Who will play at Deepdale?

January 7, 2017

Preston? Never been there. Deepdale?  Never been there.  North End?  Same.  Did I ever see Tom Finney play? No. Have I ever heard of any of PNE’s players? No. Their manager, Simon Grayson …. well, I did see him play for Blackburn.

Unknown.jpeg Preston’s Finest

In other words I have no qualifications to write this pre-match other than my love for their opposition.

I love the FA Cup, always have. I love that we won it twice in the past 3 years. That said, some of my most painful memories are attached to the FAC (Wrexham 😦 ++). Is there anything as painful as losing in a Cup Final? Perhaps a kick in the crown jewels but not much else.

A loss today could be equally painful and it is not beyond the realms of possibility. Play like we did for the first 70 minutes at B’mouth and we are in peril.

Positives: Welbeck is on the bench and ready to establish himself as an Arsenal great. Nigeria didn’t qualify for the ACN so Iwobi is available for selection. Bellerin cannot play so poorly twice in a row. OG is in fine scoring form.

 

Not so Great:  We only have two fit and available MF’s. We only have Jenkinson should AW decide to give Hector a rest, though this is the level where he excels. Sanchez will be rested. Ozil is sick. Santi is out for the next few notes. Koscielny limped off at the Cherries. BFG isn’t fit yet.

I am hoping Holding gets another chance today, he is a fine prospect.  With Chambers doing very well at struggling Boro, we have two fine young CBs for the future.

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My Team:

Ospina

Bellerin    Holding    Gabriel    Monreal

Ramsey    Xhaka     Iwobi

Ox   OG   Perez

Actually it is not true that I know none of Preston’s players, they have Dane in the team – the 6´7″ Simon Makienok who is a central striker. He used to play for Brondby which is a major black mark.

We can expect hoof ball from PNE. We can also expect a dreadful pitch designed to negate our silky skills. It will be a hard physical battle and let’s just hope we can leave Deepdale with a victory and no injuries.

Let it be so.

COYRRG

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Wenger’s 3rd Double?

March 13, 2016

FA Cup quarterfinals, at home in front of our 12th man, a relatively fit squad and against a team we have already beaten 3-0 away this season; surely an Arsenal win – if only it were so simple!

The draw at SHL and away hammering of Hull could and should give rise to optimism with the expectation of a successful run in both the League and FA Cup, The team must be buoyed by the prospect of the Hatrick of FAC’s.

What of Watford? Nice family club 😀

Strong in defence and midfield, stuttering upfront after initially looking potent. It is only a couple of moths since the media (bizarrely)  linked us with Troy Deeney and  were raving about his strike partner (whose name I can’t be bothered to Google).

Watford have already had an excellent season having probably achieved their target of survival in the PL. They come to THOF in the midst of a poor run having won only 2 of their last 11 PL games.

I like their manager; Quique Sanchez  Flores, I would like both his job and his name.(useless fact – the legendary Alfredo di Stefano is his godfather)

One certainty this lunchtime is whomever is in goal for Watford will have a stormer. They always do. Both Gomes and Pantilliaman are excellent GK’s and I expect them to be busy, very busy.

Our Team: Ramsey is a major loss especially given the number of injuries in midfield. One more and Flamini returns! However, this gives Elneny a chance to cement his place in the team; a very impressive performance at Hull gives rise to the hope that Mr Wenger has discovered another gem. The El Nino/ Coq combo gives defensive solidity and also allows the attackers to concentrate more on attack. Walcott, in particular, could benefit .

Walcott or Campbell?  Welbeck or Giroud? What do you think? I lean towards Campbell and Giroud.

I believe that happiness depends upon setting achievable goals; the CL is not achievable thanks to the quality of the top 3 clubs (4 with PSG and 5 with BD). Realistically we are highly unlikely to beat one of them let alone two, so we must look elsewhere to find our goals and they are the PL and the FA Cup. Arsenal have won one of the goals their past two seasons, we are in a strong position to continue this quest for happiness.

The Double is On.

COYRRG


Loving The Alien

January 30, 2016

There is a chance we may have an exciting team taking the field in red and white. The BBC are expecting Tommy Rosicky to get a kick!

I recall speaking to Kelsey about Tomas a few years ago and we both agreed his time as a PL player was over, yet here he is making a Lazarus-like resurrection (somewhat appropriate with Lent around the corner). I am delighted. Top bloke, top player and a man whom, if he lasts a few games, will add much to our run in.

There is another rumour … apparently someone purporting to be Danny Welbeck is in training and could be available for selection. Now this I cannot believe. I am easily led and extraordinarily gullible but this is a step too far.

And Coquelin!! The boss said 6 weeks and here is Le Coq back within AW’s 6 week time frame which as everyone knows is 3 months in human time. Do you think that AW lives in a different time dimension to us? He is a remarkable man and who knows, perhaps he is not of this earth? An alien. This may explain his eyesight problems, his lack of understanding the need for a 40 goal a season striker and his strange sense of time.

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Mr. Wenger’s Father (and Mother)

Our opponents: I have written of Burnley in the past, of my affection for a proper old fashioned club, of Bob Lord, of claret and blue. Of Hovis adverts, coal mining and cotton. In my research about Burnley F.C  I discovered they had once been managed by a chap named Albert Pickles. Fair play to them.

Burnley are a decent team who will cause us problems but hopefully not too many. They sit a handy 3rd in the Championship and could easily face us in the PL next season. No mugs and in Sean Dyche have one of the best young managers around. We have won our last 5 FA Cup games against them with an aggregate score of 16-1.

Another exciting prospect for Gooners is the almost certain first appearance of Elneny, our first Egyptian player to play in the first team (Rami Shabaan had Egyptian parents and we had a chap called Fathy who played a couple of reserve games in 2004). I have a good feeling about this bloke.

I would like to see Theo given a start at CF today and OG on the bench. The big man needs a break and Theo is more likely to score and gain some confidence at home against C’ship opposition. The same can be said of The Ox who will surely be given Ramsey’s role again.

Another chap I would like to see rested is Koscielny. The man has become a masterful CB but like many could use a break, this would allow us to see our future CB pairing – GAbriel and Chambers. The more practice they have together the better the chances of them becoming a solid partnership.

Gibbs ahead of Monreal and Bellerin on the other flank thanks to our lack of a back-up LB. And Ospina in goal (if fit).

Sanchez, Walcott and Campbell up top with perhaps Ozil behind depending upon how his foot/leg has responded to treatment.

There is a chance we could win a hatrick of FA Cups. History making. Mr. Wenger deserves it. He could be the manager who went through a season unbetaen and one who won 3 on the trot.

Let it be so…

COYRRG