other blogs do it much better than I can, but I see two areas where the game will be won or lost. Firstly, if Santi gets space and plays well, Arsenal will win, end of. By his own very high standards Cazorla was poor on Saturday but knowing him this season he will be looking to compensate tonight. The other area is Walcott up against Coleman. If Theo plays as he did in his cameo vs Norwich then Coleman will have to defend deep which cancels out his attacking threat. I believe Theo will score tonight.

Of course, there are other battles – Monreal/Baines, Fellaini/BFG etc – it will be an interesting game.

My team

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The loss of Rosicky on Saturday upset the rhythm this team has developed, if fit he has to start, which will also allow Wilshere a little more time to regain his mojo.

But what of Podolski? My 2nd favourite living German is desperate to start and made a huge impact on Saturday. He is by far our best finisher but is he ready to spearhead the attack? In some games, yes, but tonight I would stick with the height of Giroud and bring Lu-Lu-Lukas on for the final half hour.

Tonight’s English Explorer: St John Philby (1885-1960). All our explorers have been brave men, some extraordinarily courageous but the we have the Loonies, the blokes who in any other area of life would be confined to a small padded room. If however, you are educated at Westminster and Cambridge you get the chance to travel and act out your fantasies. This chap managed to do so and do it with some aplomb.

Unknown

Clearly had a Public School Education.

A fanatical bird watcher he was educated in both ornithology and Oriental languages, St John started his adventures in the Punjab, India. He then travelled to Baghdad where he organised an Arab Revolt against the Turks. Travelling extensively through the Ottoman Empire Philby seemed to bring chaos wherever he went, which typically won him great plaudits back in Blighty and election to The Royal Geographical Society! A series of political appointments in Arab lands followed. He then started working for the British Secret Service before being sacked for “going native” – one of his plans was to sell Saudi oil to the Spanish who would then sell it to the Germans who were gearing up for WW2. After the war , having chosen the wrong side, Philby and worked all over the Arab lands.

St.John married and had a son who also became a famous traitor – Kim Philby. In fact it was Kim’s father who recommended him to MI6 ! St. John died in Beirut in 1960, 3 years before his son was disgraced as a double agent.

COYRRG

Written by Big Raddy


Rivals: Can Arsenal win the League?

September 8, 2012

Given the evidence of the first 3 games, where do you think we will finish in the league this season?

Today’s post is a look at our rivals, starting with the current Champions.

Manchester City

Man City have strengthened in areas which Mancini identified as weak – Garcia, Rodwell, Sinclair and Maicon arriving with the very average Savic, Johnson, De Jong and a few others leaving. Maicon, despite being 31, is a top quality player and will definitely be an asset, but did they need to sign anyone? MC’s first team  improved steadily over last season and with the return of Tevez to the fold they continue to look formidable. My guess is all the new arrivals will be spending most of the season sitting down.

Their first two games showed some weaknesses, particularly at Anfield where they were a defensive mistake away from defeat. they trailed at home to Southampton before getting a squeaky win and walloped QPR.  City travel to Stoke for their next game afar which we can compare our game to theirs.

In my opinion the title will be City’s to lose; they have a powerful and high quality squad which is well prepared for inevitable losses of form and injuries. Plus they have a manager who knows how to win titles

Manchester United

Essentially the question is “Can RvP deliver the title to MU”? The lack of investment into an ageing and non-creative midfield would be a cause for concern in any other team,but Ol’ Bacon Face has won the PL so many times with what to outsiders were average teams we cannot dismiss them. So far RvP has saved them humiliation at Southampton and scored the first in a fortunate win v Fulham and they have lost at Everton – hardly the stuff of champions. Yet despite having a thin squad, particularly at the back where Carrick has played CB, they must be considered a threat – MU always are. Kagawa looks quality, a player in the Giggs mould and SAF has looked to the future with the signings of the highly rated Powell and Buttner.

But have they got enough?. Are 3 world class players (RvP, Rooney, Vidic) enough to compete with the other challengers? Can they continue to rely upon the ancient legs of Scholes to give them impetus? Not in my opinion. There is a fragility in defence which teams will expose, though it has to be said, the Old Red Nose knows a hell of a lot more about football than I do!

Chelsea

A very impressive start to the season for the history lacking Southern Oilers. The new signings look superb – the combination of Mata, Hazard and Oscar is frightening (though this must be tempered by the very average Obi One Mikel). Hazard will light up the season as Silva did when he arrived at MC, he has deceptive strength, vision and pace – what a pity AW couldn’t persuade him to sign a few years back.But as good as they are in midfield where Fatboy Lampard will struggle to get a game, there are problems at The Bridge. An over-reliance upon the questionable gifts of the PL’s most expensive player will prove costly, and there is not much else. How do you replace a player like Drogba? Sturridge isn’t the answer, Victor Moses despite being quality will not score the missing goals. So if teams can stifle the midfield threat, then Chelsea will struggle.

In defence there are also problems. JT is a  …., we all know it, he is thankfully at the end of a career which has disgraced English football but in Cahill they have a decent replacement. Add in the “mercurial” (read unreliable/nuts) talents of Luiz, the ageing legs of Cashley  to the quirkiness of Ivanovic and we can see cracks.

Then there is the manager. An incredibly lucky CL win (has there ever been a more fortunate win in the history of football?) led to his appointment. One can only assume RdM is a stop-gap appointment prior to Guardiola. But what happens if it all goes TU? Will Abra give him time?  We all know the answer.

Tottenham

Yes, laughable as it may seem the knuckle draggers are rivals. Can they win the title? Of course not – they haven’t won it since Harold Macmillan was Prime Minister and he was born in 1894!!! (love that fact) but they finished 4th last season and must have chances of a repeat performance. One can only assume that Monkey Boy has no ambition as he remains at  Sh*te Hart Lane; whilst Ratboy and FanderFart have had enough of the lack of light in the caves. As usual the Totts have made some decent signings – Dempsey was an AFC target as were Vertoghen and Loris; Dembele should have been. Ade will continue to score goals and infuriate with equal measure, and Defoe will sit on the bench.

Their problems lie in defence where Gallas’s pace is constricted by his Zimmer frame. Dawson was out the door until someone realised Kaboul was too fragile and King has retired. They do have some very good youngsters coming through and I guess they will blood them this season should Vertoghen struggle.

Then there is their new manager. I like AVB and expected him to be a huge success at Chelsea. Will the fans (gimps) and the board give him breathing space? I hope not because he will improve them given time.

Liverpool

Two thoughts come to mind: You’re having a Turkish and Calm Down.

Newcastle

Did well last season and definitely punched above their weight. Again the defence has to be their weak point. They have managed to retain their best players despite the attempts of AW to sign Cabaye. Newcastle have beaten the Totts (easily) lost to the Chavs (easily) and fortunately drawn with AV. A difficult start but 4 points is OK and about on par. My expectation is they will have a good home record but struggle away.

Others

Everton have a decent first team and started better than normal, AV are dull in the extreme, but Top 4 ? No chance.

Conclusion:

There can only be one outcome …… Arsenal will be crowned Champions in late April.

1. Arsenal

2. Chelsea

3. Man City

4. Man Utd

5. Newcastle

6. Stoke

7. Wigan

8. The Noisy Neighbours

What do you think?

Written by Big Raddy


Which Arsenal will turn up this afternoon?

November 14, 2010

Another tough game on the road. Goodison is one of my favourite grounds, there is always a good atmosphere and the food used to be good!  Plus Kevin Campbell (a diehard Gooner) was a big success up there.

The stats going into this fixture definitely indicate a home win, Everton are in a fine run of form, have finally got through their regular dreadful start to the season and are climbing the table. They have drawn with Man Utd and beaten Liverpool at home and today will be expecting another good result. We on the other hand have been going through a topsy turvy run, sometimes playing sublime football and the next losing to the Barcodes. Let us hope for a continuation of the grit shown at Wolves.

Everton will be missing Fellaini which is a major positive for us, but both Heitinga and Rodwell are in contention. In Arteta they have a player who is almost as good as Cesc (not really!!), and we can expect an even battle in midfield. With Pienaar (often cited as an AW target), Cahill and Yakubu, they are dangerous both on the break and at set pieces. With two fine full-backs in Baines and Hibbert and another AW target (?) Jagielka alongside the experienced Distin, they should be solid at the back.

I am not anticipating a repeat of last season’s result at Goodison!

AW has an almost full squad to pick from. He intimated that he will rotate the midfield which I take to mean the JW will get a rest. I would play Theo in the final 30 mins when his pace will cause Baines problems and hopefully stop him venturing into attack.

Theo and Nik to come on after 60 mins.

For historical details about Everton please refer to my Liverpool posts! All I know of the area is that it inspired a fine album by Paul Weller named Stanley Park – but I would have Weller down as a Chelsea fan.

With the results benefitting us yesterday and Chelsea having a relatively tricky home fixture (Sunderland),  three points would be great but with our inconsistent form I would happily take the draw.

COYYRG


Jagielka, Cahill and Hart ….. a glimpse of what might have been? – written by Rasp

September 7, 2010

Written by Rasp

After Dawson’s unfortunate injury (ahheerrmm) playing against Bulgaria last Friday, we saw the defensive triangle of English players that many had wished we could have signed this summer – and I thought they looked pretty good, but then again, they weren’t up against the most testing of opposition.

Of course the idea of us signing any of those players was just unsubstantiated speculation fuelled by a national press expert at feeding the paranoia of football fans. There is no concrete evidence that these players were available, willing to move or even the subject of interest from Arsenal.

The likelihood is that all three will all play against Switzerland tonight, so we will get a second chance to assess them. Are they any better than our trio of Vermaelen, Koscielny and Allmunia?

Vermaelen and Jagielka are very similar in height and stature. Jagielka has had two very good seasons at Everton and looks comfortable in international football. He’s strong and brave, good in the air, reads the game well, experienced (he’s 28) reasonably quick and dependable – all of which applies equally to Vermaelen, who at 24 is just coming into his peak. TV has captained club and country and scores more goals than the Evertonian, so although Jagielka is a good player, all in all,  I’m very happy to have our future captain (?) at the Arsenal.

Cahill and Koscielny are physically quite different. Cahill is 6ft 2in and powerfully built. He too is very good in the air and also looked the part when he came on for England. Both are developing their game at the age of 24 and can only improve. Cahill looks a reasonable footballer, but I’d say Kozzer has the edge in that department. It will take time for Koscielny to settle into the English game but he has huge potential. I thought he was better than TV against Liverpool but was outmuscled too easily by Diouf against Blackburn. If LK can develop into a ‘TV clone’, we will have an excellent CB pairing. He is more capable of playing wengerball than Cahill and is said to be working on his strength for the physical challenges that lie ahead.

Joe Hart can do no wrong at the moment and on current form, is probably the best keeper in the Premier League. It’s too easy jump on the bandwagon and draw unflattering comparisons between Hart and Almunia, – so I’m just going to list a couple of elements of Hart’s game that make him such a good keeper. He is confident. He has very strong wrists so when he makes contact with the ball it generally flies out of the danger area. His distribution is good and he communicates well with his defence. I expect him to be England’s number one for many years.

Almunia has my full support and has made an excellent start to the season. It is obvious that his confidence is fragile, but the more decent performances he can deliver, the more assured he will become. He should take strength from his team-mates, Eboue and Bendtner, who defied their critics and won their way back into the hearts of the fans.  The resolve of the defence and willingness of all the outfield players to ‘defend as a unit’ will also play a part in Almunia’s fate. Of course he will make mistakes – all keepers do, what is more important is how he reacts to setbacks. Arsène’s policy will be to give his keeper total support and that’s the way it should be.

We will know by Christmas whether the affable Spaniard has risen to the challenge. I would suggest that he is in the last chance saloon and if his form slips, we may yet sign another keeper in the January window.