Champions 2017/18?

August 10, 2017

How do you think we will fare this season? Will the strengthening of the squad be enough to propel us to the Title? Will it be enough to regain our Top 4 status?

Here’s what BR thinks (subject to change depending upon results ūüôā )

Let’s look at the opposition, starting with:

Chelsea: We have recently ¬†beaten them twice in two important games and lost a meaningless friendly. We are better than them – full stop. Yes, they may be Champions but I fear for them and doubt they can repeat their mid-season run of form which propelled them to the title. They are lacking in midfield (why sell Matic??), are half the side without Hazard and are about to sell their best attacker. Morata? ‚ā¨60m is a huge gamble on a man who has yet to play a full season in a first team (RM made ‚ā¨30m profit ¬†on him after just 26 games!!).

We will finish above them.

Man City: ¬†Spent a fortune – over ‚ā¨100m on just full backs! Almost ‚ā¨40m on a GK who has yet to gain a full International cap. If their first 11 stay fit and Stones starts to show why he is so highly rated they will do well.

Champions? A team with De Bruyne, Sterling, Aguero, Gundogan and Sane will not be far off but somehow, they just don’t do it for me.

Man Utd. Mourinho has to deliver. Winning the Europa was good but not considering the massive investment made in the summer of ’16, Finishing just 6th could have been a sackable offence. Over ‚ā¨150m spent (added to the ‚ā¨165m last summer) makes this a hugely expensive squad. They have managed to recoup less than ‚ā¨10m in sales! MU should have the best squad and if they had a manager who had the slightest intention to entertain we should be happy to see such wonderful talent in the PL BUT they don’t, and MU remain a dull team to watch. The purchase of Lukaku points to a Route One season¬†They were awful in the Supercup where Real Madrid made them look amateur.

MU should be favourites in a financially doped league.

Spurs: If any other team had achieved what Spurs have I would be delighted and rooting for them to go one step further – but it isn’t, it is Spurs and I have an innate dislike of anything Blue & White – to the point where I will not even allow a blue & white toothbrush into my bathroom. FairPlay to them, they have managed to retain the bulk of their squad (so far), sold players for massive profits and look potential Champions. But, there are two huge problems , firstly, they are playing at Wembley, and secondly, and much more importantly, they are Spurs.

Relegation awaits.

Liverpool: Dark horses. On paper they look excellent. Solid in every position. If they can keep Coutinho it will be a signal of their intent. Salah is a good signing and if Sturridge can form a partnership with Mane, they are strong in attack. Klopp remains a terrific addition to the PL . Good enough to move on and win the title? Good enough to maintain a top 4 place?

I doubt it.

Everton: Given their ambitions and expenditure they have to be considered. Koeman is doing very well and has created an excellent defence, strengthened by Pickford and Keane. Given the loss of Lukaku how will they cope in attack? Will Rooney have the legs? Where does he fit into the team? Not in midfield where Everton have Schneiderlin, Barkley, Davies and Barry. Goalscoring could be problematic.

6th

Arsenal: If Sanchez, Ozil and Ox stay plus we sign another body, then the title is ours. The development of Iwobi and Xhaka, plus the purchase of Lacazette means that both Ozil and Sanchez can leave in 2018. However,they need another season to bed in. Rumour abounds about Gabriel being sold but I doubt it, nor Chambers who has a future at AFC. Mustafi has had a bedding in season and the 3-4-3 means that we have choices, especially given the exciting arrival of Kolasinac.

Champions

written by Big Raddy

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Everton: Player Ratings

May 22, 2017

A sunny day, the end of the PL season, JC last game (?), a fine win yet one mingled with regret and disappointment

Given that we played 80 minutes with 10 men against a strong Everton team and a bent referee it was a fine victory. Had we not been cheated out of a point at Everton away, it would have meant much more but in the end we were the 5th best team in the PL. Thursday nights and lots of Sunday games await.

Player ratings.

Cech. Magnificent … Again. He has been superb the last few games. Had little chance with a well -taken penalty. Cut out the ball early from crosses, made an acrobatic save from a Lukaku header and his distribution was faultless. ¬† ¬† 9

Holding.  In a constantly changing back line he played well, made the odd error of judgement. Continues to improve and must have won a place in the Cup Final    7

Koscielny. Stupid and rash challenge which deserved the red card. Out of the CF.   5

Gabriel. Until his injury the Brazilian was outstanding. Looked a nasty injury. Got a yellow card for his pains when he was in front of the man and got the ball.    8

Monreal. ¬†Was it a penalty? I couldn’t tell. Other than that he played well with his usual energy. After Kos ‘s red card Nacho was understandably more defensive ¬† 7

Bellerin. Finally getting his speed back. Non-stop work up and down his wing. Scored a tap in but was there to do so. Better.    8

Ramsey.  Started slowly with inaccurate and poor choice of passes. Improved second half and scored an absolute peach.    7

Xhaka. Terrific. Is becoming the player AW hoped for. No more stupid tackles, even Oliver could find a reason to give him a card.    9

Ozil. Once again in good form. Worked tirelessly, as usual created some chances. Hopefully not his last game at THOF     8

Sanchez.  Typical Alexis game. Non-stop workmate, dangerous on the ball, hugely frustrating in his timing and choice of pass, scored. Brilliant player and I love to watch him. Hopefully not his last game at THOF.    8

Welbeck.  Worked hard. Missed an absolute sitter and should have scored at least two of his chances.      7

Subs:

BFG. Great to see our Club Captain. Fitted in seamlessly.    7

Coq. 30 minutes & but didn’t embarrass himself ¬† ¬†6

Iwobi. Seemed to be everywhere on the pitch in his cameo.    7

Mr Wenger. On a difficult afternoon he got his tactics spot on.    8

Referee: ¬†Michael Oliver. Dreadful. Lost control to the point that a quiet Emirates resounded with “you don’t know what you’re doing”. ¬† ¬† ¬†2

written by Big Raddy


Everton. A Chance to say Goodbye?

May 21, 2017

Will this be the final time Alexis and Mesut grace Islington’s most sacred turf? Hope not , but if it is let’s win this afternoon with the style and brio they have both brought to the Arsenal.

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Everton are a good team and Koeman has done well to keep them in the mix until the last month or so, they will finish in 7th at least 14 points ahead of 8th. With a much smaller budget than the Top 6 it would be fair to say, they have comfortably won League 2 of the PL. Whether they can push on is doubtful without massive investment.

Everton will be no push-overs, they are good all over the pitch and AFC will have to play well to secure the points. This being the case I do not think AW will rest his best players ahead of Wembley.

My Team:

Cech

Holding     Mustafi    Monreal

Bellerin   Ramsey   Xhaka     Gibbs

Ozil      Sanchez

Welbeck

Such a pity Ox is injured as he adds a better attacking punch than Bellerin but Hector is a wonderful replacement and gives the immature Holding fine back-up. Ramsey wasn’t as crocked as I feared, Kos is still a doubt, the rest pick themselves. Apart from upfront where despite the gulf in the goal stats I still prefer Welbeck to the FFP. Why? Movement. Versus Boro we looked so much better when Iwobi and Welbz came on as subs.

Thinking Iwobi, AW has to find a place in the first team for this young fellow, the man is just terrific and probably the man to take Sanchez’ or Ozil’s shirt when they leave.

I hate the end of the season. I need the weekly injection of football in my life. What happens in the close season? Gossip, speculation and fantasising (and in my case a long sun-filled holiday in Italy). Thankfully, unlike our noisy neighbours, we have another week to enjoy.

Will it be Weds or Thurs evenings? Quite honestly, I don’t really care. As an armchair fan I do not get the thrill of seeing Messi, Ronaldo, Cavani, Dybala etc in the flesh. If it is to be Thursdays I will have the enjoyment of seeing teams I know nothing about, safe in the knowledge that Arsenal have a good chance of winning well and seeing loads of goals.

But that is for another day, today is all about beating Everton. It can be done and I will be sending positive waves all the way to North London alongside shouting at my television in support of my team.

For the final time this season a win at THOF is possible. Can we do it? Of course.

Let it be So ….

COYRRG


Turn Turn Turn

March 1, 2015

“To everything – ¬†Turn, Turn Turn,

There is a season – Turn Turn, Turn

And a time for every purpose under heaven.

A time to build up, A time to break down,

A time to dance, a time to mourn,

A time to cast away stones

A time to gather stones together.”

Book of Ecclesiastes (with a re-write by Pete Seeger)

I¬†know what you are thinking – “what the hell has that got to do with Everton at home?” ¬†Not much but I have had it in mind since Black Wednesday and of course, today is the first day of Spring – a time of growth and the rising of sap.

Will our sap rise today? Who knows? This season has been like few others insomuch as the team is so unpredictable, and not just game to game but within a game. Last Sunday we were two up and coasting then had 10 minutes of complete panic, and it has happened repeatedly over the season. Why?

“Leadership” I hear you say. Do we miss Arteta so much, is BFG lacking,? More to the point – how do we get one?

Can we beat Everton this afternoon and get back to winning ways?

Everton have stuttered badly this season and the golden boy Roberto Martinez has started to lose his lustre.

Here’s a brilliant stat – last season Everton won more games between March 1st and April 12th than they have won this entire season! ¬† The massive expenditure on Lukaku has yet to bring full returns though 5 goals in his last 3 games is worrying. I wanted us to sign Eto’o who is one of my favourite players but Mr Wenger proved once again that he “knows best”.

As usual midfield will hold the key. Aaron Lemon is likely to be dropped for the return of the potent Mirallas. In Gibson, McCarthy and Barry Everton have battlers, they also have one of my most hated players, Stephen Naismith.

I could write a whole post on the little blond aggressor. Like Leeds’ Alan Smith and the awful Robbie Savage, Naismith kicks the player before the ball as a matter of course, hiding a lack of talent behind naked aggression. How he stayed on the pitch in our 1-1 draw at Goodison is known only to the referee Michael Oliver who was awful that day.

I like the John Stones and can only think Mr Wenger wouldn’t spend the transfer fee preferring to buy Gabriel for half the price. Baines is fit, as is Coleman.

Arsenal: I would start the same team as Wednesday to allow them to prove their worth but Mr Wenger will ring the changes. Expect to see Monreal start and possibly Gabriel for BFG  or Koscielny. And it is time to take TPIG off the naughty step Рin my opinion he is our best GK.

My Team:

Szczesny

Bellerin      Gabriel    Koscielny       Monreal

Coquelin     Cazorla

Alexis     Ozil

Walcott    Giroud

Unlike some, I like Santi playing deeper alongside Le Coq and until Ramsey, Arteta or Wilshere return it is a position he may well keep. (unless Rosicky takes that place!)

We have a strong bench with good coverage for any eventuality.

My main concern today lies within The Emirates crowd – the poisonous atmosphere which is created by a bias-led media is so close to the surface. If Arsenal are not at their fluent best and dominating from kick-off the disquiet will strengthen and the very chaps who booed our lads off the pitch will start complaining early. I hate it. Moan on the blogs, beat the dog, kick the cat, berate taxi drivers, do whatever you have to do but during the game SUPPORT your team.

What happens when the crowd groans at a misplaced pass which is made in the blink of the eye- a possibly defence splitting pass which carries risk? The player will take the secure option which is usually a short sideways or backwards pass. If we want to see a fast, intricate and beautiful display of passing football our players have to feel confident and supported – take that away and we become Stoke.

Live Long and Prosper

COYRRG

written by Big Raddy